Politics of Gender

politics_of_genderEver since I was a little person they made fun of me. I didn’t play with dolls. I threw like a boy. I wore construction boots. I never liked the frilly dresses. My Schwinn five speed was not a girl’s bike. I hated pony tails, ribbons and lace – I liked baseball caps, leather and jeans. I liked Mike the barber and his big barber chair and hated the smells and attitudes at the salon. They wanted me to fit in their neat little box but I refused and I fought every day to understand why my way was the wrong way.

I understand now what that was all about. I see it so clearly and in retrospect feel it so deeply. The thing that made me who I am – my uniqueness – was not what the neighborhood welcomed. It was about defining me, controlling me, defeating me and all that I was meant to be. I was not a cookie cutter Barbie doll text book figure of what a girl was supposed to be. I was different. I popped wheelies and slid hard playing steal the bases. I rode mini bikes and oiled my mitt and tied my high tops in double knots. I was not what the world expected – what the world wanted – a girl to be.

But – I was a girl.

I knew it by the names they called me. I knew it because I didn’t have a wiener to piss in the woods like my brothers. It was confirmed when my period came and my mom bought me that stupid training bra. I knew it through the exclusion and the doors that shut in my face and the experiences I was forbidden to experience – all because I was a girl. All the things I was naturally good at – all the things that I innately loved – they were identified as wrong – because they were not what girls did, not what girls loved, not how girls behaved. My mind was being fucked over and over again as society pushed and shoved their stupid standards down my throat even as I heaved and sighed and scratched and clawed my way out of the constraints they had forged for girls like me.

It was the late 60’s and early 70’s and life was just so different. I often imagine if there was no fight. I imagine if there was no parameter for those of us who did not conform to the limits of our malformed culture. How much less suffering, doubt and self loathing would there be in the world if our spirits were never hindered, never chased away, never bullied down to an inaudible whisper. How much clarity would there have been and how much higher might dreams have soared if the world were not led by limitations, moronic standards and stifling expectations?

So what if our hearts yearn for different things. So what if we do not look and behave like each other. Some girls are thick and move with confidence and carry a swagger with their smart ass smirk. Some girls are soft and flow lightly with willowy smiles and subtle curves. Some girls have rough edges and wear smart suits. Some girls only like it on top. Some girls get greasy working on bikes and some gain weight and cut their hair (or don’t cut their hair) as an expression of self. Some girls are born without “girl parts” and live a tortured uncertainty waiting for the world to embrace exactly who they are exactly as they are. Some girls are just girls and the world calls them boys because of physicality and expression and fashion sense. I could play this game all day…

The end game is about labels and control and suppression. It has nothing to do with bathrooms and more to do with board rooms. We must call it what it is and work our hearts out making it better – for you and for me and for the generations of perfect little people yet to be born. Endless possibilities really – of what a girl can be – of what a boy can be – of what a person can be – and we need to stop comparing and judging and weighing and fighting and just – quite simply – let it be.

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About K. Guzman

Kathy grew up all over the US - lots of east coast time. She is a surfer girl with an unabridged curiosity. A woman whose mid life awakening continues to bring her to the place she was meant to be. Her degree in Journalism/Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida is being yanked from the archives and put to good use. Her two kids are grown and rock stars in this wild world – her Harley is ready for some serious summer miles – and her heart remains open to life, women and the possibilities each day brings.


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