Gender, is it preordained or learned? With today’s society there are many complexities when trying to understand gender and what it really means to define it. The stereotypes of what are femininity and masculinity have been set for ages. Who is to say that everyone should or will fall into a stereotype? Women don’t have to wear dresses and enjoy shopping, men don’t have to play sports and be rugged, and not all do. In the essay “Rooster at the Hitchin’ Post” the author, David Sedaris, uses both himself and his brother as examples to show that Sedaris suggests that gender is how you chose to be. Having similar experiences as a child not being able to meet up to female standards in the eyes of my mother and my brother being a more epitome child than myself, I agree with his position.
In “Rooster and the Hitchin’ Post” Sedaris starts off the essay by describing both him and his brother as children. Sedaris is very clean more mindful of his words and more in touch with his feelings, his brother Paul, on the other hand was rough, showed little emotion and loved to go and play sports. Despite the efforts of Sedaris and his sisters Paul was the perfect son his dad had always wanted. His father finally had a tough son that loved sports and was very active in them. While Paul was outside or spending time with his father, Sedaris preferred to keep company with his sisters and mother. Sedaris enjoyed being clean and had more manners and enjoyed being able to have meaningful conversations with the females. Paul and their father always had so much in common while Sedaris always felt out of place when trying to spend time with them.
Growing up my mother tried to mold me into her ideal girl, the kind of girl that spends most of her time in the kitchen and spends her weekends painting her nails and finding new hair styles. Much like Sedaris’s father tried to do with him with his attempt at manly moments and sports equipment. I always had a pink room with tons of dolls and the latest Barbie’s. I would always go and steal my brother’s hot wheels and monster trucks and run over the dolls. Each Barbie I would decapitate and then dismember the rest of the body. To my mother it was not lady-like and not how a young girl should spend her time. I just thought she should buy me toys I actually liked.
Not only was I disappointing as a child but as a teen as well. Instead of hanging out with girls and having slumber parties I almost always hung out with guys. I always felt more comfortable and relaxed with them rather than being annoyed and uneasy around other females. Every day I’d have another “weird guy” over as my mother use to say. I still never showed interest in anything my mother deemed acceptable for a young lady to partake in. In the beginning of High School I joined JROTC (Junior Office Training Corp) where I was on the raider team and competed doing obstacles and other challenges in strength, later I also joined the drill team. Instead of cheering on the side of a field, I was on one either running through water filled trenches or spinning a fifteen pound rifle around. It became my life, a life my mom could never completely understand. Like Sedaris and his father my mother and I just never seemed to be able to bond over anything. Not only did Sedaris and I both not fit the ideas of our parents as kids but both of our brothers fulfilled their dream child.
Paul always got along well with his father and did as he wanted being a manly man playing sports and just being your typical guy. As for my brother, Brandon, he also fit perfectly into my mother’s vision. Brandon loved to cook loved to shop and always wanted to spend time with my mother. I was quite the opposite. Even towards adulthood I hated doing anything of the sort. I much preferred to play sports and go to military functions with my father. This example is similar to how Sedaris was always spending time with his sisters and mother rather than the guys in his family. Sedaris and I both just fit into opposite worlds than the ones our parents tried to place us in.
Finally as an adult I followed the footsteps of my father and went into the U.S Army. My brother took a more safe and mother approved career path and became a professional chief. Mom talks every day about my brother and his accomplishments about what new fabulous place he is working at now. Paul did the same for his father going into construction, a very physically demanding job and then starting his own business.
Both Sedaris and I agree that gender is inevitable. A person is going to act how they aspire to be despite how much another tries to change them. Sedaris’s father couldn’t change him. Paul’s siblings couldn’t alter him. My mother couldn’t budge me on my guyish ways no matter how hard she tried. You can’t make someone into something they are not. A person’s gender is going be exactly how they want it to be.