What If I Were A Girl?

(and yes, I mean ‘girl’ – I’m under eighteen, so am a ‘boy’, and so any inversion of my gender would make me a girl, not yet a woman. Just sayin’)

I’ve been brutally, and rather unfairly, dismissive about fashion in the past, both in real life and on this blog, especially that for women: keeping long hair often requires more maintenance than is worth it for the attractiveness of that hair, heels and dresses are inherently impractical and makeup is a more one-dimensionally superficial attempt at beauty than such clothes as even the highest of heels have a practical purpose in keeping one’s feet clean. However, would it be this easy for me to be so blase about traits typically associated with women if I were one?

If I were a girl, I’m pretty sure I would do and wear all these things that the practical bit of my male brain hates at least some of the time, because makeup is simply another tool that women have mainstream access to to express their identities, that men do not. I can wear makeup as a male, but that immediately leads to connotations regarding sexuality and identity that I might not want to suggest; I might want to show basic teenage angst through heavy eyeliner, but the majority of society won’t get that if they see a dude with panda eyes.

Equally, I don’t think my personality would differ too much if I were female; I might have a greater and more personal appreciation of how patronising Barbie dolls are, but I think I’d still be a self-mocking humanities student with a Russell Group offer and an egotistical blog, only with longer hair. And that last point is the main difference between the genders for me: that men and women are not intrinsically different in their identities, but they have access, within mainstream society, to different means to express their identities.

I think this is where a lot of confusion about the nature of the genders occurs, that people confuse identity with its means of expression; some, including myself at one point, will consider that women are more superficial than men, purely because they have a greater range of superficial means to express their identities – the ability to wear a single item of clothing, a dress, instead of two, a shirt and trousers, is a choice that men will never have to make – but men can be just as vain as women, with the only difference being that male vanity involves less showing off of the legs, and more showing off of the stomach.

This is especially relevant when considering the vagueness of ‘gender identity’; I’d say I have a masculine identity, but the broadness of that term means I can choose to express it however I like – in may case ripped trackies and Nike sports tops – and if I had a feminine identity, I’d probably express it, and my individual sarcasm and mockery of society, through the skirts and closed-leg seating positions that twelve-year-old James laughed at the impracticality of.

It’s also important to note that I don’t want to be female, in that I don’t long for the means of expressing an identity that women are entitled to, such as makeup; because I deprioritise choices about one’s appearance to an expression of identity, not an inherent part of it, I’m more than comfortable with the ‘male’ options I have to show who I am: there are more than enough choices of tracksuits at Sports Direct to keep me occupied, thank you very much.

But others will want to change or adapt their genders and sexualities, and have access to the options of the ‘other’ groups, partly because society’s apparent rule that ‘women painting their faces in a bid to look attractive is fine, whereas men doing it is weird and should be pointed and laughed at like fat people on Total Wipeout’ makes no logical sense. It’s then saddening that they will be discriminated against for these choices, as they’re basically being punished for wanting another form of self-expression, which is understandable given the saturation of both numbers of people and identities in human culture.

Equally, sexism makes no sense to me, as it is discrimination based on the options we have to present ourselves; an individual’s ability to choose clothing a over clothing b makes no bloody difference in 99% of jobs (the clothing of astronauts being the all-important exception), and discriminating on these lines is like saying “You’re not good enough because you can choose to wear a dress,” which basically relegates the idea of ‘free will’ to the level of misogynist ammunition.

So if I were a girl, I’d probably wear dresses, own a few handbags and cross my legs like I need to pee whenever I sit down; I would hardly be greatly interested in fashion, but considering I’m a male who uses conventionally male, if a little ragged, means to express myself, a female me would probably wear old, worn skirts and be totally comfortable, despite twelve-year-old James’ logical point that it would be so much easier to play football in a pair of trousers.

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12 thoughts on “What If I Were A Girl?

  1. I was actually having a similar series of thoughts on gender identity recently.

    There are certain elements of being a woman (I’m over 18, so, woman) that are frustrating and I hate that certain things are expected of me. I have had ridiculous reactions from male friends when I cut my hair short and although I would love a buzz cut, I don’t want to have to deal with the prejudice and assumptions that will come with it.

    Makeup is convenient at times though. It’s nice that when I wake up and look deathly ill, I can cover it up with cleverly placed colored powder.

    Also, don’t knock skirts until you’ve tried them. In certain situations, they are fantastic. They allow for a lot more air circulation than pants and if you get one that isn’t tight and ends around the knee, you don’t have to cross your legs. (Women are “supposed” to keep their legs closed no matter what they wear).

    1. I’d probably be more okay with skirts if I was female, considering our archaic school uniforms that basically force girls to conform to all the impractical types of clothing and appearance I talked about. Either way, I don’t own any tight trousers, so that advantage would be lost on me. It’s also windy enough for my liking without wearing clothes to feel it more.

      I’d also say that looking deathly ill can be very useful in circumstances – you can suck at a thing, but be commended for trying despite your illness, which helps if you genuinely suck at a thing – so it’s almost too precious a resource to cover up.

            1. Well then, engineer a Skype call without video and blame it on technology – you’ll be able to relate to your interviewers because everyone hates moaning about how ever-so-not-perfect computers are.

              You should probably not do that if you’re interviewing for a technology firm though.

            2. I’m hoping to just not have any interviews for a while. I am looking at an overfull class load and two part-time jobs this summer. I don’t need any more to add to my to-do list!

            3. I didn’t mean go apply for a job just to try out not having video in a Skype call! I didn’t think my point was that worth proving.

              Also, do two part-time jobs equal a full-time job? If they did, you could just say that you have a job this summer.

            4. Well, I am working two jobs that add up to about twenty hours a week total, so I think they are the equivalent of one part-time job? Although one has to wonder, is dividing time between two institutions inherently more work than focusing on one?

              I’m not really sure.

            5. I’d say its more work, initially because you had to apply for two jobs, and then there’s the stress of having to learn two different skill sets, plus any work you have to take home from them, that will probably have to be done in spite of the other job.

              But I feel we’d have to break employment into numerical values and come up with a formula for this, which is more maths than I could ever do.

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