Even Without Insomnia

19 Oct

“A girl was not, as I had supposed, simply what I was; it was what I had to become. It was a definition, always touched with emphasis, with reproach and disappointment. Also it was a joke on me.”

– Alice Munro, Boys and Girls [x]

I keep reading this quote and I don’t quite know what to say about it other than that every time I read it I feel like it explains a feeling that I carry with me all the time and have no words for.  Like how your voice sounds different when you hear it played back because it’s missing the essential element of the reverberation of being inside your own head.

Girlhood, womanhood, femininity.  I’ve never felt like these words really described me.  I’m a straight woman.  No doubt about that.  One look at me in my skinny jeans and tank top tell you I’m a product of my surroundings.  However, I’m not into florals (though I must say I’ve been trying lately), I sit like a lumberjack half the time and I learned how to chew in public from my dad.  Which means I do not – as Amanda Bynes would say – chew like I have a secret.

In my life the performance of gender seems like

My female-ness doesn’t define me.  It doesn’t stop me from being the best air caster-user in the room.  My sparkly nail polish doesn’t prevent me from using my hands to carry heavy things.  My femaleness doesn’t make me one iota better or worse than anyone else at my job or in any other aspect of my life.

“Gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original; in fact, it is a kind of imitation that produces the very notion of the original as an effect and consequence of the imitation itself.”

– Judith Butler, ‘Imitation & Gender Insubordination’ [x]

I look at the women on the cover of magazines and I just want to say “You’re not fooling me.  I know you’re uncomfortable in that.  I know you’re lying on that fur rug wondering if this is what Capital-S-Sexy is supposed to feel like.”  You’re just as human as I am.  At least I’m willing to say it out loud.

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