One point she makes is that our culture has a (often unconscious) tendency to see expressions of femininity as artificial and impractical, whereas expressions of masculinity are seen as natural and practical. She argues that this negatively impacts all feminine people, including men and women, both trans and cis; but that it is especially harmful to feminine trans women. After all, why would anyone go to such great lengths to choose artificiality and impracticality over more sensible options?
And reading about this I realized that I sometimes see femininity and masculinity in those terms as well.
Like when it comes to shoes.
Back in this post, for example, I was a describing an outfit of mine and wrote: "I had decided to femme it up a bit with a tunic, tights and silly high heels."
Now, why would I feel the need to describe my heels as "silly"? They weren't particularly silly, after all: just plain black shoes with a tall heel. I think it was a way of apologizing for being feminine. I was trying to say: yes, I know that heels are impractical and that I wore them anyway, but it's okay because at least I recognize that it was silly of me to do so.
But, as I see it now, there is a big problem with deciding that a certain style of footwear is impractical. Namely, that whether or not something is practical depends entirely on the goal of the person using it. If your goal is to hike up a mountain, then yes, high heels are very impractical. But if your goal is to feel sexy, you might find high heels to be very practical indeed— (depending, of course, on how you express your gender and sexuality). I certainly do.
|Both of these items are in my closet. I own them for different reasons.|
It just goes to show that there are lots of subtle messages I've picked up from my culture which are still influencing how I think about gender expression. In the future I'll be a little more careful to remain as unapologetic about my femininity as I am about my masculinity.