Gender is not an identity. As such I feel no need in attaching a label to myself to somehow clarify to people what my “gender expression” may look like. This includes a label like “non-binary” or “genderqueer”. Assigning labels to how we express ourselves as individuals is not a helpful practice. To even say “non-binary” is to suggest the binary as valid. Dissolution while naming ourselves according to, is a contradiction.
I think gender is one of the, if not the most harmful parts of patriarchy, because it’s what sets forth the mold, it’s the belt on the cycle. Our insistence at molding young minds into “men” and “women” as roles in society is a form of child abuse. It’s stifling to the girl, limiting her options and soaking her in subservience , and boys are taught to be emotionally repressed (except for acceptable “manly” anger.), while ingrained with a socialization that sets them up to be monsters. It’s an unfortunate set up, but lets make no mistake as framing men as THE victims in the gender game. We are, after all, the violent enforcers of it all, our individual complicity may vary. So, really, I can understand how insulting it must be to women to hear a man go on about his feelings and his oppression due to gender. I think we can share stories, I think as individuals we must but our stories but ours should not be the one’s being maximized, while women’s are minimized on the topic of one of the most prevalent forms of oppression they face. Women’s voices are the voices we need to hear on this topic, not men celebratory of their gender expression, applying labels that serve to blur the line between sex. If we erase men who is oppressing women? If we erase women who is being oppressed? – this would seem great if it would actually work out that way, but it doesn’t. It dissolves nothing, it only covers things up. We can’t afford to sweep history and reality under the rug because it makes us feel better.
I want to see male socialization addressed on a large platform, in our school systems, in our politics and in our own personal conversations. Male socialization is male gender. A large component to that is male violence. If we want to solve the issue of male violence, male socialization (thus male gender) must be addressed. This is, what I feel, to be a productive way men can talk about gender in application to ourselves. I literally cringe when I visit a friends or acquaintance house to see all the male children enthralled in violent video games, cheering on each other killing characters and trying to kill characters themselves. Sure it’s “just a game” But it’s a game that we must observe as desensitizing people who are already set up to be prone to it. The same must be applied to what is being said in the lyrics to music, and what is being watched in films and or television and of course pornography. All of this simulated violence and sexual entitlement is prepackaged for male consumption. The same critical thought must be applied when we see “boys being boys” . Boys shouldn’t be “boys” they should be people, “boy” seems to often get in the way of that.
Many people express disgust when men are not overtly masculine or assertive, and most of the time it’s other men expressing this. Why? Why is it offensive to men to have a heart? To express empathy and compassion? I have to refuse the argument(though I really don’t care to argue it.) I occasionally come upon that alludes to biological essentialism, but the be honest sometimes, just looking at the world and feeling such frustration, it does cause one to wonder. Men have been propagating this about ourselves forever. That we just “can’t help it.” because we are men. What the fuck is that shit? Because to me that sounds like you are saying men are not human. That we are somehow devoid of human emotion based on nothing but biology. When women make the argument how can I be offended when men make it about themselves and then go on to fulfill it in a self prophesied fashion?
It’s something I don’t want to believe, and it’s something we don’t have to believe in. But seriously please please please. Can we shape the fuck up? Lets work on male gender expression, lets talk about it, but this is the way we need to do it.