Tuesday, September 24, 2013

feelings

Having felt like a woman inside all my life, actually living as a woman full time this year has created new feelings that sometimes are surprising.  Real Life Experience is teaching me that having the feelings of being a woman do not necessarily prepare you for the experience of actually feeling like what it is to be a woman.

Women have a very different experience in society than men.  This is true on so many levels that it may be difficult to understand from a man's perspective, from the outside looking in.  Different women have different experiences and everyone deals with experiences in different ways, but there are some commonalities that permeate the experience of being a woman in our modern society.  

Feelings of exploitation, objectification, scorn, ridicule and being treated like a second class citizen exist to various degrees in most women  and I think the source of these feelings is often misunderstood.  Part of the experience of being a woman today is to be treated like a sex object, to be thought of as not good enough or worthy of certain status and to be looked down upon, in certain ways and at certain times.  I don't think there is any way that one can conceptualize these feelings unless they have experienced them first hand.  The phrase "walk a mile in someone's shoes before you know what they are feeling" does apply here.

I believe that all men realize that women feel like sex objects at least part of the time.  Women deal with this in various ways.  Some are very sensitive about any hint of being objectified as a sex object, some become very guarded and alter their behavior or manner of dress, some do not seem to notice or care and some embrace it and play it up.  I believe that some of these differences are due to the fact that different women have had very different experiences and some just have different ways of dealing with it.  

Women are often treated as second class citizens in relationships, social situations and the workplace.  Even though various laws and policies now exist to combat discrimination, it is still a problem.  I think that certain men (perhaps most men) will always feel that they are better than women in certain ways and there are probably nothing that can be done to change that.  In another way, many (perhaps most) men also feel that they are better than other men.  That is something I know from having lived the majority of my life wearing a man's shoes.  I never felt that way but it must be something inherent in the average man's psyche. 

Having only lived the daily life of a woman for a number of months, I do not pretend to know the full experience of what it feels like to be a woman.  I did not have to grow up as a little girl, go through my teen years, come into adulthood and live all my life as someone who was born a woman.  The feelings of being a woman do not completely prepare you for the feelings you will experience living as a woman every day.  That is why this phase is called a real life experience and that is why transition is only a beginning.