This is something thats been niggling at the back of my mind for some time.
How many of us are stuck (programmed?) in the ideas of gender ideals? By this I mean, do you often find yourself thinking (and no matter how open minded you are, or how liberally you were raised) that something isn't really fit for someone of gender A to do?
I think of myself as being pretty openminded, and I don't like to think that I judge people on their gender, but my prime example is that my boyfriend recently developed an interest in soft toys. Theres part of me which thinks this is awfully cute and nice, but another part keeps saying "this isn't right"..
Well ... I can' say that I think that usually. But I kinda of genderbend myself. Like, I'm frequently mistaken for a guy cuz I have short hair and I spike it and I wear guys clothes and aren't very girlie, I guess one could say.
But one time, I do distinctly remember thinking that. We were in Berekely (cuz my bro goes there and we were helping him move in) and we were getting to the BART station and this huge guy walked out (not fat huge ... like muscular huge) and he had on a white dress and a hat that would be suitable for easter sunday mass and pants. It was odd.
Definitely. Fabian has this thing where he feels its crass when girls curse and swear. I do it on a very frequent basis so that really gets to me because he does it all the time so why is it only acceptable for him?
Of course I buy into it too and I found it a little weird when Fabian used to love shopping and spending hours looking at clothes. He also worries about his hair more than me. I always thought it was a girl thing. I now know better.
The other day I came home from work (bright and early at 7:15am) after having a rough night. I hopped in the shower to get ready for bed and started thinking about how much I could have used a hug. I started missing my girlfriend badly...and my eyes teared up. But then, right as I was about to blubber like a buffoon, I found myself humming a Cure lyric..."Boy's don't cry."
Geeez...I caught myself in a gender ideal!
[This message has been edited by BruinDan (edited 09-26-2002).]
Great topic. Right now i'm in a class about the psychology of women, and this vaguely reminded me of what we talked about last night -- that parents treat their young kids very differently based on what sex they are (they talk to girls more about feelings, and give boys action-oriented directions and statements and stuff; things like that). this apparently happens regardless of how liberal the parents see themselves as; and they are often unaware of it. kind of goes to show how deep our programming is.
not that I'm immune. it's kind of disturbing! since I came out as FTM, I've been a lot more critical of my behavior. I'm, uh, not exactly John Wayne, shall we say; a lot of times I'm pretty darned 'feminine' -- and I think feminine guys rule. but this puts me in kind of an odd position: being raised as a girl and identifying as a guy, I have this weird subconscious thing where it's like I'm not a Real Guy because I Act Like A Girl. like sometimes I'll make a conscious effort to sit a different way because crossing my legs is too feminine, or I'll make sure my gestures aren't too feminine.
some of this I understand: because I don't pass very well, and I want to give people as many cues as they need to call me "he" and "sir" short of telling them "dammit, I'm a boy." but still! I wanted to be *subversive* and now I've got this whole internal self-regulating-normalizing-behavior panopticon thing going on! it's really frustrating.
I must confess: were there a fan club for androgyny, I would volunteer myself as Queen.
Both for myself and in my pull and attractions to others, I tend to feel most comfortable with ideas and people who really do have very fluid notions and interpretations of gender.
And in all honestly, I can say that for whatever reason, I have never personally given much thought at all to what is and isn't appropriate for one gender or another, either for myself or for anyone else. That simply is something that changes so much from era to era and culture to culture that I'm sure I'd get dizzy just trying to keep up, and it never seemed worth the bother.
I'm quite aware of traditional gender roles, though I don't find I'm usually too upset by things that break them. Honestly, sometimes I like playing at being a properly feminine girl (nope, not a woman, a cute, fuzzy, dumb girl), but I do realise it's not very different from what I've done in drama class, and I think that's why I like it. I also have a decent sense of irony. I find too, that I'm most comfortable with people who show tendencies most often associated with the sex they aren't. I mean, I like that my partner (male) likes Abba and has long hair, and that one of my best friends (female) won't let me carry anything very heavy (we have fights about this, sometimes, but it's still sort of cute), and watches professional wrestling. I guess I just prefer people who don't feel the need to stick to set standards.
Posts: 5122 | From: I *came* from the land of ice and snow | Registered: Aug 2000
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Hey, Miz Scarlet, I like androgyny too! Can I be King of your Androgyny Fan Club?
But seriously... I'm very attracted to androgynous people. I can't say I'm immune to gender ideals, though. In fact, I tend to encourage the gender ideal that doesn't fit with the physical sex. (e.g., I tend to prefer boyish girls and girlish boys)
I realize that this, too is a sort of gender stereotyping, but I guess I see it in a sort of affirmative action kind of way-- we have to encourage cross-gender expression before we can do away with notions of gender.
We can't even talk about such a radical idea yet, because the dualism of gender is so engrained in language. Sigh... one day...
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