supplementary note on percentages and gender beyond whiteness
November 13, 2012
One thing I wanted to supplement that ask I answered this morning re: percentages of men/women/everyone else in a world beyond a whiteness enforced gender binary.
He guessed it at something like 50%.
But, and I’ve written about this elsewhere, this story of who would be what gender in a world beyond whiteness is further complicated when you take into account that something like ‘bakla’ doesn’t exclusively denote gender. It is also about sexuality. So. I consider a Filipino cis man who is attracted to other men to be just as bakla as I am. No difference. We live and express it in a different way, to be sure, but it applies to us both, equally (should this man ID as bakla).
Moreover, as girljanitor recently wrote (and, do I ever have more to say about this), these words are also about more than just seemingly static notions of gender or sexuality, but about the roles we play and places we occupy within our communities.
For me, as my own experience teaches me and my knowledge reveals, being bakla isn’t just about an ontological state of being but also a dynamic and relational process that changes, shifts, updates based on whom I’m interacting with, where I am, and what I hope to be.
I’m not really sure that this sort of situation would ever be adequately represented or described in a census or numerical count of a population. How could it? What if I’m only a woman while serving certain ritualistic functions in my community? What if, when I enter my own home, I’m a mix of something else. And when I grew up I was boy?
How do you count this? All are true. All are true at the same time but some are more true at others. A real accounting of the number of people of each gender in such a situation would have to give a tick for three different categories. And, then, maybe the end number of ‘gender/sexualities/roles’ would be higher than the actual population.
Part of the problem with anthro and other social sciences, particularly as they become more data driven and use more and more stats, is that they truly come to believe that the human experience can be adequately quantified. That averages, sums, one-to-one mappings, regressions, etc. actually do more than they can.
Numbers, math, stats are beautiful and powerful tools. But so is a hammer. And while a hammer can tell us a lot about who used and/or created it, it can never tells us about how satisfied it’s wielder was when they successfully completed a project.
I guess what I’m saying, ultimately, is that I don’t find this question or line of inquiry very useful at the moment. I’m not sure what purpose it would serve.
Not when there is still so much work needed for decolonization. Relearning history. Forging new rules and traditions.
Just plain living.
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