Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Is That My Foot? No, It's My Penis

This is a guest post by AnneMarie

AnnMarie Kneebone aka Rev Johnny identifies as a GenderQueer lesbian, is passionate about ending oppression of all kinds (racism, classism, heterosexism, ablesism, etc.), about building a just and peace filled world, and about doing those things in ways that are not oppressive and violent. AnnMarie posts at http://annmariekneebone.blogspot.com/. Rev Johnny posts at http://revjohnny.livejournal.com/.

I have a vagina. I'm still not sure how I ended up with it instead of a penis. As a female-bodied genderqueer who chooses a more masculine presentation, I need to remember to love my vagina even though she confuses me.

While my body is not shaped the way that makes sense to me, I have decided that I need to care for myself lovingly. Not only my vagina/cunt/genitalia, but also my wide hips, my breasts, and my hairless face - all these markers of being "woman" I have to care for lovingly.

For awhile I questioned why I identified as genderqueer, wondering if maybe I was being complicit with the misogyny of our culture - hating my  body because I was told by the patriarchy that it was disgusting and vile. I did a lot of thinking, praying, and talking. Come to think of it, I still do all those things. It's a tough decision. Am I trans or am I a misogynist?

So far I have decided to not take "T", reconstruct my chest, have a hysterectomy, or have any of the genital surgeries. That means I have decided to continue living as a female-bodied person. I don't hate my body. That was important to discover and it is important for me to remember. I am not happy with the shape(s) my has taken, but I do not hate myself.

Renee, thank you for the way you write about being a woman. I notice that you include all women in your writing, those born with a vagina and those not born with a vagina.

This piece of writing began as a response to your post, "You Can Talk About Your Foot, But What About Your Vagina?" In that post you mention that cisgender men "worship at the throne of the phallus" I want to add that worshiping at the throne of the phallus is not exclusive to cisgender men. I have to fight the urge to compare my masculinity to the size of my penis, either the ones I keep in my dresser or the one that is on my body - my clit. Neither of these comparisons gives my ego a boost. It is so easy to get caught up in the inertia of our culture. Sometimes I think it would be easier to reconstruct my body than it is to reconstruct my expectations and ideals.

I know some men absolutely need to reconstruct their bodies and I applaud them for their courage. But for all of us guys, cis and trans alike, sculpting the body is only part of the transformation. It is vital that we redefine our norms, our expectations, and our ideals. It is vital that we love our bodies. They are more than a "shell" which houses our essence.

Maybe if men learn to love (rather than idolize) our bodies it would be the first step to loving other bodies. If I have a penis and I see it as a tool or as the vanguard of my masculinity, then everyone's body in relationship to my body is something my tool can or cannot relate to and/or everyone's body hails or threatens my masculinity. I need to love my body and respect my physical nature as an essential part of me.

A penis and a vagina, a vagina and a vagina, a penis and a penis need to be in relationship with each other as more than body parts. Only then, I think, will society stop playing the rock/paper/scissors game with human genitalia.


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