How do we get past the constrictions of our culture? Boys taught they are always supposed to take the initiative (and thus face that ultimate horror: rejection). Girls indoctrinated to bat eyelashes, not step forward and ask for what they want (or be called sluts by their best friends who are better at accepting the gender rules.)
And body types — masculine, feminine — look at what the movies, TV, magazines, etc constantly reinforce. Duck lips and six packs. Women, the slim princesses, men the slovenly careless beasts.
It goes on and on—I watch the children being brought into the game. Pinks and colors for girls and black, navy brown for the boys.
David Bowie is a personality, a pop star, allowed to play with gender roles. I dare say most men are not given that license to even consider exploration in their everyday lives. Other men are always around to reinforce those masulinity rules, with a fist if necessary.
I'm in my seventh decade and as someone whose brain was not wired to fit into the extreme limitations of my gender in many ways I watch the world go round and the same patterns getting repeated again and again. (I came of age in the 1960s and there did seem to be a bit of an opening up, which has has some positive lasting effects, but it seems that in most ways in the mainstream we're almost back to the 1950s.)
Thanks for your piece on all this.