Friday, October 06, 2006

Ambigendering Aristotle

One of the eternally recurring themes for the ambigendered (sorry, my term. It is intended to replace "transvestite" or "crossdresser" and refers to those who desire to and are, to a greater or lesser degree, skilled at presenting themselves as the opposite gender), is the idea of "moving forward." We all experience frustration when we perceive that we are not progressing towards our goal, or worse, that further progress is not possible. And what is the goal of the ambigendered male: to occasionally experience femininity as fully and completely as possible.

Let me make an argument which was recently inspired by reviewing Aristotelian philosophy.The first premise is that our desired goal is impossible to reach. We transsomethings, by definition, cannot fully experience life as a woman. Certainly, we can attain some level of feminine experiences with varying degrees of success (and indeed those varying levels of success often cause frustration for many).

Moreover, we tend to equate success in presenting ourselves in feminine mode with happiness and to societal acceptance both within the community and without. This objective simply doesn’t seem to be borne out by experience: most of us, even the most accomplished TG or event the post-op TS, doesn’t seem to derive total fulfillment from her success—at least not for very long—in pursuit or achievement of this goal. Hence, it seems we are pursuing an objective that constantly moves the further we progress.

Now here is where Aristotle offers us two worthwhile suggestions: that fulfillment is only possible when a goal is obtainable and that physical goals, even if attained, rarely bring sustainable happiness. Therefore, by seeking complete femininization (or complete femininity, if you prefer), we are fated to fail because that is physically impossible except for a select few.

Moreover, feminization, is a physical goal and pursuing (or even achieving) physical goals rarely, if ever, brings real happiness. What it seems to me that we ambigendered souls are seeking is actually acceptance of ourselves as ambigendered. That is indeed an obtainable goal, and a psychological/spiritual one of the sort that most (including Aristotle) would agree can indeed bring happiness. And if we make acceptance our objective, then our pursuit of femininity becomes a means and not an end.

What I mean is that by pursuing our ambigendered interests with the aid and support of friends we can indeed find acceptance from them. By exploring our own femininity and coming to terms with it and understanding it better we can find acceptance of ourselves. And by coming to terms with ourselves and becoming more comfortable with who we are, and becoming more knowledgeable about what we are and why we are, we have laid the foundation to pursue acceptance from those who are not ambigendered.

So what am I saying here? Too often we confuse the means and ends. We believe that feminization, whether permanently or temporarily, is the end. In reality the focus for us ought to be on seeking and giving acceptance from those like us because that is a goal that is both attainable and one that gives what we really crave—psychological/spiritual satisfaction.

To phrase it more simply, view the expression of your femininity not as the goal, but as a means to form relationships with like minded individuals who can help you to achieve your true objectives: support, understanding, fulfillment, tolerance, etc. All I’m saying is that the ambigendered pursuit of femininity can only bring psychological and spiritual satisfaction by viewing it as an ongoing journey best enjoyed in the company of friends. And that sometimes the answers are found by looking behind us, around us and within us instead of only looking ahead of us.

2 comments:

Michele Angelique said...

Re: Ambigendering Aristotle, by Stephanie Yates
http://genderevolve.blogspot.com/2006/10/ambigendering-aristotle.html
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Splendid!! Thank you Stephanie, I really enjoyed this piece. For any woman whose beauty is more than skin deep, you are right, temporary or permanent feminization is only the means to an end. The true goal is not only a physical/material/tangible one, it goes beyond that. Nurturing of the feminine inside, and bringing to life the beautiful Yin qualities inherant within, is the true goal for most ambi/trans/genetic women.

We are all on a journey, most definitely enjoyed in the company of friends. The feminine experience includes emotional expression, empathy, working together co-operatively, humanitarianism, social graces, sisterly bonds. All of these require interacting with other feminine people, in order to evolve into these aspects of womanhood.

Another excellent point you (and Aristotle) make, is any worthwhile goal must also be achievable. Thus for an ambi/trans woman to aspire to genetic, is a goal which is rarely achievable. You urge that instead, ambi/trans women should celebrate the reality of who they are, a joy which begins with self-acceptance.

I applaud you, Stephanie, for embracing your ambigendered self. You needn't aspire to be anyone else, nor follow any other path, than that which feels right to you. There is no reason for you to be any more, or any less, either feminine or masculine. Nor is there any reason for you to be any more, or any less, as you say "innie or outie". You can remain happily ambigendered, in or out of the closet, for as long as it feels right to you. There needn't be a set direction, just an appreciation of the NOW, and loving all that you are in this moment.

Love & light,
Michele

Alysyn said...

I have learned much in the last year from not only my personal conversations with Michele, but from all of you sharing the many thoughts such as this one.

I agree that, whether you present primarily as male or female, there is - or, more accurately, should be - a balance of the gender considerations within each of us. While masculinity has it's influence, it doesn't dictate having to be the primary expression (in my case, at least) just as femininity may have a strong influence on the male, yet doesn't neccessitate becoming the primary expression. Still, it is crucial to allow each of those underlying influences to be understood as thoroughly as possible.

Finding internal balance is key to discovering a happiness which allows freedom of expression and, subsequently, the building of those relationships and levels of acceptance in others. How we project is merely a reflection of the light we produce.

Well written piece, Steph.

Love,
Aly