I mean seriously, when you come down to it, isn’t it all much the same? Or at the very least gender is imposed by social pressures – outside in rather than inside out?
I think so sometimes. Then I’m forced to remember that actually – no, it’s not solely social notions of gender norms that go towards making up a gender identity.
Warning – the rest of the post contains biological descriptions and discussions of my vagina and periods!
If you don’t want to read it – then don’t!
So, anyway, as I was saying Archie…no other reader I know is as committed as you!
Sometimes I’m very aware of my own identity as a woman (physical sex), and also of my female experience of that identity. The reason that this has come to the fore today is that for the last ten months I’ve been trying to cope with Lopez (the contraceptive copper coil I had inserted in May). There has been a lot of blood and I’ve headed to the doctors every so often to be re-assured that bleeding more than usual on my period was normal after having the coil put in.
So off I went home having begun to bleed that I was complaining unwarrantedly and that I just needed to ‘woman-up’ and take it.
The most frustrating thing for me about my periods is I hate having penetrative sex whilst on them – and I really quite like penetrative sex at times. But on my period I’m very aware that I’m gloopy and messy and gross, and frankly I don’t like putting my fingers in that let alone anything else. (I have discovered that if it’s a very blood-heavy as opposed to gloop-heavy period I mind less). I’ve been managing but after, having had a three week period and then for a week having SEX! with Weasel and the Jellicle Cat before starting my period AGAIN I cracked.
I had a woman doctor this time. What a difference that made, as I apologetically came to explain I was a bit worried by having a week between periods. Gone was the sensation I was complaining about nothing as she prescribed me pills to have my periods compress!
I was very concious on leaving the doctor that we had a shared female experience to refer to. We had a shared gender-based notion of what our physical experience of being women should be.
I guess again I’m at this nature/nurture conclusion again – gender identity and physical experience have an interplay, not only is it a one-way influence (largely down to living in the 21st century) – just as social expectations cannot help but play into my notion of who I am, just as my physical experience of this world plays into my sense of self, my identification of certain of those experiences as being ‘female’ gives me a point of contact, a window into a deliberate pool of collective sub/concious.
And that, in turn plays into my deliberate gender identity, which becase males do not share, or rather play in their own pool, gives them a totally different perspective on my physical self.
Which in it’s turn allows certain doctors to be squicky idiots when it comes to matters of female biology. Silly buggers.
One thought on “Male vs. Female”
Thanks for posting this Mish, I actually find other women’s thoughts on going to the doctors about such matters quite interesting.
Oddly enough I’ve had the opposite experience of seeing doctors, in that the last female doctor I saw when talking about my periods told me to ‘woman up’ – very much the attitude of ‘this is something we all have to deal with, what makes you special?’ whereas the last man I spoke to about it was sympathetic, understanding and didn’t seem to be ‘squicked’ about things at all.
Maybe I just got lucky/unlucky? Who knows.