A trans woman shares an experience online; a brush with misogyny, a scary scenario with a man, or maybe physical discomfort due to being on estrogen. Very often I see the comment "Welcome to being a woman!" show up as a response.
Does this feel patronizing to anyone else?
I mean, if I had a daughter who came to me with any of these difficulties, I would hope that I would be able to show her some empathy and kindness and try to commiserate with her pain. I don't think I'd want to just dismiss her problems with that particular phrase.
I understand that being a woman is fraught, and that even the crappy version of a boy that I was pretending to be had privileges that are denied most women. I knew that transitioning was going to strip me of a good portion of that.
When most trans women complain about experiences that are already well known to cis women, it's rarely done out of shock or surprise. The first time I was mansplained to at work was painful, but it wasn't really a shock.
Talking about it wasn't me saying "Hey! Did you know this is a thing that happens? Isn't it wild?" It was just me sharing a yucky experience. "Welcome to being a woman!" feels unnecessarily dismissive of my experience, and not something I'd expect from another woman.
Like, I couldn't imagine a cis woman saying that to another cis woman. It just wouldn't fly.
I dunno. I'm tired, and probably overly whingy, but I've been presenting as a woman for nearly 3 years now, and I'm well past the point of needing a welcome committee. I've been in woman-town for a while, and I've kinda learned the streets.
I would just respectfully ask you that if you're a cis woman, and you're looking to be a good ally, or even just be kind to a trans woman, your only "Welcome to being a woman!" should be on a card, and there should be cake.
This thread was a journey. Initially I started capturing this on the base message, but then I saw the replies and it took a whole new depth.
@Samwitch11 I promise you, cis women definitely say it to other, younger, cis women. And it’s SUPER patronizing.
@Samwitch11 It's patronizing af, implies that the trans woman has no exp w womanhood & reveals the cis mindset. At best, they see us as men who've just 'turned' into women and are thus unfamiliar w all womens' experiences, and at worst they cheer on a 'man' being a victim of misogyny
@Samwitch11 The thing is women do this to young girls all the time (not that it’s alright, of course). Instead of sharing in the experience and supporting each other I’ve gotten a lot of ‘that’s just how it is, toughen up’. For context, I’m AFAB. I think the worst was when I was still (1/2)
@Samwitch11 in junior high. I have been cursed with menstrual pain so terrible it makes me ill. And when my teacher comes up to me and she says exactly that. “Welcome to being a woman.” Not only did I not really get support from someone who should understand on something level but (2/?)
Women, stop doing this to your sisters and your daughters, be they cis or trans! Take it from a girl who had to fight for it, womanhood is a blessing!
Yes, misogyny and patriarchy sucks, but that burden is a product of forces outside of womanhood itself. Lay the blame where it is due. That discrimination is not worthy of normalization. When you come down with the flu, you don’t say “welcome to humanity.” Treat that garbage for the plague it is.
Yes, periods suck, mood swings suck, cramps brutally suck, bleeding out every month FUCKING SUCKS, but it is also a gift of life (infertility conditions aside). A gift that many of your trans sisters would happily endure for the miracle it allows. Your daughters don’t have to cherish it, but they shouldn’t be told it’s a curse either. Hearing other women be so negative about this aspect of their bodies sets young women up to hate themselves and feel like they’ve been dealt a bad hand simply because they happened to be female. Then when that same negativity gets handed to trans women, dare I say most of whom would happily endure that pain for the ability to bear children, it’s an even harsher blow.
The takeaway here should not be “this is ok to do because cis women get it too,” it should be “this is an awful thing to say to any woman.”