Troubling Conceptions of Gender and Sexuality As children many of us are socialized to believe that we are ‘normal’ and that to be ‘normal’ is the ultimate goal. We are taught by our parents, teachers and the media how to act in ways that are socially appropriate for our class, race, nationality and gender. It is assumed that we are cisgender, heterosexual, patriotic beings that will maintain that identity throughout our whole life. However, as we grow up some of us realize that perhaps there isn’t an actual ‘normal’ and that there are other ways of being that fall outside the norm of what we are assumed to be or assigned at birth. The way that we perceive our gender and sexuality has been shaped by social, legal and political narratives throughout history. Perhaps we would not view ourselves as falling outside of the norm if we had not been taught by our parents who had been taught by their parents and so on what the socially accepted definition of a normal person or body was and still is. From the moment we are born labels are placed on our bodies and we are socialized to act in certain ways that correspond with our assigned gender. If we stray from these guidelines then our bodies are looked down upon and devalued. An abnormal gender or sexuality leads to a person’s legal rights being trampled on simply because they fall out of line with the ideal body and personhood. Those that create the laws, politicians, often employ the rhetoric of ‘family values’ to disregard and punish the queer body in a public forum. We must ask ourselves if our conceptions of gender and sexuality have actually improved over the course of history, specifically the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and we must also ask what led to the marginalization of queer bodies and in turn a need for improvement in understandings of different genders and sexualities. In our society we sometimes think of ourselves as very forward thinking and accepting of alternative lifestyles. But why must we label certain lifestyles as ‘alternative’ and have to ‘accept’ them? Why are cisgender hetero people given the authority to legitimize somebody else? It is because their bodies are viewed as more valuable. Boyd purports that “Bodies that inhabit or enact naturalized states of being remain culturally intelligible, socially valuable and as a result gain and retain the privileges of citizenship and its associated rights and protections”.# We place too much value on a person who displays ‘normal’ gender characteristics and in turn devalue genders and sexualities that don’t fit neatly into that norm. Those ‘naturalized’ bodies are rewarded through varying institutions of power and by society as a whole. The French philosopher Michele Foucalt coined the term biopower to mean "an explosion of numerous and diverse techniques for achieving the subjugations of bodies and the control of populations".# More simply put biopower is the control and manipulation of bodies through institutions such as schools and hospitals to create a more productive body and in result workforce. In the nineteenth century following the incredibly repressive Victorian Era sexuality became much more important for identifying people as abnormal and pitting them against those that were perceived to be normal. Foucalt believed that it was due to our sexual repression that we placed such a high importance on people’s sexual behaviors. In the seventeenth century sexual practices were not as inflated with meaning and secrecy as they were in the following centuries. According to him, the less public sex and sexuality became, the more important it was to classify it.# In the Victorian era it was viewed to be against the moral code of the time for a person not to conform with state accepted expressions of sexuality. Sex had only one real purpose: reproduction. Those that did not conform were ostracized from society and treated as lepers. The belief that discussion of sex was taboo prevailed in the…
`Canadian citizens that lived in the twentieth century have unlikely predicted human rights to evolve as much as they have over the past one hundred years. Canada is seen as a society, with a low crime rate, and as an extreme multicultural nation. However it was not always the place it is today. Canada has come a long way and has proved itself to be a better country to live in than it was one hundred years ago, or even sixty years ago. The offering of Human Rights has done many things to make this…
Penn. governor ordered state militia to impose peace, strikers surrendered in the following months |
11.What are the Knights of Labor?: |
the largest American labor organizations of the 1880s who welcomed everyone regardless of skill, creed, gender or color |
12.What is the Fifteenth Amendment?: |
prohibits each government in the United States from denying a citizen the right to vote based on that citizen's "race, color, or previous condition of servitude" |
13.What is the People's…
people almost always describe Japan as a "small island country"? Because it is small in comparison to the countries that dominated its history: China, the historical great power in East Asia, and the United States, the global superpower in the twentieth century. Japan also seems small to Japanese because it is mostly mountainous, with nearly 80 percent of its 126 million population now crammed into some sixty cities. |
And because Japan is a country of four main and many outlying islands, it is indeed…
“The New Women is New”
In the early twentieth-century, in the United States a man was considered the head of his household. His wife along with all she possessed was his property. Her role in the house was to be a housewife, and being a housewife her role was to obey, and make her husband’s life easier. She was to take care of their children, clean the house, cook the meals, and do whatever else her husband ordered. Women had to dress in the view of true femininity, long full dresses so that…
identity and language in the eighteenth century
London, Routledge, 1996, ISBN: 978041510735X; 192pp.; Price: £80.00
Dr Robert B. Shoemaker
University of Sheffield
Dr Robert B. Shoemaker, review of Fashioning Masculinity. National identity and language in the eighteenth century, (review no. 40)
Date accessed: 6 March, 2014
See Author's Response
Growing out of recent work on gender, scholars are now turning their attention…
HIST 415 Vietnam and the Twentieth Century Experience
General Instructions for All Written Assignments
Each week you will have a short written assignment. Though each assignment is slightly different, this should serve as general instructions for all assignments.
Formatting: All assignments should be completed as Microsoft Word documents. They should be between 2 and 3 pages and be double spaced with standard indentation. The font should be size 12, Times New Roman. You should create a short…
In the twenty-first century, success in management depends on the ability to lead change and get things done through people.
Management is an ambiguous term and has been subject to many interpretations. The precise meaning of management and the work of a manager have a number of differing ideas associated with them. One of the first and most widely quoted analyses is that given by Henri Fayol. He suggested managerial activity should be divided into five elements, which are defined as planning…
Social classes in Australia at the turn of the twentieth century
Food & clothing
Urban upper class
Professional people such as doctor’s lawyers and accountants. Successful business owners of factories or large shops.
Lived in mansions, large homes or large blocks. Could afford maids and servants to do all housework and cleaning.
Spent time outside the house, women entertained at home, men go to their social club with strict membership rules dress codes and expensive…
As a profound influence on the twentieth century pop art movement, Andy Warhol ascended to become a cornerstone in the modern art world. After taking cues from society in the mid-twentieth century, as well as conversing with Muriel Latow, Warhol did what many artists strived to do but failed. Andy also extracted many of his ideas from other artists and built on them. He put a culture on canvas and revolutionized pop art for a life time.
The nineteen sixties, seventies, and eighties were periods…