Saturday, May 31, 2008

These long links are really messing up my layout
Anyway. Let's talk about sex change operations. Well, no. Let's talk about what it means to be a woman.

Excerpt: "We meet at her home in Lytham, the small seaside town near Blackpool, and it is hard to picture this heavily made-up brunette as a respected Army captain. Her femininity may still be challenged by a husky voice and unmistakably broad shoulders, but her size 12 shape is remarkably womanly.
Her new body is hugged by blue jeans, a fitted jacket and a tight vest top which highlights the cleavage of her breast implants. She towers in stiletto ankle boots that add unnecessary inches, yet says her frame is rapidly diminishing as oestrogen hormone therapy atrophies her muscle mass.
Her flat is a paean to feminine taste, all mauve drapes, vases of lilies, bowls of toffees on glass tables, next to a Sophia Loren book called Women And Beauty."

I have no idea what it's like to feel like you're the wrong gender. Scary and frustrating to a level I have never experienced, I imagine. But when I read the above, I thought, "s/he's more girly than I am!" I am rather girly. I squeal when I'm excited. I like sparkly things, and you know, girly stuff. But it sounds to me like Jan's trying a little too hard (she does have something to prove). Or maybe she just really likes mauve. But I honestly don't understand... well, I don't understand gender issues. I went to a women's college and they tried to "shape" my life and teach me about how men were constantly making life so terribly unfair for women (but never teaching us what to DO about it, other than voting for Hillary. Um, no) but at the same time how gender is "fluid" (does that sound gross? I think it's just the word "fluid." Sorry, I'll grow up now).

And, since I recently saw Sex and the City, I'm in kind of a "NO! That is not what being a woman is about! Wasting money on expensive shoes when we could be feeding starving people is NOT womanly. It's just retarded" kind of mood.

I've neer been sorry I'm a woman, but a lot of that is probably because I've never thought "I can't do what I want because I'm a woman." Well, except lift heavy things. But that's not really because I'm a woman - it's because I'm freaking tiny, and not like my friend Dana, who has these broad shoulders and could probably carry her boyfriend up a hill if she had to and is totally beautiful.

I don't know what women are "supposed" to be in our society. People complain about how women are expected to be dainty and weak, but I don't know who expects that. Plenty of people over the years have expected women to be strong (anyone remember the Great Depression?) If a lot of people expected me to be weak, I would probably be in a rage all the time. But even growing up in what I guess was a conservative household (Dad worked, Mom raised me and planted things and volunteered) I never felt like I was limited by being a girl (except for the overprotectiveness thing... which I totally understand, actually... "Look at those girl out at the mall with no parents around! How easily could they be kidnapped? I don't think they know kung fu!" Just wait 'til I'm a mom, oh man...).

Well, there was this one time. Mom didn't think playing bass (upright... yeah, the BIG violin thing, uh huh) was "ladylike." Too bad - I'd already seen that Elvis movie where the guy lays the bass on its side, stands on it, and plays rock and roll (BTW, don't stand on your bass. They are wood and can break. Fortunately, this has never happened to me, I swear). I told my girl friends in about 3rd grade after I'd seen the movie that I was gonna play bass someday. They were like, yeah, uh huh, right. I don't know why; I think they were just being contrary. One of those girls, who I met up with a couple years ago, didn't remember saying that and didn't know why she would have. Silly elementary school things.

So, when 6th grade orchestra started, I signed up to play bass. The teacher, a woman, said, if you can carry it, you can play it. Fortunately, basses are hollow, so that worked (I can actually lift one above my head and carry it across a crowded practice room - it's more a matter of balance than strength). And now, my mum realizes that, as I'm rather ladylike (ignore the manly belching, please; it's involuntary. Usually.), playing bass does not make a woman unladylike. And of course Mom's proud of my musical accomplishments.

But, as much as you hear about glass ceilings and such, in certain areas in a lot easier for women to be "manly" than for men to be "womanly," which isn't really fair. There's no reason why men can't wear skirts (ask the Scots) or paint their nails (although, as I haven't painted mine in years, I personally would not date a man who's all into manicures... but then again, I don't think metro guys are really worried about what I think of them ^_^ ). Oh, guess who's had nailpolish on his nails more recently than I have - my DAD! Mr. former Navy so not feminine in any way doesn't want his nails to look like total crap. And as he wouldn't know how to fix them himself he's has had a couple manicures, even with some clear polish (which he didn't like, but when he realized that buffing makes his nails shiny anyway, he was like, oh well).

There are just too many issues in this gender topic to really go into it (like, what about boys who like to play with tea sets and Barbies but are straight? I remember reading an article in class about boys who think they're gay bc they like to do ballet or whatever and then realize, wait... I actually don't like guys... I like chicks... hm).

I do tend to think that men and women have some inherent differences/gender defining qualities, but they're manifested in a variety of ways, and it doesn't make sense to say "only women like such and such" or "that's a man thing." I think we cause trouble for ourselves when we try to define gender by likes and dislikes and colors and shoes and jobs.

I guess I wonder if we did that less, would Jan have felt the need to physically become a woman? Maybe, but would that be the case with all transvestites? She said it's really important for her to be seen as a woman, and I think that's similar to how it's really important for women to be seen as the type of woman they want to be seen as (hot, fashionable, strong, dangerous, whatever). *Shrug*

Well, this has been rambly. Time to be productive.

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