I don’t think the stalemate of “this trans woman said it was okay so we’ll leave it” is acceptable at all, and since there isn’t really a way to explain that without litigating the whole issue of forcefemme, I guess I’m about to do just that (discourse.zone, right?). And just to be clear from the jump, I am myself a trans woman and, like many trans women, I have a complex and personal history with the issue at hand.
Forced Feminization, like nonconsent or ageplay, is one of those fetishes that is inescapably problematic. That doesn’t mean that people aren’t allowed to enjoy it or have deeply personal histories with it, but it does mean that those inherent issues need to be grappled with if you’re attempting to graduate it from “fetish I enjoy” to “presented without comment on a major journalistic outlet”. I don’t mention this in the sense of “this makes trans women look bad”, transphobes gonna transphobe regardless, I mean it in the sense of “this treats feminity as a form of degredation and humiliation”. I’ve read the author’s tweets about the role that Forced Feminization has played in discovering their own gender identity and had similar experiences myself, but this completely missed the fact that this was how we were introduced to the concept of being trans precisely because we grew up in a culture completely devoid of healthy examples of transgender people. It was precisely because my early exposure to the concept was almost exclusively fetishistic that I believed for years I was unworthy of being considered a real women. It isn’t 2004 on an obscure hypno-fetish forum anymore: we can, and must, do better. The notion that this, a story in which the idea of femininity is intrinsically linked to shame and sexual humiliation, might be somebody’s introduction to being trans is not a positive thing in the slightest.
Worthy of further consideration is also the fact that trans women do not have a monopoly on gender dysphoria. Imagine how this story reads from the perspective of a FtM person: the story of a man who is repeatedly forced into a feminine role that makes him deeply uncomfortable, and the fact that this is appearantly being celebrated. Look, I get that YKINMKBYKIO (Your Kink Is Not My Kink But Your Kink Is Okay) but there’s a difference between acknowledging that someone can be into something generally considered taboo without being a freak and presenting that kink to a mass audiencd unfamiliar with the subject, out if context. Imagine if Waypoint had run a story about a woman who is repeatedly sexually assualted and eventually comes to enjoy it. That’s about the most common kink there is, and one that many victims of assualt have and have used to cope with their own personal traumas but I don’t think anyone will seriously believe that would excuse such a presentation. The principle is no different here: this story is deeply misogynistic and transphobic, and it’s presented not on a kink forum where these things are givens for anyone browsing but a major news site that is supposed to be critical of those exact subjects. I’m deeply disappointed with the editorial descisions made here.