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Old 02-09-2010, 07:20 AM   #26
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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.
I had been thinking about this because my cousin's partner is transitioning and had a mastectomy last year. He'd already taken a male name that was a variation on his birth name, dressed in male clothing, worn a short haircut, and adopted mannerisms that are stereotypically male. If you were not acquainted with him, you would not know if he was a "butch" female or straight FTM transgendered person.

He self ascribes as straight; he considers himself male and is sexually attracted to females. Currently he is biologically female, so technically he is a female sexually attracted to females. However he is not a lesbian. Situations like this i think strengthen the argument that gender and orientation are more easily defined than the social construct of what is masculine or feminine.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:33 AM   #27
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As Cors points out, it isn't just intersexed individuals who illustrate that gender is not a simple binary, either of biology or sociology, but that many cultures past and present have an identified and labeled 'third gender.' If the fact that gender rarely sits on a neat binary of 'either/or' why wouldn't that be labeled as 'fluid,' regardless of what the person self-identifies as?

Personally, that is why I prefer the label queer to lesbian, bisexual, transgender, etc., because it points out that many of us, including heterosexuals, don't neatly fit the labels we're told we must. Just like most of us say we want a 'post racial' society, I think many of us want a 'post gender' society, and gender fluidity is a great concept for people to take on if they want to work towards that world, a world where people can act and look in whatever way feels most like them, regardless of societal dictates about "only girls do that, only gay boys look like that, only heterosexuals enjoy that," etc.

Hell, we hear a similar version of gender prejudice here at Dims. I can count on the fingers and toes of every regular poster on the GLBTQ Forum how many times I've read a male FA write that fat makes a woman more 'feminine,' and that also many of them also follow that up with "which is why they're not fat, because thinness seems more masculine to them." That is silly to me in so many ways*, but perhaps if we weren't so fixated on distinct roles, with no room for play between the poles of male and female, then we get a lot of people wrapped up in odd and constraining concepts of what masculine and feminine are.

*personally, it is silly to me because I see fat men as being incredibly masculine, and would love to find one person who can credibly tell me that someone like John Goodman is more feminine looking because of his girth. Just can't be done.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:47 AM   #28
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Yeah, there is often so much ambiguity when it comes to female masculinity and gender identity. Many people fall somewhere in between the butch woman --- stone butch --- FtM spectrum and there are also some who don't quite fit in it.

I generally date butch women and was surprised at how many didn't quite know where they belong. The more masculine ones in particular had varying degrees of comfort about being female (not allowing anyone near their female parts, some took on male names and a few even went by male pronouns) but they didn't feel like transitioning was the way to go either (a few of them have now started though). I know some of them held back because they started out in the lesbian community and thus have a strong lesbian identity even though they don't quite feel female, others say they are only drawn to lesbian femmes who may lose interest in them when they decide to take on a male identity or fear that straight women won't be interested in them.

If you are interested, Judith (now Jack) Halberstam explores the subject in detail in her book Female Masculinity. There is also Stone Butch Blues, which is a good (but painful) read.

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Old 02-09-2010, 08:53 AM   #29
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Yeah, there is often so much ambiguity when it comes to female masculinity and gender identity. Many people fall somewhere in between the butch woman --- stone butch --- FtM spectrum and there are also some who don't quite fit in it.

I generally date butch women and was surprised at how many didn't quite know where they belong. The more masculine ones in particular had varying degrees of comfort about being female (not allowing anyone near their female parts, some took on male names a few even went by male pronouns) but they didn't feel like transitioning was the way to go either (a few of them have now started though). I know some of them held back because they started out in the lesbian community and thus have a strong lesbian identity even though they don't quite feel female, others say they are only drawn to lesbian femmes who may lose interest in them when they decide to take on a male identity or fear that straight women won't be interested in them.

If you are interested, Judith (now Jack) Halberstam explores the subject in detail in her book Female Masculinity. There is also Stone Butch Blues, which is a good (but painful) read.
Love both those books! I sent a dorky and silly fan email to Jack after reading In a Queer Time and Place, and I got a nice response back.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:55 AM   #30
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Hell, we hear a similar version of gender prejudice here at Dims. I can count on the fingers and toes of every regular poster on the GLBTQ Forum how many times I've read a male FA write that fat makes a woman more 'feminine,' and that also many of them also follow that up with "which is why they're not fat, because thinness seems more masculine to them." That is silly to me in so many ways*, but perhaps if we weren't so fixated on distinct roles, with no room for play between the poles of male and female, then we get a lot of people wrapped up in odd and constraining concepts of what masculine and feminine are.

*personally, it is silly to me because I see fat men as being incredibly masculine, and would love to find one person who can credibly tell me that someone like John Goodman is more feminine looking because of his girth. Just can't be done.
So true. Not only do some thin male FAs drone on and on about how fat is feminine and that women who aren't big enough by their standards are emaciated cross-dressing little boys and how fat men look just look silly and emasculated, it is disturbing that many also expect their women to be big only "in the right places", else the fat becomes "masculine" and hence a turn off. That is a rant for another day though.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:56 AM   #31
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Love both those books! I sent a dorky and silly fan email to Jack after reading In a Queer Time and Place, and I got a nice response back.
Ahhhhh that is awesome! I'm tempted to write to him now.
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Old 02-09-2010, 08:57 AM   #32
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So true. Not only do some thin male FAs drone on and on about how fat is feminine and that women who aren't big enough by their standards are emaciated cross-dressing little boys and how fat men look just look silly and emasculated, it is disturbing that many also expect their women to be big only "in the right places", else the fat becomes "masculine" and hence a turn off. That is a rant for another day though.
Heh, if we had a penny for every person who uses the thin woman as 'skinny teenage boy' analogy to describe their FA-ness, we'd be rich, Cors, filthy rich.
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:09 AM   #33
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Heh, if we had a penny for every person who uses the thin woman as 'skinny teenage boy' analogy to describe their FA-ness, we'd be rich, Cors, filthy rich.
I don't like it either, but it is a fairly common idea to connect size and gender. It's always bothered me that straight female FA on Dims would have a lot less leeway to say that women should be slender and men should be fat or that skinny men don't fit with an FFA thinks a man should be because men should be big and broad. Using that same logic, being larger=what men should be=masculine=female bodies should not be bigger.

OTOH, for those of us believe that fat oriented sexuality is hardwired, it's harder to get away from idea of what a male or female body is supposed to look like. To be precise however, my attraction to fat men doesn't extend to seeing fat women as anything close to masculine, that idea doesn't occur to me at all which is why the idea of skinny women looking like boys makes no sense either. So i'm ok with somebody thinking "female bodies are attractive when fat" but i cringe when somebody says "fat makes a woman feminine" simply because i just strongly dislike that term.
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:25 AM   #34
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Heh, if we had a penny for every person who uses the thin woman as 'skinny teenage boy' analogy to describe their FA-ness, we'd be rich, Cors, filthy rich.
Enough for regular GLBTQ board parties at a lovely mansion with plenty of good food!

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I don't like it either, but it is a fairly common idea to connect size and gender. It's always bothered me that straight female FA on Dims would have a lot less leeway to say that women should be slender and men should be fat or that skinny men don't fit with an FFA thinks a man should be because men should be big and broad. Using that same logic, being larger=what men should be=masculine=female bodies should not be bigger.

OTOH, for those of us believe that fat oriented sexuality is hardwired, it's harder to get away from idea of what a male or female body is supposed to look like. To be precise however, my attraction to fat men doesn't extend to seeing fat women as anything close to masculine, that idea doesn't occur to me at all which is why the idea of skinny women looking like boys makes no sense either. So i'm ok with somebody thinking "female bodies are attractive when fat" but i cringe when somebody says "fat makes a woman feminine" simply because i just strongly dislike that term.
Yeah that makes me cringe too and I don't understand it either. To be fair, the board is about celebrating fat people, not just women so I don't think straight FAs should be allowed to talk about how they think guys only look good when thin/muscular and that fat men look feminine or emasculated.
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Old 02-09-2010, 09:47 AM   #35
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Yeah that makes me cringe too and I don't understand it either. To be fair, the board is about celebrating fat people, not just women so I don't think straight FAs should be allowed to talk about how they think guys only look good when thin/muscular and that fat men look feminine or emasculated.
But it gets said all the time and is virtually never challenged. Even in this place, so much is heteronormal.

Nonwithstanding celebration of fat people, there are threads on the Lounge about "hot boys" as well as threads in the Fat Sexuality board with pictures of slender, toned male bodies while SSBBW gush over them. I can't help but wonder how well it would go over if fat men created a similar thread and gushed over slender Playboy centerfolds or Jennifer Aniston. I'm guessing there would be an outcry from a number of women who claim they don't come to Dims to see men talking about how hot those women are. There would be some foot stomping over how "we can like whatever we want" with zero feelings of hypcrisy.

If I understand the history correctly, men and FAs had a hard time of it in the NAAFA arena and were often viewed with anger and suspicion which in part led to the creation of Dims. Seems sort of like things have come full circle.
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Old 02-09-2010, 01:16 PM   #36
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OMG I suffered thru all that when I was young and male.
Always being put down and ridiculed for being a sissy/gay.
As a trans woman I do get some flak from girl friends because I like doing some guy things like deer hunting,cars and guitar playing.Just can't win sometimes. I'm glad I took the plunge. I feel I did the right thing for me.
That's a great article thanks for posting it.
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