Thursday, September 8, 2022

Everybody Performs A Gender

What Do Trans People Have To Do With Me?

Everybody performs a gender. We are all taught how to perform a gender that will be “read” by an external culture (Cooper, 113-114). Anything from clothing, to mannerisms, to food consumption are correlated with gender. One can easily observe that people who were assigned male at birth generally learn to move in broader motions and take up more physical space, while people assigned female at birth tend to learn to move in a much more restricted manner. Clothing stores are nearly always sectioned into two categories based upon gender, and the clothing from these sections is drastically different in terms of style, fit, and available options. Finally, when was the last time that your male co-workers flocked the salad bar at lunch?

There is a plethora of more ways that gender works within our lives, and we can begin to understand how these have influenced our lives by “looking at the lenses of gender, not simply through them” (Cooper, 114). No doubt, we tend to make totalizing assumptions about people based solely on their gender which determine both how we understand their performance and how we interact with them.

There are a collection of somewhat intangible rules that normalize and regulate gender performance within our culture. Many of these rules around gender have become more flexible in recent years, but they still have a profound impact on the way we live our lives. For example, in western culture it is now socially acceptable for women to wear pants, but it is not socially acceptable for men to wear skirts. Here is a story with a video clip from mainstream media about a student who was sent home from school for wearing a skirt.

It is no secret that people who transgress gender norms are punished for doing so. The example above did not result in physical harm, but it is the tamest of examples for the punishments we all receive when we transgress gender boundaries. Is it not possible that such punishment is that which maintains gender norms and rules? The violence of gender assimilation impacts EVERYONE’s life.

No comments:

Post a Comment