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Middle Sexes and Gender

What struch me the most about the Middle Sexes clip, was the horror that a suburbian couple could produce such a child. Although this might be because I grew up in the epitome of suburbs, I understood the parents' point of views. Out here, most people believe that looking good in the right brands, having money, and being thin are the most important parts of life. I cannot say that in my childhood, I knew anyone like that little boy. People were put into one of two groups. Male or female. There were not boxes for Gay or Straight. Everyone was assumed to be straight and if a child dared to push that boundary, the community and parents were outraged. Boys at school who do not play football at recess were 'sissies' or 'gay' and girls who chose to play football were called 'tomboys' and shunned for not being girlie enough. This is what I grew up in. I had not dared to push those boundaries as Judy/Max had. Within the suburbs, one sees the exaggerated version of society's normative behavior. A person must act out a certain gender, or a gender performance, in order to fit in. A person must follow within the appropriate gender roles for their gender performance in order to fit in. According to Lorber,

Individuals may vary on many of the components of gender and may shift genders temporarily or permanently, but they must fit into the limited number of gender statuses their society recognizes. In the process, they recreate their society's verson of men and women: "If we do gender appropriately, we simultaneously sustain, reproduce, and render legitimate the institutional arrangements...If we fail to do gender appropriately, we as individuals - not the institutional arrangements - may be called to account (for our character, motives, and presispositions)" (West and Zimmerman 1987, 146)
That quote from Feminist Frontiers page 47. If we follow the societal norms, we are reinforcing their ideas and 'boxes'. Judy/Max and the little boy (I forgot his name) push those boundaries and, in the process, confuse and anger the normative community.

Comments

the little boy was named noah.

Thank you!