As mentioned in last week’s blog, there are many expectations and assumptions around gender and sexuality. For example, I talked about the fact that gender is assumed to be binary (you are either a woman or a man).
Today I will go one step further, analysing the rigid set of behavioral and physical expectations that men and women are expected to conform to. We are going to start from women, following an approach similar to that of Paul Carvel (in the Man Box theorisation, about which we will talk next week).
The one you see above in the image is the LADY BOX. Inside the box, all of the behaviours and physical attributes a woman is expected to have, in order to be a “proper lady”. Outside of it, all those behaviours and physical attributes that are considered “unladylike”. You will notice that all those standards are particularly hard to be met by queer women.
INSIDE THE BOX
Quiet, submissive and accommodating
helpful and nice
attractive and slim
friendly, smiley and kind
discreet about sexual desires
not too loud or asking too forcefully for things.
OUTSIDE OF THE BOX
vocal about opinions
unemotional or detached.
It is clear from these categorisations, that the lady’s box has been designed to keep us useful to men when they need us, and out of sight when they don’t. It has been designed to reduce us to instruments to their happiness, without ever worrying about ours.
It is also clear why we are often called bossy, too loud and too much, for simply expressing an opinion. We are called whores and sluts for liking sex or talking about it. We are called “bitches” for telling a guy that we are not interested. What they are telling us, in their own way, is to stay in our box, and not to transgress any of the rules that we are given in order to keep us quiet.
To be quite honest with you, I have found myself many times in the past years using these insults against women that, I now understand, were simply more liberated than me. They had freed themselves of silly stereotypes and took ownership of their life, and that bothered me, because I couldn’t. I have met and still meet daily other women doing exactly what I used to do and I invite you today to have a look at that box and question your assumptions.
Have you ever punished/insulted/unfollowed a woman for simply being outside of the ladybox? Or maybe for staying inside it? Why did that particular trait of hers trigger you? How can you be nicer to yourself, and other women that decide to be outside of the box?
Comments are super welcomed and encouraged, let’s start a conversation!
Sexual attraction is not something that every human experiences, and people can have perfectly happy lives AND romantic relationships without it. Today I will be talking about what asexuality is, and all the mistakes I made when I found myself dating an asexual partner, in the hope you can avoid them.
Moral of the story, although my apparent adherence to heterosexuality has been providing me with extreme privilege my entire life (which I do not take for granted), it has also been damaging my relationship with my own sexual identity. I still feel guilty calling myself queer, as if that meant watering down the LGBTQIA community, or as if by doing so I was taking up someone else’s space, someone who is more worthy of the rainbow flag and that has struggled because of it.
Intersex the only letter within the LGBTQIA acronym that refers to someone’ssex identity (or biological sex, which means someone’s sex traits and reproductive anatomy), and not to someone’s gender identity (the gender we identify with), nor to their sexuality (who we are attracted to).