Gender- Feminism/Masculinity

Everyday, our society is divided and organized in terms of sex. When a baby is born, the first thing we ask is “Is it a boy or a girl?”. Having a specific categorization of gender (male/female) avoid any unresolved anxieties about identity and representation. Therefore, it is imperative to study this particular issue. We need to interrogate gender  as we always take it for granted. As if everything is fixed and we merely accept this as a norm.

But, I often do ask myself what is the purpose of crossing the box either male or female in registration form, driving license, identification card. It becomes a very ambiguous entity that marks how the society processes.

There is also a connection between gender with feminist and masculinity theories which I will discuss that after I have distinguish the difference between gender and sex. Thinking beyond on gender and sex, you will realize the differences between the two subjects. I will be focusing on gender which represents the art of subjectivity.

Gender

  • The roles that we perform, our behaviour in a broader sense and the cultural characteristics which present the identities of masculinity and feminine
  • Having a more passive and fragile characteristic or Having an active and strong characteristic? (However, this traditional masculinity and feminism started to change throughout the years which I will explore later)

Sex

  • Identities associating male or female which can be viewed biologically, physically and naturally.
  • Your body features and organs that represent your sexual identity.

Both feminist and masculinity theories contained quite a number of areas to be explored and because it is so broad, I would rather talk about female and male in a more general context. Noticing the transformation of both male and female notion in our society becomes a common phenomenon. Gradually, we have came to accept how gender is constructed. Initially, we were sometimes brainwashed by the meanings that depict in films and television in relation to gender. We see how male characters shows his masculinity in having the stronger side compared to female. They are known to be having more perseverance and genuinely knows how to tackle real situations, saving the world or something fantastic. On the other hand, female is not the driven force of the film’s narrative but just to show a contrast of the male character. Normally, she will be a wife, a mother, a girlfriend or a grandmother in the female’s case. Moving forward to this modern world, we have strong female heroin in films as well that possibly lead the people to justice, freedom and peace.

We have live throughout our lives and realizes that men can be emotional too. They can be not in their right mind just like women. Traditionally, female are known to be passive, fragile and being hysteric when something bad happened. This stereotypical gender representation really has to step back as the world is changing and correlating with how each gender behaves. Female can be strong and be the one that holds the power. Women can be standing quite firm on their viewpoints, argumentative and rational when it comes facing to men. They have the ability to gain the trust of the world, not based on their physical appearances and the body but the mind and attitude. Besides that, there is a very destructive notion on women that they can be aggressive and violent too like a “bad” girl. We knew it was common for males to be in a fight or hitting people without any reason. They can be irrational when compared to females but exceptional always occurred in such a complex world of human beings.

It is definitely interesting to see the interchangeable characteristics between male and female. Sometimes it can be contradicting, sometimes it can irony and we gradually and unconsciously did not take any notice of it but rather we connect them with a little sense of humor. Just how we perceived guys who wear skirts or girls who trying to act cool. We find people funny when we are looking at them. We do not actually think in depth on the meanings and general ideas behind these attitudes and behaviors. We have already assimilate that sort of lifestyle and the nature in our surroundings. In terms of association, we tend to paired different objects with males or females. We associate video games and violence with males. We associate make-up and shopping with females. Like I said the transgender features constantly appear around us, there will be females that likes playing video games instead of shopping and of course males that likes cooking compared to boxing.

On Laura Mulvey’s male gaze, everyone critique quite reasonable on her “visual pleasure and narrative cinema” theory. Like she said, “Men act and women appear. Men looked at women. Women watched themselves being looked at.” This really does make sense a little but you could identify the flaw within the phrase. Women do actually looked at men and men watched themselves being looked at as well. Besides men, women virtually draw their attention towards men and pretty much looked at them just for pleasure too. All these changes and cultural practices reflect the not so authentic version of feminine and masculinity. Therefore, we do not constraint the meanings produce about femininity and masculinity, rather we should observe the fundamental changes on the physical image, actions and emotions to create a clear understanding on gender as our identity.

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