|(Above) Do androgynous models catch flack for rocking the very concept of |
gender binary to its core? Well, if they do, they're probably too
busy making snow angels in piles of cash to notice.
When I was in 8th grade, my teacher wanted to liven things up by giving us a debate topic that was a tad more risqué than usual, at least by middle-school standards. The topic was: Is it better to be a girl or a boy? Not "which sex is better?", but literally "which sex has the better end of the deal?"
I remember being excited by this question. As a little feminist-in-the-making (which at that age probably translated to "Woo! Girls rule!"), I had my answer perfectly formulated before anybody else had time to blink:
Obviously, girls have it better because we have more freedom when it comes to doing the things we want. Girls can play sports and do other "guy stuff" and people think it's cool. But poor boys, if they want to knit, or bake, or do stereotypical "girl stuff" people make fun of them for it.
I was confident with this answer. It felt rock-solid, and I didn't think anybody would be able to come up with a good counter-argument when it came time to duke things out in the classroom. Truth be told, I can't remember what words were exchanged that day, but I do remember feeling utterly betrayed when my friend — a Korean chick who, to this day, is still one of the coolest and funniest people I know — sat on the boys' side of the argument. I just couldn't understand why she thought boys had a better deal in life. What happened to sisterhood?
Looking back, I realize now that my friend (who I'll call Ki-Jyeong Mung for legal reasons) was smarter than all of us. While the rest of us girls sat in smug satisfaction that we had a pretty good set-up in life (We could choose to be tomboys or girly-girls! How liberating!), we didn't understand the deeper implications of our opinion. When a girl is admired for kicking tail on the basketball court but a boy is called every number of degrading names for wearing a holiday sweater that's too "feminine," what is that really saying about the female gender?
After all these years, I finally get it. And I think this picture (which quotes a Madonna song) sums "it" up perfectly.