Storied Self In Relation

The dominant narrative in my story, and stories like mine was going against the gender norm. In Hailey’s story “My Favourite T-Shirt” I connected to her tom-boyish personality. When I was obsessed with hunting I had a pair of camo pats that I LOVED! Some days the only way people could tell I was a girl was because of the pony tail and headband I had in every day. The aspect of her piece that resonated with me the most though was the “boy things” or activities that she was doing. She said: “I played softball starting at age 6. I learned how to skate on hockey skate. I played football at recess. I love watching hockey with my dad.” And my question then is why is it still not considered the norm for girls to be playing these sports. When I was younger I was doing similar things, and one of my sports happened to be hunting. I think that it should be considered a good thing if girls are going out and being active. Haley, myself, and all the other young girls out there were living healthy, active lifestyles. I think that even in today’s society we refer back to decades ago when the little girls learned to do womanly things such as baking. I do not believe that anything is wrong with learning those things, but they do not have to be considered something that women do. In the same sense, sports should not be considered something that only men do. Especially when there are so many phenomenal Olympic women athletes. We should encourage all children of any gender to be playing the sports like Haley and I did, and make a healthier future for them. This is what should be reproduced as normal.
The second story that I could relate to was “I’m Just Doing Me” by Erin. And the quotation that struck me as the very first sentence: “Im sure there were a few moments throughout my life where people tried to classify me by my gender, however i never really noticed it because i was just being me.” She goes on to talk about how she grew up with brothers, and because of that she began to do the same activities as them. I think that this is a very good point. Before kids start going to school the people they are around almost all of the time is their family. So, it is normal to take on similar traits if that is what you are surrounded by. For me growing up I had a younger brother, but because I was so obsessed with him I wanted to play with him all the time. So we played power rangers, ninja turtles, and spider-man. Just as Erin began doing boy things, I began to hunt. The reason for this I probably because of my dad’s love for it, and I wanted to be the same way. Because I was around that type of atmosphere I began to take on the characteristics. Haley, Erin, and I seem to produce normal a being a “tom boy” rather than girly.

In the story “You want me to wear what?!” by Tayler the dominant narrative is opposite of the one from my personal story. This one seemed more like a stereotypical girl story. Where I was embracing a more boyish attitude, Tayler was embracing being a girl. Embracing being a female is what was silenced during the previous sections. In Tayler’s story about her skates, she wanted to wear “girl” skates which were white, rather than the black hockey skates which she called boy skates. Instead of rebelling against the norm she is accepting it, which is the opposite of myself. I silenced the “girly” aspects of my life because I was not proud of them.

In the reading “Undoing’ Gender and Disrupting Hegemonic Masculinity: Embracing a Transgender Social Imaginary” one quotation struck my attention. “As Butler points out, it is the ‘staging and structuring of affect and desire’ which helps us to understand how ‘norms work their ways into what feels most properly to belong to me” (Martino, 130). I chose this quote because it defines how the dominant narratives are created in each story. When I said that Tayler embraced being a girl it is because it felt like that properly belonged to her.

This story of difference spoke to me because it was a completely different mentality than the one I had at that age. I honestly found myself getting a little defensive over the skates. In my head I was kind making an argument for why hockey skates are so much better. I kept thinking “yeah right” as I was reading because hockey skates are in my opinion better, and the white skates are so uncomfortable. When I realized what I was doing I had to laugh at myself. It made me view my own story differently, because someone reading it could have had the same thoughts I had while reading Tayler’s. Her story also made me reflect on a moment when I was growing up, and I wanted hockey skates but my parents bought me figure skates. So, when I was finally allowed to have hockey skate I was pretty excited. At first I was kind of in disbelief, but once I realized what I was doing my feelings somewhat disappeared, and I just read the story as it was, not what I would have wanted it to be.

While reading everyone’s stories I was given so many different opinions that I did not necessarily know before. I think it would be interesting to try write another story of a personal moment that goes against your own dominant narrative of the story we just wrote. I think that would be a good exercise because I do not think that the “girly girls” or “tom boys” always acted that way, and never played in the mud or painted their nails. When I call myself a tom boy I know that that is not the only thing that I am. People are mosaics, and there is not only one side to someone. Therefore, the question that comes to mind is: will there ever be a true normal? There is so much diversity, and whether society labels something as normal or abnormal is that what it truly is? I do not think so.

Martino, Wayne. (2012). Critical Voices in Teacher Education. ‘Undoing’ Gender and Disrupting Hegemonic Masculinity: Embracing a Transgender Social Imaginary. 22. 125-138. doi: 10.1007/978-94-007-3974-1_9

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