gender as a performance

The Politics of My “Lady” Handshake

It started with a business meeting between three men and me. Our law firm is contracting the services of a local accounting firm to assist on a multi-million dollar lawsuit, and the time arose to talk details with the accountant for the first time. After the meeting, we all shook hands. No big deal, right? Then, my attorney and I helped ourselves to the delicious pastries the accountant had furnished upon our conference room and began retreating back to our firm’s office. My attorney held the door for me, as he tends to do, and as I passed through, the accountant made an odd remark.

Bluntly, he exclaimed, “You have an excellent handshake for a woman!” (more…)

Boyfriends Who Look Like Girlfriends: Crossdressing, A Double Standard

A couple years ago, I read a book called My Husband Betty, about Helen Boyd learning to cope with her husband’s cross dressing. Back then, I knew very little about cross dressing, but my knowledge repertoire rapidly expanded as I delved headfirst into this page turner. Betty quickly became a favorite guilty pleasure the day I checked her out from my university’s library.

The book began with a description portraying the double standard** of how it’s considered sexy when a woman wears men’s clothes, but not vice versa. If a woman rolls around on a bed wearing nothing but her male lover’s button-down shirt, it sounds like the description of a perfume ad. We say she’s sexy, she’s sensual, and she’s acting out of love. In contrast, if a man did the same thing for the same reasons, wearing nothing but his female lover’s satin dress slip, it would be for grins. People would laugh at him, they’d ridicule him, and they might even threaten him with physical violence.

(more…)