Do things have a gender?

W and I get into a bit of a disagreement yesterday.

GlitterWe were at a May Day festival known as a the “Faerie Festival” when she sprinkled a pinch of faerie dust on my forehead.

She was just joking around.  It was one of those when in Rome things.

And this butch blew things out of proportion with having some glitter tossed in her direction.

I told W that I think of glitter and sparkly things as feminine.

She was like chill, dude, it’s just faerie dust.  It doesn’t have a gender.

Which got me thinking about objects and gender.  For sure, things don’t have genders.

But in my mind, certain things do:

  • Glitter (female)
  • The color pink (female — except on something very masculine like a necktie)
  • Purses (female — c’mon, they’re like vaginas with a strap)
  • Man purses (still female)
  • Crying (female)
  • The word “pretty” (female)
  • Dolls

I don’t know if it’s because I was told growing up that there are boy things and girl things.  My brother was a boy so he mowed the grass.  I cooked dinner.  Drum lessons were for boys so I ended up playing the flute.  There is nothing sadder than a butch lesbian playing the flute when she yearns to play the drums.

In my list, I had intended on including female and male things.  I see I only listed those items that I associate with femininity and find unappealing.

I wonder if it is overcompensation for not being able to be me for so many years.  A rebellion of some sort that came 30-some years too late.

* * *

What about you?  Do you think of things in boy/girl terms?

17 responses to “Do things have a gender?

  1. I think it’s ingrained. Despite conscious effort to the contrary, GIRL or BOY labels flash up in my mind unbidden, classifying the world around me when I look at things. The only thing to be done is check our assumptions regularly. And be kind to yourself–no one’s perfect.

  2. I also think it’s ingrained. Having recently had many discussions with my son over gender, I’m more sensitive to it than I ever was. Still, my Kindle Fire is name Rupert and my iPhone is Jane (after Jane Austen) and growing up all my stuffed animals were boys. What interesting is that there was a time in history where men wore more flamboyant clothing than the women or the same as and pink was considered a male color and blue was female. The reason being that they thought pink was too exciting and girls were taught to be quiet and demure. Here’s an interesting article on the topic of pink and blue.

    • I knew about that whole pink/blue thing. It’s fascinating.

      I think it’s so ingrained in our culture that we don’t really think about it. Unless you are fixated on gender. Then you think about it too much.

  3. As for the glitter…I think there’s a lesson in there somewhere. Don’t get the mogwai wet and never, ever glitter a Butch. 😉

  4. We all for sure deal with unpacking our own biases. And if you’re read as female and find yourself doing something “female” like crying and carrying a purse while covered in glitter, it’s a lot harder to maintain masculinity in the eyes of others. That’s not in your head. But there are ways to embrace things you enjoy and to relax about your self-inflicted gender expectations; sometimes the best way to take down the patriarchy is from within. Arrgggh.

    • I hear you, PlainT. That’s good advice. Easier said than done, but I will put forth an effort. Items symbolizing femininity are triggery for me. They take me back to not fitting in. While my friends were wearing make-up and carrying purses, those things made me so very uncomfortable. Apparently, they still do.

  5. I totally relate to this! I am really touchy about being read as feminine because it’s a trigger for dysphoria and I spend so much energy trying to present in a way that allows me to be perceived as how I identify. I think ideally I would feel fine and secure in my masculinity holding a purse or, really, wearing a dress. But everyone is conditioned to interpret me as feminine even when I’m trying very hard to present as masculine and people are constantly pressuring me do present more femininely without regard to how I identify and that is a terrible feeling. So I think you are completely reasonable because the right to establish one’s own gender identity is very important and so much harder when you’re non conforming and constantly struggling against the default assumptions of others. It’s annoying that so many objects and methods of expression are interpreted as very gender specific and it’s challenging because I want to protect my own authentic sense of self which involves distancing myself from femininity while also advocating for femininity and everybody’s right to embrace it to whatever degree is most fitting for them. I think it’s the right to express your own identity freely using what you have that is most important!

    • I agree with you, BD. I am not yet at that place where I would be comfortable carrying a purse or wearing a dress. I still have a lot of growing to do. But it’s complicated, this gender stuff. Some days, I think it’s pretty easy. This is who I am. This boy-girl hybrid. Other days, not so much. It’s all a big jumble of boy/girl, and I’m not sure where I begin and end.

  6. My friend was just talking about this with her 8 year old son. They’d been dog sitting for two dogs, one a dainty, little poodle and one a burly, big, slobbery pit mix. Her son kept calling the big dog a boy and the little dog a girl and she kept reminding him it was the other way around. At 8 he’s already been conditioned by cartoons and whatever else to see small and dainty as female, big and burly as male. It is complicated, huh. I agree as well with Bull Dyker above about how many objects and methods of expression are interpreted as gender specific. Frustrating as hell.

    • It is complicated with the way that we have been conditioned to see certain things as boy things and others as girl things. Add to that our individual upbringings. And then the fact that some of us feel like boy-girl hybrids.

  7. The Little Butch That Could (TLBTC)

    Glitter, faerie dust or whatever the hell you want to call it, that shit sparkles and it sticks to you. I don’t want anything to do with stuff that sparkles.
    As for genderizing (new word?) items, historically, ships are referred to as female and my cars are female, our current auto is named Bella. . . and our GPS is Genie. Those gals haven’t let me down! Cheers.

  8. Pingback: Gender Queer Missive Part 3 OR Gender Non-Conforming | NotGiggles ButChuckles

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