Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Poem: "Goldilocks and the Genderbears"

This poem came out of the October 1, 2019 Poetry Fishbowl.  It was inspired by a prompt from rix_scaedu. It also fills the "excitement" square in my 10-1-19 card for the Fall Festival Bingo.

This microfunded poem is being posted one verse at a time, as donations come in to cover them.  The rate is $0.50/line, so $5 will reveal 10 new lines, and so forth. There is a permanent donation button on my profile page, or you can contact me for other arrangements. You can also ask me about the number of lines per verse, if you want to fund a certain number of verses.
So far sponsors include: rix_scaedu, janetmiles, DW users Technoshaman, Ng_moonmoth, Fuzzyred

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Goldilocks and the Genderbears

Once upon a time,
there lived a little boy
with curly blond hair.

It was so long and curly
and beautiful that everyone
called him Goldilocks.

He loved his hair, and
he loved dressing up in
long skirts and frilly blouses,
but he didn't love the way
that his parents looked at him.

They didn't understand him at all,
and that hurt his feelings very badly.

So when his mother tried to cut off
his beautiful long hair, Goldilocks
ran away into the forest.

This was not a good idea,
because soon he got quite lost.

Goldilocks sat down on a log and
cried until he could cry no more.

Then he took out a handkerchief
and dried his tears and looked about.

"Well," he said to himself, "you got
yourself into this mess, so you had
better get yourself back out of it."

Goldilocks tried to retrace his path, but
he could not find the way he had come.
That was scary. Still he kept going,
and soon he found a different path.

"Where there is a path, there will
surely be people," he said,
so he began to follow it.

Soon he came to a cottage
in a little green clearing
with flowers all around it.

Goldilocks knocked on the door.
"Help, I'm lost!" he called.

But nobody answered him.

Goldilocks tested the knob
and found the door unlocked.

He knew that it was rude
to go in without an invitation,
but this was an emergency,
and that changed the rules a bit.

He looked around and saw that
the yard was clean and the garden
was tidy. The door was unlocked, so
this was probably a nice neighborhood.

Trembling a little, Goldilocks went in.

In the kitchen he saw a table
set with three steaming bowls.
There was a blue bowl, and
a pink bowl, and a purple bowl.

Goldilocks knew that it was rude
to take things that didn't belong to him,
but he had been walking a long time
and he was so very hungry.

"I'll pay them back," he said,
and left his allowance on the table.

Then he tasted the porridge in the blue bowl.
"This porridge is too hot!" he said.

So he tried the porridge in the pink bowl.
"This porridge is too cold!" he said.

Finally he tried the porridge in the purple bowl.
"This porridge is just right!" he said,
and then he ate it all up.

The warm porridge made
Goldilocks feel tired, especially
after a long walk in the woods.

Looking around the cottage,
he spied three chairs. The first
had a tall straight back. The second
had curves padded with fabric.
The third was a rocker.

Goldilocks sat in the first chair.
"This is too big and hard," he said.

So he moved to the second chair.
"This is still too big, and too floppy," he said.

Finally he tried the third chair.
"This is just right, and it moves!" he said.

Goldilocks rocked and rocked. It felt
so good that he never wanted to stop.
But the rocking made him feel
sleepier and sleepier. He got
so sleepy that he couldn't ...
keep ... his eyes ... open ...

Suddenly Goldilocks jerked up,
realizing that he had almost
fallen asleep in the chair.

"This is no good," he said.
"I should go and lie down."

But first he untied the golden ropes
that held the heart-shaped purple cushion,
because he needed something to hug.

Then Goldilocks dragged himself
to his feet. He was so very tired!
He made himself explore the cottage
until he found the bedroom.

In the bedroom stood three beds.

There was a big straight bed
with a thin cotton mattress
and a quilt of blue squares.

There was a medium canopy bed
with a deep goosedown mattress
and a quilt of pink linking rings.

There was a little bed with
a hammock instead of a mattress
and a quilt of purple stars.

Goldilocks lay down on the big bed.
"This bed is too hard, and the quilt
is all scratchy," he said.

Then he lay down on the medium bed.
"This bed is too soft, and the quilt
is all wavy," he said.

Finally he tried the little bed.
"This bed is just right, and it moves!"
So he rocked himself to sleep.

Soon the people who lived
in the cottage came home.

They were three bears: Papa Bear,
Mama Bear, and Baby Bear.
They went into the kitchen.

"Someone's been eating
my porridge," said Papa Bear.

"Someone's been eating
my porridge," said Mama Bear.

"Someone's been eating
my porridge," said Baby Bear,
"and they ate it all up, too!"

"Don't worry," said Mama Bear.
"I will make more porridge."

So she put a fresh pot to cook,
and they went into the living room.

"Someone's been sitting in
my chair," said Papa Bear.

"Someone's been sitting in
my chair," said Mama Bear.

"Someone's been sitting in
my chair," said Baby Bear, "and
they snitched my cushion, too!"

"Don't worry, I will put on
the spare cushion," said Papa Bear.

He brought it from the closet, and
then they went into the bedroom.

"Someone's been sleeping
in my bed," said Papa Bear.

"Someone's been sleeping
in my bed," said Mama Bear.

"Someone's been sleeping
in my bed," said Baby Bear,
"and they're still here, too!"

The voices woke Goldilocks,
and he started to cry.

"Don't worry, you're
safe here," said Baby Bear,
"even though you ate my porridge,
snitched my cushion, and
even slept in my bed!"

"We are Genderbears.
My name is Papa Bear
and I'm male," he said.
"My pronouns are
he, him, and his."

"My name is Mama Bear
and I'm female," she said.
"My pronouns are
she, her, and hers."

"My name is Baby Bear
and I'm enby," thon said.
"My pronouns are
thon, thon, and thon's.
Now who are you?"

"I'm Goldilocks," he said,
"and oh, I don't know!"

"No wonder you're upset,"
said Mama Bear. "Why
don't you tell us all about it?"

So Goldilocks poured out the story
about how he liked long hair and
pretty clothes, but he didn't want
to be a girl, no matter what people
said or how angry his parents got.

"That's all right," said Papa Bear.
"People have all kinds of hair
and wear all kinds of clothes.
If you don't feel like a girl,
then you aren't a girl."

"I never found anyone like
me before," Goldilocks said,
looking over at Baby Bear.

"Maybe you're like me, but
maybe you're like someone else,
or like yourself alone," said Baby Bear.
"There are lots of bears in the woods!"

"But how will I know?" wailed Goldilocks.

"That might take a while," said Mama Bear.
"You need to feel inside yourself, and
try different things, until you find
whatever feels right for you."

"Baby Bear's things felt good,"
said Goldilocks. "I'm sorry for
borrowing without permission,
but I was lost and scared."

"I forgive you," said Baby Bear.
"Everyone gets scared sometimes.
I'm glad that my things helped you
feel better, even if I wasn't here."

"This is what we shall do,"
said Papa Bear. "Today I will
walk Goldilocks home and talk
with the parents about genders."

"Tomorrow I will visit Goldilocks,"
said Mama Bear. "I will ask
the parents if I may take
Goldilocks to meet
some other bears."

"I want to come, too!"
said Baby Bear. "I know
lots of bears in the forest. I
have a genderqueer cousin
who sleeps under a quirky quilt."

"You mean crazy quilt," said Goldilocks.

"No, 'crazy' is a mean word, so we
don't use that," said Baby Bear.
"My cousin calls it a 'quirky' quilt,
since they aren't crazy at all."

"What does a quirky quilt
look like?" Goldilocks said.

"It has all colors and shapes
on it," said Baby Bear. "You'll
get to see it tomorrow if
your parents agree."

"They'll never agree,"
Goldilocks said glumly.
"I think they hate me."

"I doubt they hate you,"
Mama Bear said. "I think
they just don't understand.
So we shall help them."

"Do you really think
that this will work?"
Goldilocks asked.

"I'm pretty sure it will,"
said Papa Bear. "After all,
we're Genderbears, and helping
people think about this is what we do."

Then Goldilocks got excited.
"I want to do it all," he said.
"I want to meet other bears
and figure out my gender and
choose pronouns and --"

"Eat a little more lunch,"
said Mama Bear. "Come along,
everyone, the porridge is ready."

She refilled everyone's bowl
with fresh porridge and brought out
a yellow honeycomb bowl with
bees on it for Goldilocks.

"We keep a few extras
for guests," said Mama Bear.

"Thank you," said Goldilocks.
The honeycomb bowl made
him feel very special.

"Here, is this yours?"
Baby Bear said, holding
Goldilocks' allowance.

"No, I left that to pay for
the porridge," said Goldilocks.

"That's all right, you can
have it back," said Baby Bear.
"We have plenty of porridge."

"Thank you," said Goldilocks,
who didn't get a lot of allowance.

The porridge was very good,
and Mama Bear showed him how
to add milk so it was just right.

After lunch, Goldilocks said goodbye
to Mama Bear and Baby Bear.

Then Papa Bear took him by
the hand and led him outside.
"Don't worry," he said. "I know
how to ask directions and find
your home from here."

"Oh, good," said Goldilocks,
tagging alongside him.

Goldilocks still felt a little lost
and a little scared, but now he
he had hope that it would get better.

* * *


"Goldilocks and the Three Bears" appears in many versions.

It occurred to me to look up whether the term "genderbear" was in use, and it turns out that genderbear is one of the family of infographics that illustrate sex/gender dynamics.  It's available in several languages.  My one quibble is that is says "sex assigned at birth" when sex is not assigned at all, but rather innate, which is why people argue when society mistakes someone's actual sex. Since observers can be wrong, bodies can be quirky, and people can have sexual realignment surgery, sex assigned at birth may not match any of gender identity, chromosomal sex, hormonal sex, legal sex, physique, or other factors.

Gender expression appears not just in clothes and behavior, but also in other aspects of life such as decorating style.  Contrast features popular in masculine and feminine styles.  Genderqueer people may choose blended elements (maybe-colors like mauve) or create contrast by mixing masculine and feminine features (like a curved bedframe with a striped quilt).  There are also ways to blend different styles in a mixed household, such as using neutrals.  Here are some examples of gender-neutral bedrooms.  This graphic design article highlights more ideas.  Gender symbols include things like the Mars and Venus symbols, and a newer nonbinary one that includes a six-pointed star.  In this story, Papa Bear favors blue and dark neutrals with straight lines, Mama Bear favors pink and light neutrals with curvy lines, and Baby Bear favors purple with a mix of other elements including motion.

Papa Bear's bowl is dark blue and sturdy.  Mama Bear's bowl is delicate with a pink body and gold rim.  Baby Bear's bowl has many subtle shades of purple and mauve with dark and light areas.

Papa Bear's chair uses dark wood and straight lines.  Mama Bear's chair uses pink velour with plenty of pillows.  Baby Bear's chair is a rocker done in pink, purple, white, and gold with dark purple cushions.

Papa Bear's bed is dark wood with wavy natural gaps in the headboard and white sheets.  Mama Bear's bed is caramel wood with both straight and curving lines, melon sheets, and a frilly white canopy.  Baby Bear's bed is a curving hammock frame of tan wood with a hammock striped in blue, green, and purple.

Papa Bear's quilt has many shades of blue squares.  Mama Bear's quilt has a pink background with multicolored rings.  Baby Bear's quilt has a lavender background with six-pointed stars in many colors.

Tags: cyberfunded creativity, fantasy, fishbowl, gender studies, poem, poetry, reading, writing
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