June 8th, 2015


(no subject)

It was a simple thing. I just wanted to go swimming. But like the ritual most women go through, I'd done the dance of trying to find a swimsuit I could live with, one that suited the unique challenges of my body. When this candidate had arrived in the mail, I stripped out of the dress I'd been wearing all day and tried it. I looked like a pin-up girl, but shuddered anyway as I looked in the mirror. It would never work, I told myself.

In the wake of news coverage of the story of Caitlyn Jenner, the question of what makes a woman has been brandished about, in many cases bringing replies that are cruel at best. Intentional misuse of pronouns, for instance. That a photo shoot was involved no doubt lent to the narrative that rebels against the idea of it being the body, or how you adorn it, that makes one a woman. And I agree with that.

The story that being a woman comes with years of repression, feeds back to it, though. You are not harassed for being a woman. You are harassed because you are perceived as one: in large part because of the body you have, and how you choose to adorn it. And so the eschewing of femininity in some cases, which absolutely make sense to me. Does doing that make the women who did so any less? Not in the slightest.

A pronoun is just the most basic form of honorific. It is a title of recognition which many take for granted or even bristle against. I respect, or at least do not intentionally disrespect, anyone when offering that basic recognition. How I dress, how I present myself, does not make me anything I am not already. It does, however, flavor how other recognize me, biasing it toward being correct. But honorifics should not be taken for granted by their bearer any more than by those using them as a form of address. While others aim for a title such as Honorable, Reverend, or Doctor, I have and do strive every day to earn the only one I really wanted anyway.