Second Guessing (1/2)

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Humans are problem solving creatures. Our brains are wired for complex thinking and planning. We enjoy puzzles, games, and sports that challenge us. It is natural for us to have an impulse to solve problems we learn about, even before we know enough to recognize a bad solution. But there are some people that we as a society don’t really trust to solve their own problems, or we blame them for not trying our simple, and ineffective, solutions.

It is no coincidence these are people already socially despised in one or more way – poor, disabled, female, non white, LGBT, etc. Society takes perverse glee in telling such people, after setting them up for and failing to prevent them from tragedy, what they should have done differently. Sometimes it’s “I told you so” and sometimes “I would have told you so.” This second guessing is almost never helpful.

Society second guesses women. Are you sure he said that? Maybe you just make choices that lead to lower pay. Whoa, take a Midol! Women are disbelieved when we report sexual harassment or abuse, yet given advice on how to handle these pigments of our hysterical psyches, especially after the fact.

You shouldn’t have had so much to drink, worn that outfit, let him into your home. Maybe if you’d carried mace and a gun and just said No you wouldn’t be in this mess. Are you sure this isn’t just regret?

Second guessing women doesn’t stop with how we handle male aggression. It also applies to our fertility. Half of US pregnancies are unplanned, which means half are up for social condemnation. You should have doubled up your birth control, cry men who whine about wearing condoms. Should have thought of this before you spread your legs!

I felt the world shove me back in the closet as a teen with the words maybe it’s a phase. Maybe other people knew my own soul better than I did. LGB people, cis and trans, are constantly second guessed. Are you sure? Maybe this is just due to childhood trauma. Abusive compliance training will cure this, right? Are you sure??

Trans people face extraordinary second guessing and gate keeping about their own bodies and minds. Doctors will deny hormones to patients they don’t think are “trying” hard enough, or “passing” well enough. Cis society won’t believe that trans women are women, and passes bathroom ordinances saying so. Trans women are among the most murdered minority groups, especially black trans women and other trans women of color. Genderqueer and nonbinary are questioned if even acknowledged.

Continue to part 2

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