What makes a woman?

I have oft wondered about the meeting of feminism and transgenderism on the issue of femininity and the female appearance.

Feminism says a woman is not defined by her clothes, and she can wear-and not wear-what she chooses. A woman can eschew dresses, skirts, makeup and do things that society says boys should do and still be a woman.

For transgenders, it does not seem to be this simple.

Transgenderism says people are not defined by their biological parts-a woman born with a penis, and without a uterus and vagina, and with high levels of testosterone is still a woman. It does however seem that in the transgender community, the dress is what ultimately makes the woman.

When a person comes out as Trans, the accepted step of action is to start dressing like the gender they identify with. Transwomen grow out their hair, put on makeup and start wearing dresses and heels. Transmen do the opposite.

So when it is said that having a vagina does not make one a woman, I wonder: “so is it makeup and dresses that make one a woman?”

What would the reaction be if a biological man came out as a woman but also wanted to continue dressing like a man, because we have said that women don’t have to wear dresses to be women? Most likely: “what’s the point of transitioning only to continue acting like a man? Can a transgender woman be a tomboy in the way biological women can be? Can a Transwoman decide to eschew dresses and wear suits, or is wanting to wear dresses and makeup a fundamental part of being a Transwoman?

Is being a woman in a Trans context therefore mostly about adopting the social beauty standards ascribed to women? Not all biological women like makeup and being feminine, so can a Transwoman also not want to be feminine or is this a moot point as the whole point of being a Transwoman is to be feminine?

If a person was born male in the biological sense, but identifies as female in the social sense, then does social appearance take prominence in what makes a woman? Is it a mistake to attempt to reconcile biological and transgender women?

Just random thoughts that swirl around aimlessly in my head.

BORED

They turn their faces to look at me
I know what is coming-my heart beats fast in anticipation
Their mouths form the familiar words
and I hear the question before it leaves their tongue

“Do you have any plans for the weekend?”

How many times will they ask this questions before it dawns on them that the answer is always the same?

No. Nope. Nein. Na. Non. Rara. Nehin. Mba. Nyet. Naw. Não. Naheen. Iie. Ochi. 

How long before they realise I have no tribe to share my days with
How long before it dawns on them that I am just wasting away my youth
doing nothing, creating no memories?

Why must they torture me so?
Do they keep asking in the hopes that one day it will be different
or is this just the dreaded small talk for which there is no cure?

A chirpy smile appears on my face
I inhale and infuse some joy into my voice

“Oh nothing much. I’m just hanging out with my friends.”
“That’s nice.”
“Yeah I’m so tired. I just need to relax”
“Yeah it’s nice to just relax sometimes.”
“Yeah.”

Rinse and repeat.

No interest

“I had no interests. I had no interest in anything. I had no idea how I was going to escape. At least the others had some taste for life. They seemed to understand something that I didn’t understand. Maybe I was lacking. It was possible. I often felt inferior. I just wanted to get away from them. But there was no place to go.”

No CULTURE

What exactly is White Culture?

On more than one occasion I have heard someone remark/seen a tweet asking the question: Do white people even have a culture? As we are engaged in an eternal race war it was most likely not a harmless question but just another slingshot in the constant back and forth.

It is easy to think White culture does not exist, I as well have at one time or the other thought that.  What exactly is White culture?  Pakistanis have a culture, as do the Chinese, and Kenyans but do White people have anything that can be classified as culture? The crows says no, but I have pondered it and realised a few things.

First when we say White people we almost aways mean Americans, and sometimes Brits. America is the beginning and the end of the world and the everlasting host of the race wars and so its people are the face of everything.  White people have no culture could not possibly include Eastern Europeans, Spaniards, or Italians.

Second, the reason it may seem that there is no such thing as white culture is that we are all living it; from America to Zimbabwe to Tokyo to Papau New Guinea. Ookay maybe not Papau New Guinea but you catch my drift.  White culture may not seem like a thing because we are all fully immersed in it.

What is it that makes culture culture? To a large extent, it is the foreign traditions and customs; the dressing, the food, the language, the celebrations. We are able to see a culture (other than our own) as culture because there are aspects of it that are foreign to us. Japanese culture is a thing because there is a Japanese language, Japanese traditional attire, Japanese traditional food e.tc. Egyptian culture exists because there is a traditional language (Egyptian Arabic), traditional food, traditional clothing, Egyptian customs, and adances et cetera.

White culture does not exists because we are all so fully engrossed in their culture that it is not foreign to us anymore. Hell, our own culture is even more foreign to us than the so called White culture is. We feel more at ease living a Western lifestyle. We wear western clothing-Men all over wear suits, even Arab women may wear jeans under their abaya-and reserve our own traditional clothing for special occasions. So when it comes to clothing there is no White culture because they don’t have any clothing that is particular to them; we all wear jeans, skirts, dresses, gowns, suits, ties, t-shirts, shorts e.tc. We eat Western food. We listen to Western music. We participate in Western traditions- baby showers, bridal showers, big planned surprise proposals, engagement rings, white dress, bridesmaids. Brides from Lagos to Cairo (not the furthest distance I’ll admit) wear white dresses. I have seen Chinese men as well as Egyptian fathers walk wear suits as they walk their daughters down the aisle. Even gender reveals are becoming a thing.

We are fascinated by a culture because there are aspects of it that are different from ours and new to us. To people not absorbed in the Western lifestyle, White people definitely have a culture. For people who don’t just wear their native clothes at weddings and who regularly speak more than 5 words of their native tongue without inserting an English word, there is definitely a White culture. There is white people food, white people clothing, white people dancing (ha!), white people language. Again White people in this context are most likely Americans.

We are all living it. We have adopted it to the point that we even believe these are aspects of our own culture. People all over the world kill and die to uphold sacred parts of their culture that aren’t even really their culture to start with. This is quite common in areas that have been colonised; no one remembers what existed before and what they brought with them.

All this said and done, I have to ask- What exactly is German Culture? Punctuality and Oktoberfest aside, what is their food?

 

MASKS

I stumbled upon the Pitts-River museum when looking for things to do on a day trip to Oxford. I went to the Ashmolean museum first and I honestly do not remember anything about it but the boredom I felt. Perhaps I was just not in the mood. I then hurtled off to the Pitts-River expecting a whole lot more and I was not disappointed.

The Pitts-River museum is the largest collection of archaeological and anthropological artifacts in the UK and it houses the artifacts for the University of Oxford. Once I stepped in, I was approached by a very helpful guide who informed me that the museum contained artifacts from every single country in the world except Luxembourg.

There was so much to see; clothing, weapons, jewellery, musical instruments, body decorations, piercings, beauty standards and a host of other things. All of these were arranged by subject rather than country/culture which I thought was a good idea.

There was so much to see, and I was especially fascinated by these NOH masks. I had never heard of them and I found them quite interesting (and somewhat amusing).

 

 

Learn more about NOH Masks here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PARIS IS BURNING!

What do I love more than learning about a time that existed before I did, the olden golden days if you please? What do I love more than entering people’s lives for an hour or so, absorbing all the details; the culture, the atmosphere, the vibe, the passion, the fear?

Cinnamon buns that’s what.

Oh but I love documentaries, books, films, letters; really anything that allows me a glimpse into another life. I particularly like how they expose me to other things. Whenever I watch or read something I jot down interesting names and details that I would like to read up on later. So often I find myself in a twenty tab rabbit hole wondering how I got there.

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