Tank Girl. Tank Girl is my icon. To me, she's the three rrr's in RiotGrrrl, and I never thought I would admit to finding a comic book character attractive. I think I like her because is a great balance of girlieness and masculine bravado.
I ought to stop watching Jenny Jones. It's one of those horrified fascination scenarios, but every time I sit through a scant fifteen minutes of her "Show", I get depressed. Today they were making over butch girls to be all slinky and sexy in high heels and feather boas. The only argument the perpetrators could come up with was "you're a girl, look like one!" because they couldn't wrap their brains around anything beyond "you have a cunt therefore you must appear this way lest you fuck up my perfectly ordered bigoted world!"
Unfortunately I have been forced to admit that huge chunks of my sexuality, personality, and sometimes my emotions are, well, male. This realization was only somewhat welcome, as I embrace nearly all forms of strangeness, deviance from the status quo. (ok, I will give points to anything that comes up burning into the face or underpinings of society in technicolor 3D, even if it is dumb.) The thought that I would be abnormal in yet another sense was comforting. The unwelcome side of being a little manly was that it is nearly an unprecedented level of freakiness for me, something fundamentally, irreversibly odd.
I did not relate to the concept of androgyny immediately. I did not feel that I had "always been different". Rather, I assumed that everybody else was like this as well, but behaved differently about it than I. (This is probably a consequence of my parent using arguments such as "how would you feel if you were them?" when I was young, which suggests that everyone else does infact operate the same way I do.) The degree of my individuality became apparent during adolescence quickly enough, but trying to examine the nature or cause of the difference was impossible during such a wild ride. Eventually I did stumble upon information on gender identity in my eternal quest for weird and engrossing information. Even so, I did not recognize myself there. Not until I could read another genetic-girl-androgyne's experience of gender did I finally realize that I could understand the condition, that I could provide parallel examples from my own life as an androgynous person.
As I reframed my childhood, teenagerdom, and my adult life, things became clear in an eerie, simple way. Suddenly I had a better model to understand my dynamic with other people of various gender orientations, a way to understand some of my own behaviors (A male-female classic dialectic, who knew?)... Finally I didn't have to feel strange about being a feminist and an incurable lecherous objectifier of women at the same time. And I could predict how the conflict of those poles influences the way I behave. The elegance is impossible to ignore.
In trying to explain away the awkward contradictions of who I am without the androgyny concept, I had attributed my masculine qualities to my circumstances, political philosophy, personal history, anything. I liked body hair because it was a feminist statement. I was aggressive out of a punk nature. I felt an intense and competitive need to be better and tougher than anything else in the room because I was asserting my girl power. I would joke about "having my balls strapped on" or "wanting to fuck her" because it was reclaiming male territory for female uses. I couldn't understand alot of female behavior for other personality reasons. Retrospectively, alot of my characteristics can also be explained (and perhaps more simply, Okkam's razor and all) by simply not falling into the gender categories of male or female.
This isn't about body dysphoria. I have a female body and I'm quite happy with that. Although I desire some masculine traits - I'm lifting weights to try and gain some breadth across my shoulders, to harden my body up into a more ropey scrawny form, and I wouldn't mind having a bit of an adam's apple either...[sigh] It's difficult having a male ego in a tiny little 5'0" frame, and I often forget just how small and girlie I really look. To console myself, I do have a penis that is bigger and badder than anyone else's, and it is superior because it never goes soft. ;> (Perhaps I'm a drag queen stuck in a woman's body!) This is more about a nonspecific mental processing style, where these unconventional thoughts stem from, how emotions are suspended. The fact that I, at times, consume more porn than some men I know, sit with my legs spread to take up lots of space, relish in belching out loud, comment on the size and consistency of breasts passing by, or completely fail in trying to explain the actions of other women, doesn't have much to do with the fact that I have breasts and shave my bikini line. I don't think that my cute-shy-girlie moments are a product of my biological sex either. I'm not interested in becoming a man. I'm interested in being a hyrbid or intermediate.
I've read some of the gender theory in my stroll through feminist literature. And I don't know the whole psychological plumbing of it, I have no idea where it really comes from, and I don't know where it goes either. I don't know any transsexual people firsthand so I can't learn from their transitions. But I completely agree with the assessment that gender, polarized between male and female, is just a set of attributes we stick to either word as a classification, and is completely unrelated to what your set of genitalia happen to look like. I like to think of it as the same thing as how we group people by their fashion or beliefs, as punk or goth or hippie or whatever. It doesn't go very far to really describe the *person* but tells you enough about their stance so you can get along. The impolite default is to assume that the masculinity or femininity of an individual is a direct function of their body parts. This is why it can feel frightening to consider yourself unconventionally gendered - a large slab of the people you encounter in a day assume you are XX or XY through and through, and when your personage doesn't quite match up with your appearance, then what?
So I don't feel that the male or female experience is limited to sex, or than one sex should have a monopoly on any attitudes or approaches to existing. I know this would make alot of old-school super-psychoanalyst feminists shriek because it's just not the same for someone with a penis to be a *woman*, they wouldn't menstruate, experience the constant fear of intrusive sexual violence, etc. etc. Whatever. As if guys don't meander about with a set of oppressive phobias of their own. Most importantly we're all human.
I'm trying to exist conscienciously as an androgynous human being. To look at, I don't think that makes all too much difference. I present myself as a girl to the world (most of the time). But consciously de-gendering gory assumptions, and trying to acknowledge my tendency to remain behaviourally between or on the ends of the poles of masculine and feminine have changed alot of perspectives for me. It's made it more difficult to relate to other people in some ways. (I live in small-town Alberta, okay? Where everybody is completely unchallenged in their gender views and very happy to stay that way!) Almost anybody I talk to I am alienated from in part by the opposing gender balance in my brain. There are a couple of exceptions, thank goodness. I get along best with people who are heavy on the genderless mental activities, and play with the full gender spectrum on everything else.
I've always suspected that I'm going to hit about thirty five and feel a need to gender-bend. I doubt that by then that the medical technology would be so refined as to allow me to switch sexes with any degree of realism (which would be the epitome of experiencing both genders to me) ... I could be wrong. It's a long way off and right now I'm too busy exploiting the power of my girlie body for ego's sake. Maybe I'm just a greedy little fuck who wants it all - to be female while I'm young and male when I'm not anymore, so that I could fall into the acceptable bracket of attractiveness for my entire lifespan. I'll know when I get there.
I am attracted to ambiguous sexuality. M2F transvestites, or just girlie bois, drive me crazy and then some. So do very masculine women, and people who don't seem to have a gender at all. There is definately a visual appeal going on - but I think the part I like best is the co-existence of the male and female experiences. I feel I am still a very awkward mix of co-existing fragments. I am consoled by the fact that our views of sex, gender, the relationships between them and the experiences of either are views that can age and refine with time. (Although there are a whole lot of people out there who've been on this planet a lot longer than I have and their concept of gender is still stuck in the four year old realm of "girls wear pink," expanded by "because the father, through his affection towards the feminine mother, encourages daughters to become feminine themselves in order to gain this same acceptance." Sounds incestuously functional to me, folks.)
More to come. As always. Thank God. (speaking of Jesus - what a great model of feminine masculinity, eh?)
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