Queering Identities

Growing up, I had no concept of gender. When my brothers begged for me to give them makeovers, I was always overjoyed. Then whenever my father told me to remove their nail polish before school, I couldn’t comprehend the concerns. Even in recent years, I began contemplating what it means to be a man or a woman, female or male, feminine or masculine, and I realized these were concepts I could comprehend externally, but they weren’t concepts that I embodied internally. Initially, I performed outside the gender social order. I performed my truth through queering. Yet, agency shaped an experience which I felt pressured to conform within performativity. 

I was told time after time that I portrayed masculine characteristics. My friends, their cousins, my brothers and their friends constantly pointed out that I was more like a ‘man’ in my demeanor. I wasn’t afraid to get dirty; wasn’t afraid of burping in public; have been called psychotic or crazy when I geared more towards reason than emotion/empathy; was told I am too confrontational; too stubborn when I didn’t change my opinions; yet, I never considered these to be masculine traits. I just considered these traits to be me. 

Similarly, my presentation rarely fit the feminine mold. My brothers have described my aesthetic as ‘wack’, whereas others have used the term ‘creative’/’unique’. Although I have always passed as a cis-gendered woman, I rarely displayed the idealized feminine beauty. I would wear an assortment of patterns and cuts – the clothing never complimented my feminine curves. Also, I wore a variety of edgy, shorter and colourful hairstyles. Through my observation, Western feminine beauty is physically manifested through long, glowing hair, clear skin, and a small frame but with accentuated curves. 

Eventually, I tried aligning my presentation to balance in the equation: sex =  gender = sexuality. Scott Turner Schofield debunks the equation, stating that it is established through heteronormative terms. Consequently, I thought that since I identify as a cisgendered woman who would like to establish a hetero-romantic sapio-sexual relationship, I needed to present myself as the ‘ideal’ feminine. I decided to tone down my wardrobe and choose articles that were more mainstream with subtle unique details, and I started growing my natural hair. 

Dr. Roth brings our attention to Lorber’s concept of gender conformity as being completely impossible; no one wholly fits into the gender molds. Likewise, I am reminded that “the emphasis on agency, impression management, and presentation of the self in the guise and costume most likely to produce, parody, or confront conformity implies that people are free to consciously and deliberately construct the gender and sexuality they want” (Lorber, 289). In reality, I have oppressed my truth thinking that it wasn’t worth being noticed. Considering that sex does not equal gender does not equal sexuality, each identification stands separately. I can use my wardrobe as a creative outlet, and I can continue to embody a masculine demeanor because my presentation doesn’t dictate my sex nor my sexuality. In order for me to combat the oppression which lies in performativity, I need to acknowledge my truth; I need to acknowledge my worth.

Courtesy of Hickerson, S. (2019, May 3).

De Beauvoir and the Other

And now! For a little philosophy… This piece is influenced by Simone de Beauvoir’s works explaining that the identity of women is defined in reflection to man. Basically, in short, similarly to how the cold is known in the absence of warmth, the female is known in comparison to what man is not. The male is the Self, and the respective feminine counterpart is the Other. Thus, in continuation of my exploration of my female identity, I present to you:

You were Adam and I was an Eves-drop,

Hanging on the edge of a sense of home.

I was given a role to perform;

Objectified by society and deemed useful for a few things…

In a place called home.

It’s supposed to be my comfort zone,

My safe place,

A safe haven.

But I realized I wanted to save haven.

You might have been Adam, but I am

A woman sitting in the heart of civilization,

Creating my identity within the societal rib cage.

I create my role regardless of your reflection.

I choose to be my self, 

As opposed to the Other.

Identity, a poem

I identify as female, but not with the female.  
Difference in wording is to be noted.
Essentially, I am providing permission to use female pronouns.
Nevertheless, I wish not to be grouped with the female stereotypes.
The pre-destination determined by gender roles and generalizations,
Is the most harmful social construction to individuality.
To identify as female simply means that feminine pronouns are acceptable.
Yet, I become susceptible to the baggage brought by the wo(e) added to the Man. 

Social Constructs, a poem

Socially, there seems to be a confusion on gendering items.
Octopus Stuffies and bags are constantly questioned on their ability to be feminine or masculine.
Calculations in my head conclude that in reality, it is a genderless object.
Insistent is the word I use for customers when they just stare blankly, because they do not
Accept the response: ‘well if you’ll make use of it, then I say it doesn’t matter.’
Like the advertising market sets the option for you to make use of a product.

Cough, cough. Sorry sir, I’ll have to ask you to take off those flipflops because they are
Obnoxiously feminine, can’t you tell?
No? well, it reeks of sugar and spice and everything nice…
Smells more like bullshit if you ask me.
Truthfully, I’m shocked that you asked my opinion but then;
Rejected my answer that lacked the answer you were searching for.
Ultimately, if it fills up the emptiness of your stare with re-assurance.
Consider putting the frame back on the shelf.
The floral design is definitely stereotyped as feminine.
Surely, based on your look, you’re limiting yourself to objects gendered as male. 

Female, a poem

For a moment, I caught myself in a man-spread and was reminded of
Etiquette. That’s something they say, right? 
Man, I forgot that my ghost-limbed penis doesn’t take up spatial volume.
Act lady-like they say, right?
Likely-hood of me acting lady-like is likely, considering I’m like, a lady.
Effectively, if I act in any way, does not make me less than female, does it?