Fuck normalcy, we all just want to be people let me live

“I felt as if I were looking in a mirror and finally seeing myself, rather than some distorted fun-house image.”(Clare 4)

At every turn, society has something shouting out some standard that we the people are supposed to meet. There’s a “should be” for pretty much everything.  This is especially true with gender norms because society has enforced such rigid guidelines for so long. To step out of the box, to want to be something other than pink or blue is unfathomable to some people. For other people, being able to step out of that box is a saving grace. It allows the out-of-the-box people to belong regardless of their “shouldn’t’s”. Clare’s retelling of his experience of feeling as though he looking in a mirror and seeing himself for the first time represents a coming-of-age moment that everyone has; the moment they start to realize who they are. Whether it is a physical mirror or a mental mirror, and whether or not Clare meant for this to apply to, everyone it does. The passage keeps displaying how uncomfortable Clare feels in his skin, and how he is constantly wondering his who he is. Prior to this scene of him looking in the mirror, there is just an obvious lack of security revolving around his identity which is something experienced by all at one point or another. This lack of security comes from the standards that we are brought up with. In class we discussed the standards of what one is “supposed to be” and that statement is the problem.

Later on in the chapter Clare poses the question “How natural are the rigid , mutually exclusive definitions of male and female if they have to be defended…?”. (Clare 6) This further reinforces the whole idea of having to fit in a box, a really “rigid” box. “How natural?” not natural at all. Perhaps biologically the boxes of male and female could be more applicable but even then those labels don’t always apply. The fact that people are raised to fit into a box creates a warped sense of self. Its societal standards and reasons like this that Clare did not begin to see he was until he was older. Instead of being more sure of himself his whole life he felt confined and not fitting into the box must have been confusing.

4 thoughts on “Fuck normalcy, we all just want to be people let me live”

  1. I love the points you make about how society will always force us into a box and how that is pretty much an inevitable thing in our world. No matter what type of person you are, you are always a “type.” Often when people act outside of their given box (usually given by society), that surprises others. When people are multifaceted, it seems unusual and surprising to us, which discourages people from acting outside of their box. I wonder what a society without these boxes would look like? Would we feel more free?

  2. Your point about categorizing people is really interesting, and I wanted to talk about the fact that Clare calls the version of himself that other people imposed on him a “distorted fun-house image.” The “distorted” comes from the fact that before, it’s a version of him to some extent, but it is not an accurate reflection until this moment where he is finally seeing himself. The “fun-house image” sounds like it’s coming from a circus or something like that. I can’t decide if I think the circus idea might relate more to our messy attempts at categorizing a world too complex to categorize, or if the world itself is the circus and we are just living in it. Maybe a little bit of both. It comes down to how we define our reality, and even how we define time. Or whether it is worth defining anything at all.

  3. I really like this post because it touches on how important inclusivity is. Moreover, it touches on the importance of validating people’s existence and how acknowledging one’s identity is extremely important. This response also brings up an interesting question: Why a box? Why is society so focused on raising people to fit into a box? What is the worst that can happen if these societal expectations are removed. Queerness will happen regardless.

  4. I really liked your second paragraph about how the boxes we are put in are not natural at all. I never really thought about how society’s expectations about what is normal are very hard to achieve. It is not natural at all to fit into these boxes but it is what is expected from us. For example, beauty norms in our society are almost impossible to achieve but are thought of as natural. I also really liked what you said about how trying to fit into these boxes can really mess with your sense of self regardless of your identity.

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