I have written extensively here in Cyrsti’s Condo concerning the terms “woman and man” are socialized terms and are simply an extension of “female and male.” Here is another look from Addison J. Smith (they/she):
“Masculinity and femininity are cultural concepts that change over time. They are something we can relate to but they don’t come from us. We learn these concepts. We see ourselves in others and we learn what it is to be like them. If you see yourself as a man, no matter what body type you have, you will want to learn what it means to be masculine as your culture currently defines it. If you see yourself as a woman, you will want to learn what it means to be feminine. We identify with a gender and learn to be that gender. It happens at such a young age that we don’t even realize we do this. Instead, we believe this learned behavior is something intrinsic to us.”
Our identity comes from seeing others and knowing yourself through others.
My example comes from when I first started to go out in the world and explore it as a transgender woman. Very quickly of course I was rejected by men because I had left the male club with all of it’s inherent privilege’s. Somehow I became part of a conversation between a couple men and was startled by the way I was treated. I had lost most of my intelligence it seemed. On the other hand I was accepted more or less by the cis women I encountered. Perhaps it was because I was reflecting their femininity back at them. I know it might be a difficult idea to consider and as a matter of fact, I didn’t think much about it until I read Addison’s post. Much of it was written about reflection between your perceived and actual gender.
To this day, since I have not attempted any bottom surgeries at all, my actual biological gender is still male but my perceived gender is female. Obviously it took me years to come to this knowledge. I actually survived well in the male world and played the game as best as I could. I guess you could say I reflected well.
I did it until it was impossible to do anymore. The gender stress was killing me literally. I drank myself to the point of suicide.
It was about this time too, I learned the feminine image in the mirror meant nothing unless I could project it in a quality manner to the only gender which really mattered to me…women.
Finally I will conclude this post with another Addison quote:
“I don’t have a problem with masculinity (except the toxic kind), I’m simply not masculine. Masculinity is great for people who are masculine. Be masculine, have fun, just don’t be a jerk. I can’t say that I’m really drawn to be feminine in the popular sense, but if you know you’re feminine, go for it.”