Identify Yourself – You Are Not a Sum of Your Parts

by GEM Magazine / Jun 30, 2015 / Comments

We all know that life is not black and white. The world is not made up of good versus evil. We’re all capable of good and we’re all capable of (hopefully only a little) evil. Day doesn’t abruptly turn into night, but gradually becomes night over hours.

So, why then, do we insist on a binary gender system? That there is only male or female?

Our outside body parts somehow dictate every aspect of our lives, no matter what our inside might be feeling.

Expectations are laid out for us based on our body parts:
-how we ‘should’ dress;
-how we ‘should’ behave;
-what kind of job we ‘should’ have, or even whether or not we ‘should’ have a job;
-whom we ‘should’ marry;
-how much we ‘should’ be allowed or expected to have sex;
-whether or not we ‘should’ show when we’re in pain.

Many people are accepting of the territory that comes along with their body parts, and a binary gender system suits them perfectly. There are also some who are quite comfortable with the parts with which they were born but refuse to conform to every expectation, and may even see themselves as gender fluid. And then others who can’t accept the box the world wants to put them in because it’s simply not who they are.

Personally, while I definitely identify as a woman, I’ve had some measure of penis envy most of my life. Not because I ever wanted to be a boy, but because I wanted the things that came along with it. I wanted to play Power Rangers with the boys, and I wanted to be the Yellow Ranger because her pants were far more practical for fighting evil than the Pink Ranger’s skirt.

When my male friends were going through breakups or hard times, I resented being excluded from the guy time. Did they think I would try to make them talk about their feelings? I wanted to say, “Let’s go to the ‘rippers and drink.”

I love being a woman. I enjoy putting on heels, dressing up, and feeling like a million bucks. But sometimes I’ll go out in jeans and a “Let’s Hug It Out” t-shirt and still feel like a million bucks. I keep my hair long because I like it, and won’t cut it short or dress like a guy just to prove I’m gay rather than bi, or to escape the label “femme.”

Our outward expression should be based on our individual preferences, rather than a stereotype.

I do understand how difficult it can be to let go of labels that are ingrained within us. When we grow up believing things to be a certain way, it can be tough to wrap our heads around a concept like a man who happens to have female body parts. But consider what you would do if you felt that way.

If you were born a girl but, growing up you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that you were a boy, what would you do? When every other person insists you are a girl because of the way you look, would you just choose to live your life as a girl with no regrets?

I don’t claim to know what it would feel like and I’m not attempting to educate anyone; I’m not qualified. I’m only attempting to encourage everyone to educate themselves and try to understand.

It’s exciting living in a time where people are finally starting to figure out that it’s not black and white. That not fitting into one of two possible gender boxes doesn’t mean not fitting in at all.

I might like looking like a girl, but I applaud women who don’t and refuse to, and also men who love feeling pretty (how can I blame them, when I like feeling pretty?).

I believe it’s inevitable that one day everyone will be appreciated for who they are rather than what parts they have.

A world where everyone will be allowed to embrace both the masculine and feminine within them, regardless of what they look like. A world where everyone is allowed to just be themselves. That’s the world I want to live in.

By Eva Patenaude.

Eva is a proud lesbian who balances building a career in promotions with a busy social life and keeping active. She works with electronics by day, is Promotions Manager at Velvet Exotic Nightclub by night, and is very excited to be a board member of the Victoria Pride Society. She believes that life is better when you are kind and thoughtful to others.

Read Eva's previous article;
http://www.gemmagazine.ca/identify-yourself-proud-be-gay

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