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Living life with gender norms.

by Bea
(Newfoundland, Canada)

Even as a young child I always hated gender normalities. I was the little girl that believed anyone could play with Barbies as long as you had a good enough imagination to follow through with a crazy elaborate story line, and went to school with my long hair frizzy and pulled back into that tight of a pony tail it could be used as Botox for an 80 year old, in billabong board shorts, ripped converse and my dads huge pink Floyd t-shirt, reading Iron Man comics.

Needless to say, I wasn't very "girly" by any means. I can remember going to any type of function and sitting comfortably the way I wanted to, so I definitely wasn't sitting up straight one knee over the other and my hands gently on my knees, then to be given remarks such as, "sit like a lady" or "act like a lady", and I was told to believe at a very young age that because I had a vagina meant I had to do things differently from the way I was doing them. I think the masculinity I always felt was only a partial reason; I remember telling my mom at 6 or 7 years old that I should have been born a boy; but it was also because of the way society made me shame myself for being a girl. Why do I have to sit this way? I don't want to. Why do I have to dress this way? I don't want to. Why do I have to play with these toys this certain way? I don't want to. So I began to not want to be a girl.

I remember telling my mom point blank I should have been born a boy, but as I kept getting older I just grew accustomed to suppressing my more masculine personality traits. Throughout high school I wouldn't admit to knowing more about Harry Potter than I did the periodic table, I didn't dare admit I knew some elvish and orkish because I was a huge LOTR fan, or that I could list off issues that Harley Quinn made appearances in, didn't even think about telling people my favourite singer was Stevie Nicks or that I too, liked females.

Instead I lived the life that society so badly wanted me thrust into. Therefore, I only knew how many characters it took to make a good tweet, what emojis I should put with a particular text to make it more eye appealing, I knew how much anything from TNA was, and made sure to take the little metal logo off my 60$ 5 cm big purse and wear it around my neck even though it looked like a penis. I knew how much a 26er of vodka would come to taxes in and yet I had to get someone else to buy it for me, and tell people my favourite band was MGMT or The Maine, definitely not Fleetwood Mac, who are they? And I'm definitely straight don't even ask me twice. I hid who I was because that's what society told me I had to do for years.

It wasn't until I was in the summer before grade 12, I discovered Ms Ruby Rose as Australia's version of a MUCH VG, and I started doing more and more research on her to find, I'm not the only girl in the world who had felt this way. As I was doing this research I came across a word Ruby had used to describe herself as: Androgynous. "Androgyny is the combination of masculine and feminine characteristics. Gender ambiguity may be found in fashion, gender identity, sexual identity, or sexual lifestyle. It can also refer to one's singing or speaking voice". In other words, she had finally given me a word to describe how I have felt my entire life, which is that I shouldn't HAVE to be sorted into one particular group because of the genitalia between my legs. So I went out and impulsively cut off all my hair, which then opened the door for people to say "you got a boy haircut" to which I would respond, "no, I just got cut my hair".

Over the last few years I feel like I am finally who I am supposed to be. I can have my short hair, sometimes even completely bald (coming again soon) and wear cargo short, a muscle shirt and feel masculine that day, or wake up put in my extensions, or not, put on some makeup, and something really feminine and feel great that day too. Because I should not be limited to which version of myself I'm allowed to be. I'm so happy to admit to myself who I truly am, how to truly be that person and society will never be able to take that away.

I'm not gay, I'm not straight, not bi, transgender, not feminine nor masculine, not even androgynous, I am me. I am Bea.

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