Star Wars, Supernatural, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, Archer, My Wife, My Baby.
How to change the world one shrug at a time.
This is, by far, the best response to inquiries about male cross-dressing that I have ever heard. If you don’t already love Eddie Izzard, you might now. His response in a nutshell? “I’m not wearing women’s dresses. I’m wearing my dresses. I bought them. They are mine and I’m a man. They are very clearly a man’s dresses.”
Johnny Depp does a similarly good job of refusing to take the bait in this clip from the Late Show with David Letterman. Letterman queries his rationale for wearing a women’s engagement ring. Depp just plays dumb and ultimately says that it didn’t fit his fiancée, but it did fit him. So… shrug.
The phenomenon of being questioned about one’s performance of gender is called “gender policing.” Generally there are three ways to respond to gender policing: (1) apologize and follow the gender rules, (2) make an excuse for why you’re breaking the rules (which allows you to break them, but still affirms the rules), or (3) do something that suggests that the rules are stupid or wrong. Only the last one is effective in changing or eradicating norms delimiting how men and women are expected to behave.
In these examples, both Izzard and Depp made the choice to disregard the rules, even when being policed. It seems like a simple thing, but it’s very significant. It’s the best strategy for getting rid of these rules altogether.
Thanks to Dmitriy T.C. for the links!
Tonight I went out to a small pub for karaoke, and the DJ happened to notice that I have big breasts. (MAZEL TOV, YOU HAVE EYES! WELL SPOTTED!)
So anyway, this guy decides to do the bar a favor and say, “Wow, I don’t usually single people out, but did you see this girl’s breasts? They’re amazing!” I was horrified. Men came over to talk to me, I huddled in a corner with my phone and tried to look as unapproachable as possible. I considered leaving, but I was there with my friends and didn’t want to go home.
Eventually, I felt comfortable enough to go up and sing (“Foolish Games” obvi), and I guess I should have seen it coming, but the DJ went ahead and did a 5 minute bit about my boobs with me standing right there in front of everyone. I was already pretty nervous what with being a writer hanging out with a group of professional singers, and by the end of his bit, I wanted to crawl under the floor and die. I cracked a joke about being uncomfortable (yaaaay comedy writer), and the DJ said, "Relax, it’s a compliment."
No. No. No.
Reducing me to the body parts you like best is not a compliment. Demeaning me and making me feel small is not a compliment. Reminding me that you and any other man who wants to can take my body as your own whenever you feel like it is not a compliment, no matter how jokey or flattering or whatever your tone.
I am sick of having to pretend harassment is flattery, and even more sick of being called ill-humored when I respond poorly. When I get upset about your harassment, I’m not ruining the fun. You are.
Sorry for the <rant>, but I’d like to pledge to be more outspoken in standing up for myself the next time this happens, no matter how scared or small I feel. Even more important, I hope I’ll have the guts to stand up for someone else next time I see something like this happening to another person — and I hope all of you (**especially you, male readers**) will do the same. Smooches! </rant>