Video mentioned in the last post
Previous post this relates to: Inferiority and its own kind of informed consent.
Going through some of Genderkid‘s archives after discovering that blog, I ran across an absolutely hilarious video on Answers to transphobic, ignorant questions. Which took me to other videos by the folks who collaborated on that one. Which brought me to this one, which I really identified with in some ways:
Yes, from a certain perspective, I absolutely suck at a lot of things. But, I’m continuing to come around to the idea that this is OK and possibly cool. Like my piss-poor sense of direction, my own personal “gender failure” is just a part of who I am.
My first attempt at a transcript, with a lot of the “ums” edited out for clarity and a few comments thrown in:
Hi! My name is Red, and today I want to talk about gender failure.
So, gender–this thing that we do, that–I don’t know, I don’t really totally understand it myself. And I like to think of myself as something of an expert on it, which doesn’t really bode well for the understanding of gender if I think I’m an expert and unknowledgable about it. That makes it a, erm, complex issue to say the least.
There’s a lot of different opinions on gender: on what gender is, and where it comes from, and what we do with it, and whether or not you can put mayonnaise on it and fry it. It’s actually pretty good that way. That’s a pretty good way to prepare gender, is with mayonnaise, a little bit of ketchup and relish to make kind of a Thousand Island sauce for it. And you want to panko batter it and then fry it. That, of course, is completely nonsensical.
Anyway, a lot of people will tell you that gender is imaginary, and I disagree with that. I think that gender is very real. It may be a construction, but in the same way that a brick wall is a human construction, it’s also really hard to just walk through.
Some people take their cues from nature. I don’t like to use nature to back up my ideas about human society, though, because if you take your moral and social cues from nature, you are also probably an infanticidal polygamous cannibal. Like, I don’t think nature is really the best place to look for cues for behavior.
[Note, from a comment reply by Red: “I am certainly not opposed to polyamory. It’s more that, in a split second choice of words, I thoughtlessly went for something that somewhat tried to imply ‘fucking everything that moves to mindlessly spread genetic material”. Also, I think that just about anyone who would say that ‘transexuality is immoral because it’s unnatural” would be opposed to polygamy. I defintely see and appreciate where you’re coming from, though.”]
Really, I’ve spent a long time thinking about it. I’ve spent a lot of my life dedicated to the pursuit of gender. And, the fact of the matter is, I’m no closer to really understanding it now than I was as a child. And I’m no better at it. I suck at gender.
And, like, you know, I’m not looking for sympathy here. I mean, you know, like sometimes people suck at things. And I suck at having a gender.
My typical pronoun with most people is hermmshoommhim [as somebody transcribed it in comments], and it’s like a point. It’s like a mumble, and then a point. And there’s like a he or a she somewhere mixed in there. It’s kind of like [confused noises and gestures].
It isn’t necessarily about passing or passing privilege, it’s about simply the idea of having a gender in society when you want one. It’s just totally valid to say, “No thanks, I don’t really want one of those gender things you’ve got running around there”, and people will kind of try to put that on you anyway, and you have to go “No, thanks” [gestures as if pushing it away].
And for me it’s just kind of like, people are like, [holds up hands as if offering an imaginary piece of clothing] “well, is this…[confused hemming and hawing, then reaching for a second imaginary item] …Well, I have the two here [holds one in either hand, moving them back and forth as if prompting the viewer to choose one]…Which one should I…?” And I’m like, well, you know, it kinda ruins the game if I have to tell you. And they’re like, “OK, well…[hesitates in confusion, and then chooses one of the two options, holding it out]..this one!” And then they put a gender on me.
Sometimes that feels really good, and sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes they guess right, and sometimes they don’t. I honestly enjoy living in a gender binary society, simply because like–good god!–if there were more than two choices, I’d never get gendered correctly. [Works better if you do kinda-sorta fit into the binary… – U.]
You have your identity, and then you have what actually happens to you on a daily basis. They sometimes meet up, but sometimes they don’t, and it’s kind of like a weird tag game in the dark, with your identity and how you’re read. They can’t actually, like, find each other. I feel like that sometimes. If that makes any fucking sense.
I don’t know if it’s apparent that I have drunk a lot of coffee. And it’s not morning, it’s late. And I’m going to be up for a while.
Sometimes I just feel like there was a class in school that I skipped, or I missed, or blew off. For most people, there are these lessons in gender that they were given since childhood, and they have internalized to a degree, and that’s where the Gender Success comes from. But, that’s not quite the full story, because there are also plenty of people who are going for a totally different thing than what they were taught, and are doing great at it!
Um, and I’m *not*. And I don’t know why. I don’t know what it is that makes me suck so much at this whole fucking gender thing. I don’t get it. I feel like it’s a magic trick that I’m not getting. Like I’m taking my thumb off, but I still have the thumb sticking out, or something like that.
And again, this isn’t something that I feel bad about, or that I need to be comforted about, or that I’m looking for advice around. I’m like, err…that’s not the point. I’m pretty content, actually.
It’s not my goal, but I ‘m kind of OK with, like, missing. It’s like throwing darts and feeling OK that you hit the wall. Like, obviously, you’re trying to hit the bullseye, but you’re just kind of like, “Well, the wall’s cool too.” Like, “Hey, it’s in the wall.”
I’m too hopped up on caffeine to make meaningful metaphors, but I’m just trying to put that out there, and see if anyone can relate to that idea. The idea of being content with failure, and accepting failure. And not just accepting it as like, “Well, there’s nothing I can do,” but kind of like, “Well, it’s kind of cool to fail. Failing’s not my goal, succeeding’s my goal, but failing’s pretty cool too.” If that makes any sense. I don’t know. Um, I don’t know. Does anyone feel that way? Let me know.
Let me know. Bye! [waves]