Laura Woodhouse // 21 March 2008
I’ve been thinking about this concept ever since I read Helen G’s latest article, where she defines cissexual as:
[…] people who are not transsexual and who have only ever experienced their subconscious and physical sexes as being aligned
I have never experienced this. I have never consciously or subconciously perceived myself as a woman. I just am (I just exist).
I have always been incredibly uncomfortable with the socially constructed female gender and as a result wanted to be a boy when I was little. As my friends turned themselves into women during our teenage years, I felt alienated, but gave in and tried to play at being a “woman” too. It made me feel phyically sick to see myself all dolled up. I became a punk/goth to give myself an identity and avoid having to conform to the mainstream female appearance and behaviours.
Later, in my first years at uni, I tried again to conform, and again felt alienated and alone. It was only when I discovered feminism about three years ago that I began to realise that I can define what woman means, that disliking femininity and the typical female gender role doesn’t mean I have to reject the identity of woman. Growing my body hair out and training myself to feel normal and acceptable in public without wearing a scrap of make-up have helped me create my own definition of womanhood, free (more or less) from patriarchal definitions of what it is to be a woman.
I am now happy to call myself a woman; doing so has allowed me to recognise that many of my personal problems were linked to patriarchal oppression of women, and identifying myself as a woman allows me to address this oppression.
However, I still do not feel gendered in any way. If I am cissexual, then I should have always experienced my “subconscious and physical sexes as being aligned”. But there is nothing to align for me, I exist as an experiencing being within a female body, but who I am is not female. I am an ungendered, conscious being within a female sexed body.
Am I alone in this?