The truth about girls and boys

I don’t think I’m really a girl.  Not through and through.

Inspired today by Boy, Girl or None of the Above, I’ve been thinking about the whole girly/manly man thing.

I’ve got bits, boobs, an hourglass figure and long hair, so technically it’s all there.  But in my head….it’s a DIFFERENT story!

SANY0243

I DON’T like talking about diets. I don’t like diets. I’ve never really been on one.  I find them boring.

I DON’T like make up.  The best part of my day is when I get home and wash whatever I’ve got on my face off with cold water.  My bathroom is full of ‘aspirational’ make up I thought I might wear…but don’t.

I DON’T own a blow dryer. Or a hair straightener.  I think hair is best when you just comb it and go.

I DON’T like shopping.  I hate malls.  I have an almost complete indifference to shoes.

I DO like having abstract intellectual discussions.  I like it better than talking about relationships (although I quite like that too).

I like being a sexual predator better than being sexual prey. Many’s the time I’ve had to remind myself – drag your eyes up, woman! Stop talking to his hairy chest (or worse)!  Mind you once I get him in to view the etchings I’m all woman.

So am I really a girl?

On the plus side, I like dresses a LOT!  Ms M, on the other hand, wouldn’t wear a dress if it came with inbuilt internet connectivity (for her, the sina qua non of a fulfilled life) and until 12 only ever played with boys.  But she fancies boys, in theory (with full beards, she tells me), and is fairly crap at maths.  So is SHE really a girl?

Point being, we’re people first, genders second.  All of us are mixtures of boy and girl, sometimes more than we like to admit.  These days it’s refreshing to have the (relative) freedom to be what you are rather than fit yourself into some pre-labelled box marked Pink or Blue.

Are you a man with girly thoughts? Or a woman with manly leanings? Can you be what you are? Or do you have to tuck bits away to fit in?

68 thoughts on “The truth about girls and boys

  1. While it is true we are all more than our gender, it is also true Western society has definite views on what is considered appropriate ways to express ourselves. For women it is acceptable to present in a masculine manner, to be a “tomboy”. Hair styles, clothing, no makeup… the list is long indeed.
    Now look at males. To express thoughts, feelings, or traits seen as feminine is to become a target for harassment, ridicule, even violence. As much as I wish all people could feel safe in their expressions of self, often this is not the case.
    This is one reason Transmen can find a level of acceptance far beyond what Transwomen experience.

    • I completely agree. Well said. We all have a little of the masculine and feminine. But first, we’d have to define what each means, no? And that’s were culture messes things up–sets strict boundaries between the two which is not really the case.

      • In a society were individuals are defined by their bodies or body parts, it makes them nothing more than objects. Real people are more than the sum of their parts and understanding this means people have to make an effort to know those around them.
        As it stands now, we live in a world where we claim everyone is unique as long as they agree to be the same as the lowest common denominator. It’s no wonder everything seems to be upside down and backwards. People are either unique or they’re not, you can’t have both.
        Hopefully, one day more people will figure this out and then we can begin to see a more open and accepting society.

    • I agree, men have a harder time than women in a way. IN women, all is forgiven, though other women and men will say hard things behind your back. Men get punched. If female and male traits weren’t so strictly defined in some sense, would ‘queens’ get the same satisfaction from being outrageously feminine and ‘butch’ women from being masculine? or is that a wrong question to ask? In ancient Greece, for instance, many men were bisexual in that they had wives and families and other guys for romance – still they dressed as ‘men’ I suppose and fought in armies and did all the guy things. I guess my question is, does a culture which promotes extreme sex roles also promote extreme rebellion in a sense? I dunno…I think I like men in makeup though.

      • I can’t speak for cross dressers or homosexuals, your ‘queens’ and ‘butch’ girls. Although ‘queens’ fall under the Trans* umbrella and by association all Trans* are part of the LGBT flag, the reasons for the behaviors of each is different from those of Tansmen and Transwomen.
        I could speak of what I have read from people on blogs and forums, but it would only be second hand. I can however speak for myself in this…
        I am a pre-op or most likely non-op Transwoman. I’m not going to get into why I see myself this way here, it is simply too complicated and doesn’t matter to the discussion of motivation.
        How I view my gender has nothing to do with societies views of male and female and everything to do with the way my mind is wired. In everything I do, everything I say, in the very way I view myself, I am a woman.
        Yes, I was born with a male reproductive system, but for me this is the same as anyone born with a birth defect. It is the same as someone born intersex. They didn’t choose they way they were born and neither did I.
        I don’t present as female for fun, or to make a statement about the way society views women. I don’t do it as a fetish or other sexual motivation.
        I do so because where it counts, in my mind, in my heart and in my soul I am a woman.

        Sorry if this came off as preachy, I don’t mean for it to be. It is an every day struggle to be true to myself in the face of a society which refuses to acknowledge my existence as I truly am and instead demands I act in certain ways because of it’s own intolerance, even when doing so is detrimental to my well being and happiness.

  2. you sound just like me except about the clothes. I have no interest in them (oh but I do wear them!). I agree that everyone should be free to just be themselves and not to have to fit inot some mold of either girly or manly! Great post!

  3. I wear make-up, I have my nails done regularly, I even own a hair straightener, I hate skirts and usually wear pants, and I also LOVE having intellectual conversations. I have a few very close girlfriends but I would say that the majority of my friends are male. I totally agree about ME coming first before my gender. I really enjoyed this post. Thank you!!!

  4. I’m something of an enigma in this area. The last time I wore make-up was to make myself look all zombified for Hallowe’en – until then my face hadn’t seen make-up since my wedding in May. I like that I can simply run my fingers through my short layered hair in the mornings and consider it done. The Weapons Of Mass Distraction are free-floating unless a bra is required for a social event and I shave my legs/armpits perhaps three times a year/when I remember/when I can be arsed.

    I’m a natural flirt – it’s just in my nature – but I am very much the sexual predator; I seduced my husband and most of my partners before him because I don’t like to play coy, silly games. I hate high heels, but love knee-high boots.

    I like to wear floaty, flirty little skirts – with leggings and fandom tops. On the other hand I am never seen in public without some type of hat.

    I like to get muddy in fields and am happy with my head stuck under the bonnet of a car, learning what things are and how they work. I don’t just make fart jokes – I laugh when I let one rip. On our wedding night I launched a silent-but-deadly in my husband’s face (you can guess what he was doing) and I though it was gut-bustingly funny rather than face-burningly embarrassing. Then again, I wasn’t the one under the duvet turning green ;)

    I let all of me hang out, figuratively speaking. I refuse to hide any facet of my personality to please others.

  5. Great post, Rose!

    I do guy crap mostly – I wear t-shirts and jeans exclusively; I drive a truck and I’m utterly and happily ignorant of fashion in any way. I’m a man and I’m glad – being a woman would be too damn weird.

    But, most of the people I associate with are women. They seem to “get” me better than men (or, I simply don’t want to associate with men at a subconscious level) and I seem to “get” women at a deeper level. Hell, look here on WordPress for example – 90% of the blogs I follow are authored by women and ~85% of my blog followers are women. That holds true in physical life, too.

    It sure as hell doesn’t make me a woman though – I’ve got the male parts and I’m definitely straight.

    So, I guess I’m agreeing with you from the male POV. I’m part of my gender but I’m not defined by it.

    • I always find it strange that men would want to associate mainly with women. Hey, I like women and all that..but I find other women very boring. That’s a generalisation – not on here, not my friends – but I think i need the spark of sexuality to really enjoy a conversation, probably. I’ve met a lot of men who say they prefer to be with women socially. I think, no wonder – we listen, we admire, we titillate! what more could a man want. Whereas other men – they challenge, they compete, they smell! (sorry, please take what I say with a bucket of salt, as somebody said)

      • But, you’ve hit the nail on the head with that. You find other women very boring – and you’re straight. I find women interesting as hell – and I’m straight. It could very well be needing that spark of sexuality, which would make it clear why my natural inclination is towards women.

        And… I find most men pretty damn boring. The mindset of most men just doesn’t interest me. Or, challenge me in ways I want to be challenged.

  6. Take most every stereotype of women, and I am the opposite. Don’t like girly things. Hate to shop. Prefer action movies to romance. Never read romance novels unless it’s by a blogging bud, and even then I have to bite the bullet. But I do love my chocolate. Guess that’s kind of a woman thing. :)

  7. “I have an almost complete indifference to shoes.” Will you marry me? ;) I think everything you listed as your “don’t” list are on my list of the things that drive me crazy about women. If I’m ever single and roaming around Australia, I’m looking you up.

    I have two teenage boys who, the older they get, the more “male” they become and it drives me crazy. My 15-year-old has to wear cologne now. I’ve never worn cologne in my life. They both love to look at cars and talk about cars — as long as a car gets me from point A to point B with a decent music system, I don’t care. If something is identified as the man way to do things, or macho, or whatever, I’m more than likely to move as far away from it as possible. My boys have started to question my manhood — in somewhat joking fashion — but it’s somewhat distressing to see them buy into the male stereotypes, particularly my oldest.

    • Well, they have a lot of testosterone roaming around in there. It slacks off a bit later. My son doesn’t use cologne – actually he stinks, usually, much as I love him. And his version of masculinity is ‘Don’t worry your fluffy head about that, mum, I know Best’. It’s quite sweet! And if you’re ever single and roaming about Australia – or even married and taking a trip – you’re very welcome to look me up. After all, you did say nice things about my book.

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      • There’s a difference in the mother-son and father-son dynamic. I think both my 17-year-old and I wouldn’t mind being thrown into a cage with each other and letting the last one standing exit. There’s no “I’ve got you covered” coming from him these days. He just thinks he has all the answers, and has everything set because he has a girlfriend — as long as they have each other what else matters. As for a trip to Australia — I’m acquiring a growing list of reasons to visit. More specifically, a growing list of people who live there I want to meet at some point in my life.

      • That must be irritating. Mine knows everything too but yes, it’s different if you’re a mum (probably partly because I don’t feel much need to compete or argue – if he wants to stand on top of the heap crowing that’s alright by me, mostly). I think it’s worth keeping a good relationship even if you have to sit on a few choice epithets/avoid punching him, because in a while he’ll become fully human again and then you can maybe get closer.

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  8. Pingback: Femininity? Define “Femininity” | Wine And Roses From Outer Space

  9. Cool post! I hate dresses, I live in jeans/t-shirts, I love action movies and cold beer! I’m prissy when it comes to my hair (I could never live without a blowdryer), but if I’m at the lake or home for the weekend, I let it air dry and could care less. I went to very minimal make-up this past year…the kids at school kept looking at me the first few days of classes and kept saying, “You look different from last year, but were not sure why!” (I’m taking that as not a bad thing). I’d rather stab my eyes out with scissors than shop with my girlfriends. I will scream and get on top of the table if I see a mouse/rat. (I get along with men/women alike, but really prefer the company of the guys).
    My husband can sew, make beautiful flower arrangements, decorate the house, and is a fantastic cook – I feel lucky!

    • Wow, you are lucky! After you’ve done with him, can I have him? (no just kidding) I agree, I’ve had boyfriends who’ve had substantial ‘feminine’ sides. The awful ex for instance was always primping in the mirror, and another one didn’t move without a whole caseload of perfumes.

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  10. Rose, I love this discussion. I think there’s a definite difference between femininity and masculinity versus the defined norms of what it is to be a “woman” and a “man”. Or girly and macho.

    Take for example, piercings. Piercings is a form of body decoration that has been used throughout history and cultures. Males in certain cultures are lauded for their make-up, jewelry and piercings. An obvious example would be ancient Egyptians, but there are less obvious ones still present like countercultures for example. I can go on and on.

    Much like you, I’m a low maintenance girl or woman rather. I’ve had a hard time accepting myself as a “woman” mostly because of my insecurities. I have tiny breasts. But I also have a very, wide curvy hips. And I love my plump, round butt.

    I was considered more of a tomboy growing up and still fit the “tough girl” persona. I only have one brother and we were very close in our childhood and early adolescence. I always hung out with his friends because I enjoyed things that were “for boys only”–action figures, fighting video games, sex talk, etc. I went through a make-up phase in my early teens. It didn’t last long at all. I hardly ever wear make up or blow dry/straighten my hair. You know. Again, I’m low maintenance chic. I have a thing for dresses now that I never had before (been knitting and sewing). I hated them all throughout my life though, because of the scars in my legs from surgeries. Also because I hated having to sit lady-like. I was always reminded to cross my legs because I tend to sit with flat feet, knees on my shoulder, panties exposed. Besides, my bone condition made it difficult for me to sit all dainty and cross my legs to begin with. It was uncomfortable and hurt.

    The femininity aspect to me is more about our innate qualities–child bearing, hormones, etc. But we all have a little bit of both, some more than others. And that’s ok. I wish society accepted that, particularly much of Western society’s rigid norms.

    • I guess piercings can be masculine or feminine these days. Indian women have those dainty nose rings and then there’s belly button thingummies. I wear dresses because they’re the most comfortable thing to wear and jeans constrict all the bits I don’t like having constricted. But I love colours and swishy things and velvets and low cut stuff. Like you I prefer the company of men because I like that style of conversation – I feel more comfortable with it. I never seem to get on an emotional level with women, I’m always pretending to some extent. Still, I think we’re all a mix. I think eventually society will accept it if people keep protesting and rebelling! Like us!

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  11. haha. I meant elbows on my knees. Knees on my shoulder is very acrobatic. I could do that too. Bone condition makes me flexible, well back then at least.

    • A guy who can listen..wow! A jewel among men! The thing is, can you listen and then ask follow up questions? That’s what us real women do. Sort of. Now I’m being sexist!

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    • Wow, you’re lucky. I make a list, run into the mall, get lost, wander round there for two hours till my feet are sore, look in a hundred shops, can’t find what I want, buy something I don’t want, and go home and veg!

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    • That’s what I do too. I never go into town unless I actually need something – and then I buy it and go straight home.

      Shopping with my mother was a nightmare, because she stops and lingers and wants to look at all kinds of tat. I’m glad I moved away and that she inflicts this behaviour on her mother these days!

      (on the plus side, she used to set off all the Cybermen/Dalek speakers and fart alarms in BHS and pretend it was me. She has her cool side I guess)

      • Your mum sounds extremely cool! When I go to the mall with my kids and I slow down near a store with a bright coloured object out front, they grab me by the elbow and sort of manhandle me past it. They know me – I may not like shopping but I can’t resist a red dress!

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  12. I was a big ‘tomboy’ when young. I was the fastest runner at school ( I won every year and went to the regionals, even the state once). I was a long jumper and played hockey (known for its ‘rough’ girl play). I became a Judo brown belt (next one would have been black). I preferred to chase boys in the park (piggy in the middle), that sort of thing. I didn’t do my hair, wear nail polish or dresses… eek, dresses!!! Yet now as I age I’m increasingly loving being a girl. Is it because I had more testosterone when younger? Could it mean the estrogen levels have increased with my age? I don’t have the answers, except to say. “I’ve never enjoyed my feminine self as much as I do today.” But then, Rose, I do have a few years up on you, so there’s time for you too…. Just sayin’…..!

    • Same here, Carolyn. I climbed trees throughout childhood and my favourite thing in my 20s was my olive green oversize army shirt. And then…I don’t remember when it happened, but I suddenly started to like dresses, too. Weird.

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  13. As far as I can tell male culture and female culture are not rooted in our biological genders but rather they are rooted in the culture that society attempts to oppose on those genders. I am very much against sex change operations. If a male is “girly” and likes to dress like a “girl” then he should simply do and act that way. There is no reason for a man to get a castration surgery(sex change) simply because he has adopted “female culture”. Although I think he should feel entitled to refer to himself as a she even if he still has male anatomy.

    • I guess people can refer to themselves however they like, and these days they can be physically modified in whatever ways are medically possible – fewer ribs, smaller nose, no penis, or a penis where there was none before. We all have our views – I personally can be mesmerised by trying to decide if someone’s boy or girl for at least 30 minutes – but in the end, it’s up to the person what they want to do, and we can think what we like.

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  14. Pingback: Comment About Gender « seedofjapheth

  15. You’re not supposed to tell anybody this stuff. They are supposed to work it out for themselves, or travel to mountain tops to ask old guys in loin cloths. Try to be more cautious in future!

  16. Great post, again. I have my dangly bits, but love design, and am very careful about how I dress in public. I am predator, but prey back home. I don’t like violence, or violence in sport, but adore my soccer. I am more female than my boss likes me to be – or perhpas she would prefer me more male. We get to make decisions, and stay osober. No thanks.

  17. “Male” as a gender, or as a mindset the way you pigeonhole the female mindset above, doesn’t really exist any more. We’ve had it beaten out of us. There’s no definition of masculinity you can apply anymore that doesn’t offend one of the multifarious species of feminists, gay advocates or general self-loathers that have battered us to a pull for the last 30 years. But that’s okay. I like to fuck, drink hard, drive insanely fast (but not after drinking) and I’m not averse to killing a spider or a terrorist. I’m comfortable in what I call my manhood, :-)

    • Yeah, I think there’s been lots of accusations levelled at traditional masculinity, but there were? a lot of things that were good about it. Courage, responsibility, drink driving, that kind of thing. You strike me as man’s man, though what would I know. If I’d been born with a dick, I would’ve liked to go round swinging it a fair bit, I’m sure.

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  18. YES! I AM a wommmaaaaaaan & with hard going thoughts like yours. In the office the other week I was having thoughts that were of persons in the room, let’s say – with their clothes removed.

    I too have been sexual predator, & lunged for it. I don’t enjoy shopping either! Oh Rose, we sisters!!

    Great post :)

    You know, when Daniel was infant, I avoided both blue & pink. He was given some blue things, but I never bought them.

    • Oh, that whole blue and pink thing! If we’re so keen to colour code babies, why not just dye their hair, then nobody will be any doubt as to who to give the train set to! And thanks – I’m honoured to be your blog-sister!

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      • Ah right, I think in this day and age it seems a bit premature to associated math and spatial skills with being male. This just equates maleness with right hemisphere dominance in the brain – which I know is mostly true but there are a lot of men out there who struggle with math and women who can do it, but does this make them any less male/female?

      • True. The female/male brain is not such a defined physical attribute as the genitals – you don’t have to have surgery to become mentally male, as far as I know. Still there are characteristics associated with male and female sex hormones which tend to play out in the brain. Different people have different quantities of sex hormones swilling about, I believe, whether they’re male or female.

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