Thursday, 17 July 2014

New Hair Same Human

New Hair! :)

Yesterday was the first time in a long time I got mistaken for a boy. It offended me and I wasn't really sure why. I tried not to think about it, but that didn't work. It'll stay with me for a long time, those moments always do.

I remember so many times as a kid growing up. I used to wear clothes from the "boys'" section. I just went with what I felt suited me best. The green khaki trousers seemed more practical to a tree-climbing fanatic than the little flimsy lightly-coloured skirt with the butterflies on it. I preferred the rough styling of boys' clothes, the loose edges, the "these clothes are ready for action" kind of feel. So I went with it. Sides of a store didn't really mean anything to me back then.

Of course other kids were mean. Kids are always mean. You can only believe that your sex doesn't define you for so long, before the "dykes" and "mans" and just simple "disgustings" get to you and make you feel like shit in your own skin. I felt uncomfortable being me because I was comfortable being me. I knew who I was but other people just didn't get it. So yeah, I buckled. I did the whole conforming thing. People stopped calling me a boy. For a little bit.

When I wanted to cut all my hair off, my parents wouldn't let me. I was 13 years old and I wanted a sloppy mop like the kids in the boybands. I liked the style and the practicality of short hair and I didn't really understand why it shouldn't be for me. My parents thought I would get mistaken for a boy and they were right. After hours, days, weeks of crying, moaning and speaking about how insecure I felt, I was finally allowed to chop off most my hair. I loved it. Other people liked it... not so much.

It was easier back then to be mistaken for a boy. Voices hadn't broken yet, and nobody was particularly tall. My very, very minimal height and high tone are a bit of a giveaway now. Back then I always had to correct people. I wondered why I would get upset. I felt as if I shouldn't.

Here's the thing, being referred to as "male" is not insulting. There is nothing wrong with, or offensive, about being male. I wasn't offended because I felt like I was being labelled as something negative. What was insulting was that I had to explain myself to people simply for being who I was. I've never felt a need to conform to femininity because of my biological sex; female. I've never felt a need to adopt masculinity either. I was just being who I was. I still am. My hair is not what defines me. I either conform to society or chose who I am. Both ways are difficult.

A little boy told his friends that he thought my hair was cool yesterday. I'd just had it cut. He said,
"That boy's hair is really cool."
And it made me sad. Because I know if my hair had been longer I would have been that girl. And if this is what our kids see, then this is what our future looks like. It's not my hair that needs to change. It's society.

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