Today in class we discussed the multifaceted (and often quite confusing) world of Queer terminology and criticism. We touched on things like camp, compulsory heterosexuality, identity politics, and the difference between sex and gender. Within the last is the difference between gender, and gender presentation or expression. Lastly we touched on the “coming out narrative” the many LGBT* youths experience today, and the signifiers that make it easier for others within the community to identify each other. Although I brought the subject up briefly during discussion, I didn’t feel like it got the play time it deserved.
Gender expression is the social ways one shows masculinity or femininity. A significant marker for gender expression in our society is for women to have long hair. The issue of hair is actually kind of near to my heart as I have none by choice. I am a self identified feminine woman so my choice of this facet of my gender expression is an unusual choice. I have my good reasons for shaving it originally, but I have since been shaving my head simply because I like to. It is remarkably less work, cooler in the summer, and the style just looks good. That being said, I am frequently misgendered (mistaken as a boy) in public spaces. When I first shaved, I worked hard to be extra femme so no one would make that mistake. I have had that problem before and it stinks to be misgendered when you aren’t used to a new haircut.
to help with the concept of gender and misgendering, here is a link to stuff about sexuality and gender and sex and the difference. It talks about a lot of col things I’m not discussing too.
There are many other ways that dress and personal grooming can be specifically gendered. As we discussed in class, touching of the hair is often considered to be a feminine gesture, while certain movements of the shoulder while walking are considered masculine. I’m not really sure why these gender norms are a thing, but I would think it’s to help us bash our bits together without the confusion of androgyny. Has this blog post turned into a rant about queer things? maybe. I don’t mind. Identity politics are what happens when who you are and the way you express that get on the news (an over simplification but I think it works). Also the coming out narrative is interesting especially in books by queer authors about their own experiences (I actually just realized that I’ve never read such a book). There aren’t that many out there; and those that are, aren’t youth cannon. What does that mean? Why might LGBT* books get published or publicized?