This morning the tumblr post on the right came across my facebook feed, and I had simply too many thoughts about it for facebook. I reject the thesis defined in the second comment, and here’s why.
From the age of two, as soon as a child understands language, they are indoctrinated in cultural perceptions of feminine beauty. We spend our entire lives awash in the prevailing concepts of what makes a woman beautiful, under whatever those may be for our region of the world. For men this creates a standard to look for in a mate, but for women it creates a standard to ever persistently strive for in order to be deemed worthy under patriarchy. Women are told over and over again that if you aren’t beautiful, you’re nothing, and this is what makes a woman beautiful, so if you don’t look like this then you’re worthless.
Trans women internalize this too; literally every trans woman has at some point in their lives thought “I’d make a hideous woman, so why bother.” That is us applying those beauty standards onto ourselves as women, often before we even know we’re women. Gender (Body) Dysphoria itself is the brain viewing gendered traits in our physicality and mapping them on to societal standards for men and women. That doesn’t stop with trans people, however; cis women also experience body dysphoria built out of these same societal standards. Even the most beautiful and feminine goddess will tell you that she struggles to meet some impossible image and is wracked with pain over failing to meet that goal.
Where am I going with this? Well, telling any woman, be she cisgender or transgender, that she looks trans has the implication that she appears to have masculine traits. That’s literally what that statement means under patriarchal beauty standards, there is no other way to process that statement. Women have spent their entire lives being told that masculine traits on women are ugly, that is just a factor of the world we live in. Therefor, there is no way to process that statement in a positive light, it is always going to be received as a criticism of the woman’s appearance. It does not matter how she views trans women, the statement is inherently baggaged by influences well outside of her own control.
A commenter says that they’ve tested this on every person they know and they all failed. If you’re running a test and are getting 100% failure rate, the problem is in the test. Don’t judge a woman for failing a test when she has been setup to fail. If you’re asking her this question, her allyship isn’t the thing being tested, its your own understanding of patriarchy and feminism. The trial is itself inherently misogynist, and should never have been posed in the first place.