Carpentry and Gender Identity [Pt. III]

Click here for Pt. II, Pt. I

Let us return to the commentator. She claims that she has more in common with a cis-male because they are both certain in their bodies, but if we are to think of the transgendered state in the previous analogy, she would have nothing in common with him. Both of their original orders are different, and the subsequent construction were as well. The similarity lies in the agreeing parts of both order and construction.  Whereas between me and her, our orders, which we have established to be the most important aspect of the process, are the same. Our construction, on the other hand, is different. Plainly, both of us were meant to be stools, but I became a chair.

It’s important to note that this analogy does hold up for non-binary and gender-queer people. For the former, maybe it was a table that was ordered, still made of similar materials, but serves a completely different purpose. As for the latter, maybe it’s a stool with a back or it’s a tall chair. The basic principle is there. There is a difference between intended order and outcome.

The common “Gender Critical” (GC) argument is that trans people experience dysphoria, not because of something inherent, but because of society’s pressures (NOTE: The GC community does accept the scientifically backed conclusion that gender and sex can be different). They state that trans* people wish to change themselves because that’s what society tells them is right and that we should all just live in a society that accepts that some people don’t have the same sex and gender. Well, if that were the case, I think that my body would still feel wrong to me. I can’t be sure, of course, because of the crazy tricks the mind plays on itself, especially the power of suggestion, and I might not ever be able to.

Side note: I had really wanted to get a good thought experiment on the proof of dysphoria, but I really couldn’t get anything substantial. I think it’s most important to note that examples of people changing themselves to match their identity has been seen all over. It can be seen through all out history and across many cultures. Take Two-Spirit, Koekchuch, Travesti, etc. These are all examples of “third gender theory”, but it shows that cultures all around the world (in varying societies) have examples of people adjusting themselves to their identity. Really the best way I think I can explain it, is to widen the feelings to common body dysphoria. Certainly a lot of it stems from societal expectations, but there are some things that aren’t an attempt to conform but to rather ease an internal desire. Let’s look at dying one’s hair. Sometimes people would rather have red hair, and they dye it. Society isn’t lashing out at them telling them they have to change it, nor is it insulting them for doing so. It’s simple, someone thought they’d be happier as a redhead and they changed it. It’d be mad to tell them, well you shouldn’t dye it cause society is making you. If you want red hair, we can just accept you as such. And this is my problem with GC, what right do they have to define the happiness of people seeking to align themselves with what will make them happy?

When relating trans-women and women, my analogy stills stands. In such a carpentry scenario, the company would have to correct its mistake. Say, for the sake of the argument, they couldn’t purchase more materials for cost restraints, this would mean they would need to dissemble the chair to construct the stool. In this case, they’d be producing a stool made of recycled materials. But, a stool made of recycled materials is still a stool. Both are used for their intended purpose. They are perceived the same (or, should be) and, for the most part, have the same experience in use. Just as a recycled-material stool is a stool, a trans-woman is a woman.

Author’s Note

Through writing this article, I began to learn more about the Feminine Essence Theory. This is pretty similar to the analogy that I’ve brought forth today. It’s a little too vague and encasing for a general explanation, so I wanted to include my theory as a way of visualising my strife. You’ll notice on that page Blanchard’s deconstruction; This viewpoint, among the popular argument of Jordan Peterson, is troubling. I may write an article in the future on my feelings about such individuals. In the meantime, I recommend you visit ContraPoints on YouTube for more. She’s a former philosophy student who goes into depth on the concepts of philosophical descriptions of gender.

– Athena

Further Reading

Seeker: What We Know About Gender Identity According to Science

Stanford: Understanding gender diversity and the search for identity

Harvard: The Science of Transgender Identity

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