So, don’t misunderstand me, I’m not trying to diminish the pressures of being a woman. I am perfectly aware that women have far more social issues than most cis-acting, white men, but, seen as I can only speak for myself, and my issues, that’s what I will be covering.
First of all, there’s no such thing as “feminine” interests, or at least, there shouldn’t be. But our society is so gender oriented that it is impossible to escape these, and as much as I try to defy these patterns and erase the stereotyping and shaming, I myself am too a part of it, and I am constantly constrained by these. Therefore, I feel a coward. And writing here is my private way of trying to unburden my own constraints.
One thing that troubles me constantly is the socially accepted amount of femininity that a man can have, versus the amount of masculinity that women are tolerated. Women that are more “manly”, but keeping their good share of femininity, are seen as great and progressing, and by all means, that’s a genuinely good thing, the only thing is, the inverse is not that well regarded. A feminine man is a weak man, a push-over and a “pussy” who is not worth of the great gift of life (also known as “penis”), and I feel constantly bullied, even if people don’t realise it, when they make apparently innocent remarks about me, the pressure to be a manly man is overwhelming. And the (male) gay community isn’t exception to this bullying. Most gay men have a tremendous fear of being emasculated for being gay, so they learn to hate on the more feminine men, especially if they are the 90’s-sitcom-stereotyped flamboyant gay men. And I understand that, gay men don’t want to be stereotyped and that’s an offensive one, but the hate that has grown towards that kind of person is as bad as the stereotype in itself. The message here is don’t judge, don’t hate and tolerate. The comfort that gay men have nowadays (and thank god for that comfort) has somewhat made them very prejudiced of certain types of people.
So, it’s something I have been struggling my whole life, even for ridiculous tiny things, like sitting down when I pee. I was in sitting-down-peeing closet well before I even realised I had other, much more frightening closets. For me, it’s infinitely more comfortable to sit, but I’m always haunted by the shame of doing it, even if it’s the most innocent and meaningless thing in the whole universe. It’s just a matter of fucking comfort.
I am also a man who likes fashion. I follow brands and people, I’m interested in the art of the making of clothes, in the aesthethic, the power of an image, in the context of being wore by a human being. However, anybody will immediately think I am gay, and that I like fashion because I am gay. That’s such a frustrating assumption. Even though I am indeed attracted to men, fashion has absolutely nothing to do with that, and I fear for speaking openly about fashion because of that. Liking fashion invalidates my purpose as a man. Now I know this is a bit of an extreme and harsh view of the judgement people actually make of me, but sometimes I feel that way, even if it’s not generally intentional.
Which brings me to an even bigger, and much more strained-within subject for me: the outright man-forbidding, areas of womanhood. I mean, looking less like a man. See, I feel comfortable as I am, and I really feel blessed for that, for I know that there are a lot of people who cannot say the same about them. But that doesn’t mean I feel like I belong in that gender binary fortress. I honestly don’t know where I belong, and maybe I’ll write about it later. But maybe I like to feel a little bit like a woman sometimes, a bit of androgyny play. Maybe I would like to paint my eyes, or my nails, or my lips, I would like to wear heels. But this, even with most of my closest male friends, I could never admit to liking it, and I probably would only do it if it was in the context of a joke, as I have before. Even with an oath of no-judging, I couldn’t, and that’s because I was formatted that way by society. I accomplished so much in embracing much of who I am, but there’s still some things I feel like I am never going to overcome.