|Earrings and tights: Reitmans; Boots: Ecco; Dress clips, skirt, blazer, clutch, and top: vintage; Solitaire ring: heirloom; Right hand ring: Birks; Stackable rings: Etsy; Faux eternity band: boutique|
As I've said before, I actually feel that, for someone as femme as I am, such outfits only serve to highlight my femininity.
Kind of like standing beside Beau does. Though Beau's not really the "manliest" of men and could even be called a tad "fey," I feel much more womanly in my body and feminine in my mannerisms when I'm with him.
That's neither a good thing nor a bad thing. It's just a thing, a juxtaposition thing.
So on this day, masquerading just a little bit as a man, I headed downtown with Beau and did my little posey posey thing while we waited for my appointment with my hairdresser.
My city's alleys, if not exactly famous, are frequent stars of cheap television programs and movies pretending to be shot in New York City. You may never have been to my city. You may never have even heard of it. But I can guarantee that you've seen it masquerading as New York on the silver screen.
It is true that we do have some New Yorkish details and elements here.
But I've actually lived in NYC and I can assure you that this ain't it. Not even close.
For one thing, it's too clean. For another, it's never too crowded, even in our rapid transit system during rush hour. Mostly, it has way too much open space to be anything like New York. There are no canyons formed by the high, closely set, steep cliffs of architecture like there are in New York. I can actually breathe here, easily. I like that.
Not to mention our extraordinary ocean and mountain views around every corner.
I pay attention to nuances, details, and distinctions like that -- from the macro of architecture...
... to micro of jewelry design.
It is in such details that one can find a few shots that can pass for New York.
And it is in such details that an ostensibly feminine outfit of a skirt and a tight shirt that one can find a few things that can pass for masculine: note the tweed skirt, the tailored blazer, and the herringbone weave of these tights.
Though I am generally perceived as very feminine, I like to mix and mingle the masculine and feminine, in my appearance and, even more, in my attitudes and beliefs.
I don't believe that women are always naturally feminine, or that men are always naturally masculine. Instead, I think girls are raised and pressured to be feminine, and boys are raised and pressured to be masculine. I think such pressures are unnecessary and restrictive at best, and harmful and cruel at worst.
So I like to mess with people's notions of gender. I like to mix it up. I make a "conscious effort to mock or 'fuck with' traditional notions of gender identity, gender roles, and gender presentation which assume that one's identity, role and orientation is determined by one's" (wikipedia) biological sex.
My hope is that I'll mess with people's heads just enough that they'll start asking themselves important questions about whether or not gender really is natural after all.
Excuse my language, but the official term for that is "genderfuck," or, if you prefer, "gender bending." I'm a gender bender and I always have been, since I was a small child.
These distinctions between masculine and feminine, male and female, can be so important to people, it becomes almost comical. We have become so obsessed, we feel we must constantly enforce this false line between masculine/male and feminine/female. You know what I mean: it's the pink aisle in toy store; it's the pink and blue toothbrushes; it's the pink razor for the woman's legs and the blue razor for the man's face; it's the assertion that a marriage must only be between a man and a woman.
It's all contrary to actual human nature, which is just not that rigid.
I mean, really, what man ever actually poses like the guys in these ads? But they're ideal, urban and urbane men. They model an identity that many men feel they must strive to achieve.
Everywhere we turn -- in the cradle, in the family, at school, at work, in the media -- men and women are taught how to behave differently from one another. We're taught how to walk, how to hold our limbs, how to hold the very muscles of our faces.
We get pretty anxious about it all. What man hasn't felt anxious at some point that he's not measuring up as a man? What woman hasn't at some point felt anxious that she's not feminine enough?
As we try to get it "right," we end up practising in front of mirrors, carefully choosing our clothes, modulating the pitch of our voices, faking our interests... all as a kind of constant rehearsal or performance of masculinity or femininity. We all fail, at least some of the time.
People get very hung up on maintaining their femininity...
... or their masculinity.
Pose like this if you're a boy.
Pose like this if you're a girl.
In academia, we call all this "rehearsing masculinity." If gender (masculine or feminine) really were naturally associated with biological sex (male or female), would we have to work so hard to get it right? Would culture have to condemn gender rebels so much? Would parents have to "correct" their children's behaviour so much?
If it's so natural, why do have to practise, rehearse, and perform it?
|This is my pain face. I think of it as the authentic me. Funny how others see me as sunny and positive.|
It's too stressful to get all hung up on gender. So screw it. Fuck with gender!
Let's all stop being anxious, lighten up, and play with gender instead.
As for me, I'm buying Beau an engagement ring! Who says I can't?
So be whoever you really are.
A little bit butch.
And a little bit femme.
And a whole lot of exactly who you really are -- whoever that may be.
(I'm joining the dress-up fun at Visible Mondays at Not Dead Yet.)