dominicdemeyn

:Neutrois Niche:

Month: September, 2012

link to an article from www.feminspire.com re: the ever-cheerful female

link to article: DO WOMEN OWE THE WORLD A SMILE?

From the article:

“A ‘brooding’ man cuts a strong, masculine figure–there’s a seductive draw to a mysterious stranger, after all. He doesn’t reveal his secrets; he holds the promise of affection above your head. That, it seems, is the default for sexy in a man: brooding and aloof, to match the chipper availability of his female counterpart.

The problem at hand isn’t that there are some unrealistic expectations for a woman’s public demeanor. It is that certain gender roles continue to creep into polite society and limit us in many aspects from mating rituals to self-expression. This idea functions on the assumptions that “sex” and “gender” are the same thing; from there it assumes there are two fundamentally opposite sexes that complement each other”.

 

My thoughts:

I have often encountered problems with my melancholy nature. Being melancholy can become frustrating, as it’s not  a fun way to be, but it’s not bad, either. I sometimes really enjoy being a bit moody and brooding over things that bother me or interest me but that are difficult to think about and for which there often is no answer. And I don’t think that this makes a person less attractive.

But often when I am thoughtful people ask me why I am so quiet, whether something is wrong, and then they try to cheer me up, they try to get me to smile, and they are happy when I do, it puts eevrything right again…the/their world is cheerful again. But  they are not interested in the underlying causes of my broodiness or what I am really thinking of. A smile makes them happy, no matter the reason for it, it banishes the shadows of melancholy.

Especially in men the desire to see a smiling, cheerful, elfish little creature of the opposite biological structure is very appealing. It’s their little escape route from the world of worries and the mundane. But once the smile vanishes from a young girls face, the girl vanishes as well and what’s left is akin to a diseased relic of what once was a symbol of glee and inspiration. What’s left is only the cautious approach of peers who ask: “Are you OK?”

 

Update on work and eating at restaurants

I got a new number name badge at work. Instead of mentioning my biological sex (what some people would refer to as gender), it just states the first letter of my name followed by my last name.

I had told my supervisor about my gender and problems with pronouns and names and everything to do with the accursed female/male thing, and she keeps introducing me as Dominic, though sometimes it sounds more like Dominique. And though people still use gendered pronouns (specifically female ones), they at least refer to me by ‘my’ name, which helps me feel more comfortable in the workplace.

 

I once appeared in front of the manager with the name badge I had made in a shop, proudly displaying my non-legal name, which I have really become accustomed to and feel attached to, but she wasn’t happy, because it wasn’t conform.

 

But now I have another name badge that isn’t like the others, either. I wonder if people will notice the slight difference in content, the fact that a biological sex signifier and gender trigger is missing.

 

I still get wrongly labelled, last time was yesterday at a restaurant. I felt like throwing the menu back at the waiter for saying the words I didn’t want to hear, but luckily controlled myself enough to just get annoyed and a bit unfriendly. I’m not sure if he really noticed my ennui, but he did change his way of adressing us slightly to something more neutral. Or perhaps I just imagine he did to make th event more agreeable.

 

I am still wondering how I can be more exposed as a Neutrois, get more publicity so that people can become more aware of my presence and the possibility of living a bit differently.

Maybe I can stock up on trans-friendly shirtage. I am leaving walking around topless for a fitting occasion, preferably in summer.

 

Series I: Part V: The Dance

After having arrived safely home and having recounted all his stories, the adventurous Ignomas and his good-humoured companion did a little victory dance.

He/She/It-it’s all in the head

Imagine we didn’t have these wordes to relate to people….

Imagine you just arrived on Earthe from a different part of space, and gender and its terms didn’t mean anything to you. What reference model would you use when referring to people?

Would you perhaps conclude that people with the same eye colour were related and spoke the same language? Where would you imagine the coloure in the hair/face/eyes came from? How would you interact with these people, not knowing who they are?

We as humans are fairly limited in our perceptions and other cognitive abilities. We cannot know a thinge, we only ever know of a thinge, of its relation to us and its surroundings. We evaluate eachother in order to define ourselves. Distance, Time, Touch, Smell, Sound,…and Gender are all relative. They are because we say they are, because we have created mental structures around them. They are frames of reference around which we build our ‘artificial’ world, which then translates into real life/real time.

But this knowledge, this knowing of, is not Truthe: one can relate to another by saying “I understand what you mean or even I know what you mean”, communicating that what was said was at least partially understood and thereby one can make the other person feel better, more included, less alone perhaps. Shared experience is a type of emotional bonding that is important and can have many positive effects on people, but it does not go as far as true knowledge. We do not know what it is like to be a chaire or what a dog feels and perceives with its superhuman sensory perception, and eventhough we were all once babies, we can scarcely remember that time of our lives; we don’t inhabit a baby’s body or live a baby’s life anymore (at least I suspect that most of my readers don’t).

Her/Him/It, these terms are markers, verbal cues that are part of the human language and symbole matrix within which our identities are embedded.

Nobody ever asks a person whether it wants to be called he or she, unless its obvious that there is a consciously sought transgression of gender boundaries. Nobody would think it their right to ask such a thinge, as normality has already become festooned in their conscience, their vocabulary, their neurons. Words, like experiences, make connections in our brains with which we are able to maneuvre the evironmnet we live in. Language, our verbal experience, can also change behaviour, it may redirect neural pathways and associations. If we stopped using derogatory words and gendered words (which I place in the same category by the way) we would probably start looking at reality differently.

Reality is in our heads. My reality might be different from yours.

We establish what is real through verbal, physical, mental boundaries. We can beat people with sticks, and keep them away in slums or enclaves, and we can establish power structures in more subtle ways.

He/She/It are labels, but they are empty! All they signify is that ‘he’ is not ‘she’ is not ‘it’, that there is a difference between them. In Germany we say ‘Der Stuhl’ (the chaire, male). We also say ‘Der Mann’ (the man, male). Should we therefore treat these two equally or shold we rather start respecting the chaire more or perhaps we should start throwing the man around ‘like an olde chaire’? Does the chaire have a gender and if so, how does it express it? The chaire is most likely not even aware of its name or pronouns…

As I said a while ago, I started a new job. I already introduced my name (Dominic) in many ways, by signing documents using the name, by saying I like the name and would like to be called it all the time, and even by buying a name badge for 10 Euro. I wore this at work until the supervisor found out and called it all off. My plans have thus been disturbed, but I am still happy because my workmates have accepted the name. However, they still haven’t fully understood its implications and made the mental connection between the worde and the lifestyle behind it, between the name and my identity. They still use female pronouns and define me as female, but are also willing to use a male name for me. I wonder that they don’t get more confused by doing this. But it seems pronouns and names don’t pose much of a problem as long as they are gendered. Their concept of who I could and should be is not disturbed but rather reinforced by gendered pronouns.

What they can’t get their heads around is that I exist eventhough the language to define me doesn’t.

The dudes are in the House – it’s the shit! – No, really, it’s pretty shit!!

I just came across this article: Vaginagate: Michigan Lawmaker Silenced For Saying Vagina

My thoughts:

Though everyone’s body is personal, one can’t avoid having bodies become political. In order to practice legislation on our bodies, this is a relevant and necessary experience. It can be helpful when it comes to deciding if we want to become an organ donor or who decides to shut off life support if we are not able to make that decision for ourselves. Legislation is supposed to help us facilitate life and make difficult choices, and codify behaviour into law so that it can be applied to all of us.

Usually when we sign a form, we decide that we agree with what’s written on it, it’s our decision to have an operation or to take medication. Medical staff are able to talk to us about our situation in a professional way using medical terms and without being embarassed about our bodies.

But medical staff do not decide on legislation, it’s politicians. They don’t have the know-how that a doctor has, they don’t have the experience that a patient has. Yet they will decide on the patient’s fate by legislating their political ideas, by putting their theories into practice. How do they decide what’s to be done?

The problems with the debate about what can be done to our bodies is most outrageously exemplified in regard to the debate about abortion and contraception. It’s so ridiculous, because these ‘specialists’ spit out ideas about women’s bodies when they themselves do not possess one. They can’t even name parts of our anatomy that is relevant in this debate, because these are ‘ugly words’. Because it’s not pretty and they are shamed by saying these terms, though why they are so embarassed about a word is an enigma, when they are not embarassed by other ugly things.

Yet they know exactly that abortion is wrong, and believe they have the right to impregnate women and then force them to keep the baby. Impreganting a human being and possibly creating new life that will then suffer the same fate of existing in a hostile world is easy and apparently THE thing to do, while talking about sexual organs using proper medical terms is not allowed. Having sex (reproducing) is exceptionally normal but saying a word to do with reproductive organs is dirty?

Which mental asylum have these politicians escaped from? How can they make judgments about a body that is not their own and not even has the same anatomical make-up as theirs, without being able to talk about it, without recognising its existence as a proper body? By infantilising/patronising the word vagina, they have facilitated its mental colonisation, they have encouraged thinking that supports the idea that women can’t make decisions abuot these organs because they are juvenile, the organs themselves are juvenile and because the ones posessing them are just vessels, they have no right to make informed and autonomous decisions.

Every one of these law-makers have been born from a woman’s body. They have or have had mothers. What do they call their mothers? Will it be the next swearword? Do any of them have the guts to hold their mother down and force her to have unprotected sex and then watching her giving birth?

No, but they support just that. They sit in a well-lit, airated room full of the scent of righteousness and pride, while women all over the world only smell the foul stink of bodily emissions and hospital beds.

Gender as a codifier of value

What is the real problem with gender?

 

-it doesn’t exist!

 

We need to create it and that takes a lot of time, energy, and money. It has to be reinforced in every sphere of our lives, and that requires endless attention, study, and self-sacrifice.

Gender seems to exist outside of ourselves, it has taken over. We have become slaves of gender!

Nobody gets hurt if you cut yourself or committ suicide. But as soon as you contradict the gender binary, as soon as you start messing with gender roles and sexuality, you open up a Pandora’s Box of curses, stigmas, and debate.

Political groups and religions all of a sudden take an interest in you, because gender is one of the many measures of wealth, sucess, happiness, and power. Whoever wields the gender controlling stick decides how society is to function.

Whoever controls our bodies and what we are allowed to do with ourselves has immense control of society.

Minority groups are, in essence, a collection of individual bodies who have come together or are lumped together to form a collective. If people had full control of their bodies, others, the ones deciding on what constitues normality, would have less. Therefore, fertility, procreation, marriage, image, media attention, philosophical discourse and medical practice have all been colonized by one segment of the population.

The binary requires protection from trans-identified folk, and even feminists are not immune to the fear of difference. Being trans is not complicated and not a political statement in itself, but is taken advantage of in a political climate. Imagine being a writer and having written a play that is constantly being censored and ultimately re-written by the director. In the end, the play is nothing like the original. The play has been screwed up.

Why are transsexuals allowed to have surgery now, even herded into the operating rooms like cattle in a farmyard? Because they have been deemed acceptable for retraining. They might have qualities that are attractive to the binary, they can be shifted from male to female and vice versa. Even though it’s annoying to do so, at least the categories male/female are not shifted, and that’s what it’s all about in the end. Having set definitions and regulations of what constitutes being trans helps monitor and regulate this gender playing field.

A nurse I met once told me she could understand my reluctance to go to the gynaecologist. I had repeatedly told her of my gender dysphoria and that I felt uncomfortable being poked and proddded in places I felt didn’t even belong to my body and, if I had any say in it, should never see the light of day. She gave me great encouragement when I didn’t let go of my fear of bodily invasion and talked about transition. She saw that I wouldn’t stop talking about being the one who decides what happens to my body, so she encouraged me to finally decide now on being male, because it’s really not a big deal anymore to come out, she knows many trans people, and society is so open nowadays. She said it’s impossible to live in such a state of limbo where the body is not right and that I should really talk to the doctor about this, he could help me get the necessary help.

When I told her I had already had top surgery without hormones and that I have no nipples either, she was taken aback. She was confused and then annoyed. It’s amazing how charged emotions can get when it comes to gender-aligned-to-sex. She didn’t ask me how surgery was or how I felt. I had hurt her by confusing her, while I didn’t even pay much attention anymore to her attempts at erasing my identity. She said “well, I guess it’s too late now”, too late for her to be able to tell me what to do with my body. This was not the male form, the male transition she had expected. I had taken this power away from her, I had changed the recognisable form, the form to which so much about ourselves is attached. The form that decides your worth.

Who is man and who is woman? These labels are crucially important in defining what we do, how we are to act, how we live, what life choices we are able to make. In modern society hegemony still exists and it expands by using gender as a tool to reward or punish. Traditional marriage supports gender norms, as the woman and man relationship allows for greater dominance of male-centered benefit. Many marriages are built on the premise that women are domestics and child-bearers/carers. One aspect of marriage is sexual availablity of the spouse, it’s part of the contract.

The image of a man and a woman is also important, for how else would we recognise what social class a person belongs to, what gender class? Poverty affects both men and women, but if ones gender is driven to the foreground of how important, how effective one is for commercial success, these roles and norms decide not only on our economic output capacity, but also on how much we are able to earn and gain from society. It’s no weird coincidence that transgender individuals are usually left out of receiving economic benefits.

Eventhough it makes less economic sense to deprive one group of its earning potential, such is the desire of the elite.

Gender, the gender binary, favours forced dependence. Women’s bodies, for example, have been used for ages as vessels for male sexuality and breeding. The refusal to accept birth control and abortions is still rampant in many parts of the world, even the so-called free and family-friendly United States, not because people feel morally obliged to save an unborn child, but because they are obliged to keep one major segment of the population under control, to assert dominance. When U.S. governing bodies determine that your child should be an outcast due to their gender expression or the fact that they don’t conform to traditional roles, where is the family friendliness in that? They destroy many families by promoting violence against this child,the destroy many family unions in that way. It’s not really about freedom of expression (freedom of speech) and family.

But if gender is blurred, obsolete, it benefits individuals. It would discourage the fetishizing of women, children, child-like people, trans individuals and male-and-female identified people, because gender would not determine one’s value, would not be a means to objectify and abuse. People would possibly start seeing a human being rather than a gender when dealing with another person, there would be more identification with our common plight of all being trapped in physical existence rather than being trapped in a better body, a more suitable body, a more valid body.

But the economy has its own rules, and profits (note: profits in economic terms, not in human terms) might decrease when people stop consuming eachother. Free labour would not occur as often, because equal rights would be implemented, naked bodies would not be used as sales reps for useless items.

Freeing ourselves of the gender obligation would not be a positive development….not for the capitalist who would like to sell their own grandmother if they could make a profit, not for the greedy and narcissists who only think about their own lives, it would not be good for those whose instincts tell them “you must conquer to survive”, not good for those pleasure-seeking-at-any-cost-types on this, our precious Earth.

Perhaps one day people will come to their senses. I would say….fine, keep your gender if you really have to cling to this term, but stop using it to damage other people, stop manipulating this term and creating difference when there is none. Stop evoking fear and hatred when you encounter a person that does not appeal to you aesthetically or does not fit your agenda.

Get rid of gender and its implications, you get rid of a whole set of issues that affect all of us who are trapped in human bodies. Perhaps the first step is to trying to define yourself REGARDLESS of the gender/sex that has been imposed upon us.

It’s not easy, but it can be done.

 

Tell me what gender you are, and I tell you how fuckable you are

 

 

“…But you’re still female, you were born as female?”

“(???) I am female-assigned-at-birth…”

“Ahh, I see…”

 

(script colour: burnt orange)