Posts Tagged ‘Gender’

Ok, so this post is going to talk frankly about nudity and sex so if that makes you uncomfortable, stop reading. *cough*family I shared this blog with *cough* So you’ve been warned.

 

Now, this post was inspired by reading something elsewhere about fat people’s sex lives and the question some pose of if fat hurts sex lives. Of course one of the biggest ways they seemed to be saying that being fat ruins people… well, mainly women’s sex lives is through not feel comfortable and confident. Making folks either not want to have sex because of it, or having sex but still being plagued by self-conscious feelings that detract from the ability to fully enjoy it.

And it makes me sad how many women’s sex lives suffer because they can’t imagine themselves as being attractive. I’ve met women who insist on lights out, shirts staying on, trying to cover as much of their body as possible during sex and constantly afraid their partner isn’t really attracted to them or won’t be because of their size.

 

And I’ve fallen into that before too, found myself ruining the mood mentally for myself when suddenly all I could think during the act was “are they going to be turned off by my fat? omg is my stomach jiggling in this position?” and similar thoughts.

And it seems that maybe I just got lucky in a way because for the longest time I never saw hiding during sex was an option. I guess because my first partners were folks who liked lights on, it never occurred to me that turning the lights out to make it harder for them to see me was an option. Actually until a recent ex who would always turn the lights off, I kind of thought that was just a joke- a myth. I didn’t realize there were people who really did only have sex with the lights off. After that experience I started talking to people about this and found that it was actually incredibly common! Of course every person I talked to who only felt comfortable having sex with the light s off was a woman.

It also had never occurred to me to stay partially clothed during sex to hide my fat. Even when I’ve been less than confident in my body, I’ve always approached sex with a feeling that if you want to have sex, you just gotta suck it up and get over it because you are going to be naked, they are going to see you naked. They are going to see you naked up close! That’s just what sex is. It was kind of a culture shock almost when I discovered that it was so common for women to do all these things to try to stay hidden during sex.

And it makes me really sad that people feel that unhappy and uncomfortable with their bodies. Especially women in long term, loving relationships, who still find it too hard to believe that their partner really does love their body just as it is because we are so surrounded by and beat over the head with this message that there is only one body type that is attractive and people are never really attracted to anything else.

And to me, how could this not hurt one’s sex life? How could feeling ashamed of your body, afraid to be seen, and questioning your attractiveness to your partner not affect sex negatively? Like I said, while I was never a shirt on, light off girl, I’ve had those negative thoughts during sex and yeah- it ruins it a little. The problem there is not obesity, the problem is being told we are not attractive, that no one would find out bodies sexually appealing, and being told these things so many time,s from so many media sources and individuals, that we internalize it and believe it ourselves. Like many things blamed on obesity, the real culprit actually seems to fat hatred. If this is a bigger problem for fat women, it’s a bigger problem because fat women are taught to hate their bodies and view them as unattractive. Of course like most body image issues, thin women aren’t totally unaffected either. And certainly one area where weight loss is clearly not a solution- one woman used as an example of obesity ruining her sex life, lost the weight and still experience the same problems because she still didn’t see herself as beautiful. And yet, somehow people still think the solution is blaming obesity, and making fat women feel even worse about their bodies?

Ridiculous!

There is a spoken word poet I saw on youtube who has a really great piece related to this:

My favorite parts:

Fat girl don’t hate her body, fat girl hate the world

&

Fat girl dance anyway.

Fat girl shirt off.

Fat girl lights on.

Fat girl LIGHTS ON!

Sounds like a great motto to live by to me! 🙂

I wish all women had the confidence in their bodies to be naked. Be naked alone, be naked during sex, and maybe be naked in other scenarios too if you want. I wish we all were comfortable in our own skin, realized not to hate ourselves but hate the messages that say we aren’t good enough. Dance anyways, take your shirt off, leave the lights on. Do it regardless of your size, regardless of stretch marks or scars. Be naked as you are and be confident and happy and have awesome naked sex!

Ok, if it’s not clear from the title, this post is about sex. If that make you uncomfortable *cough*family I shared this blog with*cough* just skip this post.

 

Ok, so with that out of the way, most of this is taken from a comment Ieft on another blog, but figured I’l make it a post here (sorry to anyone who already read this in that comment.)

I really hate the whole stereotype that women who have casual sex don’t have any self-respect. In fact, th way people talk about women having sex is generally pretty godawful. I wish I had some brain bleach to erase all the times I’ve heard men talk about “sloppy seconds” when they have sex with a woman that had sex with another man they know first. Here’s a radical idea- women are not objects! We don’t lose our value as people, or even sexual partners, by having sex (while on that topic, quick anatomy lesson- the vagina is composed of muscle. It is not a sock that gets worn away with frequent use. A quick google search brought up this article on the topic and I like the analogy the author uses of stretching the sides of your mouth open. So sick of hearing how women who have too much sex are less valuable partners because of being “loose”. Also annoyed with how people normalize the idea that virgin women are so tight that pain is inevitable- tightness in virgins is going to due largely to not being relax. And expecting pain just increases nerves the first time.)

Back to the self-respect thing though, we always feel the need as a society to tie up women’s worth with how little sex we have. And so, we reason, if sex devalues a woman, then for her to have lots of sex or any kind of casual sex, she obviously doesn’t respect herself.

Bullshit.

I like casual sex. And I respect myself plenty, thank you very much. In fact, I found that being able to enjoy casual sex came out of developing a strong sense of self-worth, self-confidence, and respect.

I respect myself enough to not place my value as a human being on how low the number of people I’ve had sex with is. I respect myself enough that if I want to have casual sex with someone who is only after sex with me, because I’m only after sex with them, I’m going to do it. I respect myself enough to know that I like sex, sex is fun, and I like casual sex. I respect myself enough to do something I like regardless of sexism. I respect myself enough to not let sexist notions about women’s worth dictate my life and happiness.

While this stereotype of casual sex being caused by lack of self respect applies to all women, it seems to be applied even more strongly to fat women. Because fat women are stereotyped as being desperate. The stereotype says that fat women are so used to be seen as undesirable that we become completely desperate for any and all attention, and so we will sleep with anyone just for the attention.

So much wrong with that. First off, there are plenty of folks who find fat women attractive, trust me- as a fat woman, being told we are attractive is not an unheard of thing. I’ve also had the awful experience too of men telling me I was attractive and then getting confused that I didn’t fall all over them. Seriously. I’ve had this happen numerous times where men seem to expect that if they pay me a simple compliment, I will fall all over them because I’ve been waiting my whole life for a man to tell me I’m beautiful. So no, not going to fall all over you for saying that. It’s nice and flattering to be told your beautiful, and don’t get me wrong, I like compliments, and I will thank you. But, don’t be surprised that it’s not the first time I’ve heard that. Don’t act surprised that I didn’t immediately drop to my knees and start sucking your dick because you complimented me. And while I’m sure it’s true there are some folks out there who will have casual sex they don’t want to be having just to feel like they are getting some positive attention (and that is bad because sex is something you should be having because you want to have sex), that is not the only reason to have casual sex. Some of us just like sex.

And being fat does not mean that me liking casual sex is because I don’t have confidence (actually I find that casual sex requires a fair deal of confidence), that I don’t respect myself, or that I think I’m undeserving of real love and real relationships. Of course I’m deserving of real love and commitment. Casual sex is not how I go about finding love. It’s how I go about having sex because sex is fun, when I meet someone and we mutually want to have sex with each other but also mutually are not interested in anything else with each other. Finding someone you fall in love with and who falls in love with you is awesome, and it’s also fairly rare. And in the meantime while I’m waiting on finding that special someone, I’m going to meet other not-as-special someone’s who I don’t want a relationship with, and who don’t want one with me, but we have some mutual attraction and mutual interest in sex, and so I will have sex with those people. Because sex is fun.

I was googling gym memes recently. I enjoy a few, such as:

A meme about squatting deep based on one of my favorite movies? Love it!

But of course in the course of looking up such, I found a lot of sexist memes.

Most of them fall i the category of saying that if women wear skimpy clothes, tight clothes, or makeup to the gym then they are clearly asking for men to creepily ogle them, or make sexual comments. Victim blaming at it’s finest! And we all know there is no other reason to wear tight clothing or skimpy clothing to workout in except to attract sexual attention. And of course also the memes that claim that if you wear tight or skimpy clothing, or makeup to the gym then you cannot possibly be there to workout.

… which certainly explains me working out in a  sports bra and booty shorts in my home gym by myself. I’m not really there to work out, I’m just doing it to get sexual attention from the nonexistent men in my basement. Obviously!

Because it’s not like tight clothing is comfortable and easy to move in without getting caught on things or bunched up when you are working out. And skimpy clothing couldn’t possibly serve a valid purpose of keeping cool. Nope. Only reason is to get sexual attention from all men in the vicinity.

Of course though, in reality, women know that it’s a damned if you, damned if you don’t. Wear baggy, raggity clothing with no makeup, with no regard for looking nice, and you are easily subjected to rude comments about that.

Anyone remember how folks reacted when Robin decided that she didn’t need to bother looking nice at the gym?

Of course that leads to the second mot common type of memes about women at the gym- images of attractive women in skimpy clothing at the gym that suggests that ogling women is the only reason men bother going to the gym.

Because remember, women exist purely to fuel men’s sexual fantasies, if you aren’t attractive you have no value. And if you are attractive, then you are just asking for rude sexualized behavior and comments.

And that’s not even getting into the body shaming in many. Because what’s the point of working out if not to make fun of other people’s bodies, right? And as I’ve already mentioned several times in this blog, everyone who works out always has the exact same body size/shape.

This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately both just in my own life as I spend time in front of my mirror putting on makeup, as well as in discussions with other folks on the topic of gender, appearances, and makeup.

I’ve always liked makeup and wearing it, but I didn’t use to wear it as often and wasn’t really as into make up as I have been the last couple of years. I learned more about makeup application and started wearing it more, along with learning more about hair style techniques as my health got worse. A lot of it has to do with looking healthier. With make-up I can cover up dark circles under my eyes, petechial hemorrhages, and any other discolorations. I’ve learned ways to help cover up hair loss- side parts, dry shampoo, and hair mousse.

I like wearing makeup, I like playing around with it and with different looks. I find it fun the ways you can change your look with makeup.

A close up from the first time I did rainbow eyeshadow

A close up from the first time I did rainbow eyeshadow

Wearing makeup and dressing up and the like also is a constant reminder and evidence to me of how much gender is an act. When I put on make up and dresses and the like I feel like gender is something I put on, play with, make a conscious choice to display in a certain way.

Full look with rainbow eyeshadow and my fedora.

Full look with rainbow eyeshadow and my fedora.

I don’t mean this in a gender identify sense though. Because I still 100% identify as a woman regardless of how I present myself. But it becomes clear that gender is largely a construct. I’ve said before on here that I am femme/hard femme. I’ve never really been very butch. But I can play with my gender in different ways. I can be very feminine and girly and put on make up and dresses and heels. Or I can choose to dress in a more masculine way, forgo makeup, and even cut my hair short.

Fuck your gender norms

Fuck your gender norms

Most of the time I prefer something in between. I like to combine things that are traditionally more masculine with things traditionally more feminine. Makeup and my fedora, a dress with combat boots, shaving my head and paring it with makeup and a feminine look, a blazer with an otherwise girly outfit, et cetera.

Of course there are other times these pairing were less a choice than something the felt required of me. In college I shaved my head- full on buzz cut as you can see up there. It drew a lot of attention. Some positive, some silly- people were always wanting to feel my head (not that I can blame them, it felt very cool :-P), but also a fair bit of negative attention too. I got asked why I was trying to look like a boy. Of course I was never trying to look like a boy. This very awesome article talks more too about how women who dress more masculine/butch are not trying to look like men. Of course I’ve never even been very masculine/butch either. But I felt even more pressure to wear dresses and skirts after accusations that I was trying to look like a man by shaving my head, like I had to prove my gender, or try to show I was still feminine girly. Which is really stupid.

But it drives home a lot, to me at least, how much gender in our society is just an act. I’m still a woman regardless, but whether I’m feminine, masculine, femme, butch, conforming to or violating norms all comes down to these very temporary and malleable things like makeup, clothing, and hair.

But while there are all these sides of makeup and fashion that are very interesting to me and I enjoy thinking about, and playing around with, there is another side that often is missing in a lot of discussions of this. One a day to day basis, I’m not thinking about any of those things when I wear makeup. I’m thinking about looking healthy. I’m thinking about trying to look in a way that avoids people telling me I look sick or tired or asking what’s wrong. Some days I can go without makeup. Other days, I look in the mirror without any make up on, or my hair done in any way, and I realize just how sick I look. I mentioned briefly in my post on the hardest part of having chronic health problems that I’m basically always exhausted and always in pain. In varies in severity, but it’s pretty much a constant. And that sucks. But if I can avoid it, I would rather not look as awful as I feel all the time. So for me, makeup and hair and all these things are very significantly impacted by my health and disabilities.

This post is going to have to two parts. I workout at home, and I’ve had some folks ask about my home gym so I’m going to start with a little virtual tour of my home gym in it’s current state. After that, I am going to talk about some of my thoughts on working out at home vs a gym.

My Home Gym

7.8 (2)

A tidy looking view of my home gym

My home gym area is not particularly large and nothing really fancy about it. I don’t have a ton of equipment, just the basics mostly.

This is a photo of what it looks like when I'm working out though- set up for squats here.

This is a photo of what it looks like when I’m working out though- set up for squats here.

The space is just big enough, which also means that I’m constantly moving around my barbell and bench for each exercise. I would love if I could get another barbell so I could leave one in the squat rack and one outside it, but for now I have what I really need, and it’s not too much of  a problem to move the bar in and out of the rack as needed, along with moving the bench as needed.

So I also want to talk briefly about cost. I love my home gym for a number of reasons I will get into later, it did require  a fair bit of cost total. Though in the long run I think cheaper than gym membership for me. In total I think my gym cost around  $1,136 to me. That’s an estimate because I’m guessing at how much some of the older items cost me. That was not paid all at once, I got parts of my gym at different times.

Average gym membership cost according to my googling is $55/month. So a year gym membership is cheaper, mine works out cheaper after the 2 year mark. I expect my equipment will last me that long, though by then I will probably have more. A fair bit of my stuff is over a year old already. I’ve spent $895 about in the last year- and that was for all the big stuff.

Within the past year I have bought puzzle mat pieces for the floor which ended up costing me around $100 for the space covered here.  I bought my bench new on sale for $75 (it’s incline and decline adjustable if you can’t tell from the photos). My power rack was $370 new (actually as cheap as many second hand options I found, I might have been able to get it cheaper but my ceiling in the basement is low and most racks were too tall. This one just barely fits.) And I got my barbell set for I think it was $350 second hand off craigslist.

My weight plates, weight rack, and ez curl bar.

My weight plates, weight rack, and ez curl bar.

This was good deal since my barbell set included a standard 7ft olympic barbell, an ez curl bar, 435lbs worth of plates for the olympic bars, and of course the rack for the weights (which also can hold the barbells) as seen here.

To me those are the basic- barbell, plates, power rack and bench. Before having these it was hard to really do much real strength training. I consider these the basic necessities you need if you want to do weight training. The power rack is important for safety working out alone. I’ve had to explain this a number of times to people I know who acted like I was being frivolous in my spending when money is tight by buying the rack. But without it, I couldn’t really go heavy. Working to increase my bench I’ve several times failed that weight- a power rack means I have bars next to me that catch the barbell if I fail a lift instead of it coming down and crushing me. And the weight on my bench isn’t that heavy, it probably wouldn’t kill me if 95lbs fell on my chest, but I’d rather just avoid that injury. And the higher I get my weights, the worse those injuries could be without the safety of the rack. (plus for things like squats, it means I can do heavy weights. I can’t clean what I’m squatting right now and definitely can’t press it overhead. I could clean to a front squat but before my rack to get the bar on my back I would clean and press then lower to my back. That works for bar only or light weights- it doesn’t work for heavy squatting.)

I also have a weight cheat sheet telling me which plates I need to have a total weight number on the bar (counting the bar weight)

I also have index card cheat sheets telling me which plates I need to have a total weight number on the bar (counting the bar weight)

Prior to these main pieces of equipment I’d had some dumbbells, standard size plates, resistance bands and an exercise ball.

Dumbbells and exercise ball.

Dumbbells and exercise ball.

Resistance bands and extra plates for adjustable dumbbells.

Resistance bands and extra plates for adjustable dumbbells.

These were bought peice by peice years ago when I didn’t have the space for a full gym area.

The latest addition to my gym: a fan!

The latest addition to my gym: a fan!

Treadmill residing in a different, uncleaned-up area of my basement.

Treadmill residing in a different, uncleaned-up area of my basement.

I also have  treadmill. This was not factored into my prices above since it came free to me (it was my mom’s before). I have not gotten this set up to use yet though (mainly would like it for winter, until then I just run outside).

If I ever get the money for it next up on my wishlist for gym equipment would be kettlebells, foam rollers, and medicine balls (probably in that order) (I do have an actual home gym wishlist too! lol).

Home Gym vs Commercial Gym

There are a few things that go into this sections on my thoughts between a Home Gym vs Commercial Gym. For me, personal preference has me preferring a home gym hands down.

With a home gym I don’t have to worry about gym hours (great since I workout late at night and so I would otherwise need a 24/hr gym. I also don’t have to worry about limited holiday hours). I have no commute time to get to my gym. I can wear whatever I want to workout- now that it’s summer and it’s overly hot inside my home gym, I usually stick to a sports bra with no shirt which I would not be comfortable in at a gym. I’ve also been known to forgo pants, because hey- it’s just me. Sports bra and boy-short style undies and I’m good to go! I doubt a gym would be ok with that! A big one for me is not worrying about people watching me or judging me. I never have to wait for equipment either. And the newest thing I like about my home gym is that I can yell during heavy lifts, which I’d probably be too self-conscious to do in a gym.

There are some things I think gyms have as benefits. They more equipment available- if I was a member of a gym I would likely have access to a larger range of dumbbells and cardio equipment. I might have access to Kettlebells, medicine balls, and with some gyms even things like a pool. And while my home gym offers flexibility, on plus of a gym I’d have to go to is that I could go after work and tell myself I’m not going home until after the gym rather than currently when I go home, decide I should eat first, sit around for a bit, and then it’s later than I planned on it being to start a workout.

That’s all kind of basics though. In ranked order, the issues of feeling comfortable are probably top in reasons I prefer my home gym. I don’t have to worry about people judging my workouts, I don’t have to worry about people mocking me or even posting photos of me behind my back, I don’t have to deal with men in the weight room being condescending or acting like I don’t belong. Anecdote time- when I was working out at my University’s fitness center in undergrad one time I was doing bench presses when it was crowded- I usually tried to avoid crowded times when I would have to deal with waiting for equipment. I managed to get a bench and a bar though and I start a set. Some guy asks if he can work in- yeah, no problem. Well he stands there while I’m doing my sets acting annoyed at having to work in and share with me, and then starts telling me how the gym has chest machines I could use instead. I don’t want to use the machines- I prefer free weights. You can use the machines! Getting unsolicited advice from men and annoyed looks that I was using equipment they wanted as if they had more right to it that me was common. And I hear the same thing from women all the time in gyms- many men act like women do not belong in the weight room and can be downright rude and offensive as a result.

This is where I feel some internal conflict though. Individually, being able to avoid this is a huge plus. There are times though I feel like I should workout at a gym just for this reason. Because more women in the weight rooms will help make other women feel comfortable in them, and by choosing to avoid the issue by working out at home that’s one less woman in the weight room. Also more women in weight rooms I think can help teach men that weight rooms actually don’t belong to them alone.

There is also the fact that in the age of smartphones, it’s becoming more common for folks to take photos or videos of people at the gym and then posting them online to mock them. So glad I’m not in those by working out at home. Sometimes though I feel a similar conflict there, about taking the easy way out, but less so because I don’t feel like I owe it to anyone to have my body mocked online. And as a fat person if a photo or video of me at a gym made it online to a place were people make fun of people like that, my body size would almost certainly be a target.

Ok, my last post mentioned this briefly, but I thought it deserved a longer rant after seeing some comments today.

I mentioned in my last post Jenny Trout’s awesome piece “I wore a bikini and nothing happened” as well as her blog post after the fact where she mentions one response from a man saying simply, “no thanks”.  She mentions in there the phenomena of straight men who seem to think that women’s value is dependent on whether or not they deem us fuckable, and the problem of straight men thinking that women automatically give a shit, or should give a shit, if they deem us attractive. And yeah, I’m calling it a problem. It is. This cultural attitude that women’s worth is dictated by whether men want to fuck us is a problem. Because, news flash, we are human beings with self worth beyond being object for you to fuck. What I contribute as a human being and the value I have does not start, or end, with having sex with men.

I’m posting this now because further discussion of her article has lead me to more comments of this nature. Straight men whose responses are that they do not find her attractive, that they do not find fat women attractive, that they do not want to see that, and even the declaration that nobody wants to see that- because such men think their preference is universal. So if they don’t want to see that, nobody wants to see that. Remember how I was talking about differences between straight men and queer women? This is for sure one of them! Because I don’t have the arrogance of male privilege to think that my preferences are universal. I would never think “I don’t like seeing scantily clad men, thus nobody wants to see that!” I am well aware some people want to see that. I know that within my gender, my preferences in attraction are actually a minority. Though women’s attractions are never given priority in society the way men’s are anyways.

And then there are the accusations that we are saying they aren’t allowed to have a different opinion than us (from the folks claiming their attractions as universal- highly ironic). Look dudes- you are allowed to have any opinion you want. Where you seem to be confused is that while you are entitled to your opinion, you are not entitled to not be told to shut the fuck up and go away when you state it. You are entitled to your opinion but we are under no obligation to want to hear it. And when you feel the arrogant need to give us your unsolicited opinion as if we give a shit, we are entitled to tell you to shut up and fuck off. There is a difference between being allowed an opinion and being entitled to spouting an opinion without any risk of responses to it you don’t like.

And while you are entitled to your opinion, and entitled to not find some people attractive, you do not have any inherent right to never be subjected to seeing people you don’t find attractive. Your opinions do not get to dictate our lives. Just like all the folks who do not find you attractive (and trust me, they exist, because there is no person in this world who every else unanimously finds sexually attractive) do not get to tell you to cover up and hide any part of your body we do not find sexually arousing.

And there is some massive male privilege here in thinking that your opinion counts for anything here. In thinking that we care to hear it. Straight men who think fat women are gross- there is actually a very good chance that feeling is mutual and she doesn’t find you attractive or fuckable either. So what makes you think a woman who has no interest in fucking you cares if you find her attractive? I know that I have no interest in fucking any of you guys, yet for some reason a number of straight men still seem to think I care that they don’t find me attractive. Why? Why would you think I care?

And while we are on this topic I would also like to say that while you are allowed to have any preferences you want in terms of what you find attractive, because no one is obligated to find any other person sexually attractive, preferences like everything else do not exist in a vacuum and are not beyond critique either.

This is something I’ve been thinking about for awhile, though I’ve been struggling with how to phrase this.

Often these days when I am working out, trying to build muscle, and being thrilled when I see more muscle on me, I also feel a liberation in that in being queer.

This comes mainly from not giving a fuck if men find me attractive. Because as women, there is a pretty strong message that being muscular is not attractive. Not to mention that muscular gets conflated with looking like a man. Most weight lifting advice aimed at women that I’ve seen spends a good deal of time dealing with the issue of bulking and how women are physiologically incapable of building bulky muscle like that. Which isn’t actually true, relying on a very narrow view of sex and gender and failing to recognize that many folks fall out of the “norm” for their sex/gender in various ways- some they may not even be aware of. Including the fact that hormone levels, which most of this “women can’t get bulky” stuff relies on, vary vastly among cis gendered women, and you don’t even really know where you fall in the normative spectrum with that unless you’ve had those tested which most folks haven’t.

But I’m getting a little off track, my point is, even when advocating weight lifting, there is still this common fear for women of getting too bulky. Because building muscle and being strong does cause one to veer off traditional gender norms a bit for women. And we are often told that men find muscles on women gross and/or intimidating. Men are supposed to be stronger and protect women, and women fail if we are stronger and don’t make them feel needed- How I Met Your Mother addresses this once with Robin when Ted comments on how it’s nice to feel needed and Robin never made him feel that way because she could take care of things herself.

Now obviously these are generalities and stereotypes, and plenty of men do find women with muscle, who are strong and capable very attractive, it’s just not really the dominate message in our culture. So there is a sense of relief that I don’t have to think about or worry about that.

Because being queer, there is a lot more acceptance of breaking gender norms. Because queer sexualities are already viewed as somewhat gender deviant. And it seems much more normal among queer women than straight women to break other gender norms and social roles- androgynous looks are well accepted typically with many queer women choosing to wear men’s clothing.

For me, I’m pretty much on the femme side of things, yet still I feel that I can go a bit more masculine in small ways and still potentially be attractive to other women rather than feeling I have to be totally girly. In fact, with a slight issue of femme invisibility butching my look up a little I feel like I’m probably more inclined to be read as gay/queer and more likely then to attract attention from other queer women.

And I think building muscle goes into this.

Which is odd in a way because there is no guarantee of such things. When I was dating my ex I was not working out due to health issues and whenever I mentioned missing it and wanting to be well enough to work out, she would say things discouraging it. I didn’t need to workout. She worked out, and also wore almost exclusively men’s clothing, but she clearly was attracted to me being more girly and being “softer”- not hard and muscled.  So it’s very clear to me that queer women can find muscles a turn off just as much add straight men.

Which leave me just finding it very hard to explain why I feel this way. Because there is a contradiction there, yet I still feel like I have more freedom, in a way, to break gender norms as a queer woman than I did when I identified as straight, or even bi, when I still thought about being attractive to men.