Monday, April 7, 2014

A Word On Gender Conformity

"TAKE ME HOME IMMEDIATELY!  This pink Hawaiian print clashes with my fur!"

If you don't own a little dog and think putting clothes on them is cruel please read this post first- While today's post is not about dressing up dogs, you may get bogged down by the idea and miss the point of this rant.  The above link should explain my motives for doing such a thing.

I pretty much hate anything with the word "conformity" in it, but if you know me you will know that this one particularly gets me going.  A society that expects people to conform to some sort of gender norm is a society that sucks.  While I am happy that we do seem to be going in a direction that is tearing down the construct that there are "boy things" and "girl things" (or even that everyone is a boy or a girl) there are also a lot of areas that we still need work on.  ( For the record I am not saying that there is no difference between the genders, also I am not saying that gender expression should not be important to individual people, their perceived gender matters a lot to some people and there is nothing wrong with that- so before you go crazy google the subject a little.)  People should be free to choose what gender they identify with, express it however they want, and not be judged against some standard of how men and women are supposed to act.

I know I have been thinking about this a lot lately because of all the media attention the Christian Patriarchy/quiverfull/fundamentalist baptist movement has been getting (thank you TLC and the Duggars).  They believe that women should wear skirts and have long hair so that they can be easily recognized as woman (they also believe that they should stay at home, under their fathers rule, until they are married off to be ruled over by a husband).  They would say that in regular culture the sexes are becoming too hard to differentiate between.  Well you know what I have to say about that?  GOOD.  I don't care if people think I am a man or a woman, and *shock* neither does my husband.  We are not people who so closely identify with one gender or another to give a hoot about it.  But you know who really, really, does not care if they are misgendered in public.  MY DOG! 

My dogs are not some pawn in society's scheme to perpetuate gender stereotypes.  They are pawns in my scheme to make the world a little less gender conforming than it was yesterday (see what I did there?)

Sometimes I like putting Kerri in things with little flowers on it, because flowers are pretty.  I equally like the super soft, super warm Darth Vader hoodie I have for the girls because it is warm, soft and HILARIOUS.  For the most part, I really don't love how dresses look on dogs, but some dogs can pull it off and some cuts are better than others (plus if it makes people happy, why not?)  Buy see- if I want Kerri to have a blue collar it is no skin off her back.  She just wants it to fit properly and not hurt her.  Point here is that people with dogs should be able to buy what ever accessory they want for that dog without society making comments about their dog being "gay" or "poor thing" for having a "boy" outfit on.  The frustration just comes from shopping and seeing everything so clearly divided on gender lines.  Maybe I would feel this way if I had children too, I don't know.  I guess it just seems like marketers realize that adult women don't respond well to being marketed at in a way that excludes them from half the colors/merchandise/activity in the world, but for some reason it is still OK to market to dogs and babies like this.  To me it is just a bunch of the same stereotype manifesting in a different way.

Thanks for listening to my rant.  I will be posting about our trip to Sedona and Nova's obedience class success soon!


  1. Very true! Nola's "signature" color is blue (well, more turquoise/aqua than anything else). She's a girl, but blue looks incredible against her fur, and it's also my favorite color. I also use lots of blacks, grey, greens and the like. While she does have some girly things (purple mostly), most of her stuff isn't "feminine" colors. Surprisingly, people almost never misguess her gender.

    1. Nola does have a fabulous collection of collars, I particularly like one of your blue leather ones, I was just surfing your blog to find one of your reviews so I could order Kerri one! I think Kerri and Nola have similar taste.

  2. I don't mind a causal correction, but what I find funny are people that get offended and huffy with me when I say the wrong gender pronoun for their dog.

    1. Agreed! I also find it funny when people apologize profusely for calling Kerri a boy, I usually tell them "she doesn't know, she is a dog." I also tend to say "good dog" instead of good boy or good girl, because my husband constantly points out they are not boys or girls, if we are going to anthropomorphize them they would be men and women because they are adults, so I settled on dog to appease him. One advantage is that when we are at agility class I am the only one not calling dogs the wrong gender half the time.

  3. We just go with the flow to be honest and if I get called a he I just laugh. Have a terrific Tuesday.
    Best wishes Molly