The charm of the gender binary #1: Personality and aptitudes

Versione in italiano qui.

I think by now everyone’s got that I’m a genderqueer, that is one who doesn’t fit into the two traditional categories of the binary gender: man or woman. My body is absolutely binary, and I’m not displeased with it, and in my real life (that is outside my identity of third-rate artist with a ridiculous name) I also use a binary pronoun. I don’t have a problem with my body, neither with the pronoun that society automatically attributes me; it’s simply that, as I write here, when people talk to me about “feeling like a man or a woman” and about having characteristics and perceiving one’s own place in the world on the basis on this for me phantom masculine or feminine identity, I really have no idea of what they’re talking about. I don’t feel like a man or a woman, I feel like myself, I don’t perceive this division between the two binary gender (to be honest also some cisgender persons don’t perceive the division between them), I think of myself first of all as of a person and I don’t have a feeling of belonging or of brotherhood or sisterhood for one of the two genders. Ergo, genderqueer.


But. I have to admit that the binary gender has its charm. Ah yes, even if I know well that it isn’t for me – those few times I tried to adhere to gender norms it came really to shit – I admit I’m fascinated by it. It’s a world incomprehensible to me, with its rules mostly not written: people know what they’re supposed to do according to their gender and they look programmed to follow their stereotype. I can only look bewitched at them and marvel. They function so well, with all their little orderly rules. It looks to me like the World Where Everything Is Easy, follow your role, accept your part, believe to be defined by your gender, behave consequently and just wait and see that everything will go just fine. And actually, it does look like these people know what they’re doing, and that they move in the world guided by these mysterious conventions which make most of the social interactions run smoothly. And I look admired at them, and with a pinch of envy, I’ll be honest, because it really looks all so easy. So, I’ve decided to write a series of posts to describe exactly what of the binary world fascinates me so much.


The binary world, where everything is straight and fine. Apart from that train over there.

(Before someone gets steamed up, this series of post, as I hope you’ve already understood, is highly ironic and humorous and it refers to the feminine and masculine stereotypes which are worst in my opinion. Everything is highly stereotyped. I have dear cisgender friends, and the fact that I’m a genderqueer rarely complicates things; sometime we maybe have no idea of what the other is talking about but hey, this happens to all the categories of people. Shit, I’ve even had cisgender partners, and we’ve had very positive relationships. Shit, also cisgender people don’t necessarily fit into the traditional binary genders. So don’t worry, I don’t hate you.)

1. Personality and aptitudes

If one is binary, it seems like some traits of its personality and aptitudes are well defined and rigidly established. Women are sweet. Men are determined. Women are good at building relationships. Men are good at dealing with jobs in which rationality and cool-headedness are required. Women love to talk. Men are of action. Women like to take care of children. Men like motors. And so on.
And voilà, you have a gender (rigidly determined by your sexual organs, don’t forget) and in a second you have already organized half of your personality and of your life, maybe even three quarters sometimes. It looks very comfortable to me. Why racking your head off about what you’d wish to do the most and what you want to concentrate your efforts on when somebody has already thought about it for you? Don’t ya worry too much and take what the “nature of your gender” has devised for you, right? Take me, for example, who am the classic fucking apology of a culture vulture who wants to do more or less everything and maybe something more, since he’s at it; who’s never sated with knowledge, who would like to learn practically anything (not that he has any hope to make it, to be clear): if I complied with what my genitals prescribe I’d already have everything nice and sorted. No existential dilemmas about the path to choose, my path would already lie there in front of me, tidy, clear. All the objectives of my life already decided: a successful career if a man, a quiet life and preferably with children if a woman. Relax and make yourself comfortable, society tells you what you have to do. Comfortable and straight path, but also a tad boring, eh. A little like a golden cage, very comfortable, with all one could desire, where you are served and revered, without ever needing to make an effort, everything ready already, sparkling and pleasant. But in the golden cage you can read only ten books. Only those, for your whole life, and nothing else. That’s the quantity of knowledge and mental wandering which is allowed, end of the story. Take or leave it.
And there’s also another problem: when you get out of the binary gender (or maybe when you’re born there, outside of it? I was born outside), when you pull off into the all gnarled and tortuous road that you can’t really understand where it leads, all the rest becomes a big mess. All the orderly society, with its little rules, with people knowing what to do: a big mess. One cannot understand a thing, you don’t understand them and they don’t understand you. Eh, whatever, things that happen. Not a big drama, usually, even if some not very pleasant conversations can occur, like “NOOO YOU ABSOLUTELY HAVE TO BE LIKE US YOU TOO!”. No, thanks a lot for the offer, but no.
Even if, even if, I’m fascinated. I envy the confidence of those people, their certainty of being in the right place and of doing the right thing for their lives. I’m enchanted by the women who know they must have children and are happy of it as women, and by the men who know that children, despite being surely also theirs, aren’t stuff they need to care about, ’cause that is women’s stuff. I envy the men convinced that their role is that of working their way up and of killing themselves of work, and those women who know their femininity makes them more apt to spend a greater quantity of time at home, maybe doing the housework or taking care of the above-mentioned sprogs. Everything already decided. Easy, practical, good.
Or maybe not.


I’m having a good time on my messed up path, thanks a lot. So… I think I’ll got that way. No, wait.


2 thoughts on “The charm of the gender binary #1: Personality and aptitudes

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