Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Stereotypes Day Two- Mel

“I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.”- Persuasion, Austen

Oh God, I think, I’ve turned into a woman. I am scrubbing a shoe in the sink, sleeves rolled to the elbow and humming Hollywood Undead; so if I am female, let it at least be said I am an amazing one.

And then of course, there’s the whole lesbian stereotype palaver. I am holding a checked flannel shirt lovingly and my girlfriend looks at me eyes narrowed. "You’re such a lesbian," she says completely seriously. Alas, there comes a time when every bisexual with short hair, a girlfriend and a love for hiking boots must ask herself if she has fallen into the butch lesbian trap.

I am in a constant battle with myself to be as feminine and as unfeminine as possible. Some days I wear clothes 3 sizes to big with ripped jeans and others I’ll wear tops so low cut it gives my dad a twitch in his eye. Then it gets even harder; being bisexual means I now fit about 50 different contradictory stereotypes, not just two X chromosomes versus a love for vagina.

I think it’s important for me to say at this point, that I do not go round worrying about these things all the time. Mostly my thoughts are occupied by my maths homework and doughnuts instead of the crushing weight of society’s expectation. This is not a pity party, I think stereotypes can be a practical way of assessing people we haven’t met on a very vague level.

Note how I said people we haven’t met. I do not mean we can judge people before we have met them. I just mean we can develop a vague understanding of a person based on their background and begin to work out what makes them tick. Stereotypes aren’t invented overnight by the evil profit hungry corporations that want to eat our souls; they develop over a long period of time and for a good reason. Of course, after we’ve met a person, the stereotype becomes less relevant. We can, and should form our own opinions without prejudice.

When I posted on facebook about my first driving lesson disasters and someone commented "it’s a gender thing," I was amused not annoyed. When I was drinking espresso in my French friends house I wasn’t thinking "oh god what a cliché." When I used to get blonde jokes I laughed along. Sterotypes are not only practical. They also are funny.

Now of course, I am messing with the natural balance of the universe here. Boo Mel, I hear you cry. Stereotypes are bad. They ruin our self esteem, they destroy our livelihoods and they corrupt our children. Oh, won’t someone please think of the children!

As such, my support for stereotypes comes with a grave warning. No stereotype is accurate. A stereotype cannot tell you who a person is, only they can do that. I am bisexual, it is a fair guess to say I might have some gender issues, and indeed I do.  It is not safe to say that I am a slut. Stereotypes formed of cultural identity are good, those formed out of misunderstanding or fear are not.

I’m Mel, one of the bloggers on Homo-Journal. I’ll be claiming Tuesdays as my territory (Wednesday through Monday are also mine but I lend those to my loyal followers in return for sexual favours). You’ll be hearing a lot more about my changeable opinions on bisexual life and maybe life in general if you stick around. Who knows maybe some of my awesomeness will rub off on you.

Todostrieb is awesome.

We are open to comments, suggestions....dare I say critiques. You can contact us at homojournal@gmail.com.

All my love,

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