Do You Fit the Mold?

Upon hearing my middle child’s admission that he identifies as non-binary or more so on the outer edges of maleness, I’ve been thinking a lot about gender identity and expression. I would like to share a few of my thoughts with you.

Gender identity is internal, deeply-rooted, and a central part of many people’s senses of self.*

Gender expression, on the other hand, is what everyone around us can see.*

Girls-

wear pink, dresses, make up

play house, with dolls

want to be moms, teachers, nurses

Timey Tell

Boys-

wear blue, jeans, baseball caps

play sports, cars, with Legos

want to be dads, lawyers, construction workers

IMG_1512

It looks silly when it’s laid out before you in print. While this might be something we grew up believing, or maybe we didn’t but we knew it was the expectation….. it went along with the idea that there were only two genders- male and female- and the molds were pretty straight forward. We know that even 20, 30, 40 years ago, these stereotypical descriptions just did not hold true. As more time passes, we are finding that outside of society influencing/dictating what is considered acceptable, the reality looks nothing like those two cookie cutter molds- one wearing a dress, one wearing pants.

I have never fit in the girl mold, even though I do not doubt for a second that I’m a girl. Dresses and I have had a love/hate relationship over the years. I’m not into make up. I hate cooking. My favorite clothing is my jeans, hoodies and gym shoes. I’m not a fan of bugs but have no problem beating them to death with my shoe or something else that’s nice and solid (sorry eco-system and circle of life and all that) but the sight of a mouse sends me screaming from the room like….well, a girl. But, here’s the thing about all of that. None of it makes a difference to me being a girl because that’s who I am.

Growing up in the 70’s, there was a definite girl mold out there and the expectations were very clear. There were times when I was expected to wear a dress whether I wanted to or not. My toys were dolls. The books I read all had female characters who, for the most part, fit that mold. The television shows I watched were filled with girls perpetuating that image. I wasn’t always comfortable with all of it but that’s the way it was.

As I reached adulthood and had my own daughter, I made a concentrated effort to not force her into that same mold. It’s probably a good thing, too, because my daughter ended up actually being my son. And my son ended up not being a boy who fit the boy mold.

Unfortunately, so many want to hold onto those molds- one in each hand- so neat and simple—- and so wrong. Hopefully as the idea of gender being something that is defined by a person’s innate sense of who they are and not what’s between their legs AND that every person has the right to express themselves in a way that feels right for them, we will bridge the gap between the old school boy/girl molds and the concept that there is more to a person than simpy boy or girl (and there always has been.)

I’m sharing this article on Gender Identity and Gender Expression. I think it does a good job of laying it out there for everyone to read. It is written with examples that we can relate to and understand.

*Separating Out Gender Identity from Gender Expression

What about you? Do you fit into your mold?

Happy Saturday!

-Kat

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17 thoughts on “Do You Fit the Mold?

  1. Great post Kat! I’m not a girly girl so to speak either. I can count on one hand the times a year I put on makeup, I wear long skirts but it’s because I hate shaving my legs…I’ve not always been comfortable being a more “dude-like” chick most days but I am now and I’m much happier for it. And I say most days because for me it’s fluid.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Joy! I think most people don’t fit completely in what is perceived to be one mold or the other. Everyone, trans or not, should have the freedom to express how they feel.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have never fit into the girl mold, as you I like jeans and sneakers, I don’t wear makeup much and I don’t enjoy housework. But I identify as a girl, I love being a mum, I love cooking and decorating. But most of all in this world I love human beings who are true to themselves no matter what because that is true strength and self love for me ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I definitely do not fit into the female mold. I tried for many years but it just goes completely against my grain. If I had my way I would be a combination of g.I. Joe and grizzly Adams. Inside I’m a very masculine person and really only have interest in traditionally male roles and activities. Unfortunately my outer packaging does not reflect this hyper masculine persona so I’m still perceived as a strange little middle aged Butch woman who probably wishes she was a man.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I thought the article you linked to was interesting. It is true that when people have a gender expression that we are not used to it can be uncomfortable. For example, we had a male waiter one evening who was wearing lipstick and it really threw me. And I consider myself pretty tolerant. So I think it is conditioning on our parts. Like you bring out in your post, it is the way we were brought up.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really is so ingrained that we don’t even realize it. It wasn’t until I was confronted with this on such a personal level that I paused to take a good, hard look at what I was feeling and why.

      I know there are times when Kris might make people feel uncomfortable but if I’m being honest with myself, he’s always been that way. Girl or boy, he has always had a very unique way of expressing himself. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. I think the biggest stumbling block is that many people cannot get past the uncomfortable feeling to look a little deeper at the WHY. The waiter wearing lipstick doesn’t really hurt anyone or change anything, if you just set aside the fact that you aren’t used to seeing a guy wearing lipstick.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. When I was 17 my choice was either gay or straight. When lesbians started to transition I had to choose between becoming a man or remaining a woman. And although I felt genderqueer, queer, non-binary, etc. there were no worlds to label it, I just lived it – as an extremely gender non-conforming butch person. When I finally came around to accepting that I was trans (generic) I was still faced institutionally with the same false dichotomy, and ended up going with the DIY option (which I am haphazardly following).
    Both masculinity and femininity as practiced are spectrums – so it makes sense that gender should be too – but it is hard for the medical/psychiatric/insurance industrial complex to understand the nuances. It is great that your kid is trying to figure out who he is authentically, and not forcing himself to fit the standard transgender narrative.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. When he told me he was genderqueer or non-binary or something else, it did not surprise me in the least. What’s most important to me is that Kris is able to live a happy, productive life and that he is loved and is able to be a parent someday, like he dreams of being.

      Liked by 1 person

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