1.04.2011

Creating My Own Masculinity Pt 3

There are a few essential qualities I feel are necessary in creating my own masculinity. Not having been socialized as a boy I have missed out on a lot of the machismo and competitiveness I see inherent in the biological male. I was thinking today about the transgender folks on the same road as me headed in the opposite direction; the girls who were born into boy bodies. I wonder if on their journey they feel like they need to create their own femininity and if they are intimidated or enamoured with any of the female archetypes? Do they fear the place of women as it was created by men? Are they feminists now? Were they feminists before? Has existing in a woman's world changed their point of view about feminists or the feminist movement?

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.

1 comment:

Ąŕєуąή said...

hey there,

i just wanted to say i couldn't agree with you more about this whole stereotyping thing. i am pre-t, pre-op but intend to medically transition as soon as i can. i have already become aware of this horrible gender wars stuff and indeed, internalized misandry has caused me much grief and most likely delayed my realization that i was still the boy inside from my childhood after all these years.

letting go of harmful misandric thinking was and still is hard - my mother is one of those women you speak of who has worked consistently over the years to poison my mind against men, due to her own hurtful past, without considering that she contributed to her own life story with the men who hurt her. it saddens me that at her age she's so set in her ways i could not hope to change her mind. i have tentatively come out to her, only because she asked me point blank if i am a man, but i fear she won't believe it until my medical transition is in full swing. i shudder to think of what must be going through her mind at the prospect of having a son replace the daughter she taught her misandry to all these years. i wonder if she's afraid of me as a result. very interesting post, i enjoy reading your blog. thanks for bringing this topic up too, it seems to be one us guys don't touch on a lot, though we should.

regards,

Rey