So many different emotions can be triggered by gender. You can see a variety of emotions and feelings by simply searching for #masculinity #Genderenvy #feminine. You can feel a variety of emotions, including envy. envy of someone else’s experience, gender expectations, or qualities you wish you possessed. If you’re on TikTok a lot, you may have come across the term “gender envy”. But what does it all mean? What does gender envy look like and feel like? Please read on for more information about gender envy.

What Is Gender Envy?

Envy toward a person or object’s gender expression is referred to as gender envy. For instance, wanting the appearance, voice, etiquette, or fashion., of a specific gender. People who express themselves outside of societal gender stereotypes frequently experience gender envy.

In the transgender community, the phrase “gender envy” has recently become more well-known. It’s used to describe the desire and envious feelings one has for someone based on how naturally masculine, androgynous, or feminine they appear.

It’s a colloquial phrase used to refer to someone who one wishes they looked like. If someone says, “I have gender envy for Sam Smith,” it means they think he looks really cool, and it would be awesome to look like him. When they aren’t that person, it doesn’t necessarily mean they are devastated.

Where Does Gender Envy Originate?

Gender envy is not a clinical term by any means, but it is believed to have been loosely derived from Sigmund Freud’s theory of “penis envy”. Freud, a contentious figure in psychology, is credited with creating the therapeutic approach of psychoanalysis.

According to Freud, most of what people think they are either unaware of or suppress. He compared the mind to an iceberg wherein a large part of our minds lay beneath the surface or in the “unconscious”.

Freud thought that therapists could release these suppressed thoughts and bring them to the conscious level through psychoanalysis, which involved allowing patients to speak freely about whatever came to mind.

Freud also sought to psychoanalyze himself, and in doing so, developed his now-famous and much-debated theories on the Oedipal complex and “penis envy”. According to Freud, the former refers to a stage in the development of a boy when he is attracted to his mother and sees his father as a rival.

gender envy mean

Because the male gender was viewed as the ideal, according to Freud’s theory of penis envy, every girl was said to harbor a secret desire to be a man. A girl can only identify as female when she denies her desire to be male.

It should be stressed that most modern psychoanalysts reject the notion of “penis envy”. Nevertheless, Freud’s theories have persisted and are still used today, despite the scant evidence that backs up these assertions.

The Signs Of Gender Envy

Here is a list of things to look out for to recognize when you might be experiencing Gender Envy:

  • wishing you could express a gender norm after seeing someone else do so.
  • due to their gender expression, a person may desire the voice or physical characteristics of another person.
  • wishing for a specific look to help you present as a particular gender
  • admiring how someone acts given their gender and how people respond to it.
  • wishing you could live in or have access to a different gender’s body.

Who Can Experience Gender Envy?

Despite having a similar name, the concepts of gender envy and penis envy are very dissimilar. The latter merely expresses the emotion of envy for someone’s gender expression.

Anyone, including cisgender people and those who identify as non-binary or transgender, can experience gender envy. When forced to adhere to the traditional gender roles assigned to their gender, some cisgender people who grew up in very traditional and conservative environments may experience gender envy.

For instance, a cisgender man who enjoys wearing loud, colorful clothing and floral prints might experience gender envy toward women who can do the same without facing jeers or inquiries about their sexual orientation.

Conversely, a cisgender woman who enjoys contact sports and prefers to dress casually may feel gender envy towards her male friends, especially when her family and the people around her force her to participate in more “feminine” activities and dress in clothes that are considered more “girly”.

However, given that many also tend to experience gender dysphoria, it should be noted that transgender and non-binary people may experience gender envy more intensely than cisgender people.

Is Gender Envy Bad?

Gender envy is not necessarily a bad thing. An expression of someone else can elicit natural feelings of desire, adoration, and desire. You might learn new ways of expressing yourself as a result.

It’s an emotional experience rather than something good or bad.

The word “envy” is frequently connected to a gregarious feeling. You are aware of the concept of the Seven Deadly Sins in Christianity. However, it should never feel wrong to be moved by another person’s gender identity or expression. In this context, envy means recognizing a desire you have rather than actually coveting something.

Gender envy, in my opinion, should actually be embraced as a chance to understand and express oneself.

However, a “secondary emotion” that is triggered by gender envy can be bad. That refers to the response to your response, specifically. Gender envy is harmful, so don’t feel bad about it.

Gender Envy Vs. Attraction

gender envy meaning

Trying to distinguish it from attraction is one issue that can arise with gender envy.

Gender envy and attraction are very different from one another. Generally speaking, attraction refers to the urge to be with someone due to a sexual attraction. While Gender Envy is when you admire a person’s traits that express their gender.

If you can actually picture yourself dating or engaging in sexual activity with the other person, you are probably attracted to them. You are probably attracted to them if you have romantic or physical thoughts of them.

Gender envy is when you wish you could do or behave the way you do.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that gender and sexuality are two entirely different concepts. It is not at all counterproductive for who you find attractive and who you are to be the same person.

You might be drawn to someone of the same sex or someone of the opposite sex. You can harbor jealousy for people of the same sex, the opposite sex, and so forth.

Gender Envy Vs. Gender Dysphoria

Gender dysphoria is described as “​​clinically significant distress or impairment related to a strong desire to be of another gender”. Gender dysphoria can be extremely crippling and lead to mental illnesses like depression and anxiety for many trans and non-binary people.

Therefore, many people who do experience gender dysphoria might decide to get gender-affirming surgery or alter how they present and express themselves in order to lessen that distress.

In contrast to dysphoria, which describes a level of discomfort and distress from one’s own perceived gender—to the point where the person feels compelled to seek out measures to change how they look—gender envy can simply be described as a feeling of jealousy or even admiration of how another person looks or acts.

Despite this, not everyone who experiences gender envy develops dysphoria.

Gender envy and gender dysphoria also tie into the concept of “passing”, which is described as a transgender person’s ability to “pass” or to be correctly perceived as the gender they identify with. For many, passing entails not being identified as transgender and being thought of as cisgender.

The ultimate goal of transitioning is by no means passing. However, trans people who pass do experience certain privileges, such as the ability to “fly under the radar” and experience less harassment and discrimination.

Due to their desire to experience the benefits of being recognized for their true gender identity, some people may feel gender envy toward trans and non-binary people who pass.

The Bottom Line

Those who identify as transgender or non-binary are more likely to experience gender envy, which is the feeling of being envious of the way another person behaves, looks, and speaks.

You can learn new things about your identity and gender by investigating gender envy. You can start to recognize your archetypes, shadow selves, and other facets of your identity by leaning into how you react to other Gender Expressions.