i don't know what women are. do any of you?

(144 Posts)
chibi Sat 15-Jun-13 15:26:54

i am asking honestly. womanness is not a consequence of chromosomes or external morphology. it is about feeling you are a woman.

i don't feel like a woman. i don't even know what that would feel like.

everyone i have spoken with has assumed i am a woman, and i have done things some people associate with women like menstruating, being pregnant etc.

i used to think that because of my external morphology and the whole giving birth thing, and people's assumptions and my upbringing that i was a woman but now i am not sure.

if you are whichever gender you identify with and feel you are, and i don't feel like a woman, (i don't know even how they feel) but am i one because i also don't feel like anything else?

chibi Sat 15-Jun-13 15:28:41

i am not trying to piss anyone off, i honestly don't know and have been wondering for a while

those of you who are women, how do you know, is it obvious?

Do you feel like a man? Or just not like anything?

I can't say I've honestly thought about my "womanness" it sounds like you're feeling existential.

Sorry I can't be more helpful.

chibi Sat 15-Jun-13 15:45:37

no, i don't think so, so-i don't know how they feel, either!

it's just i have never felt gendered. the world seems to see me as a woman (and i don't mind) i have done woman-y things (eg given birth) but have never felt like a woman feels whatever that means

since you have to feel like a woman to be one, i guess i am nothing?

tribpot Sat 15-Jun-13 15:49:35

So what do you think you're not feeling? Or is that impossible to answer?

Maybe gender queer is the term you are looking for.

You've put that Shania Twain song in my head!

chibi Sat 15-Jun-13 15:53:07

maybe i am asking, those of you who know you are women (because you feel it), what is it you feel?

are there lots of other genderless people like me out there? am i some kind of freak?

back when i thought i was a woman because of what my body looked like and what it did, i wasn't confused about all this- i assumed i was a woman.

this is wrong, and since i don't feel like i woman i am v confused

chibi Sat 15-Jun-13 15:53:52

how do you know you are women and not nothing or something else?

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Sat 15-Jun-13 16:00:47

I think I very much feel like a woman. Not when I'm on my own, but as soon as you come into contact with other people, you notice it.

chibi Sat 15-Jun-13 16:03:53

the world treats me as a woman, is that what you mean?

i do tend to asume that people whose external morphology looks like mine have had similar experiences, and i feel more sympathetic towards them than i do to men

is that what being a woman is?

???

UptoapointLordCopper Sat 15-Jun-13 16:07:20

"...as soon as you come into contact with other people, you notice it." Yes. So gender is a social construct. What about sex? What is a woman but that you have a certain type of chromosome and certain organs different from a man's? That's it, isn't it? Then what you feel has not much to do with your sexual organs and therefore not much to do with whether you are a man or a woman? confused confused

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Sat 15-Jun-13 16:09:04

Maybe.
TBH I am fairly sure if everyone treated us equally it'd be no more interesting to be female than to happen to be someone right-handed, or brunette, or whatever.

But then I do get what people mean because when I started thinking about all of this, I was thinking there must be more to it than just genetics or chromosomes because otherwise why would I constantly be aware of gender? The more I look into history and law and language, it seems obvious why I would be aware of gender. But until you look into it, I think it is very natural to assume it's an internal thing rather than a set of external pressures.

MalenkyRusskyDrakonchik Sat 15-Jun-13 16:09:58

Sorry, 'maybe' to chibi.

I think my issue with the sexual organs thing is that I would bet none of us is that 'typical' woman whose body does exactly what the biology textbook says. So it's quite hard to identify with that totally.

sleepyhead Sat 15-Jun-13 16:11:01

I know what you mean. I've always been confused by the whole "woman trapped in a man's body" because of it. I have no innate sense of "womanness" that I'm aware of.

I'm not a particularly feminine sort of person - I do things that other women do, but I do things that men do too. I think in a way that women are meant to think (stereotypically), but I think in a way that men are meant to think too.

I can only assume that "womanness", if not biology, is something that you only notice if you don't have it. confused

(honestly, honestly, honestly not meaning to start a trans* bunfight)

Now you've got me thinking. I don't really know if I "feel" like a woman or not. I probably do because I have never questioned it but I really couldn't tell you what it feels like.

Thumbwitch Sat 15-Jun-13 16:12:08

Do you mean that you don't self-identify with things that other people perceive as being "womanly"? I mean, when I was young I was never "girly", I was very much a tomboy and things that are the external trappings of "womanhood" never really bothered me that much (makeup, fashion, shoes etc.)
As an adult, they still didn't. But I did discover that I could look good, and wanted to do so, as a woman. I never tried to hide that I was one (except that one night when I missed the last train home and had to walk 3 miles at 2 in the morning), unlike a friend of mine who is a lesbian and who really despised any "womanliness" in herself.

I can't really answer your question either, as I'm not sure what it is that makes you feel that you don't know what being a woman is.

sleepyhead Sat 15-Jun-13 16:13:54

Actually, that should be womanness is something that you only notice if you do feel it but your biological sex is male - of course, that could just be me and most women may feel an innate sense of "woman".

Thumbwitch Sat 15-Jun-13 16:15:10

Bugger, my brain got sidetracked - what I meant to add was that I have often been told that I have a very male attitude, male brain, "a good bloke to go drinking with" (although not quite a "ladette"), had male friends but not many boyfriends. I don't identify with many feminine traits; I do stuff I like to do, regardless of which gender it is typically associated with.

chibi Sat 15-Jun-13 16:17:29

i do have a vagina, ovaries, a uterus etc and my reproductive organs have proved functional.

there are people walking around with the same who are men though. there are people walking around who have a penis, and produce sperm who are women.

i have done some things people associate with beibg a woman,other thibgs which they dont but one constant is that i have never thought to myself 'ooh i feel all womanly womany woman woman'

the closest i have ever felt to feeling anythibg was being pregnant, giving birth and breastfeeding, but i did not feel like a woman, but rather an animal, specifically a mammal (not in a bad way, it felt amazing and i coukd watch nature programs and think, comrade! lol)

chibi Sat 15-Jun-13 16:19:16

how can you tell you are women? are you all just sort of assuming you are? what are you basing it on?

chibi Sat 15-Jun-13 16:21:23

am i definitely a woman because i don't (i think) feel like a man?

is a woman a not-man?

Thistledew Sat 15-Jun-13 16:23:30

I agree OP. I don't recognise any feeling in myself that I would characterise as 'feeling like a woman'. I think the only thing that comes close for me is a biological urge to bear and nurse a baby. I know that it is not a strong a feeling for me as some women - it has only been a physical feeling for me on a couple of occasions.

I also wonder how much of this is an actual 'woman feeling', as I know that my DH actually feels a desire to create and nurture a child. Do we have the same feeling, but are just able to express it and connect it to our bodies in different ways? Or is it actually a different feeling?

My friend, who is biologically unable to become pregnant, also says that she has feel the same urge, both before and after she became aware that she could not become pregnant.

The only other times I really feel aware of my gender is situations like when I am walking alone at night, or competing against men at sport. That is obviously a social construct, or a recognition of different body morphology.

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Thumbwitch Sat 15-Jun-13 16:24:52

I'd go with assuming I am, based partly on morphology and biological function and partly on societal response to me in general.

Generally I don't feel especially 'womanish', though nor do I feel 'mannish'. I'm glad of my breasts and uterus as I plan to use them for growing and feeding babies, but that doesn't have much impact on my currently childless life.

Thinking about it, I don't particularly like the idea of looking in the mirror and seeing a man, whereas seeing a blond or black woman would be odd but not unpleasant. I don't know whether that's innate or some internalised 'men and women are fundamentally different' rhetoric.

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