Monday, June 12, 2017

Shifting identities

When I'm around women, I tend to be more assertive than I am with men. I am more likely to make a bold point, demonstrate leadership skills, and generally be more in touch with and exercise my sense of agency. Around men, it is a struggle to perform just a fraction of the same self-assuredness, because they operate on the assumption that they will be taking the lead.
This is one reason why I prefer talking with women.
I believe a same-sex high school education has led me to appreciate the company of women from an early stage. I learnt that there are greater possibilities for personality development if I'm in the company of other females, free from the pressure to reproduce the structural inequalities deeply entrenched in our society. We are still to be found working within limitations of what is socially acceptable, but there is less of a male presence to worry about appeasing. When the guys have left the room, we are left on equal footing. And I like being in the company of equals. I value it a lot.
In a very practical sense, I am gay. I identify as bisexual officially, however it's mostly in theory that men remain viable alternatives. To be woman-focused is to prioritise my own self-development, to fiercely guard my ability to actualise parts of my personalities scathingly regarded amongst mainstream masculinities.
To live in 2017 Australia is a kind of social hell, which only medication and the company of feminists helps me survive. This is why I make very clear on my (OKCupid) dating profile that I'm only interested in dating feminists. And even amongst feminists, there is a lot of appeasing the patriarchy going on. I am looking for one in a million.
I'm not perfect either; a reading of Bad Feminist, or Roxane Gay's statements on how impossible it is to be a perfect feminist, will enlighten as to how we hold feminists to an almost impossible standard, which I'm sure contributes to a lot of insecurity amongst those who internalise the need to be immaculate in their personification of the role.
What kind of feminist am I? I'm doing my best. I'm soothing myself as needed. I'm being as genderqueer as I'll allow myself to be. Sometimes I cower. Sometimes I'm proud of my bravery. It's quite gray and messy, often ingenious and sometimes daft. This is not definitive. Nothing I write about anything is intended to be definitive. I reinvent postmodern feminism as I dare.

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