So brave!

Hmmm. More gendering?

I didn’t really start to spot this one until recently, but i begin to think it is definitely out there.

I’m not brave. In most things, i’m a total wuss. Honest. I just sort of do what i have to do to survive, which is no more nor less than anyone else.

Transition: brave? Nah. Just necessary, because the alternative was unthinkable.

RTE: ditto. I WANT my transition.

Electrolysis sans anaesthetic? The lovely women from the production crew said “brave”. Again, its nothing of the sort. Its just what i have to do to get from here to where i’m going.

Then, today, getting my teeth done, towards the end, the hygienist leant over, patted me on the arm and went: “You’re being very brave”.

Huh? Or noises to that effect, when you have a mouth full of tubes and water.

(She also took one look at me on the way in and addressed me as “Mrs Fae”. Not sure what i think about that!).

I do seem to be hearing that word a lot of late. Which has me wondering, in my cat-killingly curious sort of way, whether i’ve latched on to another subtle bit of gender differentiation. Cause i sure as hell can’t remember being described as brave in years past – even when getting up in the middle of the night and dealing with a ferocious cheese-seeking mouse.

Is “being brave” something that women get praised for, men assumed to do as standard?

As for me, I say, mostly, that i don’t like being called brave. That’s not exactly true. Its actually quite nice. But it does embarrass me.

See above,

What i am doing is unusual: out of the ordinary. Neither it, nor I am in any way special for the fact that i am transitioning. I am experiencing some pain, some aggro – but nothing that women haven’t had to put up with year after dreary year for centuries.

I’m discovering stuff about womanhood that i didn’t know or understand before. But so what? Most women could have told me this stuff any time: i only had to ask.

So not special. Not brave.

I should probably be more gracious about it, though, when people say. Learn to blush prettily, rather than just say no.



2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Romola Des Loups said,

    I think it is a gendered thing. Men are generally only classified as brave if they’ve faced 5 armed opponents. Even hazardous sportsmen are rarely described as ‘brave’. With women (and children), bravery is usually invoked when someone has been bullied or survived an illness, or cried their way to a 2nd audition on Britain’s Got Talent. There can be a patronising, insulting side to it as well. People with facial deformities or otherwise unconventional looking are often described as ‘brave’ for daring to walk to the corner shop. The sub text reads to me as something like ‘OMG, you go out looking like THAT?’

    But maybe I’m just in a bad mood.

  2. 2

    Julian said,

    Is “being brave” something women get praised for?

    Yes, in two contexts. The first is that you’re managing something physical – whihc you’re right, men are routinely expected to do.

    The second is that if you’re being brave, then you are overcoming danger, and if there is danger about then you are being foolhardy in courting it. I’m not sure that ‘brave’ in this context (the two I hear most often are “you cycle in London? You are brave!” or “You walk home alone at night? You are brave!”) is praise, exactly. It’s thinly veiled criticism because it carries the implication that you shouldn’t be doing it.

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