By Lisa P.
There are certain issues that TG people may be best-placed to explore. Such as, why are certain things “feminine” in the first place? For example, why is lace feminine? Why are little bows, or crocheted flowers on a blouse feminine? Why are 23 different shades, instead of just 3 colors (blue, brown and black), feminine? Why are long fingernails and colored polish feminine? Why is long hair, permed hair, styled hair and colored hair (other than black) feminine? Why are three-quarter shirtsleeves and three-quarter pant legs feminine? Why are purses feminine? Why are side or back zippers feminine? Why are wedges and high heels feminine? Why are soft fabrics and hosiery feminine? For that matter, why are short shorts feminine, shaved legs feminine, dangly earrings feminine, thin bracelets feminine or necklaces with precious stones feminine?
Of course, anything addressing specifically a woman’s health is necessarily feminine. But, I was thinking here in terms of attire, style and presentation. The only clothing item which clearly is feminine (based on anatomy) is the brassiere. I suppose one could argue that men with gynecomastia (enlarged breasts) should wear them, but the clear need for a woman to wear a bra or a bra substitute is to provide support for her mammary glands. I should add that the opposite is not true, as there is no need for men to have support for their unique bit of anatomy, except when playing sports (if you don’t believe me, explain the current trend to wear boxer shorts, which provide zero support for the male appendage and are akin to “going commando”!). Over a lifetime, lack of support makes breasts sag, but the male appendage is pretty much just hanging there anyway!
Therefore, I would argue that everything in terms of attire, style and presentation except the brassiere is purely an artificial construct. Furthermore, I believe it is accurate to say that men (or some men who don’t identify as women) have dabbled at various times with all of the items listed in the first paragraph above as feminine, although not all at once. Also, it is pretty clear that women have at times rejected some or all of them as well.
Yet, TG people, unlike the men who have sampled some of these items or women who have rejected some of these items, tend to like almost all of them precisely because they are constructed to be feminine and attributed to females or dislike almost all of them precisely because they are constructed to be feminine and attributed to females.
Does it make sense for TG persons to do that?
Here is a thought experiment for you. Close your eyes and imagine you are sitting in a chair in the middle of an empty room. You are completely naked (thankfully, the chair is covered in fabric, so you do not have a cold bottom!). Are you male or female in this mind’s image? Does it matter? Only you “see” yourself in this room. There are no things around or on you to affect who you are as a male or female – you are left with the body you have. Now, imagine that you must decide to put on just one piece of clothing or one accessory. Whatever you want will be brought to you and no one will see what it is, or see you put it on. What is that item? Why did you choose it? Does that choice reflect your feeling of being male or female? Given the context, does it matter? How does that one item change the way you felt a moment earlier when you wore nothing at all?
The point of that thought experiment is to make it clear that we all create our own version of what it means to be feminine or masculine, in our own heads, all the time. You aren’t alone in a room all the time, but you are still making the choice of what makes you feel feminine or masculine all the time; it may or may not involve things that you or others view as feminine or masculine. Likely, you are constantly seeking validation that you have chosen well and that others then see you as being the gender you have chosen. But, they have their own version of what reflects that gender. They may reject your choice solely based on their own choices. They may embrace your choices solely based on their own choices. How does what they choose to do regarding you have anything whatsoever to do with how you see yourself? Being female (wholly or partly) or being male (wholly or partly) is simply who you are and it doesn’t change simply because you adopt external things that are deemed by the majority of the population to be aligned with one gender.
My conclusion is this: female or male is a state or condition; feminine or masculine is an artificial construct. We need to embrace who we are on the inside and everything else should sort itself out.
I have decided for myself that nothing that I am wearing will change how I feel inside, where my inner woman dwells. I may like, and even seek, your validation of my gender choice, but I don’t need it, as I am whole without it.