Tag Archives: authenticity

Listening to the Right Voice

It sometimes seems as though there’s this societal insistence that gender can only be either personal or social. It’s either directly due to people as individuals, or it’s solely the result of socialization. Furthermore, I, at least, have felt a message that it needs to be individual, in order to be “real” or “authentic” or “legitimate.”

There’s this idea that how I feel about my gender, or how I present myself, isn’t real if it’s influenced by society. It’s only considered legitimate if I do something because it’s what I want for myself, not because I want others to view me in a certain way. And while I understand and respect the importance of staying true to oneself and not being too bothered by the rest of the world, it’s an undeniable fact that we’re influenced by society. And that’s okay. That’s simply how the world is. Humans are social creatures; we do not exist in a vacuum. We cannot act as though we’ve never noticed, or been affected by, how society treats us. We can’t ever truly know how we’d feel about gender if we hadn’t had any sort of social influences–societal pressures, messages, and expectations are such a part of our lives that to do so would be impossible. It would mean having been raised without other people around (particularly impossible, given how dependent human infants and children are), without human-made clothing, without books and toys and so many other things. Continue reading

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