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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » "is that a boy or a girl?"

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Author Topic: "is that a boy or a girl?"
ichigo fluff
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okay, so. to give you the back-up story, for the past few years i've been pondering my gender issues. it's very possible i'm FTM. dunno.

but anyway, that's not the point. there is some construction work being done on my street this summer. i was taking a walk this morning, and i was binding. and i hear one of the workers go "is that a boy or a girl?" i have been hearing a lot of this lately. downtown from people out of car windows, in the neighborhood from little kids, just... a lot of people don't seem to know what my gender/sex (pick one) is.

thing is, i'm not really mad about it. maybe i should be, but if they can't tell then i guess it means i'm pretty close to passing. at least enough to cause some confusion. it's not like they're rude about it.

so that's my story of the day.

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i feel like i'm chasing the guy from lucky charms.


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ladydexter
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You are an example of what I would like to be.

I do identify as male, and to some degree, crossdress, but I've never pulled it off quite so perfectly to make people wonder. To most people, I'm just the freaky girl who wears boxers.

If you can take that and roll with it, good for you. Provided it's not offensive, I think there's nothing wrong with it. Androgyny is a trait just like blonde hair or green eyes, for example.

I don't think you should be annoyed by it, is the gist of what I'm saying. It's not like gender is clear-cut anyway - much as people might like it to be, the two options will never fit everyone, there will always be some people who don't fit either.

Glad to hear you're comfortable with yourself, regardless.


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ichigo fluff
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thank you. i really needed to hear that. i'm more male-identified as well, actually... i just look androgynous.

i dunno. thanks, again. go confidence.

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i feel like i'm chasing the guy from lucky charms.


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DarkChild717
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It's going to take a long time before people realize that there's more than two gender boxes. So, until then, you'll probably hear those comments.

But, as long as you know who you are and are happy with whatever that might be, then it's okay! Confidence is sexy regardless of orientation or what have you.


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Nyl
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I'd get my hair cut in a boyish style and crossdress like heck if I thought I could get away with it, but somehow I don't think I would. Apart from the obvious physical signs, I think my voice would give me away.

I'd be happier if people asked 'Is that a boy?' rather than 'Is that a boy or a girl?'. I want to be more male than female.

I don't know if anyone else thinks this, but I personally don't like the image that girld get, at least not teenage ones. To me it seems that we're meant to be bubbly and interested in hair, make-up, being pretty, that kind of thing. It's expected that they're sweet, gentle, maternal, etc. I don't want to be all that. I don't see why I should have to.

It's hard to explain exactly why I feel like I do, but I think I just want to be a boy.


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Heather
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Do bear in mind that to some degree, pithy gender sterotypes are just that. People have stupid racial and national stereotypes too, but we can buck them and show them up for what they are without trying to become white if we're asian, male if we're female, American if we're Pakistani.

Remember, too: there are sterotypes put on men just as dumb as the ones you've listed here for women that are just as pervasive: for instance, that men are unemotional, led by their penises like mindless automotons, violent, interested in nothing but sports and chasing tail, what have you.

Most people don't fit sterotypes. But if we all just fell in line with them, we'd end up giving them more credence rather than being wh we really are, and living our lives in such a way to show them to be as baseless as they are. Plus, for none of us is our gender the pinnacle of our identity, anything close to all of what or who we are.

You don't have to be a walking sterotype: there is no should here. Whatever your gender identity turns out to be, whatever your biological sex is, all you should be is who you are.


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Blink
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People used to debate whether I was a boy or a girl while sitting behind me on public transportation. It was so incredibly rude, I always felt like screaming, "Hello?! Androgynous people have ears, you know?" And sometimes they'd ask me to my face and I'd refuse to answer, because I don't think they have a right to that information just from being in the same public place as me. But yeah, if people aren't being rude, then I usually don't mind.

I read about some gender variant folks who printed up little palm cards to give to people who stared at them or asked, "Is that a boy or a girl?" I don't remember exactly what they said, but it was just simple, friendly stuff about how it wasn't the person's fault for being confused but that it's important to understand that not every person has to look a certain way and people's gender doesn't have to match up with their biology and stuff like that. It seemed like a nice, non-confrontational way to educate people.

Anyway, I guess I just wanted to say I hear you.


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Deunan Knute
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I've been mistaken for a boy before by my own aunt once. For ten minutes, she was asking "who's the young boy?" until someone figured out she was talking about me and told her I was her neice. I really want to look more feminine, but don't want to have to wear make-up or wear dresses and skirts.
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daria319
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I think it's funny that I'm so blatantly female now. For the first ten years of my life, people repeatedly mistook me for a boy. Of course, the idiotic bowl cut my mother gave me REALLY didn't help. I had very short, white-blonde hair, and a habit of wearing just jeans and a t-shirt.

I suppose I'm making up for it now by wearing stuff that might make a drag queen blush (my own grandma said that about me!) and falling in love with a push-up bra.

I am biologically female, and I identify as female. I still get weird looks if I'm in baggy jeans and my fiance's hoodie,though. Apparently I have a non-feminine walk. Oh well. If anybody sees me and doesn't know 'what' I am, they can quit staring at my *** and ask.


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LadyLeo
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I dress in baggy t-shirts, jeans and wear baseball hats. I play rugby and my other hobbies (video games for example) would be what some would call boyish. All-in-all though I'm proud to be female and wouldn't want to be a guy for anything in the world. I've been called a guy before. I just shrug it off and laugh.
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KCallahan
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You know, I never get tired of coming back and checking on the younger set now that I'm clear of my teenage years.

I find it so refreshing to continue to challenge my own personal notion of gender, which is very binaried. I'm MtF, but that speaks only of my sex. There was never a time in my life where I said to myself "I'd rather like to be a girl." It took me a while to figure it out, but I always have been. Girly bits would be nice, but they're really unnecessary.

I find it interesting that others have a very different perspective, feeling that gender may be something they can fluidly move around in or can wear like a coat to fit their mood.
I'm not wired that way, so considering it stretches my mind.


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thesmall001
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When i was a few years younger (11/12)I used to read about how hard it was for a teenage boy to pass as a teenage girl.

I thought that it didn't look that hard.

Then i myself hit puberty . . .

It's really not that easy . . .

Who thinks that it's harder for male to pass as females?

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One thing you have to understand about me is that there is nothing about me you can understand. See what I mean.

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000
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I second MizS's opinion 100%. I think everyone who's posted here needs to re-read and understand it. People used to think I was a guy all the time. I tried for awhile to look like and act like our culture's ideal girl and I did not find happiness there either. Definitely now, in physical appearance and action, I'm some combination of male and female ideals. But who cares? They're just cultural ideals, not based in biological reality at all. If you "try to act male/female" you're letting the stereotypes rule you, instead of vice versa.
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pockyqueen
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to thesmall: interesting question! I think difficulty varies from person to person. For example, there are men who have very fine, feminine features that makes it easier for them to pass as women, and there are men who the stereotypical man-shape (broad shoulders and chest, no hips at all, etc.) who have a great deal of trouble getting away with wearing a dress. There are women who are flat-chested and not traditionally feminine who can dress as convincing men, then there are those who are more curvy and have to spend hours squeezing and tucking to pull off passing as a boy. Then, of course, there are voice differences, which makes it hell to pass as the other gender.

Personally, I had one heck of a time earlier this year when I was doing a scene from "Angels in America" for forensics competitive drama. My partner called the Mormon housewife, so I (a girl) took the part of the retired drag queen dying of AIDS. Given, the scene was fun, but SOOO many judges commented on "girl is not a convincing man". It was a hard part, particularly because not only was I playing a man, I was playing a man who was impersonating a woman at the same time (not to mention the other things going on about the character). It was insane! We did end up qualifying for states though...

but playing a drag queen was SO FUN.

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"You almost look like a... a.... not a woman..." -- Oriental Occultist, The Incredibly Cool Club

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echomikeromeo
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I have short hair, wear guys' clothes and hang out with guys, so I've frequently been mistaken for a guy, though I do identify as female, just a sort of non-feminine female. I find it entertaining more than anything else, but wouldn't it be great if people weren't saying "Who's that guy?" or "Who's that girl?", but rather "Who's that person?"
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CrimsonCriminal
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I enjoy hearing comments from people, wondering whether I am male or female. I don't want to be a biological male, or change my body in any other way. I don't want to fit into the traditional gender roles, and there are many "traditional" characteristics attributed to both mainstream genders I absolutely despise.

I have waist-long strawberry blonde hair, wear metal band shirts (guy fit), hiking boots, oversized black men's dress shirts instead of jackets, and depending on mood either urban camouflage pants (I shop at millitary disposal stores for clothes) or tight-ish black or grey jeans. Long hair even on men is typical of the subculture I identify with. People asked me on the street, stopping me -"are you a boy or a girl?" and shouted after me - "hey goldilocks, are you a boy or a girl?". I was very flattered that they liked my hair.

I enjoy androgyny, I find bodies of androgynous people beautiful (not necesarily sexually arousing, just plain old beautiful). Trancending traditional genders in my own way gives me a sense of peace and fulfilment.

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Argumentum Ad Misericordiam

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B And W Penguin
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I'm often mistaken for a girl (something which my friends find hilarious and I have learned to ignore) but what really annoys me is the view that girls can dress and act like boys but not the other way 'round.
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000
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it's not so acceptable for girls to /really/ dress and act like boys either, at least in many parts of the country. for instance, a girl who does something as simple as not shaving legs or armpits is looked at by many as "gross". this narrow gender stuff is frustrating for everyone. please try not to get into a "grass is greener" mindset, or you're short-changing others and yourself all in one

[ 10-03-2006, 01:32 PM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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B And W Penguin
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Maybe not so much in women but in girls.

Like a girl who acts like a guy may get some mean looks or comments but a guy who dresses like a girl is going to get beaten up or otherwise abused.

Will neither is the social "norm" being a tomboy is differently less "frowned upon" then being a "queen".

Please excuse all the quotes.

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000
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Now, I apologize in advance, as maybe this isn't worth arguing about. But I'd like to point out a couple of things:

"a guy who dresses like a girl is going to get beaten up or otherwise abused."

This is not the case with all guys who dress like a girl, I'll assure you. Depends a lot on what part of the country/culture you're in. Also, there have been numerous rape cases involving women who dressed like men, that were essentially hate crimes.

Here's another way to think about this whole dilemma though: some people have proposed that in our culture, it is considered more admirable to be "manly". Therefore, women who act manly may be seen as acting "stronger", improving themselves, as it were, whereas men who act like a woman are seen as degrading themselves. In any event -which gender generally beats up men who dress like women? Which gender generally gives "masculine" women the hardest time? There is a pattern here.

I could also argue that it's a lot lower maintenance and more natural to look or act "manly", so it may be more tempting for that reason. In any event, I'd like to re-emphasize that the overarching culture here is really not fair to anyone, so I don't like generalizations about it being "easier" to be a masculine woman or whatever.

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B And W Penguin
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You're obviously better researched then me. However, I do think that overall in the US "manly girls" are more accepted then "girly men".
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deviant_queer
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B and W Penguin,

Upon a cursory glance, it certainly does seem that women who dress as men are much more accepted than men who dress as women. It really is not the case, though. What crossdressing and transitioning and transcending gender all tend to do is threaten masculinity. If a woman can dress like a man and therefore get more respect because of it, then that expands the limits of femininity and begins to encroach on masculinity, which is traditionally defined by what femininity is not. If men can dress as a woman, that really takes a lot of hot air out of masculinity and what it means to be a man and appear as a man.

Since gender as a performance seems to be natural and inherent to many who do not play with gender or really put much thought into it, it can be scary to encounter someone who attempts to bend gender. If my memory serves me correctly, gender is the first identity which children learn and are able to really identify with. (Just look at the toy aisles in a store - there are very few gender neutral toys for childen unless it is one of those LeapPad type toys.) I *believe* all childen go through a phase where they are quite concerned with what is for girls and what is for boys; what makes a girl, what makes a boy, etc. According to my own education and my own opinons, gender is just as muteable as a hairstyle. It's just more taboo to play with gender than it is hair.

Perhaps a reason why it is much more noticable that men who dress as women is because, on a societal whole, women are rather invisible. (And I am speaking strictly of the society of the United States). It is a male dominated society and therefore when a man deviates, it's reaaaaaly noticable. As iheartdc said, a man who dresses as a woman is thought of degrading themselves because they are attempting to perform feminity, which is traditionally tied to femaled bodied people, who are not very valued and respected in this society.

I suggest you do some reading on this for yourself. I just looked up "gender roles" in Wikipedia.org real quick and got some good information. Also just do a quick google search of "masculinity" and that will give you tons of information. And finally, just for good measure, check out "male privilege" under a good search, as well. Once you get a basic grasp on those concepts, I think that gender roles and gender enactment will really make a lot more sense for you.

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000
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Let me try this again, in a way that might be easier to understand for someone new to thinking about these things.

Okay, now I /know/ being a boy or man who doesn't fit into the stereotypical manly man can be very tough, especially depending on what part of the country you're in (I'm thinking especially midwest and south, and especially rural areas here). A lot of guys I've known, have self-identity issues or considered themselves unmanly simply b/c they thought girls clothes were prettier (i.e. they wanted to be pretty too) or they they were emotional. That's all fine, but I think a lot of guys who like certain aspects of what it means to be "girly" are not really prepared for the whole package. Do you want to do your hair, shave and wear tight-fitting, impractical clothes everyday to be thought "pretty" and have everyone be nice to you? Do you want a culture that tells you masturbating is disgusting, and that you should focus on pleasing your opposite sex partner? Do you want to be the gender for which there is less than 1/4 representation among elected government and heads of companies?

In order to make generalizations about not being one gender role as opposed to another being easier, you first have to assume that it's equally easy to /be/ either gender role to begin with. Arguably this is not the case. In many ways, there are more behavioral restrictions for "girly" girls than there are for "manly" men. I can assure you that women are often not accorded the same respect as men, and so transgender people, who also are not recorded a great deal of respect, are perhaps not as different from girly-girls on the mainstream culture's respect-o-meter as are manly men.

In any event, I realize being an outlier is not easy in any event. I agree these things are not fair, and should be fought against. Lest you think it is always so difficult for men to not fit into stereotypes though, I suggest checking out some of the urban centers on the east coast, and especially artsy communities. When I moved here, I was delighted to discover how much less seriously people take gender roles, as opposed to the midwest. I know a ton of guys who would have been given a pretty hard time back home, who receive a normal amount of respect here just fine.

[ 10-04-2006, 12:03 PM: Message edited by: iheartdc ]

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.:LaSmiley:.
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Well i ain't gunna bust a novel here. So long story short.....just be whatever you wunna be. Don't let anyOne tell you it's wrong. Just be yourself!

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"Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die."

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InKeepingSecrets
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i've been a tomboy since i can remember... but i've always had really long hair.. like almost down to my butt... but anyway.. i was always wearing hats and my brother and i are only 15 months apart so my mother always kinda dressed us like twins... obviously she couldn't put my brother in girl's clothes... so she put me in boy's... that started it... i used to get comments all the time.. but i was only like 6/7 so it never bothered me... haven't gotten them in quite a why... i still wear guy's clothes.. jeans and t-shirts and whatnot but it's all tighter than it used to be.. so my figure kinda sticks out a bit more.. but put a baggy sweatshirt on me and cut my hair or tuck it up in my hat and i could definately pass as a guy... at least at first glance...

sorry i don't really know why i just posted that... figured it went with the topic...
my girlfriend likes how i dress so it's all gravy... hehe

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PenguinBoy
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It's so much easier when you're able not to think about that stuff. Gender and sexuality. and just do and think and be. I am a boy, and people assume allot, completely based on that! But it's partially me to blame.

I don't understand why some clothes are girl clothes and other boy clothes.

Girls can wear trousers without it meaning anything about their sexuality (at least amongst my friends) yet why can't I wear a dress when I feet it? and it not IMPLY something. I'm just aware that what I do, puts out a message. And if that message isn't what I want to say. Then I don't say it.

It's sad. [Frown] .

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logic_grrl
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Girls can wear trousers without it meaning anything about their sexuality (at least amongst my friends) yet why can't I wear a dress when I feet it?

Well, one reason is that in Europe and America, women spent decades and decades campaigning for trousers to be seen as acceptable, and even now, there are many situations where it would be seen as "making a statement" of some kind.

So far, there hasn't been any concerted campaigning by men to be allowed to wear dresses.

And I agree, that's something that should change too. But it won't happen without people pushing for it.

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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gaydar_luv
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Like many of you wonderful people, sometimes I think -- if only I could be androgynous~!

Because there really is a certain joy in confusing people in making them take a second look and ask, "Was that a boy or a girl?"

I love to wear boy clothes and find them so much more comfortable. (Nice and baggy. =3) But I'm cursed with a distinctly "girly" look. Only once have I been mistaken as a boy, and that was in a store, when someone asked "Can I help you, sir?" just a year or two ago...

Shame me girlfriend couldn't love my boyish ways like yours does, InKeepingSecrets!

I would love to see some guys wearing skirts someday, too! If you want a dress, all the power to you, boys! I say, if girls can push the conformity envelope, you should too. =D

And there are all sorts of interesting and strange things you can find looking up things on gender rolls and dress and what all's learned from childhood. I mean, there are so many questions you can ask too! Like, if a little girl reaches for a doll instead of a truck, is that because she's a girl, or because she's been watching her sister? Or if a boy were to reach for a doll instead of a truck when he's little, what does that mean?
And if you put all that together with ideas of gender bending, transgender identity, sexuality, and just being yourself, it's amazing.

And love to all you people out there, boys, girls, neutral, and anything else. =3

[ 08-01-2007, 01:19 AM: Message edited by: gaydar_luv ]

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If homosexuality is a disease, let's all call in queer to work: "Hello. Can't work today, still queer." ~Robin Tyler

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