Can we talk about something? Let’s put down the maps and the spanner and stop the packing and talk about assumptions and identity? I know, it’s kinda heavy and I’m sorry about that but it can’t all be oil changes and carving up miles around here.
I don’t get something that seems to be intrinsic to how everyone else understands of the world. I don’t know that I understand how our identities can be completely and absolutely defined by our activities. Let me try to explain.
I sometimes run into Femmes who don’t ride motorcycles. I’m ok with that because I understand it’s not for everyone. However, some of these women base their entire reason for not riding on the fact that they are a girly girl and they just couldn’t. Like they just can’t imagine a world where their hair wasn’t perfect or their makeup wasn’t on. I’m not judging them as shallow people. I’m judging them as constrained by their own identity. The reverse can also be said. I’ve met women who feel like because they ride, they can’t be girly girls. I think in both cases these people are being true to themselves….I just don’t get it. For me, who I am and what I do are not always related. I’m first and foremost a Femme. I love makeup, so I shop for it a lot and I practice putting it on and I think about how I’m going to wear it. But if I didn’t love makeup like I do, I would still be a Femme. It’s who I am; it’s not what I do. I work on bikes, I get dirty when getting dirty is called for and I clean up when it’s time to be clean. If I’m on a two week road trip, I don’t haul a ton of make up with me and I wouldn’t expect anyone else to make room for it if I did bring a train case of cosmetics. I do sometimes bring a little bit a makeup; maybe an eye shadow duo, mascara, and a light balmy lipstick. I know that often deep in a trip I will want to dress up a little bit. But if I didn’t bring any makeup no one gets to pull my Femme Card.
I have the same frustrations with the concept of pulling someone’s Man Card because of an activity someone deems to be un-manly. What does that even mean? A Man is who you are, not what you do. Identity is something that I believe rests deep inside us. Something that is not dependent on what we are doing at any given time. Sometimes, it’s not dependent on how we look to the outside world. I am who I am and nothing can change that. Certain things aren’t out of bounds to me because I identify as a Femme Woman.
This was driven home to me just a few days ago. Mr. Man and I were in Fry’s electronics and there was a really fantastic Hot Wheels track that I was exclaiming over. I turned to Mr. Man and told him I had almost the exact thing set when I was a kid. I loved Hot Wheels. I also loved Barbie. I had both and I played with both indiscriminately. There was not concern in my house that there was something wrong with me playing with cars; that I somehow wasn’t a girl because of it. I knew I was a girl and I seemed to absorb the belief that since I was a girl, if I was doing something then it was, by default, appropriate for me to be doing. I’ve carried this belief into adulthood. Because I’m a Femme then I am a Femme while I’m doing whatever it is that I’m doing. And while I’m a little ranty, this also applies to my clothes. I love pretty clothes but for goodness sake just because I wear riding pants and a T-Shirt on a road trip doesn’t mean I don’t know my Stuart Weitzman from my Louboutin. I’m a Femme but that doesn’t mean I don’t live in the real world. I’m going to dress for the occasion because I’m also Appropriate. And my $200.00 IGIGI Red Polka-Dot Dress is not Appropriate for a road trip. But my easy to pack $70.00 Elomi babydoll nightie might make it into my saddlebags….just in case. Because I do have my priorities….and stuff.
So I’ll give you that what we do can give others clues as to who we are and I will admit that I like being a girly-girl. I like my makeup and my expensive hair and my beautiful femme clothes but when I step out of those stereotypical Femme activities; when I wander around a hardware store, or an electronics store, when I browse Comic books, or when I throw on BDUs and a grungy T-shirt….I am still a girl, still a Femme, still me. Nothing I can possibly do will ever change that.