Belenen (belenen) wrote,

androgyny: 2 binaries is not better than one

icon: "antagonistic (a photo of me in cat-eye makeup with violet hair, snarling with bared teeth and staring intensely into the camera)"

Content note: gendered assumptions about body parts

Androgyny is a concept I had always found appealing because I thought it could be a way to break down the gender binary, but it isn't because people refuse to recognize androgyny that isn't one of these two things:

1) "masculine" clothing on someone with body qualities that are stereotyped as feminine, such as breasts that protrude from the chest or hips that are wider than the waist.
2) "feminine" clothing on someone with body qualities that are stereotyped as masculine, such as flat-chestedness or dark/long facial hair.

This is fucked up because your body should not be considered a marker of your gender (or lack thereof!). But not only is your body considered a gender marker, some parts are considered so gendered they cancel out everything else. Take me for example.

My appearance includes these cues which are considered "masculine":
*I don't shave my armpits.
*I don't shave my legs.
*I don't ever wear concealing makeup or "neutral" makeup, and don't wear makeup more often than twice a month, max (usually less).
*I don't wear a variety of shoes: I have one or two pairs.
*I wear black tie-up sport shoes exclusively, never heels or flats. I choose them based on practicality.
*I don't style my hair: most days I braid it and that is all the attention it gets. Many days I literally do nothing to it.
*half of my head is shaved.
*I don't wear necklaces or bracelets.
*I don't wear perfume or ever use sweet-smelling hair products or scented laundry detergent.
*I never wear clothing designed to flatten my belly.
*I do not pluck the long, dark hairs on my chin, nor the short dark hairs on my upper lip.

And the cues which are stereotypically considered "feminine":
*I wear skirts most days, and dresses a few times a year.
*I wear bras.
*I wear form-fitting tops.
*I wear colorful clothes.
*My long hairs are longer than ear length.
*I occasionally wear makeup or dangly earrings.

Looking at these cues, if people considered everything, I would be considered androgynous if not masculine. But people do not consider all cues, they just look at my boobs and think they can assign my gender based on their size and the clothing I put over them.

So in my mind, "androgyny" is just a reinforcing of the gender binary by cross-matching body assumptions and clothing assumptions. It's just two sets of binaries: one for clothes and one for bodies. It's a gender uniform based on your body qualities, and I don't like it.
Tags: body image, femme, gender

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