For whatever reason, over the past several months I have become particularly elated whenever someone recognizes my stubbornness, my snark, and my perseverance. I love to be called “fierce” in my joy, “fierce” in my kindness, “fierce” in my awe, etc. I want to be strong and brave, and I love when others recognize that in me. But I am a woman, and these traits are stereotypically considered to be masculine.
When I was little, I loved to draw with a black crayon. I have always loved crickets, earthworms, and insects of all sorts. I have never liked the color pink, and I have never particularly enjoyed Valentine’s Day. Although I love love love weddings, I have never dreamt about my own or planned out every detail of it. I enjoy shopping on rare occasions. And it wasn’t until college that I started to wear dresses as often as I wear jeans. I am a woman, but these aspects of who I am are stereotypically considered to be “un-womanly.”
Though I am proud of my “non-girly-ness,” do I want to be treated like a man? No. I don’t want to be treated like the stereotypical woman either: as one who is gentle, mild-mannered, overly sensitive, and quiet (in the sense of having little to say). I want to be treated like Laurin, like who I am. Though some of my traits are more stereotypically masculine than others, and though some are more stereotypically feminine than others (I do love makeup and fashion blogs, and I am very quiet until you get to know me), I am repulsed by the idea of people weighing how to treat me on the basis of whether my personality is more “masculine” or more “feminine.”
Let me expand this thought: If you are predominantly gentle, may we recognize that as part of who you are – but may we not label you as “feminine” or “womanly” because of it. If you are predominantly independent, may we recognize that as part of who you are – but may we not label you as “masculine” or “manly” because of it. The fact is, some men are gentle, and that is a wonderful part of who they are; some women are quite independent, and that is a wonderful part of who they are; and vice versa, and so on. May we treat each other as we are, as individual human beings, not as what we can easily (and often mistakenly) categorize. I imagine that treating each other as we are will make our interactions much more beautiful, much more interesting, and much truer, don’t you think?
February 12 Joy Dare: 3 Hard Eucharisteos
(By this Voskamp means: the hard things in life that are, just the same, gifts)
1. Deciding whether to walk away or try harder
2. Weeping with those who weep
3. Walking forward toward motivation despite feeling unmotivated