Saturday, June 25, 2011

angry rant written June 20th 2011, on the bus from Iraq to Turkey

Backpacking alone through the Middle east has taught me a lot of things, but nothing perhaps so important or as opinion affirming as how much gender is an illusion.

I have always been a pretty staunch 'feminist' i guess, (since i made my mom cut all my hair off into a boy cut, at the age of 4 and wore only my brothers clothes) but this whole experience of backpacking through a very "gendered place", where, lets face it, men dominate and rule the room...has furthered my radical beliefs more than i could have ever even imagined.

After lugging my own 30 pound backpack around for 6 weeks, through heat and humidity, on buses and trains and taxis where men's wandering hands somehow find their way onto my mosquito-bitten knees... peeing in all manner of filthy squat toilets, deflecting the constant glare of hundreds (if not thousands) of beady male eyes....all independantly, with my own scant amount of money and wits and not much else, there is nothing, truly, not a thing, not even taking a leak standing up (which i have virtually perfected at this point), that a man could do that i couldn't. i have never felt so strong and so completely self sufficient than i have on this adventure.

And so naturally... i get tired of the assumptions. That somehow, because I share the obvious physical qualities of being a girl, that somehow i have something in common with the large kurdish women sitting in the front of the bus, draped head to toe in sweat-stifling polyester layers of hijabs and floor length coats, the woman who shows me the bare hand of her teenage daughter (as though, what, this child SHOULD be married by now?!), who asks me if im married, where are my children, blah blah blah...I am tired of bus drivers who try to sit me in the front seat, squished into these woman when i would much prefer where i was in the back, stretched out on the spacious empty seats, regardless if there may be the glaring eyes of a few smelly men about.

i get so very tired of all the gender bullshit, when its all so obviously rules created in another time, simple thinking for simple small minds, and i am living proof of this. I have no boundaries or rules to abide by, and am proof that there is no such thing as "typical female". Im sick of explaining myself , defending my habits...and also of being lumped into the category of "girl", as though there is only one thing that matters in life: whether you are male or female.

Yes, i am a girl.
Yes, i am traveling alone.
No, i am not a prostitute.
Yes, thats a tattoo on my arm.
Yes, i want the stronger apple sheesha
No i dont want the girly "mint" flavour.
Yes, i am wearing a skirt.
No, that doesnt mean you can take it off.
No, i am not married.
Yes, that is my choice.
No, i dont have any kids yet.
Yes, when i decide to have them i will still look and dress the same as i do now and wont cover my body because you cant handle looking at it without getting all excited.
Yes, i think its pathetic that i am here drinking coffee watching all you men have a nice friday night out, while your wives sit at home.
Yes, i have shoulders and arms.
Yes, i like them to be free and exposed.
Yes, they are probably stronger than yours and i could probably kick your ass in an arm wrestle if we were allowed such public displays of male/female contact.
Yes, i am wearing makeup because i like the way it looks, not because i want to look pretty specifically for you.

I am not a female. I am a human.

Now get over it.

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