Meyerding seems to have been gifted with greater social awareness at younger ages than I ever was, and it shows in her recollections of childhood. Her memories of grade school primarily involve bafflement at the mysterious doings of her classmates, whereas mine tend to be montages of sensory impressions, mostly color and shapes, and a few flashes of imaginary adventures, whether of my own invention or from books I was reading. Indeed, it's to this profound solipsism that I ascribe my general sense of having been a happy child.
One thing Meyerding describes that I also experienced is a sense of disconnection from her own body, to the extent of not really knowing what she looked like:
I can give you statistics --- height, approximate weight, hair length and color --- but I do not have the kind of relationship with my physical self that would allow me to participate in the female commitment to "doing the best with what you've got."
I never learned to see my body as a woman's body in the sense that a woman's body is an actor in socio-sexual relations. My body is the support structure for me ... (if) it has a gender, that gender lives on the outside, not in here where it would make a difference to how I feel or see the world.
In my own childhood, I experienced much the same kind of nebulous self-image. For me, that meant I was whatever I decided to imagine myself as, whether that was a dinosaur or a horse or a fox or a boy or whatever.
Meyerding also describes seeing "Woman" as a group to which she couldn't belong, a separate species she could study from afar. (Boys baffled her too, but since she was theoretically a girl, she devoted more mental energy to understanding girls). I have to say, I identify with this too. I went further than she did --- she thought of herself as neither female nor male, while I adopted masculinity as my own. My friends have historically been mostly male, largely because boys were more likely to share my interests, and more likely to socialize on terms that I could understand. Girls' discourse always seemed shallow and content-free to me, which I now recognize is because it was so rich in the nonverbal cues and vocal intonations that I can't perceive. I became a hard-core weightlifter in high school and college to masculinize my body, the achievement of which goal had the paradoxical effect of making me more open to femininity. I grew my hair out long, made jewelry and wore long skirts. Much later, I came to identify as a feminist. I'm still not sure whether I can say I experienced male privilege, although I was certainly blind to the social expectations of women, did not meet them, and arrogated numerous male prerogatives to myself (which I continue to do, as long as I step on no one's rights in so doing).
I question whether I (a woman) can have experienced male privilege for the same reason I question whether Meyerding or I really did "grow up genderless." Gender is not just lived reality, it's also a category other people sort you into. On some level, you can't escape awareness of gender. I may have believed myself to be all manner of things, even to the point that, drawing pictures of myself with my family, I'd draw a dinosaur, but somehow I always knew I was also a girl. However much I questioned the extent to which "girl" described me, there was no question that it was the label that would be applied to me. Similarly, as a child Meyerding somehow knows that it is girls, and not boys, that she must study and emulate. We were privileged by our limited awareness of gender, but some level of gender-consciousness infiltrated even our highly resistant minds. And both of us, as adult women, can describe in great detail the ideal "feminine" role that society expects us to play. So I would amend the phrase to say we didn't grow up genderless so much as we grew up weakly gendered, in contrast to the very strongly gendered society around us.