I live in a community where everything is more or less a binary understanding of things: men and women, white and not-white (no I’m not trying to be racist), English and other languages, religious and pagan… the list goes on. With such binary understandings of life, I grew up in an example of the Black and White Fallacy, where everything seems to only have two mutually-exclusive categories and that’s it.
However, all my life I’ve been fairly androgynous. In fact, I was inadvertently encouraged to be. My mother dressed me up in jeans and t-shirts up until I could pick my own clothes or had a uniform I needed to wear; I’d only look socially feminine when it was time to get my picture taken. She never seemed to care if I was boyish or mistaken as a boy growing up (because that happened on the frequent when I was an infant). As I grew, she “trained” me in belching, played football and basketball with me (my brother and my dad included), let me hunt for fishing bait with my dad and brother, and even let me watch Marvel movies alongside Disney princesses ones. She encouraged me to be quirky and authentic, to never be afraid to “play like a boy,” even if my other family members wanted me to behave like a lady.
Androgyny, where I come from, is still rather novel. Not many people in my home area represent “true” androgyny or the mixture of masculine and feminine traits. Its rarity makes it hard to understand on a larger scale, causing my own androgyny to be a stressful topic to combat.
Thankfully, over the past couple of years, I have discovered a way to help myself “come to terms” with my androgyny: cosplay. The art of cosplaying has really proven to be a great help with my gender attribution of gender-neutral/genderfluid. I can be whoever I wish to be.
October 13th (or Friday the 13th), I dressed up in a suit that made me appear more masculine instead of feminine. I shoot a picture to a few of my friends and they all liked my appearance; even people exceptionally close to me liked my appearance (which I half-expected.) What I didn’t expect was to get told that I wasn’t allowed to walk around in boy clothes every day. I had to reply, “It’s just a costume, nothing permanent.”
Even though I was raised like a gender-neutral existence, I was being denied my very existence right in front of me. And it hurt because I knew that wasn’t the intended expression, but that was the implication. To be honest, I felt awful about myself afterward. I felt like there was some part of me that was trying to trick me into thinking I was only meant to be female and not my natural androgynous self.
I’m not trying to be mean, spiteful, vindictive, or anything of the like; I’m just expressing my own personal struggle. And even though this post is a bit on the heavy side, please feel free to comment and share its message. 🙂