As a Transman, the Pressure to Fit in the Masculine Role is Immense

Being manly has it’s own pros and cons. When you decide to cook your favourite food, you are expected not to enjoy that privilege. You will be questioned about your manliness, told how improper it is for a man to love the food cooked by himself other than by a female counterpart.

I have been told many times how inadequate my definition of manliness is, more often because I don’t fit into the big size of what is supposed to make a man feel more stronger, larger and bigger. I don’t have beard on my face, I don’t own a height which stands taller as compared to the other men in the society.

Masculinity once upon a time was just a word we studied in school, whose sole purpose was to differentiate binary gender in the society. Now masculinity is a criteria of a certain job that a person has to perceive to be called or termed as one.

I am being told how my job is to earn, how a man’s job is about filling the banks with pay checks at the end of the month, there is no choice for a man to introspect that. I am being told that I can sleep around and I won’t be questioned because I fall into the category of masculine, not the oppressed gender.

When I couldn’t take bath for 2 days straight, I am not being told I should go and get fresh, I was being applauded for following the norm of a man always being untidy and messy. Yes, men are entitled to be messy, untidy and lazy, and believe it or not that is what should be followed to be a member of that certain institution of manhood.

They clapped and welcomed me when I tried following what a man supposedly should do. The power of rationality is slowly being overcome by the blindfold beliefs and attributes we claim for one specific gender.

It is also now a burden the minority even in the masculine family has to bear. I have attributes which shakes the threshold of years of gender roles. I must say that is scary for all. I can’t walk on my own. I am often criticised if I choose a shirt whose colour doesn’t fit into the societal construct. How standing up to your own gender brings a crisis and we have to try to fit in, because this is what society demands from you.

How hollow is our decisive nature for any specific gender. My gender is no more mine.My body is no more mine. And I am not allowed to love it, until I satisfy all the criteria of a normative society.

Me being male is more of an issue for me today, than for anybody else.

I am being decided, laughed at, talked by. I told them I should be what I want from myself, not what you are expecting out of me.

Most of the time, I don’t choose my gender, the society chooses it for me.

Ritwik Dutta