These are images sourced entirely from various internet platforms. The figure is Sonya Blade, a notoriously kick-ass and bloodthirsty babe from Mortal Kombat, a video game which trended in the 1990s. The sexy hyena is a “furry”. Furry fandom is a web-based culture where users generate ‘fictional anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics’1. Alongside the furry is text photoshopped from a biologically accurate drawing of a female hyena’s genitals. Female hyenas are notorious for their “pseudo penis”, a hugely extended clitoris which, when erect, can be used for penetrative sex with other females or as a defensive device with which to subordinate male hyenas, whose genitalia is notably smaller in scale. The words: the Ischiocavernosus is a sub-perineal muscle which both men and women have, and peniform means “to resemble a penis” or “having the form of a penis”. Lastly are 3D renderings taken from a program developed by a company which allows you to “design your own dildo”.
My own access to transfeminism is primarily through my experience of living as a queer body, and the ways in which my desires shape and open up gender; a confused agglomeration of femininity, and, perhaps more urgently, masculinity. What is present in all this imagery, then, is the idea of corporeal attachments which allow my femme body to extend into a more masculine space: objects which hack open the prescribed architecture of a body to imagine newly gendered worlds.
Flexing in the queer zone, genderfuck questions of authenticity and, even worse, biology, are often ruthlessly and exhaustingly penetrating, coming from both cis-feminism and the hetero-matrix. I wanted to think, in part, about the feeling which registered when I read on Wikipedia that the female hyena’s profound and unusual sexual organs are classed as “pseudo”, in a science which will always privilege the biological male’s assets as real and productive. These attitudes, which dominate the sciences, filter back to the ways lesbian, queer or trans sex is understood and culturally represented. For example, is our pleasure pseudo when we strap ergonomics to our waists to fuck our partners? Or is anal sex less real, because it can never be reproductive? The notion of the pseudo applied to bodies is a form of erasure; thus we, hyenas and all, cease to exist.
Preciado feels that the dildo is a penis. I don’t think a dildo has to be a penis, but I think it’s important that it can be. I’m thinking about the transfeminist body and what it could look like, how it calls for a radical, reimagined and self-built reworking of the body at hand: a reshaping that accounts for the multiplicity in our desires, as opposed to the singularity of being women that is often presented to us by binary and “universal” feminism.
We are dealing not with essence here, but bodies, and as many as we can; all at once, in new, surprising and sexy, often impossible configurations. These are configurations which unravel from the centre, which cannibalise, self-mutilate, affirm and hack at our lingering sensibilities of the real.