sixteen: fluid

i cursed out loud when i read this word.

i mean, come ON.

but then, i heard my daughter playing on the floor with some of her toys, and she said something like, well, he or she or maybe they, we don’t know how they identify…and then went on with her sentence, and i thought about how her world, at nearly nine years old, easily encompasses and accepts the the notion that you can be gender fluid. how amazing is that?

i actually love the word fluid in this context, because i think it’s perfect for what it’s attempting to define. fluids defy a singular, specific form; they take the shape of the container in which they sit. but they also flow, can break through dams and riverbanks, carving their own paths into the topography. why are there such rigid constructs for gender? i mean, really, why are there? and do we need the idea of gender anymore, really? does anyone truly believe that the world is propped up by people who are singularly male or female? why are we so obsessed with dichotomies, with binaries?

i even started wondering if we aren’t all gender fluid, particularly if we’re feminists, particularly if we reject the confines of what it means to be male or female. but there’s something else that’s just beyond my grasp, just flickering in the periphery of my brain as it tries to expand further…something i can’t quite reach…though i can hear the creaking, lol.

hold on, i think it’s this: that the idea of gender fluidity troubles me slightly, only because it seems to affirm that there are core male and female attributes to begin with, and that they are discrete, separate identities, between which one moves. and i think i disagree with the very tenet that there are things that solely belong to maleness and other things that solely belong to femaleness. (that said, it is entirely possible that i am misunderstanding and misreading the idea of gender fluidity as it evolved…and also, there is that small fact that we need to define new ideas in terms of existing ones so people have some frame of reference with which to understand it all.)

but what i want to know, i guess, is whether gender fluidity should defined in terms of moving between two pre-existing (and inherently problematic) constructs….or should it be that who we are is in perpetual flux? like, at some point in the future, will there be textbooks about how long ago, in the olden days, there used to be these crazy ideas about made people male and what made them female but now we know that that was wrong and weird? that we can all be anything we want without having to separate and categorize?

i don’t know. i’m confusing even myself. i gotta go to bed. but thanks for letting me geek out, word-of-the-day.

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