Gender bender

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This article is about human gender. Gender bender_sentence_0

For the hardware component, see Gender changer. Gender bender_sentence_1

For the X-Files episode, see . Gender bender_sentence_2

See also: Sexual fluidity, Non-binary gender, and Gender theory Gender bender_sentence_3

A gender bender is a person who disrupts or "bends" expected gender roles. Gender bender_sentence_4

Bending expected gender roles may also be called a genderfuck. Gender bender_sentence_5

Gender bending is sometimes a form of social activism undertaken to destroy rigid gender roles and defy sex-role stereotypes, notably in cases where the gender-nonconforming person finds these roles oppressive. Gender bender_sentence_6

It can be a reaction to, and protest of, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny, or misandry. Gender bender_sentence_7

Some gender benders identify with the sex assigned them at birth, but challenge the societal norms that assign expectations of particular, gendered behavior to that sex. Gender bender_sentence_8

This rebellion can involve androgynous dress, adornment, behavior, and atypical gender roles. Gender bender_sentence_9

Gender benders may self-identify as trans or genderqueer. Gender bender_sentence_10

As academic theorists, gender benders may also craft software for wide release and shape "design of the future body" in order to subvert cultural norms and "increase the probability of more desirable futures happening". Gender bender_sentence_11

Gender bending may be political, stemming from the early identity politics movements of the 1960s and 1970s, a guiding principle of which is the idea that the personal is political. Gender bender_sentence_12

In his 1974 article, Genderfuck and Its Delights, Christopher Lonc explained his motivation for performing genderfuck: "I want to criticize and poke fun at the roles of women and of men too. Gender bender_sentence_13

I want to try [to] show how not-normal I can be. Gender bender_sentence_14

I want to ridicule and destroy the whole cosmology of restrictive sex roles and sexual identification." Gender bender_sentence_15

The term genderfuck has long been part of the gay vernacular, and started to appear in written documents in the 1970s. Gender bender_sentence_16

Sheidlower cites the definition of the term gender fuck in L Humphreys' 1972 work Out of the Closets: Sociology of Homosexual Liberation as "a form of extended guerilla theatre". Gender bender_sentence_17

Also quoted is the August 1972 issue of Rolling Stone magazine, in reference to the glam rock style: "The new 'macho' transvestism, called vulgarly 'gender-fuck', a curious satire of female impersonation – dresses, pumps, full make-up and beards – is represented by, among others, three men in WAC uniforms and big moustaches". Gender bender_sentence_18

Gender binary Gender bender_section_0

To "fuck with" gender, one must have an expectation to be able to rebel against. Gender bender_sentence_19

These expectations are socially constructed and can vary widely between cultures. Gender bender_sentence_20

The gender binary is the idea that only two genders exist: men and women. Gender bender_sentence_21

In many cultures it is only acceptable for an individual to embody one of two polar gender roles. Gender bender_sentence_22

Gender roles often mimic the social expectations of the sexual categories of "male" and "female". Gender bender_sentence_23

Within this cultural expectation, people designated as male are expected to be masculine, while those designated female are expected to be feminine. Gender bender_sentence_24

The belief in and subscription to polar gender roles is known as gender binarism. Gender bender_sentence_25

In many cultures, for a person to be seen as belonging to a particular gender category, the individual must not only have a particular anatomical (including genital) makeup, but must conform to that culture's ideas of appropriate sex-role stereotypes. Gender bender_sentence_26

These roles are highly influenced by culture and peers. Gender bender_sentence_27

This sex-role stereotype includes sexual orientation. Gender bender_sentence_28

To this end, those who go against expected conduct, for example gays and lesbians, may be seen as "less than" or "other". Gender bender_sentence_29

In Western cultures, gender roles have changed somewhat over the years. Gender bender_sentence_30

However, mainstream western culture still tends to expect stereotypical "feminine" behaviors from females, and "masculine" sex-role stereotypes from males. Gender bender_sentence_31

A study by Princeton University outlined these common, prescriptive gender stereotypes: "masculine" - acts as a leader, aggressive, ambitious, analytical, assertive, athletic, competitive, defends own beliefs, dominant, forceful, has leadership abilities, independent, individualistic, makes decisions easily, self-reliant, self-sufficient, strong-personality, willing to take a stand, and willing to take risks. Gender bender_sentence_32

"Feminine" sex-role stereotypes, as defined by this same study included: affectionate, cheerful, childlike, compassionate, does not use harsh language, eager to soothe hurt feelings, flatterable, gentle, gullible, loves children, loyal, sensitive to the needs of others, shy, soft-spoken, sympathetic, tender, understanding, warm, and yielding. Gender bender_sentence_33

In Christian and Jewish cultures, gender roles and gender presentation have been policed since Biblical times: "The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment; for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God" (Deut. 22:5). Gender bender_sentence_34

Crossing these lines has been interpreted by some Christians as a moral transgression. Gender bender_sentence_35

Subsidiary cultures Gender bender_section_1

Other cultures - often indigenous peoples, or subcultures that exist within Western cultures - may conceptualize gender as having more than two options, and even see their people as potentially fulfilling more than one gender role. Gender bender_sentence_36

Some indigenous peoples of North America have historically had more than two gender roles as part of their social structure, while others, who may or may not have embraced this diversity historically, may accept modern two spirit people as part of their communities now. Gender bender_sentence_37

Other cultures may see people as being capable of embodying more than one gender role at different times, or of being "in the middle", "embracing both male and female spirit". Gender bender_sentence_38

One such example is the Bugis people of South Sulawesi, Indonesia. Gender bender_sentence_39

People of the Bugis society have a total of five genders. Gender bender_sentence_40

These genders include what would traditionally be seen as cisgender man and woman, as well as transgender men and women, and the androgynous Bissu shamans. Gender bender_sentence_41

Gender bending in practice Gender bender_section_2

Often, parody and exaggeration are used to transgress gender roles, usually to expose them as artificial. Gender bender_sentence_42

For example, a person who engages in gender bending may purposefully exaggerate conventional notions of femininity, or masculinity. Gender bender_sentence_43

Gender bending can also be achieved through cross-dressing and androgyny, both of which challenge and contribute to dismantling the gender binary by separating expression or performance of gender from perceptions of biological or physiological sex. Gender bender_sentence_44

Thus, gender bending protests gender essentialism. Gender bender_sentence_45

This concept is protested not only through non-normative appearance, but by challenging normative gender roles, characteristics, or behaviors as well – for example, a female-bodied individual who is purposefully assertive and nondomestic in order to challenge the notion of essential femininity. Gender bender_sentence_46

Gender bending is based in gender performativity: the concept of gender as a performance. Gender bender_sentence_47

It can be achieved through physical presentation (e.g. clothing, hair, makeup, and secondary sex characteristics), as well as behavior. Gender bender_sentence_48

Because much of gender performance is expressed through clothing, in societies where a gender binary can be observed, there is an established, widespread notion that some clothes are "masculine" and should be worn only by male-bodied individuals, and others are "feminine" and should be worn only by female-bodied individuals. Gender bender_sentence_49

Hawkes, sociologist and author, addresses this "dress code" and the opportunity for a resistance: "The universality of [dress] codes and their meanings allows for the [subversion of] the mainstream 'messages' they convey and through this to illuminate the existence of alternative [gender] identities." Gender bender_sentence_50

Cross-dressing and androgyny Gender bender_section_3

Cross-dressing would be a form of gender bending because the purpose is to "fuck with gender" roles and presentation. Gender bender_sentence_51

Androgyny is not specifically gender bending, but it can be considered as such if someone is being androgynous on purpose. Gender bender_sentence_52

The origin of the word "androgynous" is from the Greek androgynos: "male and female in one; womanish man; common to men and women". Gender bender_sentence_53

Androgyny as a form of gender expression may present as a blended unification of masculine and feminine traits, with the goal of making one's sex indiscernible, or as a dichotomous mix juxtaposing male and female phenotypes, with the goal of transgressing gender norms. Gender bender_sentence_54

There have been many famous people who have cross-dressed and many famous people now who are androgynous. Gender bender_sentence_55

The rock star Prince was very well known for his cross-dressing or androgynous look. Gender bender_sentence_56

Eddie Izzard started to freely talk about his cross-dressing as early as 1992. Gender bender_sentence_57

Shakespeare used cross-dressing in his performances. Gender bender_sentence_58

Over the centuries some readers have posited that Shakespeare's sonnets are autobiographical, and point to them as evidence of his love for a young man. Gender bender_sentence_59

Shakespeare had characters in his writings that were considered cross-dressers. Gender bender_sentence_60

The four of the five main female characters in his plays were seen as women who cross-dress as men or boys: Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra, Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Rosalind in As You Like It, Viola in Twelfth Night. Gender bender_sentence_61

Drag Gender bender_section_4

Drag shows are stage performances where people perform in drag. Gender bender_sentence_62

Drag costuming and makeup may in some cases simply involve an actor portraying a character of a sex or gender different from their own, or the performance itself may be a parody or critique of gender and gender roles. Gender bender_sentence_63

Often "feminine" or "masculine" gender stereotypes of the person's culture are exaggerated for comic or satirical effect. Gender bender_sentence_64

Performers may call themselves drag kings or drag queens. Gender bender_sentence_65

Drag revues typically involve elaborate, glamorous costumes and musical performances. Gender bender_sentence_66

The entertainers may sing, dance, or lip sync. Gender bender_sentence_67

A faux drag performer is a person who performs as the gender they identify as in day-to-day life, albeit in a usually exaggerated form. Gender bender_sentence_68

For instance a cisgender woman who performs as a drag queen is a faux queen or the other way around for a faux king. Gender bender_sentence_69

Rupp et al. Gender bender_sentence_70

noted in 2010 that "In order to understand the differences and similarities between gay male drag queens and female-bodied and transgender drag kings and bio queens, we consider how the personal gender and sexual identities of drag performers affect and are affected by their gender performances in drag." Gender bender_sentence_71

Literature Gender bender_section_5

Literature, in particular erotica, is another method that has been used to explore genderfuck scenarios. Gender bender_sentence_72

The basis of the literary genre of genderfuck is that it's unimportant whether someone is a man or a woman during the sex act, an idea which challenges for example the Catholic theology of sexuality. Gender bender_sentence_73

Doris Libetseder points to Carol Queen's short story The Leather Daddy and the Femme, where a lesbian femme uses a strap-on dildo to have sex with a gay leather daddy as a fitting example of the genderfuck genre. Gender bender_sentence_74

Software Gender bender_section_6

It was noted as early as May 2019 that the software product Snapchat had photograph filters that make it easy to perform a gender bender on the subjects of photographs, especially those taken on handheld devices like smartphones. Gender bender_sentence_75

Non-political gender bending Gender bender_section_7

Gender bending is not always a purposeful political standpoint. Gender bender_sentence_76

According to Butler, gender is something that is performed; it only holds cultural significance to the extent that this is ascribed to it. Gender bender_sentence_77

Despite the gender binary roles society imposes, there are many ways for individuals to express gender variation and not all of them are intentionally political radicalism. Gender bender_sentence_78

Further, in 1995 Tamsin Wilton argued that: Gender bender_sentence_79

Judith Butler and gender as performance Gender bender_section_8

Judith Butler a theorist who believes the idea that gender is something that is performed by individuals. Gender bender_sentence_80

Her concept of "gender performativity" is the idea that people choose to perform gender in a context in which we are given very few socially acceptable choices, but can be explained as being similar to what actors do in front of the camera. Gender bender_sentence_81

Due to the importance we place on the belief that men need to act like men and women need to behave like women, it is often believed that gender is an innate attribute and not a social construct. Gender bender_sentence_82

In her article Performative Acts and Gender Constitution: An Essay in Phenomenology and Feminist Theory, Butler explains that if gender is something that sexed bodies assimilate to in order to follow the societal codes of what is appropriate behavior, then those actions can be conceptualized in different ways to allow more flexibility for individuals. Gender bender_sentence_83

In the same article, she asserts that in American culture, there is a gender binary along with strict social repercussions against those that act against the "normal" script. Gender bender_sentence_84

This script is policed by harassment, parental pressures to fill expectations, and peer influence. Gender bender_sentence_85

All of these are ways to guarantee that the culture will repeat itself from generation to generation. Gender bender_sentence_86

Judith Butler's theory about gender roles and their social implications and need for reconstruction is developed in her book, Gender Trouble (1990) in which she argues that the limited acceptance of variation in gender roles does great harm to individual expression. Gender bender_sentence_87

With the limited options for both men and women, there is little room for their combined forces, because men are constantly focused on becoming the financial supporters of their families which leaves women with the sole option of being the maternal expert she is expected to be. Gender bender_sentence_88

This idea excludes the masculine women or feminine men from being acceptable parental figures for their children because it may lead to a child growing up and conceptualizing the world differently. Gender bender_sentence_89

Gender and childraising Gender bender_section_9

According to Susan Witt's 1997 study, children generally come to their first conclusions about being male or female from their parents since typically they are the first people the child relates to and the nature of the relationship is intense. Gender bender_sentence_90

Besides parents giving children gender specific clothing, toys, and expectations, there are often many subtle messages about what is acceptable or not regarding gender. Gender bender_sentence_91

Witt's study showed that children that grow up with more androgynous gendered parents are more focused on achievements and typically have a better sense of self. Gender bender_sentence_92

Conversely, in cases of gender nonconformity, when a child exhibits gender performances that are atypical of their prescribed gender role, Kerry Robinson and Cristyn Davies report that a parental figure may respond with hostility. Gender bender_sentence_93

According to Roberts et al. Gender bender_sentence_94

in Pediatrics, people who do not conform to the gender binary are often subject to abuse from society, from within the family and within their community. Gender bender_sentence_95

Types of abuse range from physical and sexual to psychological abuse and are not associated with homosexuality alone. Gender bender_sentence_96

Examples Gender bender_section_10

In films Gender bender_section_11

Some films including gender-fuck characters or drag characters are: Gender bender_sentence_97

Gender bender_unordered_list_0

See also Gender bender_section_12

Gender bender_unordered_list_1


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender bender.