I chose option 1 for this assignment.
And the questions I am going to answer for this assignment are as follows: Does a person need to accept society’s definition of them as being male or female or of a certain race or ethnicity? Or can a person claim any racial or gender identity they wish?
After watching the videos and reading the assigned articles, as well as from personal experience, I do not think a person has to accept society’s definition of being male or female or being of a certain race. When I say this, I mean within reason. As far as being male or female, you are the only one whose opinion matters. You are the only one who can define that for yourself. No one else will ever be in your body and be able to tell you how you think, feel, and see the world. Male and female are just social constructs created by society just like race is. There are many different types of people in the world and each one has the right to say if they are a male or a female. Who are other people to make that decision? Going back to the video interviews from Caitlyn Jenner, she is the only one who gets to decide if she is a female. Who are other people to tell her she is a man just because she lived most of her life as a man? Who are other people to say she is a man because on the outside, her genitalia presents as a man? Who are other people to say she is a man just because she sounds like a man? No one has the right. She told us she started taking drugs for the transition back in the 1980’s and decided to stop because she feared how it would look as a public figure and how it would look for her children. But she has always been and always will be a women and no one, not us as a society or us as individuals, can tell her she is not a women. Along with this, we see the video with Ruby Rose and how she goes from what society sees as a women – make up, long hair, tight skimpy clothes, cleavage – to her version of being a women or whomever she identifies as – chest binds, a strap on penis, short hair, no make up, tattoos. We define ourselves not society. And we do not have to justify ourselves and how we identify to others because honestly its none of their business.
As far as race goes, I think people should claim a race as long as it has some truth to it. For example, Native American people have a lot of advantages to claiming their Native American heritage and belonging to a tribe. Someone who is of Asian decent should not be able to claim Native American as their race if they are not remotely Native American. Same goes for African American people. If you are of African decent and you are not Caucasian, you should not be claiming Caucasian as your race. Gender identity is way different than race identity. With race, your DNA tells you what racial culture you belong to. For example, my mother is Caucasian and my father is African American which means I am 50% of each. Because of this, I can claim either or both as my race but I would not be able to claim being of Asian decent. Your race is what you are literally a mix of so that to an extent can be chosen and claimed by a person. Gender identity, on the other hand, is a whole other world. You can be born with male parts and have the personality and mind set of a women and vice versa. That is something that can be chosen but also cannot. With that, you can decide to live as the gender identity you were given at birth or the one you truly are but there is no wrong answer like there potentially is with claiming a race.
Like it is stated in the “What Makes a Women? article, you cannot pick up a brain and tell if it is from a male or a female. There is no way to tell from looking at it. To be honest (not mentioned in the article), you cant even tell one’s gender identity from looking at parts of skeleton because the person could have been born one gender but identified as the other. With race, you most certainly can look at a skeleton and tell the person’s racial decent. You can’t tell what they “identified as” necessarily, but you can say what they actually are. To be honest though, both are muddy waters to walk on because everyone has opinions of both and not everyone will end up agreeing. So it is one person’s opinion over the others.