Q&A: “how would a person go about separating gender identity and presentation?”
hey there! i just came across this blog, so im unsure where to look or search. how would a person go about separating gender identity and presentation? i personally when i first learned about feminism, i immediately understood no actions, feelings, way of dressing/presenting signified anything about gender. though it’s maybe left me a bit lost now (currently i recently started using the label neutrois lesbian, and only feeling “feminine” or “womanness” when i thought of my attraction to women)?
i feel like it’s worth pointing out that not everyone does view their gender as being separate or independent of how they present or express themself.
and that’s okay.
some people do feel like how they present / express themself is reflective of their gender or vice versa. there is a push now to draw a clear line between these two things, but not everyone feels the need to do that or is even able to do that, so please don’t feel like you have to do that in regards to yourself either. correct me if i’m wrong, but it seems like you’re struggling because you feel like there is some kind of connection between your gender, your self expression and perhaps your sexuality…? that makes plenty of sense to me…?
for example, a person’s appearance or self expression (like amost anything else) can be extremely variable. people can seemingly transform themself entirely overnight just by changing how they present or express themself. that said, such a change in appearance does not necessarily equate to a change in that person’s gender or sexuality as those things can remain static despite a change in appearance. when thought of this way, i think it’s easier to imagine how presentation / expression and gender (identity) can be entirely unrelated. that said, i also think it’s not uncommon for someone to express themself in terms of their gender (and/or sexuality) through how they present themself; for these person, there would be a connection between gender and presentation.
if you only feel yourself to be feminine or to have a connection with womanhood in relation to your sexuality as a lesbian, there’s nothing wrong with that. no reason for you to try to draw a line between and separate these things if there is no line to be drawn to begin with. and even if you happen to express yourself in a way that others deem to be “feminine” and representative of womanhood, that doesn’t mean that it actually is “feminine” or a connection to “womanhood”. perhaps when in the company of someone you fancy you yourself would also feel yourself to be “feminine”, but outside of that connection to sexuality you do not. that’s alright to. again, no lines needed where they don’t exist to begin with and even if you can draw lines, feel free to move them as you see fit.
i think that what people are generally trying to get at when pushing from a distinction to be made between how a person presents themself and gender, is for people to not make assumptions about others based on presentation and for people to not feel constrained by their own gender when it comes to gender presentation. to me, it’s not “presentation and gender never have anything to do with each other” but rather “don’t assume that a person’s presentation says anything about their gender”, which is really two different things.