Friday, July 29, 2011
Who is the Girl and Who is the Bride?
A couple years ago, I was part of a panel presentation in front of a group of young adults and someone asked me which of us (my partner or I) was the "woman" in our relationship? I answered that we both identify as women and guided the person in clarifying whether they wanted to know about sex roles or jobs, skills and tasks that they had gendered? It was mostly the latter. Most of us are raised in such a gender-segregated and gender-defined world! I remember from kindergarten on, having the school day keenly separated by "girls" groups and activities and "boys" groups and activities. Stereotypes and generalizations are made CONSTANTLY and the majority of all that stuff is created or made-up. It has absolutely nothing to do with genetics or sex identity. Sorry, but it doesn't.
People wonder what a household with two women or two men could possibly be like? How does everything get done? How do you know who gets to be the "king of the castle?" Who makes decisions, controls the money, does the crappy jobs? Who? How? and my answer is Why does it have to be so boggling? Why does every castle have to have a king?
Teri and I have a drawer in a bathroom where all the nail polish lives. We also both have our own well-stocked toolboxes (and while we know how to do a lot, we also know how to read up or google something we don't or know how to call a professional when the need arises.) I know het men who don't use tools and het women who don't own a single bottle of nail polish. My son played with dolls, my daughters had Legos-it didn't make any of them gay (at least not yet)--let it go, loosen up, think beyond the stereotypes!
Some people are "butcher" than others and this goes for men, women, hets and gay people. Some days I am "butcher" than other days and the fact that I can acknowledge what is inherently me and what is behavior and created means I can move beyond the rigidity of stereotypes. Some days I have to do the crappy jobs and it's not because I'm a woman, it's because it's my turn.
As many of you know, Teri and I are both wearing dresses for our ceremony and it was by personal choice. I think of myself as a bride and a spouse and she does too. We don't have to try to imitate some gendered ideal just to make it easier for people to wrap their heads around. I am an idealist and an optimist and I think people can free themselves up beyond nail polish and checkbooks and "who wears the pants"-- after all, by now, none of this is terribly revolutionary.
I often think of a favorite recording of my kids when they were younger: "Free to Be You and Me"--it was actually from MY generation and my sister gave the kids a copy when they were preschoolers. They listened to it constantly and they still reference many of the songs and skits including one with two babies trying to figure out whether they are a girl or a boy. We can get beyond this and I'm here to tell you that it makes room for focusing and concentrating on stuff that isn't made up.