Thursday, December 29, 2011

*The Gender Part

I got so passionate about the last post that I forgot to address what I said I was going to do in the title - gender!

If 'cross, inter and trans' is the best way to do disciplines, then it follows that it's the best way to do gender as well.

What area of living needs more innovation to be poured into it than gender? Currently, I am worth less than 73% of a man in Australia. It's more in Sweden, less in Thailand and China, about the same in the US. Globally, women are forced to devalue themselves and men are forced to be oppressors.

If we treated what is female and what is male as equally acceptable, we would feel comfortable enough as individuals to express ourselves as we like. Gone will be the constructs of effeminate men or butch women. We will step outside those limiting gender categories and see everyone as an equal. Homosexuality has helped to shake up gender to some extent, but whether you like the company of women, men, both or neither, it's up to you to question the deeply ingrained values that so few of your contemporaries know how to swim against. Be different - take responsibility and help me bring about equality as soon as possible. :o)

So, let's take a look at some of the ways we can play with gender:

Cross-dressing

Our external appearance is one of the first thing anyone notices about us. Most of us don our apparel in a way that signifies which gender we identity with. What about if we become more androgynous? I bet clothes will become more androgynous in the future - less 'pink for girls, blue for boys' and more mixing and matching to suit the personality. I would like to see men's fashion become more, well, GaGa! We need to diversify male fashion, and to bring more dignity to womens - I would like less pressure to be 'revealing' and a greater emphasis on comfort. High heeled shoes aren't comfortable, and what does a brassiere do? It manipulates naturally loose-hanging pieces of flesh into a restrictive, uncomfortable, 'manageable' piece of decoration. There is some talk of it being bad for the breasts, and I can see (or rather, feel) why - bras are modern day torture devices. I want to let my body do what it will, not align it with the popular mould - which will change anyway. The women of the 1920s were right - let's burn those bras! :o) The modern day feminist movement has long frowned upon such radical notions, but when you realise that it's going to take 99 years (by the Guardian's estimate) for women to gain equal pay in the workplace, you realise that that's not a radical stance. That's a very repressed stance. Ok, I'm about to go off on a tangent --

Take a look at the Egyptian revolutions. What started as a secular movement for democracy was abducted by the majority, bringing it more in line with Islamic practices than was originally on the agenda. Likewise, the bra-burning avant garde of the 1920s was too far ahead of their time... modern day femism in 2011 hasn't caught up, and probably won't for a while yet. But, people, I do sometimes go without a bra... and I think that's what the future will see more and more women doing.

Intersex

I can only identify by name and media appearance two people who identify as intersex. One of them is a politician in Australia, and the other was a TEDxSydney speaker. Intersex people seem to be in a perfect place to innovate identity on the basis of individuality, take on the best parts of the worlds they see, and be confined by neither. I know the reality is much more discriminatory than I can imagine, but, just like mixed race people, they are helping all of us experiment our notions of gender into new realms.

- Okay, I'm exhausted... more later!




Trans, Inter & Cross (Disciplinary/Gender)

I quit university because I couldn't create a narrative of constant cross-disciplinary motion. Interdisciplinary journeys were (and remain) one of my biggest sources of inspiration. It's the combination of two areas of life that I see as intricately connected, an improvement upon a time when they remained locked in separate spheres.

We do a lot of harm to the pursuit of knowledge by seeking to isolate it into categories. Physical education is distinct from architecture, which is distinct from film studies. What's worse is that we've passed down these rigid restrictions from one century to another, hardening the divisions, creating rivalries between disciplines where there should be mutual affinity and a culture of collaboration.

At the time I quit, I was the only person I knew who was interested in pursuing such a future. Then, in 2010 I followed a prominent innovation expert on Twitter, and we had an exchange that helped me remember that I was exactly where I wanted to be. I don't want to be part of the marketplace of ideas, at least not in any traditional way.

It seems like everyone I get close to always tells me to stop changing. Yes - not to change, but to stop changing. Perhaps more accurately, adopt a state of stasis, a bubble of contentment in which limitations as dictated by the status quo are important and ultimately have more currency than my well-developed genius. "Be happy with what you have," they plead. But no one changed the world because they were happily devoted to meeting the needs other people wanted them to. I want different things to be expected of me. I want different rights and responsibilities - and I want them now.

I believe we are headed into a decade or two which will bring about deep cultural change. Are you ready to break some new ground?



Sunday, December 25, 2011

Fabulous Things About 2011

a) I discovered the joy of giving to charity with Kiva.org and Save the Children

b) I traveled to Thailand (Chiang Mai, Bangkok), Belgium (Brussels), Denmark (Copenhagen, Helsingor), Sweden (Stockholm), Spain (Barcelona, Figueres), Switzerland (Zurich), China (Hong Kong) and Thailand (Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai). I even went to Bellevue Hill in Sydney. ;o)

c) I met Elizabeth Briel, reconnected with Martin Goldstein, and even found a new postmodern friend.

d) I experimented with my appearance, acquiring two new glasses frames, and a new hairstyle.

e) I decided to purchase a property... it will probably be in Chiang Mai, and it will take 2-3 years to save up for it, which means I won't be doing much of any kind of travel until then... but it will be worth it when I have the freedom to live there for as many months of the year as I like, and explore the region in depth.

f) I got a MacBook of my very own

g) I am meditating with the help of lovely audio texts, finding more inner peace and all that

h) I wrote some things I'm very proud of on this very blog

i) I met some new and interesting people in Thailand, and online

j) Other stuff that I can't remember right now... Happy End of Year Daze ~*~

Favourite Songs of the Year

In no particular order:


'Dragons' by The Green Children


'Honestly' by Kelly Clarkson



'Jerome' by Lykke Li


'I Wanna Go' by Britney Spears


'Crystalline' by Bjork


'Bitter is the Sweetest Part' by Vanbot


'Marry the Night' by Lady GaGa