Don’t get me wrong, I love nice weather. I love the sun, and I love summertime. What I don’t love is the unrelenting heat. Summer is not a good time for me, clothing-wise. Summer means warm weather, and warm weather means that I can’t wear the kinds of figure-disguising clothes I usually wear.
Summer means it’s too hot for layers. It’s too hot for binders (well, it’s too hot to wear them comfortably, anyway). It’s too hot for heavy pants and shorts. It’s too hot for thick, structured shirts that hide what can’t be bound away. Continue reading
It sometimes seems as though there’s this societal insistence that gender can only be either personal or social. It’s either directly due to people as individuals, or it’s solely the result of socialization. Furthermore, I, at least, have felt a message that it needs to be individual, in order to be “real” or “authentic” or “legitimate.”
There’s this idea that how I feel about my gender, or how I present myself, isn’t real if it’s influenced by society. It’s only considered legitimate if I do something because it’s what I want for myself, not because I want others to view me in a certain way. And while I understand and respect the importance of staying true to oneself and not being too bothered by the rest of the world, it’s an undeniable fact that we’re influenced by society. And that’s okay. That’s simply how the world is. Humans are social creatures; we do not exist in a vacuum. We cannot act as though we’ve never noticed, or been affected by, how society treats us. We can’t ever truly know how we’d feel about gender if we hadn’t had any sort of social influences–societal pressures, messages, and expectations are such a part of our lives that to do so would be impossible. It would mean having been raised without other people around (particularly impossible, given how dependent human infants and children are), without human-made clothing, without books and toys and so many other things. Continue reading
I’ve needed to dress up five times this past weekend and week for graduation and senior week, and I’d been absolutely dreading it. I’m not good with dressing up–it’s a combination of not knowing what to wear (given that all of the messages I’ve received about how to look nice involve dresses and heels and such) and not having clothes to wear (given that menswear is expensive and generally is ill-fitting on me). Additionally, I get really self-conscious because I know that for dress-up events, most of the people around me will be wearing dresses, skirts, and other girly clothes (at the very least, really fitted pants and blazer), and that makes me stick out.
However, my fellow classmates at my college are incredible, and I’ve actually had a blast this week. I’ve been wearing varying combinations of ties, vests, button downs, pants, and a blazer, and it’s been great. I’ve gotten so many compliments–from my friends, yes, but also from people I’m not actually that close to. My class is wonderful: they’ve just been so amazing for my confidence. Continue reading
“All gender is drag,” Riki Wilchins writes, in an essay entitled “A Continuous Nonverbal Communication.” To a certain extent, I understand Wilchins’ argument. Sometimes I can even manage to treat clothing as nothing more than a costume, a way to play with the ways that people view me. At the same time, something like the Drag Ball that my college’s rugby team recently hosted complicates the issue. It becomes more than a matter of mere clothing—societal expectations and messages about who I am become tied up in the question of what I should wear. Suddenly, the question of what form of drag I’m going to wear to Drag Ball seems a matter of paramount significance to the overall question of my gender identity, and I feel overwhelmed and nearly incapable of deciding anything. Continue reading