Here is a short film I made recently as part of an investigation into the construction of gender. The project stemmed from a series of interviews, where I asked 15 people about their experiences of gender acquisition and their perceptions of how the gender divide affects their lives. The script can be seen below, formed from the range of opinions.
Gendered jobs, gendered clothes,
gendered colours, gendered toys,
gendered activities, gendered attitudes.
The moment we are born our biological sex is identified and from this point onwards our gender and identity is slowly constructed for us through our cultural experience.
We are sold an idea of what we should be.
Fitting into one box or the other.
Male, masculine, man, boy or female, feminine, woman, girl.
Masculine means to me level headed, logical, a problem solver who has physical strength and an ability to hold in emotions.
Masculine is not really thinking, just doing. Dominant,. A no nonsense attitude, a confidence, a bravery.
To have an ego is to be masculine, men are enabled to be much more confident.
Ideally as a man you are a big and strong person, maybe you are not, you just act as if you are. It’s a superman fantasy, you just want to be this impervious thing that no one can hurt or touch. It’s a weird relic of the past where people need to fight to survive.
People expect me to be aggressive but I’m actually quite passive. It’s just my size that people think I’m masculine, but I’m overtly sensitive.
Sometimes you have to give into your emotions and that’s OK, that’s not a vulnerability, it’s a strength.
Femininity means, decorated, gentle,
fragile, maternal, emotional, hairless, preserved.
To be feminine is restrictive. I don’t feel like I can be funny. I don’t feel like I can fulfill myself in what I do. Women are strong and powerful but femininity tells them to be passive and dependent, where female power only lies in sexuality and ‘beauty’.
Just by changing your haircut, you feel boyish and less attractive. I think women feel a pressure to accentuate their figures through what they wear.
It is hard to pinpoint any positive traits exclusive to either men or women without them having negative assumptions about the sex they are assigned to.
Masculine and feminine traits are constructed but it’s impossible to escape thousands of years worth of conditioning.
Gender issues are about finding out what your individual qualities are and expressing them irrespective of whether you are a man or a woman.