Gender Expression

This is my last blog for this subject.

I thought I’d end this with something I found last night trolling the recommended pages of you tube. His name is Azis and he is a major pop culture icon in Bulgaria. His image is one of the most unique and courageous because he encompasses this strong (what some would call feminine) sexuality. Watching his music video clips is like nothing I‚Äôve seen before for. For women, it’s a reoccurring feature in the Rnb scene and I think its why it serves as such a shock factor- its not what you expect to see a man doing.

Hers an example of one of his video clips.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9sQZLtsfp8

its so amazing to watch because you can pick up on all these conventional traits that some women do in video clips to highlight their sexuality. If you watch the clip you can see for yourself but just to highlight a couple I picked up.

The opening of the clip you see Azis sitting in a barrel of water, topless ( and possibly naked) He’s rubbing the water all over his body and seductively looking at the camera. There are also a number of buff men lying around him in towels also rubbing their bodies. This set interchanged with him dancing in well provocative clothing that someone like Beyonce would wear. Why do pop stars wear this? Because the ago old truth- sex sells. In western society male and female sexuality is portrayed in different way. We would never see Justin Timberlake dressed in a thong. However he still is an icon for sexuality in Western culture. Already taking into account the concept of sexuality being a social construct I want to highlight that media plays an important role in displaying what makes men and women sexual. For Azis thought, he challenges those conventions and encompasses elements of each.

What Azis presents a gender-blending image. He facial hair is juxtaposed with fishnet stockings and a propensity toward eyeliner. His costumes range from sado-masochistic masculinity (leather and spikes) to demure femininity (sequins and gowns). His sexually provocative music videos feature imagery of homo- and hetero-eroticism.

 

I really hope to flesh this out in my essay piece because I think Azis is such a good representation of how gender and sexuality is a social construct.

 

Here’s a great blog that talks about Azis –http://www.qualiafolk.com/2011/12/08/azis/

 

I have to say that blogging is awesome. One of the best assessment’s I’ve ever done. Haven’t learnt this much from a subject. Also big props to the women who put this all together- If this subject was continuing I would strongly recommend this to EVERYONE

 

 

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WOMEN IN SPORT

My second last blog ūüė¶

I am not a Fan of sports!…well, except for martial arts, gymnastics and figure skating because they’re super cool and amazing to watch. No matter how many times I have been made to watch an AFL or NFL or any sport to do with men and balls, I‚Äôm just not interested. Maybe it‚Äôs all the tennis lessons my parents made me do where I learnt absolutely nothing .It’s true that I have no hand eye co-ordination and I can defy gravity BUT I STILL could have played a game against someone ( I’m looking at you Tennis Instructor).The truth is that I never felt included in the sports culture and I guarantee I’m not alone.

This was only posted 3 years ago by some guy who introduced this topic to one of those troll site’s.

“First off, I am not sexist, but I think it’s dumb for women to play sports. Honestly, they have to make the ball bigger and green, and shorten the innings, and shorten the distance of the bases in softball. They make the basketball smaller, and they make the volleyball net smaller. Also, an average high school varsity starter male, could be a star in the WNBA (which nobody watches). Also, aside from the horrible WNBA, there are no pros for women and there will never be. So why do women play sports?”

Firstly what is this guy on! There are no alterations to the game structure. The nets aren‚Äôt smaller and the balls aren‚Äôt bigger…or green. I just cannot believe the excuses this guy makes to why women cannot play. And talking about how the women’s basketball league should have men in the teams to be “stars”.Seriously dude. There are plenty of pros for women athletes. Most obvious is that it allows women with skills to pursue a career in something they love. Do we have to dress up like men now just so we can play the part!

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For me it’s not a problem but there are Women out there who dream of being professional footballers and soccer players and are not given the same opportunity as men. Its starts of in primary school where boys have the choice to play football and cricket and girls can play netball and rounders. It’s as if were pushed away from it as young as possible.You get into high school and girls are offered even less. Then were adults and all we can do is be a loyal supporter or a cheerleader… oh and off course raise our little boys and girls the same.

Blunt but it’s a reality.

I understand that the percentage of women who want to play professionally isn‚Äôt as high as men (which in itself is a whole different story) but it was only a few years ago that men wanted to be nurses and stay at home dads. Those numbers were in the minority but society made it happen for them. The thing is that teams, like say ¬†women’s football has been booming and the Victorian Women‚Äôs Football League (VWFL) has over 1000 players across all levels of the competition.

There is an urge for change! I read an article in The Age which is focused around two women’s AFL teams that are set to become a part of the professional league. This is the beginning of the women‚Äôs AFL federation and the opportunity for some to be a part of teams like Essendon, the West coast eagles and the Bulldogs. The games will also be televised and:

‚ÄúElite league as we know it today will support both male and female teams‚ÄĚ

However this isn’t scheduled to occur until 2020.Why do these women need to wait seven years to get their games televised!!
Women who have worked their lives for this opportunity may not be young and fit enough to take part. Women like Debbie Lee, who is the best female footballer of all time and who was fundamental to the growth of women’s AFL . Without her the VWFL would seize to exist.
In another article In THE AGE she said that:

‚Äú[I] never wanted to actually play against the men, but rather draw attention to women’s football. “It was about (women) can play footy, too. Not women are better than men at playing footy, just (women) can play footy, too‚ÄĚ

Unfortunately Lee will never get the opportunity to be apart of this change field wise but hopefully she has a part in making sure that it actually all goes to plan.

What I gather form all of this is that women are still suffering from inequality- and to a larger degree than we think. I thought that women’s equality was getting somewhere in this country but after ready about the women’s league and Debbie im just really angry at ¬†Australia. There is no push for change by the government and ¬†of course Prime Minister ¬†Julia Gillard has too many other things on her mind- like Myki and cutting ¬†costs to Universities! She’s a women for god’s sake and she inst even trying to close the gap between men and women. Whats worse is that when she was elected some women must of thought ..”it’s all going to change..or improve…..we will get more opportunities” but nothing has happened.

I can only imagine what Abbot would do… I cringe!!

Prince Charming has a Six Pack

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when i was younger ( I’d say early teens or tweens as some call them ) I was ¬†a hopeless romantic. I read those terrible teen drama novels and I was ( and to an extent still am)¬†a sucker for watching the old classics weepers that ¬†left ¬†me emotionally overwhelmed. ¬†I¬†believe¬†this ¬†admiration had began as a child when my parents would¬†surprise¬†me every¬†month¬†with a new¬†Disney¬†film set¬†to¬†get me all teary eyed and leave me day¬†dreaming¬†about my prince charming for days. Being older and grown up (haha) I still enjoy those¬†Disney¬†films but things have come to¬†light¬†that really make me second guess the production and viewing of these films on children. The construction of the male and female hero’s and¬†heroin’s¬†can give children a negative impression of what is masculine and what is feminine . ¬†In week 8 we focused¬†primarily¬†on masculinity in our lecture so i aim to do so in this post.

In terms of masculinity, the main focuses was on what¬†Raewynn¬†Connell discusses in her paper ¬†as Hegemonic masculinity. ¬†Hegemonic¬†masculinity is different from the notion of a¬†general¬†masculinity and is ¬†therefore is different from the notion of a¬†general¬†‚Äúmale sex-role”. So ¬†what Connell is implying when discussing ¬†hegemonic¬†masculinity we are ¬†not ¬†talking about ¬†the real man but rather¬†transcending¬†and looking at a man who really¬†doesn’t¬†represent the real¬†masculinity¬†but still remains “the ideal representation of masculinity”.

so what is our¬†interpretation¬†as a society of the¬†hegemonic¬†man. I decided the best way to find out would be to simple¬†Google¬†” the¬†hegemonic¬†man ”

this is what i got:

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Connell discusses that  for western society our hegemonic masculine  men are  our film icons who specialise in actions movies involving the protagonist saving the day with his mental and raw physical strength.

why do we recognise these men as representing  hegemonic masculinity?

Connell¬†highlights¬†that¬†hegemonic masculinity is very public ‚Äď this is why there is such a focus on the media and its perception of masculinity.¬†¬†Its not only about just googling the men like I did then to understand why these men hold social power- were not interested in that ‚Äď like Connell said

‚ÄúMasculinity is not necessarily what powerful men are , but what sustains their power¬†and what large numbers of men are motivated to support‚ÄĚ

when i googled these men i thought about their physical features and how similar they were to the  are to the heroes in Disney films.

this is when I found this ….

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oh how i wish this was larger.

i found  a while bunch of blogs that discuss why  and what i believe is a perception of hegemonic masculinity evident in the physical depiction of the males in these Disney films. although this picture about is some fan work -this does represent what these male characters look like and even in their normal drawn out attire they are still drawn to look strong and sexualised.

in these blogs i found a short little documentary called ” sexism, strength and dominance: masculinity in Disney movies “¬†that highlight and discuss the¬†negative¬†effects of the¬†Disney¬†Hero’s. ¬†in short the doco is divided up into different sections, each discussing a different negative effect . what i thought related most¬†to¬†the topic was the part about “physical prowess” and how there is only ¬†one body type for¬†Disney¬†hero’s –¬†chiseled¬†abs and big muscular arms. whats more is that he uses a case study to highlight that the male character that aren’t like that physically ¬†are usually the outcast in society.

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For instance in beauty and the beast Gaston is terrifyingly muscular and big chinned and just plain scary but is highly respected in the little french town where the play is set. However Lafou, his sidekick is unattractive and is ignored by the towns people.

Last Wednesday ¬†I was so happy to hear that New Zealand passed the legislation for gay marriage. With that and France passing the bill recently here’s hoping Australia will come to it senses.

Legend!

so last week my house mates and I just moved to a new house and all week I’ve been moving everyone’s stuff around and lifting lots of things and you know…. what you do when you move house. On an Ikea trip with my mother i’m explaining to her how tired I am .. and then she tells me I shouldn‚Äôt need to do that and I should leave it to the men. This just made me angry so I told her how I can do a lot of things my male house mates can do and what‚Äôs more that the ‚Äúconventional‚ÄĚ skills that men are mean’t to have like fixing things around the house is in fact what I end up doing. So I’m done preaching to the woman in the middle of a Ikea model kitchen ( ahh the irony ) and she says ‚Äú yeah, I’m glad that you can fix things ‚ÄĚ- oh mum you just don‚Äôt get it.

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The thing is that my mum lives in a ‚Äúman’s world‚ÄĚ. Do we still call it that?¬†

Anyway she works at a marketing firm and is the only women who Inst a receptionist and that’s because she’s a machine. What’s more is that she’s worked my whole life and my dads the one who stayed home to take care of us. I don‚Äôt think she means it , its hard to have a different mindset when there has been one¬†ingrained¬†in our society for decades dividing the genders up and telling us what we’re good at and what our position is within society.

¬†What gets to me is after so much fighting for change my mother still¬†doesn’t¬†completely recognise that she should have always had a right to work.

¬†I guess¬†that’s¬†what happens when you grow up like this :

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A lot has changed for women in regards to working.¬†Raewynn Connell¬†discusses this issue in her work ‚Äúgender‚ÄĚ. She discusses how woman are taking over in the male work place performing at the same standard and delivering the same quality of work as men. However the government (who’s head is a women now!!!) still fails to see that women can do just as good and there¬†shouldn’t¬†be a separation between the two and furthermore there¬†shouldn’t¬†be barriers because of gender. The is still a pay gap between men and women that has remained unchained, with statistics stating that in 2011 women were still paid¬†18%¬†less then men. ¬†Connell talks about a ‚Äúglass ceiling‚ÄĚ which she describes has an invisible barrier that prevents women from reaching the top positions in high state corporation even though they have the same¬†quantification’s¬†as Men.

I just cant believe that this is a still an ongoing issue .I found an article in The Australian that  was only published a week or so ago that suggests the gender pay gap in Australia is narrowing when comparing gender pay rates for similar roles.The article states that  there is a positive level of pay equity for men and women in similar roles regardless of the industry they work in. for instance women who hold senior management positions earn on average only 3 per cent less than their male counterparts- that is still less for the same amount of work!

Although women at senior management levels are winning the battle for equal pay, women on average still earn less than men purely because they don’t get the same job opportunities, with far fewer women than men in senior management positions.i

It appears that the glass ceiling is firmly in place -with gender equality yet to be completely tackled in Australia ( sorry Mum : (  )

until next time

~Inventing Sexuality~

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Welcome to my Third Blog Entry..

I really just want to delve straight into what I’ve learnt about ¬†Foucault’s “repressive hypothesis” so here goes:

~Inventing sexuality~

OK so what I understand is that Foucault believes that what we know about sexuality, since the 18th century and the rise of the bourgeoisie can be called Repressive Hypothesis. During this time sexual pleasure became something to be frowned upon and the talk (and action) of sex had become extremely taboo in Western society. Sexual conduct was strictly  between man and wife and sex outside these confines was not only prohibited, but repressed. So even without reading Foucault I knew all this Рits ingrained in western history -in our laws and religion- sex has always been seen  in the sanguinary of marriage between a man and a women.

In our most recent decades though there has been this fight for sexual liberation and the freedom to be loud and proud about our sexuality.

However, back to Foucault , what he discusses is that this repressive hypothesis- this urge to be liberated is actually essentially an attempt to give revolutionary importance on discourse in sexuality. It make us feel that there is a great importance in personal liberation and our freedom to talk openly about sex. The fact is that according to Foucault sexuality in society is not being repressed and is a social construct originating from discourse.Foucault recognizes the repressive hypothesis itself as a form of discourse.

‚ÄúWe must therefore abandon the hypothesis that modern industrial societies ushered in an age of increased sexual repression‚ÄĚ (327)

I found when reading Foucault, he uncovers this paradox of discourse on sexuality. Why are we as society proclaiming that we are a repressed and why do we talk about how we CANT talk about sex. Some people sit strongly behind this idea of repression and may think its insane to question the authenticity of it all because it so evident in our society. In questioning repressive hypothesis I don’t think Foucault is interested in contradicting it and he certainly doesn‚Äôt deny the fact that sex has been tabooed. What I feel his interested in is why sexuality is made an object of discussion.

Even so , reading about Repressive hypothesis for me we still a little overwhelming. I’ve always thought about¬†sexual¬†liberation and the fight for freedom but never really about why they felt the need to fight.¬†OK wait- so i might be a little biased in my views but i¬†understand¬†why women felt¬†the¬†need to fight for equal rights and i understand that this idea of “free love” ¬†because people really did feel repressed¬†sexually¬†because of societies views of sex. Sex is talked about a lot these days which some do¬†believe¬†as being “liberating” but maybe in doing this were losing the meaning in sex!!

my brain hurts…

until next time!

 

 

 

Male, Female or …

Welcome to my second post of the semester!

Over the last fortnight I’ve been searching for ¬†answers in regards to my previous post- Who Chooses? I spent some time reading though journals by Anne Fausto-Sterling¬†, in particular Sexing The Body;¬†gender politics and the construction of sexuality¬†¬†and the article ‚ÄėThat Sexe Which Prevaileth‚Äô. It discusses¬†the history of¬†intersexuality¬†in¬†Europe¬†and America, providing ¬†case studies of people who were born with ambiguous¬†genitals¬†during the Premodern era. I very much ¬†enjoyed¬†reading about the¬†mythological¬†concept of¬†hermaphrodite. It refers ¬†back to the ¬†ancient¬†Greek story of Hermes and Aphrodite, who produced a child so thoroughly endowed with the attributes of each parent that¬†unable¬†to decide its sex – so hence called it hermaphrodite. For something that is a myth I think its a really nice representation of meaning for Intersex. We lack a meaning for intersex in¬†today¬†society because we can solve the problem of intersex with medical technology.

My question is: who’s problem are we solving?

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After watching the¬†documentary¬†¬†Intersextion (link to the YouTube video and I strongly advise everyone to watch it) I was upset and angry by the experiences that were told. Mani Mitchell, who we would call the narrator of this¬†film talks of her experience growing up and how she felt that she was the only one who was “different”.¬†The truth is, being intersex is common and it occurs in one in every two thousand births. This¬†statistic¬†really startled me when I read it as it puts into¬†perspective¬†the¬†commonality¬†of intersex births and also the amount of¬†procedures¬†that must be done day in and out to make sure that no one ever hears about it.¬†

In regards to the surgical procedure, not one of the¬†interviewees were happy with the procedures that they¬†undertook¬†as children. They had no choice and rather waiting until they were older and able to make a decision¬†doctors¬†advised ¬†their parents the best thing is ¬†to make their abnormality “invisible”. They resented the doctors for conforming¬†them to the gender category rather then allowing nature to take its course. For the people who¬†didn’t¬†undergo surgery in the film were ¬†more confident with their sexuality and remain intersex because they feel that there is nothing wrong with it.

What I took from this film as well as the readings  is an understanding of our social structure. Western Society works on  the idea of categorising society into groups, whether that be of age, race, status and  sex. To be either  man or a woman sets you up in society and provides privileges, duties and limitations that you must instill in favor of not being rejected. To be a woman already sets you back and to be homosexual is to be completely out of the mold but to be intersex would set enforce a uproar in the fabrication of society. Our gender duties would fall apart.

blahhh im rambling on again….

until next Time

who chooses?

 

 

After reading Bornstein’s article it got me thinking about our choice when it comes to being “male” or “female”. I know we all had those science classes where we learnt all about human anatomy¬†and¬†reproduction and that “men” and “women” have different genitalia that tells us apart but still… do we accept that that’s it, we can only be ¬†men or a women and behave like a man or women and encompass certain traits that bind us ¬†to that group forever ; AND ¬†if we¬†don’t¬†act that way then¬†there’s¬†something wrong with us.

I know I’m not alone in my thoughts about gender being a social construct. I also know that there are people out there who¬†believe¬†that our¬†behavioral¬†traits are innate. I¬†don’t¬†condemn¬†them¬†because¬†let’s face it, our characteristics are presented to us in the such a natural way its hard¬†not¬†to think its societies choice and not our own biology. A blog I found by MEGAN B√ČN√ČAT-DONALD¬†really goes into this nurture vs nature debate and about the fact that our anatomy shouldn’t decide our destiny.I also found this film by Alice Dreger that touches on the same idea of destiny and what makes a “real man ” and a “real woman” .. really¬†interesting¬†stuff.¬†AliceDreger_2011

wow still so much i want to say.. OK so on a more personal note I spent my holidays directing a play written by one of my¬†favorite¬†playwrights,¬†Caryl Churchill. You may be wondering why this is at all related to this class, However, Caryl¬†Churchill’s¬†plays ¬†are all about Gender¬†identity¬†and sexual repression. The play is called Cloud 9 and it’s about the identity of women and men who¬†don’t¬†fit the normal¬†mold¬†of society. The play is set in two acts , the first is in the¬†Victorian¬†era and the second act is at the end of the 1970’s. The representation of ¬†the character Betty¬†pokes fun at the ever present¬†stereotype¬†of¬†the¬†“housewife” in such a way that it brings to light just how stupid the¬†stereotype¬†is. What’s¬†better is that Betty is played by a man in the first act, which¬†further¬†distinguishes the whole “destiny” idea.¬†

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I feel like I get¬†to¬†this point and it gets really intense and theoretical and I start making no sense at all. Evaluating gender is hard sometimes¬†because¬†there’s¬†been so much research behind it. what I want to say about choice is that people¬†shouldn’t¬†have to stick to a label or adhere to certain conventions, they should have a choice.¬†

I’m really enjoying writing this blog. I think it’s a really good way to expand on my gender knowledge.

Till next time…