Me, my gender and I

I was told today that I am too manly and therefore unattractive.

I secretly suspect this sometimes.

It is part of the litany of self-doubt that is in my head when I am not vigilant about social programming versus my own, better sense of self-worth.

“Manly.”

What a conundrum is that, to be told that the better gender is male, and then that I am too much of it. And therefore unappealing.

*

I like to pass for male.

That’s the thing.  But not physically. Physically I’m always a bit startled by my own body, by its being either more muscular than I expect or bigger than I expect, or female, or masculine. My sense of self is so far outside my body sometimes that the person in the mirror is an utter stranger.

But over the years, I have done my best, endeavored to have a kindly relationship with her. With that mirror person.

But I pass for male, except not physically, I have learned to pass for male as much as I can and is appropriate, on the ice.  Maybe in the gym, lifting.  Maybe other places, maybe every day in every interaction I take on traditionally male roles or qualities, maybe a hundred times a day I speak or talk or act and am recognized as doing traditionally masculine things, in masculine ways.

Does this make me queergendered, or a feminist?

*

If I could flip my gender back and forth, like some species of frogs, I probably would.

Male is easily half my internal self, after all, and I like to express it.

I have a sense that both everyone and no one is like this.

Or a lot of people are.

They just find ways of being how they are and express it accordingly.

*

I reserve the right to be a guy today.

*

But seriously.

Don’t mistake power and strength for masculinity.

11 thoughts on “Me, my gender and I

  1. I’ve always thought you were pretty. I dunno. I can’t picture you being called manly. Either as an insult or a complement. I’m confused how it becomes either. You’re more athletic than I am but I don’t understand how that would make you unattractive. In general the better shape the machine is kept the more attractive I think it is. I suppose in the right clothes you could disguise yourself as male but practically anybody could. On the other hand I wish we could all switch genders like some amphibians. I think it would be fun and enlightening as a culture.

  2. This is a really great post about performances of gender, feminism, and finding a way to define one’s self. Maybe this comes from my performance and in-my-head academia background, but I’m pretty down with the (Judith) Butlerian notion that we constantly perform and reperform ourselves, and that pretending there’s one authentic self is just bunk.

    The problem is, like you describe, that we get “punished” for performing something nonnormative, so we stop exploring identities. And, yeah, being badass in regards to strength is not inherently “masculine.” Its just a way we, as a society, like to sort things into an easy masculine/feminine binary, but few people’s existences completely settle into one side.

    Great to keep talking about how this all goes down.
    /end novel.

    • No, that is an awesome novel!!

      And it’s exactly that. I forgot to mention role play, which is a bit like theater, depending. And it’s all about exploring identities, and I do it all the time.

      Maybe that’s why I’m always kind of dumbstruck when someone tells me “that identity is not okay.”

      I’m like “dude, wait five minutes.” XD

  3. My breasts are way too big and my waist is way too small for anyone to ever go “Excuse me, sir?” from behind. 😛 In that sense, I’ll never “pass” but I’ve always been told am I “kinda like a dude”. As feminine as I look, especially when knitting, I’m “like a guy” because I love contact sports.

    When I was in school, though, I was teased about being so manly. I wore baggy jeans and t-shirts (hello, self esteem issues!). I loved comic books and collecting baseball cards, even though I had no idea who they were. I didn’t like playing jump rope and quite frankly, the other girls were mean to me.

    If being quiet and reserved and at peace with my inner strength is manly, then so be it. I don’t think it is and that’s all that matters. We’re all ying and yang anyway.

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