Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Aint I a Woman?

Okay, so seriously. No, really. Think about this. What is it that makes you the gender you are? What made me a girl for all those difficult years, and then a woman, and now a…what? I started with the “requisite” arsenal of biological determination, the vulva (as far as I know anyway – - now we’re finding all kinds of things out about what we’re all born with, and what happened -and still does I’m sure- to parts that didn’t conform to social standards of gender). Women in particular get riled about genital mutilation in Africa and other countries, and we should, right? But what about the infants in the supreme country of the U S of A, whose genitals were lopped off, medically mutated, whose genital presentation was “different,” for whom doctors decided their gender because the doctors weren’t comfortable with the infants’ tiny danglers? Hold me closer Tiny Dangler. It blows my mind that children were forced into a genital decision, had to endure repeated and horrible surgeries to correct blocked urethras, remove nascent ovaries or testes, sculpt whatever they had into something that “looked like” the sex the medical industry and their parents felt might be “comfortable” for them. I understand that we were all capitulating to social pressure, that parents didn’t want their kids to endure the teasing, ostracizing, perhaps even violence that can come from being “different.”

I know women whose vaginas can’t be penetrated, have atrophied, were surgically removed, who have little or no breasts. Are they still women? I have seen men whose junk mine is beginning to rival, with tiny D battery pokers and wee little labial nutsacks. Are they less than men?

Some transpeople posit that what’s beneath the skirt or kilt makes neither the man nor woman. Science now can argue that the brain is the seat, rather than your seat being the seat, of your gender. So what is it that’s in the brain that distinguishes us?

Two of my closest friends here in tiny D battery Carrboro are chicks. When I get close to people, I begin to blur out gender- like I don’t think of Jessica and Judith as chicks – they’re just THEM. Sure, they have cute hair and wear girly things, but I know dudes that do that. If I asked Jessica what she thought made her a woman she would likely respond with “Did you know a human being grew in my uterus and then sprang out of my vagina?!” – a stunning visual she is fond of sharing for any circumstance, much less the deconstruction of gender.

Judith is a beautiful woman. Clearly feminine in presentation. She also has more balls than most of the guys I know. I call her “the hot knife through my buttery opacity” because she GETS TO IT. She doesn’t exhibit what I think of as a female brain thing – that 360 degrees of processing everyone’s feelings, scanning energetically, particularly as relates to one’s own. She’s a fucking mental ninja. If my thinking is an inefficient, in-the-red beauty salon, she would be Tabitha from Shear Genius, dressed like a John Galliano version of Pinhead in Hellraiser. There would be some serious remodeling happening, is what I’m saying to you.

During the opening of an NA meeting their literature reads “you are an addict when you say you are.”* Am I simply the gender I say I am? What on god’s green earth makes me think I’m not a woman? I used to see my masculinity as intrinsic to my sexuality, that my soi-disant “masculine” behaviors were a parcel of my attraction to women; they didn’t seem to exist outside of my perhaps fetishized urges for chivalry, obeisance. But if that were true, the parameters of lesbianism would be sufficient for the likes of me. And they are not. Lesbianism does not explain why, at age 3, I was obsessed with shaving my face (see adorable photo at right). Lesbianism doesn’t fully explain why I was creating moustaches to stick on under my nose, pretending to don a suit, and jauntily strolling ala Dick Van Dyke** in Mary Poppins, replete with boater and cane***; appreciates but does not enlighten as to why wearing dresses of any era makes me break out in cold sweat; and finally, lesbianism does not begin to understand the isolation and even panic I have experienced, in a room full of “other women.” I don’t fit in, y’all!

I’ll end on this happy, uplifting note. My fat is finally migrating. The body looks markedly (to me, who gets to see me nakedy) different than it did 4 months ago. I only wish the lard was tinted, so I could see exactly where it was traveling to. Given the fact that the testosterone has yet to make a substantive difference where it COUNTS, meaning my ALGEBRA CLASS, I’m inclined to believe it’s all making its gloppity hijira to my brain.

*to which everyone in my homegroup in Austin would respond “YOU ARE!”

**DICK. Van. DYKE. Snicker!

***Lesbianism certainly doesn't explain this behavior and I cannot think for the life of me WHAT DOES. I can only share that in my mind's eye, I'm not only male, I'm exceedingly dapper.

1 comment:

  1. WOO HOO. I totally love this post. I feel like I can relate; which is what's really important, right? Not so much to feel like a man, as to not so much feeling like a woman. I realize I look pretty woman(y). However, I don't feel much like a man OR a woman. I just feel like Liz. I feel like my list of masculine traits and feminine traits are nearly equal. I just happen to have breasts, and a vagina.