Gender is something that is very personal to each and every one of us. It can’t be written off as a binary with two distinct identities or dismissed altogether as a construction of the patriarchy, it is often complicated, as it should be in a world we share with billions of other people. Culture influences our perceptions of gender and what we deem acceptable from other people. Except it really shouldn’t be about what other people think, our bodies are our own. If someone is more concerned about the contents of your pants, if determining your sex is the most important thing in their mind, then you are reduced to their idea of your primary function, which is to procreate. We think of our babies having babies as soon as they are born (even if we’re not consciously thinking it) and in many cases months before they make their entry into the world. Isn’t that odd?
I was inspired to write this piece after reading a friend’s disclosure regarding their gender identity. They have been empowered enough to state what has been a constant for them but couldn’t before because of society’s expectations of men and the way they are to interact within a patriarchy. It’s a brave step and one that has become possible because of the many ways it is becoming more acceptable to talk about, and our awareness of the rest of the planet and their attitudes towards gender. It is becoming clearer that the binary is predominant in western societies and those nations generally deemed backwards tend to be more relaxed with the idea of a spectrum of many identities. It is with this knowledge and support I now feel able to make my own statement.
I am a cis femme woman and a feminist and I adore my femininity. There, I said it, judge me all you like. I did the tomboy thing, when I thought that was the path to true feminist nirvana, when I bought into patriarchy and behaved as my male peers did so that they couldn’t treat me like a woman (that just made me a bit of a prick tbh). I became that manic pixie dream girl, girly but with enough blokey humour to ensure my place with the lads. All of that sucked for me. I’ve spent my whole life trying to be everything anyone could ever want me to be and it didn’t feel right. I noticed the looks from my feminist colleagues, the comments about my clothes or the ways in which white women just have to write about your hair and your desperate gender performance because you’re not so enlightened and don’t know any better. I’ve tried to be something I’m not to fit in with others ideas of what it is to be x but I’ve never felt more empowered since I embraced the femme within.
I LIKE looking after people. I prefer dresses and skirts to ambiguous clothing. I’ve had my hair cut into a million styles, even a short back and sides yet the only one that feels comfortable is the one that covers my breasts. I also LIKE being looked after. I LIKE the idea of staying at home and looking after any children I might have. Heck, I love babies, most of them, in fact. I know some people find it difficult to handle, but they would, it being a patriarchy, where femininity is judged and mocked by both men and women alike. It’s weak to be feminine or sexually coercive, the mere sight of your curves drawing unsuspecting predators to you like a moth to a flame. Yet all these judgments, these insinuations come from the feelings your body provokes in them (and their tiny little minds). The men hate you for having any control over them and their trouser snake (what are they, 2 fucking years old? Nobody MAKES you do anything. You have to work for that privilege not demand it as your birth right) and the women hate you cos the men are looking at you and not them. They think you’re a strumpet dancing to the tune of the MRAs who believe they deserve a real girl except they get to define what is and isn’t one, something they also have in common with TERFs. Those women who deny gender completely, who seem indistinguishable from power tripping white middle class men.
So there, I’ve said it and I’ll say it once more out loud; I’M FEMME AND I’M PROUD.
I know who I am and I couldn’t give a stuff what you think about it.