Thursday, February 16, 2012

Gender Performance

Gauntlett's article takes on similar arguments to articles I read last semester for Kirkpatrick's, "The Trouble With Normal" class. I was specifically reminded of an article we read called, "You Are Where You Urinate", which discusses gender performance in relation to public bathrooms. In the article, Cavanaugh argues that "the politics of excretion is relevant to GBLT communities" (19) because of the suggested constraints on gender performances. Gauntlett refers to Butler's arguments that gender is simply a performance and not an identity. Our gender, according to the reading, is not linked to our identity or biological sex but rather, is based on our everyday actions and performances. The Cavanaugh reading is relevant because it discusses how society influences how we perform our gender and the male/female binary of public restrooms is just one of those ways. Cavanaugh discusses how the act of creating gendered spaces is not problematic, but the tension comes when "gender policing" occurs. To refer back to Butler/Gauntlett, gender performance is inevitable and through our actions, we have maintained the norm of the male and female genders. By recognizing that our biological sex is not the only identifying factor of gender, we are engaging in a progressive societal movement towards gender equality and ultimately, gender neutrality.

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