I get a sick enjoyment out of watching shows like “Say Yes to the Dress” and “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.” Those shows clearly delineate gender roles: women are wedding-obsessed harpies, men are dull-witted things to be ensnared, The Wedding Is The Most Important Thing, etc. The occasional gay or gender-nonconforming person on those shows is often played for a joke or as a plot complication.
And yet, I enjoy the idea of someday wearing a ridiculous poufy dress and inviting all my friends and family to an awesome blow-out party. My groom will be a cardboard cut-out of Aragorn.
Despite bullshit television shows, I see our world changing what gender is, what morality is. Look at how morality changes: Once, a “moral” person didn’t have sex outside of marriage. These days, a “moral” person doesn’t have sex outside a committed relationship without their partner’s consent.
Along with the host of things changing in our world, I think we need new signifiers for what ‘adulthood’ is. Is adulthood when you get a place of your own? When you get married? When you have kids? Or maybe when you can support yourself? When you love people unselfishly? When you stop fretting so much about what other people think of you?
Well, I may still sleep on a mattress on the floor, but by God, I have a KitchenAid stand-up mixer. Between that and my good, sharp knives and cast iron pots and pans, I CAN MAKE ALL THE THINGS. Though I don’t have kids (God forbid), I can be the fierce lady in the kitchen who wields the power to feed people. Though, uh, my mom bought the mixer for my birthday.
Still not a grown-up. But getting toward something like it: the new definition of grownup, which is whatever I decide it will be.