Raznor's Rants

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Monday, April 17, 2006

Why Ann Coulter's gender identity is unimportant
Posted by Raznor

Ross left a post here the other day that I could not, in good conscience, let go without posting a response. The gyst of the article is that Coulter left the gender question of her voting registration blank. This combined with some mannish looks (Boondocks did a series a couple years back with Huey pointing out Coulter's adam's apple) and a few other stuff leads some to surmise that she started life as a man. This is rampant speculation for the most part, but for the purposes of this post, I'll ignore it.

Sure, if Coulter is a transexual, at a certain level it would be funny in a way similar to ultra-Christian conservatives being closet cases. But in a more important way, such talk is harmful. The reasoning for this is twofold.

I. Coulter's gender identity is not an issue

There are many, many reasons to dislike Ann Coulter. She's a racist, she holds all people her disagree with her in utter contempt, even writing books about how being left-wing is tantamount to treason, and her ideas of "jokes" include assassinating sitting (Democratic) presidents, murdering supreme court justices, and wishing Timothy McVeigh had blown up the New York Times.

The common theme above is that none of it has anything to do with her gender identity. Sure, she gets lots of face time because she's an attractive, blonde woman, but she's aging, and soon won't be able to get by on her looks, especially with Michelle Malkin being younger, more attractive, and able to get away with saying much more racist bullshit thanks to being non-white. ("A Filipino woman hates Mexicans and Ay-rabs, therefore hating Mexicans and Ay-rabs is okay.") So even from a Machiavellian strategic perspective, smearing Coulter as a transexual is not going to help much.

Furthermore, there's the old adage, "live by the sword, die by the sword." Remember how the main argument against Janet Reno as Attorney General was that she was mannish and probably a lesbian? Nothing there about her competence. I don't really have enough information on Reno's ability as AG to have an opinion of her ability, but I'm sure she's at least 50 times better than Ashcroft or Gonzalez, both of whom fit pretty well into their gender roles. Accepting "Ann Coulter is mannish" as a legitimate criticism would be accepting the same for anyone, and look at where that gets us. Which brings me to my second, more important point.

II. Mocking Coulter on the basis of gender identity is implying that there's something wrong with being transgendered.

Culture warriors are already hard at work trying to reinforce Society's ick-factor in regards to transgendered people, and the results are too often tragic. I'm sure Ross had no intention of attacking transgendered people in general, but without an underlying assumption that there is something intrinsically wrong with Ann Coulter being born a man, I don't see how it can be such a big deal.

In any case, though, a focus on Coulter's gender identity reinforces the notion that transgendered people are intrinsically bad, whatever the intentions of the person making the jokes. These would be like calling Coulter a slut, or for that matter, levying racist, misogynist jokes against against Michelle Malkin. I have no pity for Coulter and Malkin for the hatred they receive, they make their careers on spreading hatred against whatever group is the villain-du-jour for them. But for those of us who despise these people because of the evil they spread, because of their racism, their misogyny, their general hatreds against whatever group they decide to hate, we must be especially careful to ensure that in our criticism of them, or our joking about them, that we avoid jokes like "Ann Coulter is a man."

Update (9:47pm): While I'm on the subject, Saturday is Blog Against Heteronormativity Day. This will also mark the last day of the Raznor's Rants official period of mourning for Skip (pic at top). Then probably a major template change. So, look for that.

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