Do you ever just sometimes want to be able to walk out into the world, not as a gendered being, but simply as a human being?
A human being that isn’t defined by the otherwise hidden credentials harboured between your legs?
The very credentials that have become such important aspects in shaping both our place in the world and whether or not we are deemed to “fit” successfully within it?
I must admit that some days, as a woman, I long for the sanctuary of androgyny.
To be able to move freely amidst the sea of other human beings without the minds of others making automatic assumptions about me simply because of my gender.
Sometimes I just want to go out into the world as the person that is me. No if’s, and’s or but’s, just plain old me.
I’m not sure whether this desire to be viewed as gender neutral is something that’s becoming stronger within me as I age, or whether it has more to do with constantly feeling at odds with a world that endlessly seeks to tell me who I am and how I should be.
Whatever the reason, I feel the personal need to strike out against the ideological constraints too often placed on women in our society.
Not in a violent aggressive way, but in a silently self-contained way.
A way that reflects who I am, not who I am told I ought to be.
More and more often, I find that I am drawn to wearing hats that conceal my hair, scarves that conceal my neck, long coats that conceal my body and tall boots the visually eradicate the curve of my legs.
These items of clothing, I am discovering, are becoming my own modern version of a personal Burqaa.
A mailable barrier that creates a material shield which encapsulates me when I’m out in public, in a way that I find, comforting.
In the past I’d heard Muslim women claim that they derive a sense of liberation from choosing to wear their Burqaa’s.
For years my western sensibilities denied the truth of such claims. After all, I reasoned, how can anyone feel free when they’re being forced to cover themselves up night and day for the benefit of others?
Of course the point I’d missed within it all was that the women making such claims were choosing to wear their Burqaa’s/ Hijab.
Now when I think about the concept of the Burqaa, sitting as it now does alongside my own desire to move about the world un-gendered and un-encumbered by all of the stereotypes that gender brings, I can appreciate and begin to understand how it may indeed hold liberating effects for women.
So now instead of wondering why it is that anyone would want to cover up their gender, I find myself questioning why it is that our Western societies have taken something as personal and as intimate as gender and turned it into a trademark.
A trademark that has become both the stamp of admission and the marker of denial framed within the fine print on the passports that we all must carry in order to obtain our human rights.
A passport that for too many now offers up the personal judgements, condemnations and un-warranted rules and regulations that seek to constrain personal freedoms instead of ensuring them.
Perhaps if we stopped placing gender at the centre of our being and instead re-instated our humanity, in all of its colors, shapes and diversity, as the single most important qualifier for accessing human rights, then all the division, intolerance, discrimination and hatred that has established itself so firmly within our world, could be dissolved overnight?
Wishful thinking I know.
But some days it seems to me that if we removed all of the superficial and socially constructed constraints of gender from the passport of our humanity, we’d all be just that little bit closer to actually being free.
Free from banning girls from going to school.
Free from bullying young boys and girls for existing somewhere outside of the lines of a predefined gendered stereotyped way of being.
Free from having to try and delineate the terms under which love is legal.
Free from the weight of living in what is fast becoming a too unrealistic and overly sexualized world for our children.
I don’t know about you, but I for one think this world could be a wondrous place if we simply just let ourselves and others be free.
Free Form Human Beings. That sounds good to me.
- EU Gender Directive: What you need to know – Confused.com (confused.com)
- Steve Beckow: A Call to End the Persecution of Women Globally (aquariusparadigm.com)
- Gendered discourses (musteryou.wordpress.com)
- The Gendered State (thefeministhunter.wordpress.com)
- Gender Discrimination (realblazeconceptsblog.wordpress.com)
- Climate and Gender: Reframing Women’s Vulnerability as a Rights Issue (climatedisplacement.wordpress.com)
- Human rights are a complex issue that (socialpolis.net)
- Gender Equality: Is the High Level Panel Listening? (feministtaskforce.org)
- If you had to give it a gender… (abcdoes.typepad.com)
- Gender dimorphism in homo sapiens (fanaticalhypocrite.wordpress.com)