The Body-Gendered Exquisite Corpse

Putting those parts together, I’ve made a body that is so out of proportion. The head was too big for the body and from the legs down, it has started to slim. The torso was wide. The head was big and the neck is so short that there seem to be no neck at all. There also seem to be no transition in color from the face to the neck. The face has a moreno-complexion and the neck and the arms have a fair complexion. Only one hand was showing and it looks like a hand of an old person because it is so wrinkled. The face is that of a pretty guy with short hair and an unshaved face. It looks a little rugged.

The body was wearing a loose black shirt with a word “Giants” on it, black pants, and a pair of black dolls shoes with a pink bow on it. It is a little difficult to think of what type of person I’ve made. I don’t know if it is a man or a woman. It may be a man trying to be in a woman’s clothes or a woman who looks like a man. Unless the clothes were taken off, I cannot determine the sex of this person. I prefer to call it sex than gender because sex is more scientific and nobody won’t detest if I say it is a male or a female—that with a penis is a male, and that with a vagina is a female.

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With, gender, I can be wrong and the probability that I may be wrong is high. I can say that the body I’ve created is a male, but I can’t say, being a hundred percent sure, that it is a man. He can be a woman or other else. It reminds me of so many things. Gender is a social construction, for me. Sex is given to us a birthday gift. It defines our anatomy and physiology. The sex that we have may not be the sex that we prefer. Gender is sexual preference. Gender was born when we started to become conscious of other people’s sexes.

Alone, we know we are male or female. But, seeing somebody, hearing from them, we start to have preferences. Gender is a social construction that the society defines that we decide for ourselves, and to live in a gendered body is to live according to the standards that the society has set for it. I’ve suddenly remembered Freud’s thoughts on penis envy and castration anxiety. The boy started to have castration anxiety when he found out that females do not have penis just like his. It makes him think that his is not important for a woman’s body.

Freud also mentioned that this castration anxiety will help him in his development. But, castration-complex is bigger issue for the girl. The first time she sees a penis, she starts to think that she is missing something because she doesn’t have something as big as that. With that thought, she starts to think of having it in the future. Unconsciously, she will be driven to do extraordinary things like pursue an intellectual career in exchange of this desire to have that penis which she had realized as impossible to achieve. It’s quite difficult to believe in those things that Freud has said.

If the girl gets older and the desire is still there, would it be a reason why the girl would want to become a boy when she grows up? The desire is in every one of us and is in the person I’ve created. Would my created person be a girl with a repressed wish of having a penis and tries to be a boy because of that desire? Does my created person wishes to become a boy with a penis because she thinks that hers make her weaker than boys and doesn’t want to become weak like a boy? I know that there are many other reasons for a girl to wish to become a boy.

But, because of that thought that little girls think of them as a weaker creature than the boys, it can be a reason why the little girl would wish to become like a boy. Like a boy, but, not necessarily be a boy. Like a boy who can do many things because of being “better equipped” and will not allow her self to be just a subordinate to the boys. Not necessarily be a boy to look like a boy and behave like a boy. This proves that identity crisis starts when social interaction occurs. Self-identification, in the first place, starts when a person has interacted with another person.

When that person has started to see and hear other people, that person makes comparison. The person identifies the self as weaker or better. The person will then make the decision to pursue things to satisfy the person’s wishes and by doing so, the person makes the self whoever it is today. That social interaction the person had in the past had gotten the self to develop and make its own identity—the identity which is the result of its earlier wishes which unconsciously has eaten the self. Like a boy and not necessarily to be a boy. The girl wants to be like a boy but retains her femininity.

She may deny her previous thoughts of being weaker relative to the boys so she defines women as strong creatures, independent and outstanding. She wants to define what a woman is. To do that, she has to change some of the perceptions the society has towards the women. Many have thought of the woman as an object. As an object, it is to be observed and evaluated. Her concept of her self, most probably has started with her mother. The very first person that has contributed to her, and even our, identity is our parents. For the girl, it should be the mother.

The way the girl sees her mother gives her idea of what a woman is and what a woman should be. The first aesthetic sense is developed when the girl sees her mother put on make-up and chooses her clothes. At earlier ages, girl finds her body as an object that will be criticized. Because of that, the girl would try to look as pretty as she could be with a body close to the ideality created by the society she is part of. When she lives in an upper-class world, it is more likely that she gets more appearance-conscious. Beauty is defined by the society.

And the society has defined women to be complying with that standard of beauty. Girls and women try to look beautiful for the boys and the men. Men sexualize a woman’s body. It seems to have been accepted by many girls that girls be an object of desire to the men. More women become too conscious with how men see them. It appears to most women that men would like a woman that is pretty. Although compatibility of couples is tested with each other’s personality, the appearance usually starts the attraction. Women who don’t find their selves beautiful have low self-confidence.

They feel embarrassed and depressed when they feel that men don’t find them beautiful. It only makes them work harder to become beautiful like eating less and having make-over. For my created person, if she was a girl, she is not being self-conscious. She will not pass the standards of beauty. Her body doesn’t look like it is fit for a woman and the face really looks like a man. The society they are part with defines who they are and what their roles are. In some countries, women are really perceived as creatures only second to the men. They are not allowed to work in high-level jobs.

Even the women seem to be accepting that kind of lifestyle because they fear that they cannot be independent and that they need men. To live in a society wherein the women are perceived to be only second to the men is difficult and can be tiresome. Imagine, if men think that women are inferior to them and only see them as an object of sex, the women can never be free, especially if they subject to the violence men do to them. More than violence, more than being an object of desire, more than just being a body that has to be perfect, and women’s role in society has been defined in many ways.

Some people believe that women are not that fit for certain jobs. Many people can be discriminating when it comes to position because they do think that women are weak, both physically and emotionally. Being emotionally weak, women are not fit to handle jobs that are too stressful and too difficult to handle. There are many work-related gender-biased issues. In relationships, especially to those which had come from conservative societies, though, it is painful, it is acceptable that the man cheats from his wife. But, it can never be acceptable that the women would cheat from their husbands.

There has been a lot of stereotyping when it comes to the role of women in the society. And the daughters first realize the concept of being a woman through their mothers. Their concept of a woman can only change when they are able to think and analyze on their own. That only means that their own concept of a woman would occur to them when they are older, say, late twenties. Gender-biases are mostly focused on women, but gender-issues may also be concerning that of men. It is just that, it is not widely discussed. Other than women and men, gender-biases are concerning those we call the homosexuals.

Most societies have not yet accepted those people who belong to the homosexuals or those who wishes to be the sex opposite to them. They are called gays and lesbians. They can also be called the third sex but not all gays and lesbians would allow to be called “third” sex people. Under the homosexuals, there can be a lot more types of homosexuals: those who want to be the opposite sex who retain their masculinity and femininity; those who want to have a sex-change, and; those who cross-dress but not necessarily desiring for a sex-change.

During the earliest years of life, they may not be aware of the sexes. It is only introduced to them by their parents when they start to ask about their genitals and when the mother and the father decide what is for their son because he is a boy and what is for their daughter because she is a girl. In short, the gender of the child is first defined by their sex, followed by the imposition of their parents. When they grow up, they start to mingle with other people and their awareness becomes stronger. They then evaluate the different types of people and compare it with themselves.

Gays can find women to be the best gender for them so they try to act, talk and behave like a woman and try to get the things that are associated to women. This is also true with the lesbians. But, it doesn’t necessarily mean that to be gay and lesbian means they would also want to change their sexes. I know of some gays who have married women and have children. They appear to public as gays who are happily married and still behave like gays. There are gays who behave like a man and you’ll only know that they are gays when they confess about their relationship with other men.

There are some gays who are very indicative of their name, gay—happy and very entertaining. There are some gays who aren’t happy by just being gays and would want to really look like girls and take hormone pills, undergo breast augmentation and even sex change. Things will get more complicated when the homosexuals fall in love because they will be deviating from the norms of their society. Homosexuals are also made by society because these homosexuals doesn’t fall into those two categories initially made by the society—man and woman.

So, they made up something to which those who deviant will be able to categorize them selves. Unconsciously, the society created the homosexuals we have now. Although the society has made their gender, it is not a guarantee that the society will accept it. Many, especially the conservative types, would oppose to those types of sexuality. Women to women and men to men relationships are not acceptable to many and the best defense they have for those relationships would be religion.

But, now, more and more homosexuals are coming out and more have started to accept them like men and women. Gender biases vary depending on the society you live in. This only tells that gender is social construction. The society is the one which gives definition to one’s gender—what gender you should be, how you would act according to your gender and what your place be according to your gender. Our gender is first determined by our sex, and then imposed by our parents, and then we compare, evaluate and decide which it would be.

Although the decision is ours, we cannot say that it is solely ours because the society has led us to what we preferred to be. It is the people and the whole society which “whisper” to us and push us to our preference. And to live in a gendered body means we have to comply with the standards set for that gender, because if not, we fall into the other category—the homosexuals. Reference: Fausto-Sterling, Anne. (1993). Revisiting the five Sexes: Why Male and Female Are Not Enough. The Sciences March/April 1993, p. 20-24.