In an era where acceptance and assimilation have an increasingly blurred boundary, The Stepford Wives becomes the tragedy of a generation of activists slain by those who call themselves allies.
Since its publication in 1972, the ubiquity of Ira Levin’s dark satire novel The Stepford Wives has been almost unquestionable. With millions of copies sold, two movie adaptations (one passable, one frankly terrible), and a permanent place in the vernacular with the term ‘Stepford wife’, Levin has inspired a generation of social horror and brought a very real sense of the terror of everyday prejudice into the limelight. With this political niche of horror growing in popularity after the success of 2017’s social horror masterpiece Get Out, we are reminded again and again that the patterns we see in fiction are replicated in society at large. The victims of horror are the victims in reality too. Social horror presents us with a tension marked by very clear social categorisations that are easier for many to ignore in reality: black versus white, men versus women, oppressor versus oppressed. Battle lines in horror are drawn clearly for those who choose to see them, and protagonists are left to deal with the messy in-betweens, the people they love, and the betrayals of trust involved. For those unfamiliar with Levin’s sinister suburb, The Stepford Wives tells the story of Joanna Eberhart, a feminist/photographer/mother/housewife who has moved with her family from a bustling city to the idyllic Stepford, a suburb with unassuming middle-class professionals and their submissive, carbon-copy wives. From the very beginning, it is clear that something is amiss in Stepford, and the novel tells the story of Joanna uncovering a conspiracy against Stepford’s women, coordinated by the men of the town. The novel has been lauded for its prescience, with Levin presenting a world in which perfection is the biggest aberration, where against the backdrop of the rise of second-wave feminism, these Stepford wives are the biggest abnormality, not the feminist protagonist who questions them.
Continue reading “The Horror of Assimilation: Queerness in Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives”
Alongside the idea that you cannot fight fire with fire, exists the idea that you must extend tolerance towards those who despise and loathe you in order to make any ground. You need to love your oppressor in order to get them on your side (implying you wish this anyway). Tolerance breeds acceptance and thus, you must play nice with those who wish you dead and gone. You absolutely have to play nice or risk being the single person who brings the entire movement down. We treat people like Jenga blocks, one wrong move and everything you’ve worked for to get ahead is gone.
This is a simplification to damaging degrees. It implies that the reactions of one person represent the entire group and that for oppression to be gone, one must be tolerant and accepting of said oppression. You are in the spotlight at all times. Every move you make must be calculated or else, not only do you lose, you bring everyone else under your banner with you, whether they are actually with you or not. One wrong step and your entire label is tainted. It all comes down to you. Don’t rock the boat, or else you’ll cause everyone to drown. You must nod you head and bow to the status quo, hoping if you dance well enough, you will be granted a token of basic humanity, if they even see you as human at all.
CW: Mentions of rape, murder, harassment, and assault.
Continue reading “On Tolerating Hate”
Humans, by nature, are imperfect. In fact, human is almost synonymous with imperfection. However, minorities are held to the idea of perfect. They must be poised, well-spoken, and perfect, down to their very person, at all times. They are expected to be willing to educate at a moments notice, willing to engage, and willing to explain. They must be a single example of the perfect model of who they and others like them can be. They must be able to be put on a pedestal for others to admire and aspire to. Of course, these ideals are always created and upheld by the majority.
I can only speak on this from a trans/cis perspective, however it seems to be something that is pervasive among other marginalized groups. However, I will not be speaking on this for obvious reasons. I will be focusing on standards and ideals imposed on trans people, trans lives, and trans narratives from here on out.
Continue reading “I Am Not Your Poster Child”
Or at least, most self-proclaimed allies…from a trans* perspective.
Ally is not a title you claim. Being an ally is an action. Being an ally is something you do, always. It is not a label, as much as it is an action of supporting a community. You do not simply get to make a statement and leave it at that. Being an ally is something that is given to you by the group that you are claiming allyship with. It is not a badge. It is not a get out free card. It does not prevent you from being problematic, incorrect, or an issue. An LGBT ally can still be homophobic, biphobic, or trans*phobic. An ally’s place is to listen and learn, while amplifying the voices of the group they are aligned with. An ally is to never speak for, above, or against, the group they are an ally for.
Being an ally is not something you should expect praise for. Being an ally is about working towards the greater good for all involved and helping a group of people be heard with their struggles. This is an action. Being an ally, once again, is not a badge to be worn and flashed about. Being an ally should be a thankless job, because being an ally means being a decent human being. While being an ally is not seen as the norm, this is how it should be treated. Allyship should be seen as the norm, since being an ally is about respecting humans and granting basic human rights, privileges, and dignities. Being an ally is a collaborative effort between the ally and the group they ally is allied with.
One should not expect to come into this expecting praise. An ally should be humble. An ally should be steadfast. This means that if an ally is called out for problematic behavior, they listen and learn. They do not become defensive because becoming defensive means you believe your words to be correct. Allyship is not meant to be a token to be given and taken either due to personal issues within the community. If there is an issue, the threat should not be that you are an ally and thus, “on our side”. There should be an apology and a learning experience. Humans, by nature, are imperfect beings and even the most supportive ally is prone to problematic behavior. Allies, by their very nature, are not part of the community they are supporting and thus, will never truly understand the experiences of the people they are supposed to be supporting.
Continue reading “I Hate Allies”
Trigger Warning: Trans*phobia, transmisogyny, cissexism
This piece will not be about how Brownworth exploited a minor to show her his genitals for journalism. This piece will not be about how Brownworth has been attacking trans women about calling her out on her pedophilia for profit either. This piece will focus on going into the very root of her beliefs and exposing her for the trans*phobic, transmisogynist that Brownworth is by virtue of her own writing, interviews, and views. Just like I did with the Brennan interview, I plan on doing the same with Brownworth. If you want to know more about the previously mentioned, the TransAdvocate and Sophia Banks have done very well for documenting this and her harassment. I may touch upon those in this article, but that is not my focus as two very prominent women have already covered that (and continue to).
Brownworth says she is an ally of trans women and trans* people. However, for an ally, she spends her time around people like Brennan and other TERFs. When called out on twitter, she falls back into these people for support against these ‘vicious’ trans* people. Often, she resorts to the same TERF tactic of saying anyone calling her out is harassing, stalking, and obsessed with her. She uses the same fear mongering tactics employed by those who wish to keep trans* people, usually trans women, from peeing in peace (as an example). I feel nothing better suits this and proves this point than her piece on the Michigan Womyn’s Music Fest (Michfest/ MWMF), minus all of the stuff on Twitter of course.
Continue reading “Faces of Trans*Phobia: Victoria Brownworth”
Please note this is an ever changing article. This means I will continue to update it as more problems/information arises. Please leave a comment with feedback or use my contact the author page!
The news media has a huge problem when it comes to reporting on trans* people. This problem spans across a wide variety of arenas, it is not localized to one specific issue that can be addressed simply. The news media needs an overhaul, a make-over if you will, on how it reports trans* people. While I understand there are articles and guides out there that cover how to do this, I’ve noticed very few explain exactly why in some form of depth. I want this to be a basic guideline, a stepping stone of dos and don’ts, organized by the trans* community and their voices. A guide from and by trans* people about trans* people. There are no better teachers than ourselves.
Continue reading “Trans Media Guide”