Experiments in Masculinity: Part 2

You might be wondering why the title of my post is part 2 when there doesn’t seem to be a part 1. The short answer is that my site was hacked and they deleted my first post on the subject. I don’t remember exactly what I said but the basic idea was that I am trying to test my own sense of masculinity by pushing the boundaries of what society views as gender stereotypical binary behaviors or appearance. In any case, recently I ran into another experience which pushed my personal limits and I thought I would share it.

I needed to get a new bike because my old one was beyond repair. I went to the bike shopqueer bike and looked at the used bikes they had standing in front. As per usual, I went directly to the “male” bikes. I asked the salesperson about the different options and after looking at both the “male” and “female” bikes it was clear that the best deal was actually a “female” bike, it had a basket for my groceries (very important in DK!) and came pre-equipped with bike lights, kickstand, the works. Essentially, the “female” bike was the most practical and gave me the most bang for my buck, or kroner in this case. I am not sure if the salesperson could see the distress in my face but in my head I was questioning “can my masculinty handle this?”. I decided that yes, of course it could and you know what, I have come to love that bike, it is so practical and the gears actually work so I can almost ride as fast as a natural-born Dane (Danes are insanely fast bikers, just FYI).

After happily biking around my little town for a few weeks, I really don’t know why I had such a hang up before about riding on what can be identified as a “female” bike. Was I worried about random passersby on the street? No, not really, I wouldn’t see them again so why should I care. Was I worried about what my friends would think? No, not really, my friends could care less what kind of bike I own as long as it gets me to the pub on time. So if I don’t care what strangers think and I know the people I care about have no opinion on the subject, why did I care in the first place? I think it is the lingering doubt in my head from years of cultural pressure that tells me I am not stereotypically masculine enough, I’m just pretending. Therefore, I need to portray stereotypical masculinity through my appearance or choice of vehicle or whatever silly nonsense. Again, I come back to the idea that I am the only person that defines me and the more and more that becomes my baseline reality, rather than battling between my own identity versus what the world expects of me, the happier and more free I am.