The Gender Mermaid Parallel
Real honestly, (not that I can ever be anything but) understanding and embracing the trans and gender-fluid communities is a foreign concept for many of us cisgender women. I don’t think we should pretend we understand - we don’t.
What we do understand is the importance of connecting with another another human and saying I want to be a real friend and support for you. What is challenging is living, acting, and speaking that out on the daily. At least, that has been the challenging part for me.
We’ve been conditioned our whole lives to gender things. And not just gender, binary gender (as in, only 2), it is a real mind fuck when you realize that gender is a social construct, not a biological absolute.
And, then you start on the journey of correcting your own language and behavior or at least you should be. Yes, I just “should’ on you
Remember how we talked about how being a feminist is fucking hard? Welcome to one of the many opportunities for growth being a feminist provides.
The Evolution of FemCon
In an effort to evolve FemCon to be an inclusive community of women. I set out on a mission to specifically include trans women and explore how the gender-fluid community can be included. Including gender-fluid is more complex since The Female Condition is based on identifying as female.
I quickly came to the conclusion that one of the easiest things I could and should do is add identity information to the content. IE, who is this content speaking to and/or about. That way, the reader always knows what they are getting from the article. It’s also an easy way for me to track and remain accountable for diversity on FemCon.
Note: Every single article on thefemalecondition.com isn’t for everyone. That’s not the goal. I have no intention of homogenizing the content so that each piece fits everyone, offends no one, speaks to everyone. The goal is to have content that covers enough diversity that any human who identifies as a woman has content that speaks to them on FemCon. We aren’t there yet, but I’m working on it.
I decided each article would have a label at the top to serve as identity information for the article and set off to figure out a fun name to call these labels. I thought doing something prefixed with Fem would be a little played out since I’ve named everything in my life Fem-somethingsorother for the past 8 months.
I landed on Who’s it’s and What’s it’s (WhosIts’N’WhatsIts) from The Little Mermaid. I loved this title because I love all things mermaid, there is no gender identity in it, and I see parallels between understanding gender and mermaids.
Understanding Gender Through Mermaids
Note: Cisgender feminists in particular, I am speaking to you.
If you’re like me (born with a vagina, assigned female at birth, and identify as female), you are painfully aware of how the vagina between your legs, while magical (seriously, I’ve gotten a lot of compliments), is literally prohibitive to your success in life.
The vagina between my legs has made me perceived as less than a man since the very day I was born.
We see examples of this from the time ‘it’s a girl’ is announced - Oh, you’re having a girl, good luck!
To the way we raise girls - You have to be… because no man is going to want to marry…
The gender bias is everywhere *cough* the U.S. 2016 election *cough*
As a result of this, feminists champion #PussyPower and we should. I am on an all out mission to not only normalize conversations about vaginas, but to make it absolutely clear that I am not less capable because I have a vagina. Because anything you can do I can do bleeding (@Leahmob).
So, WTF do mermaids have to do with gender?
My point with the gender/mermaid parallel is that gender identity isn’t a foreign concept for us, at all. We know how to and do understand gender not tied to biology. We just live in a society that forces binary gender distinctions on us on the daily.
For example, the mermaid, how do we know a mermaid is a she/her?
It’s simple, because we believe them to be. A mermaid identifies themselves to be female and boom! We know they are a she/her. No further questions asked.
Do you know why? Because gender is a social construct. It’s about what they identify as.
Let’s take it a step further. If I say: some women have penises, get over it. Most feminists probably wince a little bit trying to wrap their heads around that.
Let’s go back to the mermaid example.
Mermaids don’t have vaginas, but we understand them to be and accept them as female. Why?
Because, sex and gender aren’t the same thing.
For goodness sakes, mermaids are half fish, half human beings and we don’t question that at all.
As humans who know what it feels like to be treated as less than based on something we didn’t pick. We can more than understand what our sisters must be feeling when they are treated as less than based on their biology, gender identity or sexual orientation.