When old men’s tales are called religion and philosophy?
In our culture, the impulse to distance oneself from negatives associated with women and femininity is endemic. When we insult men, we do it by comparing them to women. When we compare women to men, we’re generally praising them. In fact, I’ve probably known more straight, cis-gendered women who’ve bragged about how they’re “one of the guys” than I’ve known lesbians. Ironically, one of the things I share with many women is my eagerness to point out all the ways in which I’m not like other women.
As girls grow up, they are bombarded by rules and restrictions governing the ways that they can be. I know I was—otherwise I wouldn’t have been a fully grown adult before I started wearing clothes that I found comfortable. These gendered rules confine girls’ choices and constrain their self-expression. Perhaps one day the gender binary will be dismantled totally, and we’ll all stop limiting our children by bringing them up as either males or females. But, in the meantime, gender continues to be one of the first things children learn to recognize about themselves and others, and for that reason I think it’s important to keep the boundaries of what can and can’t potentially be male or female propped open as wide as possible. It’s wonderful that people who feel uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned at birth are gaining strength and visibility. But, it’s just as important that young people, girls and boys and genderqueers alike, can have as many examples as possible of men and women who don’t conform to gender stereotypes. I like to think I’m doing my part for that by living as an aggressive, competitive, logical, and strong butch woman.