Tobi Hill-Meyer
Ceiling Metaphors Are Used For Systemic Change

When women complain about the glass ceiling, it isn’t so we can guilt or shame our bosses into a promotion.  Nor is it a statement that my company (or my boss) must be sexist because I didn’t get that last promotion.  Many women who complain about the glass ceiling don’t want to be a CEO - or perhaps already are one.  Rather than being interested in personal gain the main goal is to see an end to the old boys club in corporate boardrooms.

Discussing the glass ceiling is about identifying the systemic problems leading to the lack of women in workplace leadership despite being present in lower positions.  It’s about an education system that doesn’t give girls the same support as boys.  It’s about double standards in the workplace.  It’s about internalized societal messages that women can’t succeed in science or business and shouldn’t try.  It’s about customers and clients that don’t respect women in positions of authority.  It’s about workplace harassment that makes many women decide it’s not worth it.  It’s about how the companies that do promote women to positions of leadership risk having their stock prices go down or otherwise being seen as less than other companies.  

All of these issues have parallels with the cotton ceiling.  Discussing the cotton ceiling is about identifying the systemic problems leading to the lack of trans women in queer women’s sexual spaces and relationship networks, despite being present in non-romantic/sexual queer women’s spaces.  It’s about feminist community and training that doesn’t give trans women the same support as cis women.  It’s about double standards that celebrate sexually empowered behavior in cis women yet call that same behavior “male privilege” or “rape-y” when trans women do it.  It’s about internalized messages that no one will ever love a freak like you so you shouldn’t even try.  It’s about trans women in queer women sexual spaces who are treated disrespectfully and told we’re disgusting. It’s about harassment campaigns against trans women speaking out on this topic (including publishing work and personal email and phone contact).  It’s about being hit on by someone who’s really really into you but turns cold when you disclose trans status.  It’s about how cis women who are involved with trans women are told they aren’t real lesbians.

The call to discuss the cotton ceiling is a plea for an end to the shame and coercion trans women - and our cis partners - face.  The anti-trans feminist activists who frame the cotton ceiling as a shaming tactic to coerce cis women to have sex with trans women are purposefully misinterpreting the metaphor it is based on.  They frequently accuse trans women and trans-supportive cis women of not having an awareness or understanding of feminism from the 70s and 80s, however, when they dismiss the ceiling metaphor as coercion and shaming or as insincere attempts at personal gain, they clearly are the ones who lack understanding of second wave feminism - or are choosing to ignore it.

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    In case someone thought that the Cotton Ceiling was literally panties which trans women are attempting to rape their way...
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    So many discussion amount a certain group of feminists that some of the HiveMind frequents where many women are very...
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    please do.
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