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"Living as a woman"

(466 Posts)
XXHelenaXX Tue 13-Mar-18 17:19:03

This has been mentioned before, but now everyone has had a long time to think it over, has anyone a working definition of "living as a woman"? One that applies to all circs in which it is applied?

For example, Heather Peto has "lived as a woman" for 20 years. As Peto is single, bisexual, childless, works as a scientist and retains his penis, he must mean wearing women's clothing for some/most of the time. That makes him a cross-dresser, for sure, but is it "living as a woman"? Also, I know women who never wear feminine clothes. Are they "living as men"?

With the above in mind, can anyone provide a serious, all-encompassing definition of "living as a woman"?

Janie143 Tue 13-Mar-18 17:30:53

Thinking girly thoughts?

XXHelenaXX Tue 13-Mar-18 17:32:47

Well that's no good, Janie because it merely leads to the question WHAT are "girly thoughts"?

Waddlelikeapenguin Tue 13-Mar-18 17:34:19

As a non makeup wearing, flat shoe wearing, trouser wearing female this has confused me.... until I remember periods, giving birth, breastfeeding etc. wink
I dont live as anything, i am a woman.

CuriousaboutSamphire Tue 13-Mar-18 17:35:01

No idea.

I was far happier when nobody tried to force absolutes onto very individual choices.

That's another reason to dislike the TRAs behaviour - they are deliberately backing all sorts of people into corners. Unconscionable bullies.

AssassinatedBeauty Tue 13-Mar-18 17:39:05

It surely can only mean living out some common feminine stereotypes and dressing as a stereotyped feminine woman. And having a typically female name, using a female title and referring to yourself as female to other people.

Not actually living as a woman, which is obviously different depending on which woman you're considering, and can in no way be universal.

misscockerspaniel Tue 13-Mar-18 17:39:55

Well, living as a man must mean wearing trousers but no make up. Hold on, that describes me 50% of the time and I am definitely all woman!

SnibbleAgain Tue 13-Mar-18 18:26:14

I think wearing a dress and having a female name. Prob long hair, makeup.

The behaviours thing, I can't imagine what "behaving like a woman" would be like as clearly there are differences in general behaviour due to socialisation but they are so ingrained most people don't even notice them, so how can anyway really adopt the behaviours of the other sex, espcially when they've had years of conditioning otherwise.

It seems unlikely.

LangCleg Tue 13-Mar-18 18:29:24

The legal requirements for "living as a woman" are simply bureaucracy. You just change the name on your household bills, your driving licence, the benefits office or your employer.

That's it. Bingo. You're living as a woman. Your leccy bill says so.

Bumblebzz Tue 13-Mar-18 18:30:49

I sat opposite my DH at the weekend and thought, what is different about our lived experience, that is entirely factual and not a feeling or a fear or a perception. Here’s my shortlist that I cane up with:
Period/pain, sanitary products, mittelschmerz, PMT, swollen breasts, pregnancy, morning(all day) sickness, gestational diabetes, SPD, childbirth, tearing/stitches, breastfeeding, mastitis, secondary infertility, smear tests, mammograms, miscarriage, D&C, peri-menopause.
He never has and never will live this.

JustHooking Tue 13-Mar-18 18:33:08

I find the living as a woman incredibly offensive
As if we all live the same
The only thing we have in common is our biology. The rest is down to individual personality
None of us can ever know what it feels like to be another person so it is impossible for a man to believe he is a woman. He is his idea of what he thinks a woman is so a male idea of woman
Perhaps that's why so many trans women like to educate us on how to woman

TeenTimesTwo Tue 13-Mar-18 18:34:14

Presumably also using female sex spaces not male ones?

Or as an in-between would they use disabled, and only use female sex spaces after receiving a GRC?

BeyondDeadlySiren Tue 13-Mar-18 18:35:19

I've always wondered how that works if you already have a unisex name

SnibbleAgain Tue 13-Mar-18 18:38:35

Yes biology

Interestingly there is another one that is a big deal between how me and DH experience life. He is very tall and bulky and I am small and I firmly believe that this has a much bigger impact on how we experience the world than I had previously ever imagined.

The size thing combined with how people read you sex (ie usually correctly) has a big impact on your life in terms of how you are treated.

So differences in sexual assault / street harassment of a sexual nature obviously, what sort of people are agressive to you and when, expectations around how much space you need, likelihood of strangers to "pull you up" on stuff or give you commentary, ask or tell you to move, that sort of stuff. How you are treated at work. How you are treated when you are young and go to the pub, who talks to you and why...

People tend to keep out of his way and leave him alone, altough when he was younger he did sometimes get little blokes picking fights with him in the pub. Meanwhile people have definitely not kept out of my way nor left me alone, and I've also been fronted up to in the pub many times by men whose generous advances I had rejected.

Female experience is a combination of biology and how others perceive you.

The more interesting pieces I've read by trans people tend to be by transmen (who I have heard often pass better) and the changes they have noticed in how they are treated.

Evelynismycatsformerspyname Tue 13-Mar-18 18:38:55

As well as all the biological and medical stuff, which tbh is at least 60% of what "living as a woman" is, in a parenting context it's being the default contact school use despite having both parents' contact details, and regardless of which is listed first...

SnibbleAgain Tue 13-Mar-18 18:40:37

Lots of TIMs seem to desire to be sexually objectified, this is worrying, and I wonder WTF they really think of women.

TheGoldenBough Tue 13-Mar-18 18:50:37

Lots of TIMs seem to desire to be sexually objectified, this is worrying, and I wonder WTF they really think of women.

I think that a lot of them think this is what our lives are really like - all working out how to look coy and titilate the boys.

I think that when they get ignored, mocked and sidelined etc, they see that as transphobic because they assume it's happening because they are viewed as men dressed as women and they are still waiting for the privileges of womanhood to be bestowed upon them.

When, in reality, that is an authentic experience of womanhood!

They should be patting themselves on the back for having made it!

If only they understood that, I think we'd see this 'trans' phenomena die out very quickly...

MarSeeAh Tue 13-Mar-18 19:05:26

I was thinking about this the other day.

Really, it amounts to officially sanctioned and enforced deception. A man "living as a woman" is just pretending, or playing dress-up.

Usually, doing anything with the intention of deceiving others is morally, and sometimes legally, wrong.

Except in this way, when pretty much anyone with their wits about them, eyes to see and ears to hear, is going to know that this person is male, anyway!

CircleSquareCircleSquare Tue 13-Mar-18 19:10:49

It’s role play isn’t it? It’s all playing a character.

I have to remove facial hair, am I living as a man? Should I now call myself Gavin and get my prostate checked?

Cooroo Tue 13-Mar-18 19:14:21

I suppose 'living as a woman' means behaving/dressing/generally presenting in such a way that people think you are a woman? Whatever that is.

AngryAttackKittens Tue 13-Mar-18 19:18:02

It seems to mean "living as a sexualized stereotype", mostly. Like 24/7 cosplay.

TheGoldenBough Tue 13-Mar-18 19:40:07

I don't live as a woman, I am a woman. It's not 'reductive' to say that I have XX chromosomes; breasts; a uterus etc; periods; will experience menopause; have been pregnant have delivered 2 children; breastfed... and these are what make me a woman. Nor is it reductive to outline the discrimination I have experienced as a result of these.

As for living as a woman, I honestly don't know what that means.

The bottom line is, I'm fairly GNC and I was even moreso when I was younger. I didn't want to be a boy, but I liked the way they dressed and had a fairly androgynous style as a teenager - long unstyled hair; no make up; skinny black jeans; DMs; plain/band t shirt; checked shirt... I even emulated the way my teenage boy friends walked rather than the more 'feminine' sway that other girls were working on. Everything about the way I behaved was 'not girly'.

I had a boyfriend when I was 19 who wore frilly shirts and make up and crimped and styled his hair. He was about the same height/build as me, somewhat androgynous looking generally and was definitely 'prettier' than me! People who didn't know us assumed we were lesbians and that I was 'the butch' in the relationship! When in fact, he was a straight man and I was a straight woman. But I see that dynamic being messed around with in all this 'genderbending'. In today's money, we'd be 'identifying' as something!

So, living as a woman...

I spent a lot of time as a teen being corrected for being the wrong sort of girl/woman - my mother criticised my appearance constantly along with my attitudes towards girls and women regarding housework; education; careers; sex; financial/social independence... I just rejected feminine socialisation completely.

She felt that it was a woman's duty to stay at home; look pretty; and keep the house. She also felt that it was improper for a woman to become educated and that an intelligent, thinking woman was less likely to get a husband than a more compliant, docile sort. She also believed that girls/women should be demure, quiet, sexually alluring, not say no to men and certainly shouldn't go out (esp to pubs) alone! Girls and women should not be contrary, oppositional or disagreeable. We should be compliant and not emasculate men in any way. We should smile and simper, ensure the house is quiet when the man returns from work. Our place is in the home bringing up children. These are the many things I was told over the years. Is this what these biological males mean by living as a woman?

6 years ago, I tried being more 'gender conforming'. I tried to be interested in hair and make up and doing my nails. It lasted about 6 months, because I'm just not. Most of my friends are men; I drink pints of ale; I do a majority male hobby; I still wear DMs; I don't wear make up; I do wear dresses but I don't make myself 'pretty'. I have no interest in sparkles or glitter; or shopping; or shoes; or handbags; or pouting selfies; or looking 'cute' - all of which I understand are part of living as a woman according to these people.

Except that, in all my gender non conformity I was STILL living as a woman by virtue of the fact that I. Am. A. Woman

AreYouTerfEnough Tue 13-Mar-18 20:00:57

A big part of it boils down to reproductive functions and the effects that hormone fluctuations have on us. Our biology often causes us pain and discomforts and can be a burden. It effects our mood and responses to the outside world. Women appear to be more anxious about things and their families/children. We carry the mental load within the family.

For me though, it’s mostly social pressures. I feel like a second class citizen. I know that men treat me a certain way because I’m a woman and that it often isn’t in a good way.

This and the endless social pressures that women have to endure and how basically everything we do, or don’t do, is scrutinised and pulled apart. We’re constantly disrespected and on the receiving end of judgement. We’re expected to behave in a certain way and god help us if we fall short.

I’m autistic and my communication manner is more like that of a typical man. I’m friendly, but brusque, factual and to the point. Being chatty, soft, warm and cuddly isn’t important to me and I do get criticised at work due to the way I come across - but my male colleagues come across in the same way and nobody bats an eyelid.

AlisonWunderland Tue 13-Mar-18 20:08:55

I have short hair, no make up, usually wear trousers and play golf.
Am I living as a man?
Should I stop playing from the ladies tees?

Iminthecclubnow Tue 13-Mar-18 20:17:38

I thought Heather Peto's definition of
living as a woman was 'being made to feel girly' whilst taking a '6-8 inch' cock up the bum?

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