Previously, my elders had corrected me that “sex” and “gender” were not the same thing, that one was biological and one was behavioral. However, I never examined the topic any further to realize the significance of separating two seemingly similar terms. The issue being is that when we “gender” differently from our assigned sex at birth, “our character (motives) are called into question” (Schilt, 2009). I have come to realize this can be as simple as a girl who plays sports, or as complex as someone who desires to become the opposite gender/sex. One article that I found fascinating was the blog, Sex and Gender are Actually the Same Thing, which proclaimed that the functions and genders of organs have been socially constructed, thus making gender and sex synonyms for each other (Silas, 2015). Silas presents a viewpoint from the transgender community where it is frustrating that they must straddle between two identities, biologically female and identifying as a man, and vice versa. Whereas I find it easier to separate gender and sex because of the diverse orientations of people nowadays, I find this perspective intriguing.

Intersectionality is a topic that is almost brand new to me, and after reading the articles I realized why. The feminist movement has been mostly focused on white females, and as a result, the issues that minority women face don’t even cross their minds. I would have to agree that a majority of white feminists probably only “raised their experiences of oppression and made that the measure of feminist politics,” ignoring the needs of all women (Lutz, 2011). Proponents of intersectionality argue that race, class and gender all needed to be taken in account, because “the way that white women experience misogyny isn’t how all women face misogyny” (Huffpost, 2015).  I am curious to learn more about examples of disparities between white women and minority women, aside from the pay gap and police brutality.

Heteronormativity and homonormativity are two concepts that are also very new to me. From what I gathered, heteronormativity is when gender and sex line up, while homonormativity includes the homosexual, lesbian, gay, transgender and queer community. In the article, Doing Gender, Doing Heteronormativity, heteronormativity is described as being the norm, and the cause for hierarchical gender order that places masculinity above femininity (Schilt, 2009). I couldn’t help but wonder if heteronormativity wasn’t the norm, would there be a hierarchical gender order? The article then confirms that the “same gender system that privileges masculinity also privileges heteronormativity,” confirming that the two do in fact go hand in hand, indicating that there is a “devaluation of femininity and homosexuality” (2009). I find this to be a very interesting theory that feminism is equated to homosexuality in terms of acceptance. Finally, one argument that I found fascinating in the same article was about transgender murders, that many of the headlines depicted the victims as “female impersonator” and “deceptive gay man.” This shifts some of the blame to the victim, as the media portrays it as their fault that they challenge the sexuality of the murderers. I always wondered why transgendered people were the victim of so many violent crimes if they weren’t harming anyone, but I realize now that because heterosexuals feel tricked into homosexuality, many men will attempt to “reclaim heterosexuality by emphasizing their masculinity” (2009), hence by murdering the perpetrator. This was a rather upsetting realization for me, as I feel that many cannot understand what it is like to not have their sex and gender line up unless it applies to them, and it is very unfortunate that members of the LGBQT community must face the violence and discrimination it does for being outside the norm.

Resources:

The Huffington Post. 2015. “Why We Need to Talk About White Feminism.”  YouTube website (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VNdZcegK1lQ).

Lutz, Helma, Maria Teresa Herrera Vivar, and Linda Supik. 2011. “Framing Intersectionality: An Introduction.” Pp. 1-24 in Framing Intersectionality: Debates on a Multi-Faceted Concept in Gender Studies, edited by Helma Lutz, Maria Teresa Herrera Vivar, and Linda Supik. Surrey, England: Ashgate.

Schilt, Kristen, and Laurel Westbrook. 2009. “Doing Gender, Doing Heteronormativity: ‘Gender Normals,’ Transgender People, and the Social Maintenance of Heterosexuality.” Gender & Society 23(4):440-64.

Silas, Lane. 2015. “Sex and Gender Are Actually the Same Thing (but Bear with Me…).” Androgyneity Blog.(https://androgyneity.wordpress.com/2015/12/19/sex-and-gender-are-actually-the-same-thing-but-bear-with-me/).

Schilt, Kristen, and Laurel Westbrook. 2009. “Doing Gender, Doing Heteronormativity: ‘Gender Normals,’ Transgender People, and the Social Maintenance of Heterosexuality.” Gender & Society 23(4):440-64.

Image: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&ved=0ahUKEwiQqeTdx4_NAhWIHB4KHSmvB6QQjxwIAw&url=http%3A%2F%2Ffeimineach.com%2F2015%2Fresearch-science-finally-supports-born-blank-slates-gender-merely-construct%2F&psig=AFQjCNEudkyU1-9jLdfKtd3sPwOA55lEyA&ust=1465170535267043

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