Sunday, December 22, 2013

Lipstick Labels-What does Gender Really Mean?

So I was told by a couple of my closest friends that I am the most feminine person they have ever met.  What?  What does that mean exactly and why am I disturbed by it?

As a society we associate weakness with femininity, are they calling me weak?  Am I weak?  The thing is I'm strong.  But I'm intuitive and creative and not always the most logical person alive.  As Lady Gaga put it so elegantly, "I was born this way."

I think the question is what is masculinity and what is femininity?  I think first of all there is a scale, on one end is totally masculine and on the other is totally feminine.  I think I'm somewhere on that scale.  It's true I can't fix anything, I could care less about cars, I'm not technologically savvy, I don't know anything about sports and I'm not aggressive.  I can be assertive, I'm outgoing, I'm sensitive, I'm a dreamer,  I'm artsy, I like to shop, I love fashion and I find men fascinating because I don't always understand them.  Sometimes I hate them.

But labeling me as "feminine" puts me in some kind of box.  And am I worried about that because society does not value what's in that box as much as they value other boxes?  We value aggression and ego and people who are movers and shakers.  I don't even know if all of that can be labeled as either masculine or feminine. 

I am a woman, but I don't like to think of myself as 'girly.'  I like to think of myself as "I am woman hear me roar."  I mean I think about those with gender identity issues and I wonder what makes me feel like I'm a woman?  Is it just the fact that I have boobs?  What are the components of my gender identity, I mean I feel like a woman but maybe that's just because I've been told I am one.   

The fact is why are we so concerned about what makes us different from one another, rather than our similarities.  We live in a society that is obsessed with individualism, but what about what we are as a whole?  We are men and women, we are yin and yang.  As Bono put it, "We're one but we're not the same and we hurt each other and we'll do it again."

It somehow hurts me that I'm being labeled by my closest friends.  They don't mean anything by it, and most of the women friends I have tend to be more masculine than I am.  What is that about anyways?  Why do I gravitate towards my opposite?  I like myself, I swear to god I do. 

The qualities that we traditionally associate with women should be valued as much as the qualities we traditionally associate with men.  Qualities like nurturing, emotional intelligence, intuition and sensitivity.  This is not about lipstick vs. motorcycles.  I will tell you I think make-up is an art, and I believe the same to be true of fashion.  To me they are expressions of who I am, not some sort of frivolity of spirit and mind.

Yes it's true, my relationships are more important than my work.  But that don't mean work is not important to me, it's just that I value relationships more than anything else in my life.  That includes my relationship to myself.  I can buy that I am feminine but how do I own it?  How can I be proud of it?

I gotta stop caring what other people are labeling me as, or what they think.  I'm proud that I'm gentle and kind.  I'm proud that I'm sweet.  That I have a heart.  I'm proud that I don't believe I have a violent bone in my body.  Again I fear labeling any of those qualities as masculine or feminine.

In the end we are here to love, whether or not women are more aware of that is a debatable.  But we were all cut from the same cloth.  We are made from the same substance.  We are one.  Stop constantly pointing out how we're different.

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