Tag Archives: Gender

Learning Gender Expectations

21 Mar

Hell yes Planned Parenthood LA!

I love this video (which actually has nothing to do with eggs or sperm) about how we’re taught about gender binary and expectations.

Yes for distinctions between Sex and Gender! Yes for all of this!

I’m The Casanova

13 Jan

The more I date and talk with and befriend men the more I laugh at the stereotype that all men just want sex.

I. Making a generalization about an entire group of people based on their Gender. Always gross.

II. In many of my exchanges with men, it is the other way around and they’re seeking a more romantic connection than I am. Guys I’m friends with, guys who flirt with me in bars, in general guys I talk to, if you listen hard enough, want a girl they can come home to.

III. It would appear the research agrees with me.

IV. I’ve been touched so gently by men who I could toss to the floor. I wouldn’t of course (unless they asked) because cruelty for the sake of cruelty isn’t cool. But living life looking out through the window of my own self I always thought that if I got to make the social constructs based on my own feelings then the roles would be reversed. That women would be these flighty sex crazed maniacs and men would be the ones trying to get us to pin us down, like butterflies who would rather be in the sun flitting about.

Then again my parents had a very particular relationship.

Here’s the question I spend a lot of time thinking about:

What do men gain by propagating the myth that all they want is sex when really the odds aren’t incredibly high?

In any given year, as many as twenty percent of young men – about one guy in five – might be living a player lifestyle. But only about five percent, or one guy in twenty, does this for three straight years. [x]

Or maybe I shouldn’t be projecting my experience onto women in general and it’s just that on the inside those odds would be true of all people regardless of gender if we let ourselves do what we wanted to do.

I Dreamed You Into Life

7 Jan

“She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there, leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”

– J.D. Salinger, A Girl I Knew 

There’s a John Green book that I’m looking forward to reading about a girl who people perceive differently.  Each person in the book imagines her to be a different person they want her to be rather than listening to who she actually is herself.

I think it’s an incredible concept because I think everyone imagines everyone else to some extent.  Because I wonder all the time.

“The fundamental mistake I had always made – and that she had, in fairness, always led me to make – was this: Margo was not a miracle. She was not an adventure. She was not a fine and precious thing. She was a girl.”

– Quentin Jacobsen, Paper Towns

I don’t think anyone thinks I’m any kind of miracle.  I don’t think anyone thinks I’m an adventure.  But I do wonder sometimes if this is all having a type really is.  A kind of person you’re accustomed to projecting your dreams on.

“I’m just saying that it was easy for me to like Lacey before. It’s easy to like someone from a distance. But when she stopped being this amazing unattainable thing or whatever, and started being, like, just a regular girl with a weird relationship with food and frequent crankiness who’s kinda bossy- then I had to basically start liking a whole different person.”

– John Green, Paper Towns

This is the problem with sayings like “Girls are made of sugar and spice and everything nice,” or “Girls don’t fart.  Fact.”  It’s just not true.  We’re made of muscles and bones and brains and awesomeness.  We aren’t here to be what is in your heart, to be your soul mate or to help you become the man you were meant to be.  We’re here to be awesome and to be ourselves, just like you.

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.

If You Don’t Think I’m Funny Then You Can Leave

7 Oct

Today I was having a discussion with a new friend about how there’s a guy who seems to be trying to impress me with how funny he can be.

I read her our text conversation and she laughed out loud and said “You’re so much funnier than he is!”

And based on the very little I know about this man (less than a dozen text messages), it’s true.  I am funnier than he is.

And it reminded me of a bar I went to last summer.  Or more specifically a drunk ‘comedian’ I met at that bar.

My friend was dating a male model at the time and I enjoyed hanging out with her and watching her cuteness grow exponentially when adjacent to his beautifulness so I went.  They told me they were bringing one of his friends.  This friend was apparently tall, Jewish and funny.  What’s not to love?

This guy may have been a Jew but he was certainly neither tall nor even moderately funny.  What he was, was drunk.  Very drunk.  And I’m sure his drunkenness made him even less funny than I’m sure he naturally is.

And it must be said that knowing a funny man was my setup, I brought my funnybone along too.  And this is what I realized that night.

You don’t have to be the funniest guy in the room for me to like you.  I’ve had plenty of crushes on guys who are quiet in groups.  As long as you make me laugh when we’re alone, then I don’t mind if I have to be the entertaining half of this couple at dinner parties.

I also wouldn’t mind being with the funniest guy in the room.  That would be fun too I’m sure.

The one thing I do know I couldn’t live with is a guy who resented the fact that I was funnier than he was, who clearly felt that he was diminished by my having excellent (if only occasionally so) vocabulary.

I’ve heard it said that men want a woman with a good sense of humor (someone who laughs at his jokes) and women want a man with a good sense of humor (someone who makes her laugh).  This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard and I hate it.  

If you don’t laugh at what I find funny then I don’t want to sleep with you.  And if you additionally are embarrassed by having a girlfriend who does funny things that men are commended for on a daily basis then you are dismissed.


There Can Never Be Too Many Pockets

27 Sep

Some days I think that the simplest mark of the patriarchy we live in lies in my pants.

Pockets.

Men have so many pockets and I have none.

Dudes get to wear cargo pants.  I can’t even count the pockets on a pair of those. They get breast pockets that are actually useful unlike the sorry excuse for breast pockets on women’s shirts.

Even dance/exercise pants have more pockets for men than women.

Look at these great men’s biking pants from lululemon with all those useful pockets!

Meanwhile when I look at their version for women I find myself being impressed by the fact that they have a pocket to hold a key while you run.

They might even have two pockets!  How exciting is that?  Because in my experience the exercise clothing I’ve been encouraged to wear in the past have looked a lot more like this.

And I’m not even going to comment on that top.

Just another reminder that showing off my sexy female body is so much more important than being a useful human being with keys, money, a phone…

Also, the day I discovered that men’s suit jackets have secret inside pocket I just about died of jealousy.

Stop Constructing My Gender!

29 Mar

And you don’t think your words and media affect people?