Resources on gender bending

Prompt questions:

  • When you are out on the street, can people immediately tell that you are a man/woman/other?
  • If some one is meeting you for the first time, would they be able to tell if you are male/female/other? What about if you are heterosexual/homosexual/other? How and why?
  • Now think about other people in your everyday life. How do they seem to be performing their gender and sexuality?

(1) Takarazura Revue (Japan)

On artificiality and performativity of feminine and masculine genders in an all-female Japanese theatre genre, and the pervasive of this gender fluidity across public and private persona/lives

Reading: Stickland, Leonie Rae (2008) Gender gymnastics: performing and consuming Japan’s Takarazuka Revue. Trans Pacific Press: Rosanna, Vic. (Especially chapters 1 and 4)

Takarazuka short clip (0:59-1:49)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NEY0H5VVfXQ

  • otokoyaku: male-role players “challenges notions or orthodox gender roles, as she can change her gender according to the requirements of each situation she finds herself, at least while she is officially a Takarasienne”
  • musumeyaku: female-role players “exposes the constructed nature of gender by her exaggerated performance of femininity, which is not necessarily simply an extension of her every day persona as a female”
  • Fan affection is not homosexual because the object of love is male
  • Partners/parents of fans are not threatened because they are not biologically men
  • ‘Kata’: stylized theatrical techniques, markers of coded masculinity or femininity like gestures, satire, body, cosmetics, language. E.g. Musumeyaku cloyingly sweet, pretty, smaller in stature, powerless to emphasize masculinity of woman-playing-male partner
  • Learning: otokoyaku low voice register via smoking, drinking, improper care of throat. i.e. stereotypes of gendered language, vocabulary, directness, politeness, intonation; personal observation of everyday people, films, and television

(2) Kathoeys (Thailand)

On culturally gender-based conceptions of sexuality in Thailand, and Contemporary Thai Male Sex/Gender Identities.

Parinya Charoenphol, Muaythai boxer who underwent a sex change operation to become a woman; Used to wear lipstick and flowers in her kickboxing career during the transition.

Film: Beautiful Boxer (2004) dir. Ekachai Uekrongtham. <imdb>

Beautiful Boxer short clip (6:23-7:24)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLX2TuDk0PQ

Beautiful Boxer short clip (3:40-4:53)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLX2TuDk0PQ

(3) Norah Vincent (US)

A journalist lives as a man for 18-months and documents the embodied experience.

Reading: Vincent, Norah (2006) Self-Made Man: One Woman’s Year Disguised as a Man. <amazon>

Press: 2006 Self Made Man: Norah Vincent chooses Female Privilege over Male Privilege (18:43)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ip7kP_dd6LU

Press: A Self-Made Man
http://abcnews.go.com/2020/Entertainment/story?id=1526982

My evaluation of the text
https://wishcrys.com/2011/04/18/an-ethnographic-reading-of-self-made-man-one-womans-year-disguised-as-a-man/

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