Femininity Part 2
I was listening to Fearne Cotton’s excellent podcast Happy Place the other day and as I haven’t listened for a while I was catching up while going for a walk. I heard one with a lady called Juno Dawson who gave some really interesting insights on gender and the roles we’re expected to play.
Juno is a trans lady and who grew up in the 1990s knowing that something was a bit different but wasn’t quite sure what it was. She said she can remember being pulled towards the toys that were deemed for girls but when she asked for them, she often got given toys that were marketed for boys. She sounded pretty well-adjusted about the situation and it’s true that in hindsight you can look back and understand why things happened the way they did when people didn’t have the same amount of information they have now.
One of my favourite things that she said though is “you can’t fuck up your gender”. Meaning that whatever you think you are or feel like you are is completely fine. The discussion had been about labelling people and how some like to have a specific, non-traditional label on their gender or sexuality but some are ok with more traditional labels. Everyone is different!
It made me think quite a lot about how I’ve felt about being female, especially while I was a teenager and in my early twenties. I preferred the company of males quite a lot, partly because I liked the attention I realise now, but partly because I didn’t think I had much in common with other females. I didn’t really like makeup or shopping for clothes and I felt like whenever I talked about myself I kept saying the wrong things and usually gave too much information (probably why I like writing this blog so much 😊).
I preferred to wear comfortable clothes and shoes – I spent a lot of time in Doc Martens and trousers. I didn’t feel like I was much of a girl to be honest and wondered whether I had more boy genes than I should have. Just for the record, I never thought I should have been a male and I didn’t have any thoughts about gender reassignment but it did cross my mind quite a lot that I wasn’t quite as girly as my friends.
As I got a bit older, I found that I had missed the company of women and actually started seeking out women to spend time with. I still felt like I didn’t have that girly streak that others seemed to have but we all have something in common even if it’s just that we have the same gender. I slowly got a bit more girly and now I love wearing dresses, skirts and sometimes high heels. Although I think now that I realise I always did but just couldn’t be bothered with the faff sometimes.
It’s interesting that we assume what half of the population of the world should be like, should be interested in and should be wearing when we all have different upbringings, different experiences which give us different outlooks on the world. How on earth can more than 3.5 billion people be expected to be roughly the same?!
I love being more feminine sometimes and wearing makeup, doing my hair, putting a nice dress and some completely ridiculous shoes on that are pretty but impossible to walk in. Sometimes, I love putting my jeans and a band t-shirt on and that can make me feel just as good too. I also love that my friends and I have different interests and we can talk about those things. Imagine if we all just did the same things? Those conversations would be really boring!
So I agree with Juno Dawson, you don’t have to be anything specific to be a woman. You also don’t have to be a woman just because you’re born with female genitalia. You just have to learn what you are and embrace it. It doesn’t usually happen overnight and being a teenager is tough, but you learn about yourself and what you like and that’s ok. You can’t fuck up your gender because it’s yours.