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The Man

From Taylor Swift’s new song “The Man”:

What’s that like? I’m so sick of running as fast I can
Wondering if I’d get there quicker
If I was a man
And I’m so sick of them coming at me again
‘Cause if I was a man…
Then I’d be the man


For 16 years, I used to think I was a boy. It was fine.1

My dominant experience with gender, before I started questioning my identity, wasn’t really an experience. I never really thought about gender. Honestly, I assumed it was like that for everyone.2 Either you were born with a gender you felt good with or you know you’re the opposite gender & want to transition, right?

But that’s not the only gender experience, as it turns out. Since coming out as nonbinary, I’ve begun to recognize how one part of (cis) male privilege is just not thinking about gender. When you have the default gender experience, gender doesn’t have to be a big force in your life.

Every time you walk in somewhere, you’re not evaluating if & how much you can express your gender or if you need to mask yourself to stay safe. You can walk around a city at night as yourself, not covered-up. When you meet someone, you don’t have to find a time to mention or subtly hint your pronouns so they don’t use ones that make you want to leap out of your body. In fact, people…already know your gender, because they just assumed…& it wasn’t an issue? (I guess it’s been long enough since I had that experience.)

What’s that like? / If I was a man / then I’d be the man.

Boys will be boys…become bois, apparently.


  1. I’m lucky to not experience significant gender dysphoria—I feel pretty confident in my body, so that has never been an internal force for me.
  2. Especially being white in a mostly-white community.
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