Letting go of “femininity”

I look at cis women and see energy and vivacity; and I wonder, what does femininity mean? Is there any quality of “femininity” I share with them? Feelings, actions and interactions- are they distinctively “feminine”? Now fewer roles are specifically women’s: the Engineering department is the last part of the university which is mostly male, and after you have recovered from gestation and parturition your partner can share your maternity leave and take care of the infant. Human beings are malleable: an organisation will take its culture from its leaders, people have particular roles in families. Zimbardo and Milgram made people cruel, and women in England have much deeper voices than those in Thailand- this is cultural, not racial.

Some women seem comfortable with cultural concepts of femininity, and some rail against them. And everyone is different goo-gooing at a child- “Yes, you are!”- from typing a report.

Not really liking the idea that my transition was merely the outworking of a sexual fetish, I warmed to the idea that I am “feminine”. It is a sop, a comfort blanket, an excuse, a sign I do not accept myself- I transitioned because I am feminine and therefore transition is alright. No.

Gender Identity- Clare.
Sexuality- Clare.

I am me, and need no rationalisation or excuse. I have made my choices. And as I struggle to understand myself, “femininity” has been a prism through which I have seen my characteristics, judging myself, interpreting myself- I might understand better if I did not need to be “feminine”.

Though “femininity” has also been a way of seeing those characteristics as good, worthwhile, bearable rather than weak and unmanly.

This does not mean that I cease to see myself as feminine, even ultra-feminine; only that I don’t need it to be true, and I don’t need it to be other than a cultural construct.

There could be regret the other way. There appear to be normal people who have marriage and family. Anyone could look at another’s life and think, that might be preferable-

but it would not fit me as my own fits me.

Yes, I do feel so wrong sometimes that I wished someone entirely different occupied my space; but it would not be better for me.

We have good and bad luck, character, choices…

And I can mourn femininity. It seems to me that it is not valued by our tough, go-getting society, where ambition and drive are valued more than gentleness, which has always been vulnerable to being seen as weak. My feminine self could be more used, and valued, than I feel I am.

Bosch, John the Baptist in the Wilderness

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