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The Male Gaze  

MJputergurl 60F  
57 posts
8/16/2012 1:36 pm
The Male Gaze

The following is an article I am using after adjusting some grammar, by permission of it's author. Please note that the text in blue is all a quote:

The Male Gaze, a constant presence in a transwoman’s life

THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — The object of desire. One of the things transwomen come to realize somewhere along the transition path is the constant stare from cisgender males. Also known as the Male Gaze, it is a sort of a visual harassment. While not everyone finds it distasteful and some may even invite the Male Gaze, its presence in women’s lives is constant and permanent.

For cisgender women, the Male Gaze is so prevalent, many forget it’s there. For transwomen however, the relatively sudden awareness of the ever present Male Gaze can be troubling.

“[a cisgender male] sees not merely the object of the gaze, but sees the relationship between the object and the self. He sees her as a creature of his domain, under his gaze of possession — simultaneously admiring and pejorative, but always as an object of his desire in his domain.” - St Lawrence University glossary

Being an object of desire is especially dangerous for transwomen as a hair-trigger exists for some cisgender males; at the moment they’ve read you, you’re now a target for violence.

I’m thinking that for many transwomen, they come to realize that “passing” was never a prerequisite for gender change and have adapted themselves to living with the expectation of being “outed” by a cisgender male at any time resulting in the Male Gaze being somewhat masked.

For those that do pass, some may find the Male Gaze some sort of affirmation, a thrill, or a source of income; for others though, awareness of the Male Gaze is a rude awakening into the mind of the often-ugly cisgender male.

I really like the point the article makes about the St. Lawrence University quote. The presumptive "ownership" of women that men nearly always operate under is so pervasive that it's hardly questioned or noted for being the way violence towards transwomen starts.
It is just this point that so many men (and most cisgender people, gay or otherwise) miss when discussing the disclosure they feel is due them from a transwoman. It is presumed in the male mind that they have the right to ownership of anything they wish to pursue, anything they see. Objectifying women is so ingrained in the male mind, they cannot see their part in the play; instead their reaction is violence for having been "sold a false bill of goods", which was never really theirs to begin with.
Thanks for listening.

"Know masculinity, maintain femininity, and be a ravine for all under heaven." - Lao Tzu

MJputergurl 60F  
88 posts
8/28/2012 10:59 am

One of my own experiences with this could very well have resulted in just the sort of ugly tragedy I'm talking about.

I like to play pool, and one evening while driving home alone after an evening out with friends I stopped at a club I had never been in before but was always curious about.

It was a mixed crowd, but after I racked a table to play alone, it wasn't long before there was a coterie of three or four guys who were chatting me up and watching; eventually one of them challenged me to a game and I accepted.

He started kidding me (I thought) about getting a kiss from me if he won. I honestly didn't think he was serious, but when he did win he playfully but abruptly and without warning grabbed me and kissed me.

I'll chalk it up to my own stupidity for not leaving right then, but wouldn't that be pretty F'ed up to have to leave just because he was being a Neanderthal? To be honest, a part of me enjoyed the attention and I stupidly indulged the fantasy that just maybe I could simply be accepted as an attractive woman without the baggage that others heap on transwomen just for being themselves.

At any rate, I didn't feel like going home yet either and I agreed to play one more game to try to redeem myself and finish my drink.

It was then that one of their buddies who was previously singing karaoke had come over and started watching the game. He clocked me pretty quickly but rather than just keep it to himself or ask me privately, he blurted out in an accusatory tone for everyone to hear; "You're a tranny, aren't you?"

I had enough time to see the guy who had kissed me blanch, as I carefully walked over to the nearby bartender, grabbed my purse, and took off.


"Know masculinity, maintain femininity, and be a ravine for all under heaven." - Lao Tzu

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