Speaking as a black woman... wait a second! Can I do that?
Well, why not. We’re now a nation consumed by make-believe, in which you can declare anything you want about yourself and insist that everyone else agree that it is so.
If I identify this way, you must believe me! (Or else I will come after you with my cos-play mob and destroy you.)
The avatars out on the cutting edge of culture want to dissolve all the boundaries between all categories of everything — except us and them: their allies and their enemies. Everything else is slated to become — by force, if necessary — a big, turbid, zero-gravity soup of intersectionalrelativity. The reasons for this sanctioned insanity are not exactly what you think they are.
Case in point: The Sunday New York Times Magazine profile of one Jill Soloway, Hollywood producer / director and now memoirist of the book She Wants It: Desire, Power and Toppling the Patriarchy (“out this week,” note that little detail.) Mx. Soloway (Mx. being the newest engineered intersectional salutation) runs a movie production company named Topple, best known for putting out the TV show Transparent, about an older man who decides he’d be happier pretending to be a woman, and all the good family feeling that such a decision might engender, so to speak.
Gender was complicated for Mx. Soloway, for whom puberty arrived late, but with the sudden appearance of large breasts. “Do other people’s memories of their teenage years include things like soccer competitions or blue ribbons?” they write. “All I have is the memory of being suddenly overwhelmed by becoming sex to others.”
Aha, the curse of large breasts. What a life-annihilating affliction.
And yes, you read that right. Mx. Soloway now insists on being addressed as “they” (The Timesobliges), invoking a linguistic hall-of-mirrors in which there are always two of you: the one located in space and the one in the mirror — shall we surmise? — or perhaps there is another explanation. One might goof on the narcissistic buffoonery of this stuff all the livelong day, but that would be tiresome and cruel, so I will just come to the point and tell you what is going on here, what it is all about.
It is about fashion, status, and prestige as has been the case in human social relations since earliest (hu)man put a banana leaf on its head, to the awe and wonder of others gathered ‘round. All three of those conditions depend on a person being special, a figure apart from the boring, moiling, deplorable mob of morons who agree to be hostage to their own biology. Biology is a disease to be overcome, and you can do that by asserting your will. For instance, in the case at hand of Mx. Soloway, you can get breast reduction surgery, cut off your hair, and wear baggy clothes. This does not make you a man, but it allows you to affect to renounce your “sexual assignment.” Anyway, who wants to be a man? (The enemy!)
Jill Soloway by Ryan Pfluger for The New York Times
Rather, you pretend to exist in a make-believe liminal realm in between, relieved of all the pain-in-the-ass tensions of being one or the other, and therefore, to some degree, the tensions of being a mature mammal. Is not the game of “pretend” the chief occupation of childhood, either a happy one or otherwise? And is not Hollywood all about the game of pretend? And so, in Hollywood, the most zealous pretenders acquire the highest prestige. The trick is to get other people to agree that your pretenses are bona fide (the Emperors New Clothes gambit).
One way to accomplish that is to elaborate a fantasy that has already been set in motion as a fashion statement. With good old-fashioned American Puritanism coming back into fashion under the guise of Maoist authoritarianism emanating from the campuses, nothing carries higher status than anathemizing human sexuality, working every angle to abolish it, to banish it from the world, and to punish those who object.
There are a few little problems with this.
One is, you’re still stuck with your actual biological sexuality, whether you like it or not. Every cell in the body is imprinted — except in rare instances of what used to be called “birth defects.” There’s no “returns” policy at the sexual assignment bureau. Accordingly, people who stop short of completely screwing up their bodies with genital amputation and radical hormone treatments are still subject to sexual promptings of the type associated with their cellular DNA. Mx. Soloway has demonstrated this in her own work, as The Times explains:
After the author [Mx S.] falls in love with a lesbian while still married, the two enthusiastically make a short comedy about female ejaculation. The Topple crew pitched in, building a giant vagina and helping with costumes. Mx. Soloway calls the film, inevitably, “If You Build It, She Will Come.”
One of The New York Times’s chief roles in our society has been to confer prestige on the people they chose to write about. The Times is a mighty churning engine of status-granting, locked in a feedback loop with the readership it is working to flatter so as to place them in the social hierarchy du jour. Unfortunately, what they have to work with du jour is cultural collapse, which is exactly what converts degeneracy into prestige. It’s an unappetizing process, and its products — supposedly “gender-fluid” adult mammals — have exactly such an unappetizing presentation. What is most fashionable these days is obviously unreal, and to become a fashion-victim of that can’t have a happy ending.