Masculinity, anime, and gender dysphoria

I’ll jump in here- as a 66 year old crossdress/dreamer from age 5. I have really been trying to get to the bottom of it now that I am retired and free to try to unite myself. I reached your same conclusion, and keenly lived exactly the repression you speak of. When this is combined with the binary norm structure which assigns behaviors to either girls or boys, there is is no way to try to have both but to be a cross* or trans* or queer* . By secretly crossdressing I tried to maintain a space where for a few moments I could imagine I had the emotional freedom I thought was assigned to girls.

This I feel is separate from the sexual identification I feel with women- which to me means having a feminine sexuality. I’m happy with my body, and I have found I can feel perfectly feminine while having a beard and body hair..

However, following the guidelines of binary gender training, I felt being the assertive partner was only half the experience. I deeply wanted to feel the other person’s experience of my masculine form sexuality. So I fantasized about being the target partner of someone following my masculine behavior pattern. I dabbled with the idea of being forcefully handled sexually. It reflected my subconscious understanding of how little I understood the women I pursued as sex objects. It was an effort to see if it could be ‘ok’, when it obviously isn’t. I think the same psychological motivation may apply to those who think that rape fantasies are normal.

Facing up to the cruel, cold, and brutal emptiness of sexual objectification, I can say with relief I don’t fantasize any of that any more. I can finally see and say that my natural sexuality is an easy going give and take- sensitive play between equals.

I was well aware that girls got the raw deal in the culture repeatedly, in terms of so many kinds of freedom and power, but I felt they retained a greater and more important power in their access to feelings. It is an irony, or some kind of clue, that although as a child I saw men who were very feminine in the sense of freely being emotional, but I didn’t want to be like them. I think the answer is that they were sidelined by the powerful. My way of resolving all this was that was that I wanted to be John Wayne and Amy Shumer or a fairy princess. I had to live half of that desire in secret, so it was never able to be incorporated into my social relationships and I had a deep split which negatively restricted every aspect of my life as a partner and parent. After reading your article I can admit that I wanted to be the male and female action figures- and anime’s cute girls are emotionally charged symbols of the lost part of me. I want to have the sense of being powerful- so what better logic than to live on both sides of the cultural and social power assigned to the poles of the gender binary. The tragedy is that at both ends we are half people., especially the non-binary thread, is a really good board for long form discussions of the mystery driving us. I put forth my theory, which was like yours, but most could’t identify with it. There are many threads in the fabric of crossdreaming. We see it as a sort of spectrum from occasional interest in crossing over to full blown need to transition. There must be many factors at work.

I think you have usefully identified the role of anime/media in general in how it created and sustained exaggerated gender binary figures to embody the lost parts of ourselves. I’m sure it works the same way in reverse for many girls. I would have been a tomboy if female. I am happy to be a mirl [male girl].