The Gender Template

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The following is a blog post I wrote from my AP Lang class project on gender:

Gender. The word itself brings back memories of baby showers decorated in all blue, sitting through long sermons about how ladies should conduct themselves, and the rigorous dress codes ladies had to follow for recitals (damn you, toe seams).annoyed ugh eye roll eyeroll

Typically, I’m the kind who defines a concept through a logical explanation (thanks, scientific method), but gender cannot be explained biologically. (or can it..?)

Yes, yes, I know. Females have an extra chromosome, we have different hormones – there are biological differences between the sexes. But gender and sex are quite different, despite being so closely correlated.

So, what is gender if it cannot be explained through hard science?
How can we define it if there is no definitive aspects of what makes someone a guy or a girl?

I’ve come to the conclusion that we don’t have the tools necessary to understand gender – yet. As a firm believer in science, I believe that given the proper tools, the scientific method, and the right mindset, someone can make sense out of the world’s “phenomenon”.

Cue X-Files theme:

the truth is out there

But this is no X-File, gender can be X-Plained one way or another.

Gender roles are culturally instilled in humans all over the world; in the American culture men are expected to conform to the masculine stigma, which is: angry, emotionally out of touch, and intimidating.

We saw this from the gendered razor commercials, to the way John acts in The Yellow Wallpaper, by Charlotte Perkins Stetson – cold, stern, and logical.

Women on the other hand are expected to submit to a man’s anger–even if it is a complete stranger–it is assumed that every woman is emotionally in touch with herself, and that she possesses this “motherly instinct”.

But I honestly don’t. I don’t feel like I have a maternal instinct – I never have. In fact, I don’t plan on having my own children because I simply don’t want them.

We are, as women, expected to play dumb. To allow men to explain things to us that our teeny little brains just can’t comprehend. (Culturally, not specifically your uncle Eric who lives in Oklahoma – but maybe him too).

Party Over Here comedy haha hilarious nicole byer

Because women do everything for them dudes

While I can see how gender roles have shaped our society, they have created this imbalance between the relationship men and women have. Gender is just this illusion humans have used to describe anatomy – much like how women doctors were considered witches in the renaissance.

We can’t explain it, so it must be sinful, dark, and wrong.

I would like to argue that women are domestic because we are conditioned to be that way. Just as men have been conditioned to like mechanics, agriculture, and football – or whatever it is that the masculine archetype enjoys.

I mean, think about it.

Girls are handed dolls to play with at a young age, I probably got my first doll before I was two years old. Whereas, guys are given toy trucks and Legos.

The way I see it, those physical differences in our worlds between guys and girls at such a critical point in our development have to make some sort of impact.

If we give guys dolls at a young age, then they might become even more “domestic” or lean toward care giving.
If we give girls Legos at a young age, then they might become more logical. 

We are shaped into the people we become, and this is pretty evident once we find out the gender of an unborn child because we start painting their room pink or blue, we buy ribbons or blue onesies based off of a sonogram telling us that kids’ sex. Think about that for a second. We systematically pick from two different colors for our unborn children based off their suspected gender.

I don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with this little cultural oddity, but.. We shouldn’t allow for it to define who we are, and if we’re gonna keep it around, maybe add a few more colors.

Though, as we saw in the TedTalk by Alice Dreger, scientists suspect that there are more than just two sexes, so wouldn’t that also mean our idea of having two genders is outdated as well? Maybe we should select a few more colors off our palette for the genders we’ve ignored?

Of course, that’s not the end of the story (when is it?).

(if you don’t think Jason Segel is cute, then we can’t be friends)

Who else has had AP Psych with Hogan? If you have, then you’ve probably heard about the John/Joan case in the 1950’s – if you haven’t here’s a link to an article on the case study. 

If you’re like me, you didn’t click the link – so I’ll expand on what it’s about. Basically, a baby boy went through a tragic accident in which he lost his genitalia, his parents decided to raise him as a girl and never tell him he was born a dude. So, they raise Bruce as Brenda and he never feels like he is in his own skin (poor guy) – and he goes through some emotional turmoil and his mom finally tells him he isn’t actually a Brenda but a Bruceplot twiiiist.

This particular story is unique because we can see what happens when someone grows up thinking they’re one gender when they are biologically another – you might be like “hey, Allysa, that’s supporting the other side and is excluding the transgender community” which is why it’s important to say that we can also see stories of transgender people who have had sex changes, and they are fully satisfied with that.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that this is more about how we perceive our biological sex. Like, you can embrace it if you desire or you can reject it and whatever you choose is cool.

Little Bruce Reimer had no idea that he was born a biological boy, but he knew that being a girl was not for him. Many trans people know their biological sex, and yet they feel like someone else entirely.

People tend to figure out who they are, whether or not they identify with their born sex as their gender. Even Alice Dreger can admit that biology plays a role in our behavior and gender,

“there might be something, on average, different about female brains from male brains that makes us more attentive to deeply complex social relationships, and more attentive to taking care of the vulnerable.”

And I can step back, look at where she is coming from, look at her evidence, and say ‘I can see how that could be the case’.

The only way that we will come to any conclusive idea on gender is if we listen to each other, see where the other side is coming from, and consider all the evidence.

Obviously, no one is the same way.

Girls can be feminine.
Guys can be feminine.
Girls can be masculine.
Guys can be masculine.

Gender is a mixture of nature and nurture, it’s conditioning and biology – why limit our answer to “it’s only this” or “it’s only that”, which not only puts a stopper on our way of thinking, but it also puts a halt on advancements in our culture.

We can have our cake and eat it too, just so long as we are respectful of each other.

So, be respectful. Don’t be rude. And like, if you have a problem with someone else’s gender, ask yourself why you care so much about something that has very little to do with you.

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My Perfect Partner: Revised

Atheism, beautiful, Beauty, equality, Family, feminism, Future, Hope, Humanist, Journal, Love, Loving Life, New, Partner, Peace, Perfect, Personal, Relationships, science, Small Things, Smiling

About five months ago, on august 1st of 2016, I wrote a post about my perfect partner. While most of it is still true, I wanted to revise it. After going through my last relationship, some updating needed to happen.

My perfect partner would be taller than me, pretty fit or small, kiss really well. Someone who is sexual, and understand the appeal of large cities. Someone who would be down for adventure at any hour. They would remind me of what I love when I am sad. Preferably would have brown or dark hair, would wear leather shoes (probably oxfords or sandals). High libido. They would play chess, read for leisure, cook occasionally. Someone who would appreciate music with foreign lyrics and instrumental pieces. They would have the desire to see the world, to go places. Someone who loves foggy weather, as well as the rainy days. They would share my nerdy side, loving Lord of the Rings, Sherlock, The X-files, or whatever I’m interested in then as much as me. We would share the same taste in music and humor, I mean, a relationship with puns would have to be a good one. They kind of need to love sushi, because it’s literally my favorite. They would be an open-minded person who looks at (and doesn’t ignore) facts, someone who uses reasoning and skepticism to come to conclusions. A critical thinker, an intelligent being. Their occupation would be in a field of science or art, they would be a logical person with soft emotions. They would be passionate and caring, interesting but not a douche, kind but not in a delusional way. Ethically, I would see in them what I aspire to be. They would aspire to know everything they could, never stop learning. Someone who wants to make a change in the world, who is as crazy as I am in thinking that we could actually make a difference – but they don’t let that stop them.

Someone who would understand that I have my many emotional issues, and they wouldn’t guilt me for having them. They would understand that sometimes I need to be loved. Someone who wouldn’t mind my spam texting them, or that I over analyze the simplest of things. They wouldn’t mind that I can overreact to things, because let’s face it, I can make a lot of issues for myself. They would understand that I have a difficult time loving people, that I have a difficult time trusting someone after that trust has been broken. They would understand that I am a person who fluctuates in everything: emotions, weight, ideas. I’m constantly changing and don’t like settling.

Most importantly, we would want to make a relationship together work. We would make the other feel at peace, and loved. There will be no “if we’re still together then”, there would be trust and mutual satisfaction. There wouldn’t be that looming sense that one day we would break up.

I feel the intense desire to be in a long term relationship with someone like this. Surprisingly, nothing drastic has changed in the last five months, but a lot of little things were not the same anymore.

And of course, we would have to love each other.

Complaining

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This last week has been hard.

I fell down a hill and ended up hitting my house. My whole body is sore.

I lost 10 points in PE because I couldn’t run the mile – my leg was too beat up, I hardly made it through the day walking between classes.

Also during PE: I ended up on a team with the two athletic girls (one of whom is in AP Lang with me —  let’s just say I embarrassed myself. My hair band broke, and my hair is at this really ugly length, it’s not quite above the shoulder, but it’s not really below it.. So, I was messing with my hair instead of trying to play badminton. I’m pretty sure they don’t like me now. Pretty sure I lost the game for us.

After PE, I had a physics test. Completely forgot how to solve one of the equations, even though I had studied an extra hour of unrequired materials in preparation two nights before. Of COURSE I forgot. The teacher gave me this look of disappointment, mixed with something related to anger and simply said “you knew this was going to be on the test.” and he was right. but I had also studied. I was understanding it. But then the test came and I was already having a bad day and the next thing I knew, I was out of his class and trying my absolute best to not cry at school. I can’t be the girl who cries at school again…

I’ve made a point to not talk about my family issues at school, or about anything negative that would set me apart. I don’t want anyone at school to know my past or present grievances.

But I still had a panic attack at school and hid in the bathroom stall, trying to control my breathing — those bathrooms seriously need loud fans or music because you can hear EVERYTHING that is going on in the next stall over. Seriously.

To top it off, we had vocal auditions that afternoon. Imagine singing, after having been so worked up, you had to stop yourself from crying.

The group did vocal warm ups together, and I’m perfectly comfortable singing in a group, but solos and I do not mix (at least not yet). And so when they asked me to do a solo part in the warm up, I nearly puked. I felt something lurch up from in my stomach, and lost my breath. Anxiety is great.

Then, that night was when I found out I had lice.

It was a wonderful day.

My sister is leaving for europe in four days.. She’ll be gone for a month. I’ve never been apart from her for that long. But she’s kinda pissed at me right now, and I hope things get better between her and I before she gets back..

She’s going to be gone for my birthday.. I’m turning seventeen in a month and two days.

Everything has me feeling so defeated. I don’t feel like I can cry anymore. I don’t feel like I can express my emotions without being judged. It hasn’t stopped me, but it makes me hesitant.

I want to feel pretty again. I haven’t felt pretty since I cut my hair. not really.. I’ll have moments of feeling attractive, but I don’t look in the mirror and think I’m beautiful. I would like to think that I’m pretty without my long hair, but I don’t think I believe that.

I feel so sick. Between waiting for the cast list to go up and my physics grade to go on Aeries, I really am not sure how I’m going to cope with all this stress.

Oh, and I decided to post this on facebook:

I wish I could have read this post early on, after my parents divorce.

I wish that people hadn’t excused what happened in our house as “God’s will” or even said that it was “for the better” — no. Definitely not.

Being mentally abused was not good, it hasn’t made me a better person in ways that I couldn’t have grown without it. I loath when I am told that it was a good learning experience or even that I am a better person because of it.

No. Abuse didn’t make me a better person, it’s stifled me in many ways emotionally and socially – and I would never tell another person that it was a positive thing if I learned that it had happened to them.

PTSD hasn’t made me a better person – I’ve become more understanding, yes, but that isn’t to say that it wouldn’t have happened without it. I have been told that it will allow me to walk a path of individuality because of I have it — while that may be true, the panic attacks that come with PTSD do not make me a better person. They hurt me. They stop me from performing as a healthy human being in social situations – that happened just today at school.

It’s okay for bad things to happen to us, and the “band-aid” idea that the bad things happen for a reason does more damage than good to a person who is in pain. Allow us to grieve, allow for our pain to show in ways that may be socially looked down on – crying, not smiling in public, or even just not looking happy 100% of the time – those things are okay. Being unhappy isn’t bad – it’s healthy if you’ve experienced something traumatic.

A lady who I used to know from church decided to comment on it. Mind you, I’m not friends with her on facebook. But this is what she said:

“I doubt God wants people to suffer. However, he can help you recover and use your experiences for good if you allow him to.”

My response: ” It wasn’t my intention to communicate that God was purposefully allowing people to be in pain – I was simply trying to say that when people pass off horrific events (such as car accidents and domestic violence) as “gods purpose” it can be a destructive mindset for those who are in pain. What we need is to be loved and accepted for where we are in life, and if where we are isn’t a happy place – then show compassion, acceptance and love us through our pain. If there is a god, I don’t believe he would be mean-spirited or “out to get people” – want to make sure I’m clear on that”

Her retort: “You KNOW there is a god. I understand where you’re coming from and I appreciate you shedding some light on how to best love those who are in pain.”

Oh wait. Sorry Mrs. Russell.. Sorry that I didn’t know what I believed and that I had to ask you.

But I didn’t ask.

And for the record, I don’t “KNOW” there is a god, so cool your tits. No one knows if there are any deities, or if there aren’t. So. Just. Chill.

Spanked

Atheism, bisexual, dads, Domestic Violence, Family, fathers, fuck you, god, Humanist, Journal, Memories, Religion, science, Uncategorized

So much has happened recently that I’m not sure where to begin, but I had a major flashback recently that I had forgotten about (concerning my one and only father).

It was about three years ago, a few months before we left him. I had done something that deserved punishment, and he thought it would be a good disciplinary action to spank me, his thirteen year old daughter, who had obviously been going through puberty (due to my ever-growing breasts).

He bent me over his knee, pulled down my pants, and spanked me.

I was so uncomfortable, and not because I was being punished, because I always took that with a grain of salt. I understood when I had done something wrong, and that the only way to get over those issues was punishment for them  (so I had thought).

No, this was a different kind of discomfort. This kind was different, it made me want to squeeze my legs shut as tight as they could go. At the ripe age of thirteen, I felt like I had been violated, like my father had no right to be touching my bare ass.

But at the same time, I couldn’t do anything about it. If I had protested, I would have had more spankings, or been told that I was trying to get out of punishment.

It’s memories like these that make me want to have that man erased from my mind forever. I feel so gross thinking about it, like I need to wash myself.

And then  it makes me angry, how was he allowed to do that to me? Why couldn’t something have stopped it? Why did he think that was fucking okay?

I have so much inside me that wants to come out.

I find myself feeling like screaming when I think about everything going on, about all the feelings I have that I’m not allowed to express outside my bedroom.

What the hell am I supposed to do?  I’m angry, I’m frustrated, I’m sad, I want to feel comfortable outside my bedroom door. But I don’t.

I can’t be myself as soon as I step out my door. I have to put on a stupid-ass christian face. I have to act like I’m not a part of the LGBTQ community, like I am not a Bernie supporter, like I don’t like eating organic and believe that global warming is ACTUALLY GOING ON, like atheism doesn’t make any sense and Bill Nye is an ass instead of a scientist, all because I know they wouldn’t accept it.

I wish I could say I didn’t care about being accepted, but I honestly think most people do care, a lot.

We all want to be accepted at least a little bit, and when people you live with don’t, it’s hard to come out about it, to say you’re something other than the social norm.

 

I Believe in Science, and you can hate that.

Atheism, Church, god, Religion, science

The other day I came out of my christianity closet and announced to a friend that I was an atheist. (oh no!)

It was… an experience…

It’s always fun to be looked at and for someone to say “You’re going to burn in hell” to your face.

In fact, she was the first person I told who reacted negatively. But my, oh my, was it negative.

By the way, I’m going to lose my eternal life and satan won me over with the seduction of “secular life”.

But I told her that was okay. I’m okay burning in hell for eternity, because, fuck it. I don’t believe in an all-mighty-monogamous-preaching man in the sky, and it makes me feel FUCKING GOOD.

f-u-c-k-i-n-g.

G-O-O-D.

And I’m happy this way. I’m happy in my sinful and awful ways, because this is who I fucking am and if you don’t like that.. Screw you. You don’t have to appreciate my happiness for it to continue making me happy.

Religion isn’t anything but books and superstitions, and yet I’m the one who is looked at like an alien for saying that I believe in something that can actually be proven.

If you don’t already know what I mean, it’s called science, bitches.

So, gtfo.

You can believe whatever you want to, and you can try and convert me. But, I live with a pastor and he has yet to do that. So, good luck, children.