September 22, 2008

gender as performance

Whereas sex is solely our biological make-up, gender is a social construction that distinguishes women from men. Gender is the way in which we can identify ourselves and others can identify us as male of female. The idea of gender as performance indicates that this distinction is one that we must act out; we must act a male or act a female in order to be identified as such. Most of the time this performance is subconscious; however, we may consciously act our gender in different ways depending on the situation and who we are with.
Judith Butler argues that “while gender is inauthentic, it produces the very real social conditions we live in.? While I do not believe this to be so, Butler believes that gender is unoriginal; it does not really exist. Society has constructed gender. In her statement Butler defends that though gender is not real, it decides males’ and females’ place in society. Men and women are equal, but the gender construction puts women at a disadvantage in society. Men are still very much superior to women in Western culture.
Changing the way that we “do? can affect the way we are viewed by society, yet there are limitations. I feel that no matter how much a woman acts a man, she will always be viewed a woman by society, placing her at a disadvantage. However, a change in our performance of gender can influence our societal status to an extent. For example, an ambitious, hard-working, intelligent woman can be respected as a man would in the workforce. Similarly, a father who chooses to stay at home with his children rather than work may receive less respect from society.

September 19, 2008

Week 2 Blog

Gender is a performance in my eyes. I never thought about how gender and sex are so different before taking this course. Many people "do gender" and they dont even know it, I know that I dont conciously do everything because I am a female. I think that "doing gender" is a unconcious way of life and the people that dont do gender are the people that others get confused about. In the one of the readings there was a section talking about how there should be five different sexes but i do not think that would solve any problems, I actually think that it would cause many more. Gender as a performace makes a lot of sense to me especially after doing the readings. To me gender is the way that you present yourself or how you act and the sex aspect of it is your biological make up, but that can be changed also. So it just depends on the person and their beliefs untimately because people from different places have a different aspect on how someone should act.
Question: The thing that confuses me is if someones sex is male but they "act" or give the vibe of a female is their gender female?

September 15, 2008

Week Two Blog

Gender is a performance. I get up in the morning and put on make up and it makes me happy. It makes me feel more like a girl. What makes me wonder though is who is to decide these gender roles that we perform unconsciously everyday? I guess we perform gender to be recognized by others, because humans can’t handle being confused about someone’s gender. We perform gender, because we are expected to perform it and that’s what we expect from others too. So it is like a cycle. We act gender to be categorized and identified.
It’s true that while gender is inauthentic it also produces the very real social conditions we live in, because we have been performing gender for a very long time and it has become real to us. I don’t think people stop and think about gender, they just perform their part and that’s their reality.
The way we present ourselves definitely impacts the way others treat us. The simplest things can impact the way others treat us, such as clothes, house, hair and so many other things. We always judge people and make a decision on how to treat them. When I am talking to guys I always present myself differently and treat them differently based on how they present themselves.
Changing the way we do gender would change our social conditions. If we all performed gender the same, then boys could talk about shoes and maybe play with dolls. There wouldn’t be categories based on gender. I think this will take time though and we have to be patient. I still would want to identified as a female, but maybe not perform gender, because it’s not something that we have to do.


Gender performance is very different than a performance in a play or even going to a themed party. With gender performances you cannot turn on the I’m going to perform this way switch on or off. Gender performance is done unconsciously and once you start gender performance the “gender switch? is permanently super glued into the on position. People do however; perform different gender roles in different situations. Gender performances are used to show the world and yourself that you fit into the categories that culture can identify you with. In our culture our brains cannot handle anything out of the norms and people “performing gender? easily allow others and the performers to place themselves into a category.
Gender is inauthentic because it is completely constructed by the culture that people live in. However, even though gender may be made up and inauthentic we are literally forced to use it in our lives making it a very real way of life. We may not like the gender categories or the fact that we have to choose the male or female box but we run into these REAL situations all the time. Gender is not considered a dream or a subject that we can avoid. If people ignore or try to change their gender they could face real life threatening situations.
The way we perform gender in each situation completely can impact the way a person judges or treats you. If women walk around bars in “sexy? outfits and bat their eyelashes the men are always attracted to them (where if they would do this in menswear they may not get a glance. If we changed the way we “do? gender absolutely there will be a change in how we think about the two gender categories and may change the norms.

blog 2 entry yo

The idea of gender as performance resonates strongly with me. Over the past week I have found myself in situations where I have consciously thought of the way I am acting is particularly “girly? or not so. I just bought myself a new bike; it’s a cruiser with a basket and a little bell, and I find myself riding it, chest out, tossing my hair in the wind, thinking, “I feel very pretty riding this hunk of metal.? It wasn’t until Saturday night, though as I was riding home from work through downtown and a group of guys (who I read very consciously as “guys? through their jeans and button down shirts, slight drunken swagger, and buzz cuts) called out “Hey! Nice curves!? I replied thanks, thinking they were talking about my newly acquired, very curvaceous cruiser. Unfortunately the compliment was followed by another’s catcall, and I felt very “girly? in a different, preyed-upon way. I went straight home before going to meet friends for ice cream, took off my boots and jacket, put on a sweatshirt and switched back to my road bike.
This is a direct example of how Butler says we “do? gender, not just individually but within our social culture, and how through interactions, performing gender is perpetuated. I consciously thought of myself as performing “woman? through the way I was acting, and as soon as another person recognized that, I reacted by changing how I was being read.
One thing to point out is that even though I was aware of myself as “girl,? it wasn’t until the point of interaction with another person, that I was acutely aware of being read as such. In other words, I was aware of my performance because it was different than my personal “norm? of Britta;Female. I just got a new bike, I was getting used to its style, enjoying sitting upright, not going so quickly, and yeah, sticking my chest out and tossing my hair. But I didn’t feel like I was performing for anyone, I was just riding my new bike and enjoying it. When the group of guys started the comments, I was cast under the social condition of female. While I was just constructing a performance, the way I was presenting myself led to a situation that made me feel badly and react. I was changing the way I “do? gender. Im not so sure that I was proactively changing the way I performed in order to improve my overall social condition, but I recognized the relationship between my actions and how others were reading me in a real way.
How this relates to the naturalization of gender I am still grappling with. I think the key to changing the social condition of the genders lies in this process, somehow. But this blog entry is already too long, so maybe we’ll try wrestling with that one next week.

Blog Two Assignment

Gender is something that we "perform" or "do" every day, whether we are conscious of it or not. It is the way we fit in to meet the expectations of others and so that others can recognize what we are. We were not born knowing automatically what was normal for a boy and what was normal for a girl. We were taught by our parents and the men and women in our lives, as well as the media. From the way we stand to the way we interact with others, almost everything we do (or rather, how we do it) can be related back to what gender we relate with. We are acting out we have learned to be the societal norms and views of what a man and what a woman is and how each defined gender should act. The way we perform gender is situational, meaning depending on who are "audience" is, the way we do gender can change.
Although gender can be seen as an un-natural, learned thing that we act out, it is still a very real distinction that affects who we are and how we are treated in everyday life. I think that defining our gender is something we couldn't live without; people need to be able to define themselves in one category or another and need to be able to define others. So it has become very real. And like we were discussing in class, our society doesn't let you NOT define your gender. When applying for jobs, applying for schools, and even on our drivers licenses, you have to define and mark down what you are.
I think by being able to define our and others' gender is also a way that we know how to interact with someone because there are huge characteristic differences between men and women. I think that if someone normally looked at as a woman (has all the biological woman parts) presents herself like a man or performs her gender as male, she would be treated alot differently if she were to perform gender as a woman. In our society, people need straightforward answers about gender for us to feel comfortable with someone. If we can't label what type of gender someone is, I think there is a bit of an uneasy or uncomfortable feeling that anyone can catch onto, because such a huge way of how we communicate (verbal and nonverbal) and interact is based off of gender differences or similarities.

Week Two Blog

-Gender is all about performance if you really think about it. How else would we know walking down the street that “oh, that’s a man, or that’s a woman?. We are constantly “showing off? our gender through performance. The way we dress, how we talk and interact with one another are just a few ways in which displaying our gender is seen on a daily basis.
-To perform is “to carry out an action or pattern of behavior? (Merriam-Webster dictionary). Therefore, when performing gender we illustrate what society has chosen as women’s mannerisms/looks and so forth and men’s. Every day we follow these behaviors and we continue the cycle of performing gender.
-Yes, gender is inauthentic, it seems to be just these ideas and norms that we confide to. However, it does seem to create a system whether good or bad, there is a flow to the concepts and ideas gender creates. By this I mean, that because there are different sexes, society has chosen to sort of divide us, this to me somewhat creates the “flow?. There are women’s and men’s sections in stores, women’s and men’s bathrooms etc. (and yes society does have its flaws when thinking about how there are really “5 sexes? not two). This is part of why gender is so real and we are constantly reminded of it.
-Gender performance definitely connects with social action which is quite interesting actually. The way we look and act has a big impact on what we think about each other, this is where gender plays an important role and why performing our gender seems to be so important.

September 14, 2008

Week 2- Anna Wakefield

Gender performance is something that everyone participates in daily. We act upon preexisting gender constructs and reinforce them by trying to imitate or embody the constructs. When we perform our gender, we are making a definitive statement to the world. We not only make a statement about ourselves, but we make a statement about what we consider to be a proper representation of whatever gender and/or role we have placed ourselves or have been placed in. Through our clothing, body language, and interactions with one another we not only claim to be a certain gender, but we contribute to the discourse that makes up our ideas of gender.

Personal perceptions of gender constructs develop throughout our lives depending upon the people we grew up with and the cultural circumstances in which we were raised. They may not be natural but we hold them dear. We know what boy means and what girl means. At least, we think we know. This is problematic because we are taught and most likely believe that gender roles are natural, while in fact they are learned perceptions. Everyone holds personal biases which means we tend to have very definitive beliefs about gender roles. Because we have had no other choice than to associate with one of the two gender options, we tend to be a bit limited in our capacity to question these existing gender roles. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes we position ourselves in opposition to some people or situations we may not fully understand just because they are new to us or contradictory to what we have been taught.

Richardson suggests “hyper performance of gender? as a means to diminish the power of these preexisting norms. When a woman fails to shave or a man decides he wants to wear women’s clothing, they are challenging the social constructs. Although they may not completely change the way most people think of gender they have raised questions which is important in confronting the current conventions. The more deviations from the norm we can see, the more closely we can examine our own perceptions of gender roles.

Blog Assignment #2

Performance: the manner in which or the efficiency with which something reacts or fulfills its intended purpose. There are many other definitions of performance, but this one fits our gender performance perfectly. Gender, to me, is an extension of one's personality. You are told that you are male or female, so therefore you act masculine or feminine. There are some women that act more masculine than others, but in most cases when it comes down to it they do something in order for us to know they are still female. We perform gender on a daily basis to fulfill our societies need to label and catergorize us. We perform so that we aren't so different from everyone else after all. Another part of performance means that it can be learned and changed, which is exactly how gender is. We learn how to act somewhat like a girl or a boy from the way society sees us, and we change accordingly in certain situations.
As far as gender be inauthentic, I don't completely agree. For some gender might be a complete fake, but for others it might be how they truely feel and what completes them and makes them who they are. Since gender is a "performance" it is constructed, which means that it is quite fake though. Gender, like i said, is how we catergorize and label people though, so it is what makes life "real." Without gender it would be a lot harder to know how to approach and sometimes treat people. It also gives people something to use to identify themselves, and for some its the only way they identify themselves.
The way we present ourselves definitely impacts the way others treat us, our social conditions, and the knowledge we have about gender. Depending on the way a people dress, effects how a guy or girl will think of and treat them. If a girl dresses more provocatively guys may think they are "easy" or "ditzy" and girls might think they same. On the other side of things, if a girl dresses more manly people may think she is a lesbian. Also, if a girl acts really athletic they may think she is a lesbian when she might just be a tom boy, or even just really athletic. Aside from the how we act and dress effecting the way we are treated by society in general, some people change their gender performance daily, depending on the people they are around. This is to make people like them more or to get what they want more easily. If there weren't restrictions, limitations, and judgements on "doing gender," our social structure could be totally different. The way we view men and women in the job market, family life, and power in general could be totally opposite. Lastly, if people weren't so afraid to be different and judged people could have more knowledge about genders in general. Most guys probably don't know a lot about girls because most girls are afraid to be themselves and do certain things that aren't considered feminine or okay for girls, around them, and vice versa.

week two blog

- Gender “performance? is what we “do? - from our outer appearances to our actions to even the way we make sense of the world, we are “performing? gender and representing ourselves as either male or female.

- Gender makes life real through things such as social consequences. For instance, on the show “America’s Next Top Model?’s eleventh cycle, the contestant Isis was born a male, but does gender as a female. The social outcome of this is Isis being mocked and generally treated poorly by some of the other contestants. Isis is clearly facing real consequences solely as a result of the way she does gender.

Blog 2

Performing gender is something we do on a day-to-day basis, without deliberately thinking about it. It is unconsciously choosing to behave in certain ways around certain kinds of people. For example, I have many male friends who feel compelled to “act like men? around their male friends, but behave completely differently around myself and other females (it probably should be noted that I am talking about heterosexual males, for it may be a little different for homosexual/transsexual males). The point is that there are expectations that we are supposed to adhere to in order to live successfully in today’s society.

Gender may be inauthentic, but the very real social situations we find ourselves in stem from the ways gender is displayed. If gender didn’t exist, life would be entirely different. There wouldn’t be categories and labels for people. There probably wouldn’t be discrimination against homosexuals, transsexuals, bisexuals, etc. But I think we really need to have categories in place so that everyone has a place in society. The problem is that not everyone does have a place; the “others? of the world are kind of lost.

The ways in which we present ourselves definitely impacts the way we are treated by others. For example, if a person is believed to be a female, people may ask her about her hair/nails/clothes, and if a person is believed to be a male, people may try to converse with him about sports/video games. Changing the way we “do? gender would be a very slow and difficult task, but if it could be done, I think the world would be a better place.

Blog Two

For me, gender is the performance of roles determined by our sex. For example, in our Western society, male and female mate and procreate. After a child is born, the mother stays home and performs the gender tasks given to her involved in being a mother. Meanwhile, the father continues working and being the breadwinner for the family. During this time, the mother ceases to work. Instead, her full time job consists of caring for the child. Obviously a newborn requires a lot of attention, and it's not always a singular effort by the mother to raise a child (baring a single parent family), however, generally it's the mother who takes on full-time child raising.
Though some may consider gender inauthentic, the idea of the nuclear family is so well-entrenched in Western life that it has become the norm. Variation does exist for example, such as the transgendered man who became pregnant before becoming a man. In that case, the man will be caring for the child more likely.
This idea of child-raising becomes one of the way women seem to interact with each other. One must present themselves as an always-caring mother lest others look down upon them. This means reading about housekeeping and children's books. It's not just mothers though; teenage girls are supposed to read magazine such as Seventeen and dress glamorously. Meanwhile, men read Maxim and talk about football and women. All of these perform the gender social functions set forth for male and female.

Blog Assignment #2

Gender is a social construct. With assuming this, we should also assume that every socially active person has knowledge of gender and experience with it. We see it in our everyday life, whether conscience of it or not. It depicts the way we "perform" every day and the way others see us in everyday interactions. When I think of performing, I think of circus acts, theatrical shows, and plays. In these cases, a person is acting as a character to entertain a group of people. So the same can be discussed with gender because gender can be a front, in some cases, that a person acts upon in order to fit into the social constructs of the gender roles.
Although we may not agree with the way gender is socially constructed it is a "real" existence within our lives. Gender is a performance because it depicts how a person is going to act.
When I think of gender roles and performance, I personally tune into how my parents interact within my family household. The gender "norm" for a female parent in the household is to take care of the house, children, and family needs. The gender "norm" for a male parent in the household is to work, be the bread-maker, and protect the family. In my household, my parents don't typically fit these stereotypes. When I was growing up, I would assume that my family was unhealthy since we didn't fulfill the socially constructed gender "norms." Unconsciously I was making an assumption based on the influence of the social construct of gender.

Gender as a performance is the concept that there are no inherent traits to one's gender; we only act a particular gender, subconsciously in our daily lives, in order to be more easily identifiable to society. By wanting to fit in, we see how role models and our peers conduct themselves and act accordingly. Yet even as we do this, our peers are also watching us for the same clues, resulting in a reinforcing cycle that defines what it means to be a particular gender. As such, it is easy to assume certain characteristics of a person, whether accurate or not, based purely on identifying their gender.

An even bigger point of concern occurring from this is that this necessitates that most, if not all, actions/performances are to be are divided between the two sexes. Adding in that these actions have values placed on them, a system where one sex or gender could itself been seen as more valuable to society. Redefining the gender roles within society would be an effective way of remedying this should it be a problem, but given the positive feedback on the system, it would be a daunting task.

Week Two Blog

Gender performs who we are really. The type of job you obtain in most cases can be determined by your gender. It rules the way we dress and how we act. Most men aren't going to obsess about which outfit they wear for the day whereas a woman might. We do perform our genders through hairstyles and dress, jobs, and actions. There are certain actions that would be classified as feminine or masculine, and by doing those actions we show others whether we are male or female.

So how does gender make life real if it isn't authentic? It's like a child learning the language of their country. They are born into it and learn it just by hearing the people surrounding them. A young child isn't going to have a desire to be learning a different language. The same type of thing happens with gender. If you're an American, you'll speak English, and if you're born a woman, you'll learn from others how to be a woman. The actions you do may be learned from others but it's what you've done your whole life. As a person becomes older they can decide if they want to learn a different language, and if you don't like something about your gender, you can change that too. Even though most of our actions are learned from previous generations, we always have the right to change according to who we are. If you don't like wearing skirts, you don't have to. I believe the ability to make your own changes and adjustments to the system make your gender real to you.

How we present ourselves definitely affects how others will treat us. A girl who dresses more like a boy isn't going to get the same attention as a girl who wears a mini skirt and feminine shirt. I do think that slowly our culture is learning to accept other styles. If our culture were to turn to a system of five sexes instead of two I do believe people would be much more open to stranger social conditions. Whether we get to that point is the question. Having five sexes would change how America does sports, how many different rooms there are for public bathrooms, and many other things. It would be a very hard transition and it would take a really long time, but it would make people more open to new ways of "performing gender."

Week 2 Blog

Gender is a performance in which we interact differently with others and ourselves during a variety of situations. If I were to watch Sex and the City with my girlfriends, I would “perform? my gender by saying lots of inappropriate comments, and adding snippets like “Mr. Big is stupid.? But if I were to watch TV with my father, I would not even consider watching the show, nor would I say any inappropriate comments. This is gender performance. I choose to act this way in situations I face in life. By performing, I am recognizable, my friends view me as one of their girlfriends, and my father recognizes me as his daughter. My performance shows my identity, which tells people I am a female, and a daughter.

Society shapes gender. It has no original—society and time changes gender roles. However gender makes life real because it’s an expectation. We are expected to live woman, man—it takes up our every essence. We wear clothes to fit our gender, we check our gender in official documents, and we act feminine or masculine to fit our gender roles. Gender makes life real because we make it real. If it wasn’t real, we wouldn’t care about our clothes, identifying sex in documents, or how we act.

The way we present ourselves impact the way others treat us. During high school mock trial, I presented myself as a strong, independent female lawyer, so the others knew I was no ditz or pushover. I would sit up straight, wear my “object me? pumps, and speak with conviction. When I saw the male lawyer, his timid performance allowed me to treat him as if he was the ditz, and the pushover. I believe if we change the way we do gender, it will change our social conditions and our knowledge on gender. History proved from the way Susan B. Anthony, Ida B. Wells, and other woman “did? gender, we would not be able to vote, wear pants, or even attend college. We know women have power; they have a chance to be the president, and have jobs that even fifty years ago was only a dream.

Week 2 Blog

The performing or doing gender is at the core of everyday life. It affects how our society, our culture, our relationships view us as individuals and even more how we interact within these areas. The doing of our gender is ingrained in each of us early on in our lives and by the daily practice our gender becomes who we are as individuals. The categories, man or woman, in our society come with expectations, roles, rights, (or lack of rights) and become part of the hierarchy of a system we are a part of. We manage our conduct and behavior to match a sex category. We mold and are molded by what we perceive these roles to be.

Gender is made real by the “doing.? Our culture has expectations of how we not only present ourselves but also how we function in society. If my approach to life situations and my daily interactions are to be successful, then I must attain my gender. I must learn what a “woman? should do. The more successful I am at accomplishing my gender, the more real it is made to not only myself but to others. The “performing? becomes a genuine part of who I am – internally, as well as being manifested externally to others.

Although I believe how we act effects us in direct relationship to how we are seen and treated by others, our culture has “gender? expectations. I can change how I do my role, but if I challenge cultural expectations too far out of the “norm? of social standards than I would need to be prepared to express and/or modify gender in new ways.

Blog Week Two

-Gender is a performance, as Judith Butler's article is stating. The idea of gender isn't a "given" trait to each person. It's something that the person decides to "do", for many different reasons. Gender performs in either a personality and/or physical sense. It shows people who you are and what you want them to see. It is something that forms the first impression of you. Gender performance is often what clothes you wear, how you cut your hair, if you wear make up, or how you talk. It is what shows to everyone, and it is what you "do" or make of gender which is what those people see.

-Even though gender is inauthentic, it creates authentic living situations. Gender is something that someone acts as, or makes for themselves, but it is also what others see. People judge you depending on what they see and what kind of person they think you are. It's real when someone is friends with you or isn't friends with you because of what you made of your gender. The social groups we find ourselves in and the people we are with are real. For example, the jobs we get are real, even though it's depending what impression you made. It's like Butler says in her article, "It's that we ourselves internalize the risk of not being recognizable." It's the fact that we put on this gender as a role in order to create the real social conditions of being recognized as something in our society.

-Social action depends on gender performance. Like I said before, the way that someone presents themselves is what other people judge them by. Different social groups expect certain things from the people that "fit" into their group. In order for someone to fit in they would have to adjust their gender role. They would have to adjust how they dress, or maybe how they talk. In this society today the sad part is that not everyone excepts people for whatever they wish to be. If someone wants to fit in somewhere they need to create or make a different gender, and that decides how different people will treat you. If ever possible, if we could change the way we do gender, meaning not having to change according the people who surround us or who we want to fit in with, and just do gender according to what's best for each person, it could change our society is great ways.

Blog 2

Everyone goes through a performance in a way every single day of their lives by performing their gender. This performance is what everyone else that they interact with sees and is what those people use to determine your gender, your personality, and basically just who you are as a person. This performance is one of the things that allows other people to say, “Oh, she's a girl.? or “He's a boy.?. This performance gives all of us an identity that others can associate with and use to group us into our sex categories. This performance is something that is ingrained into our being from the day we are born. Children learn by watching what those around them are doing and they very quickly learn what is the 'right' thing for their sex to do and what is the 'wrong' thing to do and then continue to perform those right and wrong things to prove that they are in fact a girl or a boy until they don't notice it anymore.

This performance also provides a bit of insight on how a person is treated socially. Everyone is treated differently depending on whether they are a man, woman, child, transsexual, etc. which is a label or grouping that everyone is given pretty much as soon as they are seen by anyone else. This starts to create a social cycle. Other people give us labels or groups and expect us to perform these groups naturally. We therefore conform to these groups without thinking because it is expected of us and in turn, we expect that these other people perform their gender and fit into their group just as much as we fit in ours. If anyone was to perform outside of the norm of their grouping or their gender they would be treated differently. People in general don't seem to know how to deal with a change in something that seemed concrete in the past and therefore will either treat this change with a completely different attitude or try their best to continue to fit this change into its original category.

Changing the way we do gender, therefore, definitely can change our social conditions. For example, a person that has been performing to be a woman their whole life and ends up starting to perform something that would be defined as a man trait would be treated differently, because other people no longer can find that concrete 'woman' group for this person. They went outside of the norm and now have to be reassociated with another group...either the same one or a different one, but either way they will be treated a little differently I think.

Week 2 Blog

The way we perform in life is the way people start to perceive us. The way we act, talk, and express our individuality becomes who we "are." If we decide to act out of these norms, people start to wonder what is going on in our life for us to be acting in a different (maybe sometimes awkward) manner. From the day we are born, we start to "obtain" certain characteristics that is determined by what sex we are. We are told to act certain ways depending if we are male of female. For instance, girls are told to act more "lady-like" by crossing their legs or ankles instead of sitting more comfortably like a man would. In gender being a performance, we are basically required to "show" how we are male or female by the certain actions that we choose to make. Most of the time, this starts right from birth and our parents can have a big influence on how we "start" gender, if you will. It is all about how we are proving to society that we are male or female.

Gender is something that we grow up learning to "do." Therefore, society comes to the conclusion that it is real, and this is the way we are supposed to be. Gender becomes more of an every day task than it is an option. We are proving to everyone around us if we are male, female or otherwise. Thus, it becomes "real" to us because of the way we perceive one another from "doing" what we do as individuals.

I strongly believe that the way we present ourselves has an influence on how people treat one another. For instance, if I started dressing up in all black, dyed my hair black, wore nothing but black make-up, I know some people around me would classify me as "gothic." Not saying that is a bad thing, it is just not who I am, therefore, it is out of my so-called "norm." If people make drastic changes in what they look like or how they act, there is normally a reaction from their families or friends, whether it be in a positive or negative manner. If we were to change the way we "do" gender, I do not necessarily believe that it would completely change our social conditions. It would all be in a matter of how we changed "doing" gender. Society has too many individualists for everyone to come to a single conclusion. I do believe the knowledge we have about gender is and will be forever changing, just as society always is.

Blog #2

The idea that gender is a performance means that gender is not, as we are socialized to believe, necessarily a result of the genitalia with which we are born. The idea that gender is a performance refutes the commonly-held assumption that boys “naturally? act like boys and girls “naturally? act like girls, and that those behaviors and characteristics “naturally? carry on into adulthood.

Instead, the performance of gender is actually a performance to prove to ourselves and to others that our sex reflects our gender—which reflects our sexuality—which reflects us. We do gender and we assume that others do it, too. When one accomplishes gender, that person naturalizes gender within themselves.

I see the construction of gender as a perpetual cycle. Throughout American history, we have created and recreated the “male? ideal and the “female? ideal. We have a new baby boy or girl, determined by ownership of “fitting? genitalia for its sex. We recognize its sex in the choices we make—from the color of its bedroom walls to the types of toys we buy. The child grows up, taking hold of the reigns for its own gender performativity, continuing that which it feels society understands. And the cycle restarts.

However, this path is by no means absolute. Changing the way that we “do? gender can change our social conditions. The way in which we present ourselves impacts the way others see us, so it makes sense that if we changed our performance, others would, in turn, perform to us differently. Perhaps if people allow themselves to perform outside societal constraints, others will perform with lesser grip on traditional “male? or “female? expectations. The result would be a more genuine society of individuals.

The performance of gender, material consequences, and social change

When a baby is born, upon inspection of the genitalia, it is labeled either male or female. The dualistic nature of our culture defines man as everything that woman isn’t and woman as everything man isn’t. The terms describing the attributes of these polar opposites are the masculine and the feminine, and the images of men and women illustrating these attributes are the archetypes from which gender traits are created. These archetypes are located within a heteronormative framework in which genitalia, gender identification, and sexual orientation must match a certain “coherent? or reproductive pattern in order to be considered “normal.? People internalize gender roles and traits during the process of childhood, and learn how to execute a convincing “performance? of their assigned gender that takes place literally every moment of every person’s life. Gender is a self-regulating institution. We expect others to correctly perform gender and in turn they expect us to do the same. There are a wide range of possible social negatives resulting from the failure to perform gender correctly spanning from taunting to murder.

Thus while gender is entirely a creation of culture, and not at all “natural,? gender is important to society because it is a sorting device for the allotment of work, resources, and power. This is why everyday events bare such drastically different consequences for men and women. In this way, performance of gender roles is also performance of economic class. The hierarchical, capitalist nature of our society demands division of the masses in order to concentrate wealth at the top. The myth of class flexibility (the idea that we all have an equal chance to become rich with a little hard work and entrepreneurship) is dangled in front of us to convince us to ignore inequality and poverty. The poverties produced by the social, economic, and political disabilities effected by gender are thus created in an ongoing cycle.

Our display of unambiguous gender traits ensures that we be treated and regarded as either men or women. While individual resistance to gender norms does indeed create a social ripple effect, it is difficult to create material changes in the social, economic, and political realities of men and women in the climate of lethargy and low activism that currently pervades the US. Social resistance and possible violence are also limitations on a person’s ability to use gender performance for social change.

Week Two Blog

Gender performance is an unconscious everyday act. It is living and fitting into a role that society has created. Society has created the idea for how a girl or women should act compared to how a boy or man should act. Those who fit the expected criteria are socially accepted but those who deviate from the norm are social outcasts who are looked down upon. Because we are so blinded by society’s labels or roles that people fit in; it is easy for people to judge others or categorize others because it is socially normal for us to do that without even thinking about that person. We assume that gender is black or white yet most people never realize that there are so many concepts of gender. We think that gender is so constricted because we are taught that, it is hard to think any different when the norm is constricted. If society changed for the good then gender could be seen in a new way. With the cooperation and education of others I believe that society can change. If more and more people acted outside of the norms society might be more willing to see outside gender norms. If society can see that teaching children gender norms is ridiculous maybe more people in society will demonstrate to others that it’s ok to act like a boy if you’re a girl or to act like a girl if you’re a boy. I hope that with time categorization can disappear along with the idea that gender should be constricted I hope that one day those who are not “normal? in societies eye can be able to be who they are without any repercussions.

Week 2 Blog

I think gender as a performance comes from the idea that men and women portray specific and different characteristics. When one takes into consideration people who are transsexual or intersex, it makes it more complicated than to say that these “masculine? and “feminine? characteristics are mutually exclusive. However, when people portray more feminine or masculine traits, it becomes a proclamation to society what gender that person is. Our habits and actions decide our gender for us. The rest of society uses these to make those split-second judgments on how to interact with each other. Like we talked about in lecture and discussion, people act differently toward doctors, teachers, relatives, friends, etc. I think the same can be said about how we act toward men and women.
Society operates and depends on labels. There are too many people in the world for us to not depend on our split-second judgments of others, and thus how to interact with them. We put people in boxes out of necessity. Not only do we label others, but we accept gender labels of ourselves. It becomes our identity and we are not conscious of it. We “act? or “perform? it because it is in our nature.
How we categorize and perform our genders explains (in part) our social interactions, and how certain expectations develop. We have expectations of ourselves and also for other people to perform in certain ways. It would be like working on an assembly line—certain things are expected to come your way, and you know what to do with them when they get there. If it is unusual or unrecognizable, you do not have time analyze it. It is disregarded. Changing the way we “do? gender would definitely change social conditions and our understanding of categorizing gender.

September 13, 2008

Blog Week 2

Gender performance, looking at this phrase might confuse someone who has not taken a gender studies course. Gender performance is the way that humans act in their interactions with one another that help the other person categorize the "actor" into a gender category. The sum total of our interactions is our performance of gender. We might not realize that we are performing or the fact that each of our actions is based upon a category that we decided to place ourselves in. The performance is used to not only let others know which gender category we belong in but also to let others know that they will also be judged by the performance they make. Like many things in life, gender is a social construction that allows us to reason through the natural world. It is one of many things that were arbitrarily assigned a value so that we could use it as a basis to deconstruct nature. By using gender as a 'ruler', we are able to assign values to other social interactions and constructions. I'm not sure that gender alone makes life 'real'. I believe that gender allows for a view of the world that matches well with who humans like to think (binaries). All social interactions are determined by how we perform gender. Women and men are accorded different attitudes of interaction and attitude ultimately affects how we are treated by others. A change in the way we 'do' gender would affect our culture very deeply. One example of this is the way that gays are treated in our culture. The way that they 'perform' gender is threatening and unsettling to some members of society and that in itself is shaking how culture and individuals treat gays.

Week Two Blog

“Gender is a performance.? Everyone “performs? gender because it is an essential part of the identity that we form from birth – the identity that we give to ourselves and others to recognize us. The reason it is only a performance is that it is not a true biological trait – the chromosomes we have do not determine whether or not we act feminine or masculine. They only allude to the norms that society will teach us. We must perform gender, not only to belong, but also to have a sense of being. We, as human beings, cannot be nothing. We must be categorized, even to ourselves.

Although this performance is “inauthentic? in the sense that there is no innate sense of gender from birth, it becomes real to us. We cannot separate gender from identity, no matter how hard we try. Classifying people is how our society is structured, what we have been taught throughout our lives from relatives, friends, and strangers. As mentioned above, gender becomes our sense of self. I am a woman. I am a man. Not, I am something. Even the former statement would be a classification. It is impossible for us to not classify or identity ourselves or others. It determines our place in society and even our expectations.

Women are expected to be a certain way. Men are expected to be a certain way. We act differently in different situations in accordance with how we identify ourselves and others by their gender. The performances of gender interact unintentionally if ever social situation. How we are approached and treated is in response to our gender identification. Without it, we would be outcast and isolated. Perhaps we could move to change these performances, but it would take an effort more powerful than our subconscious. And so, it is not foreseen in the near future.

Week Two Blog

I believe that gender performs the stereotypes that have been placed upon men and women in today’s society for ages. Throughout time people have expected men and women to act a certain way in order to fulfill their gender roles so that they may accomplish goals in life such as getting a job, earning an education, or finding a significant other. Within each of these goals are standards that allow people to be respected by others. These standards are basically the stereotypes people expect of men and women and this is what gender helps accomplish. An example would be that a women is supposed to find a man and get married and in order to do so, she has to be attractive, sweet, and especially feminine to attract a man. So when a girl dresses up and possibly pretends to be slightly dim-witted, this is just a moment when gender is a performance of trying to encompass a stereotype.

This also shows how gender produces the social conditions we live. In a way it can be said that society creates ideas for people to follow. Feminists believe that everyone is born with a sex, but they learn gender from norms that are imposed on them by society. The way that some men and women act proves that the feminist theory is partially right. I do not believe that the theory is completely right, but it makes sense in many respects. Mostly I gather that gender is something that is part of everyday life and varies from situation and individual expectations a person comes in contact with. Everyone changes the way they act, or “do gender? each day because how we present ourselves changes for every social condition. Because how we act affects how we will be treated by others.

In a platonic example it is as simple as boys acting tough when they are together in a masculine situation such as a locker room. If a boy wanted to sit there and just tell his teammates about how overwhelmed he is with school or how he feels uncomfortable with his girlfriends pressing attempts to make their relationship more physical, he would be laughed at or ignored by everyone out of bewilderment. How a person acts as a man or women is taken into regard by everyone, and the minute a person steps out of their gender “norm,? their peers think less of them and are appalled by the unknown. Therefore if society would allow men and women to be thought of as individuals and not base their worth or like off of how well they do gender, I think life would be much different and more enjoyable.

Doing Gender

People are not born knowing what gender they are, it is something that is learned through social interaction. When we are young we learn what it means to be a boy or a girl and we grow up trying to constantly fit into whichever category we are told we belong to, and if we do something that stereotypically the other sex does, we are told by our parents that little boys or girls don't do such things. So, in essence, we are constantly acting or performing a role so others as well as ourselves know that we fit into the appropriate boy/girl category.

We are acting out society's norms of what gender is, gender solely as its own entity does not exist, because it is always influenced by the very binary norms of our society (man and women, heterosexual and homosexual, right and wrong, etc.). Though gender does not concretely exist, it is very real. This is because our society has very specific ways in which people can be accepted, and if they do not adhere to these specifications, there is the risk that a person could be ostracized. Being accepted and being ostracized in society are very real effects of gender.

Depending especially on where we are and who we are with, the way we are treated in accordance with our gender changes. For example, if a gay man would go to a very conservative small country town and "do" his gender in a way that shows others he is gay, he could be made fun of, beaten, or even murdered. However, if he does his gender differently, and adheres to more of sociey's norms of "masculine" behavior, he may be accpeted and treated well.

Week 2 blog assignment for chole005

Gender as performance, as described by Candace West in “Doing Gender?; is a façade put up by human beings as a result of societal pressure, rather than what she refers to as our “essential sexual natures?. These acts are used to form our identity, to portray that identity to others and perhaps prove it to others or ourselves.

The reward for satisfying this coercion to conform to an ideal that insists our sexual organs predictably dictate the core of our true self rather than performing biological function as any other organs we possess is the acceptance of our peers. In a society where a male/female dualism is the standard and a country where heterosexuality between these two parties is the only legally recognized demonstration of human sexuality, the either/or gender identity is not truly a choice, but a mandate.

Gender is the construct in which we manifest ourselves and our sexuality to others. Even if it is a performance, the fact that we view the world through the pane of terms like gender allows this construct to deeply impact both our society and how we see ourselves in it.

An objective view of gender would show the flimsiness of this construct as a ‘fact of nature’. Definitions of gender have been just as capricious as any human trend or superstition, being fully dependent if not defined by the popular beliefs of the time.

In my opinion, gender’s most compelling effect on humanity is that of a tool that has been utilized by those in power to exploit humanities’ need to categorize ourselves and others along imaginary lines, frustrating any collective outcry against the status quo.

Week 2 Blog

Gender is a performance because from the day we are born we are expected to act in certain ways and like certain things. Men are to be masculine as females are to be feminine. Girls are expected to wear makeup and do their hair, where as guys are expected not to put much effort into getting ready. We change ourselves to impress different types of people. Whether it be for work, a night with the girls, or a hot date, we put on fronts for different audiences.

The role of gender in society is extremely real. Gender has made us perform for centuries. Society expects us to act and play the role of female and male just as we pass the judgment and expectations onto the people around us. Thus, it is a never ending cycle of expectations. It would take a very extreme movement to change the male female society that we live in today.

People who act outside of the norms of society face discrimination and are subject to hate crimes. Along with that, homosexual couples in the US are denied the right to marry and even if they are married- their marriage may not be valid in all 50 states and their rights as a married couple are still not even close to being equal to the rights of a married heterosexual couple. Changing the way we look at gender would improve conditions for many people. Not only for homosexuals but also for hermaphrodites, people who undergo sexual reassignment surgeries, and for people who just feel like they are trapped in their bodies and afraid to act the way they want.

Blog Two

“Gender is a performance?, to me, elaborates that gender is not the anatomy of the body. It is the way we act, dress, speak, and in the end, how we present ourselves in front of others. Our everyday lives being the stage in which we perform our gender on.
I especially liked the fact that Richardson pointed out how we, as humans, like to classify things. This is so true. We like to know how things fit together and when a piece of this puzzle does not fit in with everything else, many people do not know how to react. We have all, from birth, been living and performing our gender as it has been taught to us. These teachings do not necessarily mean that someone sat us down and said “this is the way you act?, although it could have been part of the learning process. Most people have learned gender performance through watching people and media. I believe that this performance does make gender a real thing, regardless of whether it matches the anatomy.
I do believe that the gender that one performs affects their everyday lives. To this day, women are still looked down upon by many because they are thought to not be as good or as smart as men. Also, transgenders are not treated with the respect that people should give them as human beings just like the rest of us. I have also heard that many people believe that in today’s world, it is a great disadvantage to be a white male, once thought to be the prime race/sex/gender. I think every gender has its disadvantages and advantages. If gender was thought of in a different way or didn’t exist at all, our culture would be a very different place.

September 12, 2008

Blog Two

Gender is a performance in the sense that it is something we do to show others that we are either male or female. A man who wants other men to think he is manly will do the types of things society has told him make a man masculine. For example, a man who aspires to be the kind of man society tells him to be won’t be caught doing the things society expects of a woman. In our culture a decent majority of women will admit that they love to dance. Ask an average man in our society whether or not he enjoys dancing in front of all his guy friends and he’ll probably say something to the effect of “heck no.? In this sense we all act in a way that will identify us as either a man or a woman to the people who surround us.

Although gender is just something we do to fit in, it is also responsible for creating the social conditions that surround us in our everyday lives. By changing ourselves to meet the expectations of society, we begin to have these same expectations for others. As we identify the gender we want people to see in us, we start to want other people to identify themselves to us as well. We are responsible for the social conditions and expectations placed upon us because we perpetuate them in our daily interactions with others. In this way, the expectations placed upon us are a cycle. We conform to meet the expectations and, in turn, come to expect the same things from other people.

The way we present ourselves plays a big role in the treatment we receive from others. If I started to walk around in high heels and wear lipstick, my friends would probably react differently to me than they have in the past. The way we act lets us fit in with different groups of people and once we start to make major changes to our behavior, we change which groups of people we will fit in with. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t possible to change our gender performance. For example, say I hung out with a crowd that others with different social expectations had deemed “nerdy.? Making minor changes to my gender performance could turn me from a geek into a jock in a month or two.

Blog Assignment Two

Blog Assignment:
Week Two

This past week, we took a closer look at some of the approaches to understanding gender that Richardson identified in our first reading. In particular, we read a few excerpts from popular gender studies scholar, Judith Butler. In these, Butler talks about gender being a type of cultural performance with material consequences. This is interesting, for it suggests that while gender is inauthentic, it also produces the very real social conditions we live in. It becomes even more interesting when we think about what this might mean in terms of our ability to act upon/change the realities that surround us- Could the very way we think about ourselves impact the way we think about gender?

In a 250-300 word blog entry, please discuss the following:

• In your own words, elaborate upon the idea that gender is a “performance?- What does gender “perform?;
• Then, talk through the idea that “while gender is inauthentic, it also produces the very real social conditions we live in?- If it’s constructed, how does gender make life “real??
• Then, seriously think about how gender performance connects to social action- Do the ways in which we present ourselves impact the way we are treated by others? Could changing the way we “do? gender change our social conditions and the knowledge we have about gender?

While you do not have to answer each question in the series that follow each bulleted point, please be sure to address each bullet point in your blog entry. This does not have to be a cohesive narrative and can answer each bullet point independently.