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If you could choose... would you rather have been born male?

(211 Posts)
wellwisher Mon 19-Sep-11 14:13:34

I don't post in this section much, but this is inspired by the "Do you remember a specific moment where you realised that being female put you at a disadvantage?" thread.

I have become more feminist/aware of the disadvantages of being female as I've got older. The last few years, I've realised that if I could choose, I'd rather be male. I'm at an age where I'm starting to lose my looks and panic about my biological clock, and I resent that my male friends don't have these worries yet. Almost all my female friends have settled down and started to have children, often making major compromises to do so. Almost all my male friends are still single and enjoying their freedom. It feels so unfair! It's more than that though: women have so much additional CRAP to deal with - prejudice, misogyny, objectification, being punished by society for getting older/not being conventionally pretty, feeling physically vulnerable... honestly, if I could go back to the moment of my conception, wave a magic wand and be created male instead of female, I would do it in a snap. Yet, none of my female friends feel the same way - even though most of them are relatively feminist in their views.

Maybe I just feel like this because I don't have children. Maybe it's just me, am generally a bit gloomy at the moment... but I thought it could be an interesting discussion. What would you choose? Try to set aside any feelings associated with having had babies, as this clearly adds a huge emotional aspect to the issue. I hope that any future children of mine will be boys. I really feel I wouldn't wish being born female on anyone - and I'm aware of how easy women in the UK have it compared to most of the rest of the world.

JeremyVile Mon 19-Sep-11 14:24:03

No. I enjoy being female. I enjoy femininity.

I suppose I find it difficult to reconcile that with the knowledge that ive gone through some pretty crappy things due to my gender.

But no, I bloody well like being a woman. I'm sure I'd like being a man too...if you're happy, you're happy.

I know you asked for no emphasis on motherhood but giving birth rocks! So glad to have had that experience.

Debs75 Mon 19-Sep-11 14:30:36

I love being a woman and most of that stems from having my children.
I know DP loves being a dad, and he is a great one but nothing will compare with the pregnancy and labour for me.
In other areas I like being a woman, I can wear any style of clothing I like, although I never wear skirts. I haven't come across prejudice like you have and I don't feel being a woman has held me back.

But I am quite old-fashioned in my views, I like raising my children whilst dp works. I don't feel vulnerable as I know I can handle myself against others, but I like to feel protected by DP. I haven't felt objectified but maybe that's just me.

Like Jeremyvile said if you are happy then you are happy regardless of male or female

LRDTheFeministDragon Mon 19-Sep-11 14:32:54

Interesting question.

No, I wouldn't rather. Multiple orgasms, for starters. smile

Also I don't want to buy into the idea that because bad things happen to women, being a man would be better. I'd rather bad things just didn't happen to women! (no exactly deep, I know)

shesparkles Mon 19-Sep-11 14:34:54

No, I'm quite happy in my own skin and haven't ever felt discriminated against....however I'd like to be a man for a day so I could find out what a wank feels like!grin

Lessthanaballpark Mon 19-Sep-11 14:51:53

Sometimes I do cos my Dad would have bonded with me more.

But I like being a mum.

IrmaMuthafucker Mon 19-Sep-11 14:53:31

No. I would like equality for all regardless of gender.

Fennel Mon 19-Sep-11 14:56:23

When I was a young child I did think that it would have been better to be a boy, becuase they seemed to have more freedom.
I think there was family bias towards boys too, I had a mother who spent her life deferring to my father, and I used to think she was softer on my brother than on my sister and me, and all my grandparents preferred boys. At school too teachers could be quite dismissive of girls.

But then I discovered feminism and I suppose from then on I was happy to be a girl/woman, because it made me realise that I didn't have to put up with the restrictions and petty sexism. I think being a feminist woman in the UK is OK, in the end, for many of us.

Sometimes I am jealous of men because they can be parents without the pregnancy and childbirth crap, I would quite like to bypass all that.

Theala Mon 19-Sep-11 15:05:12

No, I'm (mostly) happy being me.

LeggyBlondeNE Mon 19-Sep-11 15:50:38

No. I love having breasts. I love having larger eyes and smoother skin than my brothers. I love my legs, and when my joints are up to it I love wearing heels and showing them off. I love that my lady-bits are neat and tidy and getting in my way or poking my beloved in the back at night (for instance!). This is not to say I'm vain, but rather that I enjoy the female-ness of my physical existence.

I also loved being pregnant although I know you said to put that aside.

The idea of having a penis makes me pull icky faces. My gender identity is very very very female!

On the flip side, apart from having the baby, and a few irksome events, I also generally refuse to let being female stop me from doing things I want to do. I love being a busty, leggy, assertive and in-control type person. I probably have my mother to thank for that, since she very explicitly raised me to not be put off by sex stereotypes. Even if I did get bored with idea of engineering when I hit puberty...

LeggyBlondeNE Mon 19-Sep-11 15:51:14

Sorry, not getting in the way or poking my beloved!

ChickensHaveNoEyebrows Mon 19-Sep-11 15:54:15

If I'm honest, right now....yes. I'm not very good at being a woman in the way that society seems to demand that I be, I don't feel fulfilled through being a mother and I'm more disposed to selfishness than selflessness. I would have been happier as a man, I think.

TrillianAstra Mon 19-Sep-11 15:56:51

No thanks.

PamBeesly Mon 19-Sep-11 15:57:17

No way, not in a million years, I'd hate to be male. I don't live in the UK. Maybe at some stage in my life I might feel like you but for now I love being a woman. I don't think I'd feel as free being a man (even though that could be because I 'know' being a woman and I'd feel restricted being a man)

fluffles Mon 19-Sep-11 16:05:17

no, i don't think so, because i wouldn't like to conform to society's expectation of 'masculinity' any more than i like to confirm to the expectation of 'femininity'.

i am just me, and what i am in terms of behaviours and interests is really quite gender-neutral.

blackcurrants Mon 19-Sep-11 16:47:08

I would have said yes as a child and a teen I think, cos it looks like an easier life. Not now, though. Nothing could persuade me to give up growing and feeding and raising my LO. And I cant disregard it, it is too fundamental to how I see myself as a woman.

Plus, I couldnt give up my female friends. I dont know a man who has friendships with other menthe way most of the women I know have with other women.

in short, while it is no easier being female, I am getting better at it, and better at being a grownup in general. And I like it, even though the patriarchy must be overturned! I n the "riots not diets!" style I should say, I dont want to change me, I want to change the world.

ComradeJing Mon 19-Sep-11 16:50:22

Nope, I'd rather stay female.

caramelwaffle Mon 19-Sep-11 17:10:59


wellwisher Mon 19-Sep-11 17:33:50

Hmm, (nearly) just me then? Maybe I should try to have a baby...

Just to be clear, I am a girly girl and not in any way struggling with my gender identity! I just think men have it so much easier... sad

AnyFucker Mon 19-Sep-11 17:38:28

Interesting question

I think I would actually

PamBeesly Mon 19-Sep-11 17:38:31

wellwisher society makes things easier for men so I understand that for sure but I wouldn't trade in being a woman for it
Do you want to have a baby? Good luck with it smile

Tchootnika Mon 19-Sep-11 17:47:56

No way would I prefer to have been born male - unless, I suppose, I was born pre-1920, in which case, maybe... Or pre-1820, in which case definitely.

I don't think society now makes things easier for men - even though of course in many ways it still has strong overtones of patriarchy, misogyny, etc. (but you see I don't think these things do make things easier for men, I think they just make things fucking horrible for everyone). I think in many ways things are difficult for most of us, male or female. I don't think men have it better - which isn't to say that feminism couldn't still make things better for everyone.

Why, AnyFucker? Tell us more, please!

reallyslummymummy Mon 19-Sep-11 17:50:25

I would really love to be a man for a day but not forever - I love being a woman. However, I have always wondered what it would feel like to be a man having sex with a woman.

Yama Mon 19-Sep-11 18:06:08

When I was pregnant with dc1, I was single. I was petrified of having a girl because of the way the world is. I would lie awake at night worrying about how I would protect her. Well, dc1 is a girl and I suppose I am learning that I need to show her how to protect herself.

So, in answer to your question no I wouldn't rather have been born male. I am better able to fight sexism and misogyny (for my daughter) as a woman and mother.

Also, I have had a better life (so far) than my brothers.

Yama Mon 19-Sep-11 18:07:31

My last sentence is only relevant as a means of comparison.

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