Tag Archives: gender

Real Men Also Wear Makeup and High Heels

Today, the topic of this article is going to be something which is also quite personal to me, and a topic which I am seemingly incessantly getting into arguments over conservative people about. Getting straight to the point: that topic is gender roles.

The more you pay attention to them, the more you realize that they surround many aspects of our life and dictate what behaviours are appropriate for us to perform, and conversely, which behaviours aren’t appropriate for us. From a young age, we are branded with a code of behaviour:

“Boys like blue, girls like pink.”
“Boys like cars.”
“Boys have to be tough.”
“Be a man.”
“Men don’t cry.”
“Real men do ______.”

All you have to do is walk into a toy store, and the dichotomy of gender roles is branded clear as day. Laced along one aisle, everything is pink and purple indicating for the girls to play with dolls. The other aisle is blue with toy cars and toy trucks, signaling the toys that the boys are to play with.
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If a boy wants to buy a doll because he is interested in dressing them up due to his interest in fashion, he is ostracized as a freak and it is seen as an odd behaviour. And so, from a young age, society indoctrinates children to believe that because you were born a certain gender, your genitalia then define the way you behave, and even the things you are supposed to like.

If who you are corresponds to this construction, and you have grown up to be the ‘tough, emotionless’ ideal of a male, then you probably have not thought much of this. But for someone like me who is of the ‘feminine’, it is a set of ideals that go against many aspects of the person who I want to be, and for it I have faced ostracism. The fact that I don’t fit to this construction then forces me to think of this construction on a daily basis. Why is it constructed? What substance does it actually have behind it? The factors behind these questions are going to be some of the discussion of this article.

But first, where would my manners be if I didn’t introduce some aspects of myself:
I choose to wear skinny pants and tight clothing.
I choose to wear jewelry.
I choose to say words like ‘dear’, ‘hon’, ‘love’ to refer to people
I choose to wear 5 inch heels.
I choose to wear makeup.
I choose to wear perfumes labelled in the ‘ladies’ section.

Lady-Gaga-Fame
Lady Gaga’s Fame is a particular favourite of mine when it comes to fragrances.

With regards to the aforementioned points listed, before I go on, I bet that some people are going to immediately, right off the bat, go “Oh but he’s gay, that’s expected.” BUT truthfully:

Actions such as these should not correlate with my sexuality. Just because I am sexually attracted to men, it does not mean validate my behaviours to be allowed outside of a gender role construction and forced within a narrow-minded stereotype.

The fact that I do the aforementioned has people assume that I am gay, and this just shows the unhealthy effects that this dichotomy places upon our society. If I were a heterosexual, I imagine I would have it a lot worse off (whoa, did Thommy Dee just mention a situation where heterosexuals would have it worse off?!?!). In that situation, people would assume my sexuality as homosexual and mistake it just because I feel more comfortable with myself wearing shoes with heels on them (makes my butt look nice and round), or giving my skin a clearer look by using a good foundation and other cosmetics.

People should not have to validate their gender by performing a set of actions which have little to no proper meaning behind them.

I’ve had many experiences of people I know attempt to assert the conventional gender roles upon me. If I don’t follow these actions which society has made, actions which have no real substance behind them in proving that I am in fact a man, then these people think that something is wrong with me. In fact, there is absolutely nothing wrong. I look down, I have a penis. Yep. Lovely. I’m a male. Simple as that. No code of behaviours beyond that should have to prove that something is there that I already know is there JUST BY LOOKING.

Arguments generally look like this:
“It’s weird for you to wear makeup.”
No it isn’t.
“Yes, it is.”
What is telling you that?
“It just isn’t normal?”
Once again, what is telling you that.
“Society. People just don’t do it.”
So a construction made by society makes it wrong. Okay. Beyond that, why is it wrong?
“Boys just don’t do it.”
And why is that?
“Because it’s weird. Society.”
And as you can see, as it is a construction with no proper substance behind it, basically all the arguments I have come across follow this circular argument going nowhere.

Going back within the depths of my memory (quite recent though), I have had men tell me that they would date me if I didn’t “dress like a girl”, as they basically put it.
And this guy whom I met up with, who seemed properly interested in me, said he wouldn’t kiss me because he “doesn’t kiss girls”.

And then last year I had a couple of friends try and push me to act more “normal” as they put it: To not wear cosmetics, and dress exactly like the other men where I live do: wearing chinos and buttonup shirts and snapbacks.

When I ran out of foundation and met up with them, I was treated like a dog who had just learned how to sit for the first time.
These latent attempts of manipulation pissed me off. Just because the way someone presents themselves doesn’t follow a ridiculous hollow construction of a dichotomous nature, it doesn’t make it any less valid. 

Plus the dichotomy set up through gender roles in the modern world is a factor towards gender inequality, but that’s a topic a whole other article could be written on.

The media does not help this, either. Even when you have seemingly grown up past the gender dichotomy, it is still prevalent in the adult world. Putting flame in the problem, Father’s day and Mother’s day advertising is just a rampant cavalcade of assigned gender roles. The below advertisements (catalogues) are examples of this.

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You will see that for father’s day, advertising is generally of hardware tools. And then for mother’s day, it is cosmetics, jewelry, spas and domestic ware. Basically, men are forced to the shed to play with their tools and to fix up their cars, and women are forced to the kitchen.

Furthermore, this culture of a male having to be tough, and unable to show their emotion has shown time and time again to bring upon destructive side effects.  Men aren’t supposed to cry. It is odd for men to show emotion. They are weak if they show emotion.
NO.
It is healthy to cry and show emotion. And in a society such as this one, where one’s roles and expectations are decided by their gender, and men having to be tough and suppress their emotion, it may damage their psyche. And suppressed emotion becomes anger. And anger becomes aggression. And this may be one reason why crimes of homicide and assault and rape are committed by men a lot more than they are committed by women.

Whilst on the topic of crime, the looks I get just for expressing myself outside the bounds of gender conformity make it seem like I’m committing a crime. I wait for the day I can walk in public in my 5-inch heeled ankle boots and my makeup and not have people stop walking in public just to take a few minutes to process the defiance of the transparent construction of gender roles.

I should not have to feel any discomforts or worries in public that I may get beaten or attacked just because I choose to act and present myself in a way that isn’t in the ways of “being a real man”.

I could say a LOT more on this topic, but to keep it simple: I have a penis. Therefore, whilst I put on my makeup and zip up my 5-inch heeled ankle boots, I’m just as much as a valid male as a sports player, a businessman or a mechanic, or a tradie.

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Get used to it.

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The ‘Friend Zone’: Why We Still Need Feminism

When the term ‘Friend zone’ first came out online, all these memes started to appear on facebook, and I didn’t really think much of it. Then the term started to come into popular culture and people had started to use the term in everyday life and use it as an actual social convention. After over a year of that, I have come to loathe men who use the term friend zone.

So, for those who don’t know, the word friend zone is typically used by males (heterosexual) to refer to the state where this guy really likes this girl but this girl does not like the guy back, saying he is “a really good friend”, and thus the guy is stuck in the friend zone. Examples of memes created on the internet which are about this term are the following:Image

And this:

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From the two images shown above, the second image is the one I really can’t stand. Anyone who regularly uses social media will most likely have seen a picture alike to this. “A moment of silence for our brothers in the friendzone.” Blegh! I don’t like that kind of picture at all. It asks us to be sad that the man hasn’t got the girl he wants, and through creating sympathy for the male, it then antagonises the female for not submitting herself and becoming his girlfriend, irrespective of how good or bad the male is.

This brings me to my point of why I hate the term (I’m not the kind of person who often hates things): It is used by heterosexual males to validate their egos that females should and have to date them, and that it is absurd and unreasonable for that said guy to be refused by a woman. And for the men who still think that this term is an appropriate term, well here’s a new flash: Maybe you’re actually single because you’re an arrogant asshole with a sense of gender entitlement.

And, it is for this reason, I am actually quite glad for the new trend of #yesallwomen that is emerging. An example here is one that I quite liked:

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Even if you’re still shaking your head at this article (which I hope to god you’re not), take a time to look at this page that one of my friends posted on facebook last night, which I then looked up. It just reaffirmed for me how harder life can be for women, and also opened my eyes more to the state society is still in.

We say we have reached gender equality. WE HAVEN’T.

This takes me back to last year, when I still straightened my hair, and I also wore makeup too. But my makeup, alongside my hair, made me look a lot more feminine. People even said that it looked androgynous. I got mistaken as a female a lot in public (I would just laugh warmly to myself and reply “Oh, sorry, I’m actually a male.”

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(A picture of me in August 2013)

During this time, where through the eyes of a a number of people, I was seen to be a female (even though you can see chest hair, why dear god why?), I did experience a heightened amount of sexual objectification from heterosexual males. I remember on a couple of occasions I was wolf whistled from men who would pass in their cars. Then sometimes cars would slow down to drive past me. On another occasion, though, in September last year I remember it was, I was feeling peckish, it was late, so I went out to get some McDonalds, was walking back at night when I passed an ATM. There was a line with a few guys. As I was walking past, eating my fries out of my McDonalds bag, there was this 20 something year old male (who looked for the most part to be heterosexual, from what I could tell), he said “Mmm you babe, you look so fucking sexy eating those fries.”
My eyes widened, I thought “What the fuck”, and then I rushed off home at twice the speed I was already travelling at.
This kind of crap continued until I changed my look to a more male-like look around the start of this year.

From experiencing these few months, I have so much respect for the strength women have to put up with this as soon as they start to go through puberty.
BUT, THEY SHOULDN’T HAVE TO PUT UP WITH THIS TO BEGIN WITH

We say things like “You shouldn’t show so much skin, slut.” or, “you whore”. All these derogative terms being prerogative to females, and usually having the implication that a woman is being sexually provocative because she is wearing a certain cut of clothing, or acting in a certain way. And through that, she is asking for your arousal.
NO.

All you’re doing from the side of the female is perceiving what she is wearing. Visual input. Nothing else. What you’re doing yourself is then thinking, from your views and values linked in your brain, to think “Slut. Whore.” Which is then you objectifying. We don’t say “Oh, that guy is wearing short shorts that make his ass look so tight. He is such a slut who is thirsty for vagina.”, which just proves this. It’s a construction in our brain. It’s not them offending our eyes: it’s our brain offending their freedom.

And from the perspective of a linguistics student here. We can immediately label many different terms to degrade a woman based on her sexual activities. But for men? We have to think for a while, and then  even then we come up with manwhore, most likely: a word which has stemmed from a word originally used on females, but had ‘man’ added to it. So it shows that from even a semantic perspective, language is set up to degrade women and objectify them.

And at this point, I also want to give heterosexual men advice: it is not attractive when you hit on women in public. From my experience of my females friends confiding in me and having discussions, they often say that they feel uncomfortable when a guy approaches the in public and tries to make an advance on them, and have used the saying “Oh sorry, I’m already taken”, instead of saying “Sorry, you’re making me feel uncomfortable.” – and it makes me feel disgusted that we live in a society where a lot of men respect another man’s ‘possession’ (disgusting word in this context) over a woman rather than a woman’s rights to not be invalidated.

A question to the straight men reading this: How would you feel if I hit on you? A gay man like me, hitting on you? Saying that your ass looks nice.. Yeah, pretty damn sure you’d feel uncomfortable. So have the common sense to look on it on both sides.
Maybe this is why I enjoy hitting on straight men, especially the ones who objectify women. It makes you feel uncomfortable in the way that they feel; but you, in your egocentric state, cannot take it.

Learn to take your own medicine.

The media can be blamed for this, too. A picture below can show what I mean:
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So, in our brains, it probably looks normal for the female to pose that way, and to present herself in a way that is provocative and awakens sexual arousal for those who are attracted to women. But the men? No. In our brain, it does not look right. This is a construction in our society that needs to be broken down. As long as advertising like this looks irregular and you can notice a distinct difference in normality between the two, I will not be happy.

This is why we need feminism. Women are still in a disadvantaged position in society,
Of course, there are the femi-nazis. But a lot of feminists out there are females who are aware of the inequality and trying to make a difference about it. And can I just say, from the perspective of one male. I have a lot of respect for you.

I am just going to finish this off with a video I watched the other night.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4UWxlVvT1A&oref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DV4UWxlVvT1A&has_verified=1