I am female. Over the years I have wondered at times if I was born the wrong sex. Reproductive parts aside, my body “shape” is not that of a “typical” female. That’s been pointed out numerous times by numerous people. I’m tall. I’m broad. I’m the opposite of voluptuous. I have big hands and feet. Matter of fact, I joke that if my Dad didn’t have a beard and receding hairline we’d be twins.
It’s not just my body that has made me wonder that maybe I was born the wrong sex. My interests did too. I didn’t want to sit around and play dolls with the girls (I did though). Boys interested me a lot but not romantically (until an adult). Growing up why wouldn’t I have wanted to be a boy? It was ok for them to be smart, it was ok for them to be messy, it was ok for them to act silly, it was ok for them not to wear dresses and shoes, it was ok for them to have no interest in anything domestic, it was ok for them to be the boss, it was ok for them not to be “ladylike” and not disappoint, it was ok for them to not brush their hair, it was ok for them to swear and speak their mind. I loved doing things with my Dad when I was a kid, I still do now. My Dad is intelligent, he does dirty physical farm work, he works things out and fixes things – things I admire and enjoy. I love my Mum, and I appreciate everything she does, but housewife was not something I ever aspired to be. I couldn’t understand why my future dreams didn’t include a wedding to Prince Charming, 2.5 kids and a house with a white picket fence like the other girls’ dreams. My favourite Disney movie as a kid? Mulan.
Although, I do wonder if not “looking” like other girls physically, and it being pointed out, has affected my self-perception. Is this more of a ‘nurture’ issue, in my case, than ‘nature’? Being bombarded with images of “the perfect woman” through media my whole life and knowing I look nothing like that – is it any wonder my self esteem wavers with poor self image? Being overly praised for looking feminine and nothing for looking my comfortable self – I mean, I may be Aspie, but I can read between the lines there.
My ex and I were exchanging snarky “tips” with each other for our “next” relationships. One to me was “Don’t put your elbow on the window when you drive, only blokes do that”. I read that and laughed and told him that was ridiculous, but he was serious. Apparently, a female who acts masculine is intimidating. Well! I’m not “acting”, I’m being comfortably myself. So I shot back that him being able to express himself and talk openly intimidated me – are they not “feminine” traits? They’re certainly ones I lack/ed. (This actually didn’t intimidate me to be honest, it is/was an ability I am/was jealous of and admired about him – but tit-for-tat style arguments with two emotionally immature people, that’s how it goes). We’ve joked that we balance each other’s masculinity/femininity out, but jokes aside, it’s true, we did. I didn’t mind it at all, but it’s not easy dating someone who is not comfortable with their gender identity. (In MY opinion, feminine men have a harder time of it than masculine women). Not that I realised it at the time, it’s frustrating how things are obvious in retrospect. And where do gender expectations of self and others come from? Gender Roles.
Gender roles, in my opinion, are a load of deeply-ingrained prehistoric bullshit. Do I think this because I’ve never been able to conform wholly to “femininity” as expected? Probably. But I don’t think things should be categorised as feminine or masculine as a means to segregate, dismiss and degrade. Why should anyone be praised or criticised for personal choices based upon socially constructed expectations? Are we not all HUMAN? Why can’t we just do/wear whatever we want?! I don’t really associate myself with one gender at all. I’m not stereotypically masculine or feminine. I’m a woman who enjoys to be comfortable, and if I’m comfortable enough to show you my “masculine” side instead of burning myself out trying to be 100% stereotypically “feminine” then maybe take that as a compliment of how I feel about you!
I’m not confused about my sex, gender or sexuality. I have no desire to be male; I’m happily female. But I won’t be restricted by femininity. I can appreciate a beautiful woman but I’m straight and have no confusion or question about it.
I like being “one of the girls” and I like being “one of the boys”. I’m not going to apologise for it and you know what? I’m not changing in that regard. You can stick your gender roles and expectations in a pipe and smoke them.