Somewhere around here, I've shared the fact that my mother is NOT accepting of my transgender being. She was. At first. But then something changed, and she wanted to hear no more about it. She let me know she bore only ONE son [and that wasn't me]. She's also gone so far as to say that there is "nothing 'wrong'" with me, I was just adversely influenced and affected by my work environment and the people I worked around and with - all men. She refuses to accept that I wanted to be in job where I felt comfortable, and felt more myself - that being, with other men.
I already knew that my mother was a "girly girl." She was the kind of girl growing up that laid across her bed, looking at fashion mags and dreaming of a big wedding, a husband, children and a family. In fact, my mother did not leave home until she was married. My mother also used to draw and water colour. What did she draw? Women in all the top fashions of the day. She could have been one of those people that illustrates the envelopes that women's sewing patterns come in.
A few years ago, I learned that my mother is perhaps (I hate to admit it), a bit on the vain side. In a rant one day, the rant that pretty much shut down all future conversation about me being a transgender man (and despite that the topic really was irrelavent to a degree about me being trans), she talked about how any man she had ever dated had to be physically fit (no pot bellies, for example), had to be a good dresser (that didn't include jeans, or as they were most often called back then - dungarees), had to have neat [appropriately short] hair, and be the quintessentially perfect gentleman. She went on to let me know that my father was a very nice dresser and a gentleman.
Now, yeah, nothing wrong in dressing nice when the occasion calls for it. And nothing wrong in a man being a gentleman. But my mother was the type of woman that expected and demanded those qualities to the Nth degree. Of course on the flip side of that coin, she expected that women should dress a certain way with strict attention to whatever the occasion was, AND there were things she felt that only [bio]men should do, be able to do, know how to do, and that unless you are a [bio]man, you don't know jack about those things. In those things, she would and still does defer to men and take only the word of a [bio]man.
Example: cars. Doesn't matter what I know... if I try to tell her something, suggest something, advise her of a problem, give an opinion, offer to repair something...she will invariably ask me what do I know about it, how do I know it, who told me or how did I learn it. If it's something very minor, she may accept what I suggest or recommend. But anything more than minor, she will wave me off saying, "I don't know." Later, she will make it a point to ask a man about it whether that man is a mechanic, burger flipper, surgeon or pencil pusher.
In fact, I have learned since my dad died that there are things my mother does not know how to do. Doesn't have a clue. Things that, if she'll let me, I do for her 'cause... she doesn't have a clue. She will let me know, "you father always took care of that - I didn't have to do those kinds of things." It's not that my father didn't let her do these things, it's that in my mother's world, those things were his job to do, and she expected him to do them. My father, being the quintessentially perfect gentleman, acquiesced.
And so now, we come to the present. Over breakfast the other day, mother was telling me that she had stayed up a little too late the night before - she had been watching a movie that "had Madea in it." She couldn't remember the title of the movie and was describing some of the characters. When it came to Madea, she stumbled over what to call the character choosing instead to say "Tyler Perry." I said, "Madea." She said [paraphrasing], "he, Tyler Perry, he plays Madea." Then she went on trying to describe a scene, referring to Madea as "he." I retorted with, "she. Madea is a woman." My mother came back with, "but Madea is played by a man." This was supposed to justify her referring to Madea as "he" and "him."
My mother is so steeped in a strict male/female society, that she can't even refer to Madea as a woman, like most people apparently seem able to do, though I'm sure for many it's only because it's entertainment. It hit me then -- how will I ever expect that my mother will see and accept me as a man, when she can't even use the proper pronouns for a fictional character in a movie?