Recently, three fellow radical feminist activists and myself were interviewed regarding the political stance of radical feminism and what that means. While there, I felt intimidated by the fact that I stuck out like a sore thumb. The other three were decked out in their work attire (traditionally "feminine" clothing/appearances) and I was there with my curly blue overgrown pompadour and surly expression, with a five oclock shadow.
This happens frequently where I feel out of place among other women...women who choose to outwardly express themselves differently than I do. This happens in individual and group settings. I look different, therefore I feel different around other women. This happened even before my transition.
And then those same women opened up and mentioned how they also felt intimidated being around me...as if they were all hypocrites talking about gender, when I'm the least conforming out of all of them. They felt like they didn't measure up to me...and I felt like I didn't measure up to them, and that I was the ugly duckling among three swans.
Then I had an epiphany. We are not entirely different. Society tries to tell us that if we're not like all the other women, we're defunct. Society at large reinforces these attitudes. When really we are fighting much the same battle to dismantle gender roles and norms for all women.
It's not our differences that define us, nor our similarities, really. It is our determination to fight the systems that seek to divide on one hand, or homogenize on the other. Recognizing our differences in this struggle is great; making judgments about ourselves and endlessly comparing isn't so great. Noting similarities in our struggles is also wonderful, but seeking to fit us all into one particular mold isn't the answer.
The answer is to support your sisters. We are all trying our best in this fucked up power dynamic. Admire other women, but also admire yourself.