Hi everyone. I was pleasantly surprised to see this thread being bumped in the latest F2B newsletter. Thanks for all the responses. I had read them all at the time, though I'm probably in a place to answer them now. This post took me days, and it's still pretty erratic, but I tried not to ramble on.
awwwww, that's such a lovely thing to say. Thank you. I often feel like there can't be too many guys like me, but we do exist apparently. I too have noticed far too much overmasculinity and machoism in our culture, and I think that society has really got it wrong over the decades gone by. I'm happy with my own level of masculinity, but I despise situations where showing emotion, not being a jerk to or about women, or even just being kind is indicative of a lack of manliness. The truth is that it's a lack of humanity, not manliness or masculinity. I can understand that being into feminine things might not add to masculinity, but I don't feel less of a man for my feminine interests, and attributes like sensitivity, empathy, and appreciation of beauty are just basic human traits that everyone should strive for — man, woman, or anyone in between. Biblically, we're ALL called to be tender and compassionate (Col 3:12, 1 Pet 3:8), but the world has classified them as feminine traits. Jesus said "blessed are the meek" (regardless of gender), and my aim is to be meek and gentle man with a strong heart, without being weak or timid. With God's guidance, I'm working on my character to find my role in the world as a man, then later as a boyfriend, fiance, husband, and father.
There are definitely men and women out there with hearts of compassion. Personally, I've met a few incredible God-fearing women, and I remain faithful that if I keep seeking the Kingdom first, God will be my perfect matchmaker when His time is right. I just need to rediscover a passion for life in the meantime.
I adore the sweetness and styles of women's fashion, and I would enjoy being a girlfriend and stylist to my female friends, if they were comfortable with it. I dress in male clothes all the time in my day to day life, and I'm fine with that, but I'm way more interested in cute skirts and dresses even just to browse. When I walk past shop windows, I'll often see something like a dress or a pair of high heels that I think are really pretty, and I wish I can just stop and look without drawing attention to myself or it feeling wrong because I'm not a woman.
Men and women have different roles (plus, different men have different roles from other men, and different women and different roles from other women), and I won't go and say that one has it easier over another. I've been caught up as a bystander in gender wars in recent months, and with so many worldly voices it only added to my confusion and frustration, to the point where God had to intervene and I reluctantly felt the need to take a step back. From what I've seen and experienced, I do think men perhaps have much more at stake in their manhood than women in their womanhood, but everyone's lives are unique, and I can't and won't say anything definitively or collectively. I'll say this about myself: I reckon there's a difference between feminine and womanly (also between masculine and manly). I certainly feel feminine at times, but I don't think I've ever felt womanly, in thoughts, actions, feelings, function, premonitions, instincts, or livelihood. I've never felt anything but a man, and maybe that's the difference between cis- and trans-gender in my own life.
Depending on the person, I don't mind either a stereotypical male or female conversation. If I feel comfortable enough in the conversation, I can talk about clothes, shopping, and babies for a lot longer than five minutes. In exactly the same way, however, I could talk about sport until the sun goes down. Not so much with cars, though. Re-reading my opening post, this sentence really sums it up, and is one I now use in introductions on other sites: "I understand now — many years later — that I absolutely adore the softness and sweetness of femininity, and the loveliness of a sisterly friendship is something that I'd love to have had. Even now, I would love to have sisterly friends with whom on occasion I can kiss and cuddle, say "I love your dress!", and have some quality "girl time" without it being at all taboo or unmanly. I'd love to have trusted friends with whom I can feel vulnerable, to laugh and cry, to be cute and cuddly, soft and sweet and just a little bit girly." I'm grateful that I can be real and honest with a couple of my male friends, and am able to open to some of my non-gender struggles, but I also have several male friends and family members who might be a little too hardened. Getting to know people in places like Freedom2B is a good thing for me, I feel.
I think you're spot on about having a "blend of masculine and feminine", though with the vast majority of people, that blend is very much one-sided. There's a psychometric test called the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI), made in 1971, that is the most widely-accepted resource in psychology circles to characterise someone's personality as being masculine, feminine, androgynous, or undifferentiated (as much as a simple test can do. Always take it with a grain of salt). (I should add that "stereotypical masculine and feminine traits were found by surveying 100 Stanford undergraduate students on which traits they found to be socially desirable for each sex", which was narrowed down to 60 traits – 20 masculine, 20 feminine, and 20 androgynous – for the test, so it's very much based on gender stereotypes.) Each time I take it, though, I rank 80% on the scale of femininity, and upto 74% on the scale of androgyny. I have never got over 50% masculine, but for all the reasons mentioned in this post, it really doesn't bother me.
Thanks. I'm so emotionally exhausted and very world weary, but gender isn't even the main cause. Another post for another day, maybe.