Who Are Shemale
Shemale (also spelled she-male; also she-man and he-she) is a term most commonly used in the pornography industry to describe trans women or other people with male genitalia and female secondary sex characteristics (including breasts) acquired via hormones or surgery. Many people in the transgender community consider the term offensive and degrading. Using the term shemale for a trans woman may imply that she is working in the sex trade.
who are shemale
Some biologists have used shemale to refer to male non-human animals displaying female traits or behaviors, such as female pheromones being given off by male reptiles. Joan Roughgarden, a biologist and Charles Darwin-critic, rejected use of the term in the reptile literature, as she says it is "degrading and has been borrowed from the porn industry." She writes that gynomorphic male and andromorphic female are preferred in scientific literature, adding, "I hope future work on these animals is carried out with more professionalism."
Since the mid-19th century, the term she-male has been applied to "almost anyone who appears to have bridged gender lines", including effeminate men and lesbians. In the early 19th century, she-male was used as a colloquialism in American literature for female, often pejoratively. Davy Crockett is quoted as using the term in regard to a shooting match; when his opponent challenges Crockett to shoot near his opponent's wife, Crockett is reported to have replied: "'No, No, Mike,' sez I, 'Davy Crockett's hand would be sure to shake, if his iron pointed within a hundred miles of a shemale, and I give up beat...'" It was used through the 1920s to describe a woman, usually a feminist or an intellectual.
In 1979, Janice Raymond employed the term as a derogatory descriptor for trans women in her controversial book, The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male. Raymond and other cultural feminists like Mary Daly argue that a "she-male" or "male-to-constructed female" is still male and constitutes a patriarchal attack by males upon the female essence. This is often considered to be part of trans-exclusionary radical feminist (TERF) ideology. In some cultures, shemale can also be used interchangeably with other terms referring to trans women.
The term has since become a derogatory term applied to trans women. Psychologists Dana Finnegan and Emily Mcnally write that the term "tends to have demeaning connotations." French professor John Phillips writes that shemale is "a linguistic oxymoron that simultaneously reflects but, by its very impossibility, challenges [gender] binary thinking, collapsing the divide between the masculine and the feminine." Trans author Leslie Feinberg writes, "'he-she' and 'she-male' describe the person's gender expression with the first pronoun and the birth sex with the second. The hyphenation signals a crisis of language and an apparent social contradiction, since sex and gender are 'supposed' to match." Jack Halberstam, director of the Institute for Research on Women, Gender and Sexuality, describes she-male as "a degrading pornographic term". The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation has said the term is a "dehumanizing slur" and should not be used "except in a direct quote that reveals the bias of the person quoted."
Some have adopted the term as a self-descriptor, often in the context of sex work. Gender non-conforming author Kate Bornstein wrote that a friend who self-identified as "she-male" described herself as "tits, big hair, lots of make-up, and a dick." Pornographic actress Wendy Williams stated, "I don't think tranny and she-male are slurs. They were words initially used so the laymen person could understand the products they were buying in porn. There are more issues we have to worry about: suicide, the homeless rate, getting an education and finding jobs as trans women." According to sex columnist Sasha, "The term shemale is used in [the pornography] setting to denote a fetishized sexual persona and is not typically used by transgendered women outside of sex work. Many transgendered women are offended by this categorization and call themselves T-girls or trans."
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