Posts Tagged ‘ feminism ’

Genderqueer – gender outside of the binary

biological sex: male

Browsing one site a while ago I came across an interesting term, genderqueer. Implicitly the meaning of this is obvious, but it doesn’t do to assume when an article hinges on the term in question, so I looked it up. What am I talking about? Well…

biological sex: female







third gendered




All these terms, according to Wiki, basically mean the same thing, i.e.people who do not define themselves in alignment to the ‘traditional’ or sociotypical binary gender identities allocated by biological sex:

Gender identity (otherwise known as core gender identity) is the gender(s), or lack thereof, a person self-identifies as. It is not necessarily based on biological sex, either real or perceived, nor is it always based on sexual orientation. The gender identities one may identify as include male, female, both, somewhere in between (“third gender“), or neither.

Some genderqueer people see their identity as one of many possible genders other than man or woman, while others see “genderqueer” as an umbrella term that encompasses all of those possible genders. Still others see “genderqueer” as a third gender to complement the traditional two, while others identify as genderless or agender. The term “genderqueer” can also be used as an adjective to refer to any people who transgress distinctions of gender, regardless of their self-defined gender identity.

Polygender describes it this way:

What does it mean to be polygendered?

Polygendered people are transgendered. Transgendered people are defined by TGS-PFLAG as “individuals of any age or sex who manifest characteristics, behaviors or self-expression, which in their own or someone else’s perception, is typical of or commonly associated with persons of another gender. ” Among transgendered people, there are transsexuals (who get sex-change operations), non-op transsexuals (who fulfill all the steps of a sex-change except for the genital operation), drag kings and queens (who dress as the “opposite” sex for performances) and transvestites (who do so all the time). And then there are us, the less well-known transgender folks. We are people who identify as bi-gendered, non-gendered, or third-gendered. We may feel we belong to more than one gender, that we have no gender at all, or that we are our own gender, something neither male nor female.

I should mention at this point that these terms are not to be confused with or substituted for intersex people, pomosexuals, or guydykes and girlfags, which are a whole other kettle of fish that I am so not getting into right now.

So why bring all this up? Well because it’s salient (to me at least), it’s interesting and it’s a sign of our times. The diversity and complexity of our society, the blurring of lines. It gives me hope. Binary is boring, restrictive and oppressive. If I go to a formal occasion, e.g. a wedding/funeral/interview, I wear a suit. That’s what I feel appropriate wearing for those occasions. I do not, even for a moment, consider wearing a dress/skirt and a pair of heels. Why? Because it’s unnatural (for me, yes, it is). So why should I get disparaging looks because I don’t fit into some age-old patriarchal dichotomy? I look forward to a time when gender-fluidity is known beyond just the catwalks and crude stereotypes of gay people. Acceptance of difference and variation could be the glue that binds us as a species — if we can just get over our social conditioning first.


Anti-Barbie ;):-


Sites for and about genderqueer people:

Genderqueer – beyond the binaries

Genderfork – beauty in ambiguity

Below the Belt – deconstructing gender

Polygender and Transgender information

United Genders of the Universe

Consequences of success and failure in Caryl Churhcill’s Top Girls

Thompson Burk (1996) argues that the women in Top Girls “face a world in which the consequences of success are almost as frightening as those of failure”. Evaluate.

Set in part against the backdrop of Britain’s launch into individualistic enterprise culture and in part against the span of history, Top Girls is described by Churchill as a feminist socialist play (Lupu, 2003) and succinctly portrays the impasse that women have faced throughout the centuries. Churchill, in Brechtian style (Rabascall, 2000), avoids providing easy answers and actively prevents audience/reader identification with the characters, forcing us to analyse what is being presented. In evaluating Juli Thompson Burk’s (1993) claim, this essay will offer context to the play with reference to the norms of patriarchal societies, it will go on to assess what constitutes success or failure for the women in question and the consequences therein and will subsequently conclude in the affirmative.

Want to read the rest of the essay? Go here :):-

The language trap [short version]

The term ‘language trap’ and the concept behind it has been used many times in the last few decades with specific —but not sole— reference to gender and language studies, for example Dale Spender (1980), Deborah Cameron (1985, 1990) and Robin Lakoff (1975, 2004). For the purposes of this evaluation, a language trap shall be taken to mean:

the existence within language of conventions, expectancies and etiquette which serve to maintain the status of women as subservient and inferior to men and to maintain contemporary society’s patriarchal power structure.

The argument here is that, in the way language is used by and about women, they are still the victims of a language trap. Through language, women are objectified, commodified, infantilised and marginalised. Language, like the society it reflects, changes very slowly over time. The work of feminists in the 1970s is on the one hand still being undertaken and on the other hand is being undone. From close analysis, it can be seen that women are still currently the victims of a language trap. This is not to say however that the trap is inescapable and indeed it is evident that change toward equality is underfoot.

The full version of this essay is on the portfolio page, here.

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