The other night I watched Patti Smith’s Dream of Life on PBS. Patti rocks as an artist, poet, mother and person. Beat, hippie, punk rocker.
She is iconoclastic.
To me gender is advertising and selling of sexism. Gender is the preaching of misogynistic roles that condemn women to secondary lives of servitude.
It says that it isn’t enough to simply be male because there is a dick between your legs or female because there is a pussy there. Instead gender says those physical aspects are not the most important but instead the important thing is how closely you adhere to these socially defined roles.
I do not see gender as a binary that defines one as male or female.
It could take a long paragraph or an entire biography to describe my gender since it would subject all those questions on the MMPI to intense scrutiny and not a dialectical analysis.
Some people get angry with me when I complicate my gender with words like hippie, soft dyke, political, working class. I’m not a “lady” and jump in the shit of people who tell me it is important for women to be ladies. I ask, “Why?”
I do not believe in fascist “family values”. That is where all this gender crap lives.
The TV droned in the back ground today as I kicked back and read. There was a lot of mindless drivel on. Bowl games, reality shows, and endless advertising. Really stupid sexist advertising with people acting more bizarrely than in some absurdist play. The men are all hypermasculine, moronic, chest thumping, obese dickwads who need viagra or some other hard-on pill and the women are hairless equally stupid skanks plastered with more make-up and more stereotype projecting than 99.99% of the drag queens I have known.
I work in a big box where I see all these little boys being indoctrinated with this mindless masculinity out of fear that if they don’t turn in to these hypermasculine stereotype they will grow up gay. All the little girls are slathered in pink, taught to stay virgin skanks until marriage.
Kathy Griffith nailed it last night with a bit about Milley Cyrus/Hannah Montana at the Grammys practically flashing while sliding up and down a stripper pole.
In a world where this sort of fundamentalist think is the norm there will be a substantial minority who will not conform, perhaps even a majority since TV Nation/Commercial Nation is totally divorced from reality. Does this make everyone who fails to conform to this fictitious binary some sort of “gender variant”?
I think of how kids police each other for any failure to adhere to these fictitious stereotypes created by the media. “That’s sooo gay!”
When in reality some of the stereotypical sexualized gendered behavior thrust on little kids almost matches Mackenzie Phillips’ book about consensual incest with her father for creepiness it becomes time to question what purpose gender serves.
Now I’m not talking about some internal sense of self as male or female. Calling that gender and confusing that sense of self with all sorts of externally indoctrinated plastic fantastic crap only serves those doing the programming.
And chances are most consumers of gender aren’t consciously doing the programming. Women aren’t being served by programming that teaches them that “real women” are submissive consumers of shiny objects who need to look to men and god rather than to themselves for wisdom and knowledge.
Being a man or woman isn’t dependent upon the clothes on your back, the car you drive or other products you consume.
Yet the superficial is what is sold and too often that is all there is to gender, roles played, clothes worn, products bought and consumed.
The biggest threat from the hippies of the 1960s and the punk rockers a few years later was their anti-consumption. It was their showing the plastic emptiness of replacing life with consumer objects.
I’m reading Pam Tent’s book about the Cockettes, a theatrical troupe in early 1970s San Francisco. About 9 room flats rented communally for $225, thrift store clothes and the wonderful creativity before the New York critics tore them apart. They fucked with gender and all its stereotypes and offered a savage critique of the artificiality of gender roles.
Patti Smith, Chrissie Hynde, Suzi Quatro, the Runaways and all the rocker girls/women who wore black leather jackets and rejected indoctrinated and advertised plastic femininity offered a critique of gender as commercial artifact.
So now we have the transgender as umbrella advocates hanging their human rights not on freedom to be, not on freedom of expression but rather on this fictional idea of gender as something real rather than something that is the product of indoctrination and advertising.