Male is a modifier, a word used to describe things that pertain to men. I am a man. Therefore, I, a man, have a male body, and I am a male-bodied person. My uterus, my clit, my soft chest, and my rounded hips are all part of my male body. Of course, other people have different body experiences, and I speak only for my own experience.
Often, people call me female-bodied when they’re addressing my experience of misogyny. Since I was raised as a girl, and I am a non-passing transman, I experience a lot of misogyny. I definitely got sexist street harassment when I lived in Boston. Similarly, people are likely to assume that I don’t know what I want when I go into a bike shop, or when I go dancing, that I’m a follow. Misogyny isn’t fun, but I don’t aspire to take on male privilege. That doesn’t make me a female-bodied person, although it does indicate that people perceive me that way. A more appropriate way to address my experience of sexism is to talk specifically about the experience and what’s going on, rather than to tell me what my body is like. For example, people could express their views of street harassment along with my expressed experience and analysis of being street harassed.
Another reason people try to call me a female-bodied person is in dealing with shared body experiences, like menstruation. In that case, instead of saying “women” or “female-bodied” folks could say “people who menstruate.” That avoids defining people by one biological process. It would also be important to never tell anyone about their own bodies. I experience menstruation, but I can only speak for my own experience, so I would not assume that other people experience the same thing. So, for example, I would not say, “The Diva Cup is great for women,” nor “The Diva Cup is great for female-bodied people.” I would say “The Diva Cup is great for me when I’m on my period, and it might be good for other folks.”
The third reason people assign me as female-bodied is to put me in a category of people who were socialized as girls, based on the way I act or relate to others. It’s true: I do tend to take care of friends and devalue my experiences and needs in comparison with others, at least in part because I was raised as a girl. Although the perception of my body by others led to me being raised as a girl, it is very important that no one tries to teach me about my own experiences. If I locate my learned behavior of devaluing my own thoughts and feelings, I will say those tendencies came out of the systematic devaluation I experienced from being socialized as a girl, not being “female-bodied.” So, if we’re talking about socialization, let’s talk about socialization, but let’s not blame it on bodies, and thus, injure by assigning.