Creating My Own Masculinity Pt 3
I have been thinking in reverse a bit to see if any of these questions apply to my journey and I would say yes to most of them. I do feel like I need to create my own masculinity, I fear being "outed" in the male world, I am still a feminist maybe more so now that I have perspective from both sides of the fence. Moving into another world has changed my perspective on many things about gender stereotypes and how they are perpetrated.
This is a snippet of an article I stumbled across while reading about gender. It outlines the way gender stereotypes hurt men, why men tend to not fight them the way women have through feminism and what we might do about it:
Let’s not kid ourselves here: men as well as women are limited by gender stereotypes. The idea of men as stupid and sex-obsessed is an enduring generalisation that is allowed to flourish in – dare I say it – a much more brazen way than the stereotypes about women, mainly because no man ever stands up and says: “Hey, that’s sexist and it offends me!” The problem is, while women are encouraged to reject the ludicrous ideas that are held about them, men are supposed to embrace them….
I wrote a little about this in my post Shopping for a New Myth. I was not entirely aware of the ways in which I am being perceived; not only is my appearance changing but so are the assumptions people are making about the way I think based on what they perceive my gender to be. I am slowly learning which behaviours are no longer acceptable if people perceive me as a man including: crying or showing other outward emotion in public, being overly friendly with children or teenaged girls, physical contact with men other than a handshake or pat on the shoulder. There are others that I am still trying to navigate and I am sure many will come as a surprise.
I remeber feeling trapped in a position where the gentleman sitting beside me somehow felt I would be complacent and perhaps even participate in his degredation and sexist remarks toward some women out of earshot. I wasn't sure what to do so sort of shrugged and nodded. Because my body is not yet at a place where I feel comfortable and confident I find I am less willing to stand up for what I might have before. I feel trapped in a place between man and woman unsure of how to assert equality, decency, and common courtesy in the face of assumptions that I will take part in sexist behaviours.
Working with women recently I noticed they never seem to stop and think about the message they are sending to their sons and nephews as well as husbands and co-workers when talking about what useless, unfocused, horny, deadbeat dad men are. And worse they poison their own daughters by teaching them to be afraid of men because they are perpetrators of the most heinous crimes. I wonder if I need to worry about getting maced if I happen to be following a woman through a parking garage late at night because my car is parked on the other side of hers...
If we are ever going to bridge the gender gap we all need to stand up against negativity whether it is related to gender, sexual orientation, religion, race, biology, mental capacity, weight or whatever. Listen closely to what comes out of your mouth and look around because you might be surprised who is listening.