A while ago I was watching the OA with my fiancé. Long story short, there's a TIF character. Like many men, my fiancé cannot tell GNC women from men. I always like to point "that's not a man, that's a tomboy" because he's always so surprised and it's funny.
So about halfway through the first season of the OA, I pointed out the TIF character Michelle and asked my fiancé "do you think that's a male or a female?"
The character of Michelle is a TIF, but aside from short hair she's clearly a typical female. No hormones, no surgery. Just a girl. But my fiancé answered "that's a boy, of course."
Surprise, it's a girl! But what happened next really stuck with me.
After the usual "no way, that's a girl?" part of the conversation, he said something interesting. "Maybe that's a girl, but some people look more like the opposite."
"What do you mean? She has short hair, that's it."
"Maybe she has short hair, but there's something in the face that looks male. Some people are born like that."
"I guarantee you, if she were to grow out her hair out and change her clothes, she'd look like a 100% normal beautiful feminine girl."
"I don't know about that. Some people are different."
"Some people are born androgynous, that's true. But I guarantee you, that actress is a completely normal female."
Sure enough in season 2, we're introduced to an alternate reality version of Michelle where she isn't trans. She has long hair and she looks 100% like a normal, "typical" girl. No CGI, no facial prosthetics or anything. Just the hair.
"I told you so."
I've known for a while now that so many men have difficulty correctly gendering even mildly GNC women, as many here have also noticed. But something about our conversation made me connect some dots in my mind.
I think this is part of the reason trans is exploding in popularity with young girls. When men, and to a lesser extent people in general, see a GNC woman, they don't really see women.
That is, when they see a girl with short hair, they don't see a "normal girl." They see a biologically exceptional masculine female.
When a woman or girl has short hair, they don't see "normal female with short hair." Something about the simple act of cutting one's hair, especially if you don't wear makeup, promotes you into the category of so damn masculine they can't ever imagine you able to grow your hair out and live as a normal woman.
They see average, phenotypically normal GNC women as so physically, biologically exceptional that transition no longer feels drastic.
This confirms my own experience before I desisted. It always frustrated me that by the simple act of cutting my hair and putting on a baggy t-shirt, I went from being hounded by men with romantic intentions to being regarded not just as a lesbian, not just as a woman who chose to present myself to the world in a certain way, but to being assumed to have been born into the category of "ugly"/masculine female and never having had the experience living as a feminine woman, nor having the capacity to do so.
Clearly the concept of womanhood has become so artificial and pornified, men are losing the ability to even recognize normal women as female. When they see a woman or girl without the artificial woman costume, they don't think "normal woman/girl with short hair." They think "jesus christ what an unfortunate, hermaphroditic creature. She'll never be able to live a normal life as a woman. Let the poor thing chop her breasts off, she's basically halfway male to begin with."
Even if that same woman would have been considered an absolute knockout with long hair.
GNC women are not "freaks." Some of us are born with androgynous features, but the vast majority of GNC women are just completely typical, conventionally attractive women. We just have short hair, that's really it. Short hair, and we didn't put on makeup. We're not biological aberrations, the ability of our society to tell male from female has just gotten so fucking bad, we don't even consider normal women to be fully female anymore.
Edit: There are women who are born physically androgynous or masculine, and that's beautiful too! We really just need to start embracing and celebrating gender non-conforming women of all kinds.