Special millennials are so special (please tell me I’m special)

A mini documentary produced by The Guardian features five young “non-binary” people, who discuss what it means to be much more special than everyone else.

 

If you ever needed proof that “non-binary” identity is nothing more than a modern version of goth or YOU’RE NOT THE BOSS OF ME, MOMMMM, you’re in luck. On Friday, The Guardian released a video about being “non-binary.”

The young men and women featured in the video all claim they are neither male or female, despite all being clearly either male or female (albeit with different coloured makeup on).

Tamir Pettet, a young man with red makeup around his eyes, clearly signifying his lack of biological sex, explains:

“I knew I wasn’t a woman, but I knew I wasn’t a man. And both of those words made me feel uncomfortable.”

Tamir Pettet (Image: Screen Shot/The Guardian)

It’s unlikely any of us have ever experienced the horror of feeling uncomfortable before, but I’m certain the few who have will feel grateful at knowing there is a name for this: not “hungry,” “itchy,” “interested in corduroy jumpers,” or “objectified due to the fact of being female,” but “non-binary.”

Though left undefined by those interviewed in the video, The Guardian defines “non-binary” as: “Any gender identity which does not fit the male and female binary.” Considering “gender identity” has nothing to do with biological sex, only an internal feeling of being very special — much more special than everyone else — and that all the people featured in this mini doc are either male or female, the term “non-binary” could more easily and clearly be defined as: “A person with a haircut, a very pretentious-sounding voice, or purple lipstick.”

CN Lester, who I do not know, but who has preemptively blocked me on twitter, lest I accidentally feminism on her, is likely read as “non-binary” by intrigued strangers, based on her having a hair cut and a well-executed pretentious-sounding voice. An extra special, Lester has a more complex identity that is not actually an identity at all. She explains, “I don’t identify as genderqueer or transgender, but I am genderqueer and transgender.”

Interesting so interesting! Lester doesn’t reveal what either of these things mean or how it is she knows she is inherently “genderqueer and transgender,” but I believe this is what makes her so special and original. It’s like she is an art — if you don’t understand the art, it’s because you are not arty but normie, and explaining art to normies ruins the art which we are all to stand around nodding at artfully.

In a moment of what could have been clarity, a very annoying man in purple lipstick says, “Gender is a social construct we’ve created to violently oppress people.” His name turns out to be Travis Alabanza, and he doesn’t like that “cis people” are always saying we should do away with labels. (Which “cis people” are saying this, I do not know — most of us seem perfectly content with the words “male” and “female,” which simply describe a material reality that has been around for, oh I don’t know, hundreds of millions of years.) But Alabanza did not choose to be labelled male, and that label made him feel “horrible.” And, as we all know, if you have a feeling, the best way to deal with that feeling is to imagine a different reality exists and then demand everyone around you validate that imagined reality. Especially if you are a member of the oppressor class. Imagine how uncomfortable it would feel to be a member of that class! You did not ask to be an oppressor, after all. You asked to be a special.

If Alabanza followed his own words to their natural conclusion, he would have understood that, because gender exists to reinforce a violent hierarchy, it is not innate or a personal choice. He also would have understood that rejecting gender is not the same as rejecting sex. Sex exists regardless of the stereotypes imposed on us and roles we are socialized into.

Though these precious children claim no one can tell “what they are,” it is actually very easy to tell who is male and who is female, among them. Also, my prediction is that literally no one is as interested in them as they are. The delusion that strangers on the street will see a woman with short hair and glasses or a man with pigtails and gasp, “What creature is this!?” is pure teenage narcissism.

It’s strange, because while supposedly opposed to being labelled against their will, all these young specials insist on assigning words like “cisgender” (cis) on unwilling women, who reject the notion that they “identify” with the gender imposed on them. They also insist on inventing new, nonsensical labels in order to imagine their way out of the basic human fact of biological sex.

When Sarah Ditum reviewed Lester’s book in May, she wrote:

“… Isn’t the cis/trans terminology that Lester pushes a binary opposition in its own right? Lester defines as trans anyone ‘who has had to challenge or change the sexed and gendered labels placed upon them at birth to honour their true selves,’ which implies that, conversely, the ‘true selves’ of non-trans people do fit the labels given them. By this reasoning, any woman who challenges the restraints of gender (say, Mary Wollstonecraft arguing in 1792 for female education, or suffragettes pushing for the vote in 1905) is arguably not a woman at all. Her demands tell us only that she has been mislabelled, rather than reflecting the dues of women as a class.”

Indeed, it is troubling that those who claim there is such a thing as “non-binary” identity fail to understand that this implies most of the population is binary, as though gender stereotypes were something the rest of us accepted willingly. In reality, human beings are not “binary,” as far as gender goes — we all have personalities that do not fit perfectly within the categories of “masculine” and “feminine.” I, for example, am not always as passive, quiet, and polite as I must appear to most, most days.

Of course, the trouble is that those who identify as “non-binary” do not differentiate between sex and gender, so claim their bodies disappear along with their confused efforts to opt out of the gender hierarchy.

Emrys Travis, a young woman with very short blonde hair, talks herself in circles in an attempt to explain what “non-binary” means, (spoiler: it means nothing) saying:

“You can be assigned female, and you can be non-binary, and you can wear nothing but pink flowy dresses. I don’t have to drop the trappings of femininity or whatever in order to try and be non-binary [or] gender neutral, because what is ‘gender neutral’ anyway?”

This idea that embracing “femininity” is progressive if you claim you are doing it as a trans, genderqueer, or non-binary person is pushed hard in the video. Travis says that rejecting femininity constitutes “femmephobia” and Alabanza explains that he identifies as “transfemme” and “transfeminine,” but says this is “a femininity that wasn’t assigned to [him] at birth.”

In case you’re having trouble keeping up, the argument being made here is that femininity is not an oppressive, sexist social construct imposed on females in order to reinforce their subordinate status if femininity is chosen and repackaged as “queer.” Fun, right?

Dating gets tough when you don’t have a human body. As such, Alabanza and Lester both complain that their unwillingness to acknowledge they have genitals “confused” people they were trying to fuck. Alabanza’s called this “a real beautiful power for [him] to take back,” which I totally get, because mind-fuckery and gaslighting really does make narcissistic abusers feel powerful. I mean, what could feel more empowering than refusing to allow your potential sexual partners to have straight conversations with you about bodies and sexual preferences?

Pettet concludes by saying that “no matter who you are, language is so important.” But the most maddening thing about this documentary (and “non-binary” identity, more broadly), is that those who claim these new “queer” identities refuse to define the language they use in any rational or consistent way, and attempt to redefine words in order to ensure no one has any idea what they are talking about. These nouveau queers obsess over pronouns to the point that those who “misgender” (by using “he” instead of “she” or “they,” for example), are accused of committing acts of violence. Yet Alabanza complains that people pay too much attention to his pronouns (“they”):

“I get really scared when people reduce my transness to my pronouns, like, ‘Travis Alabanza, who identifies as them/they’… And I’m like, ‘Um, no you’ve missed it?!'”

So! Pronouns are not important (but please use correct pronouns), labels are bad when imposed (unless they are being imposed on women by a man in purple lipstick), and being “non-binary” is about feeling uncomfortable, having some kind of haircut, being feminine, but also not having genitals or even really a human body.

And there you have it: five insufferable people who want the entire world to obsess over their feelings, hair colour, and makeup as much as they do. Powerful.

Meghan Murphy
Meghan Murphy

Founder & Editor

Meghan Murphy is a freelance writer and journalist. She has been podcasting and writing about feminism since 2010 and has published work in numerous national and international publications, including The Spectator, UnHerd, the CBC, New Statesman, Vice, Al Jazeera, The Globe and Mail, and more. Meghan completed a Masters degree in the department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University in 2012 and lives in Vancouver, B.C. with her dog.

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