My son went to a theater festival for high school drama geeks last month. When I picked him up, we made vague conversation-until he said something about gender.
My ears perked up. It’s a hot-button issue of late, and for those truly struggling, I am not questioning your journey. God bless you as you find your way.
What I’m honing in on another situation entirely.
He said there were many, many students in attendance who were unidentifiable by gender, which means statistically, there is more going on than meets the eye. Or doesn’t.
Perhaps the novelty of the attention to gender-fluidity and pansexuality (thank you, Miley Cyrus and your foam finger and blow-up balloon penis) is causing the tail to wag the dog for some teens–meaning, kids who are average wallflowers are stepping into the spotlight of oh-so coveted attention by claiming “I’m pansexual” or “I’m gender-fluid.”
- Kind of the way Girls Gone Wild was the impetus for Gen X girls to publicly engage in girl-on-girl make-out sessions at parties and/or in photos for the express purpose of soliciting male attention.)
- Or how posting naked pics on Snapchat is no big deal (since they disappear in six seconds and all. Ha!)
I’ve long studied teenage behavior—it’s been an occupational hazard what with being a high school teacher. And every new crop that comes along cultivates its own slang and seeks attention via shock value. It’s how they make their mark–announce that it’s their turn.
But I’m older than the eunuchs in the Bible, so what the hell do I know?
Still, I do remember having a friend in high school–a very girly girl who grew balls and had to have an operation. I went to see her in after her surgery and we smoked cigarettes in her room without regard for the rules. That was the Me Generation’s version of Girls Gone Wild–the smoking in a hospital room, not the growing balls part.
If you want to get technical, Scarlett was physically gender fluid—and very heterosexual. She was no virgin when we met in tenth grade, and has since enjoyed bedding a series of wealthy men. Plus the occasional pool-boy. In the hot tub. Married three times—possibly four since the last time we had lunch and caught up, children in tow, she prides herself on her chic white-blond locks and MediSpa-tastic hot bod.
Anyway, a couple of months after young Scarlett had her new balls amputated, my boyfriend’s cousin’s mother made some snidely comments about the size of Scarlett’s feet (after Scarlett got too drunk and left her heels in the young man’s Gremlin.) The mother said the girl had feet like a linebacker. Maybe so. I almost told Mrs. Lewis that the girl also had the balls of a linebacker at one time, too, but I didn’t want to offend the woman since I was dating her nephew and all.
So my point is, gender issues are nothing new. History records transgender individuals as far back as ancient Asia, Greece, Rome, and even among Native Americans (according to the Euro-trash settlers and not recognized by all tribes per se.)
But we’re not really talking transgender people, are we? The terms, pansexual and gender-fluid are two new constructs.
So pansexual and gender-fluid are now identities that allow you to do whoever you want while being whomever you feel like being. The old having your cake and eating it, too, which never made sense to me as a saying, but then again, neither does this.
Anyway, I didn’t want to jump to conclusions, so I did some research to make sure I understood the terms. The following comes from an article on CNN entitled/linked, What It Means to Be Gender-Fluid. (My reader-responses follow each passage of text in blue font.)
Many other sexual and gender identities beyond intersex, third-gender, androgynous, and transsexual? Well, how many others are there? I guess I missed that lesson in sex-ed back in the day. All told, however, it must be a bit confusing to be a young person today.
On the other hand, maybe that’s why millenials feel the need to go public with things heretofore unheard of–even by their Gen X predecessors.
Maybe for some teens, it’s more about getting attention for being special–it’s hard to be special when you are an average kid with a shitty complexion,
unsure of yourself, unsure of your future, and a bit of an outcast in the political maelstrom that is high school.
So the outsiders find other outsiders and cling to one another. Identities are chiseled out even when that means one’s identity is an everything/nothing fabrication. Because no one wants to live a generic vanilla life when there’s a world of at least 31 Flavors. That would be uncool.
And being uncool is the kiss of death–something that hasn’t changed one bit.
But something else has…
Back in the day, the Walk of Shame was something experienced by a woman coming home in the broad daylight of morning while wearing the same clothes from the previous night–usually the type of frock one might rock in a night club. The assumption as one walked into the apartment building, or wherever, was that one indulged in some drunken debauchery.
Back then, sex between consenting adults was private. No one posted pictures. If you were gay, you were gay. If you were straight, you were straight. You picked a team and you played on it. No one wanted to be referred to as a “they.”
Teens were something else altogether. At school, sexually active girls usually kept their activities quiet, maybe confiding in a close friend or two. As for the guys, there may have been some locker room bravado, but the boys who respected their partners likewise didn’t kiss and tell.
Fast forward to now. To listen to the noise out there, the millenials are making their mark by claiming no mark…or multiple marks…or marks that go back and forth depending on one’s whims…or marks that can’t be defined…or marks that will tap or ride anything or anyone no questions asked.
All with no controversy. No questions. No Walk of Shame. Because there no longer is any.
Shame, that is.
And that’s a shame.
I’m all for personal freedom, but with that comes responsibility and forward thinking. And I worry some teens may find their choices will have consequences down the road that are more far-reaching than they realize.
Again, I’m older than the tablets given to Moses on Mount Sinai, so I may be speaking out of turn, but I do believe a person’s life is determined by the sum total of the choices we make. So choose your identity carefully.
God willing, you’ll have a long time to live with the consequences of you being you.
All the best,
S.J. Anderson, Foxy Writer Chick