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Gender as a kid

pialamode314's picture

It is so important to talk about gender in today's society. I was very struck by Piper's comment in class, about how even simple words in the passage from "Seeing Gender" had subtle gender associations with femininity, and affected the way we read it. The gender binary has been so ingrained in society for so long that it is hard to escape, and even to spot if you're not aware of it. I never thought much about gender before coming to Bryn Mawr. I was assigned an "F" at birth and I never questioned it. However, once I came to Bryn Mawr and began to talk about gender issues, it opened up my eyes to how much it had affected my life. As a kid, I was often labeled a "tomboy", but I never liked that. I didn't feel like a tomboy. I always felt like if I was a tomboy, if I liked hiking and power tools and hated the color pink, I then also wasn't allowed to like fancy shoes or pretty dresses and lipstick. Admittedly, I LOVED Polly Pocket. However, I was ashamed to tell any of my friends - boys or girls - for fear of being a "freak" and not fitting in with either group. It was very confusing for me because I felt like I had to pick a category - it was an either/or situation and being on the fence was precarious and not acceptable. It wasn't until much later in life that I recognized the connection to gender and gender roles. As I learned more about the issues, I realized that having to "choose" a category to fall under was ridiculous. I just wanted to do and wear whatever made me feel comfortable. I realized I could wear a button-up shirt and tie AND red lipstick, and I wasn't being an oxymoron - I was being me. I began to take real pride in myself and my gender presentation, like I never had before. Coming to Bryn Mawr and talking about these issues really opened my eyes to the importance of gender in my life and the lives of other individuals. It's also made me appreciate the fluidity of gender, and appreciate the fact that my gender presentation may change throughout life, and that is OK.