Image: Judith Butler, author of Gender Trouble. Established theory of gender performitivity.
“behave like a lady!”
“be a man!”
“We might say, one is not born a woman, one becomes one; but further, one is not born female, one becomes female; but even more radically, one can, if one chooses, become neither female nor male, man nor woman”
In society we are conditioned and brought up in a binary system. For example, good versus bad, right versus wrong, culture versus nature and one of the biggest dichotomies, man versus women, masculinity versus femininity. Before heading into any discourse of sexual dichotomies, it must be established that there is a difference between sex and gender. There so far exists, or is accepted to be (at least in the western society), “two sexes (male and female) or genders (masculine and feminine)” (Herdt, G. 1994 pp.22) Sex is the male genital or female genitalia one is born with. Gender is the masculine and feminine identity in which the individual takes on. In western society, the idea that is generally held is that gender identity comes from the sex assignment of male or female. Hence, we are taught from birth what to wear, how to act, according to our sex. These mannerisms (how we talk, walk, dress) that we take on are part of a performance. In other words, gender is a performance (Butler, J. 1991). However, I will not be focusing on the masculine and feminine genders but the genders that fall in between. These are called the 3rd gender. It will be shown how in countries such as
!!! Hijras in
Who are the Hijras?
Hijras are a huge part of
Hijra Gender Identity
So how are Hijras the 3rd gender if they take on the feminine identity? Although many factors contribute to the individual’s degree of masculinity and femininity (terms used for a known lucid degree of measurement), it has to be emphasised how usually, particularly in western countries, gender is prescribed according to the sex of an individual. What is not acknowledged is a mixed-gender, ambiguous role/identity… a gender identity that is fluid and able to change over one’s life span. (Herdt, G 1994 pp. 396) Returning to
(more coming soon)