Hitting the Publish Button Will Scare Me

I’m going to get straight up real with you: this is probably the post that I have avoided the most, not for lack of wanting, but I’ve been conflicted because for me this is a non-issue. It’s a thing that’s already established and what is the point? But then the point is that I guess this doesn’t really get told much, so I’m here to share.

I’ve thought about making this witty, light hearted and easy-breezy-covergirl. I’ve considered posting it as a video, even writing it in stick figures. If I am honest, I don’t know where to start, so right now I’m just telling you about the times I haven’t started. Pro-at-crastinating my friends.

I don’t even think I can say it’s timely anymore, because trans issues have started entering mainstream discourse thanks to the rising success of Janet Mock, Laverne Cox and even Chaz Bono to name a few.

Before anyone jumps a gun or two: I’m not going to start revealing myself as a man in a female body. That’s not the case at all. I’m quite content in the body I’m in. Although technically (if we want to pretend words have strict meanings), yes you could say that I am transgendered.
Except I’m not moving between one or the other, I’m just in the middle. I’ve been saying that my gender is Androgyne. Because the world is too gendered and I’m all too aware of it for me to identify as genderless.

Quite a few of my friends know this about me already, and majority have been somewhat unsurprised and some have even gone so far as to note that as gender is a construct, no one is really man or woman. And while I agree with this in almost every way possible, it’s a different feeling to be reminded of that constantly through alienation, then it is to be aware of it as a concept.

Now’s the part that I don’t really know what to say, because I’ve kind of always been this way without really knowing it. So I don’t know exactly what people don’t know, or would want to. I feel as if I did this part of my ‘coming out’ years ago and only in the past few years I’ve found the words that explain how I feel about my gender. Thank you University – I had no idea it would be the lightbulb moment I needed to articulate myself.

This also explains a little (a lot) why I have very little tolerance for people blaming behaviour on what type of genitals a person has.

I’m going to throw up a list of what I think people may ask/want to know. If there’s something else just comment or email me. No biggie.

What is androgyne?
I’m going to assume that you know what the “androgynous” look is… so I’ll use that as a visual reference, and highlight that this clothing style has both female and male signifiers/identifiers. So take that notion and apply to every part of the person. I’m talking language and interests. So in a nutshell: Some one who identifies as androgyne is someone who identifies as androgynous, gender-wise.

How do you know?
Let’s point out an obvious something: I was a major tomboy. There’s a lot of literature about what happens to tomboys when they hit puberty, so I won’t try to paraphrase at all. Let’s just say, generally there’s some social and cultural conditioning that emphasise femininity in order to ‘fit in’ and be accepted by peer groups. However, my peer group was probably one of the most supportive I’ve heard about and we encouraged each other to be ourselves. So this social conditioning, while yes it was there, I never felt like I needed to up my feminine game in order to fit in.
Also I feel as uncomfortable in all male clothes as I do in all feminine clothes. I realised this when I started crying as I tried on a corset because I hated what it did to feminise my body.

But Kirsty you have a really feminine face!
I know! That’s ok!

Do you want to transition?
Nope, happy with the bits I got.

Would you like us to use any preferred pronouns?
Honestly, I’m lazy. It takes a lot of work to consistently remind people that by saying “but you are a girl” makes me feel like I’ve been punched in the face. And if you’re close to me, it makes me question if you know me at all.

No, but seriously, we are your friends, surely you can count on us to get it right, what pronouns do you prefer?
I don’t mind feminine, I don’t mind masculine, I don’t mind “they”. I told you. I’m lazy. BUT one thing I would encourage is using mirrored pronouns. So which ever gendered pronoun you use for yourself, you can use for me. If you identify as a man, you refer to me as “he” or “him”. Likewise for the ladies.

Ok so pronouns you’re hellz lazy, but have you considered changing your name to a more gender neutral one?
Yes. So many times yes.

So?
None of them stick and I can’t decide. For me, I’ve always been this way. Kirsty refers to me, someone who identifies as androgyne. I’ve always been androgyne and I’ve always been Kirsty… so it’s difficult to envisage a whole new identity altogether (Because it isn’t new).

Anything else?
It’s very isolating. I can’t really explain that feeling. I’m sorry.

Any advice for someone who might be going through the same thing?
Treat yo self. And by that I mean be kind, accepting and loving. Because while at times you may feel very isolated, there are other people out there who know what it feels like. Yet while it’s very exhausting being out there, it’s worth it. You’ve got to care for yourself because sometimes the rest of the world looks like a brick wall, and what you need to do is make a window. Whether you know it or not, you have the strength to do it.

Miley Fckn Cyrus vs Sinead O’Connor

When viewing Miley Cyrus’s performance of “Wrecking Ball” and the recent VMA’s stunt, did I want to vomit a little? Sure. Was it entertaining? Definitely.
There has been countless articles and responses to the public behaviour of Cyrus lately, however, from what I can determine, the predominant reactions from women is a resounding “put some clothes one/stop doing that/oh god my eyes.”

This sense of abjection that her recent videos evoke stems from something within. One theory could suggest that we (as women) recognise the situation she is placing herself in; we’ve “been there”, just witness every Halloween party of women from the pubescent age and upwards. However, Cyrus is in a global public sphere, and what we may look back on as embarrassing teenage behavioural experiments and thank our luck the evidence is little more than a memory, Cyrus is actively flaunting this type of behaviour on a global scale. And we might think something along the lines of; Miley, everyone can see you, for goodness sake, stop doing that, put some clothes on, oh my god my eyes! (Read:  If I regret that imagine what you would feel in 15 years’ time).

So what is the problem? Is there even a problem?

The short answer is yes, there is a problem – but I want to stress – it is not with Miley Cyrus. This is not a Miley Cyrus issue – this is a women’s issue and the longer the blame is blasted on Cyrus, the further we obscure the real issue at hand. So when some when tells me “Miley Cyrus” followed by a look of shock or apt eye roll… yeah I get annoyed and I just think; patriarchy’s a bitch.

Before I go on I want to reiterate; yes I used the words “women’s issues” and “patriarchy” in the same paragraph. Yes, it reeks of feminism. Yes, I am a feminist. No, I don’t hate men.
I would like to point out that feminism isn’t a “women vs. men” movement. It is an inequality sucks movement and it isn’t just women that it benefit (I.e. Just think about perceptions of male nurses and stay-at-home dads).

Let’s start with Sinead’s open letter to Miss Cyrus.

Sinead O’Connor is “extremely concerned” for Miley Cyrus as she believes she is being pimped out by herself or the music industry. She fears that “those around [her] have led [Cyrus] to believe, or encouraged [her] in [her] own belief, that it is in any way ‘cool’ to be naked and licking sledgehammers in [her] videos.” Personally, I just think about that image – anyone licking a sledge hammer in the nuddy – it’s both ridiculous and laughable, unless you have objectophilia. So in my opinion Sinead’s right – it’s not cool. It’s weird in that “crazy relative you’re forced to invite to Christmas parties” kind of way.
So there’s a subjective position of aesthetics here: not everyone likes the same thing, ergo not everyone dislikes the same thing. Maybe Miley Cyrus has objectophilia and this is her way of finally expressing it.

O’Connor states that “If they (men) want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give a fuck about you”. She also adds that “men are making more money than you are from you getting naked. It’s really not at all cool. And it’s sending dangerous signals to other young women.”  Here is where the generation gaps emerge.
Miley Cyrus is only 20 years old, which is only 4 years older than Olympia Nelson and safe to say of the same generation.  Amanda Palmer talks about this in  regards to the process of making music in her open letter to Sinead O’Conner.
But what I want to focus on is that what O’Connor fails to recognise, is that in the age of social media, a like or share or comment is a key indicator that someone is interested in what they see thus, they are interested in you. 16 yr. old Nelson writes exactly about this in her article.

Nelson explains that girls are “showing how much they like themselves and hoping you’ll hit the “like” button to reinforce that claim” and even agrees with Sinead’s notion that it is dangerous to use sexualised images of oneself as contemporary adolescent women have learnt that by revealing more of their skin the “aim is not to communicate joy but to score a position.” A position they score by trying to “”out-hot” the other girls by porn star criteria.”

(And if you want any evidence that reinforces O’Connor’s stress to Miley that by objectifying herself is still dangerous (I say still because there is a notion that the ‘women-as objects’ is out-dated)please refer to number 36 on this list.)

Alright, let’s move on.

To Amanda Palmer – who picks apart the underlining point of O’Connors arguement, that Cyrus “ought be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in [her] employ and anyone around [her], including [her]”. I don’t know about you guys but I just wonder why O’Connor doesn’t expect (or respect) Cyrus to take care of herself, let alone the notion of every young lady being ‘precious’. We’re not fucking precious, Golum doesn’t need to hide us in a cave, and we should fight our own fights and enlist help when we see fit.

Amanda Palmer writes that “women need more freedom to say what they want (double entendre there), express what they want (same) and be respected for their bravery, not reprimanded for endangering themselves.” This last part is particularly evident in O’Connor’s letter when she writes that we shouldn’t let “our daughters to walk around naked because it makes them prey for animals and less than animals”. I don’t know about you, but calling all men animals and implying they cannot control themselves? That’s pretty harsh Sinead.

Instead Palmer targets the heart of it all – the ability for women to do it all, to not “be afraid to express themselves, less afraid to be nailed to the cross of the cultural beauty standard.”

However, the racial complexities in the particular way that Cyrus ditched her Hannah-Montana-Good-Girl image is another issue altogether. You can read a superb article about that here.

So to sum it up?
Please stop slut-shaming and victimizing Miley Cyrus.
There’s a better way to tackle the issue and it won’t help if we keep degrading the symbolic value of something that actually points to  real issues we need to come to terms with.

And I guess that’s it.

Have a good one,
Kirsty Jade

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Switching it up

It’s been weighing on me for a while now that i hardly write on here much anymore, but I kinda want to change that around, so I’m switching it up.

By “it” I mean the content.

So I’ve started a tumblr for the visual stuff, the things that make me feel nice and that I think look pretty… 
you can look at it here.

But I’m going to divide my visual love from my literary love.

… and use this blog to … hopefully articulate my thoughts on media… so …. more like a social commentary. with cartoons. I’m keeping those.

What I guess I’m doing is making a yin and yang out of tumblr and wordpress. one for words and one for pictures. 

mostly because its easier to share pictures in a different layout, and also because while I’m studying, I have long dry spells and often find myself relieving my brain (read:procrastinating) with visual stimulation in attempt to cease reading and writing for a little while. 

until next time 
xxxxx

(which will probably be a discussion on miley cyrus)

Sitting Woman with Legs Drawn Up, Egon Schiele – Tattoo

It’s only a month into summer and short sleeves but already I’ve been getting friends exclaim: “Since When did you have THAT tattoo??”
And I realised I’ve been keeping it pretty sun smart aka covered up.

So I’ve decided to post the pics here. please enjoy

Eszter David did this wonderful piece for me.
She is my good friend and favourite tattoo artist.
She works at the Happy Sailor Tattoo Studio, Shoreditch, London
eszter david tattoo artist completeing egon schiele tattooPhoto by her twin sister Nati (thanks amigo)

 

egon schiele tattoo by eszter david