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A Mustachio-ed 2nd Grader

mbeale's picture

To be honest, I can't remember the first time I felt "gendered," it's a difficult moment to pinpoint in my life. I was told I was a "little girl" then a "big girl" then a "teenaged girl" then a "young woman," and I've come to accept this sort of consistency without much question or consternation. The earliest memory I have that I would account to being clearly defined by gender is in 2nd grade. It was lunch time. We had just gotten the KidPix computer game in the classroom. A boy I had a crush on and some of his less remarkable friends were fooling around with it and I wasn't very interested until I saw my Leah, one of my best friends, red in the face and sobbing. Someone said it had something to do with what Ryan, the boy I liked, and his friends were doing on the computer. I went over to look at what would upset Leah so much and I saw it: A little cartoon that slightly resembled her with a handle bar mustache paired with the title 'Sir Leah.' Oh dear. This was unquestionably offensive!  Girls were not supposed to have facial hair! Let alone fully developeed mustaches! And Leah did have a weirdly fuzzy upper lip...But that was besides the point! Her girlhood was being questioned and the fellow sisters of Sister Theresa Mary's homeroom were not going to stand for it. We waged a brutal playground war against the boys that day. And by doing so, we proved that Leah was still a girl and she did not and would not ever have something as despicably un-girly as a mustache.