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August 13th, 2010

Defying gender stereotypes

seanan_mcguire has an interesting post about her childhood spent being neither a tomboy nor a girly girl (but a bit of both) that inspired me to comment thusly:

I have a male friend who is bisexual but cisgendered, alternates between black fingernail polish and pink, collects My Little Ponies, and generally gives gender stereotypes three middle fingers.

Myself, I'm a trans-woman, but I, too, never cared much for gendering activities. I was as likely to play cars or superheros with the boys as I was to play house or dolls with the girls. I had Legos, toy cars, stuffed animals, dolls, even Barbies. And though my parents were strictly anti-gun with me, I'd use sticks or stuff to make guns, usually some kind of ray-gun. Sometimes I was a teacher or babysitter for my dolls, and then 5 minutes later I'd be the captain of a fishing vessel in the middle of a storm, or a superhero captured by my own version of Orion slave women. Yes, you heard right. I don't know how I became aware of it, possibly TV, but I was a little perv as young as seven, drawing naked women with boobies or naked men with... other things, some of my imaginings with plotlines that revolved around my nebulous understanding of sex. And I got in trouble once in elementary school for telling dirty jokes.

All my childhood, I never gave a shit what others thought of any of it. Other people (aside from family) were uninteresting at best, not real to me at worst. And if a family member said something I didn't like, I ignored it. I have always been unashamedly me, despite getting bullied frequently for it. I survived the bullying by withdrawing further into my imagination until I was pretty much utterly lost in there.

Puberty didn't change anything, except to make the perviness grow stronger. It wasn't until I was about 15 when I started coming (back?) to reality. It was weird, like waking up from a long and involved dream. I didn't change much, really, in that sudden transition, but I had a clarity and thoughtfulness about everything that is startling to think back on. My "gonna be me, I don't care what y'all think" attitude changed only in that it became something I decided consciously to continue with. Though to be honest, it wasn't exactly a sudden shift. The process of returning to reality started when my sister was born, with me dragging my feet for years in a process that was not pretty to be around. When one has one's roots firmly planted in fantasy because reality is painful to deal with, being dragged back to reality is going to be a violent process. And it was.

Enough of that, though.

Getting rid of summer vacation

I just saw a headline on Time magazine bringing up, once more, the old topic of getting rid of summer vacation. I presume they want to replace it with the system in which the same amount of vacation time will be spread around the rest of the year, easing up pressure on both students and teachers for the rest of the school year.

The headline's sub-headline also mentioned that this was being brought up again because summer vacation makes kids fall behind, by forgetting what they learned over the summer. And yes, I see their point; it was indeed hard to try remembering the bullshit, meaningless lies propaganda facts drilled into kids' heads by "teachers" in an educational system that has not changed significantly since the late 1800s. So yes, if they were unwilling to change a system that was a piece of shit to begin with, getting rid of summer vacation would be a logical decision.

However, there is a huge problem with this plan. The problem is that schools don't have much in the way of a maintenance budget; that tends to be one of the things that gets slashed first. And summers get HOT. If I had kids, I would NOT want them to be in school during the summer, without good, working air conditioning.

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