Friday, January 17, 2014

I Don't Understand Why Gender Is So Important To Society

I walk into a truck stop on the way to my job as a warehouse clerk early before my shift, and I ask the cashier before I grab anything if they take checks. She says yes, so I go on, grab some food, and a big travel cup of Lipton raspberry tea, and I go to another cashier to check out.

When I get out my checkbook (yes, I know, it's the 21st century...), and go to another cashier to pay for everything, the cashier sees the checkbook, she says they don't take checks. I bring up what the previous cashier said about checks, she says something to her, and then explains that they only take corporate checks from trucking companies that are on their pre-approved list.

I'm 5 foot 9 inches tall, about 260 pounds (people keep assuming I have a lot of upper body strength because of this, but I don't), and because my job requires me to step outdoors quite often and check seals on shipments coming in and out, I was wearing a thermal camouflage coat, and a orange vest. That combined with my beard, and the fact that my cost was open, and I had one of my favorite wolf/wildlife shirts on, must have made the first cashier think I was a trucker.

I may look rather masculine on the outside, and I've gotten comparisons to the comedian Zach Galifianakis, (famous for "The Hangover" movie series), personally I think I look a little more like the character Aaron Pittman from the NBC show Revolution, but anyway, I don't feel all that masculine on the inside, and it endlessly baffles me why people put so much emphasis on gender, and the gender binary system.

It also confuses me why many people seem intimated by my size, (maybe it's because I don't wear my emotions on my sleeves like most people, and come across as cold and threatening) but that's another discussion for another day.

Societal views on gender have always confused me, even in my fundamentalist days. I didn't understand the fundamentalist obsession with dividing the genders, both with children/teens, and with adults. Why are separate men's ministries and women's ministries necessary? I never understood it, and I never saw anything wrong with female pastors, even then.

Now that I have left fundamentalism, and Christianity altogether, along with ditching the related homophobia, it makes even less sense why gender should matter either to Christianity or to the society at large. Why does society have to put people of either gender in a box, and place expectations on them because of that? Why can't trans people be accepted in this culture?

Better yet, why do people have such expectations of me? I know I'm not a trans person, I don't feel like I should be the opposite gender, but it's kind of hard to explain. I've never really felt proud to be male as some young men seem to be, and I could really care less that I'm male, to me, it was merely a genetic accident of birth. I want to see myself more as just a person, instead of being defined by the way I happened to be born.

Things typically defined as being masculine, like sports, have held little appeal to me (other than a causal following of the St. Louis Cardinals during the postseason, but they are very much a part of the culture here).

I've worked in typically male dominated jobs in recent years, and when I was transitioning out of fundamentalism, I worked with a lot of young men, who kept bragging all the time about their sexual exploits, like it was some sort of competition. I never said anything, because even if I was sexually active at the time, I wouldn't have felt the need to brag, in fact, I would have felt it disrespectful to the women I was with to do that. That would be between me and them.

Well, apparently not acting like a real life Ron Burgundy, will lead some people like that to think you have a bad case of teh gayz. One guy in particular kept hassling me, asking me over and over again. One day, I had enough, I knew just how to get a homophobic guy like him. I tried the best flirtatious voice I could muster, and ask him why he wanted to know, was he interested?

I doubled over laughing when he said "Oh hell no, bro, I'm not that way", and took off on a forklift. I caught up with him later, told him the truth, and confronted him a little about it, and he insisted he wasn't homophobic, he had gay friends.....

In past relationships, during my fundie days, I actually fit more of the feminine stereotype, wanting more emotional closeness, etc. Imagine the confusion from the women I was with, coming from a highly gendered culture like that. It really baffled them, they didn't know how to explain it, so some called it "clingy", they didn't quite know what to think. Looking back on it now, and my suspicions that I may be autistic, it makes a little more sense, I have a hard time connecting with people, and when I can, I guess it all pours out. I've had to be aware of this, and hold myself in check since then.

I just don't fit the norm, and I don't understand why people feel I should have to.


  1. Count me in this confusion-party. It starts at baby clothes and gets progressively worse. Even the cartoon animals on baby clothes are gendered. All the pink shit has bow-wearing kitties and birdies, while the blue shit has dinosaurs and rhinos.
    Why the hell can't girl clothes have rhinos on them, goddammit?

  2. Count me in too. Shoehorning people into rigid, arbitrary gender roles serves no practical purpose in society, and in its worst forms, it harms everyone.

    While we're on gender, do you know what drives me up a wall and confuses me to no end? Self-enforced gender segregation at gatherings. I've been to social events where men gather with men, women gather with women, and the two rarely mix. WHY!?

    1. Don't get it.Does doesn't happen at my UU church, in fact on a related note, when talking to people, I can't assume anyone is straight, because it seems like about 1/3rd of the congregation isn't, lol.

  3. This is one of the aspects of fundie culture that bothers me the most. The almost fanatical devotion to RIGID gender roles. To the point that a frightening buffoon church like Mars Hill can pull in thousands of people...Mark Driscoll is a Jim Jones waiting to happen. All based on rigid gender stereotypes.

    1. Driscoll is disgusting, and his church definitely fits the definition of a cult, especially his creepy confidentiality agreements he makes people sign, and the fact that you can't go to any counselors outside of their network (who will probably emotionally manipulate you like a puppet on a string).

      I just don't see him having quite the level of power and control over his followers to that extreme of an extent. Now some IFB leaders like Bill Gothard and Steven Anderson yes, as well as Jack Hyles when he was alive. His daughter said that Hyles actually made jokes that he could get people to "drink the Kool Aid" if he wanted to, saying he had as much power as Jim Jones. His daughter didn't think it was funny, because she felt that he could have done it, and I agree with her.

      Also, Harold Camping (the "rapture is coming on X date" guy), he probably had that level of control over his followers, look at how some of them sold everything they owned, and left pets in the care of family and friends, because they were so convinced that his predictions were right.

  4. Traditional gender roles are very confining and seem to do a disservice to both women and men. They seem to be as much about promoting conformity to antiquated ideas as anything else. The good news is that there seems to be far more acceptance today of men who are not traditionally masculine and women who are not traditionally feminine as what I recall from my youth.


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