Now that Blogger is working and my blog has been repaired I've prepared a post for you! One of my readers wanted to know a few things and I thought what better to do then answer them on here? I hope to continue the trend as I get more readers. So keep the questions coming to my e-mail, my facebook, or in comments!
"What I want to know is how you view yourself? What makes you a female? You mentioned what a struggle it has been as far as make-up and clothes. Isn't that just the outward appearance of a female? And isn't that what society has trained you to think of as female? What makes a female a female, (anatomy aside). There are plenty of females who are not your "girly girls" with makeup and clothes so that can't be the only definition. Is it the emotions of female? The appearance of female?"
~ Paraphrased quote from a reader.
I've taken the majority of the fluff out of the message I was sent so that it's easy to see what the reader wanted to ask. I will break this down into sections so it's easier to manage and for everyone to read.
"What I want to know is how you view yourself? What makes you a female?"
How we view ourselves is in constant flux based on our current emotions and beliefs and constructs. But to get to your question in a more general sense this depends entirely on the stage of transition and pre-op post-op status. And as a rule of thumb it's different for anyone that's trans. I spent the vast majority of my life feeling like a monster. My escape from the pain of my daily life was in daydreaming and make believe. Early on... that's what it was. Learning that my sex was unchangeable was inevitable. We all learn this eventually. And once it becomes perminent in our brains we do what we can to correct the mistakes that our brain has been programmed with. At a young age I couldn't think the way I do now. I didn't think about identity. I only knew what "was". I liked for what "is". Typically we start to view ourselves, or feel, like women trapped in a man's body.
In my mother's third marriage she married a man who spoke few words. There was one thing in particular that he said many times that stuck with me. It was a joke, for him, though looking back I suppose anything is possible and he may have been as he said. He would say "I am a lesbian trapped in a man's body". And for most of us girls early on... this is eactly who we are. We are women, trapped in the wrong body, trying to adapt our brains to the reality around us.
As it is now, this far into my transition, I have moved on from identifying as a transgirl to that of a woman. I view myself as a girl and as a woman. I'm not yet old enough in girl experience, skill, and looks to consider myself a full woman. However I am old enough to be considered a woman. Both words have different connotations associated with them and different feelings associated. You spend a good amount of time identifying as trans. Thinking of yourself as a transgirl. And then one moment you wake up and you say to yourself... but I'm not. I am not this transition. I am a woman transitioning.
What makes me female? I suppose I could ask you the same question. Or any tattoo clad biker bitch that hasn't worn a bra since high school and refuses to adapt to a male dominated society. Some things you just know. Some things aren't taken for granted and aren't part of something we control. If you're speaking in terms of sex, I am far from totally female, and may never be totally female in typical right wing conservative respects. I will never have ovaries. I will never bare children. I will never menstrate. However... there are many women who have these vital things about themselves removed for medical reasons. Many have their uterus removed, their ovaries removed, and forever remove themselves from furthering our species. Does this make them any less women? Perhaps in some views. However in current culture? No. It has little to do with what is considered female.
In a gender sense, in the sense of my mental and emotional (and spiritual if you are so inclined) being, I am completely and utterly female and have been from the moment I was eight months into conception. As I said before some things just are. There's no logic behind it sometimes and no medical reasoning. What makes me female? The fact that I repeatedly wished for well over ten years that I would wake up in a female body. The fact that I was so "sissy" as a child I was constantly ridiculed by my father. Empathy. Comunication skills. Emotions so strong I had to shut them down so they didn't turn me to tears. Aptitude for things that female brains are wired for. Growing up watching Disney movies and identifying, fantisizing about being, and daydreaming about being the female lead characters. Now these that were truths before the influence of sex hormones like testosterone, estrogen, progestrone, and all the other things that flow through your viens. Why do I keep defering to who I was before these things? Because now on my hormones I have been feeling intense changes in emotion, thinking patterns, and what I am interested in. I have no way of defining those things before the introduction of sex hormones.
So what makes me female? Kirie makes me female. Who I am and have been since I was born.
"You mentioned what a struggle it has been as far as make-up and clothes. Isn't that just the outward appearance of a female? And isn't that what society has trained you to think of as female? What makes a female a female, (anatomy aside). There are plenty of females who are not your "girly girls" with makeup and clothes so that can't be the only definition. Is it the emotions of female? The appearance of female?"
These questions all relate to each other. I had actually started a post about the ramifications of social construct on trans individuals but by the time I was halfway through I noticed I was hardly making sense anymore because there was simply so much to consider. As I reread this to edit it I've noticed it's following a similar pattern. For your sake I'll avoid getting into a sixty page research novel.
Dislodging female sex from female gender is very difficult because... well... in a perfect world there simply wouldn't be any disparity at all. Then again without some form of random generation we wouldn't have so many unique and screwed up individuals runing around would we? Females are now doing more and more previously male activities and men are now doing many more previously strictly female activities. Tanning. Gaming. Sports. Comics. Manicures. Highlights. Makeup. Now... both sexes are engaging in all of these things are rediculously high rates compared to ever before in history. There are women gamers. Women sports comentators. Men who get highlights in their hair and manicures. Both sex's now go tanning. Girls are getting into comics and super heroes. Men are wearing makeup. The gender behavior construct is falling apart and quickly. Men are cooking and staying at home with the kids while women become CEOs. The world is slowly mixing itself up.
That's not to say that society isn't still telling us what is female and what is male. What is appropriate and what is not. I myself am a girly girl. I see myself with makeup, long pretty nails, long flowing hair, and heels. I see myself as the flirty girl who dresses for male (and female in my case) attention of all kinds and would be more than happy filling in that submissive fem type of slot in another person's life. Society has instilled in us many differences between typical men and women that I agree with and enjoy.
You mentioned that what I am struggling with in my other post is only the outward appearance of female. That there are many girls that do not follow the standards and things society tells us that women "are" normally. I think the best way for me to describe this is to follow the three "you" model I read long ago. There is the you that everyone else knows and sees. There is the you that you know and who is inside. And then there is the you that you hope to be, that you aspire to be, and that you slowly work at your entire life. It is hard to seperate ourselves, sometimes, from that which we want to be and what we are. Transitioning and being female isn't just about option one. It isn't just the you that everyone sees. That you share with your partner. Being female is in it's entirety being female. It is embodying your definition of female. What you are looking for is a difinitive answer on perception of females, a truth that I have been able to uncover, but the truth is simply that perception is reality. It is society that we wish to be part of and be in sync with. It is our future selves and who we want to be that is part of that.
It's being a part of what you consider to be female more than what you consider to be male. In all fairness to persons all over the world you can not determine another person's gender. They have to give it to you. They can personify whatever they wish but until they give you a difinitive answer on what they are how can you tell them that they are? An ideal would be to have more words for gender than we do. More than a binary. We have some words for slight gender variation but they are, mostly, insulting or slang. Metrosexual. Bull Dyke. Lipstick Fem. Flamer.
But as a general rule of thumb, here is the answer you're looking for. Being female is being female inside. Emotions, reactions, wishes, goals, and thoughts that match up with what most females have. Being female is being female on the outside that is socially recognised and accepted as female. Wishing to be more female than you are. Aiming for the ideal you. What makes you, or I, female is quite simpy being female as it is defined by our society with all it's advantages and disadvantages. Society is a terrible wonderful thing. Without it we could not be where or who we are today. Without it... well many things could be better and worse. A comprehensive list is for another day.
I've actually given you a lot of answers to those questions. To look at it objectively and come up with a truth to the matter would be insanity or narcisism. Follow the three self view. Outside, inside, and goal self. If two of those are distinctly female? I would say you are female. For me two of these match up as female. The third is simply a matter of time and money. There are many many parts of self. It is the culmination of all things that are part of you that makes up yourself. Keep that in mind.
Now there are a lot of things to talk about when it comes to society. Sociology is not my strong point because all sociologists seem to decide that they are also philosophers and are unable to give bias free information. For transgirls and transboys... society is our construct moreso than it has to be for everyone else. It is this normalicy that we strive for. We are pushed to walk a line where society accepts us and society rejects us. The line is covered in hot coals and we're barefoot. Every step is scary and painful. We hate our society for the fear it injects in us and the pain it forges into our skin. On the other hand we want so dearly to be involved in it, be part of it, and be accepted by it, that we idolize it. We can't change it by ourselves. We can reject it and we can hide from it but we can't change it. It takes a long time and a lot of people to slowly change society. Someday things for transsexuals and transgender folk around the world might be different.
But not today.