I often wonder about gender. I wonder what the world would be like if we weren’t divided by gender identity into certain jobs, clothes, tasks at home, hobbies, interests, movies, TV shows, toys, colors, cars.
What if we were all just people and the only difference between the people was that some of them could have babies and some of them couldn’t?
Really, if you boil it all down, that’s the main difference between men and women. Well, that and body parts. But even the body parts are about 98 percent the same. We just have a couple of ones that perform different tasks. It’s so simple.
But it’s not that simple because we wear so many masks that define our gender.
So, what does it mean to be a woman?
One of the things that I think defines myself as a woman is the ability to bear a child and be a mother, even though not all women do, we have that ability.
But there are people who feel they are women who don’t have that ability.
For instance, on a recent trip to the grocery I encountered a transgender MTF (male to female). I’ve seen more transgendered people here in Austin than anywhere else in the world, but really, I haven’t seen that many in person.
I realize the world is changing its views on sexuality and gender, but still, I have to force myself not to stare. Not because I judge. I don’t know what it must feel like to wish desperately to be something that you’re not. I mean, sure, I have things about my body that I don’t like, but I don’t have any parts that I look at and think, “You don’t belong.” (Well, okay, I do tell that to my fupa, but it doesn’t listen. Bitch.)
But dang, I AM curious. I’m curious what it must feel like were born in the wrong body. And anyone who is bold enough to challenge societal norms has my respect. So, I try hard not to judge. We all have our trials and tribulations.
I will admit I have wondered what it would be like to be a man. But I don’t desperately desire to become one. In fact, I prefer being in this state of woman-ness. I like having breasts that perform various functions related to sex and nurturing a child. I adored being pregnant. I hold in great esteem and satisfaction the 19 1/2 hours I was in labor and bore a human being into the world. It’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for all the riches in the world even without the child to go with it. Labor, motherhood, sexual organs, these help define me as a woman. I honestly feel even more womanly than I did before I had Annika, even though there are parts of my body that feel less attractive, giving birth and nurturing a child with my body makes me more of a woman than I ever was before.
But this MTF, she feels like a woman. She will never bear children or go through labor. She may become a mother through adoption, but she could have done that as a man. Or, she could have become a parent through the old-fashioned way, but she would not have been a mother.
But it got me to thinking, our definition of being a woman, (and for that matter, a man) is changing.
The first step in outwardly showing the world what it means to be a certain type of person is to begin dressing like the sex you wish to be. Certain clothing mean certain things.
The MTF trans who I saw in the store was wearing a mini-skirt and high heeled espadrilles.
Shit, the last time I dressed like that Bill Clinton was in office. But yet, I am a woman. To that person, wearing a mini skirt and high heeled sandals makes her feel womanly. But being a woman is not just about the clothing.
It’s about the way you talk, walk, and feel, sexually.
So, what does it mean to be a woman?
Is being a woman how you dress, or walk, or talk, or feel, sexually?
I’ve known lots of women who dressed more like boys or men, who walked with a swagger, had a deep voice, sexually desired women, and not men. Some of them are lesbians and some of them are not. Some lesbians act like girls and some act like boys. But they are all women. So, are they really acting like boys? Maybe they are just acting like themselves. And who they are, is, women.
Another example: as I was leaving the grocery store I saw two women riding together on a scooter. My initial guess was that they were lesbians but they could have just been female friends or perhaps, sisters. It doesn’t even matter because it was a compilation of their dress, their stance, and their apparent partnership that made me notice them.
The driver was wearing big, sporty sunglasses, a scarf on her head, tank top, capris, her legs were covered in tattoos and she sat with a bold, wide stance. The passenger was wearing a pink and white helmet, striped T-shirt, shorts, and her shirt was hiked up, revealing her chubby back. They appealed to me on a very base level that I can’t exactly explain. They weren’t sexy, but they were hot.
I wasn’t sexually attracted to them. I just enjoy it when I see women who aren’t afraid to be who they are instead of hiding behind the societal definition of femininity.
And they were allllll woman.
There are so many types of women. Does gender identity even really matter that much? Why do we place such an emphasis on it when our kids are young? Do we really need to worry about what kind of clothes our kids choose to wear?
Annika is really into wearing dresses these days. She doesn’t give a shit that they are “girly.” She likes to twirl. That’s it. She likes them because they twirl. She also likes to wear running shoes with her dresses because she likes to run. Not very “ladylike.”
So, what does it mean to be a woman? How do you express being a woman to your daughters? Are we raising women or girls?
I want my daughter to grow up to be a woman. And being a real woman, to me, is someone who isn’t afraid to be herself. She can express her femininity, or her boyish charm. She can bear a child, or choose to baby her career. She can be sporty, stylish, mannish, feminine, whatever she chooses. She just needs the confidence to express it.
Now, that’s being a WO-man.