I will never forget Introduction to Anthropology 1008 at The University of Queensland.
It was 2001 and I was a first year BA student learning that sex was biological, gender was a construct.
I’ve never forgotten the lecture we learned that in, or that fact.
It’s all so interesting.
When I shaved my head everyone loved it. They said, “Wow, you’re so brave!” or, “You’re even more beautiful!”
My first thought was: did you not think I could be beautiful with a shaved head? Or was it because I’m a woman you thought that?
Years ago I wouldn’t have done it. I was still so afraid of people expecting me to be a certain way and fitting in. I’ve learned that fitting in is often boring (you’re then stereotyped and labelled) and yet at the same time, being yourself is when you truly do fit in because people admire you and love you because of it, not in spite of it.
Being considered to be feminine or masculine is also a construction. It’s what society conditions us to feel.
Women should wear this, act like this or think like this. It’s the same for men.
Clothing is a huge part of gender construction and I will admit that when I wear more, ‘masculine,’ clothes (yes, I used that word for the purpose of my point, not because I believe in it!) I do act a different way. My whole demeanour changes. And I sometimes feel that I can get away with spreading my legs, being unladylike or swearing like a trooper more when I’m in those clothes. It’s liberating in a sense.
I’ve been told more than once that I often like unusual looking people. Of course! I like those who are beautiful in a unique way. I have no issue with saying I like someone or that someone is beautiful whether they are male or female.
I shocked someone the other day when I told them I usually like men, but I have had relationships with women. I don’t see any distinction between feelings. Love is love whoever it is.
Androgynous people aka gender-bending people are possibly the epitome of free. They can be whoever and whatever they choose to be. Maybe that’s why I love fashion so much. It can both enhance and eliminate gender.
As Rain Dove, the androgynous supermodel once said via her choice of t-shirt: “Gender is over if you want it.”