Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Woman Dysphoria

I have no problem admitting that I'm more than a little obsessed with the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner story. For me, it goes way beyond living with gender dysphoria for one's entire life; I find myself thinking, why would a man want to become a woman? I realize that is a very simplistic question, and the answer is far from black-and-white. The reason I'm asking is because women generally rank higher on the level-of-bullshit scale than most men do. Life can be so much harder for women because we love to make it harder for ourselves. Yes, you heard me - some of us revel in the misery and drama instead of rising above it. Go ahead, grab the eggs, tomatoes, and heads of lettuce and prepare to start flinging them in my general direction.

About a month ago, I heard the term "genderqueer" for the first time. The link I've provided to the explanation of that term is comprehensive, and also a little confusing. I'm getting quite an education about this, and I had no idea how complicated it can be.

When I was a kid, girls were either "girly" or "tomboys". I fell into the tomboy category, and I managed to stay there as an adult. Sure, I have a girly side, but it's not as prominent as it is for other women. I like to think I have a decent combination of masculine and feminine qualities, but I have no desire whatsoever to be identified as male. I am a woman inside and out, even though my body is lacking a couple of its identifying characteristics. I find this entire topic fascinating as it pertains to transgender issues, but also as it pertains to womens bodies and minds, especially the bodies and minds of women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Let's face it, ladies: some of us can be quite a handful. You know what I'm talking about. I'm not gender-bashing here - think of the movie "Mean Girls". There's a lot of girl-on-girl crime going on in the world, and we all need to learn to be a little nicer to each other. The LGBT community has its struggles, and it turns out, so does the breast cancer community. I've witnessed a lot of curmudgeonly behavior out there from women who seem to get off on the misery.

Yes, breast cancer is a life-threatening disease, and its methods of diagnosis and treatment are far from perfect. The disease itself exacts a toll that stays with you for a very long time, and could possibly kill you. These facts are no excuse for us to be flaming bitches towards each other. We all have our unique experiences, in addition to having a common ground we need to share. We are aware of the tornado of controversy swirling around us, and we need to stop adding to it. I'm not saying we need to hold hands in a circle and sing "Kumbaya", but we do need to take down the level of girl-on-girl crime. Curtail the mastectomy-and-mammogram bashing, please. Respect the decisions of your fellow woman and support her. It's simple, and it shows compassion and empathy - something women like to think we're better at than men.

I am in no way saying that gender identity issues and breast cancer are the same. There are many similarities, but they are two totally different animals. What should be stock-in-trade across the board, however, is caring, compassion, and understanding. Many women need to "man up" and stop trying to focus all the attention on themselves. Seriously, ladies, there are people out there who have it a hell of a lot worse than you do. Please remember that. Thank you.


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