So as you know, I have been experimenting with different modes of gender expression since I came-out a few months ago. I have done this, first and foremost, as a simple celebration of my new-found freedom to do this, but also as a means of self-discovery: specifically, having finally accepted that I was a woman, I wanted to find out what kind of a woman I was, and with what presentation I was most comfortable.
Well, I have been doing this for a while now; I have collected a great many data points, and while the verdict is not yet in, they are thus far painting a somewhat surprising picture of my identity. More particularly, it turns out that I am, for lack of a better word, much girlier than I had initially expected. Indeed (while it would be fallacious to believe that all thoughts and interests could be mapped neatly onto a simple stereotypical masculine-stereotypical feminine axis), I think that I might, actually, be something of a girly-girl.
I assure you, it comes as as much of a shock to me as to anyone; indeed, it probably comes as more of a shock to me. When I first started the transition, it was my expectation that I would essentially just flip myself about the origin of the gender axis–going from living as a more-or-less gender-neutral man to living as a more-or-less gender-neutral woman. This has not proved the case; as I spelunked further and further into the depths of that which society deems as ‘feminine,’ I gradually realized that, contrary to my expectations, I was never really becoming uncomfortable. Indeed, I actually like being ‘girly’ quite a bit.
Now, of course, people can say what they want about being stereotypical, or even about ‘reifying the gender binary*,’ but so help me I like feeling pretty! I like trying-out different fashions, and styling my hair different ways, and wearing make-up, and matching colours. I’m even comfortable wearing pink under certain circumstances. And I love skirts to the point that I would probably never wear pants again if it weren’t for the weather. This afternoon, I actually had a conversation, with another woman, about the comparative aesthetics of different flower types, and I found myself really getting in to it in a way I was not expecting.
Of course, I might point, out on the other hand, that I also really like mathematical physics, science fiction, movies in which things blow-up, and swearing whenever the fuck I fucking please– all of which are, of course, stereotypically masculine. In view of these facts, I suspect then, that the real message to take away from this whole thing is that the gendering of different likes and interests is in fact completely arbitrary.
I am glad, however, that I now have the courage to explore them all.
*As if it’s my responsibility to mortgage my happiness and live my life in accordance with the ideals of people who have always had the freedom that I am seeking.