THE GUERRILLA ANGEL REPORT — The object of desire. One of the things trans women come to realize somewhere along the transition path is the constant stare from cis males. Also known as the Male Gaze, it is a sort of a visual harassment. While not everyone finds it distasteful as many invite the Male Gaze, its presence in women’s lives is constant and permanent.
For cis women, the Male Gaze is so prevalent, many forget it’s there. For trans women however, the relatively sudden onset awareness of the ever present Male Gaze can be troubling.
“[a cis male] sees not merely the object of the gaze, but sees the relationship between the object and the self. He sees her as a creature of his domain, under his gaze of possession — simultaneously admiring and pejorative, but always as an object of his desire in his domain.” - St Lawrence University glossary
Being an object of desire is especially dangerous for trans women as a hair-trigger exists for some cis males at the moment they’ve read you and you’re now a target for violence.
I’m thinking that for many trans women, they come to realize that “passing” was never a prerequisite for gender change and have adapted themselves to living with the expectation of being “outed” by a cis male at any time resulting in the Male Gaze being somewhat masked.
For those that do pass, some find the Male Gaze some sort of affirmation, or a thrill, a or source of income, for others though, the Male Gaze is an unwanted invitation into the minds of the often-ugly cis male.
I’d be happy to hear your thoughts or experiences on this.
This is a pretty good read: Autostraddle — On Display: Navigating the Male Gaze As A Lesbian Trans Woman.
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