2013년 11월 23일 토요일

[메모] chapter 2 - gender codes (in Lize-Meri Smalberger's "Playing Sex ...")

출처: Lize-Meri Smalberger, Playing Sex: The exploration, creation and transmission of gender codes in puppetry through the practical exploration of ^Cleansed^, March 2011
자료: 인터넷링크


Chapter 2 - Gender Codes

Gender refers to the bodily structures and processes of human reproduction.  These structures and processes do not constitute a 'biological base', a natural mechanism that has social effects. Rather, they constitute an ^arena^, a bodily site where something social happens.  Among the things that happen is the creation of the cultural categories 'woman' and 'men' (and any other gender categories that a particular society marks out). (Connell 2002: 48)

From the above quotation we gather that R.W. Connell not only defines gender as the term used to distinguish between categories of male and female; it is the socially constructed ideology that places men and woman into different categories of sex based on their reproductive organs.  The debate around gender is precisely this; that the sex one is born with determines ones[one's] genderㅡmale or female.  According to the sex one is born with, one is then categorized into different social roles that define men and women.  Thus implying that one is not born a man/woman; one rather becomes a man/woman/  Judith Butler (1999: 112) argues that if we view gender as a sort of becoming or activity, then "gender ought not to be conceived as a noun or a substantial thing or a static cultural marker, but rather as an incessant and repeated action of some sort".

Butler (1993: 231) describes gender as a "practice".  This refers to the embodiment of certain norms and repeating it until it becomes an inherent and coherent truth.  Butler (1999: 140) states that gender is not a fact; it does not express or externalize an "essence" nor does it aspire to an "objective real".  Gender is constituted out of various acts that create the idea of gender and without these acts there will be no gender at all.

To Butler (1999: 33), gender is not something we are born with, nor is it something created by the mind or spirit.  She states that "gender is the repeated stylization of the body, a set of repeated acts".  These acts are performed over a period of time and ultimate produce the "appearance of substance, of a natural sort of being", thus making gender performative.  Performitivity comes from the term performance and in order to understand ad comprehend gender as a performative act, it is necessary that I give a definition of performance.

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These socially constructed norms are the gender codes through which gender is communicated.  We communicate our gender through signs/codes and these codes lie within the way we dress, act, speak and ultimately express ourselves:
Gender refers to the words, gestures, appearances, ideas and behavior that dominant culture understands as indices of feminine or masculine identity.  When spectators 'see' gender they are seeing (and reproducing) the cultural signs of gender, and by implication, the gender ideology of culture (Diamond in Counsell and Wolf 2001: 79)
Gender codes are thus mediums through which we communicate our gender and, as we have come to learn, these codes are socially constructed and are located on the surface of the body.  Because gender codes are not located within the "self", the possibility exist that these codes can be explored, created and transmitted through theatrical performances such as drags and even puppet theater.

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