I have been working on this post for a little while and Justine’s post Figuring it all out brought me back to it. So after a month with some rewriting and a lot of proofreading I present Not Him and Not Her, Just Me
I am going to write something that will make some people shriek “Heretic” but I’m just being honest. I do not have a male and female side I am just me. This practice of two selves is incredibly pervasive in our community where we have a male and female self and they seem unable to both occupy the same body at the same time. You often read things like “time for her” or “when my wife (GF or SO) and her spend time” and this is not a recent development looking back this practice has been there since at least the 1950’s, just referencing Ed Wood’s “Glen or Glenda” shows how long this has existed.
Why do we feel this need to keep this dual identity? I could spend pages upon pages trying to explain this but who would really want to read it? I’ll summarize from all the websites, articles and people I have read and talked to. For me it comes down to that we are unable to integrate the feminine and masculine gender roles that society has defined. Society has defined two gender roles, masculine and feminine, and though the feminist movement has done much to soften the feminine ideal of the good natured house wife allowing women to more easily transgress those traditional gender boundaries the same cannot be said for men. Violations of the masculine role is met with severe social punishment and that men not living up to these norms are wimps, pussies, fags or just made fun of in the main stream (Franks Red Hot Commercial). What does society think of fathers who take parental leave as opposed to the mother? If the wife earns more than the husband what is the common conception? This masculine ideal is still so strong in our social coconscious that a heterosexual man who uses face cream and cares about fashion is termed “meterosexual” because they are perceived to no longer able to fight a grizzly bear with their bare hands in the woods. There is also perhaps the need to separate as crossdressing has a habit of bleeding through into everyday life with underdressing, shaved body and plucked eyebrows to name a few. The way we act when dressed allowing ourselves to be more feminine and show our emotions or laugh more because we are her is also prevalent. This barrier allows us to keep our male selves intact. This I believe is where the need to create the other her comes from.
So why don’t I have a female other? Simply put because I’m the one wearing my dress not her wearing her dress, I have always had this desire to wear women’s clothing and to a degree to emulate women. Admittedly after reading online all of these people who had this separate other her I attempted it but it felt unnatural as I was separating a part of me from me. Using a femme name never really stuck for me either as again I was separating, Jess is my pen name for protection and secrecy not as a separate conception of self and in person I do not use the name Jess. This is no way is to argue against having a separate her but a reminder that there is no requirement to do this regardless of the social pressures.
What has just being me with differing gendered aspects versus having an us that separates the gendered sides done for me? Not sure but I know it works for me and I tend not to gravitate towards that gendered feminine ideal type that many of us tend to. So many crossdressers are often vying for that ideal femme type that we perceive and so we wear dresses, mini skirts, heels, corsets and do perfect makeup but women rarely dress like that all the time. I am able to wear panties, bra and breast forms under my male clothing and not feel weird that I am blending these roles. This year at my birthday I wore panties, bra, garter belt and stockings under my three piece suit when I went out for supper with friends, here I had that traditional sexy ultra feminine lingerie under a very traditional male suit and felt totally fine with it. My boxers and panties are tossed in the same drawer and my dresses hang beside my suits eliminating that separation. I’m totally cool with lounging around the house with women’s tank top and men’s cargo shorts. I am just me, a dude in women’s clothing who sometimes likes to look like a woman. I also don’t follow the pronoun rules of when presenting as a woman I should be referred to as “she”, I do not take offence to this by any means as it is the norm in the community but I also take no offence to being called “he” as I am a man who wears women’s clothing not a woman.
So be a man, woman or an in between. Be yourself or yourselves no matter to me really just remember to enjoy it and be comfortable with it.