My friend’s three year old son likes to wear the princess dress at his preschool. Every time she tells this story, people think its cute. I have never heard a negative reaction to it. I think its great, too but it makes me wonder at what age this behavior goes from cute to not alright? I personally think that whether behavior is acceptable or not is a matter of perception, so why do we as a society perceive that a three year old boy can wear a princess dress but it is not acceptable for an adult male to wear a dress or skirt?
Gender and gender expression is perplexing to me and the more I think about it, the more perplexing it is. Of course these are just my thoughts and opinions, I do not claim to speak for anyone else and I certainly don’t mean to offend anyone.
I was born with male parts but I am not sure that my gender is male. I am not even sure what makes ones gender male or female. It seems like it is just some random rules made up by society. In my posts I will refer to people born with female parts as women, girls, etc. and people born with male parts as men, boys, etc. but even this is not the most comfortable. I just don’t think we have the language to adequately describe a range of gender. Our language and our society is built around a binary gender system.
Ok, so the colored toes. Yes, I paint my toes. I like the look of painted toes and fingers. I like the splash of color it adds to my life. It makes me smile to look at them and it is exciting to see the wide range of colors you can use and the ease with which you can change them. I find it odd that because I was born with male parts I am not supposed to enjoy this little pleasure. I see a double standard, women can dress in men’s clothes but men can’t enjoy the wide variety of textures, colors and styles of women’s clothes. I guess men can, but there is a real risk of not only ridicule but even physical violence. I find that women have so many more choices and in general their clothes are so much more pretty. To add to that, they get to add color to their faces along with their finger nails and toe nails if they choose to . So my painted toes are my first step in adding a little of that color to my life.
Gender is a very personal thing I think and I don’t really believe the man or woman model really covers the wide range of people out there. This model makes a neat and easy way to label people we meet based on their appearance, actions and even pitch of their voice. I am getting a little tired of trying to fit into this nice neat little box that I have felt pressured to fit into my whole life. This box called male has been constructed and communicated to me by church, media and the people around me my whole life. There is a certain way a male is supposed to be and we get this message every day. Right now I am questioning why this message is out there and what happens when a person doesn’t fit into this system? Why does it seem it is more acceptable for a person born female to present as a male than a person born male to present as a female? Why do we have to have these labels anyway? Is gender necessary? The way I see it, sex is our physical make up and gender is more of an internal thing. Just so you don’t get confused, gender and sex are separate from sexuality. A male presenting as a female is not necessarily a homosexual, the same as a male presenting as a stereotypical macho guy is not necessarily heterosexual. In fact, this is another area where I think our limited language makes it confusing. If my gender is neither male nor female, and my preference is to have intimate relationships with females, does that make me homosexual or heterosexual? My take on it is that I am a unique human who would rather you get to know me than try to place labels on me. It takes more than one or two labels to capture my uniqueness.