I very specifically titled this blog “Straight Genderqueer Woman” because when I try to find people who might be like me, Google only comes up with this stuff. But I KNOW I can’t be alone. I am a unique, precious, ass-kicking flower. But it can’t be because I’m the only straight, genderqueer, woman in the world. (Born female sexed. Does this make me cis-gendered genderqueer? So confusing!) So I’m floating this out there to let other straight women out there who are challenging gender roles know they’re not alone.
I’m actually uncomfortable sometimes describing myself as “genderqueer.” I don’t want to co-opt a descriptor that’s not accurate and offend somebody. I really feel like it’s society’s expectations of how I should look and behave as a woman to be what is queer. That’s really the challenge I wrestle with the most in my head.
I struggle with the dichotomy between how I want to look and act, and how I think I have to look and act to attract men. So often this makes me think I’m doing something wrong, or am a broken woman or not a good enough woman.
But on the genderqueer side, I do remember feeling for a long time earlier in my life that I wasn’t a man or a woman. I didn’t even know that was a THING people could feel. It didn’t disturb me. It was just who I was.
I don’t feel that as greatly now, but I will tell you that when I look at women who are dressed very femininely, in short skirts and high heels, I don’t feel like I have anything in common with them gender-wise. (I also find myself thinking they’re stupid for dressing that way and I get angry at them. But it’s OK. I’m sure that’s something my therapist and I will get into….)
So whatever labels you paste on me, (’cause lawd knows I struggle to use the politically correct, culturally sensitive ones) just know that I’m me. I’m Deanna. And I’m trying to feel like that’s OK.
And know, that no matter what the internet says, if you are a woman who wants to look androgynous or like “a guy” and you’re into men, you’re OK too. And you’re not alone.
And guys, if you’re into this kind of thing, you’re single, you have a job, you’re kind, and you shower regularly, hit me up!
Also, my “Gender Roles Are Dead” sweatshirt is available from FLAVNT!
“Frozen: Disney On Ice” is in town. For a couple of days now, there have been hundreds of little girls dressed exactly like this buzzing around my downtown office complex and the adjoining arena.
First, I’m annoyed by the conformity girls have already learned by this age; and second by the blatant Disney merchandising, marketing and consumerism behind the whole thing.
I can’t help but wonder if the on-screen Disney princesses were instead, Disney Amazon warriors or baseball players or construction workers, would little girls dress like that instead?
I know it’s not an original question, but it just drives me crazy when we push girls into gender roles so early in their lives!
This is precisely why we wind up with so many women who, for 50 years of their lives, feel it’s more important to walk around every day in “pretty” shoes that hurt, than it is to go out into the world respecting our own bodies more than we respect others’ perceptions of them.
Comfortable shoes for all!
…[B]ut identity is not a negative. Identity is just a difference, and you have to reclaim that and be able to love that in yourself and say that this was probably always going to be me. And this part I can love, and it is not a problem.”
– Charles Blow, NPR Interview
This is how I’m dressed today. And when I dress like this I feel 100%, authentically myself. But I’m not a pretty girl. And I constantly struggle with that emotionally, philosophically and ontologically.
There is a disconnect between what society, particularly straight, cisgender society, considers pretty, and my authentic self. Oh, I know I’m not hideous. I have nice eyes and people say I have a nice smile, but I’m not granted the privilege of the pretty girls.
I can’t toss my hair and bat my eyes and easily have men want to be with me. If I like a man I go to almost any lengths to try and make him like me too. I chase and I make muffins and I send text messages and I wear lip gloss and put on perfume and I dress uncomfortably girly and I grow my hair longer and it still doesn’t really matter because I’m not pretty and don’t have big breasts. (But I have a good personality…)
I’ve never been able to cry my way out of a speeding ticket. I’ve never been given free parking spots or concert tickets. I’ve never been sent flowers. I’ve never been told I’m beautiful. (But I’m smart and funny…)
Things are easier for pretty girls. And frankly, I resent them. I want to slap NFL cheerleaders. I want to kick beauty pageant contestants in their cooters. I want to push those girls who wear high heels they can’t even walk in off cliffs. I know this is hateful. But that’s how I feel. Sorry.
I understand that I could make myself prettier. I could grow my hair longer. I could wear makeup. I could dress more feminine. But I don’t want to do those things. I don’t want to get up an extra hour early in the morning so I can blow-dry my hair and put on makeup. I don’t want to wear shoes that torture my feet all day. I want to be low maintenance and comfortable.
Besides, I wouldn’t be true to myself OR a potential partner if I tried to be all those things I’m not just to attract someone. So why can’t men see deeper than the pretty?
I would actually fit really well in the Lesbian “Stud” community. My look is well-suited there. But I know I’m straight. #bornthisway
I’ve also thought a lot about the genderqueer or transgender labels. But those don’t feel right either. I’m not trying or wanting to present as a man nor do I identify as a man. I just feel like I’m ME. The kind of woman that doesn’t get much consideration or appreciation or attention in mainstream society because I’m not soft and pretty. There is no niche or label for heterosexual cisgender women who want to “present” like me.
The irony is that I’m incredibly soft and vulnerable. I just don’t manage to wear that on the outside. It feels very scary and threatening when I go out dressed femininely. I feel like I’m naked and open and afraid and ashamed. I feel like I can’t protect myself. I feel like a fraud. I feel like I’m doing it wrong. I feel like people are laughing at me.
On the inside I’m all cookies and kittens and cuddles and empathy and love and concern and care and hugs and Pop Tarts. (Okay. There’s some snark and filthy language and control issues and passive-aggressiveness in there too, but still and all….) But you have to look beyond the ballcap and the Bad Ass panties and the Doc Martens and the scars to see the vulnerable me.
Like I said at the beginning, I’ve struggled with these gender presentation issues my entire life from fighting with my mom about what I could wear when I was five to fighting to convince a man to love me last month.
Here’s where I stand on it all right this second. I feel so much like myself in my tomboy clothes and without makeup and long hair that I don’t think I can deny that it’s who I am.
I don’t want to spend time trying to be someone I’m not just so I can find a man to love me. Am I willing to be alone forever if that’s what it costs? Right now, I think so. I’ve tried being someone I’m not in relationships, and obviously, it never turns out well. But I really wish a man I was attracted to could find me beautiful like I am and love me for it.
I’m loving (or at least accepting) myself more and more every day. I love my ballcaps. I love my sparkly earrings. I love my sweatshirts. I love my knee-high black leather boots. I love my scars. And I love my little boobs.
I’m not a label. There is no definition for me. I am just, finally, becoming me. And I can’t be anything else.