Gender Roles?

When looking at gender and anything concerning it (sexuality, identity, etc.) there is always a social construct, or so it is posed by Butler. In her essay she states that “I’m permanently troubled by identity categories, consider them, as sites of necessary trouble” (Butler) and how can you have categories without someone constructing them. Someone once exclaimed that this was normal and people excepted it or rejected it which is how social construct come about. This causes there to be a moment of confusion because then what is the “original” gender or sex? I think the definition comes down to time period and influences or the time with majority being held as the “original,” but I suppose that this may have also come about because same sex couples could not create life and therefore were not norm. The ability to procreate seems to be directly linked with being classified as the norm.

Swift chimes in during the Enlightenment by poking holes in such categories and predetermined roles. He ends “The Lady’s Dressing Room” (1732) with the lines “Such Order from Confusion sprung,/Such gaudy Tulips rais’d from Dung” (Swift). The poem speaks of an individual who sees women as filthy creatures because he is “immune” to their feminine wilds. Swift by defining the charming allure of females brings to light what it means to be a woman during the period. With the “stink” which refers to perfume or the painted faces which crack and fall to pieces (mentioned in his other poem “A Beautiful Young Nymph Going to Bed”) the illusion of the perfect female crumbles to pieces and Butler would be proud of bringing such things to light.

The gender roles of yesteryear still hold true today. Open any magazine and I would be willing to bet you find a man or woman of “perfect” sculpting portraying what it is to be a “modern” man and/or woman. A “normal” magazine may also capture same sex individuals “coming out of the closet” as scandalous or shocking because it is still taboo in many states and in many communities (also it is still shaky ground as a society). The coverage of advertising and popular culture magazines fuels the fire for perpetuating negative stereotypes because not everyone is a size 0 and not everyone has abs which you could cut diamonds. The urge to abandon individuality for a plastic face to match a celebrity or role model means that we as a people wish to conform to some picture drawn by some big shot instead of drawing our own conclusions.

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