Self Portrait 3

I am Daughter Mother Wife and Sister.

As stated on my identity card and passport, I am female.

Emmanuele ending with e.


Biologically I am XX, dependent on the influence of the hormones estrogen and progesterone, which cause and regulate my menstrual cycles.

I am programmed to nest: progesterone = pro gestation.


Psychologically, these same hormones influence my mood, making me more prone to emotions and to tears depending on the time of the month.

Anatomically, I have a vagina, breasts, my frame is relatively small, I have little facial hair (none on my chest). My midsagittal corpus callosum cross-sectional area is more developed than it is in men. This is because I use both hemispheres of my brain. As a consequence my intelligence is both analytical and intuitive. I can multitask.

Socially, I have fulfilled what my mother and entourage expected of me since childhood: I grew up liking girls’ games (hopscotch, the elastic game, dolls). I married, had a child. I like clothes, shoes and bags (uterine pockets?).

My status is not the same depending on where I am: Cambodia, or Europe. I am happy I don’t live in Saudi Arabia.

I favor exchanges, communication and intimacy. To do so, I use words, mimics, and the gaze. A deep voice in a man is… very attractive! Oscar Wilde writes in The Picture of Dorian Gray:

“We women, as some one says, love with our ears, just as you men love with your eyes…”

As a dancer, what differentiates me from a man:

My hips are large, giving me better stability and balance. My joints are more flexible, allowing more stretch in the legs as well as faster and more detailed leg work. The presence of breasts already causes my spine to curve when I stand, so my back tends to arch backwards more naturally.

Body fat ratio, smaller muscles and looser joints make for weaker jumps, my movement cannot be as boisterous and explosive: testosterone, the male hormone, is a hormone for athletes. Instead, I tend to be more detailed, or mannered, depending on how you look at it.




John Gray, Men are from Mars, Women from Venus, HarperCollins 1992

Jean-François Bouvet, Le camion et la poupée, Flammarion 2012

This entry is the result of conversations with Dr Bernard Cordier, head of the psychiatric department at Foch hospital (Paris) and Sun Xiao Jun, ballet dancer and teacher extraordinaire.

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