Performing gender

  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Feb 25, 2008 8:00 PM GMT
    Earlier today, my mother asked me to pick up some black stockings for her. I said yes and went on my way. As I got closer to the store, I was suddenly struck by how I was failing to *perform* my masculine gender.

    Buying stockings, tampons, or any other feminine product is *supposed* to be a threat to masculinity. Yet, here I was about to buy some of these taboo substances (and I did, learning about US stockings sizes in the process). It reminded me of when I went with a friend to buy his dress and accessories for his drag debut (prompting a sense of surreal).

    Have you any of you had similar experiences, where you are suddenly made aware that you are behaving outside of the norms dictated onto you (in terms of gender, appearance, class, and more)? Did it mean anything to you?
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    Feb 25, 2008 8:16 PM GMT
    The only time my mother asked me to pick up her Kotex, I told the pharmacist I was flowing like a river, in order to make light of the uncomfortable situation. I was 15. Before I got home, the pharmacist called my mom and told her what I'd said and she promised never to ask me again.
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    Feb 25, 2008 8:26 PM GMT
    That's strange: On the extremely rare occasions I have to do something like this (e.g., hold a friend's purse while she goes to the ladies' room), I feel like my behavior is understood as "straight" and I am being some woman's courteous husband or boyfriend.

    Of course, I hold the purse in a way that makes it clear it is not mine.
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    Feb 25, 2008 8:44 PM GMT
    SockMonkey saidThat's strange: On the extremely rare occasions I have to do something like this (e.g., hold a friend's purse while she goes to the ladies' room), I feel like my behavior is understood as "straight" and I am being some woman's courteous husband or boyfriend.

    Of course, I hold the purse in a way that makes it clear it is not mine.

    On the end of a rifle?
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    Feb 25, 2008 9:20 PM GMT
    No sane woman would ask me to pick out anything feminine! I have been asked on the rare occasions to hold a purse, not a big deal, I am just amazed that women can fill the damn things up!
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    Feb 25, 2008 9:21 PM GMT
    Nope, never!
  • SoDakGuy

    Posts: 1862

    Feb 25, 2008 9:22 PM GMT
    Try getting a hobby, you know? Worrying about this is really a waste of time. If your Mom asks you to do something, you could: (A) tell her no or (B) just do it!

    Big deal about your masculinity! It's just an errand.

    Get over it!


    NickoftheNorth saidEarlier today, my mother asked me to pick up some black stockings for her. I said yes and went on my way. As I got closer to the store, I was suddenly struck by how I was failing to *perform* my masculine gender.

    Buying stockings, tampons, or any other feminine product is *supposed* to be a threat to masculinity. Yet, here I was about to buy some of these taboo substances (and I did, learning about US stockings sizes in the process). It reminded me of when I went with a friend to buy his dress and accessories for his drag debut (prompting a sense of surreal).

    Have you any of you had similar experiences, where you are suddenly made aware that you are behaving outside of the norms dictated onto you (in terms of gender, appearance, class, and more)? Did it mean anything to you?
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    Feb 25, 2008 9:24 PM GMT
    i realize i'm behaving outside the norm when i'm having gay sex.

    seriously though, i do realize it when i'm in the situation but it doesn't stop me from doing it. that's silly. it's good to be aware though, for your safety, depending on the place.
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    Feb 25, 2008 9:47 PM GMT
    Yeah, Nick, try getting a hobby, like, oh, I dunno, telling other people to get a hobby. icon_rolleyes.gif
  • Timbales

    Posts: 13993

    Feb 25, 2008 11:10 PM GMT
    When I was a teen I'd get embarrassed about buying stuff for my mom like that, but not anymore.

    Whenever I am at the fabric store to buy something for a sewing project I usually feel out of my element, especially since it's usually all middle aged women there.
  • NickoftheNort...

    Posts: 1416

    Feb 25, 2008 11:51 PM GMT
    It was something that got me thinking and wondering, not worrying. The former (wondering about social structures and how individuals apply / don't apply them to themselves) is one of my hobbies. I also mentioned that I went ahead and bought it (without a problem).

    It's fun (in terms of laughing with, not at) to hear from y'all and your experiences. McGay, it's weird to imagine you being embarrassed to tears by anything. It's also fun picturing SockMonkey holding a purse at the end of a rifle.
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    Feb 26, 2008 12:07 AM GMT
    i got a ph.d in choreography from ucla based on not performing my gender icon_wink.gif
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    Feb 26, 2008 12:32 AM GMT
    I had to buy socks and Brazilian-cut panties for my cousin when I told her I was in Hong Kong.

    Felt weird strolling down the women's section of the store and looking at the different varieties of panties and socks, looking clueless in a quest for panties, until I realized I would've passed as a boyfriend buying his girlfriend's lingerie.

    Holding a girl's purse really isn't weird. I have to hold my female friend's wallets, phones, purses and even pepper spray whenever we go clubbing, and their phones have furry stuff dangling off them.
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    Feb 26, 2008 12:54 AM GMT
    Buying the heels, fishnets, and jewelry for my Fank-n-furter costume was pretty strange.

    For some reason picking up the stage makeup wasn't.
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    Feb 26, 2008 2:56 AM GMT
    funny how (straight)guys can go and buy sexy-style lingerie and it's ok because it's "for 'his' benefit". but once you start walking down that walmart aisle....
  • GeorgeNJ

    Posts: 216

    Feb 26, 2008 2:57 AM GMT
    I have never seen a woman who felt similarly uncomfortable, or her sexuality threatened, when she was buying mens' underwear (presumably for their husband / significant other), or other personal mens' products (Cruex, etc).

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    Feb 26, 2008 3:08 AM GMT
    ggeo17 observedI have never seen a woman who felt similarly uncomfortable, or her sexuality threatened, when she was buying mens' underwear (presumably for their husband / significant other), or other personal mens' products (Cruex, etc).


    I think it's because our culture places a higher value on masculinity. There's no anxiety for women to buy Curex because they have nothing to lose. (Buying men's personal products would also be consistent with a woman's stereotypical role of caretaker).

    That same cultural preference for masculinity explains why all the anti-gay-marriage folks whine, warn, dither, and catastrophize about Adam and Steve. You never hear about Anna and Eve because female sexuality doesn't have the same cultural prestige.
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    Feb 26, 2008 8:45 AM GMT
    It doesn't bother me. What does bother me is that I actually have friends... gay friends... who are in their 40s and are STILL hung up about being seen in or near an adult bookstore. Really, I don't mind going and buying their magazines/videos for them, but I always wonder when they're gonna grow the hell up and get some balls of their own. If I'm ever that embarrassed or hung up about being seen somewhere or being seen purchasing a particular item, I certainly wouldn't ask someone else to get it for me... I'd either do it myself or do without. icon_rolleyes.gif Hell, the guy that sold me the last box of condoms I bought was more embarrassed about it than I've ever been. He was getting all nervous and I'm like "What? Its just condoms, they don't bite." icon_lol.gif

    People are just too hung up on stupid stuff...
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    Feb 26, 2008 9:00 AM GMT
    Nope. Never once bothered me and I don't know why it would bother anyone else. That's like saying threading a needle to sew a hole threatens your masculinity or buying baby clothes might draw attention to you and question your sexuality because those things are dubbed feminine. Who cares.

    I've been exposed to it but I never felt ashamed or bothered by it. I feel priveledged knowing how to do certain things that might otherwise be labeled as out of the norm. That knowledge serves it's purpose and gets me what I need and want. If people feel the desire to judge me for it then please judge away because I'm gettin' mine...better get yours.







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    Feb 27, 2008 9:20 AM GMT
    Hmm...

    (have to think because they are repressed memories, LOL)

    Numerous occasions where when shopping with my older sisters they ask me to hold their purse. Most of the times I took it, promptly set it on the nearest flat surface and kept watch over it, carefully making sure I won't be associated with it by passing people. Other times, I held it in the most masculine manner I could think of - clutched it by the body not the strap and hid it behind my back, LOL.

    Another time my sister asked me to drop by their house as I was coming home from school. She asked me to take a bag of baby stuff (milk bottles, diapers, clothes, toys) home with me for my nephew and niece who were in our house at the moment. It came in this cutesy little baby blue backpack thingy with elephants and flowers all over it. I refused adamantly to go home with that. Finally she gave in and went looking for a plastic bag. It looked harmless now so I took it home. LOL

    And I really REALLY hate accompanying my older sisters when they go out shopping (especially when all THREE of them were still in the Philippines). Me and my brother become designated valets, bodyguards, impromptu fashion critics, and poor innocent victims to their endless chatter. We get to hold armfuls of women's jeans, underwear, blouses, dresses etc. There's something about malls because women's sections seem sooo vast - and in this wasteland of womanhood, the average masculine gay guy would be bored to tears (straight men at least can peruse the halfnaked pictures of women on the lingerie section LOL). And they take HOURS just to decide which jeans to buy. Ugh. BTW, if a female asks which jeans fit best, praise the one she chose in the sincerest way possible. DON'T say 'whatever', DON'T act bored, DON'T disagree with her, and DON'T ever say it makes her look fat.

    P.S. This thread was meant to be lighthearted. We all know what society expects of us, and when we go against those, we feel anxious about it. Hell, I'm still anxious about being GAY! Heh. For those of you who've never felt out of their element, more power, but we weak people do experience those y'know. icon_razz.gif