Fundamentalists are Boring & Heteronormativity and Gender Roles Suck – A Mission Statement

I thoroughly believe that once you become too serious about something, you become too boring to listen to. I know that sounds incendiary, but once you get to the point where you can’t laugh at yourself, even a little bit, you become stodgy and stuck up and simply too stuck in your ways for anyone to want to listen to.

Its like the crazy people with the GOD HATES EVERYONE (ESPECIALLY YOU) signs. They take that pseudo-church bullshit way too seriously (I say pseudo-church bullshit because while I grew up Hindu-Christian, we read the gospels. Jesus said love thy neighbor, not burn a cross on his lawn. Thus these people aren’t following Christ, they are following hatred and bigotry and most of their rules are from the Old Testament, which isn’t even their book [Lewis Black]. I have never seen a Jew with a sign saying “All Fags to burn in hell”. If you have, let me know. However, these crazy sign people seem to be interpreting the Old Testament in ways that the original readers don’t. Seems fishy. This is an argument for another time, but still, I hardly think their all loving God condones hatred of his other children)
So back to the crazy people. No one bothers to listen to them, at least no one I know. The only people I know who bother with the crazy people are members of Anonymous and hot gay couples who like to get photos making out next to the crazy people signs. You don’t actually listen to these people. I have yet to hear of one case where someone found ‘religious enlightenment’ from a crazy person with a sign denouncing humanities ‘sins’.
“Omg You are So RIGHT! I have been wasting my life in secular SIN! I have seen the light. I must dedicate my life to a more noble pursuit; yelling at people who have REAL jobs on the corners of intersections with signs that spew hatred! YOU ARE SO RIGHT!!!”
Said No One Ever.

I think this tenet is true pretty much everywhere. I’m not saying you have to go make huge jokes about your passions, (obviously in some cases this would probably be vastly uncomfortable) but having a little perspective and the ability to poke a little fun at yourself allows you to be relatable. People who become too serious are very boring at parties. All they talk about is THAT ONE THING, they get really offended when someone pokes fun or GASP isn’t interested.

I fully admit to being a Californian pseudo Hippy from a bizarre religious background. But I have the perspective to realize that my desire to dance in the moonlight on the 21st of December in the bitter cold while surrounded by candles……sounds like complete and utter bullshit to a lot of people. I get that, and I’m not even offended. Sometimes when my toes are freezing and I’m already wearing three pairs of socks I wonder why I couldn’t just choose a nice indoor religious practice. Like being a nun. However, I realize that my taste in ceremony isn’t for everyone. (Although I must admit that I have a weird fascination with the Eucharist. You’re eating HOLY BISCUITS! It’s like a little bit of the divine gets taken inside you all week.) Perhaps my attitude comes from my bizarre upbringing. Perhaps it comes from the fact that early on I was taught that all religions are equal. (The followers on the other hand…. Well that’s an individual gamble now isn’t it?)
But have you noticed that once someone becomes too fundamentalist, no one except other fundamentalists will listen to them? Other fundamentalists and people searching for an identity really. Oh, and Fox News. But no one of a different perspective will sit down with a crazy fundamentalist for any cause and be open to considering their ideas in a sane and rational light. When I run into a crazy fundamentalist, all I’m thinking is ‘How do I get out of this situation,” I am not thinking “Oh you have an interesting point, maybe I should consider your ideas.” I am looking for an exit strategy.

So I’m not just mouthing off on crazy religious people today. I actually penned this article for another reason.

I’m worried I’m in danger of becoming boringly fundamental about the annoyances of heteronormativity. Its just so pervasive and annoying and closed minded, it drives me nuts. Anything that has any variation of “Omg Men and Women are lyk different!!!” makes me want to stab the speaker in the legs with knitting needles til they look like swiss cheese. And I wonder if I’m getting boring. There are a lot of important issues out there and we need non-boring people to champion them. People who can take the time to be able to make their issue approachable and not-crazy. People who have perspective and lives and are able to make issues relatable. I worry that I might fall past that into the ‘crazy ranting lady on a street corner’ category.

Heteronormativity and Gender is my issue at the moment. Gender roles bother me on a deep and profound level. George Carlin had a riff about how ethnicity is an accident of birth. It is not something you control. You can’t help what ethnicity you are born or what skin color you have. You have absolutely no control over who donated to your genetic makeup. Gender, to me, is the same way. Gender roles are really just the equivalent of racial stereotypes. “You’re a girl so you should cook” is really just as demeaning as “You’re black so you like fried chicken.” (Hint: You know who else likes fried chicken? EVERYBODY -Fabrice Fabrice)

But I worry that I’m becoming unrelatable. Because the entire social construction of Gender is utterly pointless to me. In fact I tend to find it rather insulting. I am NOT saying that women who like pink and shoes and Barbies and cooking aren’t valid in their expression of self. Nor are men who like Cars and Sports and Beer. Nor are women who like Cars and Sports and Beer or Men who like pink and shoes and Barbies and cooking. Or any combination of any preferences.
There is nothing wrong with liking what you like. But to me the whole system breaks down when you realize just how constructed gender roles are.

I’ve gotten the argument that “Well boys and girls play differently! They mature at different rates.” Its bullshit. Sorry folks. Its a bullshit argument. EVERYONE plays different and matures at different rates. You early and late bloomers know what I’m talking about. Sure, what’s happening to the boys is similar in a broad sense but the timing isn’t uniform, nor is the expression of the changes. Some people are inundated with hormones and try to get some, some pine awkwardly for years after some first love, and some decide to blow apart their school with weapons from their grandfathers arsenal. Three very different reactions to puberty.

And about children playing differently at young ages – Are you really so naive as to believe that children aren’t inundated with Gender Roles from the moment they open their eyes? Blue blanket, Pink Blanket. Think about it. The minute someone finds out the gender of your baby its suddenly GENDERED EVERYTHING!!! “All I know is that when my daughter was young, she was all about pink.” Right, and she grew up in a gender neutral bubble at the same time. It had nothing to do with the fact that in all likelihood, in particular due to the trends in baby garments and toys over the past twenty years, everything bought for a little girl the age of your daughter would have probably contained some trace of pastel ‘girly’ colors and an overabundance of PINK!!!!
I played with trains and dinosaurs and Legos as a child. (And dolls. I like to BUILD them houses mostly and have elaborate soap opera sex orgy stories about them. I was probably a very special child). My cousin played with GI Joe and Barbie dolls with his friends. (Barbie was Joe’s hot girlfriend between battles sadly. Should get some Camo Barbie in there). You can say that ‘Boys like cars and videogames’ but a lot of people like cars and videogames. And how do you know that that boy wasn’t castigated by some other child or adult for even TOUCHING a Barbie doll. If he grew up in a standard Heteronormative household, its likely he never saw one except on TV or in his sisters bedroom. When my brother was 5 he got an American Girl Doll for Christmas because he wanted one. He got to pick her out and everything. My white hetero videogame loving little brother chose an African American girl doll for Christmas and we made them skis and a ski run in his bedroom. Then we built a K’Nex Roller coaster and played Native American’s in the wilderness with PlayMobil figurines.

Like I said, I am not castigating anyone who likes the preferences attributed to their chosen Gender. I happen to like Pink myself. The very dark almost red fuscia pink. Extremely saturated. I am also very fond of noxious Blue Raspberry Cerulean Blue and that bizarre Yellow/Green ‘kiwi’ color that looks nothing like kiwis and more like a fake poison. Just think about a bag of Tropical skittles and you’ve got my colors down pretty pat.

But, God its so bloody mindless! This acceptance of the ‘norm’, this acceptance of MAN MADE CONSTRUCTED PERSONALITIES that we are meant to pull on from birth like some kind of outdated ill-fitting chastity sack. Don’t go thinking outside the bag children, that’s a sin!

We shouldn’t throw away our identities but we should at least analyze it for a moment. At the very least be aware that society is trying to brainwash us into assuming roles that may or may not be in our best interests. I don’t honestly care how people identify or present themselves, I just want us all to have informed decisions. A decision based on who we are and not who society tells us we should be.
The problem is that I think I sound preachy. I think I sound like some high minded fundie who thinks they have the whole thing worked out. And I don’t. I know I don’t. I just don’t want other people who are stuck in my position, feeling kind of awkward and alone and confused, to believe they have to bow down to societies dictates over their sense of self.

So there’s my rant. I’m curious to see if I get any flak for it. Although I suppose, in this business… if someone doesn’t disapprove, you aren’t doing your job right.

Single Ann

I hate the word single.

Actually I amend that. I don’t hate the word, I hate the connotation.

sin·gle/ˈsiNGgəl/
Adjective:
Only one; not one of several: “a single red rose”.
Noun:
An individual person or thing rather than part of a pair or a group.
Verb:
Choose someone or something from a group for special treatment.
Synonyms:
adjective. sole – unmarried – only – lone – individual – solitary
verb. select – choose – cull – pick out – separate
More info »Dictionary.com – Answers.com – Merriam-Webster – The Free Dictionary

See the Synonyms? Sole, Unmarried, Only, Lone, Individual, Solitary. While not negative in and of themselves, there’s this idea of loneliness attached to them that I don’t agree with. Society also reinforces this idea, “You don’t want to die alone do you?”

I hate the idea that fulfillment doesn’t start until you fall in love. That being alone is a default state, not a choice. That being single is something to pity, something to be sad about. That you cannot be complete without another person.

I am recently re-singled, out of a relationship that only lasted four months, for various reasons. All I really wanted was someone to have fun with, nothing serious, a friend would be fine. I think the problem was that I felt that I was expected to “get back into the dating scene”. It had been four years since my last relationship, so I was single for what society apparently considers to be a “looong time”, aka 4.6 years without sex. “How do you survive?”
I’ll admit that there were times when I wanted to date, but before my last relationship I had gotten to the point where I was happy being single. However, I had this expectation or precept that my life wouldn’t be complete until I was in a romantic relationship.

Which is what this comes down to.
This expectation, where does it come from? Why do I have it?
I have no problem with romance and I love to read romantic fanfiction, however why was I under the misconception that I have to have a relationship to be happy, to feel complete, to be successful? To just be? And not just a relationship, but a sexual/romantic exclusive monogamous end-all-be-all relationship. I have been in love, madly in love. Four years ago I was head over bloody heels and crazy in love. The kind where I felt like my chest had been hollowed out and left bleeding when it ended. So its not from ignorance of that passion that I have these thoughts, its not lack of experience either. I’m also not ‘broken’ from that relationship, I’m not ’emotionally damaged’ and scared of love or any of that rot. I’ve moved on and have found my own happiness, so why am I still buying into this idea of monogamous coupledom as the penultimate experience of human happiness?
Why is an avid fantasy life seen as a weakness and an escapist way to get away from reality and not just an element to an exciting imaginative life? Why am I seen as not having passion unless its for someone else?

I hate all these internal thoughts that I didn’t authorize to be there. Its this social brainwashing that we all receive. The story that is told to us everyday from childhood. What is acceptable, what is not acceptable, what it means to be a woman in our culture, what it means to be a man. “Men don’t cry,” “Sluts wear tight clothing,” “You must get married,” and any and all range of stereotypes and ideals that we hold as a society, some are good, some are not. The strange idea that being part of a couple, just two people, is the perfect and ONLY way to be is another one of our societal stories. That true love and happiness can only be found between two people who are madly in love with each other.

I’m not that person. My friendships are more important than dating, perhaps its because I’ve had quite a few relationships (8 ‘official’ and many more dates and attempts) and after awhile I realized that friends will be there no matter what. Friendship has a longer shelf life and is much more stable. Friendship is something that is massively underrated in our society.

But now that I’m single again, I’ve realized that for me, its a choice. Its not a default. That right now, at this point in time. I don’t want a relationship. I don’t want to be swept away in a whirlwind romance. I don’t want to fit someone else into my life right now. I don’t want any dependency or expectation. I enjoy myself, I love being with myself and entertaining myself. I have no interest in a “serious” relationship.

However, trying not to let society tell me who to be and what I need….is kind of an ongoing battle.
Because I’m not built wrong, and I’m not abnormal, and I’m not deficient or sociopathic just because I don’t want what I’ve been told to want.
I’m not broken, so why does it feel like people keep trying to convince me that I am?