215: Gender


As a kid I always kind of defied gender. The montessori school I went to when I was little had a "big" class of 12 kids and like most children, they seemed to like to make sweeping statements about gender like "girls don't like to play with boats." or "only boys think Capture the Flag is fun." I was the exception to the rule so often that those statements usually ended with "well, except Marj.". I went to a women's college and I never really thought much about gender at all until I moved to China. I spent a lot of time with guys in their 50's and 60's who had very strong notions of what a young maiden was supposed to be like and I fit none of those criteria, especially since they were teaching me martial arts that relied heavily on strength. By the end they would affectionately joke that I had the face a body of a pretty young maiden, but the spirit of a feisty young lad. I took it as a compliment.

I must say it was a real shock when I returned to the U.S., started dating and found that the guys still had very limited opinions of what feminine behavior entailed. I don't know if it was because I was living in the New York halo or what, but I was constantly being told that my choice of hobbies, mannerisms, etc. were very masculine. Personally I've always found people who have a combination of both male and female personality traits the most interesting and the ones I want to be friends with.