Question: Different Standards

Liam asks…

I can’t seem to understand why I am not okay with identifying as a woman. I love my female body, but in my head I am not a woman. I feel bad, guilty, and confused as to why the label of a man is so important to me. Wouldn’t it be better for me to stand-up for women an declare that my physical body has nothing to do with my behaviour, interests, and personality?

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on September 26th, 2011 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 12 comments »

12 Responses to “Question: Different Standards”

  1. Fynn

    I’ve had the same issue but I realized that by rejecting the term “woman” I was actually following the gender-binary that I claim to hate so much. I do not at all identify with the mainstream stereotype of what women are supposedly or supposed to be like, as a kid I’ve always wanted to be a boy. People frequently mistake me as one and in the past I used to think that “I’ve always felt like a boy”, but what does that really mean? I don’t believe there is such a thing as “feeling like a boy” or “feeling like a girl”. In fact, I think it is utter bullshit. “Woman” describes my body, which I’m very happy with, and it has nothing to do with who I am in my head or my soul. If I want to break down gender stereotypes I’d rather show people that body and mind have nothing to do with each other.

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  2. Regen

    This isn’t a question that has a concrete answer, which is why it causes people so much trouble–a label shouldn’t mean anything, and yet somehow it means everything. A word (every word) has meaning and connotation, and in reality what matters more to the visceral brain is the connotation. So maybe this does make some sense after all–when you think of a woman, you don’t think of yourself, you think of something else, and then you decide that that label is wrong. This is as logical as being annoyed when someone says you’re wearing a blue shirt when it’s actually orange (or even purple). Words do mean something, whether we think they should or not. Now, for an example to show that I too do not support the gender binary: I identify as a man (boy). However, I recognize that objectively I have more in common with the stereotype of a female (and am relatively comfortable with my female body). I guess what I’m trying to say is yes, your physical self should not determine those other things (like what you like), but this is not really a question of physical self vs. not physical self, it’s a question of can you be happy with what you have? Or will it be nagging at you forever? Some of gender is really just in your head, and it’s between you and your head to figure out what’s what.

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  3. Elle

    I would like to suggest that you reconsider your question. “Wouldn’t it be better for me to stand-up for women and declare that my physical body has nothing to do with my behaviour, interests, and personality?” Better in what way? Better for society as a whole? Because I think you should focus on what’s better for YOU. I respect and appreciate your willingness to help society evolve past the rigid stereotypes of gender, but I’d much rather you were able to do so without feeling bad, guilty, and confused.

    Maybe you’re a man who happens to have a female body. Great! Maybe you’re a woman with behaviour, interests, and personality that don’t match the gender role assigned to your biology. That’s great too! Or maybe you’re someone and something entirely different. Decide who you are, who you want to be, and what that means to you. Stand up for yourself first, because no one else will.

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    elliott replied:

    this.

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    Lane replied:

    So, very, very much this.

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    CameoAppearance replied:

    This is basically all of the things that I was going to say.

    And more coherent.

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  4. Miranda

    I see it as Fynn does – I’m happy with my female body, and societal expectations of what a “proper” woman is supposed to be like can go and burn as far as I’m concerned. I have both stereotypically “feminine” and “masculine” qualities, but the idiocy lies in calling them “feminine” and “masculine” in the first place. Bollocks, I say.

    Although I’ve settled into something more flexible since, I used to take pride in passing as a boy when I was a child – I never wanted to actually be one, though (thanks to my parents, who didn’t nail me down to stereotypically “girly” behaviour).
    I was a girl (and am now a woman) uninterested in dolls, motherhood, romance, gossip, touchy-feely, prettiness and generally lots of things that are sort of expected. Nevertheless, I’m female, and I’m quite happy with that.

    You’ll need to find your own way, of course – that’s just my personal perspective on things. Go with what feels right to you.

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    Anonymous replied:

    I know it’s petty, I just wanted to point out that by mentioning all the things you were uninterested in (dolls, motherhood,romance) you were kind of relegating them to a “feminine attributes” pile.

    As a masculine person who loves dolls and can’t wait for motherhood/parenthood, I just felt implored to mention that. No biggy though.

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  5. Anonymous

    maybe the label of a man is so important not because you want to be a man or want to be seen as a man. Maybe it is just important because it is the opposite of the lable “woman” that you dislike for any reason. Maybe you just want to bring some distance between yourself and the word woman, because you haven`t found an acceptable rolemodel on this side of the binary.

    And what about this: you are a man with a man`s body. Who defines how a man`s body should look like? Maybe your “designer” has decided to create a man with vagina and boobs??

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  6. Jess

    Maybe it is because other peoples’ expectations and treatment of you as a “woman” do not match your perceptions and expectations of how you should be treated and what should be expected from you.

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  7. Ren

    Ok, so I often think, feel or act more like a man than a woman, but I have absolutely no problem with my female body, just like I think I wouldn’t mind having a male one either. That’s not an issue to me, whatever I get, it’s a body, it has to work, that’s about it.
    I cannot really be bothered with the whole labels thing, it’s not for me. Long before I even found out about genderqueer and trangender, I sorted out the situation this way ‘I am female bodied, which society identifies with women. In my society women are also not supposed/believed to feel-think-act in certain ways I do. However as I have no problem with my woman body, then clearly women must also feel-think-act like that. Because I have nothing against my body and I still feel-act-think in those unconventional, men-like ways. Period”.
    I don’t see the contradiction. I consider myself cis gender because I’m ok with my body, what’s inside my head is just what one woman is like. I don’t care if all the others don’t, this one does and that’s it. Women and men, they come in all shapes, in and out.

    The man label? Well, let’s be honest, being a man is ‘cool’ in our society, the image of men will always be more appealing that the image of women. I grew up among boys and for the longest time I didn’t realize that I was going to be seen differently from them by other people. I still want to be looked at like people look at guys, to be considered the way guys are, and so on. I want to make that first impression on people; not a smilie girl, but a nice confident guy. . It’s a matter of roles in society, in a way. If a girl is protective, she’s motherly. If a guy is protective, he’s the strong guy you can rely on.But at the end of the day, one can’t have it all. It’s the way i FEEL that matters. Sometimes I am talking to someone and I feel I am coming across the way I want, that’s good enough for me. Heaven is not an option on earth.

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  8. Elle

    When I first began to examine my gender identity I came to the conclusion that masculine/feminine, woman/man, whatever, are just stereotypes. Like all stereotypes, they have a grain of truth but do not always apply in all situation. They aren’t completely true, but they’re certainly not completely false either. There are many masculine men and feminine women completely happy with the labels they’ve been given and the stereotypes that apply to those labels. Some of those women and men have had to work like hell to get society at large to accept their right to use those labels, other people are still trying to gain that acceptance.

    The labels themselves are not the problem. Labels and the words that define them are essential to a shared society and are a starting point for communication. THE PROBLEM is being forced into those labels without the freedom to choose. The problem is that two simple labels cannot come CLOSE to describing the amazing diversity of human differences. Don’t blame the labels. I like my chosen labels. I chose them because they define me, it took a lot of work to get to this place, and I’m not going to give them up.

    I agree that the world needs more “feminine” males and “masculine” females, more people of third gender and more people outside gender entirely, to step forward and demand our place in society. But that doesn’t give us the right to take away the identity of others. All those stereotypes that make up masculine and feminine may be uncomfortable when forced or incorrect, but for a lot of people, maybe even most people, they are true, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

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