Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: gender roles

Ignoring gender

More dissecting gender here. Yesterday’s post ended abruptly with me wondering about why men and women couldn’t be friends or could only be friends with strict parameters. All the caveats and warnings about it made me depressed. I have never gave a shit about any of that. Then again, I’m queer. Even though I don’t hang around in queer communities much, that’s one thing that queers have mastered–how to be friends with the gender to which you are attracted.

There is less of a hardline between friends and lovers, which I think is a good thing. It doesn’t need to be so binary. Then again, I’m not monogamous, either. I have no interest in a long-term monogamous relationship. What I really want is a fuck buddy whom I can hook up with a few times a week. Maybe more than one. Set it and forget it.

The thing is that most queer communities are rather small. Especially in places wehre there aren’t a huge amount of us. You’re going to probably have to be chill with being around your exes. And, there’s a reason it’s a trope that queer friends have so many exes in common

When I hear about all these rules that het people set for their cross-gender friendships, it boggles my mend. Even when I thought of myself as a straight woman, I never understood the admonishments that men and women couldn’t be friends.

I mean, I can understand in theory not wanting to cross the lines between friends and lovers as decreed in a relationship. It’s disrespectful if you agree what is and isn’t acceptable in your relationship, then one person deliberately crosses that line. That’s just caring about the person you love.

What I don’t understand, though, is having a complete ban on your partner having friends with people of the gender(s) they are attracted to. It’s pretty insulting to assume that you can’t be friends with people from the gender(s) to which you’re attracted. And, in my case, it would mean that I can’t be friends with anyone.

This is where I get hung up. There are people I want to sleep with and people I don’t. There are people I’m attracted to and people I’m not. There are people I’m not currently attracted to, but may be in the future. There are many things that are inclined to make me more or less attracted to someone, but gender ain’t one.

I’m not saying this to flex. I’m not saynig this to be like I’m above all this. It’s just that…I don’t GET gender. I really don’t. I have checked in with myself over and over again. I like my body. Fuck. I love my body!  I don’t feel body dysmorphia (any longer) or body dysphoria (ever). But I also don’t FEEL like a woman, whatever that means. Every time I try to think about if I feel like a woman, I come up empty.

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Smash the patriarchy

One recurring tension when fighting for justice is dealing with things as they are versus with as you want them to be. Do you meet people where tthey are or instist they be better? In other words, do you rabble the rousing or do you slowly build coalition? Back in the day, it was ACT UP vs. assimilation. Martin Luther King versus Malcolm X.

One thing that annoys me is the clap back of ‘you’re showing your privilege’ without any follow up. I never say ‘check your privilege’ because it’s meaningless in and of itself. And, what are you supopsed to do once you chcck it? Ok. I checked it. It’s there. Now what? I’m being glib. I don’t think it’s bad to think about the ways in which you have privilege, but then, you should do something with that privilege.

At Ask A Manager, there was a question about…I don’t remember what it was. I’m going to say wearing a bra. It was somethnig of that sort. I said I would absolutely quit over being forced to wear a bra. Other people said the same. We were in the mionrity, but we were also people who didn’t wear bras in the first place.

Someone bleated about privilege and how not everyone could quit their jobs like that. I said that’s the reason why people with privilege should take a stand when they can, otherwise, what’s the point of checking said privilege? I wasn’t trying to be a dick, but I get tired of ‘checking your privilege’ being the end of a conversation when it should  just be the start. Yes, not everyone can quit their job without having another one in place, so why not rjeoice for the people who can?

It was interesting to see so many women push hard for wearing a bra. I don’t care, obviously, but it’s a myth that it’s better for your boobs. Or that not wearing a bra is bad for them. It’s not. In fact, scientifically, there has been some proof that not-bra wearoers have perkier boobs than those who wear bras.

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Actions, not words–and destructive coping mechanisms

My mom called me last night and as usual, started the conversation by complaining. Wait. To be fair, she asked me how I was doing. She didn’t care, mind, but she did ask. Believe me. She does not care. I give her a bland answer, and we move on to why she really called–to complain about my father.

Let me hasten to say that most of her complaints are valid. As I ‘ve said many times and as most people know, dementia is brutal on people. Not just the people who have it, but also the people who are taking care of them. I would not wish it on anyone. Period. I have heard enough about caretaking on a daily basis to know that I would not do it.


Here’s the thing. There are ways to make it easier on yourself. Not EASY, mind, but easier. They include putting the person in a facility or bringing in long-term/intensive care. No one should do it alone is what I’m trying to say. I told my mother to do this because she has asked me what to do. But, and I heard this from my brother, she thinks putting him in a facility will hasten his death. I think it will actually stabilize him–given a few factors. One, that it’s a good nursing home. That sounds very obvious, but so many are not. Two, that he’s moved in before he completely loses control of his faculties. Three, and this is very important, it’s a place that can deal with violent outbursts. My father has had two that my mother has told me of, and I fear that it will increase as his dementia does.

Saying all that, my heart sinks every time my mother calls. She gives that little laugh she always does when she’s about to talk about something uncomfortable or that she knows I don’t want to hear. This time, she mentioned that she had something wrong with her leg that she was supposed to get surgery on, but she postponed it because she could not leave my father to do it. She tried to say that it wasn’t necessary and that she could handle it, which just filled me with sadness.

She has given all her life to taking care of this man, and for what? He’s not grateful at all. Not that he has ever been. Even before he was hit with dementia, he just took it for granted that she should do everything for him.

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Gender! What is it good for?

In the last post, I was talking about a comment in the weekend Ask A Manager forum asking if a single woman and a married man could be friends. I digressed (as is my wont) before gettinrg to my main point about the comment. I was very sarcastic in recapping the comment (it was deleted by Alison) but in essence, it was saying that since Alison was grcious enough to allow LBGTQ+ questions, then we should STFU when straight questions are asked. It was upset by the comments from LBGTQ+ people (including me!), and it finished by asking how we would feel if they (presumably stragight people) dismissed our questions as LBGTQ+ nonsense.

Tell me you don’t consider LGBTQ+ people equal without saying you don’t consider LGBTQ+ people equal. The fact that she dared to drag Alison into the  mess is even worse (argument by authority, by proxy). It’s very much ‘This is MY house, and you are lucky that I allow you in it!” energy. The very fact that the commenter thought it was fit to mention that Alison was so graceful to allow us filthy queers to even ask questions in her pristine forum (again, not how she herself feels. At all) told me all I needed to know.

A question for the hets? All the fucking questions are for the hets! This is so fucking irritating about being the minority. There is a quote that is oft-said on this topic, but cannot be attributed (which means it’s probably a minority woman):

When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.

The finst time I read that quote, it hit me hard. I am a minority in so many ways, and I just dealt with the frustration of trying to explain my position to the majority by mentally shrugging my shoulders and moving on. But it still hurt. It still was frustrating. And this quote perfectly encapsulated why people in the majority push back so relentlessly on equality. They ARE losing something because they had a bigger piece of the pie for so long. It’s natural to feel upset when you get leess. That’s human nature.

In this case, though, as with many cases, it’s laughable. Heterosexual relationships/marriages are still the norm. Yes, being queer is more acceptable these days. We have same-sex marriage (still to my surprise), but that doesn’t mean discrimination still doesn’t happen. It doesn’t mean that het monogamous marriage isn’t still considered the norm.

The fact that this commenter STARTED by trying to put queer people in their place was very telling. It showed that we were there on the sufferance of Alison (in the commenter’s mind) and that we were outsiders and interlopers. The funny thing is that most of the queer people had thoughtful, nuanced comments. The lesbian who wrote that it was straight people nonsense, well, she wasn’t wrong.

Jealousy isn’t a straight thing, obviously. Neither is navigating friendships with people you’re attracted to/are attracted to you, but the way it was stated was very het. Single woman and married man. Marriage equality has been the law of the land in the States for less than a decade at this point. That means a lot of queer people didn’t have the legal protection that straight people had for much of our country’s existence.

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The maternal blues

My mom called me last night to talk about things. It was fine until she brought up my brother. It was his birthday yesterday, which is probably why she called me (after calling him). I’ve explained that my brother is not an emotions guy. Nor is he a talk with no purpose guy (unless an idea comes into his head that he wants to ruminate over). My mother wants something from him that he is not able to give, and she doesn’t help by pushing it.

For example. Her birthday is ten days before his. She called him on her birthday and said, “What day is it?” I cringed as she told me this (she was laughing as she did, which is her way of indicating she knows she’s out of line, but is going to do what she wants, anyway) because I knew what she wanted, and I knew she wasn’t going to get it. My brother said he didn’t know and she told him it was August 5th. Which, I think he knows is her birthday? I’m not sure. But he certainly doesn’t care. For whatever reason, my parents have taken to pestering him about my birthday as well, and I really hate that. I don’t celebrate my birthday, and I certainly don’t need him to be guilted into doing something for it.

But this is a big part of my mother–she has a rigid idea of what should and shouldn’t be in a FAMILY, and fifty years of being in our family hasn’t shaken her beliefs one whit. They are very traditional with the mother being the homemaker and the father being the money earner (though, weirdly, my father insisted that my mother work fulltime their whole marriage). My mother claimed she wanted to stay home with my brother and me, but here’s the thing. She doesn’t like either of us. As people, I mean. My brother is not emotional enough, and three kids is too much. He was being reckless by becoming a realtor, and he never got an advanced degree (he mentioned he felt that made him lesser in our family). Me, well, everything about me. I’m not feminine in any way except my long hair and big boobs (which isn’t something I have control over), being queer, fat, not married, no kids, not religious, ad nauseam. This was really hammered home during my medical crisis. She may love me as her child, but she doesn’t like me, the person. She thinks Taiji is of the devil, and she thinks me doing weapon forms is ‘cute’.

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Tradition? (No) Tradition!

I’ve been thinking more about gender roles because I’m still not comfortable with being called a woman. I said to Ian that while I’m not going to make a fuss when someone calls me ‘she’, I prefer to skip pronouns completely. He said he would keep that in mind, which touched me. I wasn’t necessarily saying it because I wanted him to change (we rarely use pronouns for each other, anyway. It’s not something that comes up often when talking directly to each other). I used ‘she’ for myself a few times and did not like it. I did not hate it, either, but it just felt foreign to me. As I’ve said in the past, it’s the one that’s the closest to describing me, but it doesn’t fit. Like bisexual for my sexual identity. It’s close-ish, but not quite right. At my age, though, I just don’t care enough to explore it any further.

It’s the same as how I finally gave up on religion. I was raised as a fundamentalist Christian, replete with brimstone and hellfire. There was a heavy emphasis on sex being the worst thing you could do (especially as a girl) until you got married and then it was holy and angels would be singing. When I went to college and had sex for the first time at age 20, it was fantastic. Once it was over, I thought, “This is what’s sending me to hell?” It felt so good and more to the point, did not hurt anyone. Once I realized what shit that was, it was as if the scales had fallen from my eyes. And, on the other hand, there were no angels singing, either. It just felt really good and was something I wanted to do again.

Once that lie was exposed, I left Christianity. Full disclosure: I never truly believed in the Christian God, but I tried really hard. After that, however, I did a 180 and raged at the religion I had been raised in. I was furious that it had lied to me in such a massive way and I refused to listen to anything about it. Around the same time, my mother became even more religious–which was a trial. We were driving somewhere (she was at the wheel) and she would not shut up about Jesus. I gritted my teeth and tried to keep my mouth shut, but it was too much. I snapped that I didn’t give a fuck about her Jesus Christ (and as a general rule, I don’t swear in front of her). She stopped the car and told me to get out. We were about a mile from home so I just walked back, which was for the best.

I never played wedding when I was a little girl. I’ve heard it’s common to dream about it and plan it and enact it with your dolls and whatnot, but I had no interest in that. I hated dolls, anyway; I preferred plushies. I didn’t give a shit about weddings or any of that. I assumed it would come later–the interest, I mean. I also assumed that I had to get married and have children, which filled me with no joy. The day I realized in my early twenties that I did not have to have children was the best day of my life up until that point and it’s not been surpassed by many days since.

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