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?