By Monica M
For me, being trapped in a male body was never something I thought about. It was foreign to me when I first heard of it in the ‘90s. I knew I was female or that I should be female. I remember from my childhood various schemes and dreams of how I did or might become a woman. Needless to say, none of them worked.
With the wisdom of maturity, I now realize why I rejected the idea of being trapped in a man's body. I realized that if I am trapped, then like some princess in a tower, I needed somebody to come and rescue me. That did not really gel with me. That gave the power to other people and took the solution out of my hands.
After musing on this topic for some time, I realized that really I am a woman with a man's body. Some women have green eyes, some women have red hair, some women have birthmarks… I am a woman who happens to have a male body. Given that this is the situation, I had to find ways to accommodate this and live within the expectations that have grown up around it.
To be morbid for a moment, I see from the suicide figures that women who had been through SRS do not necessarily have a happier and more fulfilled life than those who did not. So this got me thinking... sure, every woman has a vagina, but not all those with vaginas are women or at least, not accepted as women. Maybe for some the “vag is not the badge.” Maybe there is more!
Thinking about it from a mechanical perspective, you can boil a women (and men) down (sorry that is a bad choice of words) into two components: the hardware and the software. The hardware is obvious, but the software has four components: voice, movement, presentation and internal operating system.
I am guessing that what drives a lot of people to drugs, drink, despair, and suicide is the lack of connection and support from other people especially other women. Thinking along these lines helped me realize that maybe for some people SRS is seen as a quick an easy option to achieving womanhood. You pay some money (a lot of money in many cases!), do some time in hospital, and you are a woman.
In truth, nobody but yourself and your intimate partner cares about your hardware. How you interact with the outside world and make loving and supportive friends is through the software,
There are no guardians of the holy flame of femininity (sorry Elizabeth!) who grade us on how close we are to being woman. Femininity is bigger than any one person. No person encompasses the whole of the feminine. It is like the blind people and the elephant. One says an elephant is like a tree because he feels its leg. Another says it is like a rope because he feels the tail. The life experience of the black celibate Catholic nun, the white butch lesbian, and the physically abused Chinese mother of 10 are totally different with little in common. To claim that the common denominator is the vagina and that that is the ultimate mark of a woman is misogynistic to the extreme. As we know, only too well from our feminist history, a woman is far more than her genitals.
Who is or who is not a woman is determined in a very democratic way. The people you meet while you are out and about en femme are the people who determine if you are a woman or not. If you get read a lot, then you are not measuring up. If you make a number of close supportive and loving women friends who treat you like one of their own, then, for all that matters, you are a woman. You may not be in the main species of womanhood (however you define that), but you are certainly in one of the sub species and that for many of us, that is very acceptable.
(Part 7 of One Person’s Journey to Womanhood appeared here yesterday.)
Brian Molko, rocker and femulator.
Wearing Gregory Parkinson.