Lies We've Been Told Pt. II: "Might As Well Date A Man!"
Every one of these lies, is not simply an undispelled myth. Some are an opportunity to educate on the world on the way things are. Or at the very least that is what I tell myself when somebody asks a ridiculous question or makes an asinine statement. I make a genuine and concerted effort to be understanding and compassionate in my response, even when I am thinking "What the entire fuck?" I means seriously...
This sentiment is most often stated as a matter-of-fact with no consideration for how entrenched it is in non-applicable hetero and gender-normative values, basically this ain't that. All things being equal, I am offended whether I hear this from an uniformed Cishet person or any self-identified LGBTQ+ person. Let's get into how this actually works.
1. Sex and Gender are different.
Maybe you have heard the term gender binary and you weren't sure what it meant. For clarity, Sex and Gender are separate and distinct classifications. Sex is scientific, determined by genetics. For example, a person born with XX chromosomes is female and a person with XY chromosomes is born male. This, in addition to type of gonads, sex hormones, internal reproductive anatomy, and external genitalia, are the factors that are used to determine biological sex at the time of birth.
Gender on the other hand is a societal system that splits us into two gender groups with gender roles and identities based on what's between our legs.Here in lies the rub (no pun intended), because sexuality is not determined by sex and/or gender. A woman who identifies as Gay/Lesbian/Queer cannot simply date a man because she is attracted to a masculine/masculine of center woman because it is not the same.
2. Dressing 'Like a Man' is a Misnomer.
Now that you know the difference between sex and gender, this should be a little bit easier to understand. Basically, because gender is made up by society there is no such thing as men's clothing and women's clothing. These are arbitrary assignments that most of us have just agreed to without question. Who is to say boxers are for men and panties are for women? The wearer, that's who! Dressing like a man really comes down to a person agreeing or disagreeing about what men dress like. There is no such thing as dressing like a man, it's simply dressing how she likes. Societal norms and rules are always changing, there was time in American history when women didn't even wear pants... No leggings, jeggings, skinny jeans or nothing-- Jesus!
Additionally, there's a widely held belief that women who are androgynous or on the masculine side of the gender spectrum are trying to be like men or be men. The reality is that women and how women present is not set in stone. In Dapper Q's Style Dossier , Nico le Blanc, provides this insight: "All of my identities are ones that most closely speak to my lived experiences. So, the clothing I wear is reflective of how I feel about and see myself in this realm. I identify very much with the feminine and masculine energies that flow through me that inform how I navigate my identities and how I navigate them in this reality. It happens to be that one of the ways that my masculine energy shows up is in how I dress. I don’t have a particular reason for this, other than it allows me to stand more firmly within myself."
3. She Might As Well Keep Dating Women... Because underneath it all she is gay and that means that she is attracted to women. Besides sex and gender being different, sexual orientation is really the biggest reason she cannot "just date a man". It is different from biological sexual determination, gender and gender identity. At it's core it is who you are attracted to romantically, emotionally, and sexually. A woman who is drawn to women, including those who identify as Studs/Bois/Butch/Masculine of Center is still interested in women, in all of the ways women exist.