July 5th, 2005

fangirl, _schools4303

Questions on character and gender

ataniell93: "Is this Harry/Harriet genuinely transsexual?"

I hadn't actually questioned this before. I knew that it started out as a joke, but then when Harry actually embraced the role of Harriet, I was surprised that I hadn't seen this coming. Of course Harry was not good at being a boy, and since being Harriet made her actually be happy, of course she thought of herself as female, then.

But is Harry/Harriet actually a woman?

My response:

I'm not sure, as yet.

I actually get the feeling that Harry/Harriet would be parasexual (not asexual, but something transcending mere male and female) if society allowed. It doesn't, really, but female's a more comfortable mask to hide her tender spirit better, and Harriet can be a happy girl, a popular girl, with the same traits that made Harry an unpopular and bullied boy (and just a little bit of coaching).

Harry/Harriet's problem is that Harry's mother, instead of helping Harry cultivate a social mask that didn't chafe too much and choose his battles carefully, decided that there was no problem with him going about sharing everything he held most precious and dear with the entire world with no correction on anything other than items of fact. She would correct him if he spelled something wrong or wore shorts and sandals out in the snow, but not if he picked his nose in public.

When he didn't make the connection between "I smell funny" and "I get beat up on", she didn't help him make it. She went railing off about individuality and how society does not accept the true individual, and never helped him find the little ways to hide and compromise that most people who can function in society wind up finding. It would be great if we could all go about naked, mentally and physically. It would be wonderful. But we can't, so we hide those parts of us that can't bear to be touched. No one taught Harry about this, so he grew up inside-out.

By the time he hit his teenage years, I'm not sure anyone could have taught him how to be a socially acceptable young man, but Sally (a girl his age, the little sister of our heroine) saw that she could teach him how to act like a socially acceptable -- even popular -- girl. He accepted the challenge on a dare, but grew to identify with the role, and to a large degree, with the gender.

I think Harriet will continue to act, and almost be, female, at least until s/he reaches middle age, at which point s/he will have developed enough of a sense of self to uncover which, if any, gender s/he actually is. I don't think that her current identification with the gender is indicative of her true nature; I think it's more along the lines of a drowning person clinging to any possible source of rescue.

I think Harriet is somewhat more transsexual than Dono Vorrutyer.

Dono made the change because it was politically advantageous, and because one of Dono's defining traits is a need for/love of power. Donna/Dono will not want to be a woman on Barrayar unless/until being a woman on Barrayar has as much capacity for overt, socially-accepted power as being a man has. (On Beta Colony, it doesn't matter.) I think Donna would have made the transition to Dono with 20th Century Earth medicine if doing so gave her male status in the current Barrayaran gender-sociopolitical climate.

I think Harriet would not make the medical transition from male to female with current Earth medicine; Harriet would be more than happy to make the medical transition with Betan medicine. However, Harriet would not need to make the transition with Betan therapy and Betan gender-role ambiguity. Harriet wants -- needs -- social acceptance without compromising too much of who s/he is. And right now, that means looking like and acting like a woman.
  • Current Music
    things cooking
fangirl, _schools4303

Whee, household fun

Today turned into a day that was a whole lot of not-very-much. I decided against giving plasma, based on their holiday hours, how much sleep I'd had, the fact that I need a vacation, and the fact that my arm is at least mildly annoyed with the entire process.

I did do dishes, and I did string cable, move the wireless router to support having a wired portion of the network on or near my bed, and install a secondary phone by the bed.

I feel guilty that I didn't get hardly anything writing-related done, but I do need some time to let my brain rest. On the other hand, the comic is a full-time job waiting to get started.

I'm actually starting the process of serious planning for conventions. I want to see if blood money will get me to all the conventions I want to go to. Currently, I have approximately train fare to the 2006 WorldCon in my spare change jar. That's a start, at least. (Hey, I wonder if Fuzzy will be up for WorldCon 2006.) I have assorted Cunning Plans, if only Real Life doesn't get in the way. But then, fandom is real life, to some point.
  • Current Music
    They Might Be Giants - Battle for the Planet of the Apes [Hidden Track]
pretty, Francine

Dishes and glitter

In the search to make my perhaps not-so-humble abode more pleasing to me, I hit upon the adding of glitter to the inside of my translucent yoga ball computer seat as a capital plan. I could just pull out the plug and pour glitter in!

One problem with this did not become immediately apparent to me at my late-night clue-deficient state of brain: the inside of the ball is at significantly higher pressure than the inside. Cheerfully idiotic, I prepared the glitter to pour, and pulled out the plastic plug ... and spat glitter as the escaping stream of air scattered the fine metallic squares all over my face, my nightgown, the beanbag chair, the rug, and anything else within range.

Undaunted, I found the little hand-pump that had come with the exercise ball. I studied the parts, then unscrewed the plastic tip, and poured it full of the fine green glitter, then screwed the pump back together. I pulled out the exercise ball's plastic plug again, and stuck the hand-pump in, and proceeded to pump in what I fondly hoped to be be-glittered air.

Sadly, I could feel an obstruction in the flow of air, and I saw the shadow of stuck glitter in the white plastic of the pump's nozzle. I pulled the pump free of the ball, put the plug back in, then turned the business end of the pump towards my face and gave the thing a good hefty pump to see if I could dislodge the glitter.

This time, the stream of green and sparkly air hit me square in the forehead, instead of square in the mouth.

...After a few more rounds with the exercise ball and the green glitter, I elected to unpack that box of dishes that was sitting on one of my pantry shelves. This went much more smoothly and at least somewhat according to plan. I found that I had a lot more bowls than I counted on, as well as more shotglasses than someone like me can make use of under any normal circumstances.

Perhaps fortunately, I've been plotting about what I'm going to pack for the upcoming cons, with a mind towards clothing of equal utility and beauty, and I've decided that I'm probably going to bring some of the Blood Cordial, mode of transit permitting.
  • Current Music
    The Rembrandts - Drowning in Your Tears
grammar bitch

Grammar Bitch wants to know:

Two things, actually.

1) Where did "kitton" come from?

2) With the exception of a few carefully-supervised ironic usages, can we please return it, once we find out 1)?

Yes, Az-the-Elder, you're capable of supervising yourself very carefully. ;)
  • Current Music
    The Bloodhound Gang - Fire Water Burn
phone, cordless phone

(no subject)

Now awake for appx 21 hours. On cherry re-supply trip to sprouts. Yay dollar cherries.
phone, cordless phone

(no subject)

The people you see at bus stops can be freaky in the bad way. Where's the bleeding red line?
sad, greensad

Things that are almost, but not quite, entirely unlike wakefulness

I really do like Phoenix mornings. They're so quiet when you watch the sun rise, then evade the nasty rush hour, and wander around between nine and ten or so. If only I did not have to work afternoons and evenings, I could get to enjoy mornings a lot.

I enjoy evenings and nights perhaps more than I do mornings. Everything gets quiet and dark, although there are still kids playing, partiers partying, cars zooming, and birds complaining that someone else has more of the perch than they do. It cools off enough to make the desert bearable. It should cool down faster, harder, but all the asphalt and concrete holds the heat, and the water we import has created a little cloud around us, holding us at near-daytime temperatures until close to dawn.

If I didn't have afternoon work or reasons to need to be around daylight folks, I'd probably do what I'm going to do today as a full-time schedule: go to sleep just as the noon sun tries to sear out our souls, then wake up again when it repents and withdraws its overly-affectionate attentions from this part of the globe.

As it is, I can't stay up around the clock too often or I'll screw with my biological clock for work.
  • Current Music
    traffic outside; something by Benjamin Newman in my head
phone, cordless phone

(no subject)

Power outages suck. Note to self- plug router into ups. maybe I should brave the kids and go swimming.
running, bomb tech


Yay power. I don't like it when the power in Phoenix goes out, especially in the summer, because it can get dangerously hot if things are left uncooled for too long. I can always go soak in the pool. The stuff in my refrigerator can't. Or, at least, shouldn't.