27 Feb

I just got my hair trimmed. It was about nine months ago when I decided to get this style, although it took a second cut to get it as short as it is now. I have a Rachel-Maddowish short cut. (Yes, my celebrity knowledge is so limited I have to reference newscasters for hairstyle examples.)

At the time I first changed from the long hair I’d had since childhood, I thought it was an ace presentation thing. Long hair on women, I reasoned, was read sexually by society. From what I’ve gathered, feminine characteristics are seen as flirtatious and sexual, and I as an ace person didn’t want to be read that way.

So shorter went my hair. At chin-length I was already looking at it and planning on going shorter at some point in the near future. Especially after I found a photo of myself from when I was little and had my “boy haircut” that at the time made me cry (I had very rigid perceptions of gender lines when I was little) and my hair didn’t look bad at all.

Then a few months later I learned the word neutrois through sheer dumb luck, and I realized that the hair issue was not just a presentation issue, but a gender issue. It wasn’t appearing feminine and therefore sexual that was bothering me so much, it was being feminine itself that was becoming less and less tolerable. I still think that femininity is often read sexually, but I think the majority of my presentation discomforts are gender discomforts rather than ace discomforts.

I find it interesting that I reasoned it as an ace thing rather than a gender thing, though. I think it’s because I had never heard of neutral gender identities. I am the person who looked longingly at top surgery in high school and never considered that I might have gender dysphoria (because I knew I wasn’t a guy, or androgynous, and those were my only reference points).

I really don’t think that I could’ve come up with neutrois on my own like I came up with asexual. Gender wasn’t something I grew up with thinking people could be different from the usual, not the same way you learn about sexualities different from being straight. I learned about binary trans and androgynous identities later on, but that information still didn’t pry my brain open enough to consider that there was still another option.

It does really make me wish that there were just better ways to expose people to all of this: other sexualities, other gender identities than the norm. What if I had found out I was neutrois in high school, instead of during my last semester at undergrad? Would I have been comfortable enough to go to my undergrad’s health center and ask their psych staff for information on transitioning, instead of being in murky waters like I am now?

I’ve had years to learn about and explore my asexual identity, partly because I self-identified that way in middle school, but mostly because I’ve been able to read asexual dialogues online and take my thoughts in directions they inspired. I think exploring my gender identity is going to be a lot rougher on me — there is, of course, the added dimension of transitioning. Starting with a haircut is, at least, starting. But I have a long road left in front of me.


2 Responses to “Haircuts”

  1. maddox March 2, 2011 at 7:25 PM #

    First, I <3 Rachel Maddow, so your hair must look awesome.

    I'm glad you've finally stumbled into gender questioning (should I be glad?) and found something you can identify with. But at least you have the internet- a wonderful yet mysterious resource. Tread carefully. And other people. Tread extra carefully.

    I kind of wish I would've documented the discovery phase myself, so I look forward to reading more about this.

    • ace eccentric March 3, 2011 at 12:05 AM #

      Heh, thank you :) I have bangs, but it’s about her length.

      (I suppose so. Identifying feelings as dysphoria gives me more options than “maybe one day I’ll appreciate this!”, at least.) Ah, the internet. I’m trying hard to figure out where to find neutrois-specific stuff on the internet. It is not working out terribly well, but I will keep going.

      I want to try to write a bit about it, at least. If only to make someone’s Google-searching in the future slightly easier than mine is going. -_-;

      I scoured your blog earlier, actually, and it’s such a wonderful thing to find. I’ll go back when I have more energy to comment, and I may send you an e-mail. :) Thank you!

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