According to Marxist ideology, exactly how do transgender individuals resist capitalism or consumerism in today's world?

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amarang9 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We can certainly suppose that, if Marx were alive today, he might have advice for such resistance. This seems entirely logical considering how capitalism has even firmer roots and dominion than it did in his time. 

Marx thought that economics was the driving force of history and ideology. So, it stands to reason that resisting certain economic trends and practices is a way of practicing social rebellion. 

Marx thought that capitalism would decline by itself. But, let's consider how to affect social changes within capitalism with a teleology of moving towards including socialist practices. In terms of facilitating change and resistance within the existing system, I think he would suggest that it would be useful to challenge heteronormativity and traditional notions of gender and relationships at the political, economic, and information levels. So, one way would be for a transgender person to get elected and thereby, be in a position to enact laws which, for example, prohibit businesses from discriminating (i. e., not hiring or paying less) against the transgender community. This would be a political and economic strategy. It would be well to enact laws which make pay equal regardless of gender. Again, this is an economic tool that could affect an ideological change in culture. 

It would also be useful for the transgender community to create awareness. This includes but goes beyond demonstrations and protests. Achieving positions in education is a useful way to express and teach progressive views, empathy, and love. Thus, subsequent generations would have exposure to these issues and would be sensitive to them. It would also be useful to utilize social media in boycotting businesses which denigrate or criticize transgender people. It stands to reason that Marx would find social media an extremely useful tool in providing information and in forming an online "class" of people who can support and share progressive ideas. In this age, social media is a great way to expose corrupt business practices but also to humanize marginalized groups. In addition to challenging or boycotting intolerant CEOs and the ignorant powers that be, it is as important to portray transgender people in more common ways, thus erasing the "abnormal" notion of this marginalized community. Consider a commercial during the Superbowl which features a homosexual couple or a transgender group, rather than the traditional nuclear family. 

Pursuing transgender rights does not necessarily need a socialist revolution, but it is a social movement. And, achieving these rights could be helped by having more influence in the world relating to economics: advertisements, entertainment, the university, and business practices. 


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