[personal profile] floorpigeon
Every time I see reference to something that's 'typically female', my brain draws a (resentful) blank... to the point where I feel I should write something just to remind myself what that is. I can probably tell you what's 'typically male' easily (rational, dominant/aggressive, hierarchal, controlled), but even thinking that the opposite is 'typically female' drives me into the preliminary stages of rage (it seems). The more I witness people monkeying with definitions any way they like, the more I think those people who think they're reincarnated anime characters aren't insane-- merely at a point further on a typical human spectrum.
    It's funny especially 'cause I feel I can be 'masculine' all day long without wanting to be a man, and further that's expected as a 'successful woman' (if you have a career, say, or simply wanting to be good in physics class). However, if a man wants to exhibit feminine traits, it's not that they want to do something that makes sense (like compromising instead of dominating, or listening instead of rationalizing), but rather they often identify themselves or are culturally identified as 'feminine' or 'wanting to be a woman'. It hurts my head. Don't even get me started on 'feminine hobbies', such as cooking. Just how offensive is that-- let me count the ways. In a way, if a man wants to cook yet thinks he's getting soft/feminine by enjoying it, he's actually being a sexist asshole macho pig that doesn't deserve to be womanly, haha. To be honest, I often think I should accept people's being influenced by culture, as a nice liberal girl should, but it's just so stupid that I can't imagine anyone but an idiot would believe some of these stupid things no matter how they were raised.

In some ways, it's valid-- if you genuinely and honestly believe that gender is entirely cultural, I'm ok with you thinking skirts and pots are what makes one a woman. But if it's just an unquestioned assumption, it's just so offensive to me. I constantly battle with the whole 'social importance of dress/grooming' thing; my rejection of it is partly why it's like pulling teeth to get me to even bother with my appearance at all. I feel like I'm not just choosing to look better/neater/presentable, but suddenly choosing to play social/gender games and sending messages about my status and availability and even moral code, etcetc. I mean, at least if I look like a bum people just think I'm a bum. I actually like clothes a lot (that is, the artistic element of fashion), but to me it's just aesthetics, not ethics or socializing or communicating or self-definition. I can't imagine really honestly thinking that the way I dress defines me socially (vs showing people my taste/personality). Certainly, I can't imagine being ok with that. Certainly, I wouldn't easily wear a motorcycle jacket (say), but that's just 'cause I know it'd draw a certain kind of attention/assumptions. It's like, to me it's telling that these days both men and women may play sports-- but it's the men that would get defined by it. Women would 'just happen' to be in a volleyball team; men would be a 'volleyball player'. In general, the whole idea of a 'metrosexual' is that they care about their appearance and are therefore a bit 'off', or feminine. The truth is (I think), *most* men care about their appearance, but aren't honest with themselves and use different standards. Ugh.

I mean, sometimes I look at it and think, 'but all those so-called masculine traits are just excuses for idiocy, with the exception of rationality, but then who wouldn't want to be rational, and why does it have anything to do with gender'. I mean, to orient your gender around the need to kick things... I don't get it. Ok I get it, but it's so stupid, it's like pretending we're literally animals and/or have the IQ of children. No, children are smarter than 'typical men' sound like.

So yeah, I just don't get it. Maybe I don't want to get it. Maybe it's just that I know plenty of women who're nothing much like me, but are plenty 'feminine', and I think I'm equally 'female' or 'feminine' even if our behavior and beliefs differ significantly. I can only think it's that certain personality types are more common than others in males vs females? Plus the basic necessities of cultural expectations and family life? Or something. This is to say, I fully agree that there are mental aptitudes and hormonal tendencies that can be generalized by gender. But at the same time, it doesn't follow that if you display a different mental aptitude you're somehow the 'wrong' gender, or are behaving as a different gender. I don't see that at all. If I wanted to start a war tomorrow, that wouldn't make me manly, it'd make me homicidally insane. Or whatever. I feel like there's some sort of generalization fallacy at work somehow. If you're part of Group A by birth or choice, you may exhibit some properties of the group in general, but that doesn't mean you have to exhibit all the properties, or that if you exhibit properties not covered by Group A, you're suddenly Group B. I mean, what? The group != the individual.

Somehow I feel like I'll never get it. I mean, it's like if people said 'the French are so artsy, and the English so uptight', and suddenly you meet a French person that was uptight, does that mean they're suddenly 'really' English, or part-English, or even English-like? No, they're totally French. They're an uptight French person, that is all.

It's like this with everything, though, not just gender. People talk about how they're suddenly 'not really' their Myers-Briggs type if they exhibit different/new behaviors or skills. Like, people will say things like, 'I'm not totally emotional 100% of the time, so I can't be a Feeler, I must be a mixture of Feeler and Thinker'. No, you moron, you are a Feeler who can also think, just like every other Feeler. *headdesk*

Date: 2011-05-30 12:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sunnyteeth.livejournal.com
I had a lot of weird experiences with people making assumptions about me when I had very short hair; people automatically thought of me as butch. It wasn't just that random people assuming I was a dyke, it was also people who knew me and my personality (even a girl I was dating) suddenly thinking that because I had short hair, I was supposed to be more like a guy or supposed to be "the guy" in a relationship, which has always affronted me somewhat. I feel like I was treated and looked at distinctly differently just for having short hair.

I have a friend who doesn't identify as either gender. They were born female. But I was out with them (I'm bad at remembering exactly which gender-neutral pronouns so please pardon my lame "them"ing) and everyone called them "sir" due to the fact that they had hairy legs and short hair. It was just interesting.

Date: 2011-05-30 05:07 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] floorpigeon.livejournal.com
Man, that sounds frustrating! The whole idea of 'the guy' is so bleargh, honestly, though I feel a bit guilty since I buy into it somewhat with my playing around with 'who's the seme/top' in pairings, and sometimes thinking 'no, that character is sooo not the top' or whatever, haha, but in my defense I just limit it to 'who's more sexually dominant' by personality, not like... extending to their whole life and appearance, etc. This is the sort of thing that makes me agree with the theorists that say we all 'play' gender, that is to say it's an act. So by that metric, your ex-girlfriend was making assumptions about you based on this idea of 'acting' gender roles (that is, if you enact something, surely you must mean it, 'cause life just isn't any deeper than appearances/acting anyway). The hell of it is, most people (who are not you or me) probably *would* be intentionally broadcasting butch vibes with a certain kind of haircut. I mean, it's so stupid, but how many times have I overheard people (women) say stuff like they *can't* wear skirts. Why? They're not femme enough (often these women had short hair). I mean. *flails* In the end, now I feel like an impostor when I wear skirts myself 'cause I wonder 'AM I FEMME ENOUGH???' hahah. It's not like it's just a piece of clothing or anything. Of course not.

It has to be pretty weird to have a body-type that can get mistaken either way. I mean, there's also things like voice, mannerisms, etc, that generally skew heavily one gender or the other. It's funny 'cause, I mean, women have hairy legs, naturally. Haha dark-haired women, anyway. I seem to remember the days when short hair was just cute and pixie-ish... or was that all in my head....?


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the one who stumbled

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