Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Age and Gender

Obstructing Reality asked about age and gender. Well.

O.R. said, "In other words, if people read your gender that readily on the phone, do they also read your age?"

The thing is, people do not read my gender on the phone. They misread it. They think I'm a woman. Once they get that my name is Davey, they think I'm a woman with eccentric parents. The gender weirdness totally overwhelms the age weirdness of my name.

As O.R. knows, people often misread my age in person. But that's because they are correctly reading my gender (and misreading my sex) as male. Grown males are bigger, hairies, etc. than I am. Therefore, if they're reading me as a guy, I must be a kid. I think it has much more to with appearance than with my name.

Even if my name is part of it, the fact that people can't hear my name on the phone shows me that they're not thinking of me as a guy at all, and therefore have no reason to assume I'm younger than I am.

But just for fun, I'll relate one of the more amusing age-dysphoria moments I've had lately. Obstructing Reality was there. We were doing some outreach at a local high school, trying to get the young people from the Gay/Straight Alliance to participate in some broader community activism we were working on. We arrived at the school before the last bell, and signed in at the main office as visitors. About twenty minutes later, we were ready to leave, so we went back to the main office to sign out. By then the school day was over. We waited at the counter behind a loud, gregarious teacher who was blocking us from clipboard we needed to sign out on. Eventually he turned around and noticed us.

"Can I help you folks?"
"We're just waiting to sign out."
"The bell rang! You don't need to sign out!"
"Uh ... we're not students. We're guests ... of the GSA."
"Oh, I'm sorry. I thought you were trying to get off campus early."

When this happened, I had been out of high school for 8 years and was finishing a Master's degree. In Education. Thank G-d I'm not a high school teacher, heh?

1 comment:

Obstructing Reality said...

Quick thought on the profile thing - it's the only way to see your picture better, that could explain why people are looking. Also, love the link to Jewcy! Jonna's pictures are amazing.