Wearing Gender Without Complacence
Consider the muteability of gender, as something one dons and removes. How liberating to decide for oneself – the option of gender. That rather than recognizing oneself in a set of established normative options, that one creates, over time, a personal locale for oneself on a spectrum of others’ personal definitions. The process of self-identification as drawn from one’s experience, in subjective memory and body. Traditional schooling in gender and self-sexuality preaches a kind of inheritance methodology - one experiences oneself in a gendered body as one experiences an ill-fitting suit. Traditionally one alters oneself to better “fill” the idealogical and visual signifiers of assigned gender.
One decides and perpetuates one’s gender daily, at the mirror or wardrobe. Is attire the sole signifier? Physical signifiers of gender are preposterous, that fashion or curvature should be indicative of the individual’s inner life. And yet it is on the individual’s summation of these set signifiers that modern Western society bases attraction and interaction. It has been argued that fashion exists as a mean of expression, and certainly it is so for a limited population with means, via exposure to trend and the luxury of selection. Gender as consumer commodity…
Much has been written on the so-called performativity of femininity, and yet what of masculinity? The exclusive, obsessive identification with ironed khaki pants and Brooks Brothers’ button downs, as manifest in the white-collar variety of masculinity, is to my mind a prevalent and sustained form of gender identification. Gender as a routine of attire, trickled down from the capitalist based fashion market which creates, projects, and sustains monitored signifiers of sexuality. Cisgenderdom emerges out of consumer convenience.