Go home, gender, you’re not the boss of me

I subscribe to a lot of blogs on a lot of different topics: polyamory, BDSM, mental health and clothes free living, to name just a few. Lots of things are of interest to me and I try to make an effort to keep up to date with my reading (otherwise, I end up having to do a huge binge session to catch up).

Lately, I’ve noticed my mind seems to spend a lot of time trying to figure out the writer’s sex. If it’s not obvious, I look for clues, such as what gender is the love interest they’re talking about? As if that will help. This morning, in the shower, I asked myself why this even matters. Does knowing whether they’re a man, woman or something more fluid make the story any different or their writing more interesting? The answer is no, it changes nothing.

It’s weird how gender takes such a prominent role in our lives. In real life, we look to people’s names and faces, the way they dress and present themselves to tell us what gender they identify with. As if this really matters. None of these things tell us what kind of person they are. Will they be our new best friend? Help us if we’re hurt or lost? Or will they rob us or murder us in our sleep? We can’t tell any of this simply by looking at someone. Although if you’re a female-identifying woman looking at a strange man in a dark alley, you might think otherwise (but that’s a different story for another day).

When it comes down to it, gender is something we’ve learnt to perform and, more and more, it’s becoming a shackle people are choosing to free themselves from. I wonder how many people have gone through life feeling like the sex organ between their legs has way too much power over how they present themselves.

Why is it that a skirt or dress is considered feminine attire? Why shouldn’t men have the chance to wear a summer dress and feel how wonderful it is when a breeze blows and lifts their skirt ever so slightly. We all deserve our Marilyn Monroe Seven Year Itch moment (if we want it). We should all be able to feel the glory of freshly shaved or waxed legs, without having to be cyclists or suspected of being gay. Why is a woman with a shaved head and pants seen as butch? Is low maintenance style and comfortable attire solely the domain of men? Plus how amazing does it feel when you go for a swim and can just palm the water out of your hair? When your lover – male or female – can feel the ticklish bristle of your hair against their palms (or inner thighs)?

Yes, these are stereotypes but that’s how these things work. It’s ridiculous to me that one way of being should solely belong to one gender because what? Tradition? Pink is for girls and blue is for boys. Girls play with Barbies and kitchen sets while boys play with trucks and GI Joes (also dolls by the way). Girls wear makeup and boys don’t. Girls wear skirts/dresses and boys wear shorts/pants. Although, that’s a bit more fluid nowadays seeing as women can now wear pants/shorts. The same doesn’t usually track for men though, unless it’s their buck’s party.

I feel like these things they tell us when we’re little are some of the most damaging statements of our lives. Because for every child that’s ok with traditional gender roles, there are many more than feel isolated by them because they don’t fit in. And how many children follow along just because. Imagine the personality and creativity we’re stifling by setting up these ideals for what men and women should be – never mind the fact that we don’t have to pick between the two anymore (that’s if we ever did).

We should definitely have more freedom to express ourselves without having to worry about how we fit into these strict gender boxes that really make no sense at all.  Because, really, what is feminine and masculine besides something society has created to control us?

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4 thoughts on “Go home, gender, you’re not the boss of me

  1. Ah, the gender issue. Consult a dictionary and you’d see that the definition of gender is the act of being male or female or, socially,here are the things our social contract says men are supposed to do and here are the things women are supposed to do and these roles are governed by our accepted morality. Can you be male but feel/believe you’re better suited for the female gender role? Yes… but our moral and social norms do not account for this. Men can wear dresses – it’s currently a trend right this moment and male cross dressers have been around for the longest time. It’s right for them, not so much where our norms are concerned.

    For the longest time, women dressing like men, i.e., wearing pants, was unheard of but we can easier accept a woman wearing a tailored three piece suit and tie than we can accept a man wearing the latest Gucci creation… because, the accepted gender roles and rules say that men are not supposed to wear dresses, skirts, bras, or other female accoutrements.

    And we are not supposed to change our sex to match our gender identity.

    Gender is being redefined these days and a lot of people are rejecting “traditional” gender roles as if they have no meaning any longer… and I’m not sure if this is a good or bad thing. My sex is male, my gender role is male, and I’m bisexual, which gets me into some female gender roles the norms say are solely and uniquely female, like giving guys head and getting screwed. In my good old days, that would put my gender under intense, prejudicial scrutiny; but, today, I can do these things and still be considered male and in every way that means.

    The confusing part is it’s not what you do as much as how one thinks of themselves in this; the biology doesn’t match what’s going on in someone’s head and that doesn’t match the roles that have been in existence since like forever; open a bible and read Genesis and you’ll see when the gender roles were created. Ya might not believe what the Good Book says, but neither can we deny that these roles exist and they exist for a reason. Otherwise, what’s all the fuss about over gender?

    Does it matter a whole lot? No, not really, but gender is a part of our social identity and it’s the thing that sets us on a path in our lives. Admittedly, I have a problems trying to understand why someone would reject gender – but just because it doesn’t make sense to me doesn’t mean it doesn’t make sense to someone else.

    All I really know is that I have no reason to diss the male gender role and doing the things men are supposed to do with some, ah, nice exceptions, of course, but no – not ever gonna wear a dress even though I could.

    Gender roles have been forever tied to the sex we are born into and they can be directly related to making babies; men provide the sperm, women the eggs and they work together to provide for each other and all that’s required each and every time the cycle repeats. But whe these things were established, no one had a clue of how humans would evolve and what the 21st century would bring to the table. These things, until now, never had a reason to be changed or modified and while this is apparently happening, the concept of what it means to be male or female hasn’t changed. And as long as the majority says that men do this, behave like that, and don’t do female things – and the opposite for women – this will be a bone of contention.

    This very issue is also at the root of the angst against homosexuality and bisexuality… but at the end of any day, whether you accept the roles as assigned or not doesn’t matter – it’s what kind of person you are that does.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think gender roles are easier to accept when you’re born into the gender you identify with. However if you were born a man, but identified female or were perhaps gender fluid then you’d see exactly how confining gender roles can be. Personally, I think we learn gender and, in many cases, I think the stereotypes it teaches us are negative things that hold us back from being who we want to be.

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