Gender and Sexuality

Butler and Swift both present the argument that gender roles, specifically assigned to women, are unrealistic and do not allow women to be individuals without being categorized. She talks about heterosexuality norms being the guidelines for how each gender is to live. “It is a compulsory performance in the sense that acting out of line of heterosexual norms brings with it ostracism…” (Butler). Butler present the thought of woman having to fit in the box of heterosexual norm behavior in order to remain an accept member of society and to be desired by her counterparts. This is paralleled in Swift’s poems when he presents the ideas of what women should look and act like and how acting out of the expectations is met with disgust and disapproval. In “The Lady’s Dressing Room”, Swift presents the emotional response provoked in men when they see that women are not beautiful only by nature and that they do not constantly keep a clean environment.
Butler makes it clear she finds gender roles to be socially constructed and Swift’s poems agree with this idea. In the poem, “The Lady’s Dressing Room”, a man goes snooping in a woman’s bathroom and is horrified at the contents he finds. He thinks that bathroom is filthy and full of contraptions that women use to make themselves for appealing to men. He talks about tweezers that he finds, and creams to keep her face from aging which lead his to the conclusion that her appearance is merely an illusion. He notices a mirror in her room and indulges himself in the thought of what it is used for. “A Glass that can to Sight disclose, The smallest Worm in Celia‘s Nose”. The thought of having a mirror that can show the slightest imperfection on her face frightens and disgusts him. He further decides that the condition of the bathroom doesn’t match-up with what he thinks of women. “The Stockings, why shou’d I expose,Stain’d with the Marks of stinking Toes;” This is a good example of the expectations that are placed on women by men. They are given this role of being neat, naturally beautiful, and don’t share the same needs as men. It’s an idea that is constructed by heterosexual men that puts expectations on women that they really can’t meet.

I believe that true gender can evolve out of the biological sex of a person but does not necessarily originate from biological make-up. I think of biological sex is more about the physical organs and parts a person possesses but gender is the way in which a person chooses to express their emotional and mental processes. Biological sex is nothing more than chromosomes and body parts that are decided for you by nature and though gender can be guided by these biological factors, gender identification is more decided by your self-awareness and where you feel you best fit. I don’t think either homosexuality or heterosexuality originate in each other. I think that they both come from the same origin of desire to be loved and to spend your life with someone. I don’t think it would be fair to say that gay couples model their relationships after straight couples because they are both grounded in the same principles of companionship. The application of gender roles in a relationship creates the appearance of homosexuality originating in heterosexuality but there is no way to say that every gay or lesbian couple attempts to model their relationship after the heterosexual couples before them. I think gender roles have no ties in a homosexual relationship due to the fact homosexual couples don’t have differing genders that stereotypically vary based on expectation for each gender.

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