gender-performativity

anonymous asked:

Concerning being either GNC or nonbinary, does anyone ever talk about how jobs can limit one's choices for gender presentation? I'm in hard science, which tends to have much stricter standards of "professional presentation" (and thus gender-performance), than the humanities. I couldn't get away with half of the presentation stuff that people on Tumblr endlessly espouse if I want to actually get a job in my chosen field, which is then used as proof that I'm a faker and trend-follower.

unfortunately i don’t have any links on hand to offer you, but i have seen many people both online and offline talk about the limitations (or even complete inability) that they face regarding being able to present themselves in a way that reflects their gender (or lack thereof)– both in regards to on the job and as a student because of standards re: “professionalism”. especially here in Japan where binary gendered uniforms & dress codes are extremely common both in the workplace and in schools, it’s a fairly commonly shared source of frustration and distress, i think.

that said, although your ask instantly made me think of a particular friend of mine in a scientific field who has voiced similar frustration as you, i actually haven’t seen much talk about this topic specifically from those in scientific fields, hard or otherwise. i’m sure there are various reasons for that, none of which being an actual shortage of people who are faced with this problem, because Tumblr being Tumblr aside, i’m sure there is no such shortage.

it can be hard at times, dealing with all the things that are skewered on Tumblr, having to remind yourself that things are in fact skewered on Tumblr and not an actual reflection of the state of things at times; trying not to internalize things, be they aimed directly at you personally or not or in general navigating any kind of space where you do not see yourself or your experiences represented in one way or another, meanwhile dealing people with people who are all too quick to pass down judgement on others without knowing anything about them or their situation et cetera ad infinitum.

trust me, as someone who has worked in a humanities field for ten years in an arguably conservative country, even though the standards for “professionalism” that i face may differ from yours, even i get frustrated and exasperated with Tumblr and non-binary spaces in general that are dominated by people who are younger / at a different place in life career-wise than me.

[A] father had noted throughout the interview that his five-year-old son tends to show some attributes he considers feminine. At one point, he mentioned that he sometimes wondered if his son might be gay, and he explained his reaction to that possibility in the following terms: ‘If [he] were to be gay, it would not make me happy at all. I would probably see that as a failure as a dad, as a failure because I’m raising him to be a boy, a man.’ This comment suggests that the parent does not view masculinity as something that naturally unfolds but rather as something he feels responsible for crafting, and he explicitly links heterosexual orientation to the successful accomplishment of masculinity.
— 

The fact that the connection between gender performance and sexual orientation was not raised for daughters, and that fear of homosexuality was not spontaneously mentioned by parents of daughters whether in connection to gender performance or not, suggests how closely gender conformity and heterosexuality are linked within hegemonic constructions of masculinity.

Emily Kane, ‘“No Way My Boys Are Going to Be Like That!” Parents’s Responses to Children’s Gender Nonconformity,’ Gender & Society

Certainly, we can and do try and discern various strategies that might contest dominant gender norms, and those strategies are essential to any radical gender and sexual politics. But we should doubtless make a mistake if we thought that we might remake our gender or construct our sexuality on the basis of a deliberate decision. And even when we decide to change gender, or produce gender, it is on the basis of some very powerful desires that we make such a choice. We do not precisely choose those desires.
—  Judith Butler, “Performativity, Precarity and Sexual Politics” (xii)
Performing one’s gender wrong initiates a set of punishments both obvious and indirect, and performing it well provides the reassurance that there is an essentialism of gender identity after all. That this reassurance is so easily displaced by anxiety, that culture so readily punishes or marginalizes those who fail to perform the illusion of gender essentialism should be sign enough that on some level there is social knowledge that the truth or falsity of gender is only socially compelled and in no sense ontologically necessitated.
—  Judith Butler, “Performative Acts and Gender Constitution” (528)

In addition to being thin, women (particularly in the west) are expected to maintain the illusion of hairlessness. Any sign that puberty might have bestowed upon us a spray of fuzz beneath our arms or a thatch of fur between our legs has to be eliminated immediately. Waxing, shaving, plucking, electrolysis - women have to fork out precious financial resources just to achieve what is then laughably passed off as a ‘natural’ state. For men and women similarly invested in maintaining patriarchal notions of gender performance, hair on women seems to be oddly terrifying. 

- Clementine Ford, Fight Like A Girl 

it has come to my attention that there aren’t many posts out there dedicated just to trans women who aren’t traditionally feminine, so:

  • shoutout to trans women with short haircuts
  • shoutout to trans women with beards/stubble
  • shout out to butch trans wlw
  • shout out to trans women who don’t enjoy traditionally feminine things
  • shoutout to trans women who don’t like/wear makeup
  • shoutout to trans women who hate dresses and skirts
  • shoutout to trans women who don’t look like all the trans women in media because they don’t have flowing hair and red lipstick and winged eyeliner
  • shoutout to trans women with lots of body hair

you shouldn’t be held to standards of gender performance that make you uncomfortable or that you just don’t like!!

your identity is still valid and none of those things make you less of a woman!!

The theory of gender performativity presupposes that norms are acting on us before we have a chance to act at all, and that when we do act, we recapitulate the norms that act upon us, perhaps in new or unexpected ways, but still in relation to norms that precede us and exceed us. In other words, norms act on us, work upon us, and this kind of ‘being worked on’ makes its way into our own action.
—  Judith Butler, “Performativity, Precarity and Sexual Politics” (xi)

teach girls they are normal for not liking feminine things and being feminine instead of telling them they might “not be girls”. girls are hurting because they are being forced to perform gendered things they don’t like and you’re telling them it’s because they “aren’t girls”? you are making girls hurt more.

The History of Drag Kings

When compared to the exquisitely expressive art of Drag Queens, the wonderful world of Drag Kings appears to exist with far less attention from popular culture. When I speak of Drag Queens amongst my friends, most of them seem familiar with the craft, so much so, they can even name and discuss examples. However, when I raise the term ‘Drag King’, I am often confronted with a response similar to, ‘Wow, I never even knew they existed’. Nonetheless, Drag King performers are storming stages all around the world, treating an array of audiences to bold shows which captivate and challenge creative minds.

The idea and practice of performers transforming themselves through male personas is by no means a new concept. For instance, English playwright, poet and actress Susanna Centlivre is notable for her work as an actress in ‘breeches roles’. Dubbed as “the most successful female playwright of the eighteenth century”, she performed regularly in traditional male attire. In other words, she became accustomed to fitted knee-length trousers and popular masculine garments; clothing worn mostly by men around the 1700s. Since this time, Drag Kings have progressed and developed; increasing in popularity whilst making use of sophisticated resources and techniques. Distinguished impersonators and cross-dressers across the 19th and 20th Centuries include theatrical performers such as Annie Hindle, Ella Shields, Vesta Tilly, Bessie Bellwood and Hetty King. Not to mention other provocative entertainers such as Blues singer Gladys Bentley and the more controversial LGBT civil rights icon; Stormé DeLarverie. Referencing the OED, during 1972, the term ‘Drag King’ was initially published in text to represent the description ‘woman masquerading as a man’. Referring to the updated version, we can see the definition as ‘A woman who dresses up as a man; a male impersonator’. Bringing Drag Kings into the 21st Century, the field of performing arts and creative industries offer a wide range of practitioners specialising in drag king performances, workshops and transformations. Some of my favourites include Phantom, Spikey Van Dykey, Adam All and Landon Cider.

The International Drag King Community Extravaganza is the largest event of its kind and is entirely run by volunteers. Hosted in a different city each year, the IDKE is known for its extraordinary performances, workshops and events which push the boundaries of gender. In order to achieve different levels of gender illusion, drag kings combine methods of breast binding, application of facial/body hair, masculine haircuts, styles or wigs, performance props, staging, illusive male genitalia, manly clothing, as well as altered posture and movement. Despite being relatively unheard of to the masses, Drag King shows are becoming more and more accessible, with both troupe and solo performers making a name for themselves amongst artistic and LGBT communities. For example, ‘Boi Box’ is a monthly Drag King show held at ‘She Soho’, a lesbian venue situated on Old Compton Street in London. There are also many opportunities for Drag Kings to compete and network, with The San Francisco Drag King Contest being significant as supposedly the oldest and biggest Drag King competition in the world.

The drag scene plays host to a magnificent mixture of gender bending cabaret, comedy, burlesque, circus, theatre and performance art. The art of drag has been saturated with fascinating historical events, and continues amaze through the footprints of modern day practitioners. Drag Kings take their place in the spotlight, giving us a glimpse into a remarkable and inspiring world which deserves to be adored and celebrated.

grown up angus: 

  • is in fact taller than all of the everyone, beating magnus by 2 inches
  • uses taako as an armrest because of it
  • gets to transition and is fuckin stoked about it but keeps his hair really long cause miss him with that performative gender shit
  • mimics taako’s hip swings and hand motions 
  • is a fucking baller wizard detective 
  • has 2 spouses who he loves and adores 
  • has many children who he loves and adores 
  • adopts taako as his dad officially and the mcdonald clan has a weird elf grandpa for like a dozen generations 
  • lets magnus hold all the babies and chases him down whenever he tries to steal them for his diabolical needs

i LOVE all of the new analysis about how yuuri is actually the playboy in the story of eros who seduced and abandoned viktor (albeit unintentionally) and i want to add to it by pointing out that this interpretation doesn’t have to replace the original image of him as the beautiful seductress from episode 3. he’s both at once!

we saw when he was training with minako that feminine expression is much more comfortable to him, but after episode 10 it’s also obvious that he embraces the masculine seduction when he lets go of all his inhibitions and self-consciousness. both of these identities come to him naturally, so there’s no reason to limit him to one or the other.

this fits with the general theme of “suggesting both genders at once.” yuuri is totally crushing the performative gender binary under his heel and i honestly can’t get enough of it. his identity is so rich and layered and full of apparent “contradictions” that i could think about it forever and not have figured it all out, and it is fantastic.

When discussing gay theater, I am always reminded of Blanche DuBois’ proclamation: “I don’t want realism, I want magic!!” It is a sense of theater as a magical space mirroring life but large than life and the sense that theatre best mirrors the performance of gender and the awareness of performativity that have historically been part of the gay experience. These plays all take their audiences and readers to surprising places. There is no way in which we could refer to these plays as “straight” plays. Gay playwrights, even in their most serious moments, remind their audiences of the many readings of the word play, What does theatre mean if it is not joyous, camp, liberating, and magical? It is not somber, literal, or naturalistic.
—  John M. Clum, Staging Gay Lives.