Saturday, July 23, 2011

I woke up as a man today.

This morning at 7 AM, the alarm went off, I woke up, and I was a man.

Oh, no penis or anything like that. All the effects of that second X chromosome were in place as usual. But as I wiped the sleep-crusties out of my eyes and kissed Rowdy good morning, I was presenting as a man. I wasn't wearing makeup. My hair wasn't blow-dried nor ironed. I hadn't shaved my legs or armpits. Still foggy with sleep, I wasn't talking in the high lady-voice I can put on, but in my normal much deeper and much less sing-songy tones. I scratched and farted like a man. I even--being still sticky from sweat from the current heat wave--smelled like a man.

Butt-ass naked and half-asleep, in a completely "default" state for a human being, I was about as masculine as a person can get. Sure, I was a shower, some deodorant, and some clothing away from performing tidy masculinity--but that's beside the point. A man rolling disheveled out of bed is in no way feminine.

I suppose a nightie and girlier mannerisms would've helped a little, but there's no way to roll out of bed fully feminine. Femininity is work! After you get up, you gotta put your lady on, or you'll look like a man all day! I haven't done it in a while, but it takes me about eight products and sixty minutes to be fully not a man.

This is a major problem I have with gender. On one hand, I want to value masculinity and femininity equally--every form of gender expression is equally good, right? On the other hand, I often feel like certain aspects of femininity are impositions or hindrances. High heels and men's shoes may be equally valid fashion statements; but if I've gotta run somewhere (or, in my case, walk), I know which one I'd choose. It seems to me that a lot of expressions of femininity are inconvenient, labor and money intensive, or submissive. The fashions and mannerisms expected of women are generally more sexualizing and less useful than the ones expected of men.

As I sometimes do, I'm ending this post still unresolved. I don't want to be one of those feminists--the ones who tell women that if they wear makeup, they're supporting the patriarchy, so their individual choices are invalid. But I can't shake the feeling that some individual choices are a lot more--inconvenient,if nothing else--than others, and those are the ones women are traditionally encouraged to make.

In a world where many women have grown up believing that they shouldn't leave the house without putting their face on, how do I reconcile "it's sexist that women are expected to put on makeup" with "it's a woman's choice if she wants to put on makeup"?

EDIT: This post offended a lot of people. See this for my amendment/apology, and this for my last word (for today) on gender identity.


  1. I wear makeup when I want to, and I don't when I don't. I find that the older I get, the less I care about what someone in the grocery store thinks about my appearance. As long as I am dressed and clean, who gives a shit? :)

  2. There's a more to this whole Being A Man thing than being not feminine.

  3. I think you forgot boobs. Yes, boobs aren't the be all and end all of being feminine, but even when I get up in the morning with my hair funny, I'm still not going to pass as a dude by many people's standards. :P

    "In a world where many women have grown up believing that they shouldn't leave the house without putting their face on, how do I reconcile 'it's sexist that women are expected to put on makeup' with 'it's a woman's choice if she wants to put on makeup'?"

    I think it's really the only thing you can say without tromping on someone else's gender expression. There are people, male and female, who genuinely enjoy the intensive process involved in female beauty (and make YouTube videos about it!) You can work toward making "putting a face on" more an option than a defalut, but that's about it.

  4. I agree with the above, the default state shouldn't be masculine. "Woman" isn't just performative action. I would say performative femininity is equivalent to performative masculinity-- eg, weight-lifting and barbeque, and obsession with pro sports. A woman can do those things just like a man can shop, cook, and act peppy, but you don't wake up grilling hamburgers anymore than you wake up caring about your clothing(and both actions are equally value-neutral).
    I don't think men can go out just 'being themselves' and still expect to meet the expectations of performative masculinity, though the penalties for not performing at all might be less severe.
    I mostly don't perform either gender role-- sometimes I don't feel like a woman as our society defines it, but I never feel like a man.

  5. Hello, I'm a new reader

    Have you ever read "Gender trouble: feminism and the subversion of identity" by Judith Butler? You can look it up on google books. It's a very interesting read even if you end up thinking she goes too far for your tastes. She goes as far as saying that gender is nothing but a social construct. Even the obvious physical differences are sometimes not so obvious if you're looking at a "woman" dressed as a "man." Some women really just look very masculine and some men appear very feminine.

  6. In my experience, men don't expect women to wear makeup so much as other women do. A lot of women I know who are of the 'I woke up as a man today' variety tend to have more male friends and more female enemies.

    I think higher up the social level more men might care about this sort of thing, but it seems to be something that women judge about women at all levels.

    Sexism to me implies that it is something one sex does to the other - I don't think this is so much the case with the issue of makeup and high heels.

  7. Being masculine is not the same thing as being a man, nor is femininity the same thing as being a woman. You don't have to perform femininity to be a woman. You don't have to perform masculinity to be a man. There are plenty of women who don't shave, don't blow-dry or iron their hair, don't wear make-up, don't wear "feminine" clothes or shoes, who have pretty flat chests, and maybe even a little facial hair, and they are still women. You don't stop being a woman purely because you stop giving a shit about being feminine.

  8. "how do I reconcile "it's sexist that women are expected to put on makeup" with "it's a woman's choice if she wants to put on makeup"? "

    Just like that, I think.

    Or, more concretely...I think it comes down to this: The expectation that women need to wear makeup to be properly womanly (whatever the hell that is) is indeed sexist, part of the patriarchy, what have you. But policing someone's gender expression is bad no matter what you're intentions are.

    It's sort of a hard line to walk, but I don't think the solution is to say "don't wear makeup," it's to say "maybe critically evaluate why you wear makeup."

    I think about this on a semi-regular basis, because I am very comfortable performing femininity in a lot of ways. I like dresses, I like jewelry. I'm pretty sure my liking of those things was mostly socialized into me from a very young age, but that doesn't mean I don't genuinely like them. If the Powers That Be declared it was not allowed for a feminist woman to wear dresses and do other stereotypically feminine things, I would still look at them longingly in shop windows, and probably feel like someone was forcing me to perform a gender I was not comfortable with.

    And again, despite all of this, I am aware that my genuine liking of these things probably ultimately stems from some social structures that are not so nice. But still, I think that the policing is bad regardless of whether you are saying "you need to wear that to be pretty and FEMININE" or "you should not EVER wear that because it supports the patriarchy!"

  9. I'm a big make-up wearer, but it's because without at least some concealer and foundation I have soooo many blemishes. And I'm no longer a teenager to get away with these things... I'm glad that it is acceptable for me to wear makeup to hide these flaws, while men are generally frowned upon for wearing makeup.

    On the other hand, why do I feel so pressured to look perfect when I walk outside? The people I care about don't actually care about my acne and scarring, why should the opinions of strangers matter?

    And... Well, I like makeup. My favourite makeup artists on youtube tend to be male, because they tend to do way more out there and interesting styles that aren't merely covering percieved flaws. I guess most men don't analyse their face as harshly as most women do.

  10. 1) "it's sexist that women are expected to put on makeup"
    2)"it's a woman's choice if she wants to put on makeup"?

    I don't see these two statements conflicting with each other. One has to do with what other people expect from a woman, the other has to do with what she chooses for herself. Even in a world that didn't expect women to wear makeup, the first statement would still be true, just irrelevant.

    I was going to say something intelligent about a man choosing to wear makeup, but my mind keeps wandering to naughty thoughts of Christian Kane in eyeliner. Umm... yay feminism for making it possible for a television character to own a blowdryer and a penis and still punch people hard in the face?

  11. Although it may be true and valid for you, I object to your equation of "default state of human being" with masculine. Dividing ways of being human into masculine or feminine only perpetuates the kyriarchy that says "if you wear makeup you're a girl" and "if you scratch yourself unapologetically you're a man". I scratch myself AND I wear makeup, and I know men who do the same. Although it currently is, I don't think it should be coded that way.

    I don't want to be coded as masculine because I haven't shaved, haven't got any products on, never wear high heels and fart unapologetically. The idea that these are "man things" has been intensely destructive to me all my life as people policed my way of being a woman and made me feel like I couldn't be myself and identify as a bisexual cis woman.

    I'm not sure the best solution is to "value masculinity and femininity equally" because that still enforces the gender binary that prescribes certain modes of behavior to men and to women that MAY be desired by some of them, but is equally not desired by some of them.

  12. I think a big unspoken part of this argument is "Whose standards of masculine/feminine are we using?" 'Cuz there's at least 3 here: the visual cues most people in the US agree mean "masculine" or "feminine"; the Cosmo version that Holly seems to be particularly snarking at (women don't fart!); and the genderqueer version, which is pretty much "Do whatever the heck you like, your gender is what you say it is".

  13. You know, I refuse to accept that "default" is masculine/male. That way of thinking just makes me feel really sad and shamed for being femme-y. I roll out of bed the same exact way you do (no makeup, no hairstyle, occassionally smelly, wearing an old soccer jersey, etc.), but I don't feel masculine when I do that. I don't feel particularly feminine, either, I guess - I feel neutral about gender performativity? But still a WOMAN. (Cis-gendered female here.) I mean, I don't feel like a man when I'm dirty. I feel like a dirty woman. And I don't really feel a need to "put [my] lady on" every goddamn day - I'm a woman whether I present as extremely feminine (which I do sometimes) or not (which I do most of the time).

    I don't know, am I confused? Am I missing the point? Doesn't performing masculinity take work (not as much work as femininity, granted, but it DOES take effort, and there's plenty of masculinity gender policing of men by other men, and consequences for failing to live up to masculine "standards")?

    I guess I'm coming up with a difference between gender performativity (what you describe: smelling nice [ugh, can that one please be neutral?], makeup, high heels, dresses) and gender identity (I feel like a man/woman). For me, those two things are mostly separate. Which is why men sometimes like to wear high heels and women sometimes like to... idk, punch things, you know?

    AHHHHH IDK. I'm just rambling to try and figure out why I reacted so negatively to this post! I don't know! I'm truly sorry if this offends anyone, I'm just trying to articulate my own experience of gender.

  14. I think this is a huge issue of slippage between masculine/feminine and male/female, and by that I don't mean that I think you're confusing the terms. I think that masculine/feminine includes the idea that they are the same as male/female even though they aren't. In a way it's impossible to really be masculine or feminine if you don't believe it's right for you - that's drag, and it's all about irony. I agree that you don't roll out of bed feminine, because you have to always be doing doing it for it to be there. But don't believe femininity's hype that it's the only facet of gender identity. I think this includes masculinity too - that's why people have to go to so much trouble to do whatever it is they do to little boys to point them in the "right direction."

    Have you ever read "Gender trouble: feminism and the subversion of identity" by Judith Butler?

    My inner undergrad is moaning in pain. I'll summarize it: Gender is a copy of which there is no original. I don't have to make my book intelligible, if you were really smart you could understand this meandering horror.

  15. Make up often isn't a choice for women-- to look professional, especially in a PR context, a woman needs to wear make up.

    Having said that, I agree with the anon commentator above that being sweaty/smelly/make up and high heel-less doesn't make me feel like less of a woman: I feel gross, sure, or maybe like I should be able to walk in high heels because so many other people manage it well, but only in the sense that lots of other people ride bikes one-handed and I can't do that either. None of those things are, for me, related to my gender identity.

  16. I don't see the conflict in your statements, either. There are lots of things I choose to do on my own time, in my own way, but I rebel when they're "expected" or someone tries to make me feel obligated to do them.

  17. I do like the point you're making here, but I am going to go into criticism mode, because there is something here that really bothers me. What you're really saying is that you woke up masculine today; that the way you looked when you got up fits into masculine gender expectations rather than feminine ones. That's not the same as "I woke up as a man today." (trans man here) I assume your word choice was to show the idiocy of assuming that masculinity and femininity automatically mean male and female, but then you didn't really make that point. You focused more on the disparities between what women have to do to be considered "feminine" and what men have to do to be considered "masculine." Since you were talking about masculinity and femininity, bringing "man" and "woman" into it felt like you were agreeing with the conflation of the two. It ended up sounding like you were agreeing that masculinity is for men and femininity is for women, which I know isn't the point you were actually trying to make. Again, I did like the point you were trying to make. I just found it frustrating as a trans person to see male and female boiled down to "masculine" and "feminine" in a blog that does make an incredible effort to be trans-supportive.

  18. This is an interesting take. I wake up unshaven, farty, smelly, scratchy, and i have never woken up as a man. Or masculine. I wake up as a woman. I would say I wake up feminine, even without putting on the trappings of femininity.

    I usually leave the house without makeup on. I don't need the makeup or clothes to be feminine.

    So I would like to hear more about Holly on why she felt like a man. The post sounds to me like masculine is Holly's default, and like fighting it is a burden, and I'd like to hear more about that, about what happens when Holly makes the choice not to fight the default.

  19. I apologize if this insults you, but feminity is not that much work for everyone. It's that much work if you want to look perfect, but I get up looking and acting reasonably female and have to try to be masculine. I agree with the main point of your post, but not that everyone's default is masculine.

  20. I think the comments imply the difference well but do not make it fully explicit yet: It's all a choice thing.

    You can say that it's sexist to expect makeup. That implies that the choice is someone else's to make as to whether you have it on. When you respect someone else's choice to wear makeup, well, that's their choice about their body.

    Choice is and has always been the major issue with these sorts of decisions. It's what separates BDSM from abuse, what separates polyamory from infidelity. Take away the choice, and suddenly, it's not so fun.

  21. This is not a post I'm going to defend, because.... well, I didn't have my head completely together when I was writing it, and I do think I probably made some of my subjective experience too universal.

    So the criticisms people are putting forth are valid, and pretty much all I can say is I gotta write more better next time.

  22. I feel like there is a lot of mixing of terms, both in Holly's posts and in the comments. AFAIK, "female", "feminine", and "woman/girl/butch/other gender expressions" are three different things. Someone often feels like all three apply to them, but not always. I may be behind on the academic usage of the terms, but IIRC:

    I always wake up female. As Holly said, that extra X chromosome (and hormone levels, etc.) keeps doing its thing. The terms "female" and "male" for me refer to biological characteristics. For me, this is really clear cut, but this might be because my genitalia, hormones, and chromosomes all line up in the "female" direction. I might not feel that femaleness/maleness was so clearcut if I were, say, intersexed.

    To me, femininity is something I have to perform, something I intensely dislike, but something I will expect and praise in others if that's their thing. Femme is totally awesome! Just not for me personally. For me, "femininity" (and "masculinity") is the performance aspect of gender -- I think of it as everything stereotypical of the gender. Masculine men like football and trucks. Feminine women like makeup and dresses. That sort of thing. I am quite happy and secure in the knowledge that I don't feel feminine and intensely dislike feeling feminine, except for rare occasions.

    The gender terms like "woman", "man" and "boy", "girl", "agender", "transgender" (as a distict gender from "woman/man", which not all transpeople identify as), "butch", etc. are in my opinion the really interesting ones. I don't by default feel like a woman, which is something I've been thinking more about lately. It's not because I don't like being feminine. After all, everyone knows that women come in all flavors, as do men, and that you shouldn't have to grunt and enjoy football in order to get your man card. So I should be able to feel like a woman. But I don't. This is strange.

    My impression of what Holly has been mulling over the past couple of days is that she feels something of the sort -- not only does she not feel feminine, but she also doesn't feel strongly like a woman. I find this an interesting question, but so many of the comments and personal anecdotes are along the lines of "I feel feel like a woman because I <3 pink!", which is mixing up womanness and femininity in my mind. This stupidly long comment is to say that I am finding the discussion hard to follow because we are all using the words "female", "woman", and "feminine", but we're using them to refer to different things.

    I'd appreciate being corrected if I'm wrong, but I'd also appreciate perhaps a terminology post, so that we can all use the same definitions. =/

  23. Your description makes it sound like the default human is male.

    If a woman can get out of bed smelly and unshaved and a man can get out of bed smelly and unshaved, why does the woman turn in to a man? Why doesn't the man turn into a woman?

  24. I dunno...unless I'm working where I have to be sort of "formal", I never wear makeup and I wear like, baggy shorts and just run a comb through my hair and put it in a ponytail. It's no effort at all. I also fart and belch with the best of them. I mean, men have to spiffy up for work and stuff too - I would *hate* having to wear a tie, for example. They may not wear makeup, but even then - the makeup I wear is minimal. It's probably not any more effort than shaving.

    But that doesn't mean that when I wake up in the morning disheveled and make-upless I'm not a woman!

  25. I'm going to buck both the trend of the comments and the trend of my commenting history.

    Holly, if you roll out of bed and feel like your default state is masculine... maybe that says something more about you than about society's interpretation of gender roles.


  26. Whoops. That last comment (11:53AM) was mine.

  27. holly, your past posts on your gender identity have made me feel that we're on very similar paths, and i think maybe what you meant to articulate is that you woke up neutral this morning; unfortunately, the way our society has constructed masculinity and femininity is such that neutral automatically tends towards masculine. femininity is much more complex & layered to perform in terms of the body, whereas performative masculinity is in many ways about simplicity/crudeness/etc. as such, no matter how female you are, you can never really wake up "feminine" by societal standards, which contributes, i think, to why it is so offensive to many to see men performing femininity but not vice versa - a woman can act masculine and it may be written off as laziness, but a man has to *care* in order to act feminine, and that level of intention away from masculinity is upsetting to those who would like to see masculine continue to reign as the default.

    basically what i think it comes down to is that masculine encompasses the "center", but male has very strict delineations of acceptable range, whereas femininity is more extreme but female has fuzzier lines on what's okay. you woke up masculine, and i don't think i'm trouncing on anyone's gender identity by pointing that out. very few of us present as 100% either all the time. you personally, though, may have woken up masculine and neutrally-gendered, or masculine and female. you didn't wake up a man (unless you have decided/realized that you are trans, but given that this was not stated in the post, i'm not going to assume it's the case.)

    i may or may not be out of line or incorrect on any of this - just my read - but hopefully the rambling hit on something useful :)

  28. I much prefer your pphilosophy arks on dressing up your dog to look more dog-like, women being half of Everybody, etc..

    Everybody sweats, scratches, farts, and has body hair. Don't let Cosmo tell you otherwise.

    From here, it sounds like you're experimenting with dropping some performed behaviors from your life and examining which traits are "acceptable" in our culture. I'm in that boat, and it can be overwhelming. It sounds like you feel relief at the idea of abandoning (or minimizing) some of your usual behavior. Could you think about who Holly wants to be as a person without worrying about labels too much?

  29. Wow, it's hard commenting from an iPod touch. Previous opening sentence should read "previous philosophy and remarks."

    Also, I'm a subscriber and always look forward to your posts.

  30. I agree with many of the others - I always feel feminine, even without the trappings society considers "feminine".

    HOWEVER, it wasn't always thus. Up until a few years ago, when I really started to decide how I wanted to present myself as a woman, I constantly felt that I was attempting to perform femininity and failing. I never felt thin or pretty enough, and would barely ever leave the house without makeup. It was also nearly impossible for me to get aroused and have sex unless I was "put together" in the right way.

    Maybe for some others the solution to this problem would've been to throw out gender as a whole. I simply began operating on the assumption that I am always female enough. Although I'm straight, I started looking at a lot of fashion spreads of butch women and incorporating a bit of that attitude into my look. I chopped off my hair and now have a fantastic little faux hawk, and invested in a pair of awesome combat boots.

    Now, I feel more feminine than I ever have before. Nobody gets to decide how I perform femininity except for ME.

  31. Crayonbeam: the default human is male. Not scientifically, but socially for sure.

    This article says it really well:

    So in that sense, I can see how someone might feel that people are "male" and to be "female" you have to add a bunch of extra shit like makeup and a dress. After all, that's how they do it on restroom signs.

    But I think most people's idea of "male" and "female" doesn't boil down to presentation, it boils down to what we all got told in sex ed: "men have penises, and women have breasts and a vagina". Which is still really problematic (hello, transphobia!), but does mean that to most people, a sleepy, farty, smelly Holly is indeed still a woman.

    (My bf, reading over my shoulder, just interjected "she's a woman but not a lady" which sums up the "female vs. feminine" thing perfectly.)

    Whether Holly thinks she's a woman is of course a whole different thing, and the most important thing.

  32. Agreeing with many of the comments above, so commenting just to share one of my favorite Simone de Beauvoir quotes!

    "There are two kinds of people: human beings and women. When women behave like human beings, they are accused of trying to be men."
    Simone de Beauvoir


  33. Delurking here...

    I'm a trans guy. This post kind of rubbed me the wrong way. I'm not entirely sure how to articulate why. In a way I guess it bothered me the way you were conflating presentation with gender identity, as other commenters have already pointed out. But now that I've started writing I think the main reason I felt bad reading that was because I felt you strongly implied that the only trick to presenting as male is just to not wear makeup and look disheveled. Maybe I'm just being too sensitive, and if that really is all it takes for you to be read as male then that's not a problem, seemed to me like you were treating the issue flippantly, as a joke, when for some of us it's not that simple. For me presenting as male is a constant, difficult job, and one that I take extremely seriously because it's the only way I can get treated with respect by society. And I would give my right arm if all it took for me to be successful at that was rolling out of bed without grooming.

    It's entirely possible that I just read this wrong, and it wouldn't be the first time that ideas didn't translate through text very accurately. On that note, I also want to say that I'm not trying to yell at you, or tell you that you're wrong to feel that trying to present as feminine is hard work/oppressive, or feel that presenting as masculine is easier and/or more comfortable. I guess my issue is, when it boils down to it, that you didn't say "presenting as masculine," you said "I was a man today" and it felt like you were (unintentionally) making light of the experience.

  34. Ugh, I'm sorry, that's really not what I was trying to say at all. I've made an edit above with some more posts on the topic and I'm starting to really think this post was Not A Good Idea.

    It's hard to get your foot out of your mouth on the Internet.

  35. If you want to be sure people will see you as feminine, there are some pretty well-defined steps you can take. If you don't care much about ensuring the way you're perceived, you can be yourself. For example, I never wear makeup or heels. Subsequently, I attracted and married a man who also dislikes those things. But he perceives me as very feminine and attractive, and that is what matters to both of us.

    Women are easier to convince that something is wrong which they must fix to fit in. (An alternative hitch is that nothing is "wrong", but some feature could so readily be "enhanced"!) That is why so many products are marketed to women. The most recent addition to this list which I can remember is deodorant meant to improve the quality and "appearance" of one's underarm skin. Women have been trained up to see this commercial and then think, "I wonder if my underarm skin has been unsightly this whole time?" Not that every woman would, but if it weren't a safe financial bet than company wouldn't bother with the R&D.

    And it's happening to men, too. Companies are starting to make up body image problems so men will buy their products. It's harder to sway men because they've been trained into self-confidence, not accommodation. (Men have always had behavioral expectations, but I am speaking of beauty products.)

    I guess my point is that in many societies, feeling masculine or feminine is based on the imagined opinion of an broad social majority. To escape its demands, whatever they be, you have to go against your training and decide you don't care much what the unknown populace thinks of you.

  36. 3:08 anon again. I appreciate that you've admitted you made a mistake and apologized, I really do. I have to say, though, that I was disappointed that you didn't really seem to acknowledge that you understand that "presenting as masculine," "presenting as male/a man" and "being a man" are each different concepts--related, but each with unique meaning. I really think that if you want to talk about trans issues, even though you yourself are under the trans umbrella, that you really need to understand the difference between those ideas, and not use them interchangeably. Failing to do so is not only going to make it hard for you to communicate accurately, but you're going to step on a lot of toes.

  37. "Femininity is work!"

    I don't think this is the problem, at least not all by itself. Cooking a fine meal is work, so is crafting, writing or carpentry. The fact that one puts a lot of effort and energy into a certain activity doesn't make it oppressive or problematic. Rather, the problem is the expectation that all women should be expected to perform this work thanklessly and invisibly. Some women love homemaking, some hate it, but the 50's-era assumption that women all love it because it's women's work was vastly oppressive.

    So it is with the "work" of hair, makeup and shoes -- for many women, it's joyful to forget about practicalities, waste an hour drawing on your face, and put on a pair of shoes you can't run errands in. On the other hand, this is a lot of effort to go to if you *don't* enjoy it, and shouldn't be held up as the baseline standard for all women.

    The current expectation of effortless perfection makes things tough on women at all points on the "girly" spectrum. Look imperfect, you'll be judged for not trying hard enough. Look like you tried hard to look good (too much makeup, or whatever), and you'll be judged trivial, trashy or an airhead.

  38. I really appreciate your thoughtful posts, Holly. What I think is going on is that you are equating "being a man" with "normality" (the "default" human experience). Men can just fall out of bed and be stinky. Or at least, it seems that way. In reality (and some commenters have pointed this out), gender for both men and women is all about presentation, but the rules for men are much, much easier for men. But it's not something that's desirable! The fact that men are allowed to be stinky is tied to the stereotype that they are immature and can't take care of themselves.

    I think this post is a great example of how societal norms can become so ingrained. Men are "normal", so all the things women do are forced on us by society. But men are not normal, they are also forced to present themselves in particular ways to get along. The difference is that the way men are supposed to present themselves is valued (they're natural!) and valuable (all that saved time!).

    As you've pointed out before, that system ultimately doesn't help anyone to just be *people*.

  39. This pretty much is how I feel most days, only I never do get around to "putting on" the trappings of womanliness most days. So I sympathize and see what you were going for despite the people making (very good) points.

    To me, the makeup thing is like the SAHM thing. It's sexist to assume that a woman's role is in the home, and she should be in the kitchen making dinner and taking care of the babies. But if she WANTS to do that, it's not an issue.

  40. I'm rather bothered by the penis=man woman=vagina thing which didn't get addressed later, but I'll deal.

    Sincerely a makeup-eschewing, beer-drinking, t-shirt wearing, tryke.

  41. The default gender *is* male---socially, and that's the huge part of the problem that makes female and femininity and what's the difference so confusing.

    I think *that's* what needs to change--because then it wouldn't feel un-female (although maybe un-feminine) to be dirty, disheveled, hairy, etc, because that's what all humans can be at times, even the female ones, and that should be obvious but often isn't. I see it like a problem with how society views what it means to be female, not the gender itself.

    But, I'm not Holly, I'm me, and I do not have any experience with really feeling like a different gender than my chromosomal one no matter how un-feminine my personality is, so I may just be coming from a privileged place of cissexual and feminist to look at it that way.

  42. Very late to the party..But as I see it, I wake up 'Human'. An animal with itches and gas and bad smells. If I choose to be self conscious about this and ignore the itch and hold in the gas till i can get to the bathroom then I am being 'lady-like' which is part of my conditioning from growing up female with the expectations that, rightly or wrongly holds (I come from a very relaxed household but I've seen both my parents naked but I don't think I've ever heard my mum fart, it's too ingrained in her and from then on in me without ever being told). On my own, I wake up human, with my BF, I still hold in the gas.