Ramble: Orientation

Yeah, it’s that time again. It’s ramble time.

Rather than spend all my writing time poeting, I gotta have time to collect my thoughts. I’m probably not going to gather all the rambles I ever have in one place just ’cause eventually they’ll get so dated. But you can probably find them in the ramble category if you’re thirsty for the organization of my other cleverly designed (haha!) pages.

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Anyone who knows anything about me knows that I am gender fluid. It’s on my about profile and all that. Most people know I’m attracted to people based almost entirely on what they think about and the way their mind works. I got that too. No big deal.

So today instead of talking about things everyone already knows about ME, I’m going to jump in to the things everyone already knows about other PEOPLE. More specifically, I wanna talk about orientation.

This was sparked by a conversation with one of my professors. We talked for a while and the conversation turned towards the way people perceive others and almost instantly try to put them into compartments.

I’ve already said before what I think about compartmental labeling, I’m sure. Let me reiterate: It doesn’t work.

There is not a single person in the entire world with the same experiences as another. Think about that for a moment.

Now reconcile that with stereotyping.

Did it work? I couldn’t make it work. Maybe you could, but I couldn’t. I know I tried. I tried very hard to squeeze into several different categories of odd that I knew about. And I like being different, it’s true. I’m sure that’s part of why I’m attracted to people based on minds and why I’m gender fluid. But then, the way I like being different is a core part of my personality, so one could easily say I’m not pretending to be gender fluid or strangely oriented so much as being true to who I am. No matter how hard I tried, though, I couldn’t find an expression in any given label that fit me. That, to me, holds true with most PEOPLE I know. And not just other-gendered ones, but anyone who claims to fit any definition of gender or orientation. There’s exceptions. ‘Yes I like girls mostly but sometimes I don’t mind if they’re extremely girly guys.’ ‘Yes I like guys mostly but every once in a while a particularly assertive guy turns me on.’

It’s these exceptions to the rules– a bending, as it were– that makes stereotyping almost useless when it comes to these delicate, complicated issues like gender and sexual orientation.

We stereotype all the time. It’s part of being human, trying to label junk and compartmentalize it. It’s why our science seems to work. For the same reason, these compartments, no matter how finely tuned, are incapable of working for more than one specific case. Everyone has exceptions. No one is attracted to the exact same thing because every single person in this world is different.

This idea of ‘straight’ and ‘gay’ is doomed from the very beginning. We’re not selecting orientation groups, we’re selecting sides. We’re driving dividing lines between ourselves simply because WE SPEND TIME IN BED WITH DIFFERENT PEOPLE. What even IS that? I didn’t think group relationships had proliferated quite that far into society as of yet.

Scientifically, it’s possible for ‘gay’ and ‘straight’ to continue to exist because even though every single person is different, if we go by the given hypothesis B, that only two genders exist, it is not invalidated.

Well okay, so I can invalidate hypothesis B right off the bat. There are people in eastern parts of the world (and western, but no one wants to talk about them and it’s not exactly rampant in the US culture for some stupid reason) that identify as third-gendered. I can further invalidate it by making my own claim that everyone feels differently about their gender as well. Hear me out (please- but if your opinion differs, that’s fine, all I can do is establish my own beliefs and I make no claims on forcing them on others):

Disregarding society for a moment, those who consider themselves one gender may all seem to stand united. Let us take, for example, a group of three women.

One woman wears make-up every time she goes out of the house. She does it because she feels the need to dress up and look pretty. She considers beauty to be like that which is portrayed on magazine covers, ergo, she attempts to mimic it using make-up and the tools available to her. She wears her hair short but neatly cut and does the cooking in her house. She enjoys housework and has never desired a job since her husband is quite well off and she is fully dependent on him. She has suffered serious depression in the past, and lately it has been getting worse for her, despite having everything going in her favor otherwise.

I’m sure there’s a word for this type of woman, but for now we will regard her as subject H, which I have termed hyperfem. (Which is in itself a misnomer, but we’ll continue)

The second woman doesn’t bother wearing make-up except on formal occasions when she decides she absolutely needs to. She wanders around the house without a bra, is single and lives by herself, supports herself on her own paycheck and has never desired children or companionship. She wears her hair long and takes good care of it and sometimes she lets her friends style it. Sometimes she dreams of going into the military. She thinks of planes and airplanes and raids and protecting her country from the threat of foreign invasion; she thinks of the children she likes (but has never wanted to have) and the possibility of dying in combat has never frightened her. She enjoys standing in cemetaries and hiking in mountains, keeps two sets of shoes– one for running and one for walking around the house– and has a grand total of one dress. If she ever gets tired of it she figures she can just buy another one, but she’ll never get tired of it. It’s not that she doesn’t like how she looks in fancy clothes, just that she can’t be bothered about them when there is so much other cool stuff to be doing.

We’ll call her subject Y for the now slightly less common phrase ‘Y weren’t you born a man’. (which, by the way, is an irritating enough phrase that it makes me grit my teeth every time I hear it. People think that it’s funny and honestly it just makes me feel sick to my stomach.)

Woman number three in this grouping is not a woman by choice. He would rather cut off the first two letters. He spends all his time in the gym, hates the way his body becomes ‘toned’ instead of ‘buff’, despises the two lumps attached to his chest, cherishes thoughts of shaving a beard instead of legs, and practices talking in a deep voice when he is sure no one is around. He sings the guy part to every song, shuns glittery things, climbs mountains and kickboxes ‘disguised’. If he and woman Y were to get together they would get along famously, but for all the wrong perceived reasons.

By society’s definition of sex, these are all genetically female women. By society’s definition of gender, the last one is a man, and by MY definition of gender, they’re all over the place.

By MY definition, these are just pieces of who they are. There’s no need to apply labels. They could all prefer different pronouns or no pronouns or all of them. It doesn’t matter.

Wait wait wait, you might say. Back up.

What makes the first two separate genders from one another?

They both identify as women. So why are they separate? Isn’t the transman at the bottom the actual exception?

No. I would argue that our personalities define our gender as much as they define our desires and goals.

I would argue that the things each ‘woman’ likes, the pronouns they use, everything that makes them just a little bit different from their girlfriends or boyfriends or WHATEVER– all of that defines them as much as the word ‘woman’ and ‘man’ shouldn’t define those of us who consider ourselves atypical to the gender sphere. The secret there is not that we’re so much different, really. It’s not that.

Our physical appearances are extremely varied too, and all the attraction baggage that gets jumbled in there only seems to complicate matters further. One gal likes guys with red hair, another likes guys with blonde hair, another likes guys with freckles and a ‘fem’ face– the list goes on and on with attraction and yet it isn’t until we reach things like ‘This one has a set of equipment designed for impregnation’ and ‘this one has a set of equipment designed for being impregnated’ that people start to say ‘HOLD ON NOW’. That’s where the clear line is drawn, and I say it’s utter poppycock. Some of us don’t even HAVE equipment designed for either, or we might have no functioning equipment at all! Does that mean that attraction is dead for those of us like that? No! Not at all! It DOES show that such a line is meaningless. It’s just another trait. It sets us apart, but everything about us does that. We can focus on all kinds of things that set us apart, but what we SHOULD be paying attention to is what pulls us together.

There is no arbitrary line. Bodies function as bodies function. There are no ‘boys’ and ‘girls’. Those are too broad definitions of gender, like ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’. They vary by culture and even individuals. You can’t put a label on something that cannot be defined. It is something unique to all of us, to any of us, and there is no way to measure or quantify or qualify that. The truth of that matter is that we simply can’t process that everyone else is just as different as we are.

We are all different. There are no ‘varying degrees’ of difference or deviancy. We are all just different people, we all have different experiences and lives, we all live in our own unique way, perceive in our own unique way, understand in our own unique way. Sexual orientation and gender orientation is different for every bloody individual you meet. You might have one or two things you both can agree you find attractive, but the way you PERCEIVE it then will be different. In effect, labels are the clumsy attempts of our society at large (and us as the misguided individuals that make it up) trying to come to grips with one simple fact.

We don’t understand one another.

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<3s,

Eris

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