Dangerous Compassions

feminism 101

I was thinking some feminism 101–I remembered something I read a long time ago, when I was a kid.  It was in a magazine for teenage girls.  Never did I buy or subscribe to a magazine like that, but my friends did.  At a library, one might be left on a table, and I would flip through it.

Even as a kid, being normal was not my goal.  I eschewed make up, fashion, and many usual? girl things.  I was looking for meaning and connection, but not through products.


The thing I remember was a sidebar with a title like “turnons and turnoffs for guys,” and had the picture of each guy along with his statement.  Probably this project was doomed from the beginning.

The part that felt most ridiculous was a guy saying a huge turnoff for him was when a girl’s toenails weren’t painted.  I was amazed like wow, we have a responsibility to paint our toenails for you?  Like an unpainted toenail was reprehensible?  I’m guessing dudes didn’t have to paint theirs.  Such a strange requirement.

Maybe he had a foot fetish, or maybe he had a neatness thing going on?  Maybe later he became a beautician?  Who knows what that guy’s deal was, but I remember thinking that if relationship and sex with boys and men required painting my toenails, I would never find success.  People who valued something so irrelevant were not my people.

how to be desirable

Magazines like this, with makeup advice and “how to tell if he really likes you,” were a lot about anxiety.  Readers were nervous about love and tried to figure out how to be desirable.

Acting normal to try to get a boyfriend seemed very silly.  Any partner person I attracted would need to be a weirdo: this was for certain.  Appealing to regular people was not possible and not my goal.

But I was curious about culture, love, family, how societies are formed.  I didn’t want relationships like the ones I saw in my family and extended family, so what kind of relationships did I want?

pot of gold

Then I went on a huge queer journey, and Ming is the lovely pot of gold at the end of that rainbow.  Many women mention envying me, that I found a partner who’s kind, patient, loyal, generous, brilliant, and even good looking.

feminism 101

These women are often middle aged or elders, and some don’t understand that Ming is not a man.  To many people he looks like a man–to many, gender is binary.  They think a man is anyone with a certain type of package–they’re biological essensialists.  Part of their difficulty in finding a decent man is that they’re looking for a man.

Ming is non-binary, which I’ve written about elsewhere, and that makes a huge difference.  I’m not saying that men don’t know how to love.  But relationships with men have usually not gone too well for me, especially since I’ve been a full on adult and learned I have worth.

feminism 101

The main point of this feminism 101 statement is that I don’t exist to be pretty for anyone.  My toes doesn’t exist to give or not give a boner to a man.  They exist to help me walk.

I like having unpainted nails so I can get information.  If they’re pink and rosy, hopefully my feet are warm, and my heart is pumping blood around skillfully.  If my toenails are blue, I should put on socks and a hat or go somewhere warmer.

My toes are mine, as my body is mine.  Thank you for hearing my response to a random guy whose opinion has been troubling me for more than 30 years.

I hope you are loved for who you are.  If you like to paint your toenails, I wish you all the freedom in the world to do that, whatever gender or not-gender you may be.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

2 replies on “feminism 101”

i really love this post! i relate so much to being around girls’ magazines as a young kid and being baffled (but weirdly entertained) by the standards men seemed to have for us, and how much we were just kind of told to accept it by magazines with pink covers and cutesy graphics. i remember taking flowchart quizzes where it would list completely normal traits for human beings to have, that would lead to results telling me how a man could never love me because frizzy hair or braces or any number of inconsequential things. (but i mostly just enjoyed calculating how many potential paths could be taken per result and mapping the branching paths… go figure.)

anyway, i found this site through your guest post on awkward botany. i don’t have time to read a whole lot right now, but i’m looking forward to reading more sometime soon. 🙂 i hope this comment hasn’t come off oddly, i don’t interact with personal websites or blogs a lot but i just felt a connection with this post!

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