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Old 01-17-2010, 03:23 AM   #1
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Default Masculine, Androgeny, Feminine?

This article speaks volumes on its own and needs no further comment from me in introducing it. Please read it in its entirety before posting your thoughts.

As a bi male It frustrates me to see my masculinity devaluated with things as simple as sitting to pee, helping the kitchen work at family dinners while the other men sit and watch sports, doing nothing to help, or cross my legs in the way most comfortable to me. These things are all commented on negatively by both men and women. It seems that in society it is empowering for women to be or act in a more masculine manner but for men who take on a stereotypically feminine trait or engage in those types of activities can be crippling both in business, at home, in his social network or standing, and emotional state as he tries to reconcile society expectations with what makes him happy as a person. We might find a small circle of understanding but on the whole this is not tolerable behaviour.

I would really like to see how widespread this way of thinking is both pro and con. Just how ingrained and narrow IS societies view of what makes a man masculine, or a woman butch, and how strongly we police each others actions relating to butch women and mens gender expectations and sexuality biases. Why do we so strongly tie sexuality with gender identity? Your thoughts?

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Old 01-18-2010, 03:47 AM   #2
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Necessity brings change. In the old days of American society we were dominated by idealized Christian roles of what men and women should do. I think as we evolve the roles have more room to socially expand. Women had to do so during the World Wars and that opened the door for the feminist movement later on. Now, with divorce rates at a all time high and the stigma of sex outside of marriage almost gone, men have had to take on the duties typically dominated by women in order to survive, which opens the door on the expression of that.
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Old 01-18-2010, 06:36 AM   #3
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Perhaps it is more acceptable for women to behave in 'male' ways than it is for men to behave in 'female' ways because it is more acceptable to be male.
I studied gender development last year and one perspective "Social learning theory" provides a lot of evidence that male children are chastised for behaving in 'feminine' ways, playing with feminine toys etc while girl children are not. This perspective argues that children are built to want to fit in socially and so boys will persue more 'masculine' persuits as male role models around them, both in real life and in the media show them this prototype of masculinity. One of the first things we identify with, as far as our understanding of the catagorical self is our gender, so from this perspective it is of little wonder that men find that it is forbidden to behave in what is considered 'feminine' ways, as it is so deeply ingrained socially for them not to.
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Old 01-18-2010, 09:34 AM   #4
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Yup, what he said in the article is pretty much what I've thought for years. Not that I've talked to people about it much--to worry about such things would seem too unmanly Another example related to that theme; some years ago I remember reading that once a name starts being used for either gender, it pretty much always becomes a female-only name within a generation or two. Think about it, for example how many boys these days are called Leslie? There is just such a fear of males being mistaken for anything other than male and masculine.

I agree with much of what Mer said as well. As far back as I can remember I was aware of things I was not supposed to do, or even express an interest in, as that what girl stuff and boys were not supposed to care about it at all. I'm honestly not sure how interested in most of it I would have been, but I know it always irked me that it should be marked as out of bounds.

I agree too that our culture still values masculine-associated traits over feminine-associated ones for the most part. Some of the guff that a guy takes for doing something considered feminine is probably similar to what a woman would take for doing something considered childish. It is OK to aspire 'up' but not to aspire 'down.' (and in particular our culture (I don't know about others) has very low tolerance for men acting 'weak.')

Hence I don't think the stigma will go away until we change how we value these things.
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Old 01-18-2010, 02:46 PM   #5
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This subject always reminds me of the Madonna song What it feels like for a girl.. There is a sound byte of a someone saying how "girls can ..wear jeans, shirts, and boots because its ok to be a boy....but for a boy to look like a girl ..its degrading...because you think being a girl is degrading.."
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Old 01-19-2010, 03:31 AM   #6
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This subject always reminds me of the Madonna song What it feels like for a girl.. There is a sound byte of a someone saying how "girls can ..wear jeans, shirts, and boots because its ok to be a boy....but for a boy to look like a girl ..its degrading...because you think being a girl is degrading.."
That quote Is from the film 'The cement garden' which i love. Love the book too. Tis pretty fucked up but brilliant!
Oh and the woman saying it is charlotte gainsbourg .. serge's daughter.
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Old 01-19-2010, 09:33 AM   #7
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That quote Is from the film 'The cement garden' which i love. Love the book too. Tis pretty fucked up but brilliant!
Oh and the woman saying it is charlotte gainsbourg .. serge's daughter.
I have to check that out because I always wondered were it came from..thanks.
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Old 01-19-2010, 02:49 PM   #8
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Yup, what he said in the article is pretty much what I've thought for years. Not that I've talked to people about it much--to worry about such things would seem too unmanly Another example related to that theme; some years ago I remember reading that once a name starts being used for either gender, it pretty much always becomes a female-only name within a generation or two. Think about it, for example how many boys these days are called Leslie? There is just such a fear of males being mistaken for anything other than male and masculine.

I agree with much of what Mer said as well. As far back as I can remember I was aware of things I was not supposed to do, or even express an interest in, as that what girl stuff and boys were not supposed to care about it at all. I'm honestly not sure how interested in most of it I would have been, but I know it always irked me that it should be marked as out of bounds.

I agree too that our culture still values masculine-associated traits over feminine-associated ones for the most part. Some of the guff that a guy takes for doing something considered feminine is probably similar to what a woman would take for doing something considered childish. It is OK to aspire 'up' but not to aspire 'down.' (and in particular our culture (I don't know about others) has very low tolerance for men acting 'weak.')

Hence I don't think the stigma will go away until we change how we value these things.
Bolded for emphasis! Absolutely. There's precious little men's lib around - society is still VERY heavily invested in men being "manly". :shrugs:
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Old 01-19-2010, 08:05 PM   #9
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Bolded for emphasis! Absolutely. There's precious little men's lib around - society is still VERY heavily invested in men being "manly". :shrugs:
I remember getting comments when I wasn't out at work when I'd be doing non-masculine things. The comments would be meant without malice to get a rise out of me, they would be derogatory or it'd be the gender-role-breaking pioneer "good work" kind of comment.

I just stopped caring. That action alone gave me more freedom than anything.
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:30 AM   #10
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Bolded for emphasis! Absolutely. There's precious little men's lib around - society is still VERY heavily invested in men being "manly". :shrugs:
I think this can be quite self perpetuating, which is a shame. Like dads feeling they have to do 'manly' stuff with their sons, perhaps even when they don't want to and even out of obligation? I wonder if dads engaged in so called 'gender innapropriate' behaviour with their male children they would feel a sense of guilt if their children got bullied for not conforming to gender stereotypes?
I think its so sad that in many ways men cannot behave in ways that are comfortable to them because they are considered feminine, whether that is engaging in social roles considered feminine.. or just plain kicking back in a dress with a G & T! godddam!
I do think that women have more leway when it comes to behaving in 'male' ways. I do wonder if it is because it is more 'acceptable' to be male in this society, as i outlined earlier or perhaps there is just a greater impetus for men in general to conform to gender stereotypes 'naturally'*, which leaves the men who do now feeling less manly.

*'Naturally'-not really the correct term, as its too loose and ambigious. I suppose i mean that perhaps there is greater pressure socially on men to behave in certain ways and to pass these behaviours on and perhaps there could be an evolutionary reason for this. I guess this would be the male equivilent of saying a woman was 'natuarally maternal'.
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:33 PM   #11
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I think this can be quite self perpetuating, which is a shame. Like dads feeling they have to do 'manly' stuff with their sons, perhaps even when they don't want to and even out of obligation? I wonder if dads engaged in so called 'gender innapropriate' behaviour with their male children they would feel a sense of guilt if their children got bullied for not conforming to gender stereotypes?
I think its so sad that in many ways men cannot behave in ways that are comfortable to them because they are considered feminine, whether that is engaging in social roles considered feminine.. or just plain kicking back in a dress with a G & T! godddam!
I do think that women have more leway when it comes to behaving in 'male' ways. I do wonder if it is because it is more 'acceptable' to be male in this society, as i outlined earlier or perhaps there is just a greater impetus for men in general to conform to gender stereotypes 'naturally'*, which leaves the men who do now feeling less manly.

*'Naturally'-not really the correct term, as its too loose and ambigious. I suppose i mean that perhaps there is greater pressure socially on men to behave in certain ways and to pass these behaviours on and perhaps there could be an evolutionary reason for this. I guess this would be the male equivilent of saying a woman was 'natuarally maternal'.
If you look at societies across the globe and throughout history - for many - a man is a specific social construct, often marked by coming of age trials / ceremonies, that are different from one society to another... e.g.s. Ozzy Aboriginals and head biting... the Masai mara* have to kill a lion on their own with. a. spear. (now that's a bit harder than getting pissed on cider and throwing up)...

(*they are herders/nomadic pastoralists... lions attack their cattle)

And yes, I think "manness" is all about status and function in an evolutionary sense - man as hunter/provider/protector/sire.... Did you know something like 40% of men in any given generation do not reproduce at all??? But the most evolutionary successful men have sired thousands of children... So there's far fewer long ago great-great-great etc. grandads with living descendants than there are great-great-great etc. grammas with living descendants... That's some strong evolutionary pressure right there...

(if you're interested I can probably find the refs for you... for those stats.. I know you hate a naked stat....)
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Old 01-21-2010, 07:02 AM   #12
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If you look at societies across the globe and throughout history - for many - a man is a specific social construct, often marked by coming of age trials / ceremonies, that are different from one society to another... e.g.s. Ozzy Aboriginals and head biting... the Masai mara* have to kill a lion on their own with. a. spear. (now that's a bit harder than getting pissed on cider and throwing up)...

(*they are herders/nomadic pastoralists... lions attack their cattle)

And yes, I think "manness" is all about status and function in an evolutionary sense - man as hunter/provider/protector/sire.... Did you know something like 40% of men in any given generation do not reproduce at all??? But the most evolutionary successful men have sired thousands of children... So there's far fewer long ago great-great-great etc. grandads with living descendants than there are great-great-great etc. grammas with living descendants... That's some strong evolutionary pressure right there...

(if you're interested I can probably find the refs for you... for those stats.. I know you hate a naked stat....)
I take your word for it jo! Though, i would like to see some of the studies you mention. If you just give me an author/researcher i will be able to look it up on the OU database. *Cause i am studying with them i get to see any research papers/ journals etc for free*
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Old 02-01-2010, 04:48 PM   #13
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Fantastic article, Rollhandler. I could really relate to what the author had to say. Not only do I get tired of being expected to be feminine because I am female, but I also get tired of expected to live up to some masculine standard if I identify as butch.

Sometimes I want to express my masculine side more fully, without getting stereotyped as aggressive or mean (amazing what a slight change of haircut can make people think), and sometimes I want to express my feminine side without totally being feminized by people. For example, I like nail polish, but if I wear it even once, and even in a more punky "masculine" color, people will remark on it, and deluge me with gifts of the stuff, ignoring the fact that I usually don't wear it. If I were to wear a skirt, I'd get nothing but gushy compliments, or from some, shock that I'm wearing one. So, I just don't bother, even though I like the look of those long sweatshirt material ones with the zippers that used to be popular a few years ago. Sometimes I feel like I'd enjoy dressing more diesel femme or grrlpunk--you know, short short hair, combat boots, skirt, eyeliner, sweaty tank top. I sometimes miss some of the stuff I used to wear during my more femme and goth period. Makeup and femme clothes can be a lot of fun to play with.

As I bio female, I do have more freedom to be gender fluid, but I still don't often fully wear what I want to, because I also dress the way I feel comfortable relating to others in society--butch, but softish and friendly-looking. Most people don't assume I'm straight. I don't ever get hit on by guys, which is a relief. I get flirted with by women, which I really like. It's not just all that, but I just feel good internally when I express the male side of my gender identity and get acknowledged for it. I actually enjoy being mistaken for male and find it flattering--not because males are somehow better or that I hate the female parts of my body--it just feels good. I feel like my queerness inside is validated somehow. It's a powerful feeling, and I don't get that if I were to wear more feminine things, even if some are things that I might personally like.

I don't want to have to live up to some tired butch stereotype or to sacrifice my gentle nature or enjoyment of beauty in order to express my masculine side. I'm currently learning to sew and really enjoying looking at and playing with all the beautiful fabrics, and to hell with anyone who doesn't like that.

I don't have a lot of other butches for friends anyway, so I don't get much social pressure from them. I don't try to claim ultra-butchness or compete with others. Sometimes my physical looks help with that anyway. I don't have to go out of my way to butch up that much or prove myself. I think my size kind of does it for me. Frankly, if something I do makes me supposedly have to turn in my "butch card", well, I'll just resign membership anyway. For me, it's more of a convenient descriptor or shorthand for the way I tend to express my genderqueerness anyway, not a die-hard identity.
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Old 02-07-2010, 05:34 PM   #14
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That quote Is from the film 'The cement garden' which i love. Love the book too. Tis pretty fucked up but brilliant!
Oh and the woman saying it is charlotte gainsbourg .. serge's daughter.
Couldn't agree more. Julia Serano's "Whipping Girl" expands that point. The reason why transwoman or any feminisation of men is reviled is because we devalue femininity itself. Serano makes the point that this occurs in the normal hetero world where women have lower social status and pay. It happens in the gay world where femme men have a lower status than muscle dudes with moustaches. It happens in some lesbian circles where femmes are seen as "uncle Toms" and traitors. The common theme is femininity.

I find the whole gender thing fascinating and I can't look away.

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Old 02-07-2010, 09:04 PM   #15
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Well as far as females doing things or wearing clothes that are traditionally masculine, i think that is less about gender and more about a natural inclindation to move towards where the power and prestige are. You don't see whites trying to go to traditionally all black colleges. Men don't try and get so called pink collar jobs like manicurist or bank teller, not because they're for women but because they offer less money and social value. Gay opponents of gay marriage rightfully point out that it was a traditionally heterosexual endeavor. (For the record i'm pro-gay marriage, just hightlighting Andrew Sullivan's views for this argurment.) If you're not a white heterosexual male you still look at what they have and probably want some or all of it for yourself. Even with something like clothing, men's clothes are obviously more comfortable and tend to be stylish longer and better made than women's clothing. What would you rather walk around in--pants and nice wide flat shoes or a pencil skirt, ruffly blouse that costs a fortune to dry clean and goes out of style in a year and heels that give you corns and fallen arches?

As far as the masculine/feminine thing, it honestly makes me cringe. I totally abhor the idea of taking something random like an interest or capability and attaching gender to it. It makes no sense at all. Like if a female does not like fashion or manicures is she less female for a disinterest in feminine things?This is why i loathe the term "metrosexual" because it indicates a male doing something like paying attention to physical appearance has become quasi-gay merely for engaging in activities like dressing nicely and styling his hair. There is a dicussion on the Fashion Board about women shaving legs/underarms with discussion as to whether or not somebody feels more or less feminine being hairy or hair-free. To me this totally underlines that these are social constructs and not at all inborn; if the female human body naturally grows hair someplace it can't possibly be more feminine to remove it unless some artificial and manipulated thought process is in place.
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Old 02-08-2010, 04:46 AM   #16
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As far as the masculine/feminine thing, it honestly makes me cringe. I totally abhor the idea of taking something random like an interest or capability and attaching gender to it. It makes no sense at all. Like if a female does not like fashion or manicures is she less female for a disinterest in feminine things?This is why i loathe the term "metrosexual" because it indicates a male doing something like paying attention to physical appearance has become quasi-gay merely for engaging in activities like dressing nicely and styling his hair. There is a dicussion on the Fashion Board about women shaving legs/underarms with discussion as to whether or not somebody feels more or less feminine being hairy or hair-free. To me this totally underlines that these are social constructs and not at all inborn; if the female human body naturally grows hair someplace it can't possibly be more feminine to remove it unless some artificial and manipulated thought process is in place.
Yes it bothers me too. Weirdly, i remember when i was about 17 and my friend had to take the morning after pill i remember thinking she was somehow more of a woman than me! I have no idea why i thought this, though i think that somehow i wasn't yet secure that my queer sexuality could be compatable with femininity. I actually dressed a bit more 'butch' when i was younger, which i think was also a part of me trying to establish my identity. For a while i didn't shave my under arms or legs (though this was most certainly me trying to wear my sexuality under the guise of a quasi political 'statement'. Now, i actually veet all my legs, underarm and pubic hair off. Just because i like it and its less hassle than trying to trim and shave. (I am half Romany and so pretty hairy). I am not 'afraid' of pubes (i have choked on a few and once even got a nose ring caught in them!), I don't wish for my genitils to look 'child like' (as i read somewhere here!!!), i dont think hairy vaginas are unclean. i just like to veet mine.
hmm.. i think i lost my point.. anyway, about a year later I had to take the morning after pill and i felt anything but feminine, what with feeling shamed and like shit.. I think sometimes we think things are feminine or masculine and we are somehow misguided. I think this fits into roles we think we have to play as far as our sexuality goes at times.
You know, sometimes i wear t shirt and jeans and go play with my dog in the mud and other times i am all veeted and perfumed and wearing a dress to dinner but at all times i am all woman.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:36 AM   #17
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I think sometimes we think things are feminine or masculine and we are somehow misguided. I think this fits into roles we think we have to play as far as our sexuality goes at times.
You know, sometimes i wear t shirt and jeans and go play with my dog in the mud and other times i am all veeted and perfumed and wearing a dress to dinner but at all times i am all woman.
That is just it. Something as superficial as perfume does not change your essential nature as a woman. I actually totally disagree with the idea of gender being fluid. The addition or subtraction of body hair, perfume, mannerisms, or certain types of clothing don't change who you are. It annoys me when moving away from these social constructs becomes an attack on your gender and sexual orientation. Short hair is short hair, it doesn't make you a lesbian any more than lipstick makes you straight. A lesbian is a a female sexually attracted to other females, why is the term lipstick lesbian even necessary? Sexual orientation is no more based on clothing or hair styles than gender is.
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Old 02-08-2010, 10:45 AM   #18
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I <3 androgyny.


Im glad that skirts are becoming more gender neutral. I love skirts on dudes. I LOVE KILTS (which are not skirts ), but I've seen quite a few dudes walking around in long skirts and sarongs. Why the hell not? They're comfy!
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Old 02-08-2010, 12:17 PM   #19
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Yes it bothers me too. Weirdly, i remember when i was about 17 and my friend had to take the morning after pill i remember thinking she was somehow more of a woman than me! I have no idea why i thought this, though i think that somehow i wasn't yet secure that my queer sexuality could be compatable with femininity. I actually dressed a bit more 'butch' when i was younger, which i think was also a part of me trying to establish my identity. For a while i didn't shave my under arms or legs (though this was most certainly me trying to wear my sexuality under the guise of a quasi political 'statement'. Now, i actually veet all my legs, underarm and pubic hair off. Just because i like it and its less hassle than trying to trim and shave. (I am half Romany and so pretty hairy). I am not 'afraid' of pubes (i have choked on a few and once even got a nose ring caught in them!), I don't wish for my genitils to look 'child like' (as i read somewhere here!!!), i dont think hairy vaginas are unclean. i just like to veet mine.
hmm.. i think i lost my point.. anyway, about a year later I had to take the morning after pill and i felt anything but feminine, what with feeling shamed and like shit.. I think sometimes we think things are feminine or masculine and we are somehow misguided. I think this fits into roles we think we have to play as far as our sexuality goes at times.
You know, sometimes i wear t shirt and jeans and go play with my dog in the mud and other times i am all veeted and perfumed and wearing a dress to dinner but at all times i am all woman.
This last point hits the nail on the head: despite the adornments of masculinity - jeans, t-shirt and mud, your womanhood is not challenged. In that get-up you might not be perceived as feminnine woman, but a woman nevertheless.

Working in a guy suit and not insisting on feminine pronouns or name would, one would think, be enough to stop people from regularly challenging my masculinity (or apparent lack of). I've had other lawyers literally cross the road to tell me I've got a pink tie. But even a pink tie, flanked as it is by a starchy white shirt and conservative suit is going too far. It's like leaving the Real Men's Club!
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Old 02-08-2010, 06:08 PM   #20
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That is just it. Something as superficial as perfume does not change your essential nature as a woman. I actually totally disagree with the idea of gender being fluid. The addition or subtraction of body hair, perfume, mannerisms, or certain types of clothing don't change who you are. It annoys me when moving away from these social constructs becomes an attack on your gender and sexual orientation. Short hair is short hair, it doesn't make you a lesbian any more than lipstick makes you straight. A lesbian is a a female sexually attracted to other females, why is the term lipstick lesbian even necessary? Sexual orientation is no more based on clothing or hair styles than gender is.
Certain clothing may not make someone a certain gender identity or orientation, but it is a big part of how people express themselves and how other people perceive them. People can feel extremely uncomfortable and upset when they have to wear clothing of the social gender that doesn't match their internal experience--for example, a very butch person having to wear a dress to a family wedding can feel quite distressed, even though '"it's just clothing". For most trans people, being able to present as the gender they are inside is a really big deal. Even though a piece of clothing isn't innately feminine or masculine, to society it is, and we are perceived as how we present ourselves.

I definitely agree with you that people shouldn't be stereotyped for how they dress or what they do, but there is a social component of how we dress that we can't get away from, no matter how much we would like it to be no big deal. People also have personal feelings and attitudes about clothing that might seem illlogical, but are still important because of how it makes them feel. For example, some of us might have been forced to wear certain clothing when younger that we hated, or weren't allowed to express ourselves with clothing that we wanted to.

Mergirl stated this:

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You know, sometimes i wear t shirt and jeans and go play with my dog in the mud and other times i am all veeted and perfumed and wearing a dress to dinner but at all times i am all woman.
You see, I DON'T feel like this. I may have been assigned female, but I don't see myself as "at all times all woman" as Mergirl does. My internal experience of gender is different.

I would like to point out that some things having to do with sex, gender, and orientation might seem simple, obvious, or universal to everyone, but they are not. This is also a sensitive issue for some people, so statements like "I totally disagree with the idea of gender being fluid" can come across as invalidating to people who do experience their gender as fluid. I'd just like people to be aware that other people's experience of gender may be quite different than their own, but still just as valid.

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Old 02-08-2010, 07:20 PM   #21
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I would like to point out that some things having to do with sex, gender, and orientation might seem simple, obvious, or universal to everyone, but they are not. This is also a sensitive issue for some people, so statements like "I totally disagree with the idea of gender being fluid" can come across as invalidating to people who do experience their gender as fluid. I'd just like people to be aware that other people's experience of gender may be quite different than their own, but still just as valid.
That is why i said "i totally disagree" and not "it's clearly wrong".
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Old 02-09-2010, 05:15 AM   #22
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You see, I DON'T feel like this. I may have been assigned female, but I don't see myself as "at all times all woman" as Mergirl does. My internal experience of gender is different.

I would like to point out that some things having to do with sex, gender, and orientation might seem simple, obvious, or universal to everyone, but they are not. This is also a sensitive issue for some people, so statements like "I totally disagree with the idea of gender being fluid" can come across as invalidating to people who do experience their gender as fluid. I'd just like people to be aware that other people's experience of gender may be quite different than their own, but still just as valid.
Yes. This is only my experience. I think on the gender 'spectrum'? i guess i feel more woman. I talked about my friend who at times has expressed an interest in being male, and even thought about it as a permanent change when she was younger. Even when wearing feminine gender-typed clothes she is somewhere inbetween genderwise i think. I notice marked differences between us in regards to gender. I wonder if these 'male' qualities that she has however are meerly regarded male by this society. Can we actually be any less or more male or female depending on the social actions we perform? Or is everyone basically one gender divided only truly by genitals, hormones and chromosomes?
I do think gender is fluid for most. I dont feel any less female when not wearing female gendertyped clothes though. Though i admit when i am wearing a dress and heels i do feel more powerful-Which i suspect has more to do with sexual power and is a discussion for another day!
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:10 AM   #23
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Great post, Geektastic!

I am the opposite of you, Mer. I almost always look all femme and can identify with other femmes, but I have never really felt all that feminine but I know I can never live up to my genderfucked, androgynous, asexual aesthetic.

I was a tomboy growing up, abhored everything feminine and even desperately wanted to be male. I was extremely unhappy about sprouting large breasts, and tried to compensate by binding them, cutting my hair short and acting in a stereotypically male way. When I was 14 or so, I came out and started hanging out with a bunch of lovely gay boys and drag queens. I ended up embracing their brand of exaggerated femininity - long hair, thick makeup, painted nails, lingerie, stockings, high heels and the like. I go through phases of trying to look more masculine, shaved head and all but it didn't work out that well. These days I look typically feminine, so people almost never challenge my gender but I still feel uncomfortable when people tell me I am cisgendered (not that I am trans, or typically trans either but it just rubs me the wrong way). Dressing up is empowering, but it feels like the same kind of amazement and relief that a newly transitioned MtF gets from "passing". I have come to terms with the fact that this is the easiest and most natural way for me to just be, but there are still emo days where I feel like I am just a "sell out" and wish I can express my "true self". I feel like a girl pretending to be a guy pretending to be a girl, and I know that if I were to be born a guy or make the transition, I'd still be a campy femme too. However, I have always felt very male in bed, and not just in the stereotypical ways either and that turns a lot of people off. That is one of the reasons why I love dating trannies and genderqueers - I feel like they understand me better.

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Old 02-09-2010, 06:10 AM   #24
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Yes. This is only my experience. I think on the gender 'spectrum'? i guess i feel more woman. I talked about my friend who at times has expressed an interest in being male, and even thought about it as a permanent change when she was younger. Even when wearing feminine gender-typed clothes she is somewhere inbetween genderwise i think. I notice marked differences between us in regards to gender. I wonder if these 'male' qualities that she has however are meerly regarded male by this society. Can we actually be any less or more male or female depending on the social actions we perform? Or is everyone basically one gender divided only truly by genitals, hormones and chromosomes?
I do think gender is fluid for most. I dont feel any less female when not wearing female gendertyped clothes though. Though i admit when i am wearing a dress and heels i do feel more powerful-Which i suspect has more to do with sexual power and is a discussion for another day!
I don't think so. This seems to get to the idea that gender is biological and sex is behavioural or social. A human with certain hormonal and genital characteristics is male or female. Humans gender can be determined at birth; society does not wait to see if the somebody enjoys perfume or hunting to assign a "male" or "female" tag. Would hormonal treatment or gender reassignment sugery be used if the mere wearing of certain clothes could adjust gender?

Beyond that, i find it more annoying that random social tagging of something as "masculine" or "feminine" goes beyond sex and into sexual orientation, i.e. the aforementioned use of the term "meterosexual" or saying a female with short hair is a "dyke". That goes beyond saying that a male paying attention to personal appearance is exhibiting female behavior and actually suggests he may be homosexual. Overlaying sexuality and gender doesn't seem to make a lot of sense. I mean we dont' say that a so called lipstick lesbian is any more or less queer than somebody wearing a short hairstyle and a flannel shirt.
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Old 02-09-2010, 06:40 AM   #25
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LoveBHMS, I understand what you are getting at and I agree with some of it. I interpret sex as what most of us are born with and gender as what we identify with, so I see sex as biological and gender as behavioral or social. Though, we have to bear in mind that some people are born with ambiguous genitalia and will be assigned at birth, usually as a female because "it is easier to make a hole than it is to make a pole" (actual quote from the doctor who performed countless surgeries on my ex who is XXY), an action which often has terrible consequences for the intersex person.

I too find it annoying that people tend to associate one's appearance, behavior and even personality traits with sexual orientation. Unfortunately, there is a lot of self-policing going around in many queer communities. If you do not live up to the current stereotype or norm, you may be rejected (lipstick lesbians are still not taken seriously by many "proper gold-star lesbians") so young people in particular tend to try harder to fit in, further reinforcing the stereotype. Of course, there are others who find solidarity with certain labels (eg. "butch", "femme", "camp") and find it empowering.
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