It seems like an odd sounding thing to receive. But, every once in a while, for us men with feminine dispositions, our ears become receptors to a mildly irritating question: why are you acting like a girl? Sometimes, it’s a benign question; the intent of the questioner is fueled only by curiosity. Other times, it’s a weapon, stained with the poison of malice; the questioner wields it as a medium to break our spirits. It is easy to reflect on this question in moments of sorrow, posing it at ourselves, to query the fundamental nature of our beings. The resulting conclusion always comes down to one point: we must be flawed creatures unworthy of the title human.
Of course, the invalidity of the claim escapes us in moments of self-deprecating-pity; it takes only human abilities to self-reflect on ones own non-human peculiarities. But untamed feelings have a way of distorting the pieces of details our intellect perpetually constructs as the valid, logical, representations of reality. This distortion can get real ugly when vital chucks of our representations are missing. A useful additional piece rests in a place where we do not often take the care to look.
The way we come to understand the world carries with it a method which rests, during the earliest moments of our lives, completely in the hands of other people. All the impressions we hold today exist because we were able to sense inputs accorded us by our priests, our teachers, and our parents: the rituals of worship were handed to us as immutable rites existing from the beginning of time; the roles of boys and girls were given to us in unwritten codes to enable us perceive the models in which we best fit; we were taught how to take in milk from our mother’s secreting breasts. We grow into adulthood fortified with concrete-like preconceptions representing models of the world.
One fixed model in our representation of the world is the behaviorial divide between boys and girls-men and women. As far as we know, men ‘wear the trousers’, women cook the meals; blue is for boys, pink is for girls, and any activity outside our model of this man/woman-boy/girl dichotomy is held up with suspicion. The problem begins when we, with heightened possibility of being at the receiving end of that mildly irritating question, hold up this model as a sound representation of the world. Our starting place for our models should be that they are just that: models. Not true depictions of reality. But a far more useful piece to have in mind is the realization that these models comprise of pieces that can be moved around to reflect our own experiences, rather than immutably depict what has been handed down to us from those, dead or alive, who haven’t spent close to one millisecond living the days of our lives.
These days people speak of gender and sexual fluidity. We have those who were courageous enough to live their truths to thank for dismantling the exaggerated fixity of gender and sexual norms. For us who have to still encounter people who remain in the dark with regards to this fluidity. It rests within our duty to leave them illuminated. To fix their ill-awareness of our existence. To add the multifacetedness of our stories to their one dimensional view of the world. To tilt their frames of reference to a position that shows we do not “act” like girls, we behave the way we know how, like ourselves. We play no part in the mental associations of our critics, who find our behavioral disposition akin to what they might find in girls. We simply behave like ourselves.
As an anonymous person once said “When you judge someone it doesn’t define who they are, it defines who you are“. In a variety of this light, when others place us within preconceptions it doesn’t define who we are, it defines the reality that they lack privy knowledge of who we are.
Be yourself first and foremost.
You are Awesome