Emma Woolgatherer wrote:I'm still not convinced that there is such a thing as a masculine mind or a feminine mind or something anywhere in between. I certainly accept that people can have a gendered sense of identity. That it is possible for a boy, or a child with male genitalia, to believe or feel that he is a girl, or vice versa ....
Emma, if you certainly believe that people can have a gendered sense of identity, but balk at the notion that minds are feminine, masculine or anywhere in between, then perhaps we should be looking at what makes us the gender that we identify as?
To me at least, so much of this gender stuff is socially constructed and pretty much the only thing that defines us as the individuals that we are, are our minds.
It also seems that there could be a reliance upon a "gender binary" in your thinking, which is something that I've discarded after many years of trying to fit into "both" of the socially accepted genders.
You see I knew that I wasn't male, I just knew it for many reasons, most are very difficult to describe. So, like many transsexual people I transitioned from "male" to "female" and believed that I should therefore be able to get on with my life in peace. But lo and behold I spent the first 7 or so years of my "female" life not being able to conform to that gender role.
Let's leave out the discrimination, the rejection and prejudice that follows trans people in this backward world and just focus on how I felt. I also knew that I didn't belong in a female world either. It was equally as hard to explain as not being able to fit into a masculine world.
Earlier this year, already after a few years of deep introspection of myself, my life and many of the issues that had affected me throughout my transitional years, I stumbled quite by accident on the "mind" thing, and this is how it happened:
I was returning from a walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge with my partner one afternoon when we were stopped by a woman walking towards us who asked us if the Casino was located on the northern side of the bridge, the direction that she was heading. Both my partner and I responded to her at the same time, but my response had ended seconds later after I had told her "no", and pointed in the direction where the Casino was and said "it's over there". But my partner didn't give such a simple response despite it being blatantly obvious that this woman wasn't actually wanting to walk to the Casino then, she was even motioning to continue in the direction that she was already walking, but my partner hadn't read that and insisted upon giving her the most detailed directions on exactly how to get to the Casino from where we stood at that time. This other woman and I looked at each other in amazement, I rolled my eyes but she was too polite to do so, upon thanking us and walking away, I kicked my partner in the pants and questioned him as to why he couldn't understand that she hadn't been after such specific details at that time. He didn't have a clue as to why I was criticizing him.
We had interpreted the exact same incident totally differently, we had both been right in our responses, but in a highly stereotypical way, my instinctive response had been most appropriate. My feminine mind had responded to her feminine mind in an appropriate way, the masculine mind had responded in an inappropriate way.
I went on to think about this over the next few weeks as it started to make sense. I bought the book "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" by John Gray, and although only having read about 60 pages of that book I can clearly see that the masculine-feminine mind thing exists.
Can I say at this point that I have also found this book to be highly sexist and also disagree totally when the author frequently attributes these ways of being as "male" or "female" or "men" and "women", in my opinion he should be referring to the masculine minds and feminine minds. It seems that he, like many believe that a man will always think and behave in typical ways as opposed to women, it has nothing to do with what's between your legs, but he seems to want to label people that way, which I guess suits his mostly non-thinking audience.
So, elaborating on my experience on the bridge that day, I believe that every brain function is a continuum. Each of our thought processes are their own individual continuums, and basically the sum total of all of these individual continuums give us our overall mind. I agree that feminine minds are more easily able to show empathy, masculine minds are more likely to be logical, my level of empathy will be different from Emma's, different again from Paolo's, and the same can be said for all of our other mind functions. They are not "female" and "male" all of these individual continuums are uniquely somewhere on their own continuum, and the total of all the continuums that make up our minds, the mind continuum at one end is labeled "feminine" and at the other "masculine".
It really has little to do with our interests and hobbies and other socialization things, and more to do with our instincts and reactions, and feelings. It is why I believe that even leaving socialization out completely, that those that wear dresses and pony tails will slowly form their own groups in the school playgrounds, distinct from those that wear shirts and pants, because the interaction at the mind level between girls as we label them now is different from boys as we label them now.
Feminine minds respond in appropriate ways to other feminine minds, a feminine mind responds to a masculine mind in ways that often the masculine mind can't understand and misinterprets.
It's not that women think alike, it's that feminine minds think alike and vice versa.
It was amazing that when I came to this understanding, the understanding that I had a mind that processed things in a mostly feminine way yet I was forced to socialise with masculine minds in many ways that I couldn't explain even five years ago let alone when I was a kid, it put my whole mind at ease. It was, for me, the answer.