The Importance Of Inappropriately Female By Daphne Scholinski 's The Last Time I Wore A Dress

The Importance Of Inappropriately Female By Daphne Scholinski 's The Last Time I Wore A Dress

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What does it mean to be “inappropriately female” and what are the consequences for Daphne? To understand how being “inappropriately female” was coded in Daphne Scholinski’s The Last Time I Wore A Dress we have to understand when this was happening. In the early 80’s when Scholinski was growing up acts of sexual and gender nonconformity were not seen as acceptable ways of identifying. Laws surrounding criminalization of gender identification and sexual orientation were just beginning to be changed and public opinion on the matter was still catching up. Daphne’s nonconformity came from all directions. She’d always been a tomboy growing up, played sports, hung out with the guys, and didn’t behave. She wasn’t the calm, quiet, or followed the rules. Her behavior seemed to mimic the sort of behaviors that society is willing to accept as normal for boys, so she was labeled as having a gender disorder. Her lack of interest in makeup and “pretty” clothes only served to help psychiatrists and those around her keep her in that box. Consequences for not fitting into the mold of a girl came to her from all directions. In every way, she deviated from what was normal she received backlash. At home instead of being the good little girl who didn’t speak up, was complacent with her parents wishes and fulfilled her duties at school she seemed to go out of her way to antagonize her parents, was outspoken at school to the point of misconduct and practically failed out of school. This brought in institutional and family trouble. Scholinski also notes that in public, like the roller rink, presenting as a male was something she could get away with until she was caught, she would be ostracized by the girls, made fun of, and intimidated by the boys. Inside...

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... clean, of conscious and recant her exaggerated tales of alcohol and drug abuse before she was admitted into psychiatric care. This is however not seen as her coming clean, she isn’t better, the staff and patients believe the opposite in fact. Her pleas of sobriety and confessions of previous lies are seen as an addict denying their problem and a symptom of her substance abuse; incapable of admitting to herself and others that she has a problem.
Daphne’s experience is haunting and disgusting, it was a failure on the part of society and her parents that lead to her wrongful admittance into these institutions. Gender conformity is overrated and she should have been left be. The systems she was placed into did nothing to help her and only hurt her in the long run. They were unable to understand and process what she was going through, demonizing her nature unfairly.

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