bet: (nikolicious)
[personal profile] bet
I think at least a small group of people with gender dysphoria are girls like me. I won't speak for the boys since I don't really know much about their world experience but I can speak for the girls. Bisexual, even heterosexual girls who get lost in the gender binary, not necessarily because they are masculine or would function better as men, but because they don't associate with the heteronormativity. They refuse the gender stereotypes, all of them, the "normal" heterosexual lifestyle, the way media shows them how to behave, how to be submissive, even when they're tough, how to bitch at their friends about the evils of men when they get rejected, how they have to handle the average heterosexual man, playing by some rules to not rock the boat. All those things are still going on despite the fact it's been years since the feminist movement started. Look at adverts, romantic comedies, sitcoms. There are rules and I see them whenever I accidentally stumble into the heterosexual groups I'm somehow still connected to.

I had severe gender issues until I had a breakdown and started taking medication. I didn't really want to be a man, but I sure as hell didn't want to be a woman either. I've come to accept being a woman because I realized that being a woman didn't have to mean playing by 'their' rules. I just remember glorifying homosexual relationships because it was two men and I'm still more comfortable with writing and reading gay romance/erotica/porn because two (or more) men stand on an even ground and any imbalance of power doesn't carry with it the negative politics and worries that crop up as soon as there's a woman present.

I always kind of failed at being with heterosexual men. I didn't like playing by the rules, even the simplest ones made me feel ridiculous like playing coy and helpless. Can you help me get out of this dress? ...How the hell would I get out of it if you hadn't come home with me? Oh, that's right, I'd just reach back here and god damn unzip it myself, how about that. To be desirable, women play helpless and the media encourages this. I watched a fantastic documentary that you can watch for free online (albeit with a giant "PREVIEW" watermark over the whole screen but it's worth it). It's called the Codes of Gender and it analyzes and explains just what happened in advertisement and how women and men are displayed in the media. Also, how it was really a planned thing by one man... You can watch it here

In case you don't want to hunt this down and watch it, here are a few examples:

# When a woman is shown holding something, she never holds it fully. She barely touches it, just lightly rests her fingers against it in an "elegant" way. A man 'holds' things, he controls his environment.

# A woman is usually posed in submissive poses or off kilter. Balancing on one leg while fixing her heel, lying down, crawling. A man stands up straight, usually facing the camera.

# A woman arches her neck in a vulnerable way, almost in an inviting way as if to display herself as prey. A man usually poses with his head lowered, looking up like a predator.

# A woman is often infantilized, dressed like a little girl, sucking on her thumb or with her fingers near her mouth in a way that suggests thumbsucking. Women and little girls are often shown together wearing the same kind of clothes. There is however always a difference between a man and a boy. You become a man but a woman is always a girl.

# A woman is often shown displaying emotion but it's always exaggerated, like she can't control herself. Look at any catalogue and you'll find a woman laughing in an almost hysterical manner, mouth open wide, maybe covering her mouth partially, out of control as if to suggest a woman can not have any control. A man is always in control of his emotions.

I was stunned when I watched this documentary. Even when I began protesting that no, there are plenty of adverts that do this with men too, they had an answer to that. Yes, men have begun being diplayed in adverts lying down and almost feminized but there are reasons for it and the target audience is still men.

What do these things tell us? What kind of ideas do they plant in our heads? How do they shape our self perception? I saw so many things in that documentary that made me go, "So THAT is why this particular thing rubbed me the wrong way!" or "Oh so I was RIGHT to feel mad, even when I didn't really know what I felt mad about!"

I gained weight when I had my breakdown and at first, I did it on purpose. It drove me up the wall how I was treated when I was thin and pretty because I'd regularly run into people who somehow felt like they had some sort of ownership over me just because they found me desirable. If they didn't give me that creepy treatment, they were literally hostile toward me because I didn't behave as a young girl should. Is it any wonder that I wanted to be a boy and be loved as a boy would be loved? Note that I never wanted to be a man, I didn't like how men were supposed to be either.

I think these are among the reasons that are the root of why gender dysphoria is on the rise. I don't know how many girls I've met on the internet who are single or in semi-asexual relationships with other girls, writing gay fiction, not wanting a relationship with men even if some of them would by sexual definition be defined as heterosexual. The heteronormative has more victims than just homosexuals and transsexuals. Every heterosexual person who doesn't fit the mold gets swept aside as well. Or more accurately, sweeps themself aside to avoid the harrassment that comes with moving in the straight world.

I've never felt I fitted into any of those molds. I sometimes even doubt that I'm as pansexual as I say I am because I don't have that rawr-lust toward the female body as I do the male body. I know I AM but thinking back on when I was trying to fit in with the gay crowd, I couldn't. Maybe it was just because I've always been dysfunctional sexually, messed up and damaged but I didn't fit in with the lesbians either. Not until I met my 'dykes' anyway, but they're freakin weird as well.

Another thing? If it wasn't for a few wonderful people I know, I'd be so fed up with the whole transsexual issue. I've met so many people whose whole demeanor makes them seem like their sexual identity is more like a fetish. Like they should stick to crossdressing for kicks instead of claiming to be another gender. Hyper-feminine MTFs who behave nothing like any girl I've ever met, no matter how much of a princess. Butch little FTMs who seem more like slashers gone too far. It's sometimes easy for me to see why people roll their eyes at gender dysphoria and call it a psychological disease, if those are the only people they ever see. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying those people don't have the right to do whatever they want with their bodies as well, but at the same time it was a breath of fresh air to meet people who genuinely felt like they really were born with their bodies the wrong way. People I could never really think of as anything but their gender which really doesn't match their biological sex.

It just makes me sad that I think - actually I feel like I KNOW for sure - that so many people are going through these changes and living a certain livestyle because of these boxes society puts us in. I don't want to be loved as girls are loved, I don't want to gossip to my 'girlfriends' about men being assholes and how they can't discuss their feelings and how they are just like kids that need taking care of etc etc etc. I don't buy into it and I always feel a little sick to my stomach when I stumble into the heterosexual world. I don't belong there and yet men turn me on. I guess it's a good thing I'm happy being single.

This is rambly and maybe a bit incoherent, I just wanted to get my thoughts down before going to sleep... :3

It's a flammable material too so... if you're offended, please read more carefully. I don't think I'm being offensive and if I am it's by total accident and because I didn't finish a thought somewhere... It's five in the morning! But yeah, if you're offended, just comment and ask me about it and I'll happily talk to you about it. And stuff. Thingeys.

and wow look at that, an actual update! Love you guys, thanks for not dumping me for never updating xxxx

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-08 07:12 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Very, very sophisticated analysis. I agree completely with everything you've said.

You know me well enough for me not to have to justify myself, so I won't. But your point about certain transsexuals, or let's say 'transsexuals', particularly set off some bells. Here's a an anecdote: I encountered a MTF some time ago who made me feel extremely uncomfortable, in that I could not see or accept their chosen gender. Me being me, I was upset - did I have a set of prejudices that had lain dormant? That's not me, that's not me at all... and yet. But the more I learnt about them, the more I got it. This person was a man. They behaved like a man, they said things like a man, they thought like a man. In my book, they were a man; however strongly they asserted otherwise, however much surgery they had had (that was purchased because they clearly were unable to get beyond NHS psychological evaluation.) Not only were they a man, but they were a particularly unpleasant misogynistic man. A man who had, it seems, a bodymod fetish, and who would use their 'female' identity to covertly infiltrate, use and abuse women, and they would get away with it because not many people are that clued up about such things. I saw through it, it offended me, and now I find I just can't take it for granted. I'm sure now there are more people like this, and it reflects so badly on people who have genuine gender issues.

On the other hand I know a girl who is convinced they want to transition to male; but I've never bought that either. They are definitively female at every level. What her real problem is that they, as you describe, want to utterly reject all of those realities that come with being a girl in this culture; to the point they would destroy a gender they are, deep down, happy with to escape them.

I know I'm about 85% girl; but I personally have no need to assert that, to dress up, and play a role. And just wishing certain things were different will always amount to nothing.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-08 09:44 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As much as I used to hate putting labels on things when I was younger, I've started seeing the use in them today. We always seek to analyze and understand everything in our surroundings and that goes for human psyche and sexuality as well. This half asleep rambling together with your comment has opened my eyes to the fact that I can think of transsexuals in more than one group.

To go off topic for a moment: I knew this of course, it's hard not to know it when there are new words popping up all the damn time to describe just what sort of genderfucker a person really is. So many names that at times I met people and wondered if they just had a need to be misunderstood as the further they went into the subculture the more complex they got because God Forbid anyone understand them or tell them, "Me too!".

Back on track! I still always considered people who hardcore transitioned or went on hormones to be in one group but now? No, I'll think of some of them as extreme body modders. Because it really helps me to not have to think of them as in the same group as people I know, love and admire. Sadly, I think the body modders have the loudest voice in the media, or are the popular archetype for transsexuals, setting their rights movement back, a caricature for the narrow minded to point at and laugh.

It upsets me and annoys me because without my friends I'd probably fall into the trap of thinking the whole thing was a charade. Live and let live, sure but "what are those people thinking." Even with my previous issues as I sort of outgrew them, right? Yes, I'm dysfunctional still but I'm a dysfunctional 'woman' why can't these people "get over themselves". I know that transsexuals are getting more faces now, slowly inching forward into the light and receiving more attention of the positive kind (at least in educated places!) I just feel the need to label it and let people know that no, not everyone is just a fetishist.

It must be so frustrating to go through this, to be genuine and then meet, like you did, someone so obviously vulgar, someone who claims to be the same, going through the same issues or even someone who feels like they're just a child playing dress-up because they don't want to play the part everyone demands of them.

Man I ramble when I'm tired. Clearly this is the time to update journals :3

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-08 09:46 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I feel the need to point out to anyone who stumbles across this that this is not a researched, analyzed or even intelligent argument. It's the sort of tired rambling I do when I'm trying to make sense of things I'm feeling. No offense meant to anyone.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-08 12:04 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
As soon as one takes an anti-essentialist position, everything becomes so diffused. In other words, once you pick apart the gender binary, everything is a seemingly infinite variable; and therefore language and concept take a while to keep up. We're reaching a place where male, female, transvesite and transexual aren't enough to cut it: All those concepts one took to be progressive are still hamstrug, dependant on a binary fallacy. Clearly, 'I was born with a cock and I had it removed' is no more reliable than assuming a gender based on anatomy in the first place. Humans are too complicated in their psychological makeup - conscious and unconscious - to make conclusions so crudely. And while we should always be cautious of labels it kinda IS important to be able to conceive of things and speak of things accurately. In this case, the classically 'gender trapped' are done a disservice when they are lumped together with, what could we say, re-assigned transvestites. I now think there is a difference between 'men who want to be women' and 'women who were born with a penis'.

A part of conveying the message of saying 'not everyone [re-gendered] is a [gender] fetishist' is acknowledging there is a subset who are exactly that. Otherwise, like you say, a sense of fraudulence can prevail and contaminate; I think it's partly that which angers me.

Now we're both rambling through our sleep. Best way. :]

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-08 01:41 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Sleepy rambles can be the best, when your subconscious is meddling with your driving and your fingers just sort of fly, letting out all those thoughts you otherwise might not write due to cautious self-censorship.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-08 07:15 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
By the way, can I copy and paste this for interested parties? x

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-08 09:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Honestly? I think your comment was a lot better worded but yes of course you may. I've also unlocked this, my default is friends only but I think this should be public for obvious reasons so feel free to link to it. I won't edit it since it's one of those rambling journal entries and not an essay - even if I want to add things here and there now that I read it over - but it is something I'd like to explore further... Maybe I will in gender studies :)


(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-08 02:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This whole post resonates with me like you cannot believe. I think I'm very similar to you, but I haven't quite reached the point where I'm in any way comfortable. I'm open to and attracted to all sorts of people, but like you I am most attracted to men...I just hate the idea that in order to attract one I have to be "a woman" in the societal sense.

I hate that my disphoria with the gender roles has reached the point where I even hate my body. I feel sort of cheated.

Christ this is hard to navigate.

Also, I get what you mean about the trans community. The ones that bother me the most are the "genderqueers" who seem to just have a need to be "different". You know the silly girls who claim they have an inner girl and an inner boy and then they name the inner boy something completely ridiculous (like Calyx). I get what they're doing, but at the same time it's just kind of embarrassing and I don't want to be associated with that.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-11 12:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I just noticed that you replied to everyone here but me, it makes me wonder if maybe I said something that offended you. If so, then I'm really sorry. :(

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-11 03:20 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
no! omg sorry >_>
I've just been all over and when I got your comment I was like, "Ooh, I'll reply to that later" and then later was just full of stuff and I forgot ALL about it until now D:

I'm sorry *hugs* I liked your input, off to reply now ♥

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-11 04:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Ok cool, sorry for the drama...I was just a little confused. :P

*hugs back*

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-11 04:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No drama, sorry I worried you :)
Your comment just required thought, the one below yours didn't ;P

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-11 03:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've kind of become detached from my body (unless I have to try on clothes or go somewhere dressed up nice -_-). I'm kind of retroactively in love with my body which is ironic as I hated my body when I was in my early twenties and now I look back and go, "Girl... you were gorgeous. Fuck your gender dysphoria"

I hope you overcome yours somehow and don't go down the path of total apathy like I did - it made me absolutely let myself go and now I regret it.

and I know right? About the gender queers? "I'm not just a fag girl, I'm a fag dyke ri0t grrl with multiple personality syndrome and severe body transmogrification issues. SEE IF YOU CAN FIND SOMEONE ELSE LIKE THAT!" I just... back away slowly from those. I think it's probably a teen thing. There isn't a lot to rebel with these days unless your family is super religious or something... :3

You should check out that documentary if you can, it's well watchable despite the watermark, it might put your mind at ease a little bit with how you feel and such, though obviously I can't guarantee that as I have no idea where your gender issues stem from. WE ARE TOO COMPLICATED AS A SPECIES!

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-11 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm trying very hard not to...I guess...lose myself, in all this confusion. I'd much rather learn to live with myself and in time come to love myself. I can feel that I crave this feeling that someone loves me and wants to be with me. At the same time I realise that unless I learn to love myself first, it's always going to be somewhat dysfunctional.

I think a big part of everything I'm going to goes back to childhood. I've been talking to a councillor at the Uni about things, and I'm starting to realise that due to my parents being a complete mess when I was a kid, I was actually emotionally (and sometimes) physically abused, and definitely neglected; at home, in the school system, and socially. I think I need to untangle this to the point where I can learn to live with myself, before I can untangle and make any sense of my identity.

Does that make sense?

I watched the documentary. It was brilliant. So much of it made perfect sense. It's funny because I'm actually quite a submissive person in many ways, but I don't associate it with me being a woman. I hate this societal idea of what it means to be a woman because I've never fitted into it: I'm not a delicate flower, I'm smart, I'm a lot more likely to sit and position myself in ways that are not particularly feminine, I'm not someone's prey, I could go on. That's why your idea that we're perhaps more dissociated from the feminine norm (as prescribed by society) than from us being women. This FtM thing is becoming a trend almost. It might be because more and more women are seeing that they can be what they want and not conform, but at the same time society keeps showing them (through media) that their behaviour isn't feminine enough. So they start to doubt themselves and their identity, rather than seeing that the problem is the messages they're being sent.

Edited to fix grammar/spelling :P
Edited Date: 2011-01-11 04:35 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-11 04:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I relate a lot, my childhood was pretty messed up too and I was always kind of off kilter with my peers and everyone.

And regarding the "trend". It's that feeling of, "I'm a woman but 'that' isn't me, I'm nothing like that and what I am, is nothing like a woman. So maybe I'm in the wrong body".

It's also hard to inhabit a body that's constantly being shown as property, commodity, a piece of art rather than just a human body. There's so much pressure holding us down that it's not very odd that so many of us want to escape it.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-08 03:45 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
thank you for posting this.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-08 06:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
thank you for reading

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-08 05:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
This was fascinating to read. Thank you for rambling, honey. :-) (I'm also sleepy and might ramble a bit myself, sorry ahead of time.)

I know I live in the heteronormative environment. I've always identified as heterosexual (though that's changing now, funny how it's a process) and I'm married, want to have children, etc. I've also had a lot of issues with what's expected of women in this world. I don't really wear makeup, I feel awkward in "sexy" or even trendy "girl" clothes most of the time. I know I'm not a delicate tee-hee kind of woman. I don't want to be helpless. I don't clean, I can't cook for shit, I don't like most traditional girly things. My sisters in law make me uncomfortable because they're the pretty, airheaded twits that the whole world wants them to be. It's sad. Even financially, I feel more secure because I make more money than my husband does. One of my male ex-friends always used to joke that I -was- a man. That bothered me too, obviously.

I feel sexually attracted to both men and women, but because of the way most other women act, I don't think I'd ever want a relationship with one. Unless I found the -right- one, you know? Which is sort of moot, because I am happily married, it's just stuff I think about. I don't know if I feel gender dysphoric or not, I just dislike societal expectations based on nothing more than your bits and bobs.

I feel extremely lucky to have found the man I did, who just wants me to do what makes me happy, and doesn't expect me to act certain ways.

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-08 06:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Your icon is so fitting! But yes, you are incredibly lucky and it's relationships like yours that sometimes make me think I might like one. Then I remember I'm really bad at anything but being single :3

I didn't clarify very well on my pansexuality up there as I kept getting distracted by other thoughts. I do feel attracted to women, men as well as people in between and outside of those two genders, I just tend to not be able to act on it for myself. i'm living more and more inside my head and finding it harder and harder to live outside of it and the few girls I've been with kind of made me feel uncomfortable and awkward. Then there were the girls I was -almost- with and I know that experience would have been mindblowingly awesome but there was always something in the way.

As for guys... I lust for them, I miss the taste and smell of a man sometimes. I just can't be with a heterosexual one as was proven to me in the past. The expectations, even from an open minded, patient guy... They gradually got to me and I withdrew and shut him out. I sometimes want the 'normal' life, marriage, kids and all that jazz but I don't see myself actually doing it and being happy. Really, it's not even really something I consider all that heteronormative as a lot of singles, couples and triples are doing the same thing. Having kids, raising them in their homes of various types, loving and living... Idk, I'm rambling again. I probably should go get something to eat now. :3

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-09 03:20 am (UTC)
lorax: A Stack of Books (Misc:  Stuffed Horses "Love")
From: [personal profile] lorax
I'm going to have to figure out how to grab that documentary, it sounds pretty fascinating.

I've never struggled with issues the same way that you have, but I just wanted to say that I read, and found this thoughtful and was interested in the documentary. :)

E.T.A. - Oops, think I replied to one of your replies instead of the thread. *is lame*
Edited Date: 2011-01-09 03:23 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2011-01-11 03:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thank you :)


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