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finchthewyrmling

Gender is a mess

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How do you define or describe it?? To me, it's just a big ball of stuff and I am just floating around being not-stuff somewhere else. That's pretty much my only frame of reference.

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Gender makes no damn sense to me either. 

 

How are you supposed to 'feel female' or 'feel male'?

 

I sure as hell don't feel female, despite wearing a female body (which I really dislike).  And I don't feel male either.  I don't feel like I'm part one gender and part another.  I just don't feel anything at all, gender-wise. 

 

Yet I *do* know people who seem to be 100% comfortable, 100% aligned with the social expectations of their gender.  I find that flummoxing. 

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To my knowledge you can't 'feel gender'. You only notice it when something is amiss. When your body doesn't match it. Or when people aren't treating you in alignment with your gender.

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In my impression, gender is how one wants (or is socially conditioned) to present themselves, the 'mask' that they don't want to take off in the theater of life (unless they're genderfluid - changing 'masks' - or agender - dismissing the need to wear a 'mask' at all).

 

I'd prefer to distinguish such 'genders' as 'people with cute/simple hair', 'people who do/don't beautify' etc. instead of '(fe)males' if it didn't sound weird.

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After hanging around the AVEN gender subforum for so long, I've come up with what I've been told is a reasonably serviceable metaphor for gender: http://www.asexuality.org/en/topic/137367-trying-to-understand-genderqueer-through-bicultural-identity/#entry1061729474

 

Of course, just because I have a metaphor for it doesn't mean I actually understand it, given that I don't actually have a gender either. 

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What is a gender? *Tosses glass of ice cream to shatter on the ground* A miserable little pile of secrets! But enough memes...

 

Really though I don't get what gender is aside from gender stereotypes/roles either. I think that there are some gendered people who consciously experience gender (like men who actively strive to be and feel pride in being "manly"), but there are other gendered people for whom gender is subconscious unless brought to their attention by discomfort at being treated or bodied in a way contradicting their gender. I can't recall having an experience like that so I can't be sure, but I would guess I am probably in the latter of those. I don't feel actively not male, so I figure it makes sense to stick with male unless I have a reason otherwise.

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"kind of neither, kind of both, kind of fluid, not really female but also not exactly male...at least not all the time but I generally lean toward that end of the spectrum even though I still like a lot of feminine stuff"

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16 hours ago, EveryZig said:

Really though I don't get what gender is aside from gender stereotypes/roles either. I think that there are some gendered people who consciously experience gender (like men who actively strive to be and feel pride in being "manly"), but there are other gendered people for whom gender is subconscious unless brought to their attention by discomfort at being treated or bodied in a way contradicting their gender. I can't recall having an experience like that so I can't be sure, but I would guess I am probably in the latter of those. I don't feel actively not male, so I figure it makes sense to stick with male unless I have a reason otherwise.

 

I feel the same way.  I don't get gender at all and have never understood how people know their gender in a personal (as opposed to socially determined) way.  I feel zero connection to any gender identity or label and find it completely irrelevant to my life. I go with female 'cause that's how everyone else sees me, and I don't have enough of a reason to go to the trouble of contradicting it.   So I guess I'm "female" out of laziness.  

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Gender is:

 

1. how you parse yourself according to gendered power structures

2. a social construct

3. intersected heavily with gender expression

4. incredibly nuanced

5. a way of seeing others and interacting with the world

6. how you want to be treated

7. racialized

8. intersected heavily with sexuality (i.e. most female-aligned AFAB nonbinary people are either lesbians, bisexual, or aroace; most male-aligned AMAB nonbinary people are either gay, bisexual, or aroace; gay and bi people are more likely to be gnc than straight people)

9. partly dependent on socialization (not in the TERFy "trans women have male socialization!!!" way but...eh, it's hard to explain to someone who isn't a sociology nerd)

10. partly dependent on social norms

11. partly dependent on social perception, and how one desires to be socially perceived

12. intersected heavily with disability

13. intersected heavily with intersex status

14. able to be influenced by trauma

15. able to be influenced by dysphoria

16. informed by how one feels they belong with women, men, both, neither, etc.

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6 hours ago, morallygayro said:

2. a social construct

I think you're conflating gender with gender expression. You even said it yourself, "Gender is intersected heavily with gender expression", but that doesn't mean they are the same. I feel like gender expression is a social construct, but not gender itself. While I don't feel like I have a gender myself, it would be silly for me not to recognise that there are people who are heavily gendered, and that's even without societal pressures.

 

6 hours ago, morallygayro said:

8. intersected heavily with sexuality (i.e. most female-aligned AFAB nonbinary people are either lesbians, bisexual, or aroace; most male-aligned AMAB nonbinary people are either gay, bisexual, or aroace; gay and bi people are more likely to be gnc than straight people)

I'm not sure I agree with you on this. I feel like gender expression is intersected heavily with sexuality, but not gender itself. I've been trying to pin down my gender for much longer than my sexuality (I still don't know what it is). But, I'm not ruling out the possibility that my asexuality has influenced my gender.

 

6 hours ago, morallygayro said:

10. partly dependent on social norms

Again, I feel like this is more to do with gender expression rather than gender itself. Of course, there may be people whose gender influenced by societal pressures and norms, but that doesn't mean it's true for all people.

 

6 hours ago, morallygayro said:

15. able to be influenced by dysphoria

I feel like you've got this round the wrong way. To me, it seems like gender influences dysphoria (not that all trans people experience dysphoria). Of course, that's just me.

 

Every other point I agree with.

 

As for myself, I don't identify with any gender, so all of my knowledge of gender was come from other sources. @morallygayro if you at all disagree with my points (which is fair enough considering what I just said) don't hesitate to let me know. There is a high chance that I'm just flat out wrong, and I can accept that.

 

 

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9 hours ago, morallygayro said:

8. intersected heavily with sexuality (i.e. most female-aligned AFAB nonbinary people are either lesbians, bisexual, or aroace; most male-aligned AMAB nonbinary people are either gay, bisexual, or aroace; gay and bi people are more likely to be gnc than straight people)

When I was reading this one I was thinking it would be really convenient if non-binary people were only these sexualities, because it would make my sexuality so much easier to figure out xD

 

 

2 hours ago, Zemaddog said:
9 hours ago, morallygayro said:

8. intersected heavily with sexuality (i.e. most female-aligned AFAB nonbinary people are either lesbians, bisexual, or aroace; most male-aligned AMAB nonbinary people are either gay, bisexual, or aroace; gay and bi people are more likely to be gnc than straight people)

I'm not sure I agree with you on this. I feel like gender expression is intersected heavily with sexuality, but not gender itself. I've been trying to pin down my gender for much longer than my sexuality (I still don't know what it is). But, I'm not ruling out the possibility that my asexuality has influenced my gender.

I believe what morallygayro is talking about is the high number of non-binarys who are also minority sexualities, where as you are thinking about gender and sexuality influencing each other. So I think you're not agreeing because you are thinking about the term 'intersect' in a different way.

 

 

2 hours ago, Zemaddog said:
9 hours ago, morallygayro said:

10. partly dependent on social norms

Again, I feel like this is more to do with gender expression rather than gender itself. Of course, there may be people whose gender influenced by societal pressures and norms, but that doesn't mean it's true for all people.

The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that not all cultures see gender in the same way or have the same amount of genders. So one of the things that social norms could influence is what genders you believe exist and the framework you experience it through.

 

2 hours ago, Zemaddog said:
9 hours ago, morallygayro said:

15. able to be influenced by dysphoria

I feel like you've got this round the wrong way. To me, it seems like gender influences dysphoria (not that all trans people experience dysphoria). Of course, that's just me.

I'm actually curious about this too, so hopefully @morallygayro will be able to explain this one to us :)

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4 hours ago, RedNeko said:

When I was reading this one I was thinking it would be really convenient if non-binary people were only these sexualities, because it would make my sexuality so much easier to figure out xD

 

 

I believe what morallygayro is talking about is the high number of non-binarys who are also minority sexualities, where as you are thinking about gender and sexuality influencing each other. So I think you're not agreeing because you are thinking about the term 'intersect' in a different way.

 

 

The first thing that comes to mind is the fact that not all cultures see gender in the same way or have the same amount of genders. So one of the things that social norms could influence is what genders you believe exist and the framework you experience it through.

 

I'm actually curious about this too, so hopefully @morallygayro will be able to explain this one to us :)

I said, as a dysphoric trans person whose dysphoria has shaped his gender, that gender CAN be influenced by dysphoria. It isn't necessarily. Also, it can be influenced by sexuality because both attraction and bodies are societally gendered and influence the way we see ourselves.

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1 hour ago, morallygayro said:

I said, as a dysphoric trans person whose dysphoria has shaped his gender, that gender CAN be influenced by dysphoria. It isn't necessarily.

Fair enough.

 

1 hour ago, morallygayro said:

Also, it can be influenced by sexuality because both attraction and bodies are societally gendered and influence the way we see ourselves.

Just the way you worded it made it seem like it was always true, which I would argue that it isn't. I see no issue with someone saying that their sexuality has influenced how they see themselves in terms of their gender (unless of course they use this as an excuse to spread homophobic and transphobic bullshit. This only really happens with some straight cisgender people though).

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I've often wondered... what does being a gender feel like?

 

When I was little, and wanted to play in the mud and climb trees, and my parents were expecting me to wear little pink dresses and grow my hair long... I was like "why? that's not practical at all for what I want to do"... Thankfully they gave up on that relatively quickly, but then they started to think that I thought I was a boy... so, me not knowing any better, I thought "maybe I am". But that didn't really feel right either. People always called me a tomboy. I didn't really like that, but I figured that's just the way it is, or whatever.

 

In retrospect, I should be really thankful that they didn't try to push the issue any more than they did. They just kind of accepted me the way I am... they did actually want a boy, after all. xD

 

Over time, I've come to accept my body the way it is, and the fact that I have female parts, and people IRL referring to me as she, and I grew weary of "correcting" people on the internet calling me he... because I really don't care. I was really only "correcting" them for their sake, because they'd feel really bad if they found out I had female parts later on. :rofl:

 

The floating not-stuff ball analogy sounds kind of like how I feel about the whole thing, I guess.

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For the biggest part of my life I haven't even considered myself human because of all those concepts that were "the normal thing". 
I never really understood gender, I always thought it was more like personality traits associated to opposite poles, kinda like how you might describe earth as the opposite of how you would describe water. But like every other concept that I had to find a hypothetical explanation for, its a very shaky explanation and I am not convinced by it myself.

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10 hours ago, SoulWolf said:

I've often wondered... what does being a gender feel like?

 

When I was little, and wanted to play in the mud and climb trees, and my parents were expecting me to wear little pink dresses and grow my hair long... I was like "why? that's not practical at all for what I want to do"... Thankfully they gave up on that relatively quickly, but then they started to think that I thought I was a boy... so, me not knowing any better, I thought "maybe I am". But that didn't really feel right either. People always called me a tomboy. I didn't really like that, but I figured that's just the way it is, or whatever.

 

Would the term "gender queer" work better for you?

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9 hours ago, Mark said:

 

Would the term "gender queer" work better for you?

It makes sense in my case. But I don't think I'd use it in conversation with people in general, though... it's easier to just stick with "I'm female" than it is to try and explain things like that to people.

 

The only real reason (I think) that gender is a mess or confusing at all, is because of people's assumptions that people with certain parts are supposed to be a certain way. Gender isn't actually a real thing, and doesn't really exist, it's only a concept that people have invented because of their assumptions... Or am I missing something?

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53 minutes ago, SoulWolf said:

The only real reason (I think) that gender is a mess or confusing at all, is because of people's assumptions that people with certain parts are supposed to be a certain way. Gender isn't actually a real thing, and doesn't really exist, it's only a concept that people have invented because of their assumptions... Or am I missing something?

The fact that something is made up doesn't mean that it isn't real. For instance, money only physically exists as bits of paper or metal, but a lot of people care about it very much, which leads to it having very real effects on people's psychological states and society at large. I think gender is similar in that it is built largely by societal pressures and assumptions, but once you have it its as real as sadness.

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Hi, everyone!

I'm collecting video interviews from non-straight women and transgender and non-binary people on their relationships with their femininity.

If anyone is alright with me interviewing them, please let me know! If you know anyone who might be alright with being interviewed, put them in contact with me!

I'm going to be asking everyone questions like "how does wearing a dress make you feel?" and "do you like being described as feminine?" and I plan on asking questions specific to people's orientations and gender identities as well, such as "how do you respond when people say 'you don't look like a lesbian'?" or "as a trans-girl, do you feel obligated to wear make up to indicate to other people that you are a girl?" or "do people expect you to be available to men as a woman, even after you tell them you are aromantic?"

I'm going to edit all the interviews I get into one cohesive film and then show it in a theater at my school for a suggested donation of about a dollar. I'm going to donate all proceeds to the Urgent Action Fund for Women's Rights, an organization that grants money to activists for women's rights and LGBT+ rights, especially their intersection.

I need to have this finished by March of 2019.

Thanks for your time!

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