Macquarie University
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Turning the spotlight on the "wizard behind the curtain": How do transgender women experience and navigate male privilege and entitlement, pre- and post-transition?

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posted on 2022-03-28, 19:59 authored by Margaret Kelly
The aim of this project is to explore how transgender women experience and navigate male privilege when they lived as men and now as they live as women. The project conducted qualitative in-depth interviews with twelve transgender women from diverse backgrounds and the data was analysed through the lens of Raewyn Connell's concept of hegemonic masculinity, and masculinity's ideology of supremacy and claim to authority. Transgender women participants' responses echoed the main elements of Connell' s concept and evidenced that privilege is unevenly distributed among multiple masculinities. This unevenness is reflected in participants' experiences of and attitudes to male privilege and hegemonic masculinity, pre-and post-transition. Furthermore, participants described how the defense of masculinity's uneven allocation of authority and privilege and the subordination of women is normalised and institutionalised. Participants' responses reflect Connell' s concept of hegemonic masculinity and tum a spotlight on a complex social structure difficult to identify, define and, therefore, to challenge. This project argues that it is the very complexity and elusiveness of the structure and the invisibility of the advantages it bestows on some men that is one of its strengths. And it is transgender women's reflections on their pre-and post­transition experiences of privilege that illuminate these often hidden and taken­for-granted gender norms and social structures and the gender inequality they perpetuate.


Table of Contents

Chapter One: . I Introduction -- 1.2 Background -- 1.3 Literature Review -- 1.4 Methodology -- 1.5 Thesis Structure -- Chapter Two: 2.1 Gender Hierarchy -- 2.2 Gender Order -- Chapter Three -- 3.1 Privilege -- 3.2 Discrimination -- Chapter Four: 4.1 Violence -- Chapter Five: 5.1 Conclusion -- References -- Appendices.


Theoretical thesis. Bibliography: pages 67-79

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


MRes, Macquarie University, Faculty of Arts, Department of Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Department, Centre or School

Department of Modern History, Politics and International Relations

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Robert Reynolds

Additional Supervisor 1

Shirleene Robinson


Copyright Margaret Kelly 2017. Copyright disclaimer:




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