A Journey of Gender
Gender refers to your sense of who you are as a female, male or something else, as opposed to what your role and characteristics indicate. I have interviewed two people to discuss the variation in gender roles, characteristics and what challenges they are facing. My interviewees are John Naidoo whom I interviewed on the 13th of March 2019 in class and Nkosingiphile Mkhize whom I interviewed at my resident on the 28th of March 2019. On section A, I will be reporting the information obtained from both my interviews, section B I will be reflecting on the assignment as a whole. On the conclusion I will be showing my point of view then at the end there is reference.
John said that he is happy about being a male because he thinks that males have more strength and power than women for example he can lift heavy material that women cannot be able to lift and being a male makes him be a head in his family. “In perfect world, men and women are equal sharing power in all aspects of life. While this may be appealing nation it is non-existent in society. Strong men are seen by women as abusive and dominating, while strong women are seen by men as castrating and emasculating” (K. Kesey in 2017). However Nkosingiphile is not happy about being a woman, she feels she is less of a human, she is looked down at and her power is underestimated.
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“ I had to look after my family at a very young age since I was the only son my father left when he decided to leave our family, another thing is that sometimes I would see my friends having too many girlfriends and they would force me to have many too” says John. Nkosingiphile said that she had challenges in her community because rape percentage were too high it’s was not safe for her as a female since whoever the rapists were, they were dealing with female maidens. She had to dress in a way to cover her whole body or dress like a male.
When rape percentage increased extremely she was forced to move into a suburb area where it’s was much safer than in her current home. She then struggled to adapt there because of language barriers. She had to come very late at her home so that boys or culprits would not see her. Her family also did traditional rituals to stop her adolescent development. She did not develop breasts during her puberty and these rituals affected her. Those are the challenges she faced as a growing woman.
Sexual orientation which is defined as the sexual or romantic attraction of the same or opposite sex or gender. John said that he is certain about his gender he says he is only attracted towards females whereas Nkosingiphile said that she is certain about her gender but it’s has both pros and cons. A famous writer (anon) once said that women have been seen as inferior to their male counterparts. Yet, the patriarchy has brainwashed women to believe that they have to seek out a male romantic partner. The patriarchy has brainwashed women to stay quite when romantic partner is speaking negatively towards her or about her. Which is why Nkosingiphile want to change her gender because she is seen as inferior.
John says peer pressure has played a role in doubting himself about his gender. “My friends used to ask a girl out for me because they thought she was good for me and she look gorgeous, even if I told them I am not interest on the girl they would force me and say I must stop chickening and call me by unpleasant names” John continued.
As for Nkosingiphile her peers around her did not play any part to an extent where she doubt herself about her gender, but there are situations that has made her to think that being a woman is bad for her and she should try to change her gender or just date other females maybe they would not hurt her too much. “As we become teenagers we start to date and attach ourselves to wrong people like boys who promise us the world and end up breaking our hearts into pieces, now I wish I can be a male so I can hurt these guys at their own game so they would know how much they hurt us physical and emotional” Nkosingiphile continued.
John said that he is certain about his gender his does not have influences that define his gender. “My religion and culture are the factors that have a positive influence on my gender. I was baptised at Nazareth Church that emphasises gender roles or sex. If you are a girl you sit with other females and do women related chores, this helps prepare you to know who you are and what expected from you and behave accordingly. My church also does not allow transgender or homosexual. My tradition emphasizes gender roles in such an extent that you are dressed, treated and carried according to your sex.
This avoids any different behaviour that might arise. They also create games which will interest you thus shaping your gender. These two influences really contributed to my life” says Nkosingiphile. According to the famous writer A. Gramsci, he said that hegemony which is defined as the dominance of one group over another has been occurring since the beginning of the time.
It is where by one dominant group exerts its influence in the community making other people to turn against other beliefs and exerts their power over other groups. Even cultural this dominant of one group over there other has a negative influences because they are the one who decided what masculine and what not. Homosexual are often depicted as inferiority, so A. Gramsci agrees that culture is a factor that influence ones gender.
Gender is something that goes way beyond just male and female. Some other people their gender they are identified with does not match with the gender they were assumed with when they were given birth. John said that we should not criticize other people for changing who they are at a later stage, he added that we need to support them because we are all different and we are created in our different ways.
“I do not believe that people should disclose what they feel and what their true identity is but if it is going to affect the harmony and peace of certain area it becomes a problem” says Nkosingiphile. She continued that gender should not be taken as something special or negative, it should be taken as sex and special treatment should not be given to those of different kind. It will offend those who are ci-gender.
Homosexual is the relationship between two people of the same sex while heterosexual describes a relationship in which two partners are different from each, have opposite sex. John says he has never imagined dating someone of the same sex as him and he hates the idea of even thinking about its imagining himself having sex with the male, he say it does not give him the adrenaline that he wants. As for Nkosingiphile she said that she once considered dating another female because she is scared to fall pregnant and losing her virginity. What she feared about dating another female is what will happen when her family eventually find out.
“We seem to have different strength because we were created differently and we could never be the same even twins. As it is said that the best cookers are males and some of the best engineers are females. So my point is that we cannot all be the same and have the same strength but we are different in a various way, and there are people who do most amazing things that you would have think they are impossible” says John however . There are basic behavioural differences between the sexes, but we should note that these differences increase with age because our children’s intellectual biases are being exaggerated and intensified by our gendered culture. Children do not inherit intellectual differences, they learn them. They are a result of what we expect a boy or girl to be” (R. Mckie on 2010)
The dominance of men over women have made men to think that women are supposed to obey everything they say and do whatever they want to do at their time. This has resulted to men thinking they have more powers than women. John said that man are better at fixing cars and in the kitchen they are the best and also at lifting heavy material however Nkosingiphile agrees with what John said.
Gender different is mainly because of biology or either socialization, gender socialisation refers to the learning of behaviour and attitudes considered appropriate for a given sex. Boys learn to be boys and girls learn to be girls. Biology it when someone is born with that characteristics. John said that he thinks it is mainly biological because it is something that a person is born with, but these days you find people changing gender because they see it as a trend and want to follow a trend which is totally wrong. However as for Nkosingiphile she said that
Interviewing was not bad as I thought it will turn out to be, asking people about their private life, my interviewees both participated very well and shared they journey and how it was like and how they are finding out about themselves even today. I enjoyed conducting this essay from both my interviewees, though this was the longest essay I ever wrote it taught me a lots of things.
What I have learnt is that gender is everywhere and it part of our world. Gender is not just female and male, it go way beyond that. Some people may think that gender is just the XX and the XY chromosomes to me in reality we do have the XXX, XYY, YYY and XXY, there is a variation in the part of the X and the Y chromosome. I have also learnt that gender is not about sex only it also includes characteristics, our hormones, how we dress, our roles and what is expected from us.
What I have concluded is that gender refers to the sense of who you are as a guy, girl or something else, as opposed to what your physical characteristics, genes and hormones indicate. We should not discriminate others who are still in a journey of finding their gender nor force them to be something they are not. It is obvious by now that gender plays a major role in everyone’s life since it has an influence on our beliefs, religion, culture, roles and attitude of someone even our how we dress.
In life they will be always people who will look down at you, say negative things to you just to lower yourself esteem, what I can say is that whenever they have knocked you down just get up no matter how many times. Life is rough so be tough and be happy and embrace who you are. If you want your life to be meaningful, go out and do something about it.