I get a fair amount of criticism.
Some of it is very constructive, actually. If I get a critical email and I, well, kind of scrunch up my nose at it… well, it’s usually an indication that the emailer has a point. Like, the criticism is so obvious in retrospective that I am annoyed I didn’t realize it.
Sometimes I try to look bitchy? Seductive? in my photos. I try to pair my facial expression and body language with what I am wearing. If I am wearing a leather dress I am trying to look dominating. If I am modeling lingerie I do my best ‘come-hither’ bedroom eye.
Photos tend to generate a lot of emails. A common comment is that I should smile more. I used to shrug these suggestions off. I mean, don’t tell a girl to smile, right? But someone wrote that I looked, well, completely bored in a set of photos.
I scrunched up my nose.
Dammit, they were absolutely correct. I did look bored. I didn’t look seductive or intimidating, I looked like I would rather be doing anything else in the world.
This is what I mean by constructive criticism. I don’t expect everyone in the world to like me or like what I post, I do get some hate mail after all. And that’s fine. I really don’t understand why someone would go through the trouble of sending an email telling me UR ugly LOL or whatever. I suppose the intention is to hurt my feelings. On a good day I brush those comments off like flecks of mascara.
On a bad day? That’s a different story.
My perspective is that if you are going to offer your opinion perhaps, I don’t know, be gentle? Be specific? If I write one of my infamous and rambling posts on, well, whatever I write about and you disagree? Totally cool. BUT what I really value and appreciate is being told WHY my perspective isn’t always the be all and end all.
Of course, I don’t assume I am always right and I would never presume to speak for everyone. If someone has their own perspective based on their own experiences I really do like hearing it. Being challenged (so to speak) helps people see things in someone else’s stilettos.
I write a lot about respecting the boundaries that our partners may request of us when it comes to this of us. My thinking is that our crossdressing, our gender identity, is a lot for us to ask of our partners and if they request that we don’t do something, such as posting photos or going to certain malls, then I think it’s a small sacrifice (if you will) for us to make.
BUT some of you have emailed me saying that perhaps a situation isn’t as simple as I think it is. Perhaps some of these requests and boundaries are, well, unfair to us.
And goodness you were right. Your gentle and constructive criticism helped shaped my perspective. It was a reminder that hardly anything in marriage is black and white and that hardly anything when it comes to gender is blue and pink.
When I am, well, wrong, I like to think that I do a decent job acknowledging it. It’s not uncommon for me to think or say or feel or write something and then my perspective… softens a bit after a little time passes or when someone comments on what I said. I try to be open to another’s assessment of a situation which isn’t easy for that person… it’s sometimes hard to tell someone else that they might be wrong. Honestly? I admire and respect that.
Sometimes people who post comments and criticism contradict each other. This is a reminder that what I write isn’t always going to make everyone always happy. When I write posts about how much I love clothes or when I post pictures I get emails calling me superficial and I should write more about serious topics. When I DO write about legislation targeting the LGBTQ+ community I get called a snowflake and I should stop discussing politics.
In today’s episode of “Hannah Rambling On and On and On” I would like to chat about comments I get on occasion that are about the things I do. And that sounds really broad but what I mean is that I am sometimes told I have no idea what a “real woman” goes through.
Two things right off the bat:
I make the assumption that they mean cisgender women. Transwomen ARE women.
Secondly, I have never claimed that the things that Hannah does, either with her life or in her day, are things that ALL women do.
It’s true that I don’t know what a cisgender woman’s life or day is like. I am not a cisgender woman. But taking that a little further, I don’t know what ANYONE’S life is like. There are almost eight billion people on the planet and the only life I know is my own. I don’t know what my brother’s life is like. I don’t know what my colleague’s lives are like outside of work. We all have different experiences based on the zillion different things that make up who we are and what we do.
I don’t know what “women go through”. I don’t know what it’s like to give birth but many women don’t know what this is like either. Giving birth is not something that all women can relate to. I don’t know what it’s like to be underpaid for the same job that a male co-worker does, given that there is pay inequality in the workforce. I don’t know what it’s like for the government to make decisions that concern my healthcare.
I can relate to some of the things that my wife experiences but she has different experiences in her day and throughout her life. I can relate to her when she discovers her favorite foundation was discontinued but I can’t relate when she has her period.
I’m sometimes told that being a girl isn’t all makeovers and photo shoots. Of course it isn’t. I don’t do these things because I think “I’m a girl and girls do boudoir pictures and have expensive makeovers”. I do these things for a few reasons. On one hand photo shoots are things that are part of “my job”, whether it’s because I am shooting a video or doing a product review or modeling a dress. These are moments that are very unique and very uncommon… for all genders. I know that most people don’t do these things.
And I also do photo shoots and have makeup appointments because they are super fun. Some people spend Saturday mornings playing golf, I strut around a mall.
I know life is work and an endless to-do list of paying bills and going to your job and commuting and doctor visits and forever cleaning a house. But I don’t think these things are indicative of one’s gender. I don’t think there are many things that my wife and I do BECAUSE of our anatomy or gender identity. We both pay bills, we both go to the doctor (albeit for different reasons sometimes), we both clean…
This is the every day stuff. Stuff that almost everyone does, no matter if they are cis or trans.
The things Hannah does are things that I enjoy doing en femme. I hate the mall but I really enjoy when Hannah spends the day at the mall. Being en femme is… a representation of taking a little break from my normal day, my normal life. To me, it’s not unlike going on a vacation. Some people take a week off and never check their work email or think about their responsibilities while they relax on a beach. My “vacation” is a little different but I think they accomplish the same things… a nice little break from chores and my job.
We all have different things we enjoy doing. And I really don’t think these things are BECAUSE of our gender identity. My wife? She loves murder podcasts. My best friend? He enjoys making vegetarian food. My sister skateboards. My niece plays drums. The things I do in my male life are not things that I do BECAUSE of HIS gender. He reads, he likes art, he likes going for hikes. Are these things because of his gender? No.
So while it’s true that Hannah does things that most women don’t do, I really don’t know WHAT things people do BECAUSE of their gender identity. We do things that we are interested in… whether watching makeup tutorials or restoring a vintage car. I think the things that Hannah does are typical for the things that a wannabe model/blogger does… regardless of their gender.
6 thoughts on “Gender Identity and Experiences”
I love this perspective. I find it fascinating to watch the evolution of society. Women do way more things today that weren’t thought as womanly in my youth, like sports. And more and more men are learning to enjoy things that were once considered unmanly.
I am a big fan of the phrase “you be you”. It is what keeps the world interesting.
I’ve been a fan and admirer of you for many years and just a wee jelly at how well you pull off being ‘you’. That said I am way late to the party of accepting that gender based (biased) stereotypes are just other people’s rules trying to invade my space. When it comes to ‘smile more’ that comment always takes me away in my cartoon bubble to Deep Vally’s song https://youtu.be/_PBiEJO-FNI Just sayin’ Cheers!
So, cisgender woman here, and I can tell you that I relate to some of your post and not to other parts of your post. I relate to taking other people’s comments in and scrunching my nose up at the annoyingly right ones. I can’t begin to relate to finding the mall or makeup or clothes a relaxing endeavor. I fact, I would go so far as to avoid any profession that required I had to tolerate any of those three. And I was born female and identify as one. So… the people who want to say that you can’t relate to being a woman are probably correct, but can they relate to being a beautiful cover girl? Probably not. An they relate to being two beautiful people in one day? Probably not.
Instead of insisting that you are not the same as they are, they should instead be constructive in their criticism and general dismissal of what you say, write, whatever. It’s far more beneficial to say “Hannah, you don’t understand this one point and I think you could benefit from an education on this. On Sunday night,in your area, there will be an open forum discussion on this topic. I think it would benefit you to attend. I’d be interested to find out your thoughts after you’ve attended. Also, there’s a march for women’s rights next Saturday. I suggest you put on your cutest pair of sneakers and come along. If you have something that you think I should attend based on this comment, I’d be curious to know so that I can take it in. And I’d be happy to be your date to the next march you attend.”
Just saying “U sux azz” is a brain dead response to a post about gender identity, gender fluidity, and gender in general (or anything really). It’s sad to say, but men have been accused of thinking with their [beeeeep]s for generations, women are openly thinking with their [boooooooop]s now.
Oh, and those fabulous women who want to tell you how you don’t know what it’s like to be a woman? Well, they also want to tell me that I don’t either because I don’t have children by choice. Somehow, villainizing both of us makes them more content in their life choices. They aren’t worth the time it takes to read their comments.
My only criticism of your work is that you look better in your outfits than I ever would. And… that’s not really a criticism of you, more of me. But, that’s how most criticism works, isn’t it?
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One of the reasons that I am not a blogger, besides laziness and a lack interesting things to share, is my distaste for trolls. It seems inevitable that the more conspicuous (popular?) a blogger becomes, the more trolls will be attracted. It doesn’t just happen in blogs…look at any media outlet that permits unmoderated comments. Such “discussion” rapidly decays into shrill ad hominem attacks…and thats the good parts.
My other thought relates to experience. There are some experiences that are gender exclusive, but those are things I cannot have, not because of how I am dressed, but because of my anatomy. Beyond that there are activities generally associated with one gender or another. A mani/pedi comes to mind. Guys can do them, but most just aren’t interested.
Then there are those everyday life activities that are not associated with gender: grocery shopping, going to the credit union, getting an oil change, working out, walking the dog. I spent (and still spend) a lot of my day engaged in these routine tasks as I began to emerge from hiding my gender identity, I found (and still find) activities of daily living to be more enjoyable when I do them ‘as a woman”, or perhaps more accurately when I do them as myself :). Obviously, activities didn’t change – I changed. And in doing so brought a new and happier perspective to everyday life.
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In a spiritual world there is no gender… everyone is equal. … back on earth criticism, by comparison, is foolish. Everyone is special / unique and Your words are really eternal because the written word lasts forever.
Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
A WELL-THOUGHT OUT DISCUSSION…THAT EVEN A CHRISTIAN STRAIGHT MAN CAN RELATE TO! BELIEVE IT OR NOT.