trixtah: (Default)
I had no less than FOUR of my blokey team members standing around today chatting on the relative merits of various brands of Dijon mustard to give homemade vinaigrette the perfect touch.

This was AFTER a several minute discourse among the same individuals on the benefits of slow-cooking, and the best ethnic cookbook out there (apparently a Croatian one is a win for my team).

And people wonder if feminism has achieved anything. lol.

(After that, it was all on regarding tonight's rugby game, but I'm all about people not feeling boxed in)
trixtah: (Default)
God, I loathe loathe loathe loathe clothes-shopping. Yet another futile expedition to the mall today. The only stuff I'd contemplate wearing in the shops at the moment is all menswear. And while I like some menswear styles, I a) have be feeling quite robust to shop for men's clothes in Canberra; and b) only expect to actually be able to wear a tiny proportion because I do have a woman's body. Which I'm about 80% pleased with; almost the only time I have vague inklings of thinking it'd be handy to be a man is on these shopping expeditions.

Also, embarrassingly enough, I think I actually prefer to go shopping with someone else, if they are across my style, such as it is, and have sufficient patience for my angsting (I can't do more than a couple of hours anyway, at the best of times). I do reciprocate by quite enjoying girly-type shopping (as long as it isn't high-maintenance shopping).

Anyways, the reason I was looking is that I've been invited to a Women in IT convention thingie in Melbourne, with a keynote address to be given by Julia Gillard. I was feeling pretty reluctant to go in any case, since hanging out with a room full of complete strangers fills me with horror at the best of times (there are other people going from work, but not from my area). However, now that I actually have nothing to wear - and I don't have anything suitable (I don't even have a proper boring business suit right now) - that pretty much puts the kibosh on it. Meh.

Miscellany

Jul. 12th, 2009 09:07 pm
trixtah: (evil)
Sometimes things work out well: I am going to be in Melbourne next weekend, and work is paying for it. Of course, it's at the price of an all-day meeting on Friday with our branch manager (all the teamleaders and managers in the branch, plus three people from the programming team that sit outside his office door, god knows why). Still, yay short break!

Sociological Images has tons of interesting posts, but I liked this one that describes the essential cultural difference between Australia and NZ. Forget the ethnic makeup, NZ's more Pacific focus, the relative differences in how women are treated (although Australia is catching up, or, NZ is slipping) -- no, the major difference is that people in NZ spend nearly twice as much time a day eating as Australians do (ignore the "correlation" with relative obesity rates on that graph). I knew I liked my leisurely lunches, but I didn't know it was a cultural thing. Heh.

Another cool post on the blog is about a guy called Kasmeneo, who buys his clothing from anywhere in the department store, whether it's menswear or ladieswear. "That’s also my personal statement regarding equal rights - they include the right of clothing choice. What you see here is what I wear everyday, at work, in town, for shopping, whatever." So, he posts about his outfits on his Flickr, but I'll link the the Sociological Images "Rejecting the gender binary in fashion post" that has lots of pics and a discussion. A message, and pretty cute - his style definitely works for him. What else is needed?

On another tangent, about how bodies are represented in the media, the documentary Dreamworlds 3 is an excellent look into how women are portrayed in music videos. While there have always been gratuitous representations of women (and limited ones of men) in music videos, it's gotten progressively worse and worse over time, until I personally can't bear watching music TV these days (not that I have a TV, but you know, gyms and the like). There is a full, but small format and watermarked stream of the doco at the link, and it has some great discussion in it. Definitely worth watching.

And on a more cheerful note, space/time continuum kitteh, and the OMG most hilarious kitteh-pwns-hooman pic evah (I don't check out the Cheezburgers regularly these days, but they've been on a roll these last few weeks).

ETA: Extra bonus YouTubeness in the form of Rick Miller performing Bohemian Rhapsody in the styles of the "25 most annoying (male) voices in the music industry". Hilarious.

trixtah: (Default)
How the Male Brain Can't See the Laundry Pile-Up [???]

Seriously, WTfuckingFuck? Ok, it's not quite an exercise in evolutionary psychology bingo, but it's verging on it in parts. Apparently men tend to tolerate long periods of silence because they were off hunting by themselves all day, silently waiting for animals, while women grew veges and children, which requires more social interaction. Yes, indeed, because early humans (or any apes) never hunted in packs at all, did they? Or felt the need to communicate before, during or after doing so. Nuh uh.

And while Wolf cites a couple of authors and calls their assertions "scientific evidence", I'm afraid that speculation into what early hunters did and didn't do, or the supposed fact that men have difficulty hearing women's tones of voice (seriously, WTF?) doesn't really add up to "evidence" or "scientific" to me. Perhaps the source material is based on something other than someone's speculation, but this article doesn't really demonstrate it.

You know, I'm not denying that men and women might have some biological differences that go beyond our chromosomes, genitals, or hormonal balance (and the effects all those things have), but I think that all that can be said of those is that some attributes might be more common in one sex than another. I don't think there is any attribute that is exclusive to one or the other sex ( and let's not even talk about I/S people, or even get into the question about how black and white anyone's sex might actually be, because, you know, range). I personally think that almost any supposedly-gendered attribute could be plotted similarly to my very scientific graph below, whether you're measuring talkativeness or physical strength. Sometimes the extreme ends might be stretched out further, but there is a fuckload of overlap.


trixtah: (Default)
Now, the original site is not being too earnest about it, but there is a tool that will have a guess of your gender depending on your browsing history (not all of it, just some weighted sites - the formula and the statistics source are explained in the post). Here are my results:

Likelihood of you being FEMALE is 0%
Likelihood of you being MALE is 100%

SiteMale-Female Ratio
youtube.com
1
wikipedia.org
1.08
flickr.com
1.15
livejournal.com
0.68
merriam-webster.com
0.89
huffingtonpost.com
1.35
isohunt.com
1.94
wired.com
1.41
thepiratebay.org
2.13
guardian.co.uk
1.33
salon.com
1.13
megaupload.com
1.5
boingboing.net
1.5
stumbleupon.com
1.15
wordreference.com
0.94
treehugger.com
1.25
icanhascheezburger.com
1.04
tomshardware.com
2.33
tucows.com
1.6
abc.net.au
1.11
smh.com.au
1.2
okcupid.com
1.06
gutenberg.org
1.06
(and one more embarrassing one that I have expunged)

So, from this, we can see that women aren't interested in bittorrenting or hardware, and less interested in news than dictionaries. I'll have to go out right now and get my huntin' and shootin' gear, my season tickets to the All Blacks, start scratching my nuts more often, and acquire some bimbo girlfriend who only wants to have babeez. I still feel like I'm missing something...?

PS. All you LiveJournallers are a bunch of gurlz. So there.
trixtah: (Default)
...according to afterellen.com

We've all heard the stereotypes: Butch lesbians wear too much flannel, clunky shoes and suffer from an excess of bad hair (mullet, anyone?). But that stereotype, which reflects a broad cultural discomfort with masculinity in women, has another side: the erotic. For those who like their lovers to be more genderqueer than traditionally feminine, butches rock the house.

Yay them for doing this, although it's naturally US-centric. I'd even agree with the sequence, in the main (ETA: despite the incompleteness and inclusion of more andro types), although I really don't count "Shane" from the L Word as butch. And I'd say Ellen is waaaaay more butchy than Melissa Etheridge (whom I've always considered pretty low on the butch scale... I suppose compared to her girlfriends, maybe kinda).  But I do agree with their panel's view that Joan Jett is more to the fem side than not. I mean, of course - I wouldn't fancy her otherwise! Hee. (Actually, I have had one butch partner and one tomboy one - the former turned out to be a fruitcake, so we actually didn't break up because of a butch clash; the latter, well, that aspect did  become an issue, bizarrely).

It's just a shame that one of the criteria in the article seems to be how hot one looks in a "white ribbed top" - I'd score pretty low on that scale, myself - one needs to have a much flatter chest, or the shoulders to carry off the extra accoutrements. Alas, alack. Hopefully I compensate on the "handiness" score. And I have never never never had a mullet... although I might still have a flannel shirt knocking around somwhere.

Oh, oh, and a completely unrelated thing - I can has music! I succumbed to the Dark Side and bought an iPod. I think that Mac computers are overpriced for their features (unless you're a graphics designer), and it irks me that they lock down the hardware as well as  the software (where possible), but it must be said that Apple do an excellent job of interface design. I loaded Rockbox on it as soon as I plugged it into my computer (5 minutes, tops, including downloading the software), so it's now running a version of *nix, playing my non-DRM'd OGG files happily, it works like a normal USB storage device when plugged into a machine, and I get to play fun games on it at the same time. I find the sound isn't as good as my old iAudio, but the Rockbox interface gives a huge number of equaliser (hardware and software) tweaks, so hopefully I can smooth the rough edges off, given enough twiddling. And it's apparently got a Gameboy emulator included in the other goodies... so maybe I don't need to go out buying one of those as well (I've resisted this long!).

The nice thing is that the Rockbox doesn't blow away the Apple firmware, so it's entirely recoverable back to its factory settings.

Yay, technologeeez!
trixtah: (Servalan)
Or, obviously I'm really a gurl.

I was reading this review of the BMW Z4 in the Guardian today, and the author wrote this:

When BMW brought out the car's predecessor, the Z3, it was regularly flagged up as being 'feminine'. And don't think for a minute that reviewers were using that adjective in a positive sense. With the Z4, BMW seems to have been determined to make as masculine a car as possible. From the four exhaust pipes at the back to the extra-wide tyres and the thick, rubbery steering wheel, the Z4 is as male as a badger-hair shaving brush. My wife drove the test car and pronounced it 'boorish' and 'pathetically macho'. Words which led me to expect the best. And the Z4 did not disappoint. Raw yet refined, powerful yet controlled, it's one of the most exhilarating drives I've had.
Now, if I had ridiculous amounts of money, I'd like a Z3 roadster. I think they're as spunky as hell, especially compared to the, yes, boorish-looking Z4. What I'd like to know is just what the "masculinity" of the Z4 has to do with its bloody performance. I mean, fuck, the running gear and the engine is one thing. Just because it's been made more blocky-looking to pander to pathetic little ...egos is something else.

Makes me wonder about all those "pussies" driving E-type Jags, which are still held up to be one of the best sports cars ever. Now, there's a girly-looking car.
trixtah: (Fem-uh-nist)
(Thank you to whomever sponsored the wee v-gift celebrating it - I've still got it proudly in my profile)

I've had three cocktails in quick succession this evening, and I'm not the slightest bit schnackered (I did eat first), but I'm feeling much more human. Maybe mildly tiddly. Yay mood-altering substances. Thank god. My day had reached an extra dimension of vileness late this afternoon, which involved me being somewhat less than my "make nice to management" self with the customer services manager in a moment of stress. Oh well, he hasn't fired me yet (he's three levels up and one to the side). Cocktails made me happier.

I've been ID'd as male three times this week. I was called "sir" at lunch with [personal profile] saluqi on Tuesday, I was referred to collectively as one of the "gentlemen" at a meeting today (they normally pull themselves up when I cough and do the wiggly-eyebrow thing - it didn't work), and this evening some chappie called me "mate" when he wanted to nick some chairs from where I was sitting with my cocktails.

I mean, hello, I don't look that male. There're these large objects sticking out of my chest, if you choose to ignore my way-less-than-manly jaw, and my decidedly female voice. Times like this I realise what a small town Canberra is in some ways, although maybe I'm just being a little more testosterone-filled than usual. Hm.

Bizarre... I thought that since I'm rounder and somewhat dressier these days (when I'm in my work clothes), I'd blend a bit more into the general idea of what women are apparently supposed to look like. Apparently not. *evil leers*

Also, today I found some modern Aussie psychedelic-style rock - a band called Wolf & Cub. I like. I really can't make any sense at all of my musical tastes. What, really, is the difference between that and prog? Anyone?
trixtah: (Default)
I've been having a fairly interesting run of dreams about men lately, both erotic and not-so. They seem to be due to something fermenting in my brain, rather than straight (har-har) wish fulfilment, because my dreams about men in the pure nookie sense don't normally happen unless I'm actually currently shagging one. I'm very boring about my dream and fantasy objects - they're people I know, am attracted to, and 90% of the time (if not more) I know they're attracted to me.

The first one featured a guy who was much older than me, and while not "fatherly", was definitely acting as a mentor-like figure, while being very charming and obviously keen to have sex with me. I, in my dream, was in my early teens (although post-pubertal), and girlie in such a way that I never have been. I think I might have been wearning a short skirt, even, and I have never worn one of those voluntarily past age 8. As well as being much older than me (as in late 40s/50s), he was also much bigger than me and quite physically commanding. Both of these things are frankly offputting to me in men in RL. However, in my dream, I was desperate to shag him, and in fact we spent most of the time finding a suitable place to do so (that's fairly typical; I think I've only "consummated" sex once during a dream, alas).

On waking up, I immediately thought that the male figure in my dream was an aspect of me. I certainly recognised the cocky charmingness that I can turn on at times. However, he also presented quite an air of authority, which I don't associate with myself, except perhaps when I'm at work. I'm not sure what his size and strength represented. When I was a kid and got into fights occasionally, I definitely felt like a boy when I was going to it, but a small, wiry sort of boy. Ironic, since I was above-average in height all through childhood - I'm average now, since my growth abruptly stopped at age 12. About when I got breasts, come to think of it. Feh.

Getting back to the dream, the imagery is positive, I think. It seems to be integrative. I've had a couple more dreams featuring men significantly since, one of which featuring my skanky second step-father. I spent most of that dream sending out "don't come near me" vibes - pretty similar to what went on for the 12 months I had to live in the same house with him in my teens. They worked, too. Since I haven't thought of him for years, I'm not too sure what he was doing in there. I certainly don't have any skanky men in my life, and I'm not in the position of having to fend anyone off at present.

Jung talked about the anima and the animus in his theories - the anima being the "female principle" within each man (and with various associated archetypes), and the animus being the "male principle" within each woman. From M-L von Franz: "The male personification of the unconscious in woman -- the animus -- exhibits  both good and bad aspects, as does the anima in man. But the animus does not so often appear in the form of an erotic fantasy or mood [like the anima]; it is more apt to take the form of a hidden "sacred" conviction.

"When such a conviction is preached with a loud, insistent, masculine voice or imposed on others by means of brutal emotional scenes, the underlying masculinity in a woman is easily recognized.

"...[I]f [a woman] realizes who and what her animus is and what he does to her, and if she faces these realities instead of allowing herself to be possessed, her animus can turn into an invaluable inner companion." 


In Jungian theory, part of the process of becoming individuated is integrating the anima/animus (and acknowledging the Shadow), thus allowing it to become a conduit between the conscious and unconscious.

Now, I know that gender theory has come a loooong way since Jung first formulated his thoughts, but much of this stuff spoke to me in my late teens/early 20s, and it still does.  While I'm butch, I've never had any problems with gender confusion. I found it very easy to get in touch with the "boy pockets" - that's how I thought of them - within me. I still do - if I walk along the street thinking "Man, I am hotttt! Watch out, chickies!" (as I do very occasionally), that is a boy thing, most definitely. In fact, most of that stuff can be summed up by the adjective "cocky". If I'm feeling cocky (which encompasses "aggressivelyassertively opinionated"), then I'm in boy-mode.

While this is most excellent for retaining my youthful demeanour - heh - it's not such a frequent state of being now, as a 38-year-old woman, than it was when I was in my early 20s. But it's a part of me that I get a lot of power from - if one doesn't think that's too foo-foo a concept - partly because it's the part that takes risks. But these days, I'm also a lot more aware of consequences. I also actually don't want to be acting like a 17-year-old boy most of the time. So, there is a gap.

And perhaps that gap is going to be filled by the symbol - if you like - of a grown man. I know that the part of me that is good at giving instruction or explaining concepts seems very male. Sometimes having sex in a certain mode feels that way too (it's not the boy doing the fucking). As does the charmingness, always. And, also, interestingly enough, responsibility (as differentiated from the "keeping it all togther" thing that I think of as a very female trait). So, I think I might let those positive features of adult maleness percolate a bit more and we'll see what happens. Just so long as I don't flip over to the authoritarian insensitive oblivious-to-boundaries lover-of-heirarchy-who-refuses-compromise shadow side (I don't think that's terribly likely in general).

I'm not terribly sure why all this is popping up right now. My life is pretty stable and damn content. Well, maybe there's room for these kind of ponderings, as there hasn't been the past few years. Also, if I'm like my mother, I only have a couple of years till I start menopause, so maybe it's a deck-clearing exercise. Heh.

Big disclaimer: This may all seem like I'm being terribly essentialist in what I consider to be "male" and "female", and really, I am so not. But, as Jung used it, it's a convenient symbolic shorthand, and the archetypal figures associated with that symbol set do fit in this instance. Other sets of terms - say, if we tried to substitute butch/fem, or dominant/submissive, or active/passive - don't fit the concepts and feelings I'm trying to get at nearly so much.

Also, as another aside, it's interesting how if we have had to struggle with our gender presentation (which I have done, but not my identity, as I mentioned), as we integrate it, we don't need to be so vehemently assertive about displaying the "right" symbol set. So, as a butch dyke, the older I get, the less I need to wear the leather jacket, or the boots, or the whatever (I have never worn a baseball cap backwards). I can wear what I please, and yet I'm sure that my identity presentation is going to be congruent. Although it is fun to fuck with people's heads. And I still need to drive my bitchin beast. Of course. :-)

Ammunition

Dec. 13th, 2006 07:15 pm
trixtah: (Default)
I was in my favourite cookery shop in Kingston a few weekends back, perving at some of the yummy utensils they stock (yeah, I suppose it doesn't help my butch cred to admit that I do cookery-shop-perving more than I do the hardware store kind). I was pissed off to see them stocking copies of Why Men Don't Listen & Women Can't Read Maps as a kind of novelty item by the checkout. I mean, give me a break.

Then a couple of weekends ago, there was an interview in the Guardian with Louann Brizendine, who wroteThe Female Brain. No, the book unfortunately doesn't seem to say "there's more communication method variation within the female sex than between the sexes"). Alas, her assertion was that women speak/communicate way more than men do: "Men use about seven thousand words per day. Women use about twenty thousand." After further unravelling, it seems that this statistic was referring to "communication events" (ie. words, gestures, body language), and guess what? It came from Why Men Don't Listen & Women Can't Read Maps! Wow, in-depth research there. The Guardian did a wee test themselves to see if her assertion was borne out with two of their journalists, and, surprise surprise, it wasn't.

But, yay, I've just found an excellent blog called Language Log, which thoroughly debunks the stupid myth of women talking much more than men, with reference to both of those books. They also have an interesting discussion on a study that was done in the late 80s, called "Power displays between women and men in discussions of gender-linked tasks: A multichannel study". Mark Liberman (the blog poster) summarises some of the main points:

  Male Female
Time speaking
40%
28%
Speech initiations
14.0
12.9
Looking while speaking
34%
30%
Looking while listening
44%
59%
Rate of gesturing
0.09
0.05
Frequency of chin thrusts
1.62
0.26
Frequency of smiling
10.6
13.6
Frequency of self-touching
6.1
6.5
Frequency of laughing
4.1
6.0

So the guys did more of the talking, as is often the case -- 43% more, this time, which is a bigger difference than one usually sees. What about non-verbal signals? Well, the guys did 80% more gesturing, and produced 623% more chin thrusts. The gals did 28% more smiling, 7% more self-touching, and 46% more laughing. Dovidio et al. didn't count eyebrow motions, it's true. But there's certainly no support here for the view that women produce about three times more "communication events" on average than men do.


If you check out the study design, it actually looks worthwhile. And I'm so glad to have some more ammunition against the "Men are from Mars" types who refuse to make appropriate reference to differences within the genders before highlighting the differences between them -- and which are often negligible in comparison.

[And, man, I can't wait for my replacement modem to arrive. This researching and posting after hours from work is a drag.]
trixtah: (bookporn)
Apropos to a discussion on her mailing list regarding why yer typical male reader doesn't seem to enjoy "romance", Lois expounded on her Theory-in-Progress as to why that might be:

First, gender formation. Gender formation consists of a certain amount of biology overlain by a lot of culture.  In our culture, gender differentiation goes into high gear at puberty, and consists to a large extent of a process of deletion.  The individual ejects or suppresses aspects of him/her/self perceived as belonging to the other gender, and the resultant cripples are called "young men" or "young women".  Maturity, to an interesting extent, consists of people reclaiming a lot of these lost aspects to become more complete persons again.

(My itals) Isn't that bloody awesome? I'm in love (if I wasn't already).

Then there's this about status:

Status and status emergency.  Status seems to me under-examined as a biological (as contrasted with a social) motive.  It's necessarily a group thing; no one has status as a lone individual, as it is created relative to the group in which the individual is embedded.  ... Lack of status can really kill one, in any crunch situation.  (Lifeboats, starving villages, the hunt, etc. See _Lord of the Flies_)   So humans have a *biological* need for enough status to obtain whatever their personal threshold may be to feel safe.  ... When a person drops below their comfort zone of status, they are thrown into a state of status emergency or panic behavior (often bad or wildly disproportionate) sometimes having little relation to any actual physical threat (see any internet flame war.  And a lot of real wars.)

Which results in this kind of thing:

Combining these two, there are three arenas of status/gender struggle: man vs. man, woman vs. woman, man vs. woman.  All overlap and all are combined with equally urgent needs for various kinds of cooperation amongst the participants, so at this point it all sort of goes fractal.  But anyway.

In the post-puberty, not-yet-mature mode, the social model goes: girls attract guys by out-competing other women in attractiveness/status, the latter being defined as (million ways again) anything from beauty to owning more cows.

Guys attract girls by *competing with other guys* to obtain victory/wealth/status: girls then happen automatically, without the guy having to actually, like, talk to them or anything.  (See: trophy wives.)

Note that both genders are focusing on guys.

Problems happen when the girl has way more status than the guy, throwing him into possibly-unconscious status-emergency mode.  Problems also happen when the girl has *so* much less status, association with her saps the boy's status, ditto status-emergency for him.  In the puberty phase, when social enforcement of gender roles is in high gear, boys also lose status in the eyes of their very dangerous peers by association with anything "girly"; tomboys have similar troubles, if less directly lethal.  (But not always: see rl murder of Brandon Teena/Teena Brandon, and about a gazillion other people who stepped outside of prescribed gender boundaries in an unsafe place.)  So guys have more directly visible status-motivation not to appear "girly" than girls do not to appear "tomboy", but the indirect pressure on the girls can be just as nasty.  (Many females do not read SF because they perceive it as a guy-genre, unwelcoming to them; many guys read it for the exact same reason.  Or rather, because the suspect sissy thing, reading a book, is redeemed by being strongly guy-associated.)


There follows more about "why guys don't read girlie romance" - and it's easy to see where Lois is heading here - but doesn't this Theory-in-Progress go way beyond that?

This kind of thing is why I regret not finishing a university degree. I wish I could think in that kind of way, and have the underpinning concepts to be able to construct a theory like that.
trixtah: (Fem-uh-nist)
So, I was having a slightly tangential conversation with [livejournal.com profile] saluqi today about the "rules" in a community. Being a member of a community implies that you follow a certain set of cultural expectations, but I don't feel that I've bought an entire package of any set of beliefs (although I was close to it in my earnest early-20s). I do think that the mark of a mature community is the fact that it can accept a certain degree of deviation from the norm.

Such as the butch thing. I keep kind of thinking to myself that I'm not that butch, but actually, compared to the average woman (or even the average dyke), of course I am. And it certainly gets highlighted on occasions like last weekend when the CDL and I were walking to lunch, and she spotted some lovely family-man type giving us the Death-to-Queers™ look from across the road.

Although that hasn't happened to me for years, it's interesting that I have most frequently gotten it when I'm with a more feminine-presenting woman. It's all about the juxtaposition. And the other interesting thing is that it hasn't really happened if I'm walking with a straight woman, like a colleague - only when I'm with girlfriends, who of course tend to be more fem than I. Perhaps there is some body language going on there, although I'm not a big one for PDAs (dance parties excepted).

Anyway, getting back to the community package thing, part of the mystique of being a butch dyke is that you are supposed to pick up all the chix. boring personal data ) But, yep, it's not just the butches who are "genderqueer". Thank god. And so much for the entire butch mystique package. Oh well, I'm sure I have the parts that count.
trixtah: (Fem-uh-nist)
The timing of the wee gender/sexuality meme was apposite, due to this rant I've had brewing. It's the old identity politics chestnut, which I thought was over and done with. However, it's been bugging me for the last several months, where it was an issue that hadn't bothered me for a decade. The trigger was the last series of The L Word, which featured a character who was initially billed as a "butch lesbian"; I was bloody irritated when it turned out otherwise. Then, last week, I read a discussion of the handling of the whole issue on AfterEllen.com, which made some good points, but I felt missed some of the main ones. Add to that some comments I've been reading from people who should know better, and it's all a bit annoying.

Cut a humungous blurge on gender presentation - you have been warned! Fully skip the parts you're up to speed with already. Please. )
Personally, I'd rather that people spent their efforts on supporting all the variations of gender presentation and sexual morphology rather than pathologising things unnecessarily. Intervene medically when necessary, yes. But not because of some stupid preconceived binary view of what sex and gender are all about. I'm grateful that studies like this are finally being done which help overcome those old prejudices, wherever they originate from. Also, I can stop trying to cudgel my brain for facile definitions that fit my experience (as well as encompassing a few others'). :-)

Things have certainly moved on since the early 90s, which is when I last read up on this stuff. I'm going to have to fork out $US40 for The Misunderstood Gender: A Model of Modern Femme Identity, which isn't available in full online, alas.
trixtah: (Default)
I just bought a second-hand clarinet! $300, and in perfectly fine shape! Artificial cork may not be the cool lining for one's clarinet keys, but it lasts a hell of a lot longer than the real thing. It could do with a clean - and I wonder if I should do it myself as a wee project, I need to get some jeweller's screwdrivers anyway - but all the notes sound good, and at the speed I play, it doesn't matter if the response is a little bit sluggish.

But why oh why do second-hand instrument sellers always give reed instruments to you with the reed still in situ? Ick! At least the nice man gave me a new one when I asked, free of charge.

So, I'm going to have to find some fairly basic music - wonder if you can get free  (clarinet or other B flat instrument) sheetmusic online? - and get into practice. I haven't picked up an instrument of any description for over 10 years, and I was always better at playing the saxophone. Never by ear, though, I never was that good a musician.

In the "other fun news" department, my what-the-hell-do-I-call-her girlfriend and I had a very quick whizzbang trip to Sydney yesterday. She rung up, said "I have tickets to Candy Lips - book us a hotel room!" and off we went. Candy Lips was great fun (I enjoyed being frisked by the femmy "cop", although I had to make sure that no-one took too many liberties with my g/f, of course). We got somewhat tipsy, danced to some cheesy 80s music (the house music downstairs was just as boring as house always is to me) and snogged shamelessly at the bar (inadvertently, actually), like a pair of 18-year-olds. Oh well. Then we just had to leave the party before 1am (I know, we're getting old) and try out the toy I bought for her birthday, ooh, about 6 months ago. It was worth the wait. Well, kind of. Less waiting would have been better. Oh, and we had some awesome tapas at a place on the corner of Victoria and Liverpool St in Darlinghurst. Great sangria too. Shame I can't remember the name.

One thing, though. All the women at the party who were evidently "coupled" had similar body types. The big wide diesel types and their femmes; the tall slim trendy blondes; the cute boyish ones; the lipstick chix. What the hell is up with that? My g/f and I felt most peculiar, surrounded by all this matched morphology. Me - 5'6", Aussie size 14, HWP (if one must), short dark hair; her - 5'2", something over a size 20, very round, and with long curly red hair. Obviously, there's something wrong with us. If someone tried to explain my dykeishness in terms of "narcissism", they'd have a bit of a challenge, methinks. But is there some trend going on in the dyke community I'm not aware of these days? Or has it just taken me this long to notice? (since it's been about 8 years since I was last at a women-only event)

Anyway, for once I didn't buy any books in Sydney, but I managed to grab the aforementioned clarinet in the hour we had available between having breakfast and running to the train station. We did wave at [livejournal.com profile] damned_colonial's street as we whizzed past. Shame we didn't have time for anything else, but my g/f's son's Xmas concert was calling. But I have been assured we'll be doing something similar again. I hope so; I had a fab time.
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This one is the Sex ID test, which supposedly measures the sex of your brain (or its thought-processes, more like). I came out as STRONGLY male, which surprised me mightily. In fact, as male (+50) as the average man. eeek! I can identify a few reasons - one, I got ALL of the spatial orientation questions correct (where you have to visualise rotating an object in space and match it to another figure), and I did not-so-well on the thing where you "spot the difference" with before and after pics where some of the objects were moved. The object rotation score is funny, though, since if you get them all right, they ask whether you have an engineering background or similar. Ho ho ho!

An interesting component was when you select between photoshopped facial pics to see which of the same person you prefer - apparently I preferred the more "masculine" face, although I'm quite sure I went for the more dykey one. To me, they are NOT the same. If you give me a choice between identical faces, but one has heavier eyebrows, I'd pick that one since I really really dislike over-plucked eyebrows (which are most,to be frank, IMO).

So, interesting all-in-all, but I find myself getting more and more annoyed at the whole single-scale thing. They measure from -100 (super-feminine) to +100 (super masculine) with 0 being in the middle (obviously). It kind of assumes if you're not masculine, you must be feminine, or in between. And, odd as it may sound, I don't agree. I think a dual scale measuring "masculineness" and "feminineness" out of ten for each would be pretty interesting. With most of the variables they tested, I scored above average. Above average in the vocab AND the object rotation - so those scores must have almost cancelled each other out. I'm sure there was some weighting, but still. If they'd had scales saying 7/10 masculinity and 6/10 feminity, then THAT would really be interesting. I don't think the single scale expresses it so well, in a similar way in which the Kinsey scale doesn't do so well for sexual persuasion, but the Storms and Klein scales give much better renditions of someone's leanings due to their multidimensional nature. And if I knew something about statistics, I could probably tell you why I think it's better for the masculine/feminine thing. Oh well.

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Trixtah

January 2016

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