pantryslut: (Default)
First, let me say that I am in no way interested in being the Pronoun Police and expending any energy whatsoever in enforcing my chosen wordage on innocent bystanders and/or casual acquaintances. I'm old and I'm tired and I have better things to do.

However, should you be interested, I have decided that the pronoun that best fits me in general is "they." I will also accept and continue to use "she" in many contexts -- because in many contexts, it's going to continue to be appropriate (see: MILF project) and/or I am old and tired and don't want to be a Walking Teachable Moment. Nonetheless, in my head I am "they" and in your mouth, I can also be "they" if it pleases you to follow my lead.
pantryslut: (Default)


Your result for The Bem Sex Role Inventory Test...

Androgynous

You scored 73% masculinity and 57% femininity!

You scored high on both masculinity and femininity. You have a strong personality exhibiting characteristics of both traditional sex roles.


Take The Bem Sex Role Inventory Test
at HelloQuizzy

pantryslut: (vanilla)
Just gag me now. (Someone dishes out the same ol' same ol' on the supposed differences between sex with men and sex with women. Shit like this is what makes me feel suddenly very, profoundly genderqueer, 'cuz, um, no.)
pantryslut: (Default)
Not only are you all shy, you are all also so respectful! I promise, I am not going to be offended by any way you choose to describe my gender. In fact, I am mostly over it at this stage in my life. I make up answers whenever anybody asks me. I invent new genders on the spot. Why not? You all have that freedom, too. I grant you permission to describe my gender any way that makes sense to you, and I will continue to call myself anything that I feel like, and express my gender or genders any darn way it occurs to me to do so at the moment.

So, here is the answer I promised:

Right now, my gender is "mix and match." "Mannish woman" will also do. "Genderfucked" is fine as well. "Gender euphoric" is charming me at the moment but may seem to cutesy tomorrow. "Butch" is always OK but also always feels incomplete. And so on, and so forth.

What all this means: I definitely see myself (and, I think, anybody who knows me can also see this pretty quickly) as a chopped salad (not a blend) of gender attributes, listing toward the masculine more than most folks born with my sort of body tend to, but only up to a certain point -- I would be a very feminine man, you see, had things gone another way. I would be a shy nerdy bookwormy sort regardless.

Also, I like gender as a playground, and I like making up games to play on it. So "gender playful" might work, too.
pantryslut: (Default)
Summary of several columns, blog entries, etc. by said women, read over the course of one afternoon:

OMG, I'm so self-absorbed!
OMG, I'm neurotically obsessed with what other people think of me!
Did I mention that my husband is way cute and so is my baby? Plus I'm still thin! Though I still hate my body.
Insert lazy Sex and the City reference here!
pantryslut: (Default)
This started out as a post about liking pop songs that are in opposition to your own ethics. See, last night "Shop Around" by the Miracles came on the car radio. This is my father's favorite song, which I always thought was funny, because he did in fact marry the first woman he ever dated seriously. Steven thought I was belting it out in the car because he, too, married the first woman he ever dated seriously, and that I was enjoying the irony. In fact, I was just enjoying childhood nostalgia.

However, "Shop Around" is not my favorite Miracles song. Actually, I have a tie for my favorite: "You Really Got a Hold On Me" and "I Second That Emotion." Like "Shop Around" for my father (and me), these songs express sentiments that I'm actually not particularly down with. So that's where I started.

But on reflection, I think I love them for a different reason than my father loves "Shop Around."

I think I love the gender-bending.

This is really evident in "I Second That Emotion," a song all about how the singer doesn't want any one-night stands, thank you, only serious commitment. This sort of song should, gender politics wise, be sung by a woman. But it's not. It's sung by a man with a really high voice.

A couple weeks ago, "You Really Got A Hold On Me" was also on the car radio, and I remarked to Steven that it would have sounded so very different if it had been sung by Motown's other primo tenor, Marvin Gaye. The way that Robinson sings it, it's almost impossible to take "You Really Got A Hold On Me" seriously. He knows it's a little overwrought. He knows it's a little bit ridiculous. But he feels it anyway, and you can hear both the humor and the heartbreak in his voice. I love Marvin Gaye but I don't think he could have pulled off the same trick.

And again, the sentiment is one that, if we were being stereotypical about our genders, would be sung by a woman. Has been sung by women, many many times: you treat me wrong but I still love you.

And I think some of the pleasure I get from these songs, these old songs, these classic songs, is knowing that the genders are being messed with. Isn't one of the reasons "I Second That Emotion" so successful because it's unexpected, coming from a man's throat?

Because even with his high, high voice, Smokey Robinson doesn't sound like a girl. He sounds like a sweet, feminine man, a tender man, a delicate man.

Which leads us back to "Shop Around." Which also succeeds, I think now, in part because it's sung in Robinson's tenor. Sung by someone with a smokier quality to his voice, without that pure girlish tone, and the song might easily become mean-spirited instead of playful. It might be harder to pardon the sentiment, for some of us at least. Instead, it's just silly. A little overwrought, a little ridiculous, and a lot exuberant. Robinson's voice undermines the song's metaphor, intentionally or otherwise.
pantryslut: (Default)
gender thought to elaborate on later:

It's easier to accept femininity as performative, to see it as a costume. (I'm using performative in a non-academic sense here, primarily). Makeup and hairstyles and fancy clothes. Dress-up.

Masculinity is never supposed to be performative. It's all about "realness."

So why is it that people react to Laura Toby Edison's Familiar Men photos in the way they do? Why is a naked man missing a part of his masculinity if he isn't in clothes?

Drag kings (and FtMs) know that masculinity is performative, too. But there's a lot of resistance to this notion. If you're caught performing masculinity, you're regarded as a fake. An ersatz man. Often, a "sissy."
pantryslut: (Default)
I was looking over my recent post on gender (this one) and I realized that I told a little fib.

"There's just no category that describes me. Not even "close enough" for more than half a day at a time."

Um. Actually, I do call myself butch fairly often. I consider myself a sort of butch person. I get offended when people make presumptions about butchness, what it is and isn't and how that might apply to me. (For example, I am not an "ersatz man," thanks.)

But I am not *just* butch. That label has always felt "close enough," rather than "yeah! That's it! What a wonderful cozy fit!"

Butch saved my life. Well, maybe I exaggerate -- I was never suicidal or anything -- but that's what it feels like. Discovering butch as an available identity made my head stop clanging. This is why I am occasionally defensive about it being a valid identity choice. It made sense. It felt right.

For a while. Paradoxically, as I learned about butchness and gender as performance, I became a lot more comfortable with girliness and performing femininity. (Aside: Most of the time, I don't feel like I perform "femme," exactly. I usually perform the role of someone who thinks that femininity comes naturally, if that makes sense; femmes perform the role of someone who knows femininity is an act. I've done both, and they feel different. When I go to a party "in drag," where lots of my queer friends are, I am performing femme. When I go to a photo shoot, I am performing femininity. I may wear the same clothes, but the role is different. Clear as mud?) I have at least one butch-identified friend who laughs knowingly at this notion, because she, too, could only put on a dress once she realized she was butch.

I think this is why I do not consider myself kiki -- a butch/femme switch, to simplify a bit. I know which state I default to.

I do sometimes identify as a cross-dresser, or a drag queen. Usually when someone is in the midst of boggling at the fact that I'm in a skirt. I love playing dress-up; when I was a kid, I always wanted to dress up as a boy. Now that my default gender is recognized as masculine-ish, I want to dress up as a girl.

But the fact is, butch as a gender doesn't always fit me either, and not just because I own a closet full of femmy playclothes. (And butchy playclothes. G. had fun trying on my uniform hats the other day.)

Some of it has to do with oddly restrictive ideas about butchness (which usually parallel boringly restrictive ideas about masculinity). But it's not just that. It's hard to put my finger on, to be honest. I'll keep thinking about it.

I've telescoped a lot of personal history into this discussion, and I understand if the steps are hard to follow. Thanks for bearing with me.

Speaking of "bear," I notice that [livejournal.com profile] misia identified that as another gender available to us. (look here.) I've been aware of bearish women and of bear as a role for, oh, over a decade now. It's another one that's close but doesn't quite fit. I dunno why it never clicked for me. I wouldn't be offended if someone identified me as a bear, but I don't think of myself or self-describe as one. Hm.

It's OK that none of these quite fit, by the way. I'm not looking for a closer match.

Have I shed any light on recent discussions with this, or just added to the noise?

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