Image and the Body
After watching the Gender as Spectrum video this week, I decided to post a photo of a car in the driveway of my neighbor’s house. They gave me permission to do so and I blacked out the license plate for safety reasons.
I tend to make visual assumptions about gender when I really think of it. I never mean to be disrespectful about it, but I admit that I think everyday activities or objects can either be masculine or feminine. For example, if I were watching a football game I would normally say it is masculine because of all the hard hitting and rough play. However, this does not mean it cannot be feminine as well because women can play the sport too. Another example I can think of when I was growing up is figure skating. I always saw one or two boys skating with a dozen girls. I always thought it was a feminine sport and thought the boys were acting “girly”. However, just because females dominate the sport of figure skating does not mean that it is a feminine sport. When I think about it more, many things in life should be neutral gender rather than one or the other.
A car was the first thing that came to my mind when I thought of an object or thing that was “neutral” based. I believe a car is neutral based because it can come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. A car is something that can be made neutral based on the appearance. However, in the eyes of society and many people, cars can be seen more masculine and feminine. For example, a car that is jacked up and very sporty looking would probably be viewed as more masculine. A car that has soft and light colors with a sunroof would be viewed as feminine. Furthermore, in relation to cars, trucks always seem more masculine and these companies tend to target males. I have to say, Ford stuck out in my mind immediately when I thought of a masculine object. For example, Ford commercials always have the tagline, “Built Ford Tough”. They seem to be targeting males, but it does not mean females cannot drive them or use them for working purposes either. That is why I would have to say the average looking car to someone could be viewed as neutral gender.
When I encounter someone who does not seem distinctly male or female I do feel a little uncomfortable. I think it is because of the uncertainty that comes to my mind and the idea of wondering what is going through their minds when they are looking at me. However, I would say these feelings have dropped off over time. Growing up in my generation, I have learned to accept anyone for who he or she is or what he or she looks like. I have grown an appreciation for people that do as they want so that they can feel comfortable living out each day to their fullest. I would say that another person’s looks are not as important to me as they used to be. If a male or female wants to dress opposite of their sex then go for it! If a male wants to grow his hair out or a female wants to cut their hair short, then go for it! As a society we need to start accepting people for who they are and not let our visual cues get in the way. If we can do this, then the world can continue to grow in a happily diverse nation.