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Come be a knight.
You know, all this talk of what is "woman" and what should stay as "women's" - women's space, women's experience - as well as fears of losing individuality, doesn't sound very postgender to me. Perhaps in living in a world where gender identity matters, we fear losing it.
Even if the main reason was the fear of losing a "safe space" (what's a safe space?), would you agree that the result still solidifies gender differences and presents an obstacle to a postgender society?
I don't know if I'd agree, no. And this is my thinking:
Take for example (because this is something I was just talking with a friend about so it's fresh in my mind) gay bars. They're a kind of safe space because, typically, you only get gay people and sometimes gay-friendly people there. A gay person doesn't have to worry about being out in the wider heteronormative world where a guy checking out another guy could lead to something awkward/confrontational/disappointing. It's not so much a space that reinforces gayness (though it can) as much as it is a space where people can feel free to be who they are without worrying about the larger culture bearing down on them with their assumptions and media and reminders.
So take idea that and apply it to women. If a group of women get together it's just as likely that they're doing it to get away from some male-centric environment (with its particular gender roles) so that they can just be themselves (whether that means doing traditionally "feminine" things or not) as anything.
So the idea of "safe space" (physical space, or social, or intellectual, or whatever) is about allowing for more than one idea, more than one viewpoint to proliferate.
If men were able to have children (going back to the point which brought us here) then there's the fear that childbirth and childcare would become male-dominated. I don't know if I personally believe that's what would happen, but I can understand the fear (or maybe a less intense word would be annoyance) of there being something which has long been an area where women were the experts suddenly getting an influx of men who then try to take over.
Isn't this the reverse of women taking over traditionally male pursuits? Education being a big example, many people didn't want to see women educated, but now that it's become a norm, it's ceased to be seen as a "male" thing. Why would it be wrong for males to take over what has been traditionally done by females? Is it because that women are oppressed to begin with? Is a biological function different from a sociological function?
What if men take away "everything" that belong in the realm of female, what would even being female mean? Would there be anything to oppress over? Maybe a solution is for men to "take over" everything that "belongs" to women then - without difference there is no oppression. If men take over everything sociological that "belongs" to women, I can't imagine women being oppressed for having breasts and curves, for that'll be all that's left.
I don't see why biological sociological differences should be inherently different such that equalizing one is okay while equalizing the other isn't. It just seems arbitrary to treat one differently because it's encoded in DNA.
I feel really, really strongly about this issue, which has probably already come across in some of my posts around here.
Yeah, people put too much stake in gender roles. I wish people would spend more time identifying with actual traits rather than groups of cultural associations. It just plays into the whole conventional mindset that keeps people thinking inside the box all their lives.
That said, I'm conflicted about how best to apply this ideology. Sometimes I feel like I should be doing more to subvert female conventions. For example, I've found men's jeans and t-shirts to be more comfortable and more durable in general than women's in the same price range, but I still feel embarrassed taking things from the men's rack to the fitting room in a store. I don't want to be embarrassed, I think it's stupid, but I am.
I worry about how far I take my hormonal periods, if I cut myself too much slack for being whingey or mean or a crybaby, because it's accepted, and not because I'm really that much more prone to it.
I often think about how I'd like to spend a while in "boy-mode", dressing like a boy, taking male pronouns, identifying with the male gender to solidify my ideas about gender-continuity. And yet I'm scared that if I did, I'd make a farce of it, I wouldn't be able to "get" it, I'd be a pretentious imposter.
I guess, in practice, it's a really personal problem, and really hard to separate rational opinions from all kinds of cultural biases and internalised conventions. These questions really eat at me, and they look like they should be so simple.
I identify very strongly with a post-gender world. Gender roles as it is irrevocably change entire lives - women go into nursing rather than pursue being a MD due to role congruency, women are discriminated against in STEM careers, men are pushed out of "communal" jobs such as preschool teacher and nursing.
I lived full time as male for a year when I was 17. I was a pretty hot dude. At the time, I thought I was transgender. It turned out that being abused by my mother left me with shame for being a woman, which is what was really going on. Having had that experience made me realize just how illusionary gender and gender roles are. Since then, I am no longer ashamed of being biologically female, though I now no longer identify as a gender. I am neither, I am both. I dress up in a mix of men and women's clothes and use mixed mannerisms. I act and present myself the way I feel like being.
I once read that people who have both masculine and feminine-identified traits have better psychological well-being.