What is it like to feel gender?

5 months 3 weeks ago #374975 by ZealotX
Here's the thing... and I've had a stepson that struggled with identity... what I'm saying is that there are at least 2 sides of the issue and in regards to both you and I lack the first-hand experience to truly say we understand so our conversation should be taken with that grain of salt; that we are conversing on a subject that other people experience while having the privilege of not having to face these questions. We understand that and aren't trying to diminish anyone's experience. And it may not always sound like it because I have to honest and frank without fear, but I have the utmost respect for "most" in the LGBTQ+ community.  

With that being said, from what I have seen there is an aspect of "this isn't me". An aspect of not fitting into "the box" you call the stereotype. Similarly, there are any number of stereotypes that may be true for some that are silly in general. Stereotypes are often negative and underpin many discriminatory ideas. So I question these "identities" because I question the boxes that people buy into. If the box is stereotypical then maybe what's needed is either a new more accurate and inclusive box or no box at all.

When it comes to gender, my gut is to reject any box that goes over and above the scientific standard. What is a man? The more narrowly you define that the more people are going to feel excluded. I'm simply asking why should we create these narrow defintions that exclude people because that strikes me as a crime against the people we're excluding. To me, a man is fundamentally defined as a person with male sexual organs. Whatever you want to add to that is based on what? Cultural norms? Culture can change. Men used to wear skirts and in some cultures... makeup, lipstick, and wigs. Culture can also be wrong. If you define men relative to us impregnating women, now you've already created a standard that not every man is going to fulfill just like every woman isn't going to have a baby. And creating that standard may put patriarchal pressure on women to fulfill that role. We can define women according to their womb and their role in reproduction but not every woman, regardless of sexuality, is going to fulfill that role and that could either be a limitation of biology or choice. 

I think this aspect is all too common in our society because our society loves its boxes. Society loves to neatly place people in boxes even if those boxes don't fit. Because depending on your box society then knows how to deal with you. This is fundamental, imo, to the question of identity because it's not just about how you identify but how you want society to identify you. That need or desire is what creates the closet in the first place. People's sexualities should be private. No one "should" care about what you do in bed or what you like. The reason this goes into identity is because of how society reacts and treats people. Maybe my cousin got tired of being asked when he was going to marry a nice girl. There is a reason the answer is "probably never" but he couldn't simply say that. 

But this is a much clearer picture to me; gay vs straight. This has everything to do with sexual preference. Even bi. All three preferences are about an attraction to others, not a rejection of one's own gender. Just because a guy likes other guys doesn't mean he's really a girl. While I may be curious about a person's preference for others, it's like questioning someone's favorite food. That's their taste. I (personally) see it as something completely different when a person has a preference about themselves because it makes me question what is the motive or reason. If you like to east frog... okay, but since I dislike the taste the time I tried it I may question why you like frog. But I'm not questioning why anyone likes frogs because obviously if no one did then they wouldn't be on any menu. If a guy doesn't like girls, that's fine. They don't have to pick a girl. They can pick a guy. And I think this is possible because sexuality is more fluid than we give it credit for-just like taste buds. 

So what about gender? Is gender simply more fluid than we give it credit for? And so beyond the baseline of saying "males and females have male or female parts" the rest of it is a spectrum of masculine vs feminine. To me, the problem comes from society telling boys they cannot be effeminate boys. Such are rejected by macho-leaning society as "girly". And perhaps there is an internalization of this and a rejection that this is something negative (Which is what stereotypes tend to be) and so they react by embracing that inner "girl" instead of expanding the definition of "man" to include both masculine and feminine people with male parts. Because, imho, masculine vs feminine is completely natural and as old as time. Surgery to change gender is, by contrast, artificial. I'm not saying no one should do it if that's what they want. I'm just saying its artificial like breast implants. I think what we've done is created an artificial third gender instead of embracing people for who they are. We created another box. And so now there is a stereotype for men, for women, and for transgendered people. And is that right? Whether I understand it or not that's different from passing judgment. So I'm not saying its wrong. I'm questioning whether society hasn't performed a greater sin by making people feel the need to be something else.

Is it "Wrong" to embrace that inner "girl"? Absolutely not. Black people do the same thing with "blackness". The entirety of race is artificial but since we were told it is something negative it makes us react by holding on to the racial identity while trying to make it positive. I think the same effect is possible when it comes to gender. I'm not telling people how to react to society. I'm just questioning society for causing the reaction.

Again, I think it's one thing to say "I am not this". "I do not fit into this box". To take the next step into "I am not this so I must be that", to me that is an extension of trying to escape the first box, seeing another box that is more appealing. If that other box weren't there would they conform to their perception of it? Or would they simply wear whatever they like, look however they like, and talk in whatever voice is natural and comfortable to them? In other words, I believe we compare ourselves to what we think we're "supposed to be" and the pressure of that... the pressure of society to define that... can push people into rejection. But does that mean they were "supposed to be" the other gender? If a person believes in God, did he/she make a mistake? If a person believes in destiny, is it wrong in their case? Or maybe... there is no such thing as what was "supposed to be". Maybe we're simply imagining and constantly trying to define and redefine ideas represented by different boxes. And the fact that we're arguing against a box or debating a box, perhaps that means what we're debating are more artificial concepts from what it was naturally, not "meant to be" (because that more arbitrary definition comes from us) but simply "is" (without our thoughts and ideas manipulating it). 

So if someone asks me "what is it like to feel gender" I can only speak from my personal experience which creates personal biases and personal preferences that are not going to agree consistently with the experience of other men. So how can this question then speak to ideas that all men or all women have in common that doesn't specifically have to do with sexual reproduction?

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5 months 3 weeks ago #374980 by Adder
Yea that's why I have a theory of energy circuits, not in a woo-woo mystical energy way, but literal energy expenditure and behavioural reinforcement on posture, pose, poise, and frameworks for processing perception. The gender construct itself brings a wide bucket of varied historical and contemporary forms of expression in that regard, but the premise probably has to be that they exist different to the other pole, such that a spectrum can exist. And as such physical sex matters very little IMO (though I can't rule it out being related to many of the forms available in that proverbial bucket), and so maybe it's more about either psychological architecture, hormonal settings perhaps, or identity constructs... or all of the above as they likely weave together anyway. I call em circuits because if one spends energy in certain patterns that reinforce themselves then they would likely develop some interconnectedness and change over time due to such focus, or otherwise shape other expression, of ones systems which support that energy to be applied in different ways. I'm not sure there is enough hard science to venture much off that approach as far as I can tell.

Knight ~ introverted extropian, mechatronic neurothealogizing, technogaian buddhist. Likes integration, visualization, elucidation and transformation.
Jou ~ Deg ~ Vlo ~ Sem ~ Mod ~ Med ~ Dis
TM: Grand Master Mark Anjuu

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