Author Topic: Boundaries and Rules  (Read 1979 times)

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Offline insideontheoutside

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Boundaries and Rules
« on: November 07, 2013, 03:06:32 am »
The other few threads and the responses here on this sub board so far have me thinking of a number of things I've been wanting to talk about for awhile. Some of these things I've touched on here and there in other sections of Susan's, but since this board exists, I figured why not start some of these ideas on their own threads.

I skirt around the edges of both boundaries and rules when it comes to gender. When I think about it, I've never actually been confused about my gender. The first confusion I felt and understood as confusion happened in preschool I think. When I was a kid, I truly was being myself, completely unfettered by societies rules about what little boys and girls should look like/do/act/say/etc. As far as I can surmise, I think my parents just wanted me to be a happy kid, and I was. For the most part, the other kids didn't care either, because they did not know all of those gender imposed boundaries and rules yet either. It was the adults who were unhappy. It was the adults who took my parents aside and talked in hushed whispers. It was the adults who confused me. 

What's sad, is even today, in 2013, there's adults still behaving like that when it comes to their child's expression of gender. Not too long ago I was shopping and there was a mom and a little boy there and the little boy said, "I want these headphones!" as he pointed at these Hello Kitty headphones. The mom says, "You don't what those, those are for girls!". And so it begins where another kid's likes are squashed because of some uptight parental figure who couldn't handle if their child were to be perceived as anything but a standard issue boy or a standard issue girl.

And what's even sillier still is that just about everyone is a mix of likes and dislikes, mannerisms, features, etc. that could be associated with one gender or the other. I know big burly lumberjack looking guys who watch soap operas, blonde barbie dolls who can fix cars, etc. I was in one of the local smoke shops once with the sole purposes of procuring some cigars (a vice I indulge in about 4 times a year). So I grab what I need, go up to the counter, and the guy ringing me up said, "Are these for you?" When I said they were there was absolute shock and amazement on his face. He actually wanted the owner to come out and talk to me, to what end I have no idea because I bounced. There are actual women who smoke cigars (and women throughout history who smoked), how is this some shocking revelation in the year 2013?

I like when I can make people forget gender, or forget the "norms" they're used to. Case in point: I'm restoring an old car. I was down at my mechanic's place talking shop when the guy he orders paint from popped up. He jumped into the conversation, that continued on for maybe 15 minutes before he left, saying, addressing the two of us with male pronouns. After he walked off and without missing a beat I simply said, "Nice guy ... well I gotta get going!" The mechanic didn't even say anything. It's not even like I'm throwing up a smoke screen or putting on an act. It's happened quite a bit over the years. When I truly am myself and I'm comfortable and confident (and especially when I'm talking about a subject I know a lot about or are otherwise passionate about) more people treat me in the manner of my actual gender. I've studied it for years now, because initially it tripped me out. It brought me back to those days on the playground where kids didn't think of that sort of thing, you were just another kid. And so, if you walk like a duck, and talk like a duck, you must be a duck even if you might visually look like another bird.

When it comes to my appearance, beyond my hairstyle, clothes are all I got. I have a few personal rules for how I dress. One is that on the average day, I'm dressing for myself. Meaning, I'm wearing clothes that I not only look good in, but that make me feel good too. I have my bum-around-the-house days of course, and then I also have my dress-to-impress days (think business meeting or nice dinner out). I also have a rule about never wearing pajamas or slippers out in public, but that's a whole other thing haha. Since I'm in a creative field and I am an artist in my own right, it's sometimes a golden ticket to push some boundaries in the realm of appearance. I don't have to wear a suit to the type of business meetings I go to. I could have bright purple hair and for the most part, people would accept that ... because I'm a creative/artist type. I'm out of my "over the top" days so most people would probably think I'm pretty tame, but it's still nice to not have to be put in certain boxes. You say you're an artist and a lot of people automatically take you out of any box. They expect you to be a little eccentric.

I can be happily androgynous. 75% of my wardrobe is all men's clothing (granted, I have a knack for finding items with, for lack of a better word, flair ... my discovery of Korean men's fashion is still one of those milestone "ah ha" type of moments for me). When you take me out of my creative element and put me into the "real world" that's often when I get more looks and confused behavior out of people. Typically if I'm out by myself at a restaurant, the wait staff will not use a gender qualifier with me. When I'm with a guy, I always get, "What would you guys like?". One of my friends came up with a theory that when people really aren't 100% sure of your gender, they error on the female side because they figure a women would take more offense to be calling a man (and a man would probably correct someone, or laugh it off). He could be on to something there.

I've embraced pushing the boundary of what society thinks is male. I'm happier when I confuse people than when they refer to me as "ma'am" (hell even most women have a problem with being called "ma'am" a lot of times). In the not too distant past I did want to tip the scales more to male in the visual department (I even did informed consent HRT for a very short time, but it didn't work out for me) but I have no problem with my name, and really no problem with the "identity" that's out there for the world to see and acknowledge. I've thought about "coming out" to more people as a way to break even more rules (yes, I'm trans, no I'm not transitioning ... huh, what?).

I've given up on modifying my body (other than through exercise). I don't have any desire to change my name or ask/force everyone I know to start using different gender pronouns. I'm an anomaly, definitely not standard-issue. As Hunter S. Thompson said, "There he goes. One of God's own prototypes. Some kind of high powered mutant never even considered for mass production. Too weird to live, and too rare to die."

And now, I think I'm going to go to bed.
"Let's conspire to ignite all the souls that would die just to feel alive."

Jamie D

Re: Boundaries and Rules
« Reply #1 on: November 09, 2013, 06:59:18 pm »
Dear Ralph,

We killed like Champions.

Lono

Offline insideontheoutside

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Re: Boundaries and Rules
« Reply #2 on: November 09, 2013, 09:48:02 pm »
Dear Ralph,

We killed like Champions.

Lono

Ha! Someday I'm going to get around to reading the Curse of Lono (when I can find a copy that's not $40).
"Let's conspire to ignite all the souls that would die just to feel alive."

Offline DriftingCrow

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Re: Boundaries and Rules
« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2013, 11:06:47 pm »
Not transitioning (at least yet. . . maybe sometime in the future, can't write anything off as a set no) either, I guess I am pushing some boundaries too.

I don't always dress male, since I am known as female at work, so I am stuck wearing the traditional female clothes for an East-Coast law office. I really really hate female suits, so I've lately just been wearing dresses, since overall they're cheaper and more comfortable. However, I still feel like I "walk like a caveman" (as many people describe my walk" when dressed as a girl, and I don't even try to do my girly walk (just remember, sit with those legs closed). As long as I am dressed appropriately and comfortably, I don't really care if I am giving off male-like signals at times.

I also don't force myself to use the female restroom while dressed like a girl (unless of course it wouldn't be safe). I went to a show the other day, and there was a huge line outside of the women's room and none outside the men's room, and even though I was dressed like a girl (even in high heels!), I said what the hell, and just used the men's room. None of the guys cared, and when I walked out some girls said "omg I want to do that!" It felt great just walking in like one of the guys even though I clearly wasn't dressed like one, and avoiding standing in a huge line too.

I probably am confusing to some people, the ones who see both my work-life and outside of work life. I am either dressed super-girly in a professional style dress  or I look like a butch lesbian. I think most people would just rather see some sort of continuous style of dress instead of a flip-flopping around.

I also would've freaked awhile ago if anyone outed me, but now I think I'd just shrug it off (unless it was to my boss, because I'd likely end up not getting a permanent offer to stay on). I'd be pushing boundaries if I actually outed myself, but I just haven't felt the need to. What's the point really if I don't plan on changing my name and having people use male pronouns? People generally treat me as I want to be treated, I sometimes even get invited out with the guys and the girls know I am not into getting my hair and nails done.

Quote
When it comes to my appearance, beyond my hairstyle, clothes are all I got. I have a few personal rules for how I dress. One is that on the average day, I'm dressing for myself. Meaning, I'm wearing clothes that I not only look good in, but that make me feel good too. I have my bum-around-the-house days of course, and then I also have my dress-to-impress days (think business meeting or nice dinner out). I also have a rule about never wearing pajamas or slippers out in public, but that's a whole other thing haha. Since I'm in a creative field and I am an artist in my own right, it's sometimes a golden ticket to push some boundaries in the realm of appearance. I don't have to wear a suit to the type of business meetings I go to. I could have bright purple hair and for the most part, people would accept that ... because I'm a creative/artist type. I'm out of my "over the top" days so most people would probably think I'm pretty tame, but it's still nice to not have to be put in certain boxes. You say you're an artist and a lot of people automatically take you out of any box. They expect you to be a little eccentric.

Yes, when I was younger and thought I was going to end up as an artist, I was a lot freer in wearing whatever I choose. I used to basically wear exclusively male clothes and easily passed as male in places where people didn't know me as female. That's such a downfall of where I ended up career-wise, since there's very little room for self-expression in clothing and hair-style. I never really felt like I was living a double-life before, there was always just people who knew or people I just didn't think deserved to know, but now I have such a line of my work-dress and my non-work-dress.
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Offline insideontheoutside

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Re: Boundaries and Rules
« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2013, 11:54:34 pm »
I probably am confusing to some people, the ones who see both my work-life and outside of work life. I am either dressed super-girly in a professional style dress  or I look like a butch lesbian. I think most people would just rather see some sort of continuous style of dress instead of a flip-flopping around.

That touches on something I've thought about and that is how many people bend their own personal rules to fit other people. I think it's great that that you can do the total female work attire and deal with it, and then also be comfortable going out like the opposite.

I also would've freaked awhile ago if anyone outed me, but now I think I'd just shrug it off
Yeah I've mellowed over time with this myself. I mean, it's still a "big secret" but if someone confronted me with it, I'd probably just say something like, "Yeah, you caught me. I'm not a woman!" and then laugh.

I think I've gotten to a point where most people would consider me a "gender bender" or something like that anyway. I'm clearly not a "normal female" (I don't have the caveman walk, but I definitely walk like a dude as well, and don't really have specific feminine mannerisms).
"Let's conspire to ignite all the souls that would die just to feel alive."

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