Archive for July, 2009

Expressing Feminity

Posted in about me, femininity, life on 07.11.09 by Maalik

Every few weeks I go with my mom to get a pedicure. I welcome the experience, sometimes allowing the pedicurist to apply nail polish. Now I can go without needing to bind– I love it.

A year ago, six months ago even, this could not have happened. I hated to even go inside a nail salon for fear of being mistaken for a girl. Society is so gendered– to be seen near a salon caused others to question your masculinity, to get services from that salon made you a chick. And it was far more complicated for me; if I looked like a girl and acted like a girl, how could I be a man?

I went. Partially to spend time with my mom, partially to see what it was about, but mainly because I wanted a pedicure. I knew I would probably be called “ma’am,” but I didn’t care. It wouldn’t kill me. I’ve gotten “she” while playing football with a bunch of guys. The world didn’t care about the “gender” of an activity if the sex of the doer was known.

I went. I was called “daughter” and “she” and “ma’am” on multiple occasions. I lived, but I was never going back. When I was mistaken for a girl on the football field, it didn’t bother me. I did my part– I was performing a “guy’s” task and the speaker was the one who erred. But sitting in a nail salon? I screwed up. I didn’t keep my end of the deal.

I started thinking about it. The same “deal” that dictated that boys not go to the nail salon required boys to have penises. I certainly disregarded the second part, so why did I care so strongly about the first? Just as my mind made me a guy, my gender made my actions “male.” I was a guy playing football just as I was a guy getting a pedicure; the infrequency of the latter didn’t make it impossible. Plus my feet felt good– I went back.