For a while in college, I called myself a man.
I honestly have no idea why; even since getting deeper into feminism post-college, I can’t quite articulate the reason for this particular silliness.
It really was closer to silliness than anything else. Conversations would go something like this:
Someone: “Aw, it’ll be like a girl’s night out!”
Me: “Except that I’m a man.”
Someone: “What?… I’m pretty sure you’re a girl, actually.”
Me: “Well, lots of people think that.”
Someone: “Are you trying to tell me you have a penis? Is there something you want to tell us about?”
Me: “No. I’m just a man.”
Someone: “Ok, you mean you’re strong?”
Me: “No. I just mean I’m a man.”
Someone: “But you don’t have a penis.”
Me: “How do you know?”
It was always a really lighthearted conversation, and I’ve always been “the weird one” anyway, so people usually shrugged it off as me just trying to confuse them. My close friends would sometimes come at me with “no, seriously, what’s with this man thing?” and my best explanation was that not all men have penises or look like dudes, and if I was a man in a woman’s body no one would be any the wiser.
(Clarification: this had nothing to do with me actually feeling that I was truly a man. This was not trans-territory, and I know talking about “pretending” could trivialize those very real experiences; for that I apologize. Nonetheless, this was me messing with people and being weird before I knew better.)
Two years out of college, I don’t pretend to be a man anymore, mostly because my feminist side started asking “but really, what’s wrong with being female?” I’ve always wanted to surprise people, though, to use my weirdness to push them to think differently. But I knew part of this weird “man thing” stemmed my obsession with strength and badassery, and I’ve started trying to separate strength and badassery from masculinity. Another part of it was me wanting to dodge being stereotyped as a girl who therefore liked girl things; I now have the desire to challenge those stereotypes, rather than dodge them.
This felt like an appropriate story for the first post on my White Lady Blog: A little weird, a little about gender, a little about learning to do adulthood the right way. (I’ll have more definitive and purposeful things to say when this intimidating FIRST POST thing is over with!)