Like Sheeldz, the concept of masculinity made me feel like shit growing up. I’ve never felt ‘manly’ in any sense, and that was quite confusing when I was younger. Generally I’m much more ‘feminine’, if we’re going to label things traditionally. Useless at DIY, rubbish at sports, no deep voice. Still, at least I’ve never felt the need to use my advantages in size and strength to intimidate anyone, or worse.
These days I’m much more comfortable with it. It seems quite clear that we’re heading towards a big change in the way gender and gender roles are percieved, and that can only be a good thing in my eyes. The less kids feel pressure to be/act/look a certain way, the better. Bring it on.
A big part of why I’ve never felt masculine is that I have gynecomastia. I’m a big chap anyway, but even when I’ve got slim(ish) my moobs have jutted out way further than my belly, and it’s something that has always hugely affected my confidence and self-esteem. Having something so visibly ‘female’ on my body has at times felt incredibly humiliating, emasculating and shameful. I’ve never thought these things because it’s a feminine quality, but more because of how society (bloody society, grr) treats men with this condition (and indeed all physical imperfections). I’m hoping that as time goes by and things change, I’ll start to have more of a ‘who gives a fuck’ attitude towards it, but I’m not there yet.
Societal pressures, the media, school bullying, etc etc has massively shaped my personality, my mental health, my sexuality. In general, I think I’m a pretty open-minded, liberal and logical chap, and I know that stuff like this doesn’t really matter- at least not to people worth giving a damn about. So why does it rule huge sections of my life? Why does it make me depressed, why do I spend hours fretting about it, and why does it stop me being social? Here’s hoping at some point I can fully make that connection and feel comfortable ‘doing me’.
Edit: not all of that is relevant to this discussion, but I think I needed it.