Today I want to discuss a little about something that I’ve been thinking about a while. You’ll already know what this post is about if you read the title. Before I continue, I want to be clear I’m talking about the US, and I am fully aware this is different in other countries. I want to add that while I can’t speak for people who fall under the trans umbrella, I will be saying masculine/feminine presenting because I have seen several videos of trans people saying they face the same societal pressures, perhaps even more so than cis people. So I just want to be clear that I’m not talking about only cis men and women. I’ll go into that more later on. Alright, I think you can guess at what this will be about. What masculine-presenting people are allowed to do versus what feminine-presenting people are allowed to do. Basically, feminine-presenting people are allowed to show FAR more emotion, and be much more affectionate (both emotionally and physically) than masculine-presenting people. I personally think this is just a little ridiculous. Often, male Americans are so hung up on being seen as “gay” which isn’t exactly a bad thing… An example of this is masc/masc friends aren’t allowed to show intimacy beyond “bro hug” but for fem/fem friends, it’s fine. They can hug, cuddle, talk about deeply emotional topics, and be vulnerable. Masculine people are taught from birth to be tough, to be emotionally unavailable, and don’t be intimate with anyone except for your significant other and maybe your mother. Why is this the norm?
An article I’ll link below was written by Evan Porter who talks about his experiences trying to become better at actually sharing his feelings rather than giving the standard “I’m fine” answer. He includes a lot of links to research, a TED talk, and other things related to masculinity and feelings. I’m going to pick a few things from it, but I would recommend you read the whole thing. Ryan McKelley, an associate professor of psychology, did research on this and found that infant and young boys showed more intensity and range of emotion than girls! But that’s eventually socialized out as they get older. He also brings up a study that asked people to make a list of “culturally acceptable” emotions for masculine and feminine presenting people. I think you can guess what they found. Feminine presenting were allowed to display almost the whole spectrum of emotion, while masculine presenting seemed to be limited to three: anger, contempt, pride. However, despite that, our brains process things pretty much the same way. McKelley said that if you hook people up to equipment that measures everything and cause strong emotions, the gender differences vanish. The only difference is that masculine presenting people aren’t allowed to talk about it and are expected to bottle up everything inside.
Now I’m going to talk a bit about trans people. I won’t go in great detail, because I’m not trans, but if you fall under the trans umbrella, please comment below what your thoughts are! Trans people often experience a greater pressure to conform to their gender because they “have to pass” which is just BS. For example, if you are a trans man, society expects you to be hyper-masculine, and not look/be feminine AT ALL. Not all cis men are hyper-masculine so to expect that from trans men is ridiculous. The same happens the opposite way with trans women being expected to be hyper-feminine. To be clear… This happens not only in mainstream society, but the queer community as well. Yes, toxic expectations and behavior happens in the queer community too which is very unfortunate. I’m going to end here about trans people, but I’m going to talk a bit more about the queer community as a whole.
Queer masculine people have a whole other level of difficulty with this. It’s hard enough for straight cis men to say “I love you” or even be affectionate with each other, but what about when you’re queer? Those same straight men are even more averse to it, because you might be attracted to them, and they don’t want to give the wrong idea. Queer masculine people also have a fine line to tread, we have to be careful to not make straight people think that we’re making a move on them. And if it’s towards other queer masculine, we also have that worry. It’d be nice if we could just let things be, and ask if we need to.
Say I love you. It’s not that hard. Okay, I know some of you consider this to be a phrase you only say to your significant other. But I feel like there are quite a few situations where it would be right to say it. The Deaf community actually does this frequently, with the ILY sign, as a casual goodbye gesture (with only people you actually know and love). I think we all need to be more affectionate in general. I like hugs, I want proper hugs and not half-hugs.
I have several links below, some I referenced for this, some I didn’t. They’re all related to this topic so check them out! Let me know your thoughts on this, and what else you want to see from me. My next video/post most likely will be either an ASL Ponderings or a book review! I was surprised by how many of you wanted to see book reviews, so I guess I should’ve just gone ahead and done it, and not even bothered to ask! Anyway, that’s all for today, thanks for reading, see you next time!