How Contrapoints Misunderstands Gender
Alyson Escalante
1.3K20

I don’t necessarily disagree with many of your points, but for me personally, this video reflects a lot of my inner struggles about passing and gender performance. I identify way more with Tabby as a character than with Justine, but I know that cis people listen to me more when I “Fem it up a little.” Fighting for trans rights and living daily life is easier when I “Fem it up a little.” However, I would prefer to just do what is necessary for me to limit my dysphoria and say just say fuck it to those people who will treat me like shit because of it. This internal debate of presentation happens every time I get dressed.

Maybe the video didn’t present a unified theory of gender that satisfies you or is fully useful for all forms of activism, but it does speak strongly to the inner struggle many trans people face in regards to presentation and passing. And I think that makes it a good video.

I understand that the way Tabby is presented makes you feel like her side isn’t being given an equal platform for debate, but doesn’t that just mean you agree with Justine on the point that trans women have to present a certain way to be taken seriously? You said:

“While Natalie has insisted that neither character speaks for her, it is worth noting that one is dressed as a cat and regularly grooms herself throughout the video, while the other is a conventionally attractive trans woman who more or less argues that cis people’s expectations ought to be taken seriously. Natalie can insist that Justine does not speak for her, but the framing of Tabby as a pathetic and patently absurd caricature of radicalism already frames her position as comical and naive”

Tabby’s character is comical and a caricature, but so is Justine’s, just in a different way. Plus, Tabby is an already established character, so it makes since to use her for the purposes of this video. Tabby and Justine literally felt like the two voices in my head arguing over this in the morning. The portrayal of them felt accurate to that struggle. And I think its a little messed up to say that you think that Natalie leans more towards Justine, and treat that as a criticism, when you also clearly seem to think that Justine’s view is correct because you don’t even feel like you can take Tabby seriously.