I’ve been thinking about gender more because I watched Next in Fashion and had some really big issues with the way gender was portrayed. Or rather, how rigid gender was defined. It also darkly amused me that they were talknig about how gender didn’t matter, and yet, everything for women had to be form-fitting. And showing off nonexistent boobs.
When I was eight, I hated being a girl. Not because I felt like I was a boy–I didn’t. But because I was told by so many women in the Taiwanese church that I wsa not acting like a girl should act. Over and over again, I was admonished for liking to run outside, climb trees, and for laughing too loudly. I hated wearing dresses/skirts, and if I did stay inside, I just wanted to read. I did not want to play with dolls or makeup or clothes.
I never felt like a boy; I just did not want to be made to act like a girl. Yes, even as young as eight, I was aware that the gender I was born into was not the one that felt comfortable for me. My solution at that time was to pray to a God I didn’t really believe in to make me the other (binary at the time) gender, a boy. God was all-powerful–or at least, that was what i was told when I was a kid. It should have been very simple for him to make me a boy. Yes, I now know that God doesn’t work that way, but, honestly, why couldn’t He? I still don’t understand how the God who was presented to me when I was a kid as all-knowing and all-powerful couldn’t make me a boy if He so chose. He could have, the explanation went, but He chose not to because He works in mysterious ways.
Look. I get it. God is not a vending machine. You can put a quarter in Him and get a candy bar out of Him. He’s also not a McDonald’s in which you can have your burger made to order. At the same time, Christianity tried so hard to sell Him as the God who can do anything, you would not be remiss to wonder what you needed to do to get Him to pay attention to you.
Let me be clear. I have never felt like a boy. I never thought I was a boy. I just hated being a girl because it felt so limiting. Think about that. At eight years old, I had been fed so many poisonous beliefs about girls that I wanted to be anything but one. I used to wake up disappointed because I was still a girl. That was not a good feeling, I’ll tell you that much for free.
Then, when I was in college, I hung out with mostly dudes. I did not like so-called girly stuff like clothes and makeup. I did not want to giggle and gab because that was just not my style. I was a down-to-earth person. At the time, i liked sports. I did not like outdoor activities, which made me an anomaly in Minnesota, but I definitely leaned more towards the male side of things, and I didn’t see any reason to hide it.