Pax (funcrunch) wrote,

Magical gender-changing backpack?

I've been getting increasingly irritated at being called "ma'am", and thinking of ways I could subtly change my presentation without resorting to clothing or mannerisms that I'd find even more uncomfortable than the misgendering. I've noticed whenever I'm out and about that men very rarely carry tote bags, which I normally do when shopping. They're much more likely to carry a backpack. I used to carry a backpack to work every day, and of course wore one to school before that, but switched to tote bags or a messenger bag depending on the load a few years ago. I thought if switching back to a backpack might possibly help people read me as male, that would be a small price to pay.

So today I dusted off my backpack, a black Eagle Creek hand-me-down from Ziggy. I dressed as usual for the weather, in a T-shirt, cargo shorts, and running shoes, all purchased from men's departments, and a faded black AIDS Walk baseball cap. I put the backpack on and glanced at myself in the hallway mirror on the way out of the apartment building. Other than the gray sideburns peeking out from under the cap and the lines on my face, I looked like a junior high school student. Sigh.

I walked the half mile or so to Trader Joes, passing knots of tourists along the way and for once hoping one might ask me for directions so that I could test my theory. No such luck. Though actually, being invisible when out in public is what I prefer, so if the backpack grants male invisibility privilege as part of its magic powers that would be super too.

I did my shopping and went to check out. The male checker made small talk about the weather. The cute long-haired surfer type guy who came to pack my backpack and supplementary tote bag (as I was sure my groceries wouldn't all fit) said little, other than acknowledging my thanks to him for doing the packing. And I was on my way, with nary a Ma'am nor Sir to be heard.

On the way back home, I realized how much easier it was to carry most of my groceries with the weight distributed on my back rather than just on my shoulders. I realized I have little reason not to use the backpack, especially as it has multiple zippered compartments which might make it easier to avoid squishing food. (My bananas survived the trip unscathed, thanks to surfer guy's expert packing.)

So, no verdict on the magical gender-changing* properties yet, but a useful change nonetheless.

* A genderqueer person I followed on Tumblr, who was designated female at birth, once posted that they had a pair of headphones that had magical powers, as whenever they wore them they got gendered as male 100% of the time.
Tags: gender

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