Also, Dudeliness Is Next To Gayness

We hold these truths to be self-evident: that misogyny and homophobia are interdependent, that the gender essentialism that makes a patriarchal culture uncomfortable when women do anything besides express a desire to bear and raise children is the same thing that causes a basic abhorrence of queer identity or love, that gay women are in a unique position to experience both these forces in every aspect of their lives. The ways these truths manifest themselves are almost endless: the fact that I was rewarded for playing boy’s sports when I was a girl but my brother was punished for wanting to get an ear piercing, the fact that my lesbian friend was given a dozen sundresses by her mother the day after she came out, the fact that a huge portion of violence against queers is directed at trans and genderqueer people, even though they make up a relatively tiny proportion of the GLBTQ community.

Yesterday Jezebel published an essay on yet another facet of this cultural death wish gift that keeps on giving: the patronizing and insulting “compliment” of “You’re just like a guy!” given to a woman when she embodies traditionally male characteristics and is thus better than other, “girly” women. Just like so many other things – lucky us! – this is an experience that many queer women, I feel, are well versed in. I mean, does this sound familiar?

I don’t present myself as physically masculine; I wear my hair long and have a closet full of dresses and could probably run a 5K in heels if the situation arose. Granted, I like some “man” things; for example, my love of organized professional sports and my affinity for foul language and sex jokes are well documented, but in this day and age, are those behaviors really masculine or all that unique? One need only to peruse the comments on this very website to glean that women enjoy sports, swearing, and raunch in large numbers and yet have managed to avoid spontaneously sprouting penises. (@jezebel)

Given the shift in context, I’m going to guess that quite a few of the people reading this do in fact present themselves as fairly physically “masculine,” but I don’t think that makes this attitude any less annoying, especially insofar as it almost defines our perspectives on one another’s sexual habits and work. Female CEOs or ladykillers like Shane are “like a guy,” as if sexual prowess or economic success are exclusively male achievements.

Nor does having a “masculine” appearance mitigate the gut reaction the author says she feels when being told “You’re like a dude friend to me!”: “They all seem to mean for it to be complimentary, but when I hear “you’re like a guy,” from a man, I hear a subtext of “Women are not as good as men and you are not like women, so congratulations! Here is my admiration!”

There is a virtually endless Pandora’s box of ways this has cropped up for probably all of us and 4,230 different nuances in how infuriating it can be. I personally particularly identify with her assertion that being able to employ logic or debate something intelligently apparently negates your gender – I’ve been resigned since teenagerhood to being “the smart one” instead of “the pretty one” or “the cool one” or, you know, having more than one personality characteristic, but it was pretty awful to realize that being or acting intelligent actually set me apart from the entire rest of my gender.

What this article doesn’t explicitly point out, but which I would like to, is that while this behavior can seem vaguely annoying but harmless, it’s the flip side of what boys and men are put through if they exhibit any behaviors that might ever be construed as “feminine.” Your being clapped on the back for enjoying Always Sunny is the same thing as a man being laughed at for having read The Color Purple, or for having a genuine emotion, or for God help him actually being gay or genderqueer or for rocking a really nice scarf. The sentiment we experience is insulting – but it’s also dangerous. Gender essentialism where everything “masculine” is essentially good and everything “feminine” is essentially stupid and bad has ended lives, still is, through violence or through a gradual eroding of the soul that ends in suicide.

So! Thoughts? Feelings? Did anyone watch a sporting event on the teevee that they need to talk about? Is it still hockey season? TALK TO ME.
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Rachel is Autostraddle's Managing Editor and the editor who presides over news & politics coverage. Originally from Boston, MA, Rachel now lives in the Midwest. Topics dear to her heart include bisexuality, The X-Files and tacos. Her favorite Ciara video is probably "Ride," but if you're only going to watch one, she recommends "Like A Boy." You can follow her on twitter and instagram.

Rachel has written 1097 articles for us.

92 Comments

  1. This is perfect. I said to my friend the other day that regardless of the fact that women face sexism everywhere, boys still probably have it worse because they have to be constantly alert to anything labeled as “feminine” or else risk bullying and losing friends. And women do it to men too; i hear girls calling guys girls or whipped or fag almost as much as guys do now. At least girls can have the support of their friends where guys just get torn apart.

  2. so true. reminds me of how in German maennlich (an adjective derived from the noun for man, Mann) means manly or strong, while daemlich (an adjective derived from one of the nouns for woman, Dame) means stupid or trivial.

  3. I have actually been feeling kind of sad for the ‘flipside’ of this situation. Being a lesbian I kind of have always been able to blend or at the very least recieve awkward and offensive praise for my dudeliness, but it has to just be awful being a homosexual male and having to hide the (society endorsed) lesser femmy traits to avoid ridicule. I’ve also just recently been in the presence of a small minded friend of a friend who commented on the “sexual aggressiveness of gay men being equal to that of straight sluts”(Direct quote)and how “Lesbians are natural Pleasers and are thus hated because they can experience all forms of passion with little judgement, and they do use both male and female partners to achieve those feelings while acting as if they only like women” (another idiotic assertion)
    I’m reading Gender Trouble for fun/general learning and I can kind of understand why so many gay male teens and young adults have ended their lives. It has to be crazy lonely and difficult. If I wasn’t allowed to wear pants or do intense yard work…you know sweaty strong man stuff without bearing the guilt from society I’d be lost. Of course I live in a place where gender norms are taught with the alphabet in kindergarten so half of the fun (read stress) of being out is straddling that line.

    In other awesome national guy sports news…”I watched the Patriots tap some ass this weekend” yes that was my attempt at gender norm sarcasm.

    Loved the article!

  4. While it’s certainly a shame, I think that the gender constraints for guys are much more rigid and hard to deviate from. “You’re like a dude!” is vaguely patronizing, but to accuse a guy of acting like a woman is much more insulting, in the eyes of society. We’re cute and patted on the head when we follow sports, but they’re threatened with violence if they want to express their “femininity” in any way, from baking to knitting to wearing dresses.

  5. so, could it be extended that “you’re like one of my mates/bros/dudes” means that you have shed femininity and become more easy to communicate with?
    because i took it as a compliment and now i’m confused.

    • i dunno, i have a lot of “bro” relationships with my male friends that are actually really special and important to me. i don’t feel like this dynamic devalues them. like i don’t think their telling me “you’re one of my bros” is the same as their telling me “you’re like a guy.” i hear it as them saying “you are someone i can relate to and feel close with even though the culture we live in has attempted to make sure i can never feel close to anyone ever, especially not women.” i dunno. maybe it’s semantics. or maybe it’s BRO LOVE.

  6. I am often referred to by my Gay Boyfriend as “LezBro”. Most of teh time I don’t really care, but there are some contexts where I wish he would tone it down. Yes, I am very “butch”, but I have no desire to actually BE a man. It’s just such a double standard that “feminine” males are put down and made fun of, instead of being praised for their ability to break gender stereotype

  7. Great article. I couldn’t agree more.

    As a kid I was really close to my brother and wanted to follow him around doing all the things he did like climb trees and build forts. He was fine with it until he met these few guys along the way that didn’t want a girl hanging out with them. He started to really separate boys from girls at that point to fit in I think. Now I want to smack him for half of the things that come out of his mouth. I remember him telling me when I was in middle school that Alanis Morissette was “girly” music and therefore not as good as the male rock bands he was listening to. Then I find out about ten years later that he secretly listens to Sarah Mclachlan on his drives to work and doesn’t want even his wife to know. He’s basically really afraid to show much of a feminine side and it makes me sad.

    • My brother did the same thing! We were really close when we were little. Then he grew up and decided he was cooler than thou which meant that we couldn’t be friends in public. It’s ridiculous, and I hate it. He’s really smart and funny and sweet, but his entire personality changes when he’s outside the house. I hate it.

      • If you want to measure the progressivity vs anal idiocracy and macho dominance of a religion, just look at how they treat women.

        the progressive ones have women as leaders, eg the Episcopal church which also has gay bishops etc, and is supportive of gays.

        Compare that to the southern baptists who still worship slavery and hate gays. And the catholic church of the hidden molestation – which has women in separate and unequal status, while the male hierarchy spends its time reading Mein Kampf to find new ways to demonize gays.

        Same re Jewish utlra orthodox – bible thumpers all, some who have called gays “worse then bird flu”. A call for the genocide of gay people by the very people whose close relatives shared the gays fate in hitlers ovens. PS I was Jewish until I saw that statement. NOw I am free.

        Such is madness of male dominance – the real root of hatred etc of gay people, especially the effeminate ones.

        And maybe it all stems back to that little piece of skin that is so vulnerable to damage on males. HOmophobia – is it simply “protecing my wee-wee”. And even more so fear tht since the wee-wee can grow on its own – its not a finger you simply lift and lower by direct deisre, there is all the fear that growth in the wrong time will be embarrassing.

        while at the same time in HS, the kids used to play the circle jerk game for money. First cum gets the $$ after the last finishes trying to hit the money target.

        its wierd

        BTW when blacks were lynched, if the ‘crime’ involved eg whistling at a white woman, guess what was cut off. You can find crude b&W pixs on the web. (steve barfs)

  8. Julia Serano talks about this in her book “Whipping Girl”, which I recommend to everyone despite the amount of odd looks I get when I mention it.

    She also mentions that there’s sometimes a sort of
    one-up-manship (is that even a word?) in the overall queer community, wherein being more “transgressive” (i.e. genderqueer or bigendered) is believed to make you superior to people who do choose to identify within the gender binary.

    That said, I have to say that while nobody has ever compared me to a guy in that way (I’m pretty feminine in my mannerisms and interests), I do lament the stifling grip that masculinity – or rather, fear of the feminine – has on many men. You often hear the saying that women are the ones that are concerned with their appearance and how others thing of them, but I think men do it just as often. Constantly checking that you behavior could in no way be percieved by only slightly feminine – if I had to do that, I would be all nerves all the time.

    • I recently had a conversation with someone who bashed me for not gender identifying and since then I have been trying to read up to understand where she was coming from. Thank you for suggesting Whipping Girl, I’m currently on Amazon getting myself a copy.

      Don’t really know what I think yet but the ideas are forming from an open mind.

  9. Having been told I’m a “bro” by several male friends (despite being feminine in most ways), I eventually had to ask them what they meant. The explained that they could relate to me like a guy- they didn’t view me as a typical “girl” to be looked at a a pretty object and put up on a pedestal and told to stay in the kitchen. Unfortunately, the only way they could express that was in masculine terms. What they meant was, “I respect you as a person and a friend, not just as a girl/possible girlfriend (ignoring my lesbianism, which always annoys me)/sex object,” which seems to be the only way some men are taught to look at women.

    What I’m trying to say is, while I appreciate the sentiment they’re trying to express, I think the word choice is unfortunate. Maybe one day we’ll learn that gender, strength/weakness and respect are not tied permanently into each other.

    Not being a man, I don’t really think I can comment on that bit too well haha.

  10. While only peripherally related, this reminds me of my hatred for the phrase “man up.” A friend recently said it, I expressed a dislike for it and he said “You know what? I do too. Woman up!” Win!

  11. This is a really well-done article. Unfortunately, I don’t think I have the mental capacity to add anything of value to the discussion or to extrapolate on any of the points that you raised… but I do have my two-cents and they say ‘thank you for writing this’.

  12. I’m always “the intelligent one.” It’s like saying “oh, you don’t really have many feminine traits, but you said a word I don’t know so you’re that from now on!” It’s awful to be that in middle school when if you have a bit of masculinity you’re shunned from society.

    • Few months ago I left my VERY sheltered gay friendly school environment and was socialized with AmericasAverageTeenager in the form of a drivers Ed class… I used one word over three syllables (maybe it was astronomical??) and was mocked for it for the rest of the thirty hour course…

      I know, were supposed to blend in better than that… My bad, I know it’s entirely my fault but still…

      • Not your fault at all. Kids are idiots sometimes. I still remember several people, male & female, looking at me and going “You’re so SMART!” with a hint of surprise like it was some kind of amazing feat. They meant well, but it never sat right with me. Don’t worry. Wait until you get out of school, it’s so much better out here in the real world.

  13. idk, as a tomboy-ish kid I received the opposite of praise. That’s not to say I wasn’t nodding my head while reading this, though.

    Can we talk about sports and how I don’t think I can name even one football/baseball/hockey player on my state’s teams.

    • There was a lot of pushback when I was a tomboy kid about not being feminine or girly enough, but I also heard a lot of the ‘you’re one of the guys cause you’re sporty and can throw a better spiral than anyone else in the school.’

      I can probably name football/baseball/hockey players from your state’s teams if you want to talk sports

  14. I teach in a high school & obviously there is a lot of peer-enforced gender norming going on as people figure out who they are & etc. Although it’s heartbreaking to watch “effeminate” boys try to modify their behavior and pass (as straight or as tough or as whatever), it’s also incredible/sad to see what girls will do to “prove” their femininity–the revealing clothes they’ll wear, how they walk, even just playing dumb in the classroom, repeating classes…

    I have also heard condescending, “You’re a dude just like us!” comments, both in school & in my life, but I take that as a minor annoyance. I know it’s tied up in this system of oppression &etc but if it’s a way of rewarding girls to be tough & smart & outspoken & to stand up for themselves–sexually and otherwise–it’s not perhaps SO terrible.

    • First of all, bless you for being able to handle high schoolers. I’m aiming for elementary-aged kids if I ever get finished with school.

      Secondly, I get so upset when I see girls acting dumb especially when I just held an intelligent conversation with said girl. You know, right before the group of guys showed up that she had to “impress”. I don’t understand why (some) guys find stupidity attractive. Stupidity, put on or otherwise, is a HUGE turn-off for me. One of my biggest pet peeves actually.

  15. i hate that the flip side of this is that so many guys feel the need to posture their masculinity by putting down femininity, into which i often read insecurity (possibly unfair), and that is no fun for anyone.

  16. Yeh i think it is definately more difficult for a man to express anything other than masculinity.
    I mean i love videogames,play contact sports and wear a lot of menswear and I ‘ve never been derided for those things but as soon as my straight male friend shows concern for his hair, talks about how awesome the johny cakes he made were or talks about how tight he is with his male bff everyone starts cracking gay jokes.

  17. Great article! Do you mind if I show this to my psychology class? We’re discussing gender roles.
    This isn’t actually on the syllabus, but my teacher is pretty much the coolest person ever. She showed us this video this morning:

  18. In my social sphere/world, a common insult I hear about a guy is “he’s a woman” or something along those lines–and often the guy in question isn’t even doing anything “feminine.” Unfortunately, usually when I hear this it’s coming from one of my good friends. And I explain to her what’s wrong with that, but she just doesn’t get it. She doesn’t understand anything about gender and sexuality, really, and it’s so incredibly frustrating. I think one day I need to sit her down and give her this article to read. That would be a good start.

  19. First of all, I love this piece. Especially as someone who is often playfully(but irritatingly) referred to as a fratboy among friends. Can’t a butch lady enjoy shotgunning a beer without being grouped in with the fratties? Second of all, this reminds me of something I read by either Kimmel or Messner, sociologists who both study masculinity. I’m paraphrasing here but it was essentially: There are no masculine traits or feminine traits, but rather human traits. It is society which assigns and ranks these traits according to gender.

    • I usually reply to this statement with, “If I were a guy, I wouldn’t be me.” That usually leaves ’em flustered. I think it’s good that I slightly embarrass my friends who make such statements, so that in the future there’s less of a chance of them saying it to someone who might get genuinely offended. #toughlove?

  20. Ahhh! Rachel,I have had this discussion with my friends more times than I can count. I have also experienced my male friends making generalizations about women, while simultaneously telling me that I am the exception to the rule. And while a little part of me can’t help but be flattered, the vast majority of me is angered by the stereotypes associated with women. Interestingly (and unfortunately), I think that after coming out, I became more privy to my guy friends’ conversations and respect, whereas before they believed that they had the option to hook up with me, and as result tried to spit game rather than engage in intelligent dialogue with me.

    Also, Ariel Levy addresses this issue of gender essentialism in her book “Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture”(if anyone has not read it, I highly recommend it). Levy discusses how strong women feel the need to reject any characteristics that are associated with being stereotypically feminine, as well as how many strong women actively choose not to help other women out, believing that stepping on other women is the way to remain in a position of power.

  21. Preach, sister, preach.

    A fun illustration of this problem comes with the words “effeminate” and “emasculate”. Both mean pretty much the same thing, that is, to not be “manly”. Both are considered insulting. Yet, are there any such insulting words for females who act in non womanly ways? Not as far as I know.

    I was thinking about this while falling asleep on my walk home. Glad to see this article. I encounter this shit a lot. I don’t really like to play the “gender” game, but it’s hard not to get sucked into. Bathrooms, test sheets, government forms, etc. Needless to say, my appearance/embodiment/personality doesn’t always match what is broadly considered to be feminine, though sometimes, it quite does. That said, I’m still proud of my “sex”. I know sexism when I hear it, and I’ve had to explain to some guys that, well, even though I’m easy going and smart, I’m not acting like a dude.

  22. Great piece. I haven’t experienced this as much with my guy friends (maybe because I hang out with a lot of other smart, easy going, funny, outspoken gals, and decidedly non-douchey dudes), but this actually happens with my boss all the time.

    I’m his only legal assistant, so we spend a fair amount of time together. He’s quite a character in many ways and can be pretty abrasive, but I do think he means well (also, he’s 71).

    Aaannywaaays, he’s actually open minded enough to not assume I date guys (!), but then whenever I take 2 seconds longer than him getting my stuff together before we go somewhere, he just has to comment on how women must have a gene that makes them take longer. Or when I laugh at one of his jokes, he says I can’t be a woman, because I have a sense of humor. Really?

  23. Here is a rather disgusting article that discusses how the Medal of Honor (United States’ highest military badge) has been feminized because the latest recipient earned it rescuing his friends instead of blowing shit up.

    http://www.politicsdaily.com/2010/11/20/christian-right-activist-blasts-medal-of-honor-as-feminized-s/?a_dgi=aolshare_facebook

    Salvatore Guinta was shot 4 times, while rescuing his friends and chasing off the enemy.

    • Saw that – just machoism and religious zealotry.

      If only we could put the Pr,,k on the front lines and video him running away the first time he heard a shot 10 miles away, it would be so funny. And maybe jail him for cowardliness and improve the human race.

      while his BF in the big house give him pleasure he secretly wants.

  24. While I do agree that the worst feeling EVAR is hearing from a guy: “you’re not a guy or a girl, you’re a [insert your name here].” it gives me happy autoandrophile feelings to be kissing my GF and hear “is that a guy?? I can’t really tell… I don’t think it is…” I think people [as always] use labels as a crutch. And my hopping around the gender spectrum and whipping out a highlighter to color the WHOLE Kinsey scale is a little unsettling to a large mass of people…

    • In other news. I told a 5-year-old boy I was babysitting that he could by pit on his mothers lipstick before bed because it would get on his pillow. What was YOUR homo-positive action for society today??

    • It would really be nice if it was hard to tell who was M or F as dressed.

      think of it – the boys making out with the boys, girls with girls and nobody would give a damn.

      As someone said on youtube- gay sex is for recreation, str8 sex is only for procreation. If only the rotten hate churches were correct in that sexuality is a choice. Think – bisex – double the opportunities double the fun.

      Anything that divides us, including male machoism is a danger to society at large.

      BTW _I’m a hetero str8 male who loves his gay friends, goes to gay bars etc. Its friday night and I’m disappointed that on a last minute check of the local gay bar, I realized the “black party” is actually tomorrow and I’m stuck at home blogging.

      • I missed the key point – go to youtube and search “gay chicken kissing’ its our fav party game, sexy but no one gets hurt and after a few tries foolish inhibitions get tossed in the trash can and we have a merry old time.

        Also sending DVDs of the party to the local homophobic churches.

  25. I wonder if people will ever be convinced of the fact that gender (as it is viewed in America) is a cultural construct. I don’t feel that there is anything biologically inherent in the pop culture, or even the people, that we’re drawn to. Growing up as the token nerd girl, in a nerd herd otherwise made up of nerd boys, this was a really annoying, and often hurtful, truth. It continues to be a pain in the ass as an adult.

  26. This article is why I routinely want to marry everyone involved in this website. Too bad we’re gay.

    But seriously. I just remember middle school (which is obviously already painful and awkward and humiliating because really, whose idea was it to shove a bunch of newly pubescent angrily hormonal children in the same building for three years?) and being completely dismissed in the middle of all my pretty cheerleader friends until someone needed help with pre-algebra because I was the smart one. And then a year later I stopped even getting recognition for that because there were boys who knew how to do it too. Looking back, at the time “you’re just like one of the guys!” was the best damn compliment I could get because it was the only way to get taken semi-seriously.

    damn the patriarchal man, etc.

  27. This article articulates so well something that I have frequently experienced and been left with a sour taste in my mouth about, but couldn’t define exactly what was so irksome about it.

  28. I feel like even with some lesbians there’s a separation of “the bros” and the femmes where the women presenting a more masculine image can be criticized/judged by the other “bros” for liking/doing traditionally feminine things.

    • Agreed. And I think there’s also an additional general…if you’re going to be smart or athletic or whatever and in competition with guys, being girly in anyway is seen as counterproductive to that. Like the second you swipe on the eyeshadow, you’re suddenly that much less capable of non-materialistic thought.

      • Seconded. As someone who tends to come off as bubbly and optimistic (and now, at least, more or less conventionally “feminine”), people have a tendency to mistake me for a ditz. I’ve been heard from a number of others –– peers and even professors –– that they were kind of taken aback by my intellect. I can usually tell when I surprise them, however, because it’s visible in their face.

        I can’t speak for how a “girly:superficial::masculine:substantial” dichotomy might translate into a non-hetero setting, and I wouldn’t try to. But where I grew up in “real America” (and even at my mega-liberal college), that’s been my experience.

      • THIS. I come off as kinda masculine (whatever that means, always have), but even when I was a kid sometimes I thought it would be cool to do something “girly”. Not to make a point, but because sometimes eye makeup and dresses and tights are fun. Generally I like them on other people but… and I digress.

        I AM a girl and every time I go ahead and embody something stereotypically feminine I get shit or worse, condescending compliments. My favorites: “oh, so you are a girl.” Or, “wow, you’re actually pretty!” And god forbid I giggle.

        Um. I’m cute all the time, people. I know I look/feel awkward in a dress, but that doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes like it. Also I don’t get dumber/straighter/more femmy in any way when I put on mascara (too bad those things are equated by some idiots, ridic). It’s just fun.

        If I get this kind of shit even without having a penis, I can only imagine how much it sucks to be a guy who occasionally wants to embrace his “feminine” side. Or like, an ability to cook or wash your own damn dishes.

  29. I teach English to Korean children, and one of my students is without a doubt gay. He’s 9, and loves painting his nails, Disney princesses, Tinkerbell, and wants a pink, purple, and white car when he’s grown up. I get a little worried sometimes when his classmate (a younger girl) tells him that he can’t like these things because he’s a boy, or that he “talks funny”. But he doesn’t seem to care. I always come to his defense by telling her that I’m a girl, but that I LOVE Star Wars, Transformers, Ninja Turtles, and superheroes, and that “boy toys” were the only kind I played with growing up. I know that she doesn’t mean any harm, but I worry if he’s internalizing any of these comments, and how they may affect the construction of his identity? If he’s getting these comments from younger girls, he must get it from boys his own age.

    Speaking of kids, my sister and I were talking about our childhood pastimes this weekend, and I mentioned my preference for video games and actions figures as opposed to Barbies and EZ Bake ovens. And she goes, “Yeah…you were a little confused, weren’t you?” Confused about WHAT?! That pissed me the hell off.

    I also hated it when people made assumptions about my sexuality when I had very short hair. I remember meeting a guy in my first year of university with whom I struck up a casual conversation, and we were talking about our “types”. When I started talking about the type of guys I’m into, he looked at me and said, “Oh, you’re into GUYS?” And I asked, “Uh, why were you under the impression that I wasn’t?” And he points at my head and says, “Well, you have really short hair…”

    • Just as a side note, kids who show a preference for the “wrong” gender of toys aren’t necessarily gay. Some people have different gender presentations than the norm but still identify as heterosexual. Or it could be a passing interest for some kids (whether that’s influenced by societal pressure in all cases is hard to say).

  30. I had this very conversation with a friend, more than once. Other reasons given toward a likelihood of my being gay included wearing T-shirts frequently and not allowing strange dudes to unceremoniously grind on me at clubs.

  31. I work in the couples therapy business. It’s one fabulous place where men are praised and reinforced for showing feelings, crying, talking and empathically listening!!!

  32. I have a few long things to get out into the world right now:
    First, I’d like to say that as a genderqueer I’ve experienced both sides of this issue. I grew up with my mom, grandma and sister. A completely matriarchal society. My mom grew up in the 70’s and she presents herself very femininely but she does things considered by society to be masculine like changing oil/tires, fixing things, liking weapons, martial arts; I’ve seen people completely thrown back by this. She’s always encouraged me to be myself and do the things I like, to stand up for what I think is right and back up my arguments. My grandma is more traditional and when I was in middle school, starting to experiment with gender she was the one who refused to buy me boy’s clothes and tried to make me do my hair, said things like “boys will never like you if…” where I’d say that I don’t like boys and she’d say that I will eventually (she was wrong by the way, I’m gay). By high school she gave up fighting with me. But that really hurt me inside. Because she had been the one I related to more and talked to, who stuck up for me. At that time she was basically telling me “I don’t like who you are anymore, I don’t aprove of you” It almost destroyed me.
    Jumping to high school, I’ve recently transfered. So, at my new school I decided to start wearing guy’s clothes exclusively. I was virtually invisible to my peers for the first few weeks. Then, I had been given a shirt before I moved from a girl I was very close with. She asked me to wear it and think of her. It was a purple plaid button up cut in the female style. I’ve always felt like I was in drag wearing girl’s clothes, but I love her and I wore the shirt to school the next day. I got compliments in every class, people I didn’t know said hi, they suddenly knew my name. (sidenote: I have very large, size GG, breasts. This might have been a factor) I was shocked. Just this one instance of gender conformity brought me dramatic, possitive attention. I pretended to be flattered but inside I was really offended.
    Second, in my psychology class today we watched a video about gender dominance in society. The video focused on two species Chimpanzees and Bonobos, a cousin of the chimp. Chimpanzee society is patriarchial. The males rule, they beat and rape females, kill babies and fight each other. Bonobos are matriarchial. Their females banded together against the males dominance. Their society was more peaceful by far. There weren’t any beatings, maybe the occasional smack, no raping and no killing babies. There was also more sex, for fun, not just mating purposes, and it wasn’t all heterosexual. That’s right, there are some lesbian Bonobos living peacefully within their society. I’ve always had a theiry that if women ruled the world instead of men World peace would be possible. If the straight females didn’t have to compete as much or at all for male attention they’d get along better with each other and possibly that would lead to more acceptance for lesbians since havin a male partner would no longer mean having social status. Plus men wouldn’t have to use women for status either because women don’t relate to each other as much that way. Meaning life would be better for gay and more feminine guys because those traits would be associated inversly from how they are now.
    Which brings me to my last point. I have a straight male friend who has a lot of traits associated with feminity. I hate admitting this but I have called him a girl. Not to hurt his feelings or anything because he’s my best friend and I love him. But because that’s more of how I see/relate to him in my mind. Like he’s more of a “girl”friend to me that happens to have boy parts. The problem is that he’s in love with me, since freshman year, I’m a senior now. And it truthfully doesn’t bother me, at all. He knows I’m gay, has heard some of the dirty details about my lesbosexy funtimes. He’s also a virgin. We got into this conversation about a “what if anything romantic happened”. And I told him the truth that my genuine feeling was that it would be alright. He thought I’d be disgusted because he’s a boy but I have more of an emotional thing with him. I was/am generally interested, at least from a scientific/anthropological standpoint about what that would be like. I’d never even kissed a guy before. He ended up doing something for me physically that none of my very few partners had. Not intercourse, penetration beyond fingering is where I draw the line, even with girls. I’m not into it. The fact that he could do this, not as a boy being with me, but having no prior experience really threw me. We talked some more after this and I told him I’d be interested in trying more things with him, but that we wouldn’t have a romantic relationship and we’d both have the power to end the “trial” at any time. And I made sure to ask him if he thought it would help him get over me, he said he thought so, yes. We had some really deep conversations, about things we most likely wouldn’t have talked about otherwise. But he started to get very clingy, texting me in the morning when he woke up, at lunch, after school, calling me at night. To me this felt like he was starting to get more emotionally attached and I didn’t like it. I told him I wanted to close the “what if” door. That I felt like it was giving him false hope and that he was being clingy. He wanted to know what specific thing he’d done that was wrong. There wasn’t really anything. The thing he couldn’t control was that I didn’t feel anything for his physical body, like he did mine. I told him this truthfully, that it was what he did to me physically that I liked. But still, I just didn’t like how our situation had changed. But he kept bringing it up, asking what he could do to make it better or what he did wrong. I got fed up and told him to drop the subject. To forget I brought it up and that it had ever happened.
    My sister knows the gist of this and thinks I was wrong. That I shouldn’t have done it because he loves me and would say/do anything to make me happy, even if it hurt him inside. I feel like I was straight-forward and honest, that he would’ve told me he couldn’t deal with it, even though he insisted he could.
    I need some opinions. Was this ok or wrong? Anyone have an interesting take on it or a similar situation? Or advice on how to get him to move on?

    • Alskdjf;alskdjf what a messy situation…
      I’ve accidentally led on quite a few men in my life for the exact reason I wrote in the post below vv
      Because we were such great friends and could relate so well, they fell for me and I broke their hearts.
      While breaking someone’s heart is a terrible, terrible feeling, sometimes it’s necessary. Your male friend seems way more interested in you than you are in him and that’s not fair to either of you. In my experiences, I found out the reasons why they liked me and I found them single, heterosexual, female friends of mine to flirt with. (Note: ALWAYS ask the girl if she’s interested in potentially dating before introducing them in this kind of situation……)
      Hopefully he’ll find a new dream girl :/ Best of luck

      • I try to get him to talk to girls and I’d get girls to talk to him. But the problem is that he lives in CT and I’m in PA. So, it’s not like we’re at school together and I can be his wingman or be his secret PR. You know? He’s super shy to the point of practially falling off the edge of the Earth. I know why he likes me, mostly because I’m the only one who sees him and listens to him etc. I tell him to get out there, give him tips, try to boost his confidence. But I don’t think he wants to move on. Because he doesn’t try. Whenever he starts making friends with another girl he sighs in that way that I know means he’s thinking that she’s not me. I just want to help him but he never takes my advice.

  33. Okay, how many of you have been called a ‘lesbro?’
    I certainly have. I must admit, I find it a funny, endearing nickname that my straight male friends call me. Maybe I’m just lucky, but most of these friends say that they call me their ‘lesbro’ because I’m a female who takes time to talk to them and understand their feelings even though I’m not sexually interested in them.
    A lot of these guys talk to me because they think I’m ‘chill’ and a ‘good listener,’ and honestly I see nothing unfeminine about that. I think that they feel more comfortable being vulnerable about their emotions when they’re talking to me because I’m not searching for a ‘strong male’ to be my sexual partner, but I’m still a female and show sensitivity and don’t tell them to ‘suck it up and be a man.’ (On top of that, I rock at video games and we generally have a good time together.)
    Maybe I’m just being too faithful in humanity right now, but I think this is the case of a lot of heterosexual men who have lesbian friends. It’s just difficult to put into words. I guess I’m lucky to have such eloquent males in my life.

    What I have noticed, however, is the increasing demand of a ‘gay best friend’ in young heterosexual women. (I applaud the increased acceptance of the homosexual community because of this, but there are some downfalls.) I don’t want to over-generalize, but from what I observed when I was in high school and even in college, girls seek out homosexual boys to go shopping with and cry to about ‘boy issues.’ Couldn’t we say the same thing about this population? Women seeing masculine traits as negative and gross and rejoicing in effeminate men to relate to?

    I personally believe that a large amount of deliberate gender discrimination comes from members of the same gender. Like boys calling another boy ‘f*g’ for wearing a silk scarf, or the girls in my second grade class who made fun of me for hating to wear dresses.

    • I have many gay friends. Girls love gay guys because the gay guys love girls for who they are, rather then for what they want, which is of course sex. The slang term for these girls is “fag hag”, which in my opinion has a positive, not a negative connotation so far.

      Hope that helps. Love your gay friends – almost all of mine either were close to suicide, or know a suicided to death friend, or both.

      Courtesy of some right wing christian groups who make a total mockery of their religious heritage, and should be tried for accessory to mass murder of children

  34. Some butch girls don’t really care for sports. I’ve never felt my tomboyishness was particularly encouraged. If anything it was discouraged.

    I was a computer geek that was in marching band played Dungeons and Dragons. So, I was in the same boat as nerdy boys. It’s not all masculine vs feminine. There are certain activities and interests that are more highly valued.

    You could say that masculine activities are more highly valued. but if you’re a masculine dyke that’s not into sports I can see the question on their face, “Why do you present as masculine if you’re not doing masculine things?” It’s as if I need some justifiable reason to be butch.

    And people would always give me unsolicited “fashion tips.” “You have such a pretty face, if you just plucked your eyebrows/put on a little lipstick/wore contacts/earrings.” That constant nitpicking at my appearance as if I’m just failing at being girly rather than intentionally looking exactly how I want to look.

    When I hang out with straight guys, they don’t bother me and I don’t bother them. When they say I’m just like a guy, I don’t think they mean it as a compliment, but they’re just relieved that we can relate and talk about Star Wars without me thinking they’re a total dweeb. Women can be really judgmental….so can gay men for that matter.

    • This is similar to my experience. I 100% identify as a lifelong tomboy, but from a physical standpoint then I’m not really very masculine at all. While I’m capable of being fit, I’m not so much athletic in a competitive sense. I’m more of an outdoors chick with a preference on hiking, swimming, fishing, and yard work vs. playing soccer or watching football.

      I fit more the nerd category for sure, but that’s sort of a bastion of dudeliness, too. There’s plenty of closeted female comic/action/adventure/sci-fi/videogame gals, but by and far dorkdom is populated by males in mass.
      I think that it’s a realm that’s more accepting of females on the surfact for sure, but we’re often sort of viewed as oddities and zoo creatures on pedestals rather than peers.

      I’m not gonna lie – as a female comic/graphic novel creator, I’ve milked this dynamic when pimping my wares at comic conventions. Just the sheer novelty of being one of the lone females on a convention floor attracts perhaps an unfair amount of attention, but when my goal is just to move some fucking units, I’ll play that shit up.

  35. Hatred of gay and also trans people is rooted in ancient needs for the woman to be barefoot and pregnant. Because infant mortality was 70% , and survival of the tribe was paramount, especially the men who killed for food, including killing to steal their neighbors food.

    And the real issue is religions living in the dark ages. Who dare not change because faith is simply faith -beliefs that if one aspect is called into question, the whole mess will collapse like the house of cards it is.

    So its more important for some religions to keep their power, then it is to respect life.

    And in one of the hypocrisies of our time, the extremist christians and the German pope whose early lessons were under nazi rule, talk about protecting life – their smokescreen, while they drive in at least the USA 3000 gay kids & ? trans kids to induced murder by suicide every year.

    As someone said long ago – he worked for a catholic still unexcommunicated, his religion not readily discernable, “tell a lie often enough and outrageous enough and it will be seen as the truth”

    If you dont know who he is, google Paul Joseph Goebbels and find out for whom he was minister of propaganda in the 1930s.

    And 55 million died.

    But religious zealot churches still honor his words

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