Tag Archives: women

I am Androgyne

Androgyny is a State of Mind

Androgyne (pronounced AN-dra-jine) is the term used to describe persons who are androgynous. Androgyny, first and foremost, is a state of mind, not just an attitude or fashion statement. The notion that only androgynous-looking people can be or are androgynous is a misconception. Androgynes can be said to have the gender identity of both a man and a woman — or neither. Some identify with both traditional genders, while others see their identity as more of a synthesis and consider themselves to be agendered, as in “other” or “none of the above.”

I am Androgyne.  Biologically, I am of one sex.  Psychologically, I am neither masculine nor feminine.  Most humans enter a room and identify kindred based on their sex.  It binds them together.  Conversely, when I enter a room I identify no more with those of my biological sex than I do with those of my opposite.

Masculinity and femininity are constructs to me.  I understand them as I would any other type of construct, through observation and analysis.  As such, they bear no relevance to me.  I can be ‘one of the guys’ as easily as I can be ‘one of the girls’ only it is always a role to put on in the same manner as clothes.  One can wear clothes, but at no point does one become the clothes.  Although, it should be noted that I rarely choose to take on either of the binary genders.  I find the act constricting, unnatural, and undesirable.

The human mind has a natural inclination to separate and group objects in an effort to understand.  Objects A belong on the left and Objects B on the right.  Men on the left and Women on the right.  Manhood and womanhood are an important part of many people’s identity.  It inescapably accompanies their every action and thought.  Attempt to abolish the gap between them and the greater their proximity to each other, the greater the difficulty in understanding.

Nonetheless, if you superimpose masculinity with femininity, whilst difficult to relate to for the average person, they can at least envision a mixture of the two since they are already in possession of one.  On the other hand, the concept of being devoid of the experience of masculinity or femininity usually results in a ‘does not compute’ error message.  It is an understandable response.  Humans relate to others and their environment through an inner comparison of their accumulated experiences.  In a way, identifying as one gender or even both is almost as foreign to me as lacking gender is to those in possession of one or both.

I have always been Androgyne.  Yet, it is only recently that I discovered there is a word for what I am and most importantly, that there are others like me.  I am a 27 year old retired actor.  Looking back, I realize the major appeal of acting for me is its inherent duality.  You are at once yourself and the character you portray.  Your character’s actions and words are simultaneously yours and not.

For most of humanity, personal identity is very linked to physical identity.  It is not something the average person need consider.  In my case, my physical body is not a manifestation of my psychological identity and vice versa.

If tomorrow my body were miraculously transformed into the opposite sex, it would be no more accurate a representation of me than my current one.  This lack of consistency leads some Androgynes to adopt an androgynous physical appearance whether in attire or through surgery or both.

Perhaps this offers greater satisfaction to Androgynes that view themselves as both genders.  For those that see themselves as neither gender, as I do, the experience may be less gratifying.  Of course, this is not to dismiss its appeal.  I have a sophisticated utilitarian sense of clothing style, and whilst I am identified as my biological sex the majority of the time, my appearance is androgynous enough to draw attention.

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The Mars-Venus Myth

The Mars-Venus Myth made famous by John Gray in 1992 by the book Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus remains insufferably regnant. Here is a link to a table from the article The Gender Similarities Hypothesis originally published in 2005 in the journal American Psychologist—which is the official publication of the American Psychological Association. The author of the article Janet H Hyde acts as an effective countermeasure foundation for this issue.

To understand the table:

d = score equivalent of standardized gender difference
-d = women are stronger in this area
+d = men are stronger in this area

Observe that the major communication differences between the genders are in the Spelling and Smiling categories with women in the lead by -0.45 and -0.40 respectively. Men take the lead in Conversational Interruption (+0.15 – +0.33) and Assertive Speech (+0.11).

According to the Mars-Venus myth, communication is a significant difference but this is easily dispelled in the most compelling column of all—Effect Size. The most dramatic ‘difference’ is not only Moderate but lies in Spelling and Smiling and so irrelevant that one cannot reasonably cluster men and women on different planets. The Effect Size column differentiation consists mainly of ‘close to zero’ and ‘small.’

Most publications that headline dramatic gender divergence rely on single studies with low sample rates that are understandably misleading. This particular study is an amalgam of numerous studies which take into account a variety of social scenarios. The author is a psychologist who specializes in the statistical technique of ‘meta-analysis’ whose purpose is to substantially increase statistical power by calculating a standard between a group of studies (instead of a small sample size) and analyzing the results.

Unsurprisingly, this research does not amass as much media attention as the Mars-Venus Myth. The media tailors to a market that would rather believe most misunderstandings between the sexes are a result of gender differences instead of poor communication, social dynamics, power struggles, and other factors.

In actuality, the differences between the genders as this study proves are so minute to be essentially redundant for when you examine the scores of the average woman and compare it to the average man, the gap is smaller and less diverse than a comparison within the genders.

Thankfully, Oxford language professor Deborah Cameron has published a book titled The Myth of Mars and Venus to verbally vaccinate against such widespread misconception and ignorance.