Man's Head, Woman's Body

“Humph, I could beat you up.”

“You don’t scare me.”

“He said what to you? I’ll stand up to him.”

“Don’t mess with me.”

“Psh.”

“*death stare*”

“Don’t be weak.”

“Nothing phases me.”

“Grrrrrr.”

You’d think that these would be the intellectual thoughts and attitudes of a big tough guy, and I suppose you’re right because my dad is a big tough guy, and I’m the daughter of the big tough guy. The only difference with this shared mental attitude is that he has the gender, height and muscles to back it up; sometimes life reminds me that I don’t.

I’ve always been a daddy’s girl. He raised my brother and I with the exact same advice and motivations, and in my eyes that is what makes him a true feminist.

He raised me with the stories of him being the playground defender, no one was gonna be bullied on his watch. In the 70’s when a school yard fight was an acceptable way to settle differences, my dad never lost when the bullies dared to pick on someone and wouldn’t apologize. How could he? Heros don’t lose. This same mind set was embedded in me. No one was gonna get bullied on my watch and I never cared about who I have had to stand up to, just like him, nobody intimidates me.

Even when the bullies had the audacity to pick on him, there is a difference between being bullied and feeling bullied. My parents raised me with confidence so that I never FELT bullied, even when I was. It never bothered me, and even when it did, I certainly never allowed myself to show it. As my dad has always said: “don’t ever care about what anyone says or thinks about you.”  This lack of connection or acknowledgement of my “weak” emotions is a male stereotype that I had taken on and have learned to change positively in the recent years, and I’ve seen my dad grow to do the same.

Due to this distance with my emotions, I’ve always had the capability to act rationally, “respond versus react” as my dad would put it. I’m logically minded, not emotionally driven. My emotional disconnect has made it difficult with me in the past to bond and empathize with other girls because I cannot understand why they are upset, validate why they are upset, or offer advice that seems ideal to them. I think of what my dad would say: “Don’t be a baby and why do you even care?” As harsh as this might seem, it taught me not to take things so personally, or let irrelevant things or people control any aspect of my attitude in life. However, that’s why when it affected other people’s lives, I didn’t know what to do. I tend to be very “lax” in situations where my female friends are freaking out, I was the only girl helping hammering nails to build the roof during my mission house builds, I don’t get “raw raw” cheerleader excited about virtually anything, I’m confident which translated into female traits are “bossy” and “aggressive” and I never care about being accepted into groups; these are stereotypes for men. Yet I still self identify as a feminine female.

There have been a few times in my life where I have wanted to physically stand up to someone, or intimidate someone for justice’s sake, and have not had the physical ability. Once my mom and I pulled over because across the street in a parking lot a man and woman were in a verbally violent fight that then turned physical. My mom held my arm back but I felt the terrible urge to run over there and help her. We yelled at a man passing by to help and he shrugged. Another man from across the street came running to help and fortunately it got broken up, but this interaction showed me two things: that I don’t know what the argument was about, whether there was reason or rationale, a right or a wrong side, but that woman was virtually powerless against her male oppressor, and that even though I was called to put myself in danger for justice, my physical ability to make a difference was little whereas the male bystander who did have the capability, made the choice not to help. This was extremely and utterly frustrating; to have the courage to act, but being unable to. It makes me feel helpless and immobilized. I am sure many women feel this way all the time. This is what it is like to have the masculine mental personality traits of my father, but physically smaller and weaker attributes that a woman has. In a world so refined, where intellect now triumphs over physical ability, it all still comes down to who can make you can force your hand.

I bond more with my male friends, male teachers and mentors and parents, because we think more alike, but what does this mean? It means the correlation between gender and personality is weak. For those who argue, I consider myself personal proof that this is true. I can even run a comparison with my own brother. He is very emotional, by observation, his decisions are run by emotion. In this same way it makes him very sensitive and compassionate in a way I tend to not be. This is a female stereotype that he abides by.

It is very strange when in my head I go, “yes I want to do this or act this way because it is who I am and what I want” and life sticks up a big hand and points down at my genitals. Wait what? I can’t do or act that way because of my physical appearance? But in my head that’s what I want, that’s how I feel called to act? I don’t get it?! This very same string of thoughts can be applied towards those who are transgender, where their genuine selves and personalities are found put to a halt because of the big hand society puts up and points down. For some reason there is a tie between your actions and your body, when the body and the mind that controls it are two very separate things. My female muscles being smaller or weaker, does not make me any less brave than superman, and my downstairs junk doesn’t make me any less feminine than a woman. In a world so refined, where intellect now triumphs over physical ability, it still comes down to societal acceptance.

My strong personality difference set me apart. It can be difficult for some to understand but life is about learning and hopefully accepting the new things we did not before. If you exist, people should know about it, and the real you, not the person your gender says you are. I’m not a 6 foot, 200 pound male, I’m a 5’7” 130 pound female, but just because my bark is worse than my bite, I’m still a bitch in the running.