For this blog post I am looking at Caitlyn Jenner’s recent transition from male to female. The question that we are asked to answer is if a person needs to accept society’s definition of male or female. In short, no; I do not believe that anyone should have to force themselves into or limit themselves to what society decides is “black and white” of what defines a person as male or female, I believe there are shades of “grey.” From the hormonal stance of this argument, everyone produces both testosterone and estrogen. It is present in both male and female bodies. Levels of both vary from person to person. If this is a component of what inherently makes us feel feminine or masculine than this complicates things. With these varying levels it make the argument for gender being more on a spectrum rather than on one side of the fence or the other. A women’s hormone levels change throughout her cycle. I think the most important aspect of gender is how that person feels. There are so many gray areas like we saw with the video we watched this week with Ruby Rose, gender can be fluid and complicated. Somedays someone could be embracing their more feminine side and other days they could be choosing to show their more masculine characteristics. I think everyone has aspects of both, I think the weirdest thing to think about is that the activities or qualities we label as masculine or feminine are merely assigned by a society and reinforced to children by adults by positive and negative feedback. There is nothing biologically that makes cooking or fashion feminine, yet our society assigned these genders to these activities. And as a consequence, we give girls play kitchen sets and Barbie dolls and we give boys trucks and footballs. In my development and child psychology classes we watched so many studies on adult enforcing play with certain toys to children based on if the baby was dressed like a boy or girl. What makes a woman a woman and what makes a man a man is entirely up to that person, not society. I was born female, I identify as a female, I love being a female. I love wearing dresses and putting on makeup but I also love putting my hair into a ponytail, wearing no makeup, and walking around in sweats. I love being a woman but I also love bodybuilding. I love the strength I have felt as I have grown and developed my muscles. Some may label this as being a masculine characteristic, and that is fine, but I think it comes from a place of radically loving my female form and feeling empowered by it not reduced or limited by it.
I believe anyone can claim any gender identity that the choose given the fact that it is only a concept constructed by our culture. Our culture is not inherently right though we may believe this due to our ethnocentrism. A person should not be limited by their culture. I think denying someone the ability to construct who they are is wrong. There are so few things in life that can be truly just ours, gender and how we identify it should be one of these things. I am not sure who I would be if I was not allowed to figure out what I embraced and disregard as femininity. In Caitlyn’s story we saw her struggle. She was not allowed to express her feminine qualities so she went with embracing the polar opposite, and doing what she thought was completely masculine. For years she struggled with her identity of if she was male or female because of all these events. I think another important thing to note was that she states that this has nothing to do with sexuality. Sexuality is something that is also fluid and on a spectrum and does not correlate to gender what so ever. You can identify as female and prefer female sexual partners, or male, or both, or none. The two are not related at all. One is who you feel you are as a person while the other is what you are attracted to.