Misogyny is not the definition of Womanhood.

Even though trans men and some non-binary people experience misogyny, misogyny doesn’t define womanhood, and we aren’t women.

A major realization for me was realizing that womanhood isn’t defined by misogyny… which is how I had always defined it for myself. When I realized that was my only connection to womanhood, I realized I wasn’t actually a woman. Women are so, so much more than bias against them.

Another, paired realization was that objectifying myself wasn’t the same thing as self confidence. If these thoughts stick with you or make you think, embrace it. Everyone should think about the relation to gender and how to be a kinder, more genuine version of ourselves. Being a target of misogyny doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a woman. It just means you’re associated with femininity and/or feminine traits. Think of the vitriol against cis, gay, effeminate men… it’s deeply rooted in misogyny, even though the people directing that misogyny know they aren’t women… simply affiliating yourself with femininity is enough.

As human beings, we need to interrogate and consciously work against the assumption that femininity is lesser. So many “feminist” takes boil down to “but women don’t HAVE to be feminine!” And of course, that’s true, but why shouldn’t they? And for that matter, why shouldn’t anyone?

If we are going to value women, we as a society need to learn to value femininity as a whole.

I am much, much more “effeminate” than I was before I came out, because when coming out, I had to consciously dismantle my internal misogyny and bias against femininity. Allowing myself to be more feminine has made me kinder, more patient, and a better, more understanding person.

So for #InternationalWomensDay, I invite all cis people to think critically about the vilification of femininity in themselves, and I invite every person to place more value in the positive contributions women have in their own lives.

The TERF excuse for excluding trans women from their feminism is because they falsely believe trans women don’t face misogyny. This is honestly so tragic, to think that there are so many women (TERFs) who truly define their entire identity of womanhood from misogyny alone. Women deserve better. They are so much more than the bias against them, and they deserve to be celebrated for and dignified with an understanding of themselves as whole human beings. No one should have to define themselves by the limits placed on them.

I am a disabled binary trans man who primarily writes about feminism, queer history, trans issues, science communication, healthy masculinity and public health.