gaudior: (Utena fight)
Went to worldcon! It was awesome! Hopefully I shall post more details presently!

At the moment, though, inspired by a recent post by a friend (friends-locked, or I'd link), I'd like to post the results of an experiment. See, my mother raised me feminist, and did a damn fine job of it-- I think I'm more comfortable with being female, and yet confident to do what I want with my life, than most other women I know. A large part of this was my unconscious construction of blinders that keep me from noticing and reacting to the tremendous number of signals I receive, all the time, telling me that:

1) because I'm female, I should act in certain ways
2) because I'm female, I should not act in certain ways, and in fact would not be physically/mentally/emotionally able to do so
3) because I'm female, I have certain qualities (usually negative, but also positive)
4) because I'm female, my purpose is to serve, care for, and please others, especially males
5) all other females and males should also act accordingly.

So I decided to try taking the blinders off. For exactly one twenty-four hour period last week, I would make a note of every single thing I noticed which reminded me of these messages.

Results below. )

Note that this is just things that jumped out at me. I didn't analyze clothing and hairstyle, or the fact that I was doing the laundry, or anything else under the surface. That's 1200 words of nothing but in-your-face gender-role reinscriptions.

And I try to ignore these, most of the time. Try to say that I am simply myself, try to be guided by my own beliefs, opinions and desires on this subject, not those which are all around me, constantly, insisting that I am something else. And I'm amazed at how often I succeed.

But doing this experiment makes me wonder. If I didn't have to spend all this effort insisting against all odds on being myself-- if I could just live in a world where people like me were the norm, or at very least widely accepted-- what could I do with all that energy? What could I be?

--R

Reading: C.S. Lewis, That Hideous Strength. Elizabeth Enright, Thimble Summer. Rumer Godden, In this House of Brede.
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