In the city nearest to where I live, there’s a hardware shop that sells suitcases and backpacks and locks and suchlike, and has a key cutting service.
In the window for a while, they’ve had this horrendous thing you see in the image to the right here.
Since it’s too small an image for you to be able to make out what’s written on the keys, let me help you. The options are as follows:
They’re pink. They’re glittery. And yes, your options are indeed virgin, bitch, or sex toy (and oh yes, skinny).
For those of you beyond the shores of the British Isles, the word totty is a term (originating in the upper classes) probably best defined as “women considered merely as the means to sexual gratification.”
This display pisses me off in so many ways, it makes my head spin. Polarising the genders (why aren’t men allowed pink door keys, then?), stereotyping women, and then dismissing them into a few demeaning classes. Yummy Mummy is borderline, because you might decide to give that to someone who’s a mother and feeling less attractive as a consequence, but taken in context, it’s just another version of YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE SEXUALLY DESIRABLE/AVAILABLE! and if you’re not, you’re a VIRGIN/BITCH!!
I posted this photo on a discussion board for genderqueer folk, and we had a great time picking it apart. And out of that discussion I found arising in my mind a response in particular to 100% BITCH, and knew what I’d prefer mine to say (if my door key were sparkly emerald, since I wouldn’t be caught dead with anything pink, sorry…)
So allow me to modestly present my new teeshirt, which I’m outrageously delighted with:
I’m especially delighted with this because as soon as I thought of it, I realised it actually expresses me beautifully! This is why I forked out the £8 to get a vest with it on (I wanted emerald, of course, but they didn’t have it in my size…)
I love the nebulousness inherent in the idea of 50% BUTCH – because in most people’s minds, butch is something you either are or aren’t, and is still so symbolic for many people of a very specific (and polarised) gender role or expression. Please forgive me for saying this (it’s my inner teen speaking, and xe’s a bit pretentious sometimes) but this feels like a fine and gentle act of Gender Dissidence. As the womandrogyne trans tomboy (with a hint of trans man about xyr) that I am, wearing this I am Schrödinger’s Butch.
I’m really looking forward to wearing it at various pride events this summer. And if you like the idea, you’re welcome to copy it – just tell people you saw it here first, because I’m feeling rather proud of this, it has to be said…
Just so we’re clear, I’m aware that the key thing is meant to be “just a bit of fun” – but it’s reinforcing the kind of stereotypical mentality that’s going to make every girl who doesn’t fit that tight gender-pigeonhole (and every boy who does – and that’s just considering the gender-binary people) feel excluded and dismissed and invisible. And I’ve had enough of that kind of crap.
Also, that thing the girl is holding? I like to think it’s a cold fusion reactor of her own devising. Because there’s more to her than meets the eye.
[For the curious/geeky: the vest font is HandelGothic BT]