Something I have always railed about on this blog is the notion of femininity, conformity, consumerism, and how they all fit together. How you can’t have one without the other.
It’s complex. For so long, women have only had the power that a graceful build, a made-up face and thick, styled hair could give them. The more you strove to achieve physical perfection, the better marriage options you could get, the more money and power you could have, albeit indirectly through your husband.
The few people I have discussed this with in real life have seemed affronted, taken aback by my firm belief that femininity isn’t really power, just a means to achieve indirect power, perhaps. For me, it is true; a view created and colored by the fact I was born with an unflattering build: wide shoulders and hips, broad, flat cheeks lending to a round yet butch face, and thin, worthless hair. For me, femininity isn’t a source of power but a source of mockery. How many people have tried to convince me I looked beautiful dressed up, while they covered their grins with their hand?
I am stuck in the system, a misfit part. I know what I should do. I should quietly acquiesce; grow my straggly hair back out, buy my way into acceptance with mascara and foundation, and just do what is meant for me. Place myself under the limits of femininity just as so many women before me have. But just as before, when I still strove to be accepted, my true nature will shine out and I will see people hiding their laughter as I cosplay as a woman.
It’s destined to be lonely, because deviation from the norm is seen as an indicator you will harm others. Yet loneliness is also guaranteed striving to match the ideal, and I have no inclination to be Sisyphus, eternally pushing a rock up a mountain.
I will always seem dangerous and weird to others. I will be lonely. But I won’t live what is, for me, a lie. I use the time I would have spent adjusting my appearance to gain power the only way I have available- my mind.
It’s been working out for me so far, financially and somewhat romantically. In terms of generic human connection? As you get older, not conforming becomes a disaster- people no longer assume the best of you. Maybe no one will ever get over the fact I don’t conform, and perhaps my husband will always be my only connection to “normal” people.
It’s okay. The zen of unconditional kindness to others will carry me; I simply need to practice it. I can’t change others, I can’t change the way the world works. I can only change how I react to it.