Gender, Performativity, and the Binary

I spend a lot of time thinking about gender and appreciate hearing other individuals’ perspectives on it, whether they identify as male, female, or something else entirely (or partially). I think gender is mostly a social construct, by which I mean it is something we create through our expectations, values, and actions, not something that exists as its own thing. I think it’s interesting how two humans can do or feel things in incredibly similar ways yet be labeled differently just because of differences in their appearance, including genitalia and apparel.

I haven’t self-identified as female in 17 months, but I’ve been outside of the gender binary most of my life. I’ve taken joy in upsetting others’ perceptions of who I am since I was a kid. Reveled in others’ confusion over my gender. Smiled or laughed almost every single time someone thought I was a boy or man because I knew they were wrong and it was nice to have someone not be so sure of themselves for once. Because every single time a person has been sure I am a girl they have been wrong. They just don’t question it. There’s nothing wrong with being a girl and I’m not saying that “girl” isn’t some part of my identity, but it’s not my full story.

Gender is a security blanket we as a society hold on to for support but it doesn’t keep me warm. The binary system of male and female doesn’t support me. Gender can sometimes be a tool of empowerment for individuals but gender norms/roles can also be very restricting.

It’s totally okay if you strongly identify as male or female and delight in those identities, but one way you can refrain from hurting others is by not assuming their “gender” or values/experiences/hobbies/etc they might have because of that perceived or given gender. I personally think it’s pretty cool to talk to someone just as a person. Not as a person who is _____ gender.

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