Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Gender Transgression Day at Denison

                The Gauntlett reading emphasized a few points that stuck out to me and that I could relate to because of my involvement in and Intro to QS class this semester. Particularly, the ideas that gender is fluid as well as a performance were of interest to me. Finally, the idea of causing “gender trouble” is something that I feel I can relate to and have come to understand the importance of such an idea.
                In my queer studies class, we recently were asked to participate in a gender transgression day (my professor may look into initiating a campus-wide gender transgression day) during which we would perform a gender transgression. For example, the females in the class were asked to do something that was socially constructed as masculine and the males in the class were asked to do something that was socially constructed as feminine. I preformed gender in a more masculine manner by eating sloppily and talking crudely. Other women in my class wore neck ties while some of the men painted their nails or wore makeup. The reactions that we experienced ranged from avoidance of eye contact and being made fun of to whispers or an ignoring of the “oddity.” This gender transgression performance showed me that we are constantly policing other people’s gender identities as there are only a few proper ways for people to behave – masculine for men and feminine for women.
                In addition to this gender transgression day, we read a memoir about a Dierdre McCloskey who was born a physical male, Donald. The handout that we went over in class earlier today (2/15/12) in addition to the genderbread person really brought together the idea that gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and sexual orientation are separate and different concepts and one’s “placement” on along these continuums is ever-changing. Born a man, Donald’s biological sex was male; as a young boy his gender identity was “man,” his gender expression was “masculine,” and his sexual orientation was “heterosexual.” Throughout his life his gender identity, gender expression, biological sex (eventually had gender reassignment surgery àvagina but was still biologically XY), and sexual orientation moved all along the continuums.

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