I always thought that the problem online and offline in our society of which pronoun we use among others was only a problem for transgender people. Think again.
I think that even cisgender people deal with this problem too, especially on the Internet. In our modern day society, we have now separated biological sex and gender identity completely. For those of you who don’t know, to be cisgender means that you proudly identify yourself with your assigned sex at birth; you are happy born with it. So, that would make me a cisgender female.
But, a big pet peeve of mine is when I get mistaken, especially online for a guy. One person even asked me if I was transvestite and it got me very offended like how the hell could you NOT tell that I’m female? Really?
This is where the issue arises. Unfortunately, we still have etched into our brains what stereotypical men and women should look like. Another issue could be that in Internet culture, if you don’t know someone’s gender, assume they’re male instead of asking like a respectful common-sensed person should do.
There have been other times where people have asked me if I’m a dude, or in comment threads, one person didn’t understand what I said, so another person clarified it like “he said this…..” I immediately jumped in to correct the latter to use “she” instead. Then there were other times when most of the people could tell I’m female, until one person asked if I was a dude.
Another super awkward moment was when I was in an off-topic thread of a Halo forum where I shared that I had a job interview coming up. One person replied saying “Good luck dude, don’t forget to shave your beard and wear a tie!” I had to tell him I’m not a dude, and thankfully he was respectful, but still it made me uncomfortable. I don’t care if it’s a forum where you can be anonymous, I don’t like being mistaken for a guy, even in places like that.
Most people know I’m a girl, but there’s always weirdos out there who think I’m not for some silly reason. I’ve had one person tell me that without makeup, I look masculine, and that makes it even easier to say based on what I’m wearing. If I’m wearing a unisex band shirt that has not been altered, then it becomes even more common. If I don’t have any midriff or cleavage showing then it also happens.
I’m not comfortable showing off those parts of myself in the summer, like taking a picture of myself in a bikini, because I don’t want to attract unwanted flirtation or sexual remarks about my appearance. But in our society, we women are still labelled that we have to look sexy in order to be proper women. It makes me want to bang my head against the wall that this is still a problem in 2020.
I do have a feminine side where I enjoy wearing dresses, makeup and bright colours, but on other days I might feel like dressing up a bit more tomboyish with my band or video game shirts. But I think now in 2020 it’s time to dissolve that concept that both of those styles are meant for only one gender, because they are not.
Just because I don’t always dress in a feminine way, doesn’t automatically mean I’m a guy. When you say I look like a dude, it upsets me because girls can like this shit too from heavy metal, baggy shirts, etc.
People need to change the way they think about what a man or a woman should look like, and if you’re still uncertain, then it’s better to ask rather than assume. If you really don’t know and can’t ask right away, then I strongly suggest you use the pronoun “they” around that trans or cis person until they can tell you what they prefer.
Even if people don’t mistake me for a guy, it still annoys me when people use male pronouns around me like man, dude, sir, or bro. I know you might mean it in a harmless way, but to me it just….I just don’t like it, so can you please use girl, miss, or whatever female pronoun you can come up with as long as it’s not sexual or flirtatious.
I shouldn’t have to have a tiny nose, big boobs, and long flowy hair to be considered female. Whether you’re a cisgender female like me, or a transgender male-to-female, you’re female and to hell with anyone who assumes you’re not. Don’t call me bro, dude, he, etc. Please use “she”, and if you don’t know, then use “they” until you’re ready to ask me or broaden your perspective. Hell, I’ve got a friend from the Lordi fandom who has a short-cropped hairdo and even I still know she’s female, but she has told me she faces the same problem due to the way she dresses along with her hair.
So, I feel like I’ve done my part to raise awareness since I believe this problem in our society is something both cis and trans people face. I know a few people from school who are trans and I respect them, but I still occasionally find myself as a cis person who faces a similar problem that has to stop.
Change the way you view what women should look like online and on the street, it’s 2020 now. If you can tell I’m a woman whether I wear a dress or a band shirt with jeans, great I salute your open-minded approach, but if you can’t, then I strongly advise you to reconsider the way you see women. Have a pleasant day.