Recently I was introduced to a gender identity called epicene. The term epicene is a strong indicator that we’ve all started to over think this whole gender identity thing. Despite the incorporation of the word “epic” the term disappointingly does not describe a new super gender with cool and strange reproductive adaptions like external fertilization, mitosis, or kangaroo like pouches.
The website genderqueerid.com describes epicene as, “literally mean[ing] “common to both sexes.” It sometimes refers to individuals who have characteristics of both genders…”, a definition that describes just about everyone ever.
This same gender encyclopedia also describes multiple other identities that are more or less the same as epicene; Like bigender, androgyne, pangender, two-spirit, and gender fluid. Maybe my understanding of these terms is shallow but the differences between them appear to be minor and yet they’re all distinctly different gender identities and all the gender equivalent of being bisexual. Stop being greedy and decide already, am I right? I kid the bisexuals. I’m a firm believer in the black faced Robert Downey Jr. philosophy of “everyone’s a little gay once in a while”.
I can think of few things in this world with the power to unite people of all genders and sexual orientations than a universal love of Robert Downey Jr..
At some point did the queer community just decide to start throwing new terms and identities out there just to see how much shit the cisgender people of the world would accept for the sake of being politically correct? If so well played my friends. Even Facebook has 51-71 different gender options depending on which questionable news source you choose from googling “how many gender options does facebook have?“.
There was always something off about this way of thinking for me that I could never quite put my finger on until now. It’s not that I take issue with people wanting something to identify as or embracing who they are on the inside or anything so you can go ahead and lower the pitchforks. What I do take issue with is this need that comes with it that demands everyone be sorted into separate boxes and the sexist undertones that come with identities like epicene. phrazes like, “individuals who have characteristics of both genders”, implies that specific personality traits are assigned to men and women.
The whole point of gender equality is supposed to be that no one should feel pressured to conform to a notion of what a man or a woman should be. I like baking, but I also like egregious violence. Some days I want to glam up, listen to taylor swift, and bake a pie. Other days I want to sit around pant-less and un-showered watching Bruce Willis fuck shit up. This doesn’t mean I’m half man and half woman or that my gender changes from day to day. If you wake up every morning to see what gender identity feels right for that given day chances are you’re more confused than anything.
I get that everyone wants to feel like they belong to a special group but by branching off into dozens upon dozens of individual little groups we’re segregating ourselves and labelling ourselves. We’re adding restrictions that determine what we’re allowed to identify as instead of just being cool with variety. For example, whether or not you identify as “butch” (which according to genderqueerid.com is apparently an actual noun and not just an adjective) you probably still identify as a lesbian woman and not solely as butch. Being butch or effeminate should be a personality trait applied to an individual not defining criteria for a gender. Maybe one day in the future we will abandon genders in favour of descriptive language but that day is not this day.
If we look at the two traditional genders or biological genders there is a vast number of different people of different personalities, talents and flaws that belong to both and none of those differences make any of us have less of a penis or less of a vagina. Same goes if you feel like a man or a woman. If in your heart you know you’re a dude no preference for skirts over pants is going to change that no matter what anyone else thinks. You’re personality and your gender are not the same thing.
Everyone should definitely be able to identify as who they are on the inside but do we really need so many identifiers? Can’t we just except that any sex is gonna have it’s share of variety instead of running off to start our own gender identity every time we differ over the the top five words we’d use to describe ourselves? Can’t we narrow it down to, I don’t know, like twelve?
When is comes down to it gender is only a fraction of who you are. I do think of gender and sexuality in the model of those stupid surveys where you’re given a statement and pick an option ranging from “strongly agree” to “strongly disagree”. Kind of like Gordon Allport’s Trait Theory but with more grey areas. We all sit at different points on a spectrum. No one is solely one thing. We all have varying degree’s of feminine and masculine traits as well as homosexuality and heterosexuality. That being said, every millimetre on that continuum doesn’t warrant it’s own damn category.
My point is that we put too much emphasis on gender and what traditionally constitutes gender. We shouldn’t be looking for addition rules and labels to apply to gender and/or sexuality. We should be trying to break down the ones that we already have so we can stop seeing each other as different subsets of people and just see each other as people.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I’m missing the point and accidentally created straightsplaining. Maybe Facebook does need 50+ different gender options. In which case I’ll be changing mine to girlfag because “a gay man in a woman’s body” is the most perfect phrase I could ever use to describe myself. Then maybe I can find out if what I’ve always believed in my heart is true: I’d make a fucking great drag queen.