How Does Gender Expression Link with Sexuality and Public

Another important term was private/public binary and this addresses the way one lives their life privately and for public consumption. As mentioned in module one’s lecture one powerpoint, one person’s gender expression may match that person’s gender identity, they do not always, sometimes it hides the person’s gender identity, and acceptance of this is the area of our lives that needs to change. An important fact about binaries is that they require each other to exist.

Therefore, if everyone lived the same life privately and publicly there would not be a difference and the binaries would have nothing to compare each other to and no longer exist. This continuum can be confusing at first, but if one thinks about phrases that represent opposites, are they really opposites or are they simply for our own comfort level?

We also learned in Baumgardner and Richards’ Manifesta that while we have come a long way in feminism and the opportunities we have now that we would not if the feminist movement had not passed in the 1970s, noting we still have a ways to go.

Before the movement, it seemed impossible for women to secure financial stability without their husband’s approval since households were patriarchal. Lesbians were rarely out, except in certain bars owned by organized crime. This lack of acceptance continued to force the existence of the public/private binary. In module two, we focused on scientific objectivism and gender essentialism. Essentialism is the belief there are natural or biological characteristics that are associated with specific genders and they can be used to guide a person to how they should act, even if the person does not associate himself or herself with this gender identity.

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An example would be the stereotype that women should be more nurturing than men and that can excuse why a man is more emotionally detached from their children. Another example used in this module’s lecture was that women are considered less sexual than men, and women that enjoyed sex and did not follow this thought process could be slut shamed and considered promiscuous. In the film “Intersexion”, we were introduced to many people that were born with both female and male chromosomes previously referred to as hermaphrodites. Historically the unfortunate solution to this situation is that the parents are asked to choose their child’s gender very early on, many times authorizing a surgery that commits this child to this gender. It takes several years before most people will begin to sense their sexuality. In the film, many intersex peoples who were interviewed, as they matured, did not associate with the gender that was chosen for them by their parents. For the families that were willing to allow the children to “change” their gender were advised to uproot their families and move to another town. In the new town, the families would introduce their child under the new gender.

Other children simply lived the public life as the gender chosen through gender expression and then lived the private life of what their gender identity was.  This also affects these people’s sexuality because while they are not only dealing with the emotional baggage they are also dealing with physical issues when they simply want to be considered normal. Having the surgery was not always a perfect solution. Many intersex people’s genitals can still look different and this can cause them to avoid intimate situations leaving them feeling lonely and isolated. In module three, we were introduced to how race can also affect the gender roles that people live and how race aligns with biological essentialism and the separation it can cause.

An interesting read was “Exorcising the Midwives” and the full circle thinking on midwives. Initially midwives were there to deliver babies for the rural poor and the immigrant working class in the cities. As obstetrics-gynecology became a specialty, medical science now wanted these poorer women to be a contribution to new doctors learning this trade. The only way to make the poorer women willing to use the care of these new doctors was to make midwives unacceptable. There also came a time when women wanted to be the decision maker of when they decided to be a mother. This “right” seemed to have different approaches based on the woman’s race. It was noted that African American women felt it necessary to undo the racist deeds of their predecessors. In addition, African American women were constantly urged to consider permanent sterilization when the same people urged white women, to continue to reproduce themselves ,

In module four, the public/private binary was the focus on public officials. Through the movie Outrage, we were provided many instances where elected government officials were closeted gay men. While this by itself is not a big deal, but the issue was that they used their political voices to consistently vote against policies that would benefit the gay community all while engaging in consensual same sex relationships outside of the public while presenting a heterosexual public face to their constituents. Also noted in Power and the State by Jeffrey Weeks, there is no functional fit between state intention and sexual regulation, on the contrary, the laws designed to outlaw homosexuality actually encouraged it.

In module five, we learned about gender globalization and how the stereotypes of gender can be passed on a tangible item. This means if a female owned a farm (approximately 80% female ownership rate in third world countries), and females, as a society, are considered weak, then the ability to overtake a farm, for global restructuring, owned by a woman is considered easier than a tofarm owned by a male. Janine Brodie explains that “the discourse about global restructuring is invariably cased in gender-neutral terms, but it is usually women that are carrying the burden of economic restructuring.

In conclusion, it appears any version of a female, whether a person is a female biologically, or a male whose gender express is more feminine they are considered weaker and always less than a man. A person’s true value should not be interpreted or their capability to contribute to larger groups needs should not be based on their gender, but based on what the person brings. As noted before, there have been positive steps made towards people feeling more comfortable in no longer having to live two different public and private lives, and embrace their sexuality in whatever form or with whomever they want. This does not mean we should accept this as the end of evolving. There are still needs for more equal rights, benefits and opportunities for everyone, especially our next generation.

Works Cited

  1. Baumgardner, Jennifer. and Richards, Amy. “A Day Without Feminism: from Manifesta: Young
  2. Women, Feminism, and the Future. NY: Farrer, Straus and Giroux, 2000. Pages 3-9
  3. Davis, Angela. “Reproductive Rights,” Women, Race and Class, New York: Vintage Books,
  4. 1983: 215-221.
  5. Ehrenreich, Barbara and English, Deidre. “Exorcising the Midwives,” For Her Own Good: 150
  6. Years of the Experts’ Advice to Women, Garden City, NY: Anchor Press, 1978: 84:88
  7. McMahon, Martha. “Resisting Globalization: Women Organic Farmers and Local Food Systems,
  8. in Canadian Woman Studies 21, no 4. (Spring 2002): 203-204
  9. Weeks, Jeffrey. “Sexuality and History Revisited,” in State, Private Life and Political Change.
  10. Lynn Jamieson and Helen Corr, eds. New York. St. Martin’s Press, 1999: 40-44

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How Does Gender Expression Link with Sexuality and Public. (2021, Dec 23). Retrieved from https://paperap.com/how-does-gender-expression-link-with-sexuality-and-public/

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