Blog post week 5

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.

4 thoughts on “Blog post week 5

  1. I personally think that since people are divided into two genders, there must be a reason. If everyone has the right to choose to be a man or a woman, Then God should let us be born without gender, and when we grow up, we decide to become a man or a woman. (laugh) Towards serious consideration, if 50% of people use medical coercion because of gender identity disorder. Perhaps a century later, the ‘real’ human being is likely to be extinct. Here’s evidence, ‘we can infer that they live shorter lives purely because we know that the medications that transwomen take such as Estradiol, Spironolactone and others have known increased risk factors and associated diseases from their use. What is more, transwomen are often taking far higher dosages of these drugs than others using them for estrogen replacement therapy or men taking spiro for prostate cancer so the risks are much higher.'(Ariel Williams, 2014)
    So under normal circumstances, children always enter the world with a defined gender identity. Gender identity plays an important role in the individual’s psychological development. The gender identity of most people is consistent with the gender in biology. If a man has gender identity disorder, It is difficult to adapt to social life, and serious will form a “sexual heterosexuality”. This is a sexual psychological disorder. In psychology, it is all related to the obstacles of early gender identity.

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  2. I really like this post! I like that you pointed out that gender and masculinity or femininity can be on a spectrum. I think it’s really important as individuals who, as you mentioned, don’t have many things that belong to only us, we should embrace whatever personality/gender we want whether it’s masculinity as a female or being feminine as a male. I was intrigued by the Ruby Rose video on YouTube because it shows her at first embracing her feminine side with long hair, a dress, and lipstick, and then we see her transition into something she feels more comfortable as—a mixture of different feminine and masculine qualities and she is still beautiful inside and out. To touch on the topic of masculinity and femininity is children, do you think that gender roles aew instilled into a child at a young age by their parents? Or would you say from peer later on in adolescence? In my opinion, parents completely influence gender stereotypes and roles by how they raise their children—similar to what you mentioned about toy trucks and barbies. I’d be interested to see what type of traits a child would take on if they were allowed to play with whatever type of toy and wear whatever colors they wanted to.

  3. You make so many good points in this blog post! You are absolutely right that gender is fluid and on a spectrum. I specifically like how you explained that we each have feminine and masculine characteristics and we can be showing more of masculine than feminine on one day, and vice versa. I agree that the things we see as masculine and feminine are only seen that way because of our society identifying them that way, and that behavior is reinforced in our children.

    Reading the articles and watching the interviews with Caitlyn definitely enabled me to be more empathetic towards her. I was not aware of how long she faced the issues that she did. However, reading Burkett’s article made me think a little bit more about her story and her experiences. I see where she’s coming from in that Caitlyn, being famous as Bruce, did not necessarily experience the same issues that most women do growing up. Additionally, I understand Burkett’s frustration with Caitlyn just wanting to be a woman, yet she desires the characteristics of the stereotypical female. Yet, I don’t think such harsh criticism is warranted, because that’s the whole point of feminism and gender fluidity, to express yourself as you want to. What did you think of Burkett’s article? Did you think her criticisms of Cailtyn were warranted?

  4. Hi Bryanna,

    I definitely agree with you post, I believe that people should not let society determine their definition of male or female. If someone wants to identify as a female, they have the right to do so because there is no universal “female” experience or traits that make someone female. People are different and as such, if someone feels that they are a gender they should be able to live their lives out as that particular gender. The video that we watched this week titled “Break Free” touches on how people can break the idea of gender norms by shaping their own reality. When she decides to cut her hair, bind her chest, put on a prosthetic penis, and change into “masculine” clothing she is owning her lived reality by breaking free from the assumed role of “female” that society has cast on her and creating her own definition of who she is. A question that I have is, how do you think our society’s view of what’s considered “feminine” or “masculine” will change in the next 50 years? Or do you believe it will ever change?

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