I was listening to the new Galactic Suburbia podcast this morning and heard Tansy enthusing about a story called “Foundlings” by Diana Peterfreund. It is an SF tale about a future in which teens who get pregnant are disappeared by society. That’s not really SF, of course, it is exactly what often happened to unmarried women who got pregnant for much of the 20th Century. Their children were put up for adoption, and they were consigned to lunatic asylums, sometimes for life. But that isn’t what Tansy was talking about.
As a relatively recent mother, Tansy is only too well aware of how much pressure is put on pregnant women by the media. “You must do these exercises, you must eat these foods, otherwise your baby will be damaged and it will be ALL YOUR FAULT!” This isn’t by any means new. And it doesn’t stop once you have given birth. There are plenty of people queuing up to explain to you why you are a Bad Mother for failing to follow the latest child rearing fad. And most of the people who do this policing are other women. They would know, right?
Then it hit me that this is exactly what happens with trans women. As soon as you start to transition you get besieged by people eager to tell you that you are Doing It Wrong. And many of those people who get on your case are other trans women.
The explanation is the same in both cases. If something the women do is being heavily policed, people become so desperate for approval that they are only too willing to assist the process by dumping on anyone that doesn’t do that activity the same way that they do.
So: sisterhood. It is OK to be different. Enough with the policing of behavior.