Dear Gender

Dear Gender

by Emma Bishop

Gender,
I have a habit of disobeying you.
When I was a child
I’d play street hockey with the boys,
Read books about dinosaurs, stars, animals,
Everything in that world that sparked my interest
But for some reason
Every holiday, my grandparents gave me
Something for a girl
A scrapbook with a pink felt cover shaped like a flower,
Or a barbie doll.
What are these strange rules?
Why do we limit who others can be?
Why is it while working at a summer camp
The other leader says the girls will want to wear tiaras
And the boys wield swords?
Why is it my mother’s friend gives me a set of makeup
But not my brother?
Why is it she offers to wax my legs
As if it’s a rite of passage
For every girl
Growing into herself.
Why is it the girls on my soccer team say they need to shave?
Who’s making them?
Why is it I wore a dress to graduation?
Why is when I cut my hair, people told me they missed my long hair
As if their opinion mattered?
Gender,
We’ve had a strange relationship
But maybe I’m starting to understand you

Now that I have short hair, don’t shave or wear makeup,
I finally see myself.