While I don’t identify as a man (I’m genderqueer), the reality is that as testosterone takes effect and my body begins to change, society will almost certainly perceive me as a man someday.
And being seen as a man, while it comes with a whole slew of privileges, also carries a lot of expectations around masculinity. Men are expected to be emotionless, stoic, and at all costs they must reject what is considered “feminine.”
Here’s what I have to say to that: Fuck that noise.
I adamantly refuse to sacrifice my fierce femininity just because society’s ideas of masculinity aren’t thought to be compatible with it.
So in the spirit of smashing the gender binary, here are ten things I will NOT be giving up just because society expects me (and other masculine-appearing folks) to do so:
1. My undying love for pop music.
I will not stop screaming the lyrics to Backstreet Boys on karaoke nights. I will not turn down any opportunity to “shake it off” when Taylor Swift comes on in the bar. I will not deny that I know those Ashlee Simpson lyrics by heart on Throwback Thursdays.
I’ve got no shame. Come at me, bro.
2. Scarves of every damn color.
I look hecka cute in scarves. The more vibrant the print, the better. They’re probably my favorite accessory of all time. So why would I stop wearing them?
3. Nail polish.
Don’t think for a minute that I won’t be getting that glittery pink nail polish. If you think that I’m giving up my gorgeous nails because I lack estrogen, you just don’t know me.
4. A good cry when I need one.
Me? Not cry? LOL, right.
I will be over there in the corner, sobbing over a bottle of cheap wine, as per usual. I couldn’t suppress my emotions even if I wanted to.
5. High heels if and when I feel like it.
What, am I supposed to just throw them away because my hormone levels have changed? As if. I will be rocking my best pair whenever the hell I want. Disrespect me and I’ll shove that heel where the sun don’t shine.
6. Face masks and spa days.
Have you seen my pores? Of course not. Because face masks.
I am in a very serious relationship with LUSH’s Fresh Face Masks and I have no plans on stopping now. My personal recommendation is the Cup O’ Coffee Fresh Mask; it is basically the equivalent of smearing a delicious latte all over your face. And, bonus, the coffee grounds will give you the exfoliation of a lifetime.
7. Tenderness and vulnerability.
I have always worn my heart on my sleeve; I make no attempts at hiding how I feel. I am a sensitive and tender human being. This is just who I am and who I’ll always be.
Society likes to tell us that masculine folks cannot be sensitive and shames us for showing any vulnerability — and not only is this unhealthy, it also limits our potential as human beings. That’s why I’m determined to own my emotions and express them as I need to.
I’ve always seen my sensitivity as my greatest strength — it allows me to connect with others and have deep, meaningful relationships — so why would I suppress that?
8. A deep respect for interior design.
There’s this whole idea that masculinity means you give zero fucks about interior design. But listen: I have very strong opinions on interior design. That will never change.
Your curtains don’t match your duvet cover? Judging you. Your accent pillows clash with your sofa? Judging you. And before you tell me about how rude this is, please understand that I literally can’t help it. It’s a reflex. It’s just what I do.
Estrogen does not make me a prick about design. It’s just who I am.
9. A complete disinterest in sports.
I don’t know why “sports” and “masculinity” are lumped together, but I can promise you that no amount of testosterone will make me care about football anymore than I did before.
Unless you are the Williams sisters. I could watch them play tennis all damn day. That isn’t just tennis — that’s fucking art.
The reality is that no amount of testosterone is going to convince me to abandon my femme passions for the sake of being more acceptable in the eyes of a sexist society.
Rejecting femininity because it’s considered "inferior" doesn’t make me more masculine — I’m pretty sure that’s called misogyny, and I’m not here for it.