Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What is it I Don't Even?

I had an interesting conversation yesterday, which mainly started with both of us being unable to articulate what we wanted to say (I will admit I was the worse of the two of us about it).  I had a question I wanted to ask, but  could just not get it to translate from my head to my mouth.  What we ultimately decided it boiled down to is: What is gender and how do you know you are the gender you are?

Now, before everyone jumps on me (I have very few readers, no one is actually going to care, but I still feel like this disclaimer is necessary), I want you to actually honestly think about the question.  I'm a woman, a semi-feminine woman.  But why?  Gender roles (ie women take care of the children and men are the bread winners, men like football, women like ballet) and gender presentation (ie women wear dresses, men wear suits and ties) are societal constructs.  Thus, this very deep seated feeling I have of: I am a woman seems unlikely strictly to be based on society.

I guess, even if the feeling is based strictly on societal norms, that doesn't invalidate the feeling.  But, at the same time, I don't identify as a woman because I like ballet or wear dresses.  I like ballet and wear dresses, yet those aren't defining features of my existence.  Defining features of my existence?  An open-mind, commitment to projects, a good work ethic, loyalty to my friends, willingness to help.  These are all things I define myself as and those things aren't gendered.  Tangible things that I define myself with? Stage management, writing, books, theatre in general.  And largely, I don't think of those things as gendered either (with the possible exception of stage management, which is sort of fascinating and I will discuss at a later date).

So why do I feel like a woman then?  Because I do have that strong feeling, which I know not everyone does.  I want society to view me as a woman, even though there is still blatant sexism in the world.  I like the pronoun she, though I could also be convinced to go by a gender neutral one probably.  I believe that people are equal. Woman, man, genderqueer.  I think that different and opposite but equal is bull shit.  So why then do I want to be seen and accepted as a woman?

So if I don't know the specific indicators of how I determined I am a woman, other than simply a gut feeling, what is gender?  Is it just that gut feeling?  I know it's supposed to have to do with societal concepts and your feelings about yourself but where do those feelings come from if they don't come from the societal constructs?

This post has had an enormous amount of questions, and the thing is, I just don't have any answers to them.  I really wish I did, but I just don't know.

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