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Posts Tagged ‘gender funneling’

…there are so few models for what it means to grow up genderqueer?

Why is it so hard for young people to chart new pathways in the world?

…there are more questions than answers?

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When you live according to the idea that labels are for jars, but most of the world thinks labels are for people? And the labels bring with them boxes? And the boxes are intended to contain you?

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10-year old Q said to me yesterday: “I’ve been working for YEARS to not just see the boy and girl boxes.” 

I wasn’t quite sure what he meant, so asked him to explain. “You know, like when I’m looking at people.”

Me: “Oh, so when you’re out in the world, you try to just see the person and not put them into a box?”

Q: “Exactly! I keep thinking about it and thinking about it. And I have myself mostly trained.”

We noted how interesting it is that what he hopes from others — that they just see him as himself, as opposed to someone who fits in a particular gendered box — takes years of self training, even for him. 

Here’s to wishing those boxes were not so deeply ingrained in all of our minds, or that we had as much discipline as Q to work to erase them.

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May 2.5 year old daughter loves pink. And wears it a lot. What does this mean?????

ImageAlso, she’s hilarious. Thought I should mention that.

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I’m in an ongoing conversation with a teacher/friend about gender and identity. She shared how her 5 year old son is very into the notion that “colors are for everyone” lately. No “boy colors” or “girl colors.” Any color for any person.

In talking about Q and how confining sex and assumptions around gender can be, she suggested the notion (which was really suggested by this wise 5 year old, but not in so many words) that gender is for everyone. As in, any gender for any person. Or every gender for every person. Or whatever gender anyone wants. No restrictions based on stereotypes. It came from the suggestion, by said wise 5 year old, that on a particular day when he was hanging out with Q and folks kept thinking Q was a girl, that maybe, in fact, he WAS a girl that day. None of us really know, he suggested. So wise. And so doable inside of the notion that gender is for everyone. So, I’m going with this conceptualization. I like it and am using it.

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nail polish is on. Ponytail is in.

Intriguing, eh? Thoughts, anyone?

he's so proud to have reached pony tail length!

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Q has been doing a good deal of filtering lately. Like when asked what his favorite color is, he’ll pause. Then take in his audience. Then announce the answer. Usually it’s green and blue now. It is still occasionally pink and purple. Honestly, I don’t know what his favorite color is in reality, but I do know that he usually looks at the person he’s answering, to gauge the reaction to his answer. And sometimes he looks at me. Occasionally with “that look.” The one that seems to indicate that he’s filtering his answer. I can’t describe it, but I can sense it.

Yes, I may be making this all up, but I don’t really think so.

And the whole issue of filtering is so intriguing to me. I don’t think that it’s 100% bad. We all filter things about ourselves at one point or another. I consider it part of Q’s developmental process — figuring out who he is, then who he is in relation to an audience. To me, a bit of that is okay, because we are dealing with other people in life, after all.

Yet too much, in my opinion, is not a good thing. I think that Q filters too much in certain domains. His hair is a big one. He’s growing it out and was wearing clips in it for a while, and also bandanas. We know he was made fun of for both of those things. He now won’t wear them. To me, this is a filtering move that he’s made for social comfort, but I do think that it means he’s chosen to stifle a part of himself.

That’s where I struggle the most. I have yet to figure out the right way to have a productive conversation with him about this. What I want to do is to convince him it’s okay to wear the bandana. Not just under a bike helmet. But 7 year olds and parental convincing don’t go very far, no matter the topic. So at the moment, I’m observing this filtering, occasionally getting tied up in knots about it, but mostly just trying to sit back and observe and notice Q’s navigational skills.

"curly hair" -- in the comfort of home

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I love reading pieces where folks take on normative conceptions of gender roles. Or how society tries to force folks into prescribed molds, even if it means stuffing a round peg in a square hole.

A wonderful example, here, on Rachel Maddow and how the mainstream media deals with their discomfort around her butchiness. The author, Malina Lo, does a great job unpacking the general discomfort that folks have with accepting butch women/lesbians. They don’t fit the roles we imagine for women. And here we have Maddow — a butch, successful in the mainstream. A bit much for folks to wrap their heads around.

Mainly, it’s a great piece for really shining a light on this notion of gender funneling, of how blatantly folks struggle to reconcile their stereotypes and biases around gender expression. A nice read.

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Is this really necessary? I like this company usually, but please.

Is this necessary?

Is this necessary?

I usually like this company. They do some good stuff, but really.

Please.

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As Bruce Springsteen plays in the background and the wife and I work on dualing laptops, I HAD to add a few thoughts about the Super Bowl. I’ve been a waxing and waning football fan since my early youth. Diehard Redskins fan. Then not so much. Then in college and a bit after it wasn’t “cool” to admit you liked football. Too violent for a Quaker college, you know? Living now in Massachusetts, I am fond of the Patriots, but not avidly so. But I always enjoy a good Super Bowl. I think because of the hype. And the often-hilarious, over-the-top commercials.

Today, as I tuned in late, the very first commercial I saw was about a new diet Pepsi — just for men. What? Excuse me? It’s the diet drink just for men. Yes, those men definitely need their own diet drink. Yes, I know that the viewer demographic for the SB is overwhelmingly male. And of course the commercials are created with that audience in mind, but come on. Ridiculous. How emasculating to drink “regular” diet beverages (mind you, I’m not a fan of anyone drinking any diet beverages — got that X? — because of the horrible fake sweeteners)….of course a man needs a diet beverage that will make him feel manly, even if he’s trying to cut the calories.

Don’t really know what else to say, but yowza! this world is insisting on becoming more and more gendered and divided along gender lines every moment. Ugh!

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