Monday, August 17, 2015

Music Monday: Gender & Song

On the drive back from GenCon, my iPod randomizer played two songs back-to-back

The first was The Doubleclicks, "Nothing to Prove."

(I saw an e-mail saying that the Doubleclicks were performing at GenCon on Friday night Unfortunately, we had already committed to watching the baseball game with Grandma. Eventually I'd like to go to a concert, but right now family wins.)

I was fortunate that, at Purdue, the AQ gaming group had had many women gamers over the years. I wasn't a trailblazer, I was rarely the only woman at the table, and I was accepted as myself. Many of my closest women friends were met around those tables, and looking around I feel like I fit right in.

This next video is old enough, I hope that anyone who would be hurt by the [content notice] police work imagery are already aware of what's in it.  Beyonce, "If I Were a Boy":

My sister posted about this video many years ago. She was intrigued by the gender-roles, and how they flip roles towards the end.

My thoughts on the song have also been affected by the later Glee performance [content notice: bullying, transphobia]:

A few years back, I went through the Welcoming Congregation refresher training at the local UU church. This is introductory material, for those of my readers who aren't familiarwith or involved in the GLBT community. If you are transgender, and come across this post, I welcome your comments and corrections.

One of the things we discussed in that class, was how biological sex, gender, and orientation are three different things:
  • Sex: the anatomy one has. In discussions of transgender issues, this is very, VERY personal and private, not usually discussed with strangers and casual acquaintances. Also, even biology comes in a range. Many children are born "intersex," with unclear genitalia, for various reasons that include genetics.
  • Gender: what's in a person's brain. It's a lot more than the belittling "feels male" or "feels female." In stories of children like Ryland, below, I've read that persistence is one key indicator of what is going on. The child's happiness is another guide to what is right. This also can come in a range that may or may not conform to society's expected gender roles.
  • Orientation: who one is attracted to.
With six billion people in the world, the three categories above occur in every combination. The Glee character, Unique, is a straight male-to-female transgender girl (attracted to boys).

Another major thing we discussed in the Welcoming Congregation class was gender roles. Society often tries to push girls to be "feminine" or "femme", while pushing boys to be masculine.

Around here, boys are expected to be into sports, science, math... and science fiction, comic books, geeky games.

Girls are expected to be into dance, the arts, language, dolls, My Little Pony.

From what I can tell, many local families whose children don't fit into the stereotypical "boy" or "girl" interests, are pushed to be more conforming to the gender roles expected of their biological sex. You'll also see this with the outcry against Target removing labels from their aisles.