To be a woman is to be a secret. An open secret, perhaps, but a secret nonetheless. Look at the movies, the stories–the men come in pieces and we get to see them form, see them struggle, be reborn; a women comes out whole. She is perfect from when we first see her, and at every point then on. Never do we get to see the process that made her so. It is veiled in silence. Even the women who are seen getting ready are not really–they are already ready, made up and crafted by the Man-Behind-the-Curtain to be gilded queens even in repose, pain, or terror. Make-up is always there unless it is artistically running, unless the woman is meant to be horrid. Good women are made up, created, never truly broken, never truly inside themselves. Carved like dolls from Adam’s bones.

Men can see themselves as themselves, as human before they are male–through their own eyes. They have no strange lens or Othering veil. But women, since they are never shown plainly but only alluded to through a perfect object, must struggle to view themselves. Girls grow up seeing neutral, all-encompassing, default human, men; they see women as Other, as non-neutral, specific. Women as seen by men. Even those women who walk by on the street, girls see them as men would see them, because that is the only way they know how to Look.

 I am female. But I do not feel my femaleness; I feel only my humanness. That is, first and foremost, what I am. Neutral. Human. I just am. But everything tells me that neutral and human and just being is MALE. Men are the default, so if I feel like a default, like a human-not-a-woman, does that mean I am a man? I don’t think so, yet my mind splits when I try to see myself and I end up looking through a prism, or a funhouse mirror–my mind says that I am nothing at all, only human; my mirror tells me I am a woman and as a woman I cannot be nothing. I must be Something, something other and exotic and beautiful and strange. A secret that I cannot find.


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