Okaaay- I am a woman. Breathe it in.
I have not, even after transition, particularly valued my Womanhood. I have felt no desire to revert, or to present male (horrible idea) but have feared being Female. What does it mean?
I am aware how the words “feminine” and “unfeminine” may be used to curb and control women, and even if “feminine” is used approvingly it may be curbing some other behaviour. I am aware that men may be more “feminine” than women- on a scale, both sexes form overlapping bell curves; and yet the women’s bell curve is closer to the “feminine” end. So the word “feminine” has some descriptive meaning as well as an oppressive one. For me, it is affirming. I am “feminine”. And that is a good thing, because I am a “woman”. Even the psychiatrists who say I am not say I should express myself as one, that is the path they accept for such as me.
I am a Woman. Wey-Hey!!
One of the characteristics I noticed when I was a solicitor representing pursuers in defended debt actions was that I want Conciliation and harmony more than anything else. This is Feminine. Note what I am saying. I am not saying women should be infant school teachers- or homemakers- rather than litigators, just that I was not really cut out to be a litigator, even if I gave that role all I could then and also in the Employment Tribunal, and see that it is a good role. I was a litigator by accident, I had not found my calling. Of course having joy in combat is a Wonderful characteristic, and fitting in a litigator, but my craving for it was not. The mistake that got me sacked as a solicitor was in the case of a man who looked me in the eye and said “I want a solicitor with fire in his belly”, and I looked him in the eye and gave a firm handshake, and then let him down.
So I could perceive this desire for harmony as weakness. It is not ideal in litigation, where even the negotiation of a settlement is a combat. But in the right place, it is a Good thing, a Blessing on me and those around me.
S, who likes men who like to dress as women, finds me “too feminine” for her taste. In that particular relationship I might find my femininity to be lack, I am just not good enough. This is my habit, after all- when I was pursuing the Masculine Ideal all the bits which did not fit were Bad, all the characteristics I did not have were how I Ought to be, I did not measure up. And- I dare to hope that I might celebrate my Femininity, which is mine own and not for anyone else, as Right and Fitting in me and in a place in society I might create for myself, as a Blessing on myself and others.
I saw the pictures at the Tate on Sunday. That lawyer, pulling away from the emotional client, is particularly fine. I have met, in several men, the solicitor in Bleak House.