I got to spend the morning and afternoon working on the slide show that will accompany spoken word for my side project, Gender Studies. I asked friends and family to share photos with all ages both living up to and going against gender expectations. I found it interesting that some people thought they didn’t have what I was looking for. To quote the text that goes with the piece “Gender is all around us. It is actually taught to us, from the moment we are born. Gender expectations and messages bombard us constantly. Upbringing, culture, peers, community, media, and religion, are some of the many influences that shape our understanding of this core aspect of identity.” (from genderspectrum.org) Yes we have physical characteristics that make men and women different, but the idea of gender is something that we impose upon ourselves. While I relate to feminine qualities physically, in terms of my personality and how I behave, I embody more typical masculine qualities than I do the stereotypically feminine qualities. But we all have varying degrees of both, and to me, that diversity is wonderful thing!
Going through everyone’s photos gave me a great sense of joy. There is nothing more cute than putting a tiny infant girl in a tutu or a young boy in his Spider Man costume. Then there’s my friend who is military, but is still feminine as well, has a daughter that is just like her. She can be a girly girl, but still likes to roll around, get dirty, and play with typical “boys toys” as well more girly things society expects of her. I honestly do not understand why people are afraid of diversity and insist on conformity…but then Ellen is exploring that in the Umbrella Project about “otherness”, so I’ll let her answer those questions 😉
After working at home, I made my way back to the Wheeler to record Christina for the spoken word portion. When I asked Robert where he thought the best place to record the sound was, he immediately started to construct a genius little yoga mat fort for our recording studio. Christina did a lovely job and I’m excited to add it to the photos and complete the project tomorrow.