Quarantine, and Gender

Questions and discussions about gender, gender roles and identity.
valerie4
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Quarantine, and Gender

Unread postby valerie4 » Tue Mar 23, 2021 1:00 pm

It has been over a year now since the COVID-19 pandemic has been affecting the world and most of us have had to make lots of changes to our lives. Our daily rituals have been uprooted and thrown around and for many people that has affected their self-perception. Many people have found themselves questioning their gender identity and exploring new ways to express themselves. Because many people started quarantine at home, their daily performance of gender expression suddenly came to a stop. For some trans people, the heightened anxiety they have to face out in the world lessened. This article by Them was written in August of last year but it is still a very relevant topic How Quarantine Can Help You Learn to Accept Your Body and Gender Identity . A similar article was published by The Lily They never felt comfortable with the gender binary. The pandemic is giving them time to explore their identity.

A year in, how do you feel your relationship with your gender expression and identity has changed? Do you feel like you've learned something different about yourself in this time? What new ideas do you want to explore?

As a result of the changes in our lives, our bodies have changed in response to the conditions we are in. Whether that be size or ability level, many people are coping with changes to their bodies. How has that effected your self perception and gender expression? Have you found yourself struggling with changes?

Personally, I have been grappling with the way my weight gain in quarantine has influenced my perception of my gender identity. Recently, as a non-binary person, I've been wanting to express myself in a more masculine way but have been confronted with this concept of masculinity that requires hard edges, sharp cheek bones and jaw lines, and flat chests. This leaves no room for AFAB masc folks with double chins, round edges, and non-flat chests. This shift has been tough but its also led to me reconsidering my conception of what masculinity is and how I want to interpret it on my body. Additionally, I am so excited for when I can show the world the new ways I want to express myself.

There is no question that we will all leave this pandemic different people than we were when we entered it. But we can try to process those changes together as a community and maybe even foster a little hope.

Heather
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Re: Quarantine, and Gender

Unread postby Heather » Wed Mar 24, 2021 1:51 pm

I love what you've observed and are asking about here, Valerie. And I can really relate to some of what you're saying here.

I've also had something extra in the mix during all of this, which is pandemic + late perimenopause, which combined have meant an array of body changes quite outside my control. I have been or currently am uncomfortable with some of those. I have been or am more comfortable with others, and some of the comfort I have or have had is in part because I haven't had to present myself in ways or environments I often would in non-pandemic conditions.

For instance, I'm one of those people whose presentation of choice for dressy things often doesn't mesh with what's actually available to me in terms of fitting my body. I'd rather wear suits then dresses, but as a short person with curves in the places suits don't make room for...well. Being able to just live in joggers and t-shirts or jeans or jumpsuits because I don't have to go to any events has been really nice. Same goes with not having to worry about my face showing up in pictures or on camera, or with looking "presentable" so I can just take care of my skin and my hair and the rest of me in the ways I like to that *feel* good and that let me feel like myself without having to worry about what they look like to other people. Or having to try and present in ways that get me read the way I want to be, which is often an exercise in futility no matter what!

(Side note: about a thousand years ago, I used to be really snotty about soft butches and the whole concept, and looking back, it's very clear that was my insecurity showing and my own internalized biases and limited ideas about masculinities. If I could go back in time and whoop my 20 and early 30-something self in the face with a soft jacket and tell them that they were just being foolish and would soon realize that a comfortable, chill masculinity-slash-neutrality is actually what they want for themselves, I would.)
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Mo
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Re: Quarantine, and Gender

Unread postby Mo » Fri Mar 26, 2021 4:47 pm

I've found that I'm doing a lot less when it comes to gender expression, in a way that's been kind of a bummer for me; because I'm masked when leaving the house, and because I only get out for errands or walks and not really to go anywhere for fun or to socialize, I haven't worn makeup very much in the past year, and it's an important part of my gender expression that I miss a lot. I know I can just put it on at home, but getting out was often what inspired me to take the time to do it; since my mental health has taken a huge hit over the past year, for both pandemic and non-pandemic reasons, it's been a struggle to get myself to put in the effort. The few times I have, though, it's been an affirming experience; I keep thinking "okay mo, so do it more!" but it's still hard to get the momentum going.
I also wound up shaving my head this summer and that was a lot more emotionally intense than I'd expected; I shaved it when I first started questioning my gender, almost 20 years ago now, and it brought up feelings about my gender and attractiveness this time as well, but in a really different way. I think I finally like it, but it took me several months of feeling pretty conflicted about it before I could get to where I am now.

Anecdotally I have noticed a lot of people in my life, as well as friends of friends, taking advantage of this more isolated time to do some really big-picture thinking about gender and presentation and what sort of changes they might feel comfortable making, and I've really enjoyed hearing folks talk about those experiences.


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