Being Gendered + Comedy or Tragedy?
I started looking into my memories when Anne asked us when we first felt gendered. My mother tells me that I had a “girly” phase when I was three, where I’d wear lots of pink dresses and lacy gloves and a white hat with a pink ribbon. Instead of sleeping with a particular stuffed animal, I’d bring my favorite object of the day into bed. Once it was the frying pan from my kitchen set, and once my new pair of shoes. But I grew out of that, and my mom bought me overalls and other clothes that didn’t have a particular brand or princess on it, and let me grow out my Dorothy Hamill.
Now I wonder if my gendered phases in my childhood caused how I’m gendered now—well, I’m certain they affected it somehow, but is it directly because of my inconsistent display of femininity? Or was I just born to be ambiguous?
On another note, I got incredibly invested in these characters in Middlesex. I was a crying mess at the end of the book, mostly because of Desdemona. Milt’s flying adventure had me yelling at the book to stop it, it’s too sad. Despite this, I think it was a comedy. In the movie Stranger than Fiction, Dustin Hoffman’s character says that if the main character “gets the girl” the story is a comedy. I’m going to stick with that argument because I know there’s a possibility of a happy ending in Cal’s life, especially since he does get the girl in a bittersweet, “last-stop” sort of way. I don’t think a story counts as a tragedy unless the main character(s) learn something important about life or themselves or something to that nature. Oedipus learns that incest is bad. Romeo and Juliet have to die in order to overthrow the petty rivalry between houses. Hamlet learns to do what’s morally right in a doomed situation. But they all do it beautifully. Cal does not commit incest, nor does he have to change social order, nor is he damned entirely like Hamlet. To me, his story is just his life, there’s no overt moral to it.