Inadequate.

Lee wrote…

When I’m around boys, I feel like my masculinity is inadequate. When around girls, I feel like my femininity is inadequate. When in groups of people, I still feel inadequate because I don’t feel like I belong to any gender.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?


Posted by on November 28th, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 44 comments »

44 Responses to “Inadequate.”

  1. Theo

    Story of my life.

    [Reply]

  2. Eli

    Ditto Theo’s sentiment, pretty much. But sometimes I like not belonging in a large group. It’s when there are only a handful of others around that it bums me out.

    [Reply]

  3. Lanthir

    Aw, that’s really sad! *hugs*
    I remember feeling like that a lot as a kid. Not so much any more though.

    [Reply]

  4. Anonymous

    i feel that way too.

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  5. Jude

    I know just what you mean. Certainly makes for some awkward times on field trips when your little. Or when they break you into groups to do “team building exercises.” The cool thing is sometimes it allows you to be a chameleon and be as skilled at things as either gender. Then you just have to pick which team you’re playing for. That’s the depressing part. The best solution, I find, is just to change the rules of the game!

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  6. Samson

    I have learned to love being the odd one out and I hope you can too. I’m masculine so I can relate to the boys, and I’m feminine so I can relate to the girls… even if I’m not quite either. (Except… yeah, like Jude said, it’s not real fun when other people expect you to BELONG to “one or the other.”)

    (I’ve found it helps a lot to be able to come back to a space where you do belong, or at least are not the odd one out. Genderfork is one of mine.)

    [Reply]

    Jessica replied:

    Oh God, yes. If you’re in my clique, you can’t be in any other. Paranoid dementia of the first order.

    It’s as bad as when good friends get divorced and you can’t stay friends with both of them, even if you want to. Not allowed.

    [Reply]

    Adam replied:

    I’ve always felt this way strongly with guys and so I naturally just created friendships with girls. Now, years later, I’ve discovered the same feelings of separation with girls.

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    Samson replied:

    Same here!

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  7. Jessica

    I’ve always feel a bit of a fraud in the company of men. You nod and yup at the appropriate times, you hope, but its like acting the part of a character you’ve seen in a movie and now you have to reproduce the bit on stage before a live audience.

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    anta replied:

    I kind of feel like this with all people, but then again most of my social hardships are independent of gender.

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    Anonymous replied:

    yeah…I tend to be socially awkward enough on the side without gender-related hubbub.

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    Libby replied:

    Well put! That’s exactly how I feel when I’m trying to fit in with the girls or the guys; like I’m a performer reproducing someone else’s performance.

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  8. Oliver

    Two words: gym class.

    Hanging out with queer friends and getting hugs after any stressful gender experience really helps.

    [Reply]

    Jessica replied:

    Hugs are my favorite medicine.

    I said that to someone once, who responded: “better than sex?”

    Yes.

    [Reply]

  9. Meike

    I understand exactly what you mean. Hugs and having your own space are seriously the best things ever, and it helps so much that my girlfriend can provide both of these things for me. But don’t get discouraged, because there are people just like you out there; so you really do have a group to belong to. And you’re not inadequate in any way. I know it feels like that when you never see these other people, but trust me we’re out there and we like you exactly as you are.

    [Reply]

  10. Kris

    I really feel what you’re saying!

    [Reply]

  11. Anonymous

    I feel the exact same way. Like others have said it is depressing :(

    [Reply]

    Jessica replied:

    An old friend of mine once said to me: “You know in life you make choices. Like you decide to live in Minnesota. OK, then for some of the year you’ll be too cold and the rest of the time you’ll be too hot. These are not things you can change about Minnesota. You can only choose to change yourself: you move to North Carolina. Everything’s like that. Stop trying all the time to change the things in the world when you’re not prepared to change yourself.

    Sometimes the world does need to change. These are hard things that require real long term effort commitment and getting together with other people. Choose these things most carefully. They will define who you are.”

    For me challenges are not depressing, it’s the challenges I’ve run away from that are depressing.

    [Reply]

    sam replied:

    i just love this.

    [Reply]

  12. Dru

    “When I’m around boys, I feel like my masculinity is inadequate. When around girls, I feel like my femininity is inadequate.”
    – A couple of days ago I said something similar to a friend of mine.
    I can relate to this.

    [Reply]

  13. essejz

    I had a conversation with my friend the other day–a friend who is struggling to come to terms with her queerness–and she said, “If I were dating a boy, I would feel normal.” And I thought she was kidding–what do you ever do that you feel NORMAL???

    And then it kind of hit me–maybe other people feel normal, sometimes. Maybe that’s what I’m seeking when I whine about not having a “community” or knowing “people like me” or whatever.

    But I don’t think I’ve ever felt that way and not just because of my queerness but also because I am skeptical of most things & crippled by irony & cynicism & etc.

    Which is to say: maybe you don’t mean “inadequate”, maybe you mean “abnormal”, & maybe that’s OK.

    [Reply]

    Samson replied:

    A contemplative thumbs up!

    I think I get by by making a distinction between “normal” and “OK.”

    I doubt I’d qualify as “normal” but I’m sure as heck just fine and OK the way I am, thankyouverymuch.

    When I’m around others I feel that abnormality (I’m the odd one out), but in all spaces I’m starting to feel “OK” now that I’m making an effort to be more true to myself…

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    Jessica replied:

    To me, after years of working on it, I find myself firmly convinced that it is more important for me to do what is normal for me rather than to do what is normal for others. I’m OK with that.

    [Reply]

    anta replied:

    My favourite quote about normalness is from Soran from Star Trek: Generations, where he is asked (by a blind man), “What is normal?” and he replies, “That’s a good question. Normal is what everyone else is, and you are not.”

    It’s always kind of clicked with me, even though (or especially because) it’s meant as an insult.

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    Anonymous replied:

    I love the quote. Yes. This makes loads of sense…and if applied to an entire group, illuminates that sometimes we’re all insecure for one reason or another. Yeah…normal vs. okay. Definitely two distinct things.

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    Jessica replied:

    My favorite quote about normalness is from Hitchhiker’s Guide: “According to the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, there are rules that determine the reaction of most lifeforms to emerging technologies: 1) anything that is in your world when you were born is normal and ordinary and is just a natural part of the way things work. 2) Anything that is invented in the first third of your lifespan is new and exciting and revolutionary and you can probably get a career in it. 3) Anything invented once you are middle aged is against the natural order of things…” What holds for technology holds for other kinds of change, too.

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  14. Anonymous

    I feel like I belong with my dogs.

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    Jeanine replied:

    There we go, a source of consolation

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    Anonymous replied:

    :) I’m totally adequate with them. My breasts are for snuggling, and my mustache is for licking off strawberry lip gloss!

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    Jude replied:

    Lol…yes. My mother used to talk about how at family reunions she always felt out of place. The women all stood in the kitchen talking about raising kids and gossip, etc…and the men sat together talking about cars and hunting stories…She didn’t like either group, so she’d go hang out with the dogs and the children in the yard. :)

    Anonymous replied:

    I think I’m your mom.

  15. Rey

    I feel that way entirely

    [Reply]

  16. J.D.

    I used to feel this way often, but lately – I don’t know if its because I’ve finally come to terms with my gender (or lack of it) or if its because I’ve surrounded myself with friends that don’t care about my gender all that much – I’m starting to feel like I can hang out with guys and like I can hang out with girls and like I can hang out with both at the same time and not have to struggle to fit in. I don’t necessarily feel any more masculine or feminine than I generally would, but it seems like something inside of me has finally come to terms with my genderqueerness and decided its all good. I still feel weird around my family, but hey, baby steps right? I can be one of the guys or one of the girls, I can be both or neither, and really I think thats a big step. No, I don’t feel the same as them, but I feel like it doesn’t matter so much that I’m different. I think its one of those things that just takes time, perhaps.

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    Samson replied:

    I do a happy-dance for this!

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  17. Clara

    The word inadequacy is interesting here.

    I mean – what’s adequate as far as gender is concerned? I don’t think that’s even an answerable question, it goes against everything genderfluid…

    [Reply]

    Jessica replied:

    I should say that “adequate” would mean “having sufficient accessible traits to facilitate discrimination of gender.” This is a biological definition. Animals’ have secondary sexual characteristics are observable traits because they facilitate correct gender identification by other members of their species. This facilitates reproduction.

    Tigers and barracuda have pronounced gender characteristics that are obvious (at least to other tigers or barracuda) because correct identification of potential mates/rivals is important in their reproduction cycle. Trees, on the other hand, are very difficult to sex because trees do not wander about looking for suitable mates.

    If I were a man, and my principle interest was to impregnate viable females, then it would be in my self interest to make my maleness very obvious to prospective females. As a woman, if my principle life interest were to attract/be impregnated by males, then it would behoove me to be obviously female and receptive (see feminine).

    Being a sentient person of many interests unrelated to copulation opportunities, I want to be observed as myself rather than as a prospective mate/rival. Thus, the adequacy of my gender is a disadvantage to me personally.

    Ergo I am genderqueer, thank you.

    [Reply]

  18. blahblah

    wow… this is really interesting to me because i feel this way a lot of time, too…

    It’s such a knee jerk reaction, for me, too… It’s literally a thought process which goes: “Ahh. I am in the presence of MEN – now… we shall now perform MANLY THINGS!” haha… I can easily guilt-trip myself over it, which is unhealthy, i know.

    Feeling like you have to perform it, that’s a really uncomfortable feeling … That, to me, grates against the whole POINT of being transgender/genderfluid… It’s the NOT-WANTING to perform that makes me feel different. Some people feel totally comfortable in performing the role society has handed them but it just does not sit well with me. It’s the having had enough of acting a way you never really chose to. Not wanting to live up to someone elses standards. It’s the desire to defy these things that sets you apart, in a sense…

    But it’s hard to do.
    Haha… simply said, navigating this whole being yourself business, particulalry with regard to the sticky world of gender, is a hard thing to do. It MUST be – look how many of us have commented saying we relate?

    … So basically, the one slightly useful thing i think have to say is: people, NICE people, anyway, regardless of gender, like and appreciate people who can be themselves. Yes, you get told the complete opposite by some people, but they’re generally the NOT NICE people.

    … and if you don’t feel you belong to any gender then…well, screw gender, really. you can belong to a group of nice people instead.

    Them’s me thoughts.
    Also, all these replies are awesome.
    blahblahout.

    [Reply]

    Jude replied:

    Here, here. Nice people rock!

    [Reply]

  19. Anonymous

    hmmmmmm…

    People in said group, regardless of sex, will also probly feel like they don’t belong to any gender. A lot of people feel that way. A lot of people don’t even realize they feel that way. So you may be measuring yourself agianst people … innacurately. if you know what i mean.

    … though i totally understand this feeling. it’s not a controllable thing. it’s just something to think about.

    Groups and group behavior are based on a lot more than just gender, dear. Remember that.

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  20. Meike

    I actually feel like I’m coming to a place in life where I’m just ignoring gender entirely. Of course I don’t fully stop seeing it or reacting to it, and I always feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I see someone disregarding (either intentionally or unintentionally) gender norms. But I seem to have gone from feeling inadequate to feeling more mildly confused and curious about gender. Almost like I’ve arrived in a different country, and all the people in this country to strange things to show off a concept that my country doesn’t have at all. I think it’s a nice change so far.

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  21. Anonymous

    I know this feeling so well, but I’ve never though of putting it in words.

    [Reply]

  22. Marsha

    This fits me to a tee.

    [Reply]

  23. Courage

    When I was younger, I felt like I didn’t belong to either side, but now I use it to my advantage. I get to pick what side I want to be on in boys VS girls.

    [Reply]


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