Hello, Friends! Welcome World, Gender-Benders, Sex Aficionados, and Curious On-Lookers!
It’s so wonderful to have you here and participating in the conversation on gender and sexual fluidity.
To get this party goin’, I feel like we need to lay some groundwork for what’s to come. After all, some of you may think this is pretty radical stuff, and we ought to cover our bases, no? If at any point what I’ve said makes no sense, you have a knee-jerk reaction or rebuttal to make against what I’ve put out there, or simply something to interject, by all means do! This is a running dialogue, which needs your input to feed itself.
I’ve been musing over “sexual and gender identity” for a while now, but have noticed my feelings evolving- especially when putting some of these ideas into practice. Harder than it sounds, my friends.
if we begin…
with the question What is gender? or even How are sex and sexuality (two very different concepts) defined in our culture? we immediately become overwhelmed with more questions! So where to pick up???
How about we start with fluidity?
Author of Sexual Fluidity Lisa M. Diamond, one of my all-time favorite writers, speaks in terms of “female sexuality.” Lisa says it is, “situation-dependent flexibility in women’s sexual responsiveness… Women of all sexual orientations may experience variation in their erotic and affectional feelings as they encounter different situations, relationships, and life stages.” We’ll delve into this concept in later discussions, but let me start off by saying…… take WOMEN out of there!
I purport that EVERYONE and anyone, not just “women” can be and are of this fluid nature. We are [all] changing all of the time, from minute to minute, within hours, by week or the year, and defining ourselves as only one thing is inherently limiting. Many of us are brought up, however, doing just this. I for one grew up on personality quizzes to determine my favorite colors, ice creams, styles of dress, the Myers-Briggs test, and much more designed to give me an easy label to stick on my forehead (or inside of my notebook cover) and tell people in one or two words just who I was. Seductive, no?
For many years (up until quite recently), I fully played into this “this book can totally tell me what I’m like better than myself” bit. But I’ve been realizing how ridiculous this sounds! Just as we have these ubiquitous quizzes to help us figure out our Dream Vacation or Candy that Best Suits our Personality, the labels that fall within Gender and Sexuality (heterosexual / homosexual / male / female, to name a few) are merely variations on this same concept. Albeit, I exaggerate slightly to make my point. Gender is not comparable to a candy bar. However, I argue that gender is merely a label constructed to easily identify ourselves among a sea of similarly-behaving / looking people.
What if we strip away this thing someone once decided to name “gender?” We’re not actually taking away anything, because there is nothing to take away. “Gender” is merely a concept, not tangible. “Sex” (as in gender) is non-corporeal either, unlike what many people say. “Vagina,” “penis,” “asshole” (as in where poo comes from) are all tangible, physical things that over the [thousands of] years, people have become to identify and associate with “gender,” and use these body parts in order to easily classify animals into two distinct categories.
We could have just as easily begun the groupings by eye color, skin or hair type, height, weight, religion, but presumably, someone figured that these particular parts derived the fewest amount of large sections from which to further the classification. These two main sections are from what we derive “male” and “female:” again, simply concepts from which entire philosophies have arisen to base the personalities of half the population from.
As anyone who’s taken a personality quiz knows, some of the answers you get at the end are totally you, and the other half are… well… fabricated bullcrap. We (…I) tend to glide over that other half of the test results and try to make the most sense of (and squeeze myself into) what I can identify most easily with, regardless of whether or not it truly fits.