Jun. 19th, 2009

paraxeni: (bstl SMASH!)
What is to be gained by undermining a woman based on her looks? "Ugh she's manly" or "She looks like a bad drag queen, how DARE she be a woman!" or "What a gross fat blob, you'd have to roll it in flour to find the wet spot". Why ungender someone if you disagree with them? Perhaps because it's a powerful way of hurting a large group of people, especially if it's coming from other women because it sends the message that "You do not belong".

A woman is someone who is not or does not identify as a man. A man is someone who is not a woman. You can't 'do' being a woman in the 'wrong' way. You can be a FAAB (female-assigned at birth) woman or a MAAB (male-assigned at birth) woman. You can be feminine, masculine, butch, femme or andro. You can have a buzz cut or long flowing locks, you can be a trucker or a housewife, wear heels or hiking boots, be a princess, a lumberjack, a model or an engineer. None of these make you a woman, none of these make you an un-woman, or not a 'real' woman. If you identify as a woman then you are one, and there is no right or wrong way to do it. There is no incorrect manner of dress, speech, behaviour or attitude that can ever render you not-womanly. Gender policing is spiteful, demeaning, misogynistic and wrong. If someone has a hateful belief then there are ways and means to call them on it without ungendering or misgendering them. I've been labelled as 'not womanly' because I'm a lesbian, because I do not wish to bear children, because I refuse to shave or slavishly follow some warped ideal of 'femininity'. But I am a woman, and that can't be taken from me. I'm no more or less womanly than the married housewife with 8 kids, or the butch-dyke darts player, or the MAAB femme with a penis and a penchant for crochet. Poverty and lack of resources or access to medical care do not make women unwomanly, just as make-up, jewellery or designer-label clothes don't make them more womanly.

The same goes for manhood.

There are so many beautiful, brilliant and creative ways to express our humanity, as many as there are people. Why label people, herd them into boxes, then lash out and hurt those who don't fit in those spaces? What's to fear? Why is it so confusing to think that not everybody follows the same paths through life? If you are so insecure in your own identity that somebody identifying in a way that you do not understand eems like a threat to you, then they're not the ones with the problem, you are. Manage your own life and relationships, stop interfering in how others manage theirs, and find your own path.

You don't have to blow out somebody elses candle to make yours burn more brightly.


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