I am not very good at being a woman.

And it’s not just the physical aspects that I fail at (which I do) – I’m ugly and fat, and make no effort to change that via make-up or exercise or fashionable clothes (my mother can only buy me clothes and put them in my closet; she can’t make me wear the right clothes for any given event). I’m also a terrible cook; awful at making conversation; completely and utterly tactless, never knowing what to say or when to say it; loud and opinionated; have a terrible bed-side manner; irregular with chores; messy and forgetful and careless; can’t remember birthdays or favourite foods or allergies or medicines worth a damn; and – well, you get the gist.

What can I do, then? Why, loads! I’m quick at grasping concepts; wonderful at managing those under me; an okay writer and artist (in my opinion) and an above-average programmer; socially aware and active; a handy repairwoman; have a terrific professional manner; skilled at clearing up confusions; an adequate tutor; an instinctive mathematician; a quick reader; and have knowledge of numerous fields, programs, languages and cultures.

Here’s the thing though – so is every other woman I know. They can do everything that I can, and they can do it while being an amazing cook, and fun at parties, while wearing the cutest outfits and making everyone feel at home. They get good grades and learn loads all while performing household chores and making time for their families and ensuring that, you know, people don’t die because they haven’t had lunch yet or forget to take their medicine.

So no, I’m not very good at being a woman, because I’m not very good at performing the emotional labour that women do – the excess work that is the price women have to pay in order to exist in this world without censure, a tax which men seem to be exempt from.

But if I were a man, I would be exceeding expectations.


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