Sunday, 23 January 2011

TftD: for Emerald...

... who has been musing upon gender socialisation.

It's not just makeup and pretty clothes, of course. It's...
  • babies
  • monogamy, and slut-shaming women who aren't inclined to it
  • complaining about my problems but then getting angry if someone suggests an actual solution
  • telling all about my partners' private sexual habits and shortcomings to female friends whose business it most certainly isn't
  • nail art (WHY??!)
  • regarding men as ridiculous, malleable fools
  • rom-coms
  • the colour pink
  • Loose Women  (the daytime TV show)
  • chick-lit and misery-memoirs
  • shoes

You know, I think I'm better off not being a girl. I'll just stick to having a vagina and stuff.


Craig Sorensen said...

Too funny!

Jo said...

I'm not a girly girl and I like/do some of those things. It's not the end of the world. I don't think it makes me a horrible creature.

Well, except for complaining about my life an refusing solutions, that is a bad one.

Beth said...

I suppose this makes me very not-a-girl (male, presumably) then. Shoes? What? I thought it was men who like them but perhaps it's just Tom...
Also, I don't even know what 'chick-lit' or 'rom-coms' means.

Janine Ashbless said...

No criticism of any individual who actually likes babies was intended, Jo! It just ain't me - despite the shape of my genitals/genes. And I don't think that makes me "intersexed" or anything either - it just means that our social definition of what women (and indeed, men) are like is way too narrow. Which was the point of the comic strip.

Beth - I don't even know what 'chick-lit' or 'rom-coms' means - in this case, ignorance is probably bliss ;-)

Justine Elyot said...

I've given up being ill since Loose Women started. It ruins my sofa-bound mood and makes me throw balled-up tissues at the TV.

Janine Ashbless said...

Justine, you need Judge Judy ;-)

Madeline Moore said...

"chick lit" (Books about a woman who needs to lose ten pounds before the wedding she's supposed to be a bridesmaid for) is no more. It has been incorporated into 'Women's Literature.'

Rom-com is romantic comedy, aka Date Movie. Movies that supposedly are of no interest to men.

I'm not going to ask your age, Janine, but I'll tell you this:
I had no interest in having children until I turned 30, at which my hormones became one single hormone: I must have a baby.

I cried when I saw a pregnant woman. I cried twice as hard when I saw a woman, often younger than me, pregnant and pushing a stroller.

So beware girlfriend - the breeding thing is part of our lizard brain and can surface from the bubbling murk, flicking its tongue and hissing 'make us a mom, Janine.'

Janine Ashbless said...

It's running a bit late with me then, Madeline. I'm 44 and no there's sign of my lizard hormones yet...

Jo said...

I read that cartoon totally wrong. As in, not being positive about being female. That's scary.

My daughter wishes she was a boy. I wish she could see how being a girl can give her the best of both worlds, though.

And my son recently got cross with his granny because he wanted to be pretty, not handsome, and it was hard for her to cope with that.

Janine Ashbless said...

Jo, when I was little I too wished I could be a boy. That's because I saw no grown women in the media or in real life who related in any way to how I felt about myself. Women in real life were mothers, full stop. Women on TV were cowardly, ineffective, scatterbrained and fundamentally useless until a bloke came along to rescue them, and their only purpose in a story was to distract the hero from doing cool, important stuff by making him fall in love (a process he clearly resented). Tomboys existed to be "cured."

Having a well-developed sense of self (or ego, ahem), it didn't actually occur to me that I was a freak - I just thought the rest of the world was wrong. I know role models for women have improved (somewhat) since those days, but it would have saved me so much isolation and anger if someone could have got through to me that there are loads of different types of women and I could grow up into any damn sort of person I liked. *Sigh* My heart goes out to your Olivia.

And as for Bodhi and his granny ... Yeah. Heh: last year my family came up to visit and we went to a craft fair. My nephew (aged 6ish) really wanted to buy a Chinese paper fan so that he could keep himself and his Grandad and Grandma cool on the hot train on the way back. His Grandad nearly had a stroke, muttering "Little boys don't use fans!" in a strangled undertone but not quite daring to forbid the kid in front of me because he knew he was being, well, homophobic. These things are so ingrained by our upbringing...

(I bought my nephew the fan. Heh heh.)

Emerald said...

Thanks so much for the link, Janine, and I am glad you appreciated the musing! :) I've been away at a retreat over the weekend without my computer, so I'm just seeing this now.

"it just means that our social definition of what women (and indeed, men) are like is way too narrow"

I utterly agree. I have felt that way as long as I remember...I recall feeling confounded by (what seemed to me) the idiocy of saying boys are supposed to be a certain way and girls another when I was a kid.

It seems to me too so important to recognize these assumptions and how ingrained indeed they seem to be in the collective psyche in order to open our perspectives (and thus the collective perspective)—in the ultimate service of wholeness and authenticity for all individuals.

Lastly, I relate to what you say here too, Janine. When I was younger I remember growing furious in the face of sexism and gender stereotypes because so many of them did not seem to fit me. So what did that mean—I was defective or something? The view I used to present was that perhaps this is a sign that the stereotypes themselves are what are defective!! (Grrrr...)

Ahem. Anyway, thanks again, and thanks for sharing this. :)

Janine Ashbless said...

Oh thank you Emerald! I am so happy you enjoyed the post dedicated to you. I hope your retreat went well!