Gender This!

Well, I’m back, and welcome to Season Two of Throw Oz Under The Bus Blog Challenge. Since last we met I quit my job, started my own business, edited another draft of my book, began renovating my home, and watched my mother die. It’s been a hell of a few months.

This week’s topic is brought to you by another of my dearest friends, Kevan. I was thinking that I’d just test the water, dip my toe in to see if I can get back into the swing of this blog challenge thing. Maybe write something silly like naked volleyball or fun like book genre as high school cliques. NOPE.

Instead, I got something along the lines of:

“Hey guys, I’m back from vacation, what have you got?”

“Oh nothing, just want you to talk about one of the most divisive topics plaguing our society today. And, you know, while you’re at it, could you go ahead and solve the nature vs nurture debate. That’d be great, thanks.”

Buggs Bunny Hot Tub

 More specifically—How fluid is gender identity during adolescence? How much is biology and how much psychology? What is the current consensus among professionals?

Are you kidding me? This is the most complex Blog Challenge I have faced. It’s going to take a while and I’m not sure where I’ll end up. I don’t have the time to mull this over and present you with a fully thought out philosophy so I’m going to have to basically work it out as I go, so please bear with me.

Also, for the first time I kind of feel like I need to give a disclaimer. At no time do I intend to give offence. I am an adamant supporter of all things LGBT. Anything that spews forth from my frenetic typing will come from a place of love and honest inquiry.

Having said that, fuck you if you are offended. Taking offence is a sign of insecurity. You are an adult, time to learn to hear a differing opinion without crying like a little bitch.

Shout in German

Now, ON with the challenge!

As with all complex issues it is important to define the terms before moving on. We have to agree on what exactly we are talking about before we can in fact talk about it. Here’s what I will mean with I use these words.

Sex: The naughty bits you were born with.

Gender: The state of being male or female typically used with reference to social and cultural differences rather than biological ones. (Oxford dictionary)

Man: Having a penis.

Woman: Having a vagina

Male: Having socially/culturally masculine qualities

Female: having socially/culturally feminine qualities

Now that I’ve stared at these terms for about an hour, I have a question, and I think the answer will lie at the heart of gender issues.

What does it mean to be masculine or feminine?

I’m going to talk mainly about masculinity, but the entire argument holds true for femininity. I remember hearing when I was a kid “Real men don’t eat quiche” and “Men don’t cry.” I eat quiche. I cry. Does that mean that I am not a man? Of course not. I have a penis, therefore I am a man. But, if society says that it is not masculine to cry or eat quiche, does that mean I can’t identify myself as male? What if I go to another country where it is fine for men to cry while they eat quiche? Does that mean I’m not male here but I am there? That’s just stupid.

Real Men Eat Anything

Where did the idea of masculinity come from anyway? It is from an idea that if you have a penis you are supposed to act a certain way. You have a dick so you should hunt, drink beer, and drive a big truck, have sex with women, and not do any of the things that you are supposed to do if you have a vagina. These are cultural stereotypes that simply ignore the fact that not everyone with a penis acts in this manner. The entire concept of “Masculine” is based on a false premise. It is archaic bullshit that purports to dictate how men are supposed to be instead of stating how men actually are. If to act in a masculine way is to act like a person with a penis, then it is masculine to have sex with men (or women), sing show tunes (or not), wear dresses (or not).

My conclusion—Gender is made up bullshit. To say that someone is not acting like a man is to be blind to the fact that the person is in fact a man and however that person acts is by definition manly. By extension (and this is where I might piss some people off) if you have a penis and you say you do not identify yourself as male (not counting transsexuals here), then you are also perpetuating the culture stereotypes of what a man should be. Don’t say “I’m not male because I wear makeup”, say “I’m a male AND I wear makeup.” It’s time to throw aside the very idea of gender. It does nothing but tell people how they are supposed to dress, who they are supposed to love, and how to act. We keep having to come up with new terms to account for the endless variety of human experiences and desires and personalities all because we can’t just admit it was all bullshit pigeonholing in the first place.

Gender is a construct

I’m going to put this line of thinking in another context. I am an atheist. According to most of the society in which I live, that means I hate God, have no moral compass, and I’m self-absorbed and egotistical. I do not identify myself with any of these assertions. Does that mean I can’t identify myself as an atheist? Or does it mean that most of society is full of people with no clue what it actually means to be an atheist?

Ok, I’m getting a little off topic.

Back to the specific questions Kevan asked.

How fluid is gender identity during adolescence? As I said, gender is made up bullshit. “Gender Identity” is as fluid as societal definitions of gender. If we tell little girls that climbing trees is for little boys, then the little girl might think it’s better to be thought of as a boy than to not climb trees. What would happen if we didn’t tell our children what is for boys and what is for girls? If we said girls can wear suits and ties, play with G.I. Joes, get in fights, drink beer, and watch football. Would that girl ever identify herself as anything other than a girl? I don’t think so. Whatever you like to do, whoever you love, however you dress, is perfectly normal for someone with your genitalia. Don’t let society determine who you are.

Rupaul

How much is biology and how much psychology? Fuck if I know. But this isn’t about what I know, is it? It’s about what I think, and I think psychology is dependent on biology. How you think is based on how your brain works. If who you are attracted to sexually is not a choice, but a matter of biology, it seems to me what you are attracted to culturally is also a matter of biology. Only the words you use to describe your place in society is based on your surroundings.

What is the current consensus among professionals? Fuck if I care. Professionals have pieces of paper that shows they can answer questions in the way the accrediting establishment requires. That doesn’t mean they know dick. They are the ones that came up with this gender separating bullshit in the first place.

Wow. That was a long one. I think I could go on about this for several more pages, but time is just about up. Let me know how I got everything wrong in the comments. Don’t worry, I’m an adult. I can handle whatever you have to say without crying like a little bitch.

Saying the Wrong Thing

Anyway, I hoped you enjoyed and thanks for reading. Find me on Facebook if you want to play next week.

 

~Oz