Friday, 4 October 2013


Oh no, she's not...

I think she is.

Is she really going there?

I'm leaving.

Gender. Sex. They used to think there were two versions, then we became enlightened and decided there were 3. Or 4. Or possibly 5. Then somebody said, wait, maybe it's a continuum.

I'm going to tell you about me. I'm a girl, but I'm not a girly girl. Like most humans, I have an obvious, visual, biological gender (I have a uterus, etc) and I also have hormones.

All humans have the same sex hormones, just in different quantities. Maybe you didn't know that, apparently not everyone does, but for example take
estrogen. Men also have estrogen. Too much causes breast development, too little causes premature aging. And so on. Likewise women have testosterone, and its levels impact health. There is also androgen, which is even more thought of as a male hormone, but women need it for several functions, including energy.

People don't talk about this stuff much, men are uncomfortable knowing that they even have estrogen, and it's all very silly. But the balance of hormones varies from person to person and it goes a long way towards making us who we are, not just in appearance, but mentally too. Concentration, aggression, and all sorts of characteristics are affected by "sex" hormones.

Then, there's the idea that the right brain is more developed in women, and the left brain in men. There's some evidence that this is at least partially correct in many people, and did you see what I just did there? Yeah. So, you know, it varies. I've been tested and apparently I'm balanced 50-50.

Anyway, put all that together, add cultural expectations, and you really do have far more than just two clear cut types of human being.

So, back to me. I am biologically a very normal female in some ways, and not in others. For example, I was always very fertile. That will come as no surprise. 5 out of my 6 pregnancies were not even planned. I was actually on the pill with one of them, so much for that being a reliable contraception. I had easy pregnancies. A bit of morning sickness with the first two, but nothing severe. I breezed through it. I delivered easily and naturally, roughly on time.

And then I failed to lactate.

Now, you would expect someone who HAS babies THAT easily to be able to feed them, but I couldn't. Despite help by experts I made enough milk for a small rodent. Thankfully this being the modern age we had the formula option and my children lived to tell the tale.

OK, so that's the biological stuff. What about my preferences?

I'm not even talking about sexual preferences, yet. I mean the things I like to do.

I was a tomboy growing up. I climbed trees, played soccer, collected Hot Wheels cars, and liked nothing better than to dig holes in the dirt. I also liked to fight. I never wore dresses and although I thought nail polish and make-up was fun once I hit my teens, on a scale of 1 to 10, I probably never got past 2 on the "girly" stuff. I have never had my hair "up", for example. No. Never. Not once. And I gave up high heels in 1979. I just couldn't get on with them.

And there was the funniest thing of all. Most of my friends growing up who had similar tastes in "things to do", who were fellow tomboys, discovered as they matured (some sooner than others) that they preferred girls to boys. Some of them married boys and found out later. There are a lot of divorced lesbians among my "old friends".

I let that side down badly. I liked boys. Oh yes. And boys liked me. Now isn't THAT ironic? All around me were girly girls fretting over their hair and their shoes, and not getting the guys, while a scruffy little tomboy got any guy she wanted.

When I learned to walk, my mother put me in jeans, because it was practical. I have had a life-long love affair with jeans. I will still be wearing them if I live to be 90, too. Because I am lazy, and because they are comfortable. Unless they are totally inappropriate for the occasion (I am not a total slob) I will wear jeans. I get up in the morning, and into my jeans. Done. It's easy, it's comfortable.

The difference was, that at 16 I wore tight jeans and apparently that was attractive. Whatever.

Anyway, the point here is that tomboy is not sexual. It's a way of life. It gives no clues to sexuality.

Eddie Izzard, who some of you have discovered, has broken a few of the barriers, because the guy is a) a genius, and b) hysterical, and is also c) a transvestite. Not any old transvestite. He's straight, and he likes to do guy stuff. He calls himself a tomboy boy, or an action transvestite. Hiking through deep African jungle..... in nail polish. Because he can.

You see, there isn't a list, anywhere, that says "If this, then that" with regard to gender stuff.

A lot of it is just trends anyway. A few hundred years ago men's fashions consisted almost wholly of items we'd consider "female" now.

And these were macho men, and no mistake.

It's all just stuff, it doesn't really mean anything. Modern men get all uncomfortable about it, and only the most daring wear anything that might be deemed girly.

Which brings me to the whole idea of what feminine is. What is it? I had a stand-up argument with a transvestite a few years ago, and not for the reasons many do. I wasn't objecting to his choices. Power to you buddy, you wear what you like. But he had the audacity to tell me he knew what feminine was. I think not. He knew the stereotype well enough. He knew what he liked, and sought to wear. But he knew what feminine MEANT? No. I'm a girl, and I don't even know, so no. Don't tell me you know.

Nobody knows. What we know is what we are taught OR what we choose OR what we prefer OR what we think is expected of us OR what is useful to us at any given moment.

There is nothing normal or natural, or standard, when it comes to the genders save that of procreation. Only women give birth. That's the only "rule". Beyond that all bets are off. There is no flow chart that leads one characteristic or option smoothly into another.

The idea that girls do this, and boys do that, is total bollocks. My husband is a card-carrying man, but he's the sensitive one in our relationship. But he can't choose paint.

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