Bodies: Gender and hir Acknowledging hir Essay examples

Submitted By jorgeregula
Words: 1647
Pages: 7

Jorge Flores
SXS 301
The body has always been used as a means for our orientation in this world. From the day that we are born, when the doctor examines our body and assigns our gender, to the day that we die, our body is always under inspection. The physical body, like most other things, holds much more meaning than just a definition, the body holds with it decades of ideas and concepts that we forget. We often do not think about how much of our own views and ideas of our own bodies are a reflection of our culture. Our skin color, hair texture, weight, height, and many other characteristics are all part of our body and as a result have affected how we orient ourselves in this world. Our bodies have gone through many phases both individually and throughout history, so it comes as no surprise that we use our body as a way to position ourselves in the world. With our body defining so much of who we are I ask the question; do we posses a body, or are we a body? In the memoir Herculine Barbin, introduced by Michel Foucault and containing the memoir of Herculine Barbin, we hear about the physical body. Herculine originally classified and raised as a girl, is later pronounced a hermaphrodite and ultimately reclassified as a man. In the memoir, Herculine talks about many bodies including her own. Being very descriptive of both hirs and others physical appearance leads the reader to think that ze is insecure about hir body. Many times in the novel ze talks about the feeling of shame over hir body, resulting in missing out on many activities that many of the other schoolgirls would participate in. Herculines story offers a unique perspective of how hirs physical body forced hir to be classified as a male. Although Herculine makes an attempt to not be defined by hir body, it is clear that the rigid rules of sex and gender at the time ultimately led to hir to be a body rather than posses a body. However the story of Herculine offers another insight to the question of whether we are body or posses a body. Towards the end of the memoir Herculine acknowledges the fact that hir body will be dissected when ze is dead. However hir acknowledging hir fate is not just that, but rather a way to make the reader think about why hir body is so important even after ze has opened up hir life. Along with Herculines acknowledgment of hir fate ze makes an attempt to separate hirself from the human population as a whole writing, “it is upon me that you will cast your insulting disdain, as upon a disheartened creature, a being without a name” (pg. 100). Herculines last entry in the memoir discusses hir departure and we are later told that ze commited suicide. Although Herculine ultimately convinces the reader that ze is more than a body, the dossier at the end of the book reminds us that by societies standards ze was a body rather than in possession of a body. Zackary Drucker, a transgender performance artist, challenges the publics’ perceptions of not just bodies, but specifically transgender bodies. In both her pieces One Fist and The Inability to be Looked at and the Horror of Nothing to See, Drucker discusses the body in regards to society and self. One Fist, a piece that puts Druckers body on display as a gold glittery statue that is slowly being revealed challenges the viewer to think about how we prioritize the body in regards to defining a person. Drucker, while being unraveled, speaks about the rigidness of sex and gender roles. In specific, Drucker is talking about how these rigid roles have affected her transgender body that fits neither of the normative rules. Drucker is revealing the signals she has received from the outside world while slowly revealing her body. Her body being revealed serves as a distraction from what she is saying ultimately challenging the viewer to care more about the experience than the body. Like Herculine, Drucker rejects normative sex and gender for herself and tell us that she will be the one to define and