On Harassment and the Marking of Visible Womanhood
"...we were talking about the truly fucked-up scenario in which women who deviate from traditional definitions of womanhood, or whose appearance is nonconforming to beauty standards, are excluded from such discussions by virtue of having rarely or never harassed in that way....
It is a conversation I've had before with trans women, with fat cis women, women with noticeable physical disabilities, and with a women who has severe craniofacial deformities—the "I don't want to be treated like a piece of meat or an object or a possession, but because Visible Women are treated like pieces of meat and objects and possessions, the fact that I'm not makes me feel like I'm not even a woman" conversation...
None of the women with whom I've ever had this conversation want
to be harassed, nor do they want other women to be harassed, either—and yet there is something akin to envy they feel, sheerly by virtue of being on the outside looking in.
Simultaneously, they feel guilty for feeling that way, because, to a harassed woman, there is nothing enviable about being harassed.
Except, of course, for how there is—because being harassed is a routine part of the Visible Woman's experience. And as long as women's value is determined by objectification, to not be objectified is to feel unvalued, even if to not be objectified is what you want.
This, of course, is not a commentary on women—objectified or not, feminist or not. This is a commentary on the Patriarchy, and how unfathomably fucked-up it is that a failure to be treated poorly—not in exchange for being treated well, but as an alternative to not being acknowledged at all—has the capacity to make women feel worthless."