So I consider myself (she/her/hers) to be entirely feminine without masculine traits or desires. I love dresses and skirts and chandelier earrings, polka dots, make-up, being a princess, etc. and so forth.
And then I took this quiz: Gender Coordinates Test
I was bewildered, because I was placed undeniably in the middle of androgynous-land. I am anything but androgynous in my gender performance and aesthetic and identity, so, what the actual fuck?
To be fair, during the test, based the questions, I knew the results would be a bit fucky. The questions weren’t “how do you feel about polka-dot rockabilly dresses?” and “do you frequently prance around in a tiara pants-less while singing Girls Just Wanna Have Fun?”. The questions were traits, like “are you helpful, confident, bold, consistent?” with the answer options ranging from 2 thumbs-down to 2 thumbs-up.
Well now gee, quiz… Am I likable? Do I care? What are you trying to insinuate about my gender with likability?
Is it …gasp… based on gender-roles??? Instead of gender traits and identity and performance??
So I’m thinking these things to myself, getting more and more frustrated as I continue to answer questions, too far in to stop now. And I get to the end, see myself in the yellow sea of androgyny, and scroll down to read the results. It gives you a percentage of masculinity and a percentage of femininity, and then does gender math. Who knows what ancient patriarchal evils are performed in gender math?
Growing up assigned with the role of female, you learn some shit real fast. Boys are allowed free reign to be wild and crazy and get dirty and do sports. Girls are mature and are kind and generous and helpful and … Well, and now the context for this quiz is super obvious.
So, I scroll down past the percentages and the “share this to social media in case you want your friends to remember that only men can be decisive!” to find the source material. This quiz wasn’t a silly personality test, it was a deliberate analysis of gender based on traditional western patriarchal gender roles. It is based on studies, and what would appear to be peer-reviewed articles. That said, it is very effective. I don’t fault the quiz for its nature. It is actually a very poignant reminder that the world is still fucked.
So, now I re-reflect on this new home I’ve discovered in gender-role androgyny – a vast desert of “fuck your rules, I am powerful and a woman, and you can deal with it” – at least for my particular case. Obviously being strongly masculine and feminine from a different starting point would have other reasons for being stranded in the desert of an-drought-gyny.
So, back to the title of this article: Gender Roles vs. Gender Identity. Gender roles are are a curse upon us all. Gender identity has what should be nothing to do with gender roles. Gender identity, for one, is not limited to the masculine and the feminine. People will try to tell you differently, but you can believe me when I say that the world will figure out soon enough that gender is a construct and the binary is not the end-all, be-all.
Final thoughts? Don’t let the world tell you who you are. The patriarchy hurts everyone. Gender is messy and fluid. Fuck the people who want to tell you how you should behave and what you should believe about yourself.
As for me? The gender role spectrum is about as useful* as a staple in your toe. I maintain my badass femme self while being powerful and logical and decisive, and not giving a damn how likable I am.
*a staple in your toe is actually kinda useful in that it is a powerful reminder of something that should be avoided. you know. like gender roles. for instance.