Gender politics has been shaking up the modern world for the last two hundred years, and what started within a binary is now expanding. With that expansion, so come the inevitable questions of why gender identify at all? And do the roles that any gender encompasses actually represent any of us?
As Saffron Mee explains, those outside the binary ‘don’t want to erase or invalidate anyone’s gender’ rather it seems to be more that the definitions need to get a lot looser. So, gender is how you feel, not how you appear to the outside world, but how you personally identify. To appear ‘femme’ or ‘masc’ or ‘andro-‘ is merely a stylistic choice that has little to no bearing on your gender identity.[pullquote]
Gender identity is how you feel, not how you appear to the outside world[/pullquote]
However, is that reality translating into our modern society? Saffron claims not quite. This progress in the last 100 years, although monumental, does not equate to the breakdown of these roles. Saffron argues our minds should be focused less on the dismantling of gender as an entire institution, and more on ‘challenging the ‘norm’ and being the vanguard for more inclusive and progressive views on gender’ - that is exactly the premise of Genderquake. A show to open our minds to what is beyond our own experience, with representation from a straight cis woman to our own Saffron who identifies as non-binary. Why be mutually exclusive? Gender roles are out, but gender is here to stay.
Judging from the trailer of this ‘documentary’, it will most certainly not be worth your time. It has the etchings of another left wing circle-jerk vanity project whose sole aims are to score political and identitarian points; to allow the creators, and those who subscribe to the point of view that gender is a spectrum and not diametric, to gloat in a mire of their collective self gratification.
With regards to gender roles being ‘outdated’ and ‘unhealthy’, I think it quite dangerous to consider that they are either. The moment they are gone, we are doomed as a culture.
Gender roles are valuable for the success of any society. Here in the west we are seeing a disruption to, and a lack of respect for the long standing tradition of gender role. As a consequence, but not totally because of, we are seeing declining birth rates and ever-increasing dissatisfaction with life across the wider population.[pullquote]
The moment gender roles are gone, we are doomed as a culture[/pullquote]
Where gender roles no longer play a part in normal life, we see cultures and populations on the decline, particularly in Scandinavian countries and to a lesser extent our own. Along with our culture, our history and achievements will go along with it.
The state of where we are now is as Churchill said of the second battle of Alamein: “this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Make no mistake, our hegemony will not last forever and the end is nigh.
The words “Are you a boy or a girl” have been flung at me in public toilets, walkways, across the digital playground, you name it. Most probably due to the fact that I present myself in a way which doesn’t fit with the gender role assumed upon me due to having a vagina.[pullquote]
What you wear does not have one single iota of alignment with your identity[/pullquote]
When leaving the house wearing a suit and tie, I am bombarded with strange looks, assumptive heckles and terms of address such as ‘alright man’, ‘thank you sir’, and my personal favourite ‘d*ke.' This whole discourse centres around the misconception that what you look like, or your gender expression/style, determines your gender identity. People think that those who choose to wear stereotypically masculine outfits, such as suits, identify themselves as male, or embody masculine traits. The same goes with traditionally feminine outfits, such as skirts and dresses, being seen as signifiers of female identity or feminine traits. The truth is, at the end of the day, both ties and skirts are bits of f*cking fabric, heavily embroidered with archaic notions that personal expression = identity. A skirt can be used to express masculinity. A bow tie can make someone feel feminine. I know right? Liberating. What you wear does not have to have one single iota of alignment with your own identity, and assumptions should not be made about an individual because of how their clothing on their backs is stitched together.
Many people, myself included, feel they have to ‘pass’ on certain days as a binary gender, to feel safe, included and welcome in any particular space. But why should we? As a trans person, I’ve begun to embrace how much I confuse strangers on the street in regards to my gender expression. Just because I wear ‘masculine presenting’ clothing, doesn’t mean I feel like a man deep down – I feel like me, an androgyne mess, and I aim to keep it that way.
To narcissistically quote one of my own poems: the world “looks at our genitals, slap our arse and declare our identity, I don’t remember my vagina containing instructions on how long my hair should be.”