I want to know how to accept myself as a woman.
October 21, 2012
So, I’ve been reading this blog for a little while now, and I kind of wanted to ask the author (or anyone) for some advice. If I go to a therapist, or a support group, they’d all tell me it’s okay to be trans and they’d want me to just live as a man, but I feel like that would be betraying an aspect of my born body. I’m also sorta of the mind that one shouldn’t treat a mental condition with physical changes. I’ve brought this up at a few meetings I’ve been to on ‘gender norms’ and the leader of the group, who identified as a ‘lesbian transgender woman’ (ie. heterosexual male?) just seemed to shrug it off as nonsense.
Thing is, I still feel uncomfortable being labeled as a woman. It doesn’t happen to me very often nowadays, because for whatever reason without hormones or any interventions other than haircuts and clothing, I ‘pass’, but when it does happen, I kind of cringe. I don’t hold anything against women. I love women; I love masculine women, I love feminine women, I love women big and small. I just don’t enjoy being one. I’m uncomfortable in my female body, and I’m uncomfortable in groups of females. The gender role freaks me out to such a degree that I want no part of it. I feel like if I don’t grow my hair out, shave my legs, and dress a certain way, then I’m failing to be a normal woman, so therefore being a man is easier. Other women seem to fall so easily into being women, but I seem to be failing.
Essentially, I want to know how to overcome these feelings. Also, it should be mentioned that I enjoy both men and women, and I’m currently in a heterosexual relationship with a man who’s had relationships with both genders, so I don’t even fulfill the role as a dyke woman past a superficial definition. Honestly I think I would rather live in a world where genders didn’t have any pretenses, where everyone could use any bathroom, dress however they felt and nobody would cared what their partner’s genitals were or who made more money, but seeing as that’s not the world we live in, I’m having trouble coping with my implied societal failure as a woman. I’d rather not end up taking hormones just to fit in with a gender role only because I meet their criteria better. Also therapy for this seems to be nonexistent. Therapists seem more focused on getting me looking and acting and taking up roles as my preferred gender, but that’s not what I want.
I don’t want to pretend to be a man just because it’s easier, I want to know how to accept myself as a woman. Does anyone have any suggestions for this? Do I just need to hit a pinnacle of enlightenment and hope that eventually the self-loathing will end?
Sister you are not alone.
I don’t say that to comfort you, or to dismiss your genuine experience with a feel-good trope, or to make you feel “less alone”. I mean it literally. You are not alone. Your experiences are not personal or unique to you. This is an important thing to recognize in the process of “accepting yourself” personally. This is a really important point I think. What you are experiencing is not unique, and not personal.
When feminists said “the personal is political” they did not mean “our individual actions can impact the political sphere”, or “our speshul individual internal lives are important” (not implying that you, Syd are saying that here). They meant: the things we deal with personally, in isolation and silence, the things that feel like internal personal issues, are actually not. The war against woman is conducted against us individually. Daily. Personally. Picking us off one by one. Rooting us out with each misstep. With each transgression. Or for no transgression at all. She was raped because _____ (fill in the blank) specific individual singular particular personal speshul reason. Women are not raped because men are conducting sexual torture and war crimes against women en masse. She was raped because she neglected to lock her window. Because she met a guy from online three weeks before. Because she hadn’t heard news reports of a serial rapist in her neighborhood. Because she happened to live in that neighborhood. Because she was pretty/ugly black/white rich/poor old/young etc.
It is always personal. It is always singular. It is always unique. Speshul circumstance. And the system is designed to individualize, to single out, to personalize.
But you are not alone. And what you experience has nothing to do with you personally.
From your comments here I can tell you recognize that important truth on some level, intuitively if not consciously. This is a very important thing for women to realize and is the core of healing personally and individually from the mass assault against female humanity and liberation. A personal situation requires singular individualized INTERNALIZED and self-directed reflection and analysis of the personal specific singular factors involved. That is NOT what we are dealing with here. We are dealing with IMPERSONAL EXTERNALIZED FACTORS. We are dealing with a WAR against those humans born with (or assumed to be in possession of) the biological capacity of being impregnated, by those humans who lack that capacity.
Syd, my sister, what is informing your personal malaise with an impersonal war is the specifics of your experience of it. Let’s go there.
Like myself, you have tasted the forbidden fruit. When we “pass” as male, or are assumed to be male, we experience something most women will never experience: being treated as fully human. As humans, our fellow humans give our input due regard, our experience due respect, our overlord status as the ruling class due note. Both men and women defer, refer, and relate to us based on our expressed competence (as adjusted for our perceived racial and class status). Few women have ever experienced humanity. They experience the lack of it, and witness it vicariously, but they have never had the experience of humanity.
The experience of women like us is profound. Breathtaking. Like soaking in warm honey-tinged milk. My god.
Every woman on the planet would inject testosterone (or whatever the fuck) into their right eye to experience the day to day existence of being treated as a regular human that you and I have experienced conditionally, and fleetingly. What people call “male privilege” is actually the experience as being treated as a default human. A regular, normal, baseline human.
There is no male privilege. There is no white privilege. There is no class privilege. There is only the experience of being treated as fully human. Everyone should experience the “privilege” of being treated as simply themselves. As simply human. And what a wonderful experience that is for those of us consigned for a lifetime in the subhuman caste who can “pass” themselves into it. What a breath of fresh air. What liberation! What a delicious honey-tinged milk-bath of humanity. Where one is judged on one’s merits. Where what we say is taken to mean… exactly what we say. Yanno. Just normal fucking humanity.
You wonder why the elements (female biology) that impede your humanity cause your revulsion? Oh honey. You are sane, that is all. You hate the whole woman thing because you are burdened with sanity. You have personally experienced being treated as human. Something few women ever have.
You don’t have discomfort in groups of females. You have discomfort in groups of subhumans who have never experienced humanity. In a group of females who have tasted the forbidden fruit of normalcy you would feel quite normal and at ease I am sure.
Experiencing humanity is something reserved for males (and those who are assumed to be male). For now. Lets fight, and fight and fight and make that not so. Lets not individualize and internalize and personalize (and medicalize) the experience of those of us who have tasted the ambrosia of being treated as fully human. Reflect and work outward, not inward.