mar 12 The Work of Gender .pdf

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Human Rights and Equity Studies
HREQ 1920
Elizabeth Brule

12 The Work of Gender Readings: Viviane K. Namaste, “Genderbashing: Sexuality, Gender, and the Regulation of Public Space, “ pp. 420-429 [Reader]; • P.420 • In north america, violence against lesbians, gay men and bisexuals is escalating • Incidents of violence against sexual minorities increased 127% from 1988-1993 • P.421 • Aperceived transgression of normative sex/gender relations motivates much of the violence against sexual minorities and that an assault on the transgressive bodies is fundamentally concerned with policing gender presentation through public and private space [argument] • Given that the perception of gender dissidence informs acts of queerbashing, we can deduce that those individuals who live outside normative sex/gender relations will be most at risk for assault • Educational stateless on violence separate gender and sexuality, and thus prevent a political response that accounts for the function of gender in queerbashing • Gender and sexuality are separated, and thus how the issue of gender is foreclosed by certain gay male community activists • Limits of tolerance: gender norms and gender transgressions • Gender refers to the roles and meanings assigned to men and women based on their presumed biological sex • Social function • Gender is also about what men and women are supposed to do in the world • In western society, thought to only have 2 genders - men & women • Sexuality refers to the ways in which individuals organize their erotic and sexual lives • Heterosexuals - individuals who have sexual relations with members of the opposite sex • Homosexuals - those who have sexual relations with members of the same sex • Bisexuals - people who relate erotically to both men and women • In western societies, gender and sexuality get confused • He is ‘queer’because he doesnt fill his gender role • ‘dyke’because of how she actually defines her sexual identity • The presentation of gender determines who these youths are received by their peers • ‘faggot’to a masculine man • The margining of gender and sexuality enables some feminist theorists to write about erotic desire • The fusion of gender and sexuality has distinct implications for the problematic of violence • Bashers do not characteristically inquire as the sexual identity of their potential victims, but rather make this assumption on their own Gender should be an important variable in queerbashing incidents • • Groups of assailants involved in these crimes relied on gender cues to ascertain sexual identity • P.422 • Males who are classifies as effeminate are more than twice as likely to experience physical violence than males whose gender presentation corresponds to social norms • Women and men who transgress acceptable limits of self presentation, then are among those most at risk for assault Gender is used as a cue to locate lesbians and gay men • • Transsexual and transgendered people and violence • Most people in western societies assume that there are only two sexes (male and female) and two genders (men and women) • Aperson must chose the gender to which he / she belongs and behave accordingly • Because most people believe that there are only men and women; transgendered people need to live as one or the other in order to avoid verbal and physical harassment [ the need to pass] • Passing is about presenting yourself as a real women or men--that is an individual whos original sex is never suspected • Passing means hiding the fact that youre transexual and or transgendered • P.423 • Need to speak of gender bashing, not just gaybashing • This discourse separates gender and sexuality since their collapse percents an appreciation of the specificity of violence against transsexual and transgendered people • Sex work and transsexual/transgendered public space • Transsexual and transgendered public space refers to urban areas known for their transseuxals and transvestites • While gay male public space is defines through the presence of gay businesses and bars, transsexual public space reflects the areas of the city frequented by transexual and transvestite sex workers • The recent emergence of gay ghettos has separated sexual minorities from transsexual prostitutes • Prostitution is illegal but soliciting is not • P.424 • It is the communication of sexual desire that is criminalized in canada, not sexual desire or is enactment • Street prostitutes are effected by law more than escort services • Limits of anti violence activism: opposing gender and sexuality • Much of the activist responses to violence against sexual and gender minorities has centered on the gay village of a particular city • By emphasizing sexual identity, this discourse establishes an antiviolence agenda that is only somewhat useful • Identity is mobilized as the ground upon which acts of violence are established • Bashing occurs due to the perception of potential victims and that compulsory sex/gender relations figure centrally in these acts of interpretation Because gender is the primary mechanism through which this takes place, their is desperate • need for posters, pamphlets and presentations that outline the ways in which a binary gender system is upheld as the power relations concealed within it • P.425/426 Regarding incidents of violence, most TS/TG prostitiutes work in an area with a much higher • frequency of criminal acts than the gay village • The focus accorded to equality and the gay ghetto makes it impossible to address the violence that is directed against tsp/tg people - whether they are in the gay village, a sex worker zone or elsewhere • p.427-Conclusion • The definition of public space is intimately linked to culturally sanctioned gender identities • Ordinary public space as well as regions known as gay ghettoes are sites where the gender potential of being verbally abused, and or physically assaulted is remarkably high • Although gender and sexuality are conventionally confused, such as the effeminate men and masculine women are gaybashed irrespective of their sexual identities , the variable of gender and sexuality can also be juxtaposed • Aseparation of gender and sexuality can also be more subtle, as in the discourse on violence proposed by many gay male activist that privileges sexuality over gender, and hence develops a political response that is only valid for urban middle class gay men • The discourse of violence against sexual minorities excludes transsexual women Michael Kaufman, “The White Ribbon Campaign: Involving Men and Boys in Ending Global ViolenceAgainst Women,” pp. 429-438 • P.429 • Silence of men--as the half of humanity who have controlled social discourse, law making, religious ideas, the police and courts--have allowed the violence to continue • Efforts for public education campaigns that challenge men to stop the violence are infrequent or nonexistent • P.430 • Public education is critical if men are to question their own attitudes and behaviors that might be part of a continuum of violence • Men need to challenge the men around them • We must actually involve them in the work to end the violence and we must do so without playin down the extent of the problem or the importance of personal responsibility based not on a vague sense of collective guilt or litanies about those other men who presumable are not as pure or good as us but rather on the basis of love and appeal to goodness in men • Must be done on basis of respect for men, even if there is absolutely no respect for The behavior and attitude of some of those very same men • The complex puzzle of mens violence • 1) Patristical power • Individual acts of violence by men occur within what I have described as the triad of mens violence • Mens violence against women does not occur in isolation but is linked to mens violence against other men and to the internalization of violence--mens violence against himself • Male dominated societies are not only based on a hierarchy of men over women but some men over other men • Violence is a mechanism used from childhood to establish that pecking order • Men internalize violence---that demands of patriarchal society encourage biological insects that otherwise might be relatively dormant or more benign • The triad of mens violence occurs within a nurturing environment of violence: the organization and demands of patriarchal or male dominant socialites It has been articled into our ideologies and social structures • • Human groups create self perpetuating forms of social organization and ideologies that explain, justify and replenish these created realities • Violence has helped confer on men a rich set of privileges and forms of power • Violence or its threat becomes a means to ensure the continued reaping of privileges and exercise of power • p.431 - 2)The sense of entitlement or privilege: • Violence is often the logical outcome of his sense of entitlement certain privileges • It is not only inequalities of power that lead to violence, but also a conscious or more often unconscious sense of entitlement to privilege • 3)Permission • Whatever the complex social and psychological uses of mens violence, it would not continue if it did not receive explicit or tacit permission in social customs, legal codes, law enforcement and certain religious teachings • Sometimes not enforced in countries • Acts of mens violence and violent aggression are celebrated in sport and cinema, in literature are warfare--glamorized and rewarded • 4)The paradox of mens power • The very ways in which men have constructed their social and individual power is paradoxically a source of enormous fear, isolation and pain for men themselves • If power is constructed a capacity to dominate and control, if the capacity to act in powerful way requires the construction of a personal suit of ramous and a fearful distance from others, then we are creating men whose own experience of power is fraught with crippling promises • Internalized expectations of masculinity are themselves impossible to satisfy or attain • The personal insecurities conferred by a failure to make the masculine grade, or simply the treat of failure, is enough to propel many men, particularly when they are young, into a vortex of fear, isolation, anger, self punishment, self hatred and aggression • Within such n emotional
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