Gender.

I was recently listening to the Witch Wave podcast where the host Pam Grossman interviews Neko Case. It’s the season 5 premiere episode, #76 Neko Case, Sovereign Songstress. In the episode, Pam asks Neko:

I love the way that you write about gender or just write gender. I’m thinking about a song you have called “Man.” I’m thinking about that great lyric you have, “I’ve fucked every man I’ve wanted to be.” I’m thinking about your Twitter profile where in your gender, where you identify your pronouns, you cheekily wrote, “she/sir.” And so I’m wondering how you think about gender these days? … Do you find gender even a useful construct anymore?

Neko responds:

Well, gender’s a useful construct if you’re looking at what needs to heal; what were you forced into that didn’t really fit. … I don’t think I would identify as a woman if I were 20 years younger … I think I would be nonbinary. I feel probably slightly more masculine than I do feminine and I even have issues with being toxically masculine at times … The gifts that the younger generations have given us of just saying these things out loud and pointing out that gender is a spectrum are very valuable. And I feel that the generation that I’m a part of can heal thanks to that … I definitely also feel that I’ve fought so many battles as a “she” that I can’t leave now. We are so hated. Women are so hated that I will not abandon it now.

It made me realize: I identify as a woman as a political statement.

I’ve struggled with my gender identity for I think a very long time. When I was a child, I used to think that they made a mistake when I was a baby at the hospital and that I was a boy, and now, I thought I was a boy being raised as a girl.

I went through a period of not really thinking about it in high school, instead I was more focused on trying to be a “perfect” female. I think I started thinking about gender again when I was in college, after I shaved my head. I talked about when I shaved my head in this post from a mental health perspective, and it was definitely a freeing experience. Speaking of Britney, though, that song, “I’m not a girl, not yet a woman,” I definitely felt that. I’m too old to feel between those worlds, but do I feel like a woman?

I’ve never spent time listening to Neko Case, though now I feel like I might want to. When Pam quoted her lyrics, “I’ve fucked every man I’ve wanted to be,” my ears perked. After struggling with figuring out my sexuality, I realized that I did this. I would choose who I wanted to have sex with based on wanting to be them, not really wanting to be with them. In terms of my sexuality, I identify as “gay” rather than as “lesbian,” and I never really knew why, just that that word felt better to me.

The other day I was online and read about a gender dysphoria test. I didn’t take it, but I read the questions and I don’t think I have gender dysphoria, but I would say “yes” to a few of the questions. On the one hand, I don’t hate my body. I love my voice, for example, and would hate if it changed due to hormones. But on the other hand, yes, I do wish people in my life would treat me the way they treat males. As a person, I tend to be more assertive (male) or aggressive (female). I’ve had coworkers that presented as male, were assertive in a similar way to me, and were well loved. I would be “talked to” by my manager. In fact, I think that my assertive/aggressive nature, and my coworker’s interpretation of it, caused a workplace conflict that would have been avoided if I were male. This is because, in our culture, men are allowed, nay, expected to be assertive and courageous leaders while women are expected to be sensitive and gentle followers. Unfortunately for me, I was born into a female body and a conservative home.

I also think that it took until college for me to really think about my gender because of that upbringing I had.

Neko Case and I are of different generations, I don’t agree that I would identify as nonbinary if I were younger. However, if I lived in a non-gendered society, I probably would.

However, we do live in a gendered society. These younger/more progressive people Case is talking about have taught me a lot, too. I realized that I don’t fully identify as male OR female, but not enough on either side to do anything drastic about it. This thinking outside the binary has allowed me to accept my female-gendered body, and my political bent has allowed me to to use my body as a feminine product of society. And, thanks to the understanding I have of this, that gender isn’t just nonbinary, but is also a cultural construct, I personally feel like I can be in whatever body I already have and at the same time have whatever gender expression I wish, and I do.

I do want to clarify one thing, though. I am not trans so I don’t really understand what that experience is like. However, I think the spectrum theory of gender has made it harder for me to understand. Do I wish I had a penius? Sometimes, sure! But I was born into this body, gender isn’t a binary, so I can dress this body however I want. I have a disconnect there and I don’t know how to get past it.

In the end, given my masculine personality and my feminine appearance, it is a truly political statement to continue to identify as a woman in this society.

Love, Madeleine

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Weird mood.

I was having a hard time at work today. I kept messing up in obviously wrong ways and I started to get shaky. I went outside during my break and I thought to myself: ‘I’m in a weird mood today.’

Was I in a weird mood? Perhaps. Or I was in a reasonable mood for the situation.

Yesterday, Derek Chauvin was convicted on all counts of killing George Floyd. Yesterday, the cops in Columbus, OH, my new home, killed a 16-year-old Black girl. It hit me all today.

I woke up this morning to a message from a friend, saying, “Please don’t go to the protests that I’m sure are going to happen for that teenage girl! It’s not worth it. It’s too dangerous.” I trust this friend, I think she would know what is and isn’t safe and why.

To further expound upon her warning, I came upon this article, titled “Ohio county where girl, 16, was killed is state’s deadliest for police shootings” by Adam Gabbatt. I moved to the county where the police shoot and kill the most people in Ohio and is the 18th most deadly county in the country. But this is not for me. I’m white.

Earlier, when I was thinking about how weird I was feeling, I also felt like I was going to cry. It could have gone either way. Either I cried and felt better or I didn’t, so I didn’t. If any of my coworkers saw me crying I would have to tell them through those tears that this is about me and my feelings. If I were to have cried my mostly Black co-workers would have to console the white girl they work with and barely know while people in their community are being murdered at rates higher than anywhere else in the state.

There’s nothing wrong with crying in itself, and maybe I will later when I can be alone, but this isn’t about me and my feelings. We’re all feeling like shit right now, yes, but we also can’t take the stage when people are literally dying.

This pandemic has been weird because so many people are dying, it’s a public health crisis. Black people are also dying at alarming rates, it is also a public health crisis. The most frustrating thing about these two things is that I live in a country that takes my taxes and does nothing to stop this death but only uses them to continue with more and more death. Yes, the military budget is way too bloated and we cause disgusting amounts of death in other countries, but we are funding this public health crisis here. I hate that my money is going toward paying the officer that killed Ma’Khia Bryant. I hate that my money is going toward giving police officers more military toys and trainings that only teach them to shoot first, everyone is a threat. I hate that my money is going toward a system that allows officers to kill other humans for no reason and get away with it.

There was no justice yesterday. Smarter people than me have pointed out that Justice would be that George Floyd and Ma’Khia Bryant (etc.) are still alive. What happened yesterday was accountability at best, and a small amount of accountability at that. We have just been trained to think this is Justice because we never get accountability.

What now? We know there’s this crisis and we know the problem. In fact, we know the solution. How do we get there?

Days like today, I hate this country. I called myself a Patriot for a long time, trying to take the word back from far right-wing nutjobs. I decided that I’m a citizen and cannot easily leave, and therefore I want to make this place my home. I want to make my home better. I don’t know if I want to call myself that any longer. I still want to make this country better and I will support others fighting and fight to do so myself, but I am not a Patriot.

Love, Madeleine

Both sides.

In case you somehow missed it, here are some of my thoughts on the attempted coup on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 and a few articles so start it off.

‘Hashtags come to life’: How online extremists fueled Wednesday’s Capitol Hill insurrection

Inside the Capitol: A Photographer’s View of American Exceptionalism Under Siege

EXPLAINER: Breaking down the uncertainty after Capitol siege

I’m so frustrated because the person who said the both sides comment to me doesn’t understand that it’s much more complicated than that.

The way I see it, there are at least six sides in the US right now and that’s probably leaving out some. But the average FoxNews-watching classical republican only sees two sides. The attempted coup was a bad thing Republicans who lost their civility did and the protests over the summer were a bad thing democrats did, according to this person. This thought process isn’t understanding the state of the country at all. It’s not understanding the republican or democrat parties. The republican party is now fully a white supremacist party and the democrats are what the republicans were in the 70s maybe. We further left than that have almost no representation in government.

What happened over the summer was protesting violence. What happened yesterday was acting out violence. I’m proud of the summer BLM protests. Is this Trump supporter proud of what happened yesterday? No, but it shows a basic lack of understanding. We aren’t just in different worlds in the US. There is a basic lack of communication and education happening on the right that doesn’t take into consideration the nuances of the country’s politics.

The person who said this to me isn’t a QAnon person. He’s what I would consider an average republican. Or maybe, he’s an old-school republican. We have views that we disagree on, to the point I try not to talk politics at all with him. But I don’t think he’s irrational. FoxNews and conservative media generally has done a great disservice to our country.

For example, at the beginning of Trump’s administration, I was the one who had to tell him about the horrible EPA and environmental shit the administration was undergoing. As an old-school republican, he thought everyone wants a healthy and safe environment, right? Well, no. Your party has changed. And you probably have more in common with the democrats now than the republicans… But of course, we don’t talk politics so anything is possible.

I’m frustrated.

On a podcast I was listening to, they were saying that this opened up people’s eyes and it must be a rude awakening. This couldn’t be further from the truth based on my conversation with this person.

This person either simply doesn’t understand what is going on or refuses to understand. A group of armed fascists tried to not only steal an election but there is evidence that they were planning on either taking hostages or straight murdering elected officials. And still he said “both sides.”

I don’t think the average person in the US wants this, I’m not even sure the average Trumper wants this, but it is happening and not becoming informed and refusing to see the reality isn’t making it go away.

That is, unless I’m wrong and the average Trumper does want this after all.