Friday, June 26, 2009

Something to chew on:

"[...] [G]ender is a way of seeing: black-and-white glasses through which we view a Technicolor world."
- Riki Wilchins, "It's Your Gender, Stupid!"

Sunday, June 21, 2009


I hate shopping for clothes.

Now, don't get me wrong, I fucking love shopping. It is one of the few ways that I conform to my gender role. I can spend hours in a shopping mall, and I don't care what that says about me, I love spending money on myself. I like to think of it as expensive narcissism more than femininity.

But clothes shopping, though one of my favorites, is a constant frustration for me.

Why? Because nothing fits me. No, this isn't going to be an "omg i'm so fat & every1 else is so skinny" post. I couldn't give less of a shit about my weight if I tried.

My gripe with clothing is (surprise!) gender-related. Go into a store and look at the different sections for different genders. Clearly, there have to be separated sections because certain pieces of clothing have to be tailored differently to fit each sex's body shapes. But look at the styles, too. Very few styles overlap.

Why? Why can't you get a pair of shorts that look identical to men's shorts but in women's sizes? Sure, both sections have cargo shorts, but the women's shorts are going to be less baggy and, usually, shorter. I don't like my shorts above my knee and I like to have a lot of room in them. Hence, I shop in the men's section, not because I am male but because the women's section doesn't cater to my desires.

But then, I run into another problem. I have hips. Everyone has hips, but because my body is engineered for childbirth, mine are wider than my penis'd counterparts. Men's shorts do not accommodate my hips. So, I buy a pair that is 2 sizes too big and then must invest in a belt, which then causes me to shop in the men's department because all of the women's belts are sparkly, rhinestone'd, and/or adorned with butterflies, which then causes me to have to get the smallest size belt, which is STILL too big, and create my own extra hole so that it will make my shorts fit me.

Don't even get my started on shirts. I'm just getting to the point in my life where my narrow shoulders and I are making amends. I'm going to find whoever started the "let's wear our t-shirts so big they look like hospital gowns" fad and beat the shit out of him because now, even an extra small men's t-shirt looks like a dress on me. I sure as hell can't shop in the women's department because I'm not interested in a.) showing off my cleavage, b.) pastel colors, c.) bunches/ruffles/frills, or d.) squeezing into a shirt like its made of spandex. I want to be able to breathe but I don't want to look like I'm swimming in my dad's old clothing.

Jeans are a fucking debacle because, again, there is this assumption that because I have a vagina, I have this overwhelming urge to squeeze into skin tight denim and appear as though my jeans are painted on. Denim is merciless when it comes to my hips so men's jeans are out of the question. When I finally find a women's pair that is loose enough, they're about a foot too long and I'm so close to ripping my hair out of my head, I don't even give a shit about buying new pants at all anymore.

American Eagle is the best place I've found for my dilemma, but even they have their faults. Their X-Small button up shirts fit my shoulders, but again, my hips aren't accommodated, as the shirt doesn't widen toward the bottom like a women's shirt would. They're fine to wear unbuttoned but otherwise, I'm out of luck.

So, all griping and complaining aside, why is clothing still gendered? As I said, I understand that, biologically, males and females have different body structures (trust me, my hips remind me of this every day). But why, when a pair of girl's jeans are modeled like men's jeans, they're called "Boyfriend" jeans? Why is the entire women's section of Modell's a swamp of pastels and flowers? Why can't I find a plaid button down shirt in the women's department that isn't sparkly and ruffled? Why, in 2009, are we still pinned to the wall with little labels on our clothing based on our genitals?

Where the hell is my genderqueer department store?

Friday, June 12, 2009

I am not transgendered

That's right, you heard me. I am breaking my association with the term "transgender." No longer will I consider myself to be "transgender(ed)," nor do I want people to refer to me as such.

I haven't had a chance to get into a real gender rant on here, which is a shame, but I guess now is as good a time as any. This is a good gateway into my anti-binary tirade.

So. Why not "transgender?"

Referring to myself as "transgendered" implies and requires that I believe in that which we call the "gender binary." Which I do not. By claiming that I am "transgressing" societal laws and expectations of gender, I am accepting and putting my faith in the binary. I do not and will not ever allow that to happen.

This has been the big thing that has been confusing the shit out of me ever since I first thought I might be "different." I've always been simultaneously disgusted and jealous of the male body. When I look at the tan, buff guys that most teenaged girls croon and swoon over, I was crooning and swooning because I wanted to look like that. Why? I thought it was because I wanted to be a man, and I did, but for all the wrong reasons.

I thought that being a man would make me feel normal. I thought that my body had to match my insides in that, well, I act like a man, so I should look like one in order to fit in.

This, I realize now, is bullshit.

Why should I feel like I need to have a penis in order to be who I want to be? I like my body. I like what I've got. Why the hell should I feel like a stranger in a body that I am perfectly happy with? Because of the gender binary.

The gender binary tells us that you are either one thing or another and whichever side you ascribe to has certain expectations and limitations. If you are male, you don't wear a dress, you don't paint your nails, you don't shave your legs, and you have a certain name that announces that you are male. If you are female, you shave your legs, you wear make-up, you wear a dress to be formal, and you, too, have a name that announces what is swinging (or not) between your legs.

Yes, yes, I know, things have gotten more lenient as the times go by. But we are still stuck in this "check one of two boxes" system of oppression and bullshit. Why shouldn't someone with a penis be able to wear a dress and high heels and not be called a "drag queen" or "fairy" or "faggot?" Why can't he just be himself and who gives a fuck who or how he fucks?

By society's standards, I act like a man. Therefore, I must not have breasts and have a penis. SURPRISE. This could not be further from the truth, and maybe I'm okay with that.

Clearly, I am not discrediting transgendered people who undergo surgery. Whatever you need to do to feel confident in your own skin, you do it. But I just wonder how much of it is societal pressure? How many people who have dished out $15,000+ on sexual reassignment surgery just because the rest of the world decided that their body didn't fit who they were on the inside.

How many people would not have had to do that if we didn't still ascribe to the ideals of a dual-gender only system? If it was socially acceptable for someone with a penis to be sensitive, giggly, and wear pink. If it was socially acceptable for someone with a vagina to be hairy, never wear a dress, and be expected to pick up heavy objects.

Society was --and still is-- telling me that in order to be me, I need to inject hormones and have my breasts surgically removed. It's something that I'm still struggling with. Every day, I flip flop back and forth. Sometimes, I'm a confident anti-binary tyrant. Other times, I'm minutes away from making appointments to start hormone therapy.

It feels like things would be so much easier. I wouldn't have to deal with half the shit I get if my outside matched my inside. My unshaven legs would not be the talk of my old high school when I come home from college. My "dykey" haircut would no longer be just that--"dykey." I would not be expected to do or say half or most of the things that I am expected to because of my body parts.

I know, I know, fight it, man, just give 'em the ol' "Fuck You!" and don't conform! But it's not that easy. Not when I'm surrounded by all these images of attractive guys, scruffy guys with solid jawlines and broad shoulders, and I'm told that THIS is a real man.

I don't even know what the flying fuck a "real" man is on the inside, anyway. Does he drink beer, fart a lot, and beat his girlfriend? Does he hold open doors and lay his jacket over puddles for ladies to step over? What about someone who acts like a "real man" but doesn't have a penis? "Oh, shit," says the Binary. "We didn't think of that, did we?"

If there was no binary, would I be so fucking distraught?

I am not a woman. I am not a man. I am a human with certain organs that do not define what I do or who I am.

Fuck gender.