As a child dress up was always one of my favorite games. My friends and I would put make up on each, put on our fanciest dresses and walk around our street like we were on a runway. Playing dress up was a regular activity for us so when my next-door neighbor Kevin wanted to join us we never thought it was an issue, we quickly found out we were wrong. One day we put Kevin in our hot pink tube dress, a matching hot pink hat, with some high heels and he was ready to go. His turn on our runway down the street only lasted about half way past one house when we saw his father running after us. Shortly after his father gave all of us a speech about how boys are not supposed to wear girls clothing. We obviously chose not listen to his father and instead just helped him dress up as a girl behind closed doors.

It took me a few years to understand why Kevin’s dad did not want him playing dress up with us. He was not following societies idea of how a boy should be acting.  I’m sure his father would have rather seen him playing soccer with his brother and friends because that is what ‘boys’ do. When I read Toril Moi’s proposal of the lived body replacing the distinction between sex and gender I understood how it could be beneficial. Moi proposes that the lived body will refer to specific facts of physical body including sexual and reproductive differences. The lived body would have the physical facticity of a ‘woman’ or ‘man’ each with differences in sexual feelings and desires. People would experience their desires and feeling in different ways that do not neatly correlate with sexual dimorphism or heterosexual norms.

The lived body would refuse the distinction between nature and culture that grounds a distinction between sex and gender. Because the body learns a very young age what is culturally expected of them, the lived body would always be encultred eliminating this problem. We learn what is required to be a ‘man’ or a ‘woman’ by observing the people around us. The lived body would be helpful to people like Kevin because he would not be punished for wanting to wear girl clothing. People would have the choice to be who they want without worrying about they are viewed in society. The question is if society would accept the lived body or do people feel too comfortable with gender?

Advertisements