14 April 2010
Day 18: Leviathan
So, I'm going to talk a little bit about gender here. Which I know is a touchy subject and may alienate any conservative or old-fashioned readers I might have now or later, but this is a thing that is so central to everyone's lives, whether they realize it or not. I am a woman, who was born a woman, but honestly I could go either way. Really. If I could wake up in the morning and decide to be a man, there would be days I would do just that. And you know what, I don't think I'm alone. I don't even think that's an "abnormal" thing. It would just be another choice, like deciding whether we want to wear sandals or tennis shoes that day, it would be like, "Oh, today is definitely a penis day."
In Leviathan, Deryn/Dylan Sharp dresses as a boy in order to join the British Air Service, and trust me that's not a spoiler. She seems constantly aware of her gender rather than eventually becoming comfortable with the deception. But then, she's not a woman who wants to live as a man, but a woman living as a man because she has to in order to achieve her goals. I occasionally wear men's clothes myself, or at the very least unisex clothing, because I find it comfortable and much less of a hassle than women's clothing.
Also. I am fat.
Yesterday my friends and I went out to a bookstore, and then they wanted to get some clothes. I believe the primary objective was underwear, but of course other things were bought as well. At the last store they actually had clothes that I both needed and...almost fit. You see, I am a fat woman who has no boobs. I cannot find bras that fit me properly, even when they are in my size, so finding something that's even close gives me a little glimmer of hope that maybe, maybe I can wear this. I don't think men have this same problem. I'm sure there are fat men out there who do have some issues, but it's not the same.
Men typically have fairly similar bodies: your chest sizes don't vary as much as women, you don't usually lack or have very wide hips, and for some reason your butts almost always look good in jeans. Women have so many variations in their bodies, and I am sadly shaped more closely to a man's than to a woman's body (nearly flat chest, no butt, broad shoulders). And you know what, I like wearing men's clothes. Not because I intend to live my life as a man, but because I don't think it should matter.
If they made women's clothing that fit me properly, that hung on my frame as well as men's clothing tends to hang on my frame, I would probably buy it more often. I would be willing to spend a couple hundred dollars (if and when I have it) on a sun dress, two pairs of slacks, and blouse. That would be awesome. It would also be awesome if people would just forget gender altogether, at the very least in the professional world. You know what; it works. I've lived in that community.
Antioch. Oh god Antioch. Even though gender politics played a large part in my career at Antioch, there were days when I honestly forgot what gender I was. The only time I remembered was when we would go "outside the bubble" and I had to use the restroom. Gender did not affect my education, or my work, or my social life at Antioch. I want that back. I want to be able to go to work and not have it matter that I'm not wearing make-up or high heels. I want to be able to go to work and not even have the possibility that it will be whispered that because I'm successful I must be sleeping with someone. I shouldn't have to work twice as hard as someone else just because we have different genitals.
Everyone should just forget gender at work. It doesn't matter. Your work and your personal life should be separate entities. If you want to get to know someone, invite them out and then you can remember genders. Based on a working relationship with someone, I can tell whether or not I want to spend more time with them. If I don't want to hang out with them after work, I certainly don't want to have sex with them; and really, that's the only time gender should matter.