About passing, things you can’t say

I have some unfashionable views about gender, which I do not believe is entirely performative or entirely about identification. As a woman I cannot just say I want to be seen as a man and be seen as one. It’s very difficult to do and not all of those who try, succeed.

I am still working toward equality. It was not until I was out of high school that married women could have checking accounts in their own name, or that there were true reproductive rights. I am only now beginning to fully understand the contours of my own oppression as a woman–even after all the years of feminist theory.

I don’t know what it would be like to know you are of another sex or another gender than your official one. People say “I didn’t like dolls,” but when I was a child we were not expected to like things or not depending on gender. I was interested in being a man because they had freedom, not because I felt I was in an alien body.

You could “do boy things” as a girl, it wasn’t that. It was that you also had to be oppressed. This is why it seems to me that all these things about costume, presentation, and so on are superficial to some degree, even though I am all for having people dress as they wish.

All of this is why I do not like having to give my pronouns. All my life I have had to try to overcome the handicap of being a “she.” How to get people to forget I am one has always been what I needed to do to survive. Not being the girl at work is part of my identity now.


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