Friday, July 2, 2010

Celebrating Breaking the Gender Rules

I used to identify as bi, and I said then that I was attracted to women with short hair and men with long hair, people with a sparkle in their eye. I've always liked people who bend gender.

Pilar did a post on “My Sins Against Gender-Stereotypes”, in response to a challenge from a blog friend of hers. I can't call it a sin, though, so I'm going to call it "Celebrating Breaking the Gender Rules".

Here's what I do that breaks the rules:
  1. Let my chin hairs grow! At 53, I've got quite a few. Each semester, I carefully cut them off with scissors before my first class, so I won't scare my students. Then I let them grow. Right now they're longer than they've ever been, due to my sabbatical year.
  2. Wear men's pants when they fit better (often), and men's fitted button downs (European fit) to fit my long arms.
  3. Neglect my clothes.
  4. Speak my mind.
  5. Love math.
  6. Hate shopping.
  7. Eat what I want.
  8. I don't cook much. (Which is why I love Three Stone Hearth for allowing me to eat healthy food.)
I'm sure there's more. I'm probably less aware of gender rules than most folks.  ;^)

Anyone care to join this party?


  1. I think I told you my story about a math olympiad coach who never took girls to the country level. He could not leave me out, because I was about 2x faster in the prelims than the boy who got the second regional place (and who the coach wanted to take), and also because my mom was a part of the circles overseeing competitions. I got the only first prize on the team. That was at 13.

    I cross-dressed purposefully from about 7 to about 12, till I started dating boys. I was very physically active and loved climbing, and this was a way to make it socially acceptable. "Tomboy" is a definite role people could pigeonhole you into and be done.

    I bought my daughter boy clothes and toys as a baby, and many took her for a boy. We always shopped for clothes together: she would point since the age of four months or so, to things I held in front of her for selection. I took her to boy isles and girl isles. She had her "pinkness" time from four to six years, barbies and all. She's pretty balanced now.

    I feel like paying attention to gender only when something gets out of whack: I am being passed for a team, not allowed to climb roofs... This has not happened much for the last fifteen years or so. But I can be very oblivious to what people TRY to do "to me" as long as I can still do what I want.

    I don't quite know how to describe this idea, but there are traits in me that override gender as pretexts for discrimination, if people want any. I am extremely geeky, I am a gamer, I am chaotic neutral (a D&D term) with all this entails for time and task management, I have lived in places that identify me as "an alien with an accent" since 16, starting from Moscow, I am frequently Kohlberg's Stage 6, etc. Trying to do my projects from all these minority positions makes me forget about gender issues: those other factors play more powerful roles in my daily life.

  2. Awesome list, especially the "love math" part! That stereotype is soooooo sad... :(