Cissexism and Trans Women's Denial of Subjectivity



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The Denial of Subjectivity is 'the treatment of a person as something whose experiences and feelings (if any) need not be taken into account.' When defined by Nussbaum, her theory considers the dynamic between men and women in a patriarchal society. However, combining Nussbaum's theory with a lens of intersectionality, I explore the mistreatment of trans women at the hands of men and cis women. Patriarchy is not only upheld by men, but by the cis women who benefit from it. I find that men objectify all women through Denial of Subjectivity, however trans women will experience Denial of Subjectivity through how men interpret their identity. The interpretation of a trans women's identity through a male lens is often skewed by sexualization of trans women's bodies. However, cis women, which are also offended by the Denial of Subjectivity at the hands of men, will also oppress trans women through this 'subject/object' dynamic. Rather than use sexualization as the driving force of Denial of Subjectivity, cis women deny the identities of trans women. Cis women will protect their identities as 'women' because of the movement they have built off their definition. At the hands of cis women, trans women are denied subjectivity through the oppression of identity, rather than oppression through sexuality. Thinking towards the conclusion, one possible solution would be gender abolition. Another possible solution may be a focus on shifting trans subcultures to the mainstream.