Gender musings…

Jeremy can breath a sigh of relief because this post is going to be more about me than him. Or maybe he won’t. He likes attention.

He commented today that he figures the biggest, most important thing I’ve ever done in my life is give birth to him. I immediately asked him if he was sure this planet’s big enough for his ego, to which he said, “No it’s not but I’ve got another planet to fit the rest of it. That planet’s big but the rent’s cheap so it’s good.”

Where does he come up with this stuff?

Jeremy also told me if he didn’t identify as either gender, he’d want to use the term “that person” as a pronoun.

“But that’s not a pronoun,” I pointed out. “Seriously, try to use it in a sentence.”

He managed the first short sentence then started a longer sentence and floundered. He kept trying to use actual pronouns instead. Then he grinned. “It would be fun,” he insisted. “People would have to really think about what they’re saying and it would make them uncomfortable.”

“I don’t think that’s the point of pronouns,” I replied. “I don’t think that’s why most people use them.”

“It would be fun,” he repeated in a sing-song voice.

My first reaction was anger. I joke around with Jeremy a lot but there’s definitely a time and I hadn’t been trying to be silly. Then I took a closer look. He was silly and giggly… and completely not looking at me. He looked really uncomfortable.

“Have you sorted out your gender?” I asked.

He stared at the keyboard and shook his head slightly. “No,” he whispered.

“I’m sure you will at some point,” I said then paused. “Look, if you ever do want to talk, I’m here to listen.”

That caused him to look up. “Mom, you ask questions,” he retorted.

“Yes, I do,” I replied. “But I also really do listen. Just give me a try sometime.”

Then I went to my room and started to think about gender. I’ve been thinking off and on about it ever since.

First off, I’m female and cisgender (and totally unsure if that needs an -ed at the end). I like being female. I like my body and I like being referred to as she and her. I gave birth to two wonderful people and breastfed them both. I like that my body could do that.

I also like that my body is strong and it rarely hurts. At work, when it comes time to deal with the garbages, I figure I’m the one sent out about 80% of the time. That’s because I can pick the jumbo bags up and heave them into the dumpster. I’ve had coworkers say, “Michelle, this bag is much too heavy for one person. Can you help me take it out?” And then they’re floored when I just pick it up and carry it away. Now when there’s a bag no one can lift (and my weightlifting coworker’s off) the management simply asks me to grab it.

One of my friends posted a link on Facebook a few days ago which listed 20 things all women do. I went through to see which ones I actually did, scored a whopping three, then shared it on Facebook. What I didn’t share was that’s the highest score I’ve ever managed on any of those lists. I found one today where I scored one (out of ten). That was for brushing and flossing daily. I enjoy having teeth.

I had a coworker peer at my face intently a little while ago and say, “Michelle. You really need to do something with your eyebrows.”

My response was to blink at her in confusion until she walked away. In real life I’m witty like that. But when I got home I went on Facebook and announced that coworker was right, I really need to do something with them, so I was going to take them out for breakfast. Which I did. It led to an important self-discovery. If I ever switched to a raw vegan diet, I’d starve to death. Granted that had nothing to do with my eyebrows but it was still an important discovery. I like cooked food; a high five to whomever discovered fire.

Besides, I do things with my eyebrows. If I sleep funny and one brow is rumpled then I wet a finger and smooth it down. And I’ve got this one eyebrow hair that seems hellbent on migrating to my bangs. When it gets too wild and crazy, I get out nail clippers and cut it.

I also found out today that makeup expires and my decade old stuff is woefully out of date. Apparently it’s supposed to be thrown out in 6 months to a year… which would make everything a one use purchase even in a best case scenario. I’m pretty sure I haven’t used makeup since last summer. My “facial routine” consists of splashing water on it in the morning then drying with a hand towel.

And I sing tenor.

Society has too many stereotypes on gender and what girls should be like and what boys should be like. One thing those stereotypes don’t do is take into account how people feel.

I am sure Jeremy will figure out his gender at some point. I’m not saying he’ll sort out which box he’ll neatly fit into. Maybe he will or maybe he’ll fit none of them, or several, or maybe he’ll shift between boxes. But at some point he’ll figure this out. At the same time I can’t help but thinking that gender stereotypes aren’t making it any easier for him.


8 thoughts on “Gender musings…

  1. And then there are sexual orientation stereotypes to make everything even more fun 😀 You know, like gay men are over-groomed art dealers with thick rimmed glasses who wear a lot of black and had a ton of sex when they were young- oh, wait 😛

  2. Oh man, stereotypes and expectations based on gender just drive me nuts…

    I enjoy wearing makeup when I do, but if I were living as a woman full time there is no way I would wear it every day. And yet my brother, who is very definitely a cisgender man, is completely incapable of leaving his house without makeup. So yeah… gender stereotypes are stupid.

  3. All these stereotypes don’t make it easy for those struggling with gender identity. I’m sure there are people who question some of my son’s choices regarding clothing or accessories but he has always had a very unique sense of style.

  4. I love your musings. Now it appears it’s time I do something with my eyebrows. Since it’s noon, I guess I’ll take mine to lunch. I’ll make sure to avoid the raw vegan. 😉

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