Surrendering Gender: A Poem
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Politics and Activism

Surrendering Gender: A Poem

The Gender Tag: How do you "do" Gender?

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Surrendering Gender: A Poem

The Gender Tag Project began as a YouTube tag and creative way to start a conversation about people's experiences with gender identity and what that means to them. This tag was created by Ashley Wylde and consists of 10 questions that allow people to explore how they "do" gender.

1. How do you self-identify your gender, and what does that definition mean to you?
2. What pronouns honor you?
3. Describe the style of clothing that you most often wear.
4. Talk about your choices with body hair. How do you style your hair? Do you have facial hair? What do you choose to shave, or choose not to shave?
5. Talk about cosmetics. Do you choose to wear makeup? Do you paint your nails? What types of soaps and perfumes do you use if any?
6. Have you experienced being misgendered? If so, how often?
7. Do you experience dysphoria? How does that affect you?
8. Talk about children. Are you interested in having children? Would you want to carry a child if that were an option for you? Do you want to be the primary caretaker for any children you may have?
9. Talk about money. Is it important to you to provide for a family financially if you choose to have one? Is it important to you that you earn more than any partner you may have? Do you prefer to pay for things like dates? Are you uncomfortable when others pay for you or offer to pay for you?
10. Anything else you want to share about your experience with gender?

Especially in the current political and social climate, this tag is an important and innovative way to facilitate dialogue that helps unpack masculinity, femininity and gender construct. By sharing our experiences with gender, we can better understand one another and work towards a society that is more educated, accepting and open minded about the differences between sex, gender and sexuality.

I was introduced to the gender tag as a final project for my ethnic studies class. The following is my gender tag poem. I also tag you to participate in the gender tag.


Surrendering Gender

You and I were born with a blank slate

Not knowing that gender construct would be our fate

Our sex associated with a social binary

But growing up so many people felt the contrary

Some end up feeling alone against the gender labels and roles they could not fit

So lost against it all, suicide they may commit

So a fight lives on to educate people on sex, gender and sexuality

People seeking empathy, rights and some humanity

When gender becomes marketable

Capitalism feeds off it since it is profitable

Male yogurt and male light beer

But limited opportunities for those who identify as queer

Eye shadow pallets and pink pens for a girl

Sometimes the whole thing makes me want to hurl

Yet I am an active participant

With acrylic nails, filled in brows and a rosy scent

I “do” gender my every waking moment in a system that favors patriarchy

Being a girl is exhausting and I’m sick of the hierarchy

A legacy of being told to stay in your gender lane

If you’re outside the box, hide your discomfort and pain

This is my gender tag

And my education to unpack the term took quite a lag

I wish I knew gender dynamics earlier

Maybe I wouldn’t have grown out my hair, let it be shorter and curlier

Or remained interested in academics and sports in middle school

Instead of wonder if the boys think I’m pretty and cool

Or understood gender relations to power structure and reinforcing the status quo

On the days I felt too “tom-boy” maybe I wouldn’t have felt so low

Although I have been conditioned to be called she or her

It, they and gender-neutral terms are more than welcome

I identify this way because I am a product of my surrounding

Harder to unlearn what has been so binding

Although I’ve never been misgendered

In question is my sexuality

Because despite some femininity, some claim I have a “masculine” personality

My friends say perhaps I intimate guys because I’m so outspoken

Am I supposed to silence my voice so I can be a token?

But they reassure me one day a “real man” will handle me

Or perhaps some hippie who doesn’t see stereotypically

Some days I feel like “boyish” since I forget to shave and wear baggy shirts

But other days I’m “girly” with my hair, makeup, and short skirts

But mostly I just feel like a human being

Escaping all these binaries would be so freeing

Yet, on the days I dress to impress, I ponder if it’s really for me

Or for how I want society to perceive me. I ask myself will I ever just be?

Today I love my body

But is it because “thick” is trendy to somebody

When I sit in pain as I laser my underarms

I wonder how can I call myself a feminist if I contribute to many gender construct harms

After I got my nose job, I spent an entire day to sob

I felt defeated because I surgically tweaked my image to try and feel completed

When I canceled my next surgery for tubular breast reconstruction

I felt empowered by finally not giving into “female beauty” construction

But I still struggle with body dysphoria, anxiety and dissociation

Even after I learned about socialized expectations and received a college education

I am a walking paradox of contradicting feelings, opinions, behaviors and actions

Still figuring it all out but what’s so fascinating to me are other peoples reactions

I have been told how to think, act and behave through my environment

But the more I continue my education, I feel enlightenment

I want to challenge how we are programed to view gender norms

And work towards social reforms

Where we are open, honest and understanding

And continually advocate and share experiences that are mind-expanding

We will advocate and demand a safe space

I look forward to a day that because of gender identify you cannot be denied from a workplace

I do not want to continually worry about being underpaid as a woman in business

Or not wanting a baby is a mental sickness

Or that when I want to pay on a date

It is not a fake front or cute trait

I care about money, and want to join the breadwinners

And think women who choose to be seductive don’t need to be deemed sinners

I am hopeful about a future where all people hop on the bandwagon of open mindedness towards gender roles and identity

Where a disconnect to the “normative” would not mark your level of sanity

I am hopeful and I am a millennial

The key to progress is education and unpacking ignorance much earlier

The gender tag has been different for everybody

But we all relate to somebody

So as I am concluding the end of this poem, rant or mini rap

I want you to ask yourself, how did I become stuck in the gender trap?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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