I took Freya to her one month checkup today. She’s perfectly healthy, discounting her baby acne and nasal congestion. But when I was waiting in the lobby for her appointment, Luna was wandering around, as kids her age are wont to do, and she came across a couple who appeared to be about mine and husband’s age. They had a son who was a year and a month old. They said they had another child, a daughter, who was Luna’s age and wasn’t as talkative as Luna was. They exchanged other smalltalk with me as we waited, mostly about parental concerns, but there was something that kept distracting me, aside from the whiny infants and inquisitive preschoolers and toddlers in the room: breasts.
See, the girl had these huge breasts framed in a designer shirt with a swooping neckline, and every time I tried to make eye contact with her, my eyes were drawn to them. Luna kept climbing up onto the couch they were sitting on and insinuating herself into the woman’s personal space, against my parental suggestions that she leave the family be, but it did give me an excuse to keep looking at the woman.
As I was sitting in that waiting room this morning, failing at avoiding staring at that woman’s breasts, two parts of me had two different thought processes about what I was looking at.
The mother in me was thinking:
Those breasts are large. I wonder if she’s still breastfeeding that boy? Why would you still breastfeed after thirteen months? I stopped at four months with Luna. I might go longer with Freya, but I think I’ll have to stop if she grows teeth. I know some people go til age three. I even heard of a lady who breastfed til the kid was ten. Why not use a breast pump? The kid shouldn’t be able to walk up and ask for titty. I guess that’s none of my business. He has a bottle anyway, so she’s probably not breastfeeding him. Luna had a sippy cup at nine months. I’ve seen five year olds with bottles. I hope she weens him off that bottle soon. I guess that’s also none of my business. As long as the kids are taken care of I shouldn’t judge other people’s parenting skills. Maybe she’s pregnant again? Does she know she’s pregnant again? I know I’m being judgmental, but a mother shouldn’t dress like that. What kind of a message is she wanting to send to her daughter? “Yes, little girl, it’s totally fine to dress like a whore so everyone will look at your breasts instead of your eyes.” Maybe I’m overreacting. She’s a grown woman. She can dress how she wants. Now, if she’s letting her little girl dress like a whore, that would be bad, but I can’t judge her parenting styles bases solely upon her own wardrobe. And she doesn’t look that bad. I can’t see her nipples, after all.
The lesbian side of me was thinking:
Those are some great breasts. They’re so round and large and creamy, perfect even with those huge visible veins. I just want to put my face between them. I want to pull that shirt further down and see if the nipples are as perfect as the mounds. I want to suck on them…I wonder if she would like that? Since she’s wearing that low-cut shirt, she must want people to look. She keeps smiling at me. I wonder if she’s into me. I shouldn’t be looking. I wish I could touch them. I bet they feel as awesome as they look. Are they real? She said she had two kids, they’re too perfect to be real. Wait, don’t you remember reading about those women in Africa with perfect breasts who don’t even wear shirts or bras? It’s a genetic thing. She’s got awesome genes, awesome breasts. I just want to take those breasts home and make them my wife (only legal in five of the 50 states, one federal district, and one Indian tribe) and have them doing the cooking and the cleaning and the child-rearing and she better not give me no lip about it cause a woman’s place is in the home…sorry, sometimes the lesbian in me channels the male chauvinistic pig in me.
I’ve been watching a lot of documentaries lately, many of them focused on the blurring gender lines and on sexuality. I think I can somewhat relate to the confusion that some of those people might have felt. I’ve never wanted to be transgendered or anything, but I think I always felt that I was more masculine than I ought to be and overcompensated by wearing dresses WHILE I climbed trees and played with cars in the dirt. I tried to be feminine, to wear makeup and pretty clothes and gussy up myself in the mirrors, but I never felt woman enough. Sometimes my breasts did feel like a burden, but I never wanted to get rid of them. I just had trouble reconciling myself with how I presumed others saw me and how I presumed society wanted me to be. I didn’t have the woman’s body that magazines said I should have, so I must not have been woman enough.
As I have aged, my body has betrayed my femininity even more. Even as my breasts have filled out more and my hips and waist have taken on those woman curves, I have grown a beard, a mustache, sideburns, and stray hairs have even cropped up on my chest and abdomen. I’ve always had an aversion to shaving my legs, and my arms have gotten hairier as the years go by, so I look even more masculine at times. And while I was blessed with two beautiful daughters, my body has also expelled three other babies before they were gestated enough to survive. I know that I could work out vigorously and remove all the unwanted hair by various means and purchase cosmetics to emphasize my good features, such as my eyes (which I’ve always liked). But why should I have to?
So many people are worried about that blurring of gender lines, as if the world’s problems could all be traced back to it and could all be cured if those lines were more clearly drawn. As kids, even if our parents don’t mean to do it, we’re taught those lines. Women wear pink and men wear blue. Women have breasts and men don’t. Women have long hair and men have short hair. Men have beards and women don’t. But then we grow up, and we start to notice that men can wear pink and some women don’t have breasts and men can grow long hair and women can grow beards.
I think the gender lines need to be blurred. If nature had meant for them to be so clearly drawn, hermaphrodites wouldn’t exist, and for that matter neither would transgendered people or homosexuals. I don’t think cross dressers exist outside of humans, but that’s because dressing is a human thing. But other creatures exhibit homosexual traits and other creatures are hermaphroditic.
“When did you first decide you were gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered?”
“I don’t know…when did you first decide you were black?”
Aside from my physical confusion about my own gender identity as a child, I knew that I thought girls were attractive, but apparently I wasn’t supposed to think that, because girls are supposed to like boys, that’s where the gender lines are drawn, right? I also liked boys; as an adult I know that I am bisexual, and that’s okay, but I fell in love with a man. I married him; we have two children. I never wanted and still wouldn’t want to remove my female body parts, but I wish that society could accept that there are no clear distinctions when it comes to male and female–there’s a broad spectrum of gender identities and sexual orientations, and that’s okay.
I am a woman. I am attracted to both men and women. I have a beard AND breasts. I shave on special occasions and rarely wear dresses. And that’s okay.
Ani Difranco–I am a poster girl with no poster. I am thirty-two flavors and then some, and I’m beyond your peripheral vision, so you might want to turn your head, cause someday you’re going to get hungry, and eat most of the words you just said. Both my parents taught me about good will, and I have done well by their names, just the kindness I’ve lavished on strangers is more than I can explain. Still there’s many who’ve turned out their porch lights, just so I would think they were not home, and hid in the dark of their windows, til I’d passed and left them alone, and god help you if you are an ugly girl, course too pretty is also your doom, cause everyone harbors a secret hatred for the prettiest girl in the room, and god help you if you are a pheonix, and you dare to rise up from the ash. A thousand eyes will smolder with jealousy while you are just flying back.