Constance, this lil essay below illustrates a similar experience that I have virtually everyday, except from the other end of the spectrum and working back.
I liked it, for it did a great job of revealing the underlying obligations that the paradigm encumbers all of us with.
Please chew on it awhile…and then think about how you can take people for who they are as the inside soul reveals, rather than how the outside accoutrements imply…one involves assumption, and one involves relationship…
okay, i have been trying to say this in a way that makes sense for ages, so here goes:
a lot of hatred of dresses, pink, stereotypically “feminine” stuff is based on internalized misogyny. and that’s definitely something we all need to look at within ourselves and address and work on.
but: a lot of hatred of dresses, pink, stereotypically “feminine” stuff is based on the fact that femininity is compulsory for people who are assigned female at birth.
like, this is a fact. this isn’t something i’m making up. femininity is compulsory. i have to wear dresses and makeup to be taken seriously when i go to job interviews, when i go to social occasions, when i present myself in any formal setting. when i don’t do that, people notice. they’re rude to me.
when i shop in the men’s section, store employees and customers glare at me! my relatives press feminine clothes on me during the holiday season because they think i should dress in a more feminine way! when i go to get my hair cut and ask for it to be cut in a certain style, the woman cutting my hair literally ignores that explicit instruction because it’s “too butch”. femininity is compulsory! i am not allowed to present my gender the way i would like to present my gender!
it’s not the fault of femininity that it’s being forced on me. and the patriarchy does devalue femininity. and the current rhetoric of “you can wear pink and skirts and still be a feminist and still be queer and it’s other people’s fault for not taking you seriously, not yours for dressing that way” is great.
but i’ve heard people say to me, “you can wear lipstick and dresses and still be a feminist” about a thousand times, and i have never, ever,ever heard someone say to me, “you can refuse to wear lipstick and dresses and you are no less of a woman than someone who does wear them.” i had to figure that out all on my own.
i’m allowed to be angry at the cis women who force me to present myself in a way that i don’t want to present myself. i am allowed to do that.
I will scream the bolded from the rooftops for you if you want. <3″