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Social Theory

When You Hate Your Gender, But Don’t Want To Leave

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A few weeks ago, I stood in front of a room and asked eleven high schoolers to think of one way in which they were masculine and one way in which they were feminine. I was met with blank stares and some giggles.

“Well,” I said, “let’s take me for example. I wear a beard, which people would probably consider to be masculine. But I also cross my legs when I sit and I’m really expressive with my voice, which people sometimes consider to be feminine.” I popped my leg behind me and added, “Oh, and I do that!”

I suddenly felt naked. Here I was, revealing something to my kids which I had barely acknowledged to myself: I’ve never been comfortable being a man. Heck, I don’t even use the word “man” to describe myself–I still call myself a “boy” even though I’m nearly twenty-five and, like I said, wear a beard most of the time.

[A mother kissing her son and wiggling his face, with the caption, "My little boy is a man."]

Or something.

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