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GENDER PRAC: GENDER AS PERFORMANCE, NOT GENDER THEORY

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Author(s): JULIE PETERS

Journal: Gay and Lesbian Issues and Psychology Review
ISSN 1833-4512

Volume: 1;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 98;
Date: 2005;
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Keywords: transitioning | gender identity | gender performance

ABSTRACT
Noam Chomsky thought of himself as a working class intellectual and suggested that people who change class get to see class far more clearly than people who have only ever belonged to one class. I have changed gender. But has that helped me see gender more clearly than people who haven't? To change gender I had to become hyper-aware of the range of behaviours allowed for both the masculine and feminine classes. It is these studies in gender practice that have enabled me to find a sub-set of ways of being a woman that work in a variety of situations. For example I know that if I dress too femininely or too sexually at work my leadership role with men breaks down. If I had to name that gender sub-class it would be the ‘non-sexual-elder-sister-as-family-leader’ gender. I have found this ability to fine tune gender performance a very valuable living skill.
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