Saturday, July 4, 2009

Androgyny: Gender-Role Transcendence

This is something that rarely crosses my mind until someone makes a unwarranted remark about my style and dress-sense which is hardly feminine. I have my reasons. It may appear to be the case of a tomboy who apparently requires a little growing up or someone unrefined or unsophisticated. The other day someone very close to me who'd I expect to receive unconditonal affinity from dissed my look in terms of the clothes I choose. Even going as far as to compare me to other more conforming young women who conduct themselves and dress styles according to their gender-role expectations rather than their individual personalities.

This remark got me thinking very strongly about homophobia. Why how others choose to engage with others sexually and relationally has anything to do with those not involved. I may not be homosexual but the way I dress seems to rouse some slight irritation within the female members of my family. Far from finding it offensive, I wonder sometimes why one would waste their time this way instead of just leaving another person be. There is nothing harmful about choosing to dress in a gender-deviant manner. It's not as if a person is shooting up heroine in their veins that it should cause deep concern. Maybe it's just the individuals here. They are archetypal examples to me of people who've without question chosen to conform to their prescribed gender-roles.

I took the BEM androgyny test and found out that my personality 70% male and 40% female. There are men that would take this test and probably score with a high margin of their personality tilting toward the feminine side. These are men who've been called repugnant and derogatory words "faggot" and "gayboy" all because of their inherent leaning toward feminine thought and behaviour. I recognise the same subordination from other women toward me and wonder why one cannot transcend their notions of how each gender should be when judging an individual. Of course, more enlightened individuals refrain from this kind of judgement. Enlightened in terms of understanding the psychology that goes into the behaviour of each gender and also how this can be affected by conditioning and upbringing.

Gender-role transcendence is important to me. When a person meets me and starts judging me according to the fact that I am a young woman, the interaction become severely problematic. They'll begin to apply genderized stereotypes to me that do not even fit at all. It amuses me though because I realize how much the other will judge a person based on appearance alone. On meeting someone, that's all there really upon which to figure someone out. But that's when the aspect of determinism comes in. Why not simply consider the person at hand a mystery to be uncovered upon the case of receiving further first-hand information. Is this such an impossible task for the human psyche to undertake. Don't know. Not a psychologist but in my ideal world, I'd wish not to have female stereotypes applied to me at all because I hardly conform.

As is expected of women, I do not commodify myself heavily through excessive adournment. Though the appearance of neatness is important to me, I don't dress in a way solely for the purpose of attracting attention from men. In fact, it comforts me to know that I am not being gazed at and objectified. I've always known that for a woman or a man to act in a way that disturbs the equilibrium of traditional gender-roles is offensive to many bigoted people as is the emergence of people of colour in power roles that were traditionally reserved for whites alone.

Grace Jones is a major inspiration. I find much of my motivation from her look.

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