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This aside in your comment - wearing makeup and feminine formal clothes has always felt like a costume - is familiar to me. As a kid I often felt weird when I had to get dolled up for formal occasions and stuff, like, "why am I dressing up as an adult? Doesn't everyone know I'm not one?" And I never really examined it until recently, but the feeling has persisted in some form to this day. I put on a skirt or a dress and I still think "why am I pretending to be the kind of person who wears this stuff?" But I've never once gotten that feeling from putting on a men's waistcoat. ...I guess that doesn't really clarify whether Not A Woman or just SUPER Not Femme, but it does suggest that I need more waistcoats. Maybe some ties.
...You're right, though. However I end up resolving this question, I should be spending more time with self-selected groups of nerdy progressive weirdos, and less time with people who keep misreading me.
Which is to say: solidarity.
I mean, that book did brighten my life, but not in that particular way.
We could say it all the time and the teacher couldn't stop us! Because it was in the textbook! 14-year-olds are such wits.
1. Some activities and behaviors have been designated feminine
2. What is feminine has been designated as BAD, inferior to everything that isn't
3. Women are required to be feminine
Intellectually, I know that points 2 and 3 are complete bullshit, and I think point 1 is also baffling and arbitrary. So, intellectually, that puts me in a place of "there's no wrong way to be a woman. I'll just keep on keeping on, shopping in the menswear department and being politely uninterested in 95% of the stereotypical pastimes for my general demographic. And of course, every woman who chooses differently than I have still deserves equal support." And like you, I'm broadly okay with my physical appearance, at least in the sense of "yeah this is sufficiently 'me.'"
But out there in the wild, when I actually have to interact with people (disclaimer: and it's not a self-selected group of nerdy progressive weirdos), I run up against a wall of they think I'm a certain way and I'm NOT, they believe things about me because of my physiology that are IN MY CASE COMPLETELY FALSE and it does a number on my head.
I don't know. Maybe it's internalized misogyny? Maybe I am associating with shitty people? I have more thinking to do. Totally going to read The Female Man, either way, thanks for the rec.