A place to stand

December 29, 2009

Since embracing my femme style, I have been thinking a lot about where that puts me in both normative and non-normative circles. And, really, it’s kind of a small, unseen little place were most people don’t take you very seriously, no matter what you say. Now, I know and you know that I am not a typical lady. I preform masculinity in personality fairly frequently, but while wearing dresses and cute shoes and other such lady things. But if there’s anything I’ve learned from all my body acceptance reading and all my queer reading/experience, and really just from all that living in general, it’s that appearances matter. They always directly affect how people categorize you, interact with you, form opinions about you, and behave around you.

I’m not going to try saying that we should remove all of this classification from our mental systems, because that is in direct conflict with how I believe we as people communicate effectively. Those mental categories should constantly be redefined and people should not be viewed as having to “fit into” a category perfectly, but they do exist and are essential for communication of any sort (especially good, effective make-people-listen-to-you-and-actually-agree-with-what-you’re-saying communication).

Now, since I present myself as a pretty standard girl, I am treated like a girl. In normative terms, that means that my opinions are probably worth a little less, that I can’t lift heavy things, that I’l break down when exposed to tough situations, and that I will shamelessly do manipulative things whenever it suits me (among other things, like I can’t hook up with people without wanting a relationship and my biological clock is turning me into a baby addict and that I am easy to swindle in large purchasing situations). While people do not consciously make the choice to treat women this way, it happens. One of my most feminist male friends tried to protect me at a concert because I was female, not to be a jerk, but because it was just sort of instinctual. As a feminine woman in mainstream society, it’s hard to be heard properly and it’s hard to stand up for and by yourself, because there’s just not really a lot of room to be taken seriously. Sometimes I talk about feminist things, and know that who I’m speaking with doesn’t believe what I say as much because I’m saying it while preforming typical femininity in appearance.

On the other side, it’s difficult for me to find my footing among the non-normative thinkers. This is probably because of Antioch in a way, because if you dared to be anything less than psychotically alternative, you were playing into the patriarchal system of tools and would probably be the eventual cause of the Zombacolypse. When presenting myself to the non-normative, I always feel like I’m being judged. Well, maybe not always, but enough to make me fumble my words and get nervous. Whether we want to admit it or not, we “alternative” folk tend to harshly judge those who choose not to follow our aesthetic lead. When I’m dressed like a “typical girl,” I know that I am viewed with a grain of salt. I know, because I do it. When I catch myself, I remind myself “this is water” and try listening to the person like I would listen to anyone else I respect and want to learn from. But I am still guilty of performing the same mechanism that I feel trapped within.

So where is the room for femme ladies to be heard? Or to be taken seriously? I dunno. Probably only among individuals who also know that water is.


It’s a bit ranty and not as neat and well-thought out as I’d like, but I’m sure it’ll turn into a better point somewhere down the line =]



  1. Hey! (directed at last post) I still come read every so often! And I like hearing what you have to say and what you’re thinking about more than the random things that happened to you. What’s the importance in the event if it doesn’t affect you at all?

    And… (directed at this post) “my biological clock is turning me into a baby addict”: perfect description! This is happening to me too! It’s weird.

  2. […] something that I have watched others struggle through and something that I have (and continue) to battle with myself. I can’t speak for others who feel limited by their bodies in a very gendered way, but I know […]

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