In the post-modern world of gender, gender, gender where gender has become some sort of Swiss Army Knife that encompasses all those things we used to think of as sex or sex roles/gender roles it is hard not to give into the hegemonically pushed notion of there actually being a gender binary. After all such diverse groups as Trans-activist and Vogue magazine as well as Fundie religious folks of various stripes insist there is a real gender binary .
Twenty-five years ago or so when I first heard this one pushed I threw out women in the military or police who are still women and men in traditionally female considered professions.
Well merrily we roll along and it is 2017 and now if you don’t adhere to gender, gender, gender and don’t identify as transgender you are some how considered a gender variant.
Simone de Beauvoir is long dead and buried, besides even in translation The Second Sex is a slog to read. Besides isn’t it obsolete? Well no!
Masculinity and femininity are culturally defined and vary over time. Free people reject being defined by gender, gender, gender and the attendant corporate hard sales pitches.
We like what we like and don’t much care whether what we like is defined as masculine or feminine. We don’t let gender play that big a role in choosing to like an activity or not.
I never really out grew the 1960s and 1970s and era when both hippies and 1970s era dykes spit in the eye of the influence peddlers trying to sell us products by using a heavy dose of gender insecurity. Ignoring advertising or filing it under “Things to be skeptical of” immunizes one a bit from the propaganda of gender, gender, gender.
From The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/18/opinion/my-daughter-is-not-transgender-shes-a-tomboy.html
By Lisa Selin Davis
April 18, 2017
“I just wanted to check,” the teacher said. “Your child wants to be called a boy, right? Or is she a boy that wants to be called a girl? Which is it again?”
I cocked my head. I am used to correcting strangers, who mistake my 7-year-old daughter for a boy 100 percent of the time.
In fact, I love correcting them, making them reconsider their perceptions of what a girl looks like. But my daughter had been attending the after-school program where this woman taught for six months.
“She’s a girl,” I said. The woman looked unconvinced. “Really. She’s a girl, and you can refer to her as a girl.”
Later, when I relayed this conversation to my daughter, she said, “More girls should look like this so it’s more popular so grown-ups won’t be so confused.”
My daughter wears track pants and T-shirts. She has shaggy short hair (the look she requested from the hairdresser was “Luke Skywalker in Episode IV”). Most, but not all, of her friends are boys. She is sporty and strong, incredibly sweet, and a girl.
And yet she is asked by the pediatrician, by her teachers, by people who have known her for many years, if she feels like, or wants to be called, or wants to be, a boy.
In many ways, this is wonderful: It shows a much-needed sensitivity to gender nonconformity and transgender issues. It is considerate of adults to ask her — in the beginning.
But when they continue to question her gender identity — and are skeptical of her response — the message they send is that a girl cannot look and act like her and still be a girl.
She is not gender nonconforming. She is gender role nonconforming. She does not fit into the mold that we adults — who have increasingly eschewed millenniums-old gender roles ourselves, as women work outside the home and men participate in the domestic sphere — still impose upon our children.
Left alone, would boys really never wear pink? (That’s rhetorical — pink was for decades considered a masculine color.) Would girls naturally reject Matchbox cars? Of course not, but if they show preferences for these things, we label them. Somehow, as we have broadened our awareness of and support for gender nonconformity, we’ve narrowed what we think a boy or a girl can look like and do.