Apparently, I’m a woman. I’m at odds with this most of the time, not because being a woman is a bad thing, but more because I hate gender roles and gender marketing. I also am put off when people see a good trait in me and attribute that to my sex. I got that at work the other week. I am extremely organized and two men I was in the conference room with drew attention to that fact. They looked at each other, and one said, “See, we needed a woman around here.” I don’t resent him for saying that, but I wish people in general would examine their logic when they say things like this.
I don’t mind having a period or dealing with little chest knobs. I’m not opposed to wearing a dress. I love the fact that I’m in the 50% that gets to experience carrying a child, giving birth, and breastfeeding. I’m okay with all that. In fact, I can’t wait. But for the most part, I am in denial that I’m a woman and don’t let that fact change how I interact with my world. I just go on with my way liking what I like and having the opinions I’m going to have, picking the friends I’m gonna pick, and just trying all around to not be a douchebag regardless of my gender.
In spite of my effort to see life through genderless goggles, a force out there that tells me I am to carry a purse. I hate carrying a purse. (Yet I do.) I don’t carry anything more than a man would, except for the occasional nail file, but I do not have the pockets to carry my things like men do. They wear looser pants and can get away with shoving everything they own into pockets. I do it when I can–grocery shopping and errands with no purse. Beyond the force that says I ought to carry a purse is the force that tells me I ought to choose it as a fashion item in addition to it’s function. No. Thanks. I really question the sanity of other females when they spend more than $30 on a purse. (I personally spend about five and am happy.) I can’t help but think how that money could be better spent. I have no interest, even as an artist, in the purse as functional design. I won’t even go into a purse store at the mall. It’s all marketing. And women go and buy the shit. I’m not loosing any sleep about what other women do with their purses. I just nearly resent that someone is marketing this shit straight to uteruses when they’re silly items that quickly go out of style anyway.
One of the most awkward items meant for women are pads with wings. If I never see one again… Yes, they’re made for a damn good purpose. It’s not good to go around bleeding on your world. But these things damn near make me hate my bleeding self. I haven’t used them since high school. They’re as foreign an object as putting a sled into my panties. It’s a sophisticated diaper. They even have them for thongs. Do you know that? You can actually put a nice bulge in your thongs, ladies. Some women really do need to use these things because of medical reasons or health concerns associated with the bleached cotton, but I feel sorry for them. They’re consigned to taping bulging items into their panties. Talk about awkward. Some African cultures would send the girl to the bushes to sit on a carved-out rock and drip into it for the duration of her menstrual cycle. I’m glad we’re beyond that. And yet we’re in pussy diapers. Hmm.
And then there are douches. Stupidest items ever. The vagina is a self-cleaning oven and doesn’t need to be cleansed by any outside chemicals or soaps. That actually causes infections. And yet gender marketing tells me I might smell and it might be dirty. No thanks. I question the thought process in the women that actually purchase these things. And yes, women buy them. Otherwise, those companies would be out of business! Vance Packard wrote a great book in 1957 called The Hidden Persuaders. In it, is my favorite chapter which focuses on marketing to eight hidden needs. A couple of them are emotional security and reassurance of worth. They’re marketing to our secret fears–fears we seriously need to put behind us. Unless you’re putting ketchup or poop up there, I can’t think of much that a sane woman would put in her vagina that would have to come out by using a douche.
I also dislike foundation makeup. Since re-entering the corporate world, I find myself smearing this shit on my face during my morning commute. I’ve been over it since I turned about seventeen and the novelty of actually being permitted by my parents to wear makeup wore off. I almost resent having to alter my natural appearance to be seen as respectable and professional in public. In my personal life, I have 100% stopped wearing makeup. I feel so much better now. I am what I am, and if someone doesn’t like it, then I can’t imagine why I’d be friends with someone with such strange criteria. I wouldn’t get fired if I didn’t wear makeup to work, and yet I do. I put it in the same boat as this: I don’t like to wear clothes, but I wouldn’t leave the house naked. No one is gonna arrest me for not wearing makeup, but I wear it at work because not wearing it is the equivalent of going in sloppy. But I resent that stupid bottle of foundation. I like my actual face and don’t like hiding it. I look better with makeup on, but it’s still not me.
Lipstick. My lips are naturally a certain color, and I don’t feel like painting an unnatural color onto them. It gets everywhere and feels pretentious. If you put it on, you have to worry about it smearing off. What a bother. I am addicted to chapstick and lip gloss, but it’s not for aesthetic purposes. I use it because I need it.
Most gender-specific products can go to hell. I avoid them when I can. I have no use for most of them. I’m honestly afraid of girly-women. Guys seem to like them. I’m not really intimidated, but unless they can see through what they are doing and buying, I fear them. If they are simple consumers, then they are other-worldly to me and I don’t speak their language. I just see right through it. The most genuine women use these products too. It’s not a bad thing. It’s a personal choice. I just can’t do it.
We don’t have to use our purchases to define us, and not all women or men do. We just need to be aware. Some of the products for women rightfully scare me, and I’m holding my ground on these specific ones. They can piss off.