Thursday, March 05, 2009

Post-binary Gender Chores

Clarification is the strongest ally of mine, so I am going to focus and expand on ideas I have previously written on: genderfuck and prescribed gender roles.

What is known: Gender is different from sex, though for the sake of simplicity in public schools (and not wanting to say “sex” to 8 year olds), the two terms begin to weave together to mean the same thing. They don’t. Sex is chromosomal. Sex is penis or vagina. Sometimes, we know, that people are born with the variety pack of sexual equipment. I do not know how often such an event occurs. That is not really the point. The point I am trying to make is that while my vagina does not interfere with my ability to reason, endure, or perform, it also does not determine any other emotional traits. One is not born predisposed to frolicking in the mud versus playing My Little Ponies.

What I am adding to this: I identify as a woman because I have all the girl parts. What is the difference? Do I therefore think only girl thoughts? In my Composition Theory and Rhetoric Pedagogy class several years ago, we studied the concept of gendered writing. Allegedly, men would write in a more direct, assertive manner than women. I can never figure out what is true or not because I think of myself as the odd one out, rather than normal enough the gauge such things. My academic writing is assertive as hell. I have a clear understanding of rhetoric, and I am not afraid to use it. My journal/blog writings fall into a different category because my imagined audience is different. I don’t know if my writing has gender. Maybe I could post a sample of my academic writings, and ask for a consensus. If boys are taught to be more assertive, then it would logically translate into their writing. . .but we are entering a different time and place. Girls today seem a whole lot more assertive than when I was their age, and that was not too long ago, so I can only imagine what the gap is like for those even older. (It’s a pain trying to maintain control of a classroom because of this, but it does make me secretly happy that girls are as willing to tell me to “fuck off” as the boys are)

Traits obtained through socialization are capable of being eradicated. I know I was not born with the desire to ask forgiveness for things that are not even my fault, and so, I changed this a long time ago when I realized I had taken up the habit I considered insipid and unnecessary. I’m not sorry for the way I look. I’m not sorry if I’m taking up too much space. I’m not sorry if I have offended anyone ever. I’m not sorry if you bumped into me. Somewhere along the way, we pick up these things. Women pick up the idea that they need to be nice to everybody all the time. That’s dangerous, in a bad way. Once we figure out that the snake is a snake, then we should work on subduing it, if we are not fond of snakes. I guess if somebody likes being a simp, they can take that route too.

What is the difference between boy and girl? Where does this intersect? I understand the need for women’s literature classes because women are still ignored by the canon, But, I fail to see how it is a genre. What is exclusive to the female experience, and what applies to the human condition, without gender specificity?

Genderfuck. I’ve written a lot about this one, and I don’t think I have come close to exhausting it, but I will address that in my zine. I have trouble understanding the idea of a “woman trapped in a man’s body” (or vice versa) because I can not grasp that the difference between man/woman, other than in the physiological sense. A woman may give birth, but she may be sterile, not interested in babies, in female-female relationships, or practicing safer sex. Childbirth is not mandatory (or womandatory, if I want to be cute about it). Is there anything non biological that is unique to sex and gender, beyond the response of culture and society to the gender?

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