The Unreality of Gender

Note: This post was previously published to a different blog I ran and am not longer using on September 4, 2015.

“If we scale up as far as we can while maintaining human significance, gender is pretty meaningless.”

This is a Facebook statues that received a few affirmations from exactly the people I expected to like it. Beyond that, it went mostly ignored. This isn’t exactly what I wanted to post.

What I wanted to post, which would likely have had a more negative response, though it would have been a silent one, was this:

Gender is not real.

I am not the first person to say this, but I would not have been able to describe what I meant by this concisely, and I was not prepared to. But it’s been nagging at me, so here I am.

I’d like to admit this first and foremost: I am not sure of my gender.

What am I sure of?

I am not cisgender, and my strongest dis-association is with womanhood.

That’s not to say I’ve never been sure.

I was sure I was a woman, in my own, liberal feminist way for a long time. I was positive of myself despite occasional feelings of slight discomfort.

I was sure, almost a year ago now, that I was not cisgender, that I was non-binary to some extent. Scared, but sure, deep down, underneath the baggage heaped into my mind from the outside. I was afraid of how sure I was.

I was sure, recently, a few months ago, that I was a demi-boy. This word, not even the definition, but the word as a whole and the feeling of the sound of it was right in some way. I looked at other people who identified this way and felt more kin to them than I ever had to a single woman in my life.

Six months of being sure I was at least not cis, with an obsession with cutting the lumps off my chest and not being pegged as a woman by strangers, I was fully out. My friends were great. My family was totally mediocre. I fought hard and unsuccessfully about pronouns. I announced new pronouns to all my college professors for the upcoming year. I found a new name, twice (first neutral, then more masculine, and I have kept both).

I became terrified because I felt the shift happening again. I didn’t allow myself to recognize the shift, only the mounting anxiety over every new determined and confident statement I made about my identity.

The fact is, my gender identity is shifting. I am using the word genderflux to describe myself. Genderflux is a change in intensity of gender, meaning for me that sometimes I feel so little of my gender I would easily call myself agender, and other times I feel myself as a demi-boy.

This could change, and that doesn’t matter.

If you’ve forgotten: Gender is not real.

Gender is many things.

It is a social concept. It is something prescribed to every human, whether they like it or not. It has an effect on every single person’s daily life and interactions. People are given privilege or oppressed based on their gender identity, or their perceived gender identity.

Gender, as such, is a concept carrying a lot of weight and meaning. It is a complex interlacing of many different aspects into an identity. It matters to very many people, and it matters in our society. It is a core way in which many people understand themselves, an identity that people can determine a “right” answer, for them.

But gender is not real.

Gender is not some “thing” that exists inside a person as its own entity, or even a plurality of entities. People do not “have” a gender inside them that exists somewhere in their souls or the chemicals in their brains. Gender is not its own, real, independent thing that exists by virtue of its own reality.

I think understanding this takes off a lot of the pressure to pinpoint one’s gender.

BB-8 is an Angel and I Loved TFA

Immediately following the wonderful event of New Year’s Eve and staying overnight at my friend’s house, all participants of the party awoke to the great knowledge that I was forcing a Star Wars marathon upon my boyfriend who had never seen all the movies before. It was a great recovery day.

So the age old question of which order to do comes, and our answer was flashback order. For those unfamiliar, this order is:

  • Episode IV
  • Episode V
  • Episode I
  • Episode II
  • Episode II
  • Episode VI

I have become a huge proponent of this order after this experience. To me, it seems like the ultimate way to experience these six movies. Episode IV enters the world beautifully, guiding you through the universe without exposition but also without creating any confusion, and a great love for the characters of the original trilogy comes about between IV and V. This kind of involvement simply does not come about by starting with the prequel trilogy, especially I, and I think enough people have discussed everything terrible about Episode I, so I’m not going to put myself through that.

By the end of Episode V, the discovery of Vader and Luke’s connections creates the desire to learn more about Anakin, and following this move with the prequel trilogy grants this information. Anakin’s past makes Episode VI hit harder than it could without it. Being that I quite like Anakin despite the fact that he’s kind of horrible, this especially enhanced the movie experience for me. It was the first time I had seen Episode VI following Episode III in any remotely small period of time. The parallel’s between Luke and Anakin are highlighted, and Luke’s new levels of maturity are less jarring than I find them simply going from V to VI. And since I’m Anakin-loving trash, Anakin’s force ghost in the remastered version actually made me cry this time around. The action of Episode VI becomes not just rooting for Luke, Leia, Han, and the rest of the Rebellion to win, but also understanding as Vader and Sidias’s lives come to an end, exactly all they had done, and ALL that was brought to an end with their deaths.

After this wonderful marathon, I was ready to see TFA, and I’ll spare you ever single feeling I have about the entire movie and instead opt for a few points. First point, Kylo Ren has literally no idea who is grandfather was an Anakin’s force ghost needs to slap some sense into the boy.

I have an OT3 and it is Rey, Poe, and Finn, and they are perfect and in love and no one will change my mind. BB-8 is C-3PO and R2-D2’s perfect child, and nothing will change my mind.

The only other thing I strongly want to comment on is the “Rey is Obi Wan’s Granddaughter Theory”.  If you are interested in the evidence supporting the theory, it is gone over here. I think the theory is just as possible as it is that the theory won’t be correct. However, I can share some thoughts on what will happen if the theory is true. A battle of Anakin’s grandchild and Obi Wan’s would be awesome and emotional and completely beautiful. A lot of great story-telling can come out of it, however, there will be some effects that won’t be as great in my opinion. My biggest issue with the theory is that, if she is Obi Wan’s granddaughter, that’s another illicit Jedi love affair, and with Obi Wan being such a great example of what Jedi’s should do I feel this might weaken the character he has. The story of this relationship will likely feel somewhat tired because we already of Anakin and Padme. I worry about the affect this will have on Obi Wan’s character and story in the movies, and while it certainly could be done well, it could also be totally screwed up, and I’m afraid of that.

Personally, I’m currently thinking Rey is Han’s daughter (but not Leia’s), and I think a battle of the half-siblings will be an interesting look at what Leia and Luke might have gone through had one of them ended up on the Dark Side.

So, from now on, this is my order: “Machete order” plus Episode VII:

  • Episode IV
  • Episode V
  • Episode II
  • Episode III
  • Episode VI
  • Episode VII

Episode I has been rightfully destroyed, and Episode VII has earned it’s place.

It’s a Happy New Year [personal affirmations shouted to the public]

For some reason or another, I’ve been feeling emotionally fragile, and I’m rather unconcerned.

Seriously, I almost cried to Hallelujah by Panic! at the Disco. That is not a sad song, and it does not deserve tears.

Maybe it’s because it’s Junior year, or as I like to call it, hell year. Maybe I’m feeling crushed by the sensation that I am not nearly as integrated into any group of people on my campus as someone who has been here as long as I have been has been. I mean, those are things that pass through my mind, and it doesn’t a healthy mindset make.

I am feeling rather emotionally fragile, but I’m not feeling very sad. There is this weird feeling like at any moment my heart might skip but it just hasn’t yet. I am, as previously mentioned, crying to inappropriate songs. There’s a welling up of something inside of me, and I’m not sure what.

I’m the kind of person that it takes a very long time to fully realize things. I don’t get excited that I am going on vacation until I am standing in a different state and doing something fun. I’m thick like that.

I think just maybe I’m realizing that I’m getting older. Right now, I’m finally realizing it. Shit man, that’s late, right? That seems late.

And I think, maybe, it’s because I’ve started shifting my mindset that I’ve begun to realize that. Things that have changed in the past few months include:

  1. Actively and consistently using a planner.
  2. Formed actual habits that did not end within three days.
  3. Actually took steps to develop skills that I have wanted for years.
  4. Was completely confronted with how not alone I am as a queer religious person as an actual reality.
  5. Looked at my friends and realized that for the first time in four years I actually believe that they like me.

Listen, I have to write a thesis, I am behind on one of my majors, I’m applying to exclusively Ivy Leagues for grad school, and I’m going to restart adjusting to a school in a year and a half. I can’t play piano for shit, I can’t sing for shit, I can’t speak German or Italian for shit, I apparently can’t maintain a blog for shit, and as always I am dragging my ass on that whole trying-to-be-a-novelist thing.

But I’m going to do something. I’m going to belong somewhere. I’m going to have people. And I’m going to become better.

And I am going to keep crying every time I listen to Hallelujah by Panic! for some goddamn reason.