I'm writing a paper for a class I'm taking on masculinity. I'm choosing to explore the topic of biological bases to gender identity. I'm still in the gathering phase of the paper, and I'd be very curious to hear your take on the subject.
I find that amongst some of my more liberal friends, there's an aspiration to see the world in gender-neutral terms. For instance, not assigning gender roles to work, or not ruling out domains of human experience based on gender (athleticism is for guys or fashion is for girls, etc.). This seems sensible to me. Culture, while an enormously powerful determinant of expectations and norms, is somewhat arbitrary.
Yet, there seems to be a lot of benefit to conforming to some of these traditional gender expectations. Obviously there are and have been huge excesses. A lot of men have lost out on the richness of a developed emotional perspective for fear of being called pussies, and a lot of women have been unfairly relegated to positions of inferiority and servility. But people who fall into a more moderate position within traditional gender identities enjoy a large amount of personal security that comes with a grounded identity. I'm thinking of the kids I play college soccer with--smart, from middle-to-upper-middle-class families, a bunch of good-hearted jocks of all races. Now I could be completely projecting, but these kids seem to be possessed with a breezy confidence and self-assuredness that comes not just from their material wealth, but their status as cisgendered men. These kids surely have private anxieties and an inner life that they don't share with random teammates on their club soccer team. But I'm fascinated by such confidence. The same could be said for the cisgender girls I've met in class or out and about, but I've been mostly focused on men because of my class.
This confidence has some (a lot of?) basis in gender conformity. Furthermore, the validity of such gender identities can't be negated away by my liberal friends as mere vestiges of patriarchy. One of the reasons I believe that is because of transgender people. If gender identity were 100% arbitrary social construct, would there be any transgender people?
Sorry for asking such a leading question. 1) I'd like to know your personal reasons, if articulable, on why you feel your true gender identity is closer to that of female rather than your sex assignment of male. 2) Do you know of any good sources that treat the topic of biological bases to gender identity? You'd think there'd be a veritable shit load on the subject, but my head spins at how much of it is politicized nonsense and I have trouble sorting through it. (Though to be fair, since notions of gender identity are as proximate to questions of human flourishing as one can get, it would make sense that people get politicized on the subject.)