Observations from crossing over to the other side of the fence

To all of the cis-gender men and women out there, I am sorry to say that we live in a basically misogynistic culture.  This is no means a new idea for I have felt this in some way all throughout my life but I couldn’t put words to it until now. I am sure that many men and women who have never questioned their sexual identity will argue with me on this and I genuinely respect how they might feel by my saying so.  My answer to them is “Don’t take this personally because I am not talking about you personally, I am talking about a pervasiveness that is both conscious and unconscious that has placed women into a role that is both subservient and demeaning.

To begin, I have noticed that not only do men think that they are superior to women because they can control their emotions (Ha!) while we will wear our emotions on our sleeves, we are taught, as men to think that showing our emotions is a bad thing instead of a good thing, despite the fact that by expressing our emotions rather than holding them in, as men do, and by the fact that women actually talk to each other about their feelings, it may actually explain why we generally live longer than men.

Some of you who see themselves as “reformed” Judeo-Christians might point to the biblical story of Adam and Eve, for throughout the story, woman is seen, first as an afterthought, secondly as a help mate to man, and lastly as the cause for all the suffering in the world. It also looks at the act of child-bearing as a punishment for a woman’s transgression against a paternal God.

Now I’m not going to say that we women have played a role in all of this, but I am saying that we have bought into this idea that we are somehow “less” than men. The whole feminist movement played on this idea that men regard us as so by showing how we are not yet regarded equally in the workplace and for the value that is placed on our service, which has been statistically shown to be less than men for the same kinds of work performed.  It also played on the frustrations of us because we must not only be able to a day’s work equally to men, but that we must also be responsible for taking care of the house, the children and the men themselves, simply because they have worked so hard to provide for us.

Interestingly enough, if you look at women’s performance in the workplace, we work longer and harder and take far less “breaks” than men. We also can multitask, something that I can now do with aplomb that I could not do before because I can set priorities as I go and change them when I notice that my strategy doesn’t work.  Men can’t see to do that because they think and do things sequentially, one step at a time, while we are able to juggle many things at once.  It may also explain why we seem to be losing things when we try to do too many things at once.

The truth of the matter is that I  seem to have a lot more things to think about than I used to do as a man, such as deciding what to wear for a given occasion. I have learned intuitively that our penchant for adornment and accessorizing isn’t just about feeling good about ourselves, it is also a means to to communicate that we mean business or that we just want to have a little girlish fun.  I also have noticed that I am always doing something to fill the time, even to use the time waiting in line to use the ladies lavatory to fiddle with my makeup or even to get to know my “neighbor.”

Interestingly, I also seem to have been this way as the man I wasn’t, for I could never just sit and watch a TV show or movie, but my mind would be thinking of something else I needed to do and I would often miss a show altogether.  Thank goodness for VCR’s and now DVR technologies which allows me to watch at my leisure.  Also since I started living as the woman that I am, I don’t watch TV or do I miss it. I have this big screen TV from years ago and I never use it because the old style RCA inputs are no longer available on the new digital equipment.  Now,  I watch my favorite shows, like “The Good Wife” streamed to my computer or I will watch films and shows from NetFlix.

I have noticed that when I was a man, I would have the “urge to go” whenever I was about to do something where I couldn’t or wouldn’t have time to go, yet now as a woman, I find that many times when that urge to go comes up, I can simply put it in the back of my mind until I have the opportunity to take care of it.  This has happened to me many times where I had simply forgot about it until I am ready to burst. I am thankful that at least I don’t have to worry yet about female incontinence but that could change when I have my surgery.  If it does come to pass, I would like to believe that I will gladly accept it as a perk for being female as I would have if I had been able to have periods or get pregnant and bear children.

When I began living my dream life just a year ago and especially after I started taking hormones, I noticed many women abhor the idea of putting on makeup, wearing dresses and skirts and other things that they felt were imposed on them simply because of their gender.  I, who have not had this privilege until of late, saw this as a not only a privilege, but actually that it was fun.  I also realized that as men think that we are doing this mainly for their enjoyment, I saw that I was really doing this for myself because it made me feel good about my femininity and it made me feel both beautiful and sexy.

Now, if you go into any department store you will find that the space devoted to women is three or more times larger than that devoted to men.  Even in a grocery store, still regarded as a “woman’s place”, there are aisles devoted to women’s “needs” but how often will you find an aisle devoted solely to men’s needs.  And because many working women find the task of shopping for the family as a chore they often prepare a shopping list to save time and men almost always seem to regard shopping as a chore.  I noticed myself, that when it comes to shopping for me, I will take much more time and care to simply shop.  When I go to the grocery store now, I might take a shopping list, but because I am shopping for one now, I often end up spending an hour or two going up and down all the aisles and filling my shopping cart.  I used to hate shopping for clothes as a man and now I can’t seem to have enough.  Also, I have noticed that I am willing to try on new colors and fabrics, try new foods, and to buy myself a treat now and then or allow myself to be pampered simply because I love myself.

I could probably go on and on about all of the changes that have happened in me that I have noticed since I have finally allowed myself to be and love being a woman and I may take it up again at another time. but I must soon get ready for work. Even that is a pleasure now than it ever used to be.

Deanna “Joy”

About Deanna Joy Hallmark

I am a post-op transgender woman who has now completed transition and living my life as the woman I was born to be. I have been writing my blog, now titled "A Spy in the Enemy Camp - A transgender woman’s perspective from having lived as a man among men" since December 2011. Originally a record of my process and feelings in transition, last summer in 2013 it took on observations from both sides of the gender binary and now will also be looking at my past life pretending to be the man I never was and how it finally brought me to where I am today, the beautiful intelligent woman I had always believed I should have been since I was little.
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