I chanced upon this on Pharyngula, the blog of Professor PZ Myers of the University of Minnesota, Morris a few weeks back:
“I’m hoping that they’re just warming up for the big one – I’d like to see a UN raid of the Vatican, with a whole line of shame-faced old men in dresses led out to the paddy wagons like a transvestite Mafia mob.”
I believe that the intentionally humorous ‘transvestite’ ‘shame-faced old men in dresses’ analogy is a ‘joke’ that rests inevitably and fundamentally on a sexist (specifically misogynist) logic. It buys into the idea that for a man to be like a woman in any way is a shameful step down on the social scale, which is, consequently, worthy of scorn and humiliation. By contrast, female-to-male crossdressing is more often (but by no means, always) seen as a step upwards because a patriarchal sexist society takes the masculine more seriously than the feminine, dismissing the feminine as superficial, weak and ineffectual.
Furthermore, it’s not just me who says this: quite a few feminists have come to much the same conclusions on this phenomenon, too.
Food for thought. It goes to show that even someone who is nominally as anti-sexist as Professor Myers can, unfortunately, share the same deep, underlying patriarchal, chauvinist assumptions towards womankind and towards the issue of non-conformity to patriarchally created and defined constructs of gender normality as do more obviously misogynistic men.