Transfeminine masculinities – structural [trans]misogyny

I feel that the label ‘transmisogyny’ is a bit opaque. It often describes many of the moments where transfemme people are understood and treated as ‘biologically male’ by one means or another; an intersection between misogyny and transphobia. I want to talk through a little of what’s going on in the different moments and processes that make up these interactions and situations of transphobia, to give an insight into my world of masculinities. Within the bounds of transmisogyny, there is no room for me to explore my gender nonconformity; no room for my experimentation with pronouns, presentation, or personality; no room for any subversive tendencies without or beyond the original sin of my transfemininity. There isn’t a lot of room in people’s consciousness for masculinity from transfems. It’s hard for us to embody our masculinities as non-men without the people around us eroding, invalidating, and redefining us.

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The Home Front of the Culture War

Considering that we are currently witnessing one of the most serious conflicts in Europe in recent decades, you’d be forgiven for wondering why so much of the surrounding discourse appears preoccupied with pronouns, gender, and sexuality – topics that perhaps, on their surface, appear only tangentially, if at all, related…

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Who ‘leans in’ and how? Masculinities in workspaces

In 2010, the then Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg, delivered a TED talk entitled ‘Why we have too few women leaders’. This talk spawned the now-infamous 2013 book Lean In which lays out her brand of corporate feminist doctrine in greater detail. The crux of Sandberg’s argument is that women lack the assertiveness and ambition of their male colleagues, and that is why they fail to get ahead in their careers.

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Talking anxiety with Nin-ja

Most alt-R&B tracks are centred around more or less the same thing – love. Love in all its agony, love in all its euphoria. But Nin-ja wants to dig deeper than that. The singer-songwriter’s just released her new single Lockjaw where she sings candidly about her struggles with anxiety. Nin-ja’s been in the music game for about four years now, but after taking a brief hiatus, she’s back with a new single and more honest than ever. 

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Awards Shows are for the Boys

For the majority of the 2000s and the decades before them, awards shows have been a cultural concept distinctly owned by the feminine. The prestige of the Academies, the swelling of romantic music after every award, and of course, the unparalleled glitz and glamour of the evening’s most decadent stars. Remember the running joke of the Oscars being the “female Superbowl.” Imagine groups of housewives prepping parties and organising bets on who would be wearing Chanel while their husbands stand stiffly in the kitchen over beers. Joan Rivers in gold, poking at the ribs of underaged starlets as camera click and waves of taffeta turned to fodder for tabloids…

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Reclaiming the Dildo

Dildos have a long and controversial history, and have existed for much longer than many of us think. Despite this, they continue to be a taboo topic of conversation. However, dildos can also bring a lot of joy, freedom, and liberation to those who use them. To write this article, I collected responses from a variety of individuals with different gender and sexual identities, and different opinions on dildos. In doing this, I wanted to explore the contested opinions and complex emotions that many have about dildos…

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Art Under Fire: Ukrainian Cultural Institutions 

I have a friend who is currently working in Kiev. He asked me not to share his name, to protect his safety and identity. He was originally on his semester abroad, but since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, he has been working in a local art gallery and cultural museum with his fellow classmates…

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In a dystopian time, we must be indulgent in our utopian fantasies

On March 6th, 2022, I attended a memorial protest at Scottish Parliament on the one-year anniversary of Sarah Everard’s murder. Several women spoke in her memory highlighting brutality of gender-based violence in the U.K and around the world, calling for the dismantling of the very systems that are meant to protect us but instead regularly create violence and fear.

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Glitter makes us blind: A critique of Euphoria

The idea of a child has always been available for corruption. It’s not a fact we like to talk about, but it’s something we’re all aware of. Nabokov’s Lolita, Jodi Foster’s precocious Iris, Youtube compilations of under-aged girls dancing, curated faithfully by anonymous men…

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Love of Community: bell hooks’ continuing resonance

bell hooks’ influential All About Love has become somewhat of a handbook for many since its publication in 2000 as we try and understand the ever-perplexing subject of love. With each chapter hooks dissects a different aspect of love, spanning from personal romance to political justice. Her text, thereby, embodies the now highly popularised, originally feminist concept that the personal is always political. 

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I am not queen of my own heart, stop telling me I should be

The first thing I do when I wake up is assess what I’m going to be capable of that day. I check in with my body, how much pain I’m in, and where the pain is most intense. I check in with my nerves: how anxious am I? How exhausted? And I check in with my mind: how coherent are my thoughts? Sometimes my brain fog prevents me from doing anything that requires much thinking. Sometimes I’m simply too tired or fed up to consider ticking anything off my perpetually growing to-do list…

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WHEN I DREAM IT FEELS LIKE DROWNING: an interview

I carried out an interview with Door Ajar Comics after reading their first publication, WHEN I DREAM IT FEELS LIKE DROWNING. Their fascinating, heartfelt and brilliantly insightful answers explore inspiration for the work; personal experiences; narrative development; horror as a genre; readership, and much more.

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emBODYment

Can you walk down the street without being aware of your body? Simple question. And I don’t mean the physicality of walking. I mean feeling reduced solely to a body. If you can, you are, most likely, a man. A woman only has to walk down the street braless, or wearing something mildly short or low-cut, to be instantly reduced to a body. To flesh to be ogled by whoever feels so inclined. This may sound like an exaggeration, but, trust me, it is not. Every single time I leave the house wearing clothes that I feel comfortable in, I am leered at (or worse) by at least one man. Actually, whatever we are wearing, we are still not left alone. I’ve been harassed wearing ‘going out clothes’, but just as often I’ve been wearing dungarees. It is about the men, not the clothes, and pretending we can change our clothes to reduce harassment gives a false sense of control over our safety.

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Identity and time

The confrontational question ‘what advice would you give to your former self?’ is usually met with angst, an awkward laugh and regret. Perhaps this is just me, but the initial jerks of discomfort I feel when I think about my younger self is mostly down to how different I think I am. There is a strong dissociation between that person then and the person I am now, and the most prominent difference between the two is the way I view myself as an Indian person. 

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Bouncers and Biases

On that night I was outside with the bouncers doing bag checks while also keeping an eye on them, as bouncers  in general have a reputation for their bias against minority groups. So there I was, nestled in between two large and looming men in black wearing a pink beret and red lipstick. It was a terrifying sight indeed. 

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Reflections on ‘Feminist Futures’ at the Lighthouse Radical Bookfair, Imagining an alternative world

The Radical Bookfair hosted by Lighthouse Books has become an annual meeting ground for creative discourses that often live on the margins of our mainstream media, to be thoughtfully considered. This year’s event saw a host of panels and discussions based on the theme ‘Futures Worth Fighting For’ which focused on how to materialize our radical imaginations for a better world.

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