I saw in the news recently one of the current teenage icons is describing herself as gender fluid. I guess what this means is she leans toward a more masculine persona some days and a more feminine one on other days. I suppose the upside of such a concept is that it provides many more options as to romantic involvements not to mention grooming and wardrobe possibilities.
From a biological standpoint I think it’s been pretty clear for a long time that no one is 100% male or female; that everyone shares genetic aspects of both and display both feminine and masculine behaviors, but ‘gender fluidity’ seems to take the idea a bit further.
It’s not like the concept is brand new. Androgyny can be found in quite a number of mythological and historical accounts. Among the Buryat people of Siberia androgynous individuals have gravitated toward and been quite successful at shamanistic enterprises. The Egyptian, Hatshepsut, wore a false beard when at court. The ancient Greeks were known to have favored beautiful young boys. Consider the androgynous likes of the goddess Athena or Joan of Arc. The artist Marcel Duchampe had a female alter-ego Rrose Selavy. The list is pretty much never ending. Androgyny appears to be a statement of personal freedom for quite a number of people.
Even so, I’m pretty sure certain institutions must view fluidity of gender with considerable disdain. Conservative churches and other groups like to keep things black and white, mostly, so the grays of malishness or femalishness won’t be acceptable. The Boy Scouts, who haven’t exactly exhibited preparedness regarding the issue, have recently acquiesced to social pressures and assumed a more gender flexible stance, much to the chagrin of many of their church and civic sponsors.
The whole issue, I must confess, leaves me pretty mystified. Dolls, such as me, may have been given certain visual signifiers which place us in one sexual category or the other but I can assure you sexual attraction or identity is simply not part of our makeup. To me the answer to this controversy is pretty obvious; when it comes to judging or attributing value to people, think asexually.