Today I was considering how I, and others, define ourselves. I have written before that I see myself as human first and female or woman several notches down in importance. Because society places so much importance on gender I am in a way forced to define myself as androgynous, while not inaccurate, I really just place very little importance on that part of me.
I was also considering why I place so little importance on it versus others. I think we define ourselves based on things that give us power and things that we fear. In other words the things that give us confidence and self esteem and those things that take it away. Many people derive a lot, or at least a significant amount of their self-esteem from their gender. Women feel confident when they look and feel feminine and can attract the opposite gender and impress other women. Men feel confident when they look and feel masculine, attract women and intimidate other men. I do not mean that I never dress in a manner to look feminine on purpose and to be attractive to the opposite sex. I just do it very rarely and not "for myself" (as their source of personal power) as many other women say. I dress feminine and attractive for my husband's benefit or because I am going to a place or function that expects it. I dress that way for others I just do not care. When we define ourselves, we give away in the things we do not care and try to stand firm in the things we do care about. I simply do not care about hair and clothes and go shopping maybe once or twice a year. I hate paying for hair cuts and usually shave it off. I am currently letting it grow because my mom pitched a fit about it.
Well, what is a big deal to me and what do I derive my strength from and my self-esteem. What do I do "for myself". I like to think I get it from my principles, my ability to stand up for myself and from portrayals of mental and physical strength. If I fail to stand up for my rights or the rights of others, even in the face of danger or humiliation my confidence gets shattered. I feel good about myself when I do the right thing. I feel confident and a few inches taller when I best some one in a display of physical prowess. I feel good when I work out really hard, and bad when I get tired soon and just can't perform my best. I do gain confidence from dressing in clothes that show off my physical hard work, but dressing too femininely makes me lose confidence and power because I get cat calls and no one acknowledges the things I like about myself. I hate the feeling that my looks maybe my best asset and the only way I can get compliments so sometimes compliments can make me feel worse about myself when all I get are comments on aspect of me I care little about. What about my toned arms? Do you know how much hard work it takes for a pear shaped woman to build any muscle there. Yeah, call me hot stuff one more time, objectify me and sexually proposition me and I will show you how hard I have worked on my right cross.
Where do you get your power? Is it from your gender? Your role as a parent? A spouse or being the best paralegal/secretary/firefighter/human cannon ball? When you fail in those areas do you feel like a weak shell of yourself for a while until you can prove yourself again?