While reading Doing Gender and Bornstein's Gender Outlaw, I got to thinking about how unfair it is that we as a society label certain activities as masculine or feminine. In particular, it is not fair to look at transsexuals as carrying on the traits of the gender they used to be. For instance, Kate Bornstein mentions that Renee Richards was a successful tennis player who achieved success quicker than other female tennis players such as Billie Jean. However, her achievements were quickly discredited at the fact that she used to be a male, thought to be stronger, faster, and better than women. Bornstein also mentions that some people believe in the idea of "male energy," where a transsexual female has been socialized as a male with privilege in previous years and can never be a "true woman." It seems to me that Renee Richards encountered this criticism.
Tennis was traditionally thought to be a female sport, but why? What makes a sport, a band instrument, a piece of clothing either masculine or feminine? Certainly we don't have some sort of instinct that tells us "this is masculine and this is feminine." It is because we have been raised, taught to expect two dichotomized genders, each characterized by certain traits. Anything that is seen as manly is characterized by strength, large size, violence, domination, power. This includes contact sports, jobs that involve strength, jobs that involve superiority, clothing that makes men look bigger and stronger, musical instruments that are loud and large. Feminine things are supposed to be delicate, sweet, motherly, caring, small, unobtrusive, etc. This means letting the men do all the dominating and violence while women take care of them, look pretty, take care of children, and provide pleasure. There is a boundary that should not be crossed and the expectancy that one is born a man/woman and always a man/woman.
So some questions arise: Where do transsexuals fit into dichotomized activities/expectations? Why are women still expected to do their homemaking responsibilities even though many of them work just as hard as males? Why do men continue to hold dominance over women?