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Institute for Jedi Realist Studies - Gender Roles and Fairy Tales - Page 4 - Institute for Jedi Realist Studies

Gender Roles and Fairy Tales

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Jax replied the topic: Re: Gender Roles and Fairy Tales

Exactly Beral.  The only way to take back the idea of emotions and feelings being weak is to be an example.  I do my best to live in a way that is true to who I am.  For you that can mean dressing up in pretty things. ;-)  For me that can manifest in many ways.  I am not afraid to get silly happy over shiny and sparkly things in stores.  I love to indulge my inner child with movies like Elf or Finding Nemo.  I allow myself to feel pure innocent joy over all areas of life.  But these are only when I'm in a situation where I feel safe.  When I'm not so sure I try to balance a relaxed attitude, find humor in silly things, but maintain a sense of being in control.  I'm still working on that balance.  I try not to let societal expectations affect how I feel and how I then act.  But it's not easy.  

Due to my outward gender expression, people expect certain things from me.  Or they simply have no idea what to expect.  However, while I look masculine, I hope I don't restrict myself to only showing those sides of me.  I'm doing better at showing my compassionate and understanding side, which is a more traditionally feminine trait.  I love kids, though I'm a little hesitent with stranger's kids because there are still people who have this insane idea that I could be a child molester and I don't want to cause trouble.  But I no longer hide my amusement at kids being kids.  I smile when they smile at me.  And it makes me feel great!  It's taken me a while to get to this point however due to my issues with gender and rebelling against what was forced on me.  

What helped with that was having good role models.  I read a few books that helped me work through some issues and gave me examples of how I can be me, chilling out somewhere in the middle of this gender madness.  I use my father as an example of how to be loving and fun with kids without it being overly feminine.  I have many examples of female strength as well.  The more I maintain a balanced picture of all genders the easier it is to simply be me.  In time I hope to transcend that so I don't need reminders from outside myself to be who I am inside.  I think I'm getting close.  The more confident I am in my own skin, the more I then become an example to others who are struggling with the same issues.

I apologize for that rather circular mess I just wrote.  lol  Sometimes that's just how my brain works...

So, to now throw a wrench into this, because while this has brought up some good issues, it still shows quite a bit of the binary thinking we have towards gender.  Want to wrap your brains around my biggest struggles?  

For anyone who has really pushed boundaries, I think they inevitably end up questioning whether they are really the opposite of what their body says they are.  I went through this for a time, wondering whether I really wanted to be male bodied rather than female bodied.  It didn't take long for me to know that I didn't.  Sorry guys but eww!  lol  However, there is a continuum here too.  I have many transgendered friends who have had top surgery (removing the breasts and shifting the nipples to look like a male chest) but who either don't want bottom surgery (creating a penis from a vagina) or don't plan to do it for a while.  They have taken away the obvious female attribute that people can see while clothed, which allows them to live in a more gender neutral or masculine way.  They also may or may not take testosterone which restructures their body.  I've thought about all of these options.  I have friends in various stages of these transitions.  And with each one I wonder if they are making the right decision.  Are they still avoiding internal issues which, when addressed, would remove their need for surgery?  Or do they really feel like they are men inside and want their bodies to reflect this?  

I have two friends that have had top surgery.  One, Evan, was the only girl in a pretty large family.  However, in her 20's it occurred to her that she didn't feel like a girl.  So, a few years ago now she became a he.  I had some conversations with him, and it seemed like it was a good decision for him.  But it's not easy to know.  I have kept in touch with him and he's so happy.  It really looks like this was the right decision for him.  

My other friend, River, just had top surgery.  But River has always confused me.  He isn't not traditionally masculine.  He's actually pretty feminine about a lot of things.  Yet, he felt like a man.  Or, as we would all joke, like a gay man.  He's been on testosterone for a few years now and likes to dress in drag.  To be more clear he was born female, was still female bodied, living as a man, and dressing up as a woman.  lol  Head hurt yet?  This pushed my understanding because it showed me my own stereotypes.  I had never seen someone who was so feminine feel like a man, so it seemed like perhaps he was making a bad decision.  That's probably why it took so long to get the psychiatrist letter to approve his transition too.  

Both of my friends are pretty self aware people.  Even if I wasn't sure always that they were making good decisions, every step towards living more as men made them happier.  This happiness remained throughout.  Makes it harder to doubt their decision making process then.  It taught me to be careful about putting my own issues onto others.  I have decided that my path is to learn to accept myself for who I am on all levels.  That includes this body that may not always fit quite right.  For a long time it would make me frustrated or even angry because my body forced me into a gender when I didn't want to be forced into one.  But as I have grown and matured and learned to release my issues I have found balance and even love for my body.  It's not a complete transition, but I am becoming more and more someone who's outside reflects their inside.  My friends are very different examples of how to be a man.  I am an example of how to be...a human?  I'm not really sure.  I am an alternative perhaps.  A reminder that we don't have to be one or the other, we can be both.  We don't have to suppress a part of ourselves, we should honor them all.  And when we do, we are truly empowered.  Our gifts explode into being and we can amaze ourselves.  I know I am amazed on an almost daily basis.  

Hopefully that provoked a few new thoughts in this mix.  :-)
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Icarus replied the topic: Re: Gender Roles and Fairy Tales

Jax... what the heck did you just say?  :P Just kidding. Thanks for taking this to such a personal level. I think that that is most of the problem with gender roles and conformity. We do not look at these things as affecting people. It's just a part in the play of life for most people. They don't question these things because well... it doesn't affect them enough to ask. But, when you actually know someone... it changes how you see all of these things. I mean, I told you about the incident in the school bathroom with the pregnant mother. I don't think that any of those hecklers even looked at those two women as people until that moment. I think they were seeing society's labels and nothing more.


And that's really the point. We have to be willing to touch one another as people. We have to look within and without and actually communicate. Ask questions. Talk. But, more than anything we all have to be ready for the truth.
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Beral Khan replied the topic: Re: Gender Roles and Fairy Tales

Eddie Izzard.
A Executive Transvestite.  Likes girls "in that way" but like make up and the clothes of the female styles.
I wondered if this was me.  But it's not. I understand him.  But wearing all those pretty things seems to be far too much work for me and I never cared enough. LOL.

Even in high school people (guys at least) thought me gay.  Which cracked me up because their girl friends knew different.  8)  But ya know, it never bothered me that people thought of me.  Through my life I have met people in various states of gender changes.  And yes, it's very confusing sometimes.  do I say "he" or "she?"  so I just ask.  If they are offended by my asking, I realise they are more than likely "gender confused." heh.  
I'm glad you were able to come to grips with just being you no matter what what you might be. :)

I used to trust my force of Will.
Now I trust in the will of the Force.

Jedi Communication? Well its removing assumptions, questioning the absolutes, and asking for clarity of statements.
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replied the topic: Re: Gender Roles and Fairy Tales

I am my own husband and I am my own wife...and I enjoy both roles.  When you are a loner by choice; and there isn't even a good word for it that is how unacceptable it is to most, then you must be your own family.

I mow the lawn, take care of the car, am a good provider, and do what a "husband-type" does.  I also enjoy all the girlie things.  I am female and enjoy being female - but I will say that most women who have worked for me - and some men - have wondered if I were lesbian because they've seen that "masculine" side.

I don't see it as an issue.  I've had a long-term boyfriend, I like men and they like me, I don't get along as well with a lot of women, but enjoy a light relationship with them.  I enjoy shopping and discussing the girlie stuff but I can't get into the...social aspect...of so many women.  The emotional side.  I find many women catty - there I said it - always playing some game.

Not my favorite cultural side of women.

What I am is isolating - and that's fine too.  I made that choice a long time ago.  Strangely - most men think my being both my own husband and wife is great!  Women?...not so much.

So - I paid for my choices in being isolated sometimes.  I gain from it and lose from it.  Isn't that the way?

***As always - we're not so different, huh?
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Icarus replied the topic: Re: Gender Roles and Fairy Tales

Hey, just out of curiousity, has anyone seen Shrek 3?

I have to say.... FINALLY! Someone has done a decent enough job of doing this right!  ;)
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Jax replied the topic: Re: Gender Roles and Fairy Tales

No, but you know what movie I like about gender roles and empowerment?  Prepare to laugh...Legally Blonde.  Seriously.  She starts as the idiot, but realizes that playing that role doesn't get her the guy or anywhere in life.  When she empowers herself, however, she gets a successful career and a good guy.  And takes down a feel bad guys in the process.  Sounds like a pretty good message to me! 

Note, however, that it was a message that needed to be put forth in a lighthearted way.  God forbid we put this forward in a serious manner that threatens people ;-)
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Kol Drake replied the topic: Re: Gender Roles and Fairy Tales

This line of posts got me drudging up old readings on Native American tribes and 'gender identity'.  As I barely recall, if a male wished to NOT hunt but gather food, mend clothing, cook... he was welcomed into the female side of life.. and wore the female buckskin, etc.  And, if a female wished to pass on cooking, child bearing/rearing, etc. , she could take up the male mantle with equal ease and acceptance.

Here's a term paper I came across.  Also points out this was more 'wide spread' than just the Indians (Eskimos also had this 'interchangeability'.

pages.cs.wisc.edu/~caitlin/papers/native.htm

If only 'we' could get back to being that open minded.

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replied the topic: Re: Gender Roles and Fairy Tales

Excellent point and reference!

- Asta Sophi ;D
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Memnoich replied the topic: Re: Gender Roles and Fairy Tales


My son was always slight (downright skinny) and in high school sprang up over six feet quickly (tops out at close to 6 foot six now).    He tried out for basketball but, soon injured an ankle.  Wanted to go out for football but his mom (and I) were certain he would snap like a twig at the first 'pile on'.  (He really is tall and thin.. and weighed about 160 pounds at the time.) 


Let me put what I have to say this way. I graduated High School at 113lbs 5ft 11 3/4 in and played offensive and defensive tackle from 6th grade. I was know as the "Toothpick Tackle" throughout High School, and I was on the varsity team. Coming from someone who was tall and skinny (finally gained some weight in the military) Be careful how you perceive that son of yours, just because he's tall and skinny, doesn't mean he's frail. Even little innocuous comments can hurt at that age. I know i got just as tired hearing about my weight and heights as I'm sure large and short people got tired of hearing about theirs. Remember, you can do anything, as long as you believe you can, and as a child your belief is your parents support. I'm not trying to tell you how to raise that kid or anything, I'm just trying to give you a little perspective.

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Kol Drake replied the topic: Re: Gender Roles and Fairy Tales

Son is 25+years old and pretty much 'free range' -- so there is no 'raising' to it anymore.    :obiwan
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