Archive for the 'Gender & Feminism' Category

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That's my kind of bow.

Being engaged has made me realize that I’m a bit uncomfortable with my femininity. All of a sudden I’m supposed to enjoy all these “girly” things, like squealing over dresses and obsessing over color schemes and comparing diamond sizes. But on a deeper level, even, I’ll soon be identified as a “wife,” a term with so many problematic connotations that it feels completely distant and foreign to my self-identification.

I went through a serious tomboy phase as a kid, with a boy as a best friend and soccer as my passion and extreme distaste for anything pink. My parents (physically) forced me to attend etiquette classes that required girls to wear formal dresses; in protest, I used scissors to cut the large velvet bow off of my dress, but did so hastily enough to leave a gaping hole in the dress itself. I was made to wear it anyway, but they never knew that once in the ballroom I snuck a pile of cookies with my brother and hid in the hallway til it was time to go home. Every week.

I’ve always had a hard time with close female friendships and with talking openly about decidedly feminine things (though I now have some of the very best woman friends in the entire world. Objectively speaking, of course). Attending a women’s college instilled in me an intellectual value for the issues, experiences, and community of women and certainly made me able to think and talk critically about issues of gender and sexuality – and boy, do I have opinions on those subjects. But the truth is, at our weekly Monday evening potluck, I still find myself at the guys’ table talking politics instead of the women’s couch talking babies.

On a spiritual and emotional level, I want to come to better terms with my identity as a woman (and, eventually, a wife). But on a gut-reaction level, I would prefer to sit on the ground and eat a pile of cookies with my little brother.

 

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