Thursday, December 24, 2009

What does it mean to be "Feminine"

I have been reading Whipping Girl: A Transsexual Woman on Sexism and the Scapegoating of Femininity by Julia Serano. It is slow going for me. It is written well, I just always have a problem soaking up academic-type writings other than histories. My take on how Julia Serano describes our culture? is along these lines:

Masculine Men more important than masculine women who are more important than feminine women who are more important than feminine men who are more important than feminine trans-women.

This is gross oversimplification. I am not real comfortable with my use of the word "important." And I'm not really certain where trans-men fit in the hierarchy.

I see myself as a feminine woman. And I realize that I really haven't identified for myself what I mean by "feminine." I am wondering what it means to be feminine. It is not the same as what it means to be a woman, though there is probably overlap. I am still exploring what it means to me. Wiki is of small help. Being more or less feminine seems to be made up of and presentations generally described by culture as "feminine." How much do I want to respond to what the culture dictates?

I have appropriated for myself some of my culture's definition of feminine. For myself, I like my hair to be long and in a style women would wear, but I've met very feminine women with short hairstyles. For myself, I want a bosom and I want it to be large enough to be appropriate for a woman my size. To tell my culture that I am a woman I wear feminine eyeglasses; for myself I think they make my face look more like the woman I am. Again, to tell my culture I am a woman, I have long painted nails; for myself I think they improve the look of my hands and fingers. A fair fraction of the aspects of my presentations are both for culture and for myself and I think I would do them for myself if not encouraged by my culture. I like being pretty. Well... I like not being hard on another person's eyes. It's harder to be "pretty" as the years go by.

I'd like to think that some of the behavioral facets of femininity that my culture recognizes are part of who I am naturally. I like to think that I am gentle in spirit, patient[where the H*** is that latte' I ordered!?], and kind. I am not as soft-spoken as I'd like to be and my voice, while a bit higher than most men, is not as feminine as I'd like. A lot of that is cadence and inflection. And practice. I've had women tell me they thought I was GG [Genetic Girl as opposed to trans] so I'm doin' something right.

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