Over the years gender has been a problem in our society that we cannot avoid. We live in a society based on two and only two sex categories (male and female) leading to sex itself being a socially constructed category. Gender refers to the socially constructed characteristic of men and women, such as roles, norms and relationships of and between them. Many questions come into play on what does sex mean in terms of your gender role as a man or a woman? Betsy Lucal writes about her lived experiences with gender bending, where a person’s physical appearance does not fit in the two acceptable sex categories and whether you try not to do gender, others will do it for you. This paper illustrates why I agree with Lucal’s argument, an objection to Lucal’s argument and being transgender doesn’t mean you can be transracial.
First and Foremost, according to Lucal’s argument of gender being persistent in our society to where we cannot avoid it, is very true. Men are known to be strong individuals who support and defend their families, whereas; women are gentle, motherly, kind and giving. The two genders are believed to be separate with different traits and born with different qualities. This is not true because as a culture we have established and defined these gender roles over times which seems natural to us now. There are many ladies with masculine features and at first sight, the casual observer may carelessly assign them to the opposite gender; the case is replicated among the males who do not have the perceived masculine features. Both men and women have body hair and while it is regular for the male to keep the hair, females get rid of it. There are women who don’t want to get rid of their hair but does that make them not a woman anymore? Lucal experienced this dilemma and more daily which is very disturbing to her. The assumption that she is a man is upsetting, the panic in the ladies’ eyes every time she enters a lady’s restroom, the need to double check her identity every time she identifies herself and the whispers about her is irritating. I agree with the Lucal, that while we are biologically assigned a certain gender, we do not have to necessarily appear like what the society expects us to.
In addition to agreeing with Lucal on gender performance, in the text she states how she tried to appear more feminine, I let my hair grow nearly down to my shoulders and had it permed, I also grew long fingernails and wore nail polish (Lucal 789). To lessen Lucal’s experiences of gender blending as experiences of harassment, she fails to recognize the issue she is trying to indorse. Although this objection was given, she chooses in the end to not participate in femininity. Lucal also stated, why I decided to continue my nonparticipation in femininity was that my sociological training suggested that this could be one of my contributions to the eventual dismantling of patriarchal gender constructs (Lucal 793). Lucal seems to feel liberated by her experiences because she feels she is helping to deconstruct an unbending and harmful binary. She would respond to this by expanding the category of woman to include people like her in our gender system because she does identify herself as a woman and not as a man or as someone outside of the two and only two categories.
Lastly, basing Lucal’s argument that gender is a social construct we are left with the questions to whether the same applies to race. Both are socially constructed that often determine how individuals are viewed and treated by others and where each person falls in an unbending and oppressive hierarchy. There have been cases of people who belong to a certain race and their genes are of a certain race, but they claim feeling trapped in a different skin color. While Lucal was right in the gender assignment case, the transracial case is a bit far-fetched. Lucal’s experiences are a product of gender and not the color of her skin white. What I strongly disagree with is the notion that a person who is transgender can also be transracial. The fact that a person is biologically of a certain race and deep inside he or she feels that they belong to another race is completely wrong. The idea stems from racism and the portrayal of a certain race being superior to another. People who exhibit this condition are reverse racists who believe that if they were of a different race they would automatically get the privileges that the new race enjoy.
All in all, gender and race are both social constructs but that does not mean that they are both morally acceptable. We are biologically assigned to a certain gender, but we do not have to appear like what society expects us to. It is unlikely that gender is biologically determined because learning gender is a social practice that begins before a child is even born. I agree with Betsy Lucal upon gender being so persuasive in our society, although I have made an objection to her gender bending and lastly, I disagree with someone being transracial, even if they were transgender. Gender was constructed by society and has placed limitations and restrictions on those that do not follow the gender rules.
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