Home > Introduction > In which, again, I don’t know.

In which, again, I don’t know.

January 17, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

As I’ve said before, I identify pretty strongly as female and as a woman (right now in my life, if you are curious, more strongly as a woman than as a butch.).  In a comment Faggot Boi left here, he asked me why it was that I felt those identities strongly.  I still don’t know.

  • I have a womanly body.  It’s a classic “hourglass” shape.  I like my body – sometimes I try to change it by lifting weights, but I try even harder to love it, as I’ve said.  That being said, I don’t think my body leads to my identity as a “woman”.  I think transpeople will nod their heads to that.
  • Related: Some women use the fact that they can give birth as a uniquely “womanly” trait.  But – lots of women can’t give birth, and some men have, and furthermore – I don’t really intend to use my body in that way.  I can imagine myself doting on my pregnant wife, but not being pregnant myself. So my potential to give birth, when I don’t plan to exercise it, doesn’t make me identify as a woman.
  • Female traits? Is that why I might identify as a woman?  I truly don’t think certain traits are “female” or “male” in nature, as I recently wrote on Butch 360.  And hey, check out the answers! Other butches agree.
  • Female interests? My internal response to this answer was “Fuck no.”, but I’ve been trying to reframe my previous dismissal of feminine-coded interests and hobbies as potentially misogynistic.  So, my new reframed response is: I’m not sure math, science, sports, and a love of eating but not really cooking are considered feminine by most people yet.  Though I appreciate an expertly executed aesthetic, I rarely want to create it.  The creation (decorating, fashion…), I think, is the traditionally “feminine” interest.
  • Female community?  Thus far, this is the closest I’ve gotten.  I do feel a pretty strong kinship with other women-identified people.  It’s mostly in the lesbian community.  I am close to everyone in my family, but I have a special relationship with my mother and sister.  I feel I share something with other genderqueer and female-identified people.  But I still am dissatisfied with this answer.  I think many people feel close to their mothers, and I hate this answer because I feel it almost erases the relationships that I have with men.  I also feel like I have a special relationship with my dad! And my brother.  And for most of my life, though I’ve had larger NUMBERS of women in my life, I’ve nearly always had a male friend with whom I shared a particularly special bond.

I think the best answer I have for “Why do you identify as a woman?” is: “It’s a habit I feel disinclined to break – and if I did, I’d feel I’d be missing…something”.  What about you?

Categories: Introduction
  1. J-Rob
    January 17, 2011 at 11:45 am

    I’d phrase the question somewhat differently. Instead of asking why you identify so strongly with being a woman and female, I’d ask, why is it an issue for you to identify as those things?

    I’m pretty hardcore butch and I still identify as a woman (at times) and as female (all the time) because I am those things, they are my biology. I don’t think being butch is diametrically opposed to feeling like a woman or feeling female, there are plenty of us who identify as both female and butch.

    Perhaps you feel female because you are, no need to judge it.

  2. Steph
    January 17, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    I think you just hit the nail on the head.

    What is it that makes me identify as female? Or a woman?

    I think that the thing is that we are taught that being a woman has an essential “womanness” but in reality it’s pretty darn arbitrary. I am coded as a woman by society. But so are lots of other people, and the only thing we all probably have in common is that that’s how we’ve been coded. You know? That’s the one way I can really bond with other female-assigned, female-identifying individuals. We all grew up with this same kind of script even though we all deviate from it in some way shape or form because it’s so like, general.

    I think that’s why I’m still comfortable identifying as female (though sometimes “woman” is a problematic identity for me and sometimes it is alright, depending on what it is assumed to mean)… because in the end there are so many different ways to be “female”. For me (and I came to this in a very roundabout fashion and only recently), butch best describes how I express my gender. Female describes my body. Woman is a social category I am part of, both willingly and unwillingly, but I’m okay with that.

    IDK, it’s a good question and probably doesn’t have an easy answer… but um I love reading your blog and I love that you brought this up.

  3. Eli
    January 17, 2011 at 4:41 pm

    Agreed with J-Rob. No need to justify your identification. You feel it because it’s what you are.

  4. January 17, 2011 at 5:06 pm

    I really like that answer. I, too accept my hourglass figure (most of the time….). Sometimes I even like it. I don’t mind having my period. Womanhood and femininity are different. I am paroud of being a woman. I am not feminine. We are who we are. That’s all that matters, really?

  5. January 17, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, having recently finished a reproduction unit in school and focusing on those very things that separate females biologically, hormonally, and anatomically. Do those things make me a woman? (No I don’t think so, since someone can be female-bodied but not a woman) Did my socialization make me a woman? Why is it that I identify so strongly as a woman but so love gender bending? I enjoy the asking of these questions and pondering them more than I care to find definite answers.

  6. Ryan
    January 21, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    I don’t mean this in a negative way (actually, I mean it in a rather positive way), but I don’t think you really need to have a reason why you identify a certain way. I mean, if you do, that’s great. But if you don’t, it doesn’t make your identity less valid. I think that’s something I’ve definitely struggled with in the past, both in terms of why I identify as trans and why I don’t identify as a woman.

  7. Faggot Boi
    February 1, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    Oh hi, I just saw this. For the information of your readers, my initial question was prompted by the fact that I couldn’t really figure out why I identified as a man and not a woman, and to help myself out, I wanted to know why some masculine female-assigned folk identified as women and females. Not to imply that there’s anything wrong with identifying either way, but I just was wondering why. Turns out, there’s something both inscrutable and inexplicable about any person’s identifications (though I do think that politics, history, and social context play importantly into them). Thanks for answering, though!

  8. February 15, 2011 at 7:04 am

    I am new to discussions of gender identity, though a college class I’m taking is showing me that these questions have been with me my whole life. I like all the answers I’m reading here, and I’m not sure I have anything to add. I will say that I only appropriated my identity as a woman for myself when I acquired control of how I would express said role. Before that, I was subject to the limitations placed on me by my family – how to dress, how to act. I was required to behave in ways I didn’t want to, and those were affirmed as proper female behaviors. Therefore, I hated being female. When I got out of the house, I began enjoying who I was. I could be a woman in a strong, independent, dirty, power tool kind of way. I didn’t think about it at the time, I had no language for issues of gender expression. Why do I love identifying as a woman with traditionally masculine traits, instead of just identifying as a man? I don’t know. I guess I just want it all.

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