I enjoy feeling feminine. I hardly ever feel that way around neurotypical women, who tend to express femininity in ways that I find unnatural and unpleasant to imitate.
Long nails. Hair in place. Even volume. Smooth, dainty movements. Perfectly timed interruptions. I can’t keep up, and it’s exhausting to try.
You know where I do feel feminine? When I’m surrounded by guys – of any neurotype.
There, I can stand and move in ways that make me feel grounded – feet apart, knees bent and bouncing like a fighter, hands gesturing unpredictably, tone freely intensifying or flattening according to my emotions.
I can do all that around women, too. But it makes me feel more masculine, or at least more androgynous. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it feels less like me.
What’s different about being around men? It highlights the stereotypically feminine traits that I do have, because such traits set me apart. I’m usually the only one who’s twirling around corners, flapping with glee, and squealing whenever I hear a clever joke or useful insight.
Autistic men sometimes act that way, too. I’ve read that both men and women are likely to seem more androgynous than average if they’re autistic. Moreover, a high percentage of autistics reject gender entirely, or identify as nonbinary.
That isn’t me. I’m female, and I want to feel feminine – I just don’t want it to feel like a performance.