Or, my final verdict on gender.
Mx. Punk, who I think is great, quoted me in zir* recent and wonderful post about gender. Which is super cool. Lil’ ol’ me ain’t been quoted nowhere before. The quote is from my post “Am I Sexist?” wherein, predictably, I wrote about my worries that my genderqueer identity is horribly sexist because it plays into stereotypes. I’ve been seeking answers and ranting about it for weeks. Zir article was partially in response to my statements.
Ze made one point about not dissecting things too much which I, as a rule, disagree with. No offense, it’s just the kind of person I am. I love getting to the Freudian bottom (!) of my own psychology. So I’m gonna subject all y’all to more of my rantings. But I think I might have it figured out this time.
Zir other, better point was that “many interactions between people are based on gender.” Aha. That was what struck home.
Though it’s an intensely personal matter now that we’re intelligent bipeds who don’t live in trees, the purpose of identity is really interpersonal relations. If we just hunted mammoths by ourselves all day, we wouldn’t need to be a unique snowflake. Identity came about when we wisened up and starting living in tribes– our roles changed as we grew older, and were based on our sex and our lineage and our history and our appearance. We started to know our place among other people, and from that role we gained pride, and that is where the idea of a positive identity came from. (In my humble opinion. As an amateur sociologist. Bear with me! (Grr!) I’m about to be right.)
And that’s what genderqueer is starting to mean to me. It means that I want to be free to be related to like a man. For example, a woman looks at a man and might desire him. Or a guy looks at another guy and sees somebody who might want to play Frisbee. It’s separate from the stereotypes, because it’s not a matter of how I want to act– I just don’t always want to be seen as intricately tied with my feminine body. Some people do, some people don’t; it’s not un-feminist either way. These gender roles transcend culture like archetypes– maybe the reasons the woman finds the man attractive are uniquely American, but her sex drive is not. The guy’s hope for athletic challenge is not limited to the contemporary sport of Frisbee; he seeks a companion to match his skill, which we can all understand. Are either of these things sexist? My answer is no.
I am not genderqueer because I dislike being a woman (although I do, for quite a few good reasons). I am not genderqueer because I prefer pants to dresses. I am not genderqueer because I fuck women, and not because I don’t like sports. I am genderqueer because there are more roles for me to play than the female ones of virgin, whore, wife, mother, crone, homemaker– though I do play them, sometimes enthusiastically. But I also intensely desire to play the game of life as a husband, a father, a boy, a hero, a wise man, a satyr. Or a shaman, which in many cultures are transgender or gender neutral. All of these roles fit me, at one time or another or all at once. It is seldom that I am appreciated for the many roles I can play, because of my female body, but I am genuinely each of them nonetheless. That is why I am genderqueer.
Gender evolved as a survival mechanism, but now that we have iPhones and flushing toilets, it has become a theatrical mask, and though some of us are character actors, others like to trade. There is nothing wrong with either choice.
Freud did not buy me a corsage. That motherfucker.
*My apologies for having to make this edit; I wasn’t sure what pronoun to use so I just went with the standard. For those of you that don’t know, these pronouns are gender neutral & rockin’.