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!




No comments:

Post a Comment