Friday, August 9, 2013

Apparently I'm Still Not Feminine

I've been married to Dave for over 5 years now. This morning we were having a frank discussion about something and I used a turn of phrase that literally made him double take. Followed by a comment on how I still surprise him sometimes with my less than feminine speaking ways.  And a smile, because he loves it, and me. But still, it surprised me.

I speak how I've always spoken. Perhaps with a bit more confidence now than in my awkward teenage years, or bookish childhood. But honestly, I don't feel as though my verbal and written communication has ever been described as feminine. "Strong," or "advanced for my age" were used when the speaker was being polite. (I can remember a conversation with a teacher in 4th grade when she mentioned that she spoke to me like she would an adult, knowing that I would understand what she was saying.)  I was always yelling out answers in class, especially in math and science lessons. It took me years to get in the habit of raising my hand to speak, and by the time I'd figured that out, I had also figured out how to read a different book under my desk or read ahead in the book the rest of the class was struggling to get 1 chapter into, completely uninterested in what was going on. By the time I hit 7th, I was adept at keeping one finger on the page the class was working on, and reading ahead to the things I was actually interested in.

I feel that, as an adult, when I disagree with something and I speak vehemently or passionately about it, I get accused of being mad, or yelling. I can pepper it with smiles and consciously keep my voice tones low, and I still get the accusation. WTF is up with that? And why do I feel like if I was a man my counter points would be accepted without the complaints about my tone?

August is an interesting month for me this year, probably heightening my awareness of these things. I'm turning 30 this month. Control of my fertility is high on my priority list right now. The onslaught of state, national and religious groups fighting to take away my control of my reproductive organs is upsetting. Honestly, I find it hard some days to deal fairly with my Christian neighbors, it can be difficult to divorce them from the larger religious organizations trampling my human rights. But, that's fodder for a whole 'nother post.

As some of you know, I stopped shaving years ago. I was/am tired of the media saturation promoting their airbrushed, unattainable version of femininity. One of the best things about the lack of a television in our house if I don't have to see that crap on a daily basis.  Hair, stretch marks, freckles, wrinkles and fat are all part of reality. Yet women embracing those aspects of their feminine reality are scarce. Armpits4August is a group of women doing just that. Encouraging women to grow their own under arm hair and to love it and rejoice in the perfect hair that our wonderful bodies grow. Not to shave it away, wax it away or hide it under sleeves. They are mainly in the UK right now, which is too bad for me, no rallies near enough I could get to one.

Also this month, much nearer to home, is the August 25th National Go Topless Day. I ask you this, my American readers, why is it my male neighbor can mow his lawn topless and I can't? Why is my husband so sure that I would get arrested if I tried something like that? There are no laws about it on record for my town. Just the vague sort of indecent exposure type laws. In New York City, law enforcement and community activists annually remind citizens that such displays are completely legal in that city. Male or female, equal treatment, everyone can show nipples in public.  Does the constitution not extend to Iowa? Does my equal treatment depend on my geographic nearness to one of the coasts?

So, if you hear of my arrest on the 25th, you'll know why.

I guess I should just resign myself to the comments about my less-than-feminine traits. Especially since I flaunt pretty much every societal norm for my gender. Proudly. With one finger in the air.
I have opinions and I'll say them. I have hair, and I'll grow it. With any luck my boys won't grow up with the current bullshit view on what feminine is. Maybe they'll have more freedom in expressing their own uniqueness. Maybe their wives and/or daughters will have more freedom because of it.

Here's something fun to end today's post.

---------------Jennie Fun Fact
Perhaps the single most feminine aspect to my communication is the circle I put over my lower case 'i' in my stubbornly not-cursive handwriting. I learned cursive enough to pass the 3rd grade requirements, and I knew then that I was never going to use it again, and I haven't. But even that circle, has its roots not in girlie doodling, but in logic. It was because of that same 3rd grade class, in our daily cursive exercises, with a teacher who was sloppy about her 't' crossing and 'i' dotting. Because of that sloppiness her cursive 'l', 't', and 'i' all looked a lot a like. I thought, that's just a recipe for miscommunication, I'm going to make sure my 'i' are clearly 'i's and not stumpy 'l's. So I used the forced daily cursive writing practice as a medium for changing my handwriting, and I taught myself the circle over the 'i' and I've never gone back. 

Take care y'all,

1 comment:

Jon Lorisen said...

I hope you weren't arrested today! As far as I know, women secured the "right" to be topless about 10 years ago across Canada but I am quite sure it would get your arrested most places here.