Today in class we were talking about gender performance. And somehow I started talking about dead birds. Anyway. It made sense at the time. In my head.
As I was driving home I started thinking about the implications of gender performance, and how in reality we all do it. You might not realize you are doing it, but if you are anything like me, you are.
I have often been called “feminine,” and I am. But it is also a conscious effort on my part. Yes, I am girly by nature, but I don’t always feel that way. Sometimes I wake up in the morning and am just not feeling it. It is not that I am feeling masculine, or manly, or whatever you want to call it. But I just don’t feel like exuding femininity. So I get up and hit myself upside the head with the glitter wand. It is a role I have assumed, and the show must go on. It is what people see, and how they perceive me. Anything else would just be too confusing.
This role is not multifaceted, or multidimensional. Outside of the few people close to me no one ever sees past the pretty dresses, make up, jewelry and shoes. But that just makes it all the more easy. All I have to do is put on the costume and no one questions anything else. I have successfully fit the image they are expecting. And as for everything else, they just fill in the gaps. It all works on assumption.
So yes, I perform gender. I have found a particular part of the feminine gender that I like, and perform it daily. Granted not everyone performs the same parts, but everyone finds the parts they think fit them, and then reify these aspects.
And it works. You can create yourself though others’ perceptions and they perceive what they want to see. Lots of people could tell you what I wore on Tuesday. But none of them could tell you a thing about me.