A Physical Woman

I’m reading the second part of Lidia Falcón’s autobiography, and I’m stunned at how often women hate having the female body. And also how often they used to mistake this clearly neurotic dislike for feminism. (Today they don’t do that, and instead, take puberty blockers and chop off their breasts.)

Falcón hated menstruation, pregnancy, and childbirth. Not for any ideological reasons – she wanted children and was excited to have them – but because of the physical discomfort. It’s normal to dislike pain, of course. But have you ever met somebody who suffers from, say, kidney stones and that causes him to curse his humanity and wish he were a butterfly because butterflies don’t have kidney stones? Wouldn’t that be pathological?

My pregnancies and childbirth cost me enormously more than what Falcón’s healthy young pregnancies cost her. Of course, I wish I never had gestational diabetes and PUPPS. But they never caused me to wish I were a man. It’s normal to want not to have PMS. But it’s not normal to react to painful PMS with an obsessive desire to be a man. Right? Or is there something I’m not getting here?

It’s an excellent book, by the way, in spite of the long passages on how horrible the physical aspect of femininity is.

15 thoughts on “A Physical Woman”

  1. The author has a point, I myself am a woman who hates menstruation, doesn’t want kids and thinks sex is disgusting, I would have to be completely knocked out on roofies to have sex with anyone. Anything involving sweat and body functions is disgusting, anything that reminds me of people’s connection to animals repels me. It sounds as though the author laments the body functions that mark her as female, since it distinguishes herself from men. My ideal state of being would be like Crang in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a brain with a custom made robotic body that doesn’t smell or have pain


  2. I general, I dislike the physical aspects of being a woman – the weak body, the brutal aging, the fat tissue, the menstruation, the PMS. However, I like the psychological aspects of the womanhood – the variety emotions, the intuition, the way women relate to the world. For the same reason I like to be a mother – I have an emotional bond with my boys that their father does not.

    Pregnancy and childbirth were interesting in terms of life experience (I even didn’t want to take pain killers to see how much it really hurts).


  3. I probably should keep my mouth shut this late at night, but here are my two cents’ worth that nobody asked for.

    I’m very grateful for all the women in the world that I’ve known, but why would any intelligent man want to be a woman? Why would he want to be physically weaker, burdened with menstruation and childbirth, forced by custom to wear makeup and ridiculous clothing, and relegated to a secondary status that forces him to compete much more forcefully to be taken seriously as a competent human being?

    The world has rewarded me well for being born male — allowed me into medical school at a time when qualified female applicants were turned away because the university feared that they would get married and pregnant and drop out to raise families — promoted me quickly through the military ranks to full colonel and to installation commander when female colonels and commanders were very rare. When I accompanied my girlfriend to the auto dealership because she wanted to buy a new car, the salesman focused his attention and his questions on me, and never took the woman who was purchasing the vehicle seriously.

    Yes, I realize that other factors — my grade scores and tall white good looks and so forth — helped, but the privilege of my gender paved the way.

    So hats off to the various women commenting on this website who swam against the tide and succeeded!


    1. “The world has rewarded me well for being born male ” “…the privilege of my gender paved the way.”

      May I ask what decade you were born in? 🙂


      1. “May I ask what decade you were born in? ”

        I was born during the final stages of WWII in April 1945 as a member of the “Silent Generation,” several weeks before the Germans surrendered, and four months before we ended the war by dropping nukes on the Japanese.


        1. “I was born during the final stages of WWII in April 1945 as a member of the “Silent Generation,” several weeks before the Germans surrendered, and four months before we ended the war by dropping nukes on the Japanese.”

          I see, thanks. On a slightly different topic, according to my information, the things in this world that are the most true are those that are still true regardless of sense, time, or circumstance etc.

          For instance, a statement that is absolutely and always true is that the sun is hotter than the Earth, while a statement that is true in some senses yet an untruth according to another sense is, say, that chocolate is good to eat, because in one sense, chocolate does taste very nice and so is good to eat, unless the person eating it is very fat, in which case it might not be good for that person to eat chocolate.

          So, in regards to your previous statements, which were “The world has rewarded me well for being born male” and “…the privilege of my gender paved the way”, I am personally unsure about the truthfulness of them.

          I mean, as a white male of well above average intelligence, looks etc myself with a degree in one of the primary medical sciences, I really don’t feel that my gender paved the way for me at all, while I don’t feel very much rewarded according to the factor of my male-ness either.

          In fact, the world is very often quite unfriendly towards educated white males such as myself, since I do seem to notice things like job advertisements, programs, incentives etc aimed at women, non-binary, LGBT etc people that are explicitly and openly stated to be intended to deliver a positive outcome to them and a negative or null outcome to me based on gender alone, which, I think, has nothing to do with hard work or merit.

          So, I wonder, in the interests of truth & accuracy etc do you think that it might be better to substitute the sentence “The world has rewarded me well for being born male” with, perhaps, the sentence “It was an advantage being a male in the world at that time”, while also substituting the sentence “…the privilege of my gender paved the way” with, perhaps, the sentence “…the prejudice of others paved the way”?

          I’m not an expert or anything, but the substitute sentences do seem like they would be true all of the time in all senses and circumstances, which we certainly can’t say about the crazy idea that belonging to the male gender is a ‘privilege’ 🙂


    2. But then on the other hand, because I’m a woman, the world just wants to solve my problems. In any country in the world, I make a sad face, and complete strangers rush to rescue me. The world is kinder, the bosses are sweeter. Male bosses are sweet because they feel protective. Female bosses are sweet because they feel solidarity. I can’t screw up badly enough that a sad facial expression won’t immediately cure.

      Yes, female colonels are rare but who spends all the money of the married male colonels? Who’s the general’s boss? We all know the answer. 🙂

      Women don’t have to worry about trying to approach men. Dating is so much easier, and since you never have to ask, you never get rejected. An ugly, frumpy, fat woman can find sex more effortlessly than a beautiful man (unless he’s rich).

      When a man makes money, that’s a bare minimum of what he’s expected to do. When a woman does, it’s a bonus. I won’t feel less of a woman if I lose my job. I won’t feel less of a woman in any circumstances. The female gender identity is a lot less tied to outside factors. It’s more physiological than societal.

      So yeah, I wouldn’t give any of this up for any amount of money.


      1. Once in Germany, I decided I needed a pack of cigarettes at 1 am. But I didn’t know how to get it plus my German is very rudimentary. So I stood outside with a sad face, and immediately a group of young party-goers stopped and started solving my problem. It took forever because the vending machine wouldn’t take my ID, then nobody had coins, then it didn’t have my brand, then gradually half the neighborhood got involved… Eventually it all worked out. And I wasn’t young and cute when it happened. I was twice the age of these partiers.

        It’s one story out of a million. I have so many more.


        1. It’s so funny that these are where you get the “thumbs-down” marks 😀 Someone doesn’t like you saying it out loud! It’s true, though. I have not been pretty since the fourth grade. But people still stop to help out. I am perfectly capable of changing out a flat tire, but I haven’t had to do it by myself in twenty years (and quite a few flats!)– people materialize out of nowhere to do it for me. Which is nice, because I don’t have to muss up my good church clothes.

          Liked by 1 person

      2. I am glad it worked so well for you that you describe it the way you describe. I know a lot of women for whom it did and does not work like that for a variety of reasons. Most of those things have downsides…

        Concerning conversation between Dreidel and Just George – while I was still in my country of origin, I definitely experienced advantage of being a male. Not so much at the secondary school level, but at the level of the university and graduate school. I mean – I was treated fairly and based on merit. But my female classmates experienced significant amount of prejudice. Nobody cared if they would marry or get pregnant, but significant percentage of professors believed that females are just not made for STEM, to the point of suspecting them of cheating if they were actually doing well.
        In North America (starting from 1999) I felt I was treated neutrally. No unfair advantages (even in the form of prejudice against somebody else), no significant discrimination for being a white male.
        And frankly, environment where someone may solve professional problems by being sad and googly-eyed is not a particularly professional environment, in my opinion. A lot of people seem to confuse “normal” as in “statistically widespread” with “normal as in “psychologically healthy” or “desirable”…


  4. I thought not wanting to be a woman was more of a teenage thing.

    For adults there seem to be more men who want to be women than women who want to be men. Maybe she is one of the exceptions.


  5. Yeah, I definitely hated the excruciating dysmenorrhea for fifteen years, the pregnancy sciatica and the PUPPPs (gah!), the anemia, the unwanted attention from creepy men just because I had boobs… life would definitely be easier without all of those things.

    But I never wanted to be a man. Sheesh. The female hormonal roller-coaster is no picnic, but at least it doesn’t make you stupid like testosterone 😉


  6. I hate menstruation — I mean, who doesn’t? — but overall I don’t mind being a woman. I’m tall so people don’t mess with me and I haven’t had issues with people trying to intimidate me, personally or professionally. Being a mom has been great and I wouldn’t change it for the world. Now that I am middle-aged and no one pays any attention to me anymore, the invisibility feels like a superpower, especially with decreasing estrogen that makes me give less of a fuck about everything and everyone.


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