(For this article I will mainly be focusing on cis-gender expectations, this does not mean that if you identify as trans or non-binary you are invalid – you’re fucking awesome.)
From a young age, I was conditioned to believe that womxn have certain expectations to uphold when it comes to every part of their lives, however minuscule. Young girls shouldn’t scratch their crotch, but boys can. Girls should cross their legs to require as little room as possible, yet boys can dominate the space and take up as much room as they please. “Boys will be boys” yet girls need to do everything in their power to fulfill the patriarchy’s expectations.
Even now, as a non-binary person, I find many people expect so much from me. And that’s why I say ‘fuck it’ and do what makes me happy (without oppressing others). I’ve learnt to become much more open about everything in my life from my sexual experiences to my gender. I’ve learnt to not make myself smaller just to make others who are stuck in the kyriarchy’s way, happier. This does create a lot of tension between me and some family members especially because I often find I either call them out (leading to an argument because they are from a different generation & I’m from a cis-white middle class family so they haven’t experienced much oppression) or I have to be silent which I personally find really disgusting because it goes against everything I stand for. So now I’ve decided that uncomfortable arguments are much better in the long run than a lifetime of racist, ableist, xenophobic and other oppressive comments that I won’t personally endure. I’m not friends with anyone anymore who is racist, sexist, transphobic etc. as I took it upon myself that I’d rather be alone than friends with oppressive people who didn’t want to learn. But now I have amazing friendships with so many awesome people, the best being ASC, my safe-haven.
I was first inspired to write this blog post from posting this photo on instagram (it is a picture of me with my eyes closed laying down in a white crop top and one arm up):
It inspired this blog post because I was thinking “do I say my bra size” “do I say about my boobs jumping around” and now I’m like hell yeah?! Why shouldn’t I say the truth of my experience, if people feel uncomfortable it’s their problem, not mine. For so long I’ve been ashamed to speak about my natural body, about the gritty and raw truth of my life. Now I love speaking the raw truth, none of this bullshit of having to be silenced again! This is why when at work (I work in a pub) when I hear some male colleagues talking of their sexual experiences, I join in with mine. I have an attitude about me now whenever I talk about my sex life to anyone and say how I’ve slept with over 10 people in the last year since my sexual debut (I hate saying “losing my virginity’ like wtf, I’ve gained something here you know? It all links back to the patriarchal idea that ‘womxn’ should be ‘pure’ and that we’ve ‘lost’ some kind of value.) Anyway, I have an attitude of no-shame, I am not ashamed of how many people I have slept with and how many more people I will continue to sleep with because as long as I get check-ups and stay safe all is well! I will continue to be open about my life, my sexual experiences, my bra size, whatever! Because it’s important these discussions need to become normalised so more non-binary people and womxn don’t feel ashamed too. However, it is also important to remember that not everyone is empowered by openness. Some may choose to keep some information private and that is completely valid, no one is less of a non-binary person or womxn if they choose to shave, wear a bra and not talk about their sex life.
So my solidarity is to those who are open, those who want to be but feel too scared, and those who choose to not be open. You are all inspiring, amazing, and together we will smash the kyriarchy!