Self-Discovery | Miranda Kargol | How My Gender Expression Has Changed During the Pandemic
The most unexpected part of the COVID-19 quarantine for me was my questioning of my identity.
At the beginning of 2020, I had just transferred to a new university and was preparing to start the second half of my bachelor’s degree. At the time, my only concerns were how I was going to succeed in this new environment and find some friends. Gender was the last thing on my mind.
Once the quarantine began, I found myself doing remote learning all day, living at home with my parents and having no contact with other people from school. My first impression was that I would be lonely. Yet, I had no idea how this period of time would lead me to look inward and challenge who I thought I was.
As it has almost been an entire year since the start of the quarantine and vaccines are starting to be distributed, I have started to wonder what life will be like once we can all go out into the world again. In doing so, I realized that my self-expression has changed dramatically since the start of the pandemic.
My hair is shorter.
My clothing is not as feminine.
My nails are never painted.
I don’t look traditionally feminine anymore. The process was so slow that I didn’t even see it happening.
The funny part is, I like it better this way. A year ago, I did not feel uncomfortable with my appearance, but now, when I think about going out into the world again, I cannot imagine going out looking the way that I used to since being stereotypically feminine does not feel authentic now. I don’t want to be perceived in that way anymore, and I don’t think that I can ever go back to the way that I was.
This is a phenomenon that many teenagers and young adults are experiencing as well. Some are raising the question of if they still need to wear bras in public even though they are uncomfortable. Others are realizing that they are nonbinary due to the long period of time not being in public. Some people have found new ways to express their gender through their appearance. These are just a few of the stories that I have heard, and there are many more.
While this was not an expected result of the quarantine, it is far from being rare. The world is going to look different once this has passed, and it is definitely going to look more queer.
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