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plans for world domination

Gender Role Awareness and Giftedness

Posted by napthia9 on 2007.09.12 at 21:42


thedeadqueen at 2008-06-29 21:20 (UTC) (Link)
Interesting question! I don't know enough about the socioeconomic/cultural background thing, although I'd imagine that plays a role. I would guess part of it may be biological--maybe intelligence comes from unifying what we normally think of as opposite styles, like thinking/feeling and aggression/sensitivity. But I think most of it is that we tend to examine things more critically than other people, including gender constructs.

So, here's how I examined the cultural construction of gender...

I wonder if overloading little girls with pink, ruffles and lace leads them to associate pink those things with immaturity. So when they get older, they feel that they need to reject all things "girly" in order to be more grown up. I know that was true with me. When I was in middle school, I stopped wearing pink, lace, glitter, skirts, or dresses because I wanted to be grown up (I had had a pink room and wore a lot of skirts and dresses up til then). When I started noticing the media some time after that, I added the association of "shallow." Anything stereotypically feminine in the media is presented in a really shallow way. So I rejected makeup (right when all my peers were starting to wear it), most jewelry and nail-polish (except black) and cell phones. Of course, makeup and jewelry can be artistic and expressive of one's individuality, and keeping in touch with friends doesn't have to be "liek OMG" shallow, but I didn't see that.

By the time I was in high school, I knew that to the media and other people, looking nice was about attracting the attention of the opposite sex. Or, at the very least, it could lead to that. I know people say it's about feeling confident, but the real subtext is being confident in your sexuality. And I wasn't sure I wanted to be a sexual being. I believed you could be either a sex object or a full person, but not both--probably because neither my peers nor the media seemed to get that one could be both. So I didn't want to look nice. Unfortunately, that was difficult because I had developed my own fashion sense and dressed myself carefully, looking at my body as a canvas for works of art. In order not to look too nice and thus become a sex object, I refused to brush my hair. Ever. My hair became a battleground which my mother and I fought over every morning. She didn't get, and I couldn't explain to her, that I was trying to keep myself a person and not a sexual object.

But all of these decisions haven't provoked any real angst for me because I've never really identified with any of the stereotypical feminine images, or with the idea of feminine either, really. I think of myself as lots of things--gifted, Jewish, geeky, intellectual, etc.--but not as a woman, even though I present as one. So stereotypes of women annoy me and I don't follow them, but I don't feel existentially threatened by them the way some people seem to. *shrug*
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