Change Your World-NOT your Body

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"Whats 'his' Name"?

I've recently agreed to take an online English course for my roommate's brother, who's quite busy and needed the help. He came over last week to bring me the textbook and explain what I need to do for the course. He had his boy/girl set of twins with him who have just turned three. I've only seen the twins a few times at my roommate's mom's, but had never had any real interaction with them. The little girl was showing me her stuffed animal and explaining to me who it was. When my roommate came back into the room she looked at him and said regarding me "What's his name?"

We hear very often from the trans minded how they "always" "knew" or "felt" like the opposite sex, from their earliest memories (along with plenty O Butches and tomboy types as well). Earliest (always) memory for most, usually is somewhere between 2 and 3 years old. Despite being only a few years old, children as young as 2/3 years old have already been so overwhelmed with markers that indicate (according to patriarchy/society) what/who is male/female such as:  clothes, toys, colours, mannerisms, hair lengths/cuts etc. And it is through this overwhelmingness of gender markers that this three year old girl assumed I was male. 

It is also through the complete indoctrination of these same gender markers by age 2/3 that some of us come to believe ourselves to be a sex other than what we are. And because some of us believed ourselves to be the opposite sex by age 2/3, some grow up believing they "always felt" like the opposite sex. And because some believe they "always felt" like the opposite sex, believe they should "change" their true sex to the one they had "always" believed themselves to be. 

It is horribly sad and difficult to grow up feeling completely alien from your own body, and even more horrible and sad to live within a society that constantly reaffirms there is something wrong with you, when in fact there isnt. And the more we conform to societies strict gender markers, the more we continue bending our wills and bodies to "fit" into that society, the more that society remains unwelcoming to those of us who can and never will fit. 

But the more we choose not to fit, the more we choose, instead, to love ourselves.

dirt

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15 comments:

  1. "I've recently agreed to take an online English course for my roommate's brother.."

    Cheater, cheater, pumpkin eater...

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  2. @Miss Scribe,

    First, FUCK YOU!

    Second, Bitch you know I'm getting paid $200 buck for a 4 week course for writing about stories I already am well familiar with and love! AND I get a "bonus" if I get A! So screw you! I mean that literally of course!

    dirt

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  3. Ariel said: Okay but, (and this is a farfetched example but still) what if a guy was wearing makeup and a dress and had long hair and a child innocently used female pronouns in reference to him, would you still find that situation offensive, in the same way as you do here?
    May 17, 2011 11:50 AM

    I dont see anywhere that I said the situation was "offensive". I'm Butch, after passing as male since about age three, ya kinda get used to it.

    What I said was, the narrow notions of gender markers need to expand so the I or the "man" in your example arent automatically assumed to be a sex that we both are not.

    dirt

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  4. You sure have a way with the ladies.. :P

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  5. "I've recently agreed to take an online English course for my roommate's brother, who's quite busy and needed the help."

    and you see nothing wrong with this? This pretty well sums it up oy?

    First, FUCK YOU!

    "Second, Bitch you know I'm getting paid $200 buck for a 4 week course for writing about stories I already am well familiar with and love! AND I get a "bonus" if I get A! So screw you! I mean that literally of course!"

    ..and you dare talk about FTM's being misogynistic.

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  6. If you do not like the inside jokes between my Femme and I, then dont read them Anon.

    dirt

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  7. Well, bad on you for taking an online course for someone else... Geez.

    In terms of the early markers. I totally agree. My kid (a girl) was in kindergarten (at a very progressive school) and they have a stuffed animal with a gender neutral name. They each get a turn at taking the stuffie home and then they write about their adventures. Turns out the stuffie was a boy. I asked the teacher about this, because I thought it would be super exciting for it to be a girl. The teacher said it started out being a girl, but so many of the kids wanted it to be a boy, that they changed it's gender! I think it was uncomfortable for all the boys to be caring for a girl stuffie, was the problem. And, it would have been way better if the teachers kept the stuffie a girl and see what came of it. Would have been challenging in a different way.

    Most main characters of kids books are boys, most leads in movies are boys (unless there is a princess who needs to be saved by a boy)... heck, there was a book that had 3 chipmunks in it that I sat down to read with my kid in preschool, and all the characters were boys. It's EVERYWHERE! It's oppressive and it affects our self worth.

    All girls are born in the wrong body, for god's sake! The right body, the one that is not objectified and brutalized in our culture is the male body.

    There is so much more to say...

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  8. @Sillyme:

    There's this really good short story called, "X: A Fabulous Child's Story" by Louis Gould. An English professor had assigned us to read it. During her lecture, she pointed out that plenty of the students would refer to "X" as a "he" and suggested that "gender neutral" can automatically be assumed male by most.

    Here's the link to that story, it's worth a read.
    http://coe.k-state.edu/about/download/profdev/X%20story.pdf

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  9. Ariel,
    Wasn't the "man" hypothetical and would have required quotations anywhere else? It's similar to that "point" you're trying to make, which is quite hypothetical.

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  10. "..and you dare talk about FTM's being misogynistic."

    Yeah she dares it! Cry me a river.

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  11. irritated psych postgradMay 17, 2011 at 4:40 PM

    Dirt, it's normal to see those gender markers as complete representations of gender at age 3. Show a kid a barbie, all dressed up like a barbie, and a ken, all dressed up as ken, and theyre a boy and a girl.

    Switch their clothes and hair, and barbie becomes a boy, and ken becomes a girl. Permanence of their own gender doesn't set in until three or four, and permanence of other peoples gender doesn't set in until four or five.

    Maybe product of patriarchy, maybe issues with Theory of Mind. (also not reliable until four or five)

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  12. @Scribe,

    Box a rocks??...lol!

    dirt

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  13. @Dirt

    Stop being so misogynistic and go do some women's work, like makin' me that damn sandwich!

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  14. I use Japanese manga on my little girl. The males are effeminate with long hair of various bright colours and mascarad eyes. Tomboyish female characters are harder to find, but I do come across them and make sure I point them out, making references to them being a girl. "oooh, look what SHE'S doing.." etc.
    My daughter is now four and frequently asks me; "Mum, is that a boy or a girl? A man or a lady?"

    I must be doing something right :)

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  15. Thanks for this, Dirt.

    People seem to have no trouble understanding that in three years you can learn enough to go from a Bachelor's to a Master's degree in almost any subject, but not that you can internalize everything you need to know to perpetuate gender-role stereotypes in the same amount of time.

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