Kate Bornstein conducts a gender experiment

September 6, 2010

From Gender Outlaw, pp.105-106:

In going from male to female, I discovered that men don’t seem to think about gender the way women do. The preferred gender in our patriarchal society is male, and so males mostly take gender for granted, [sic] most men do not try to analyze what it means to be male. Even the men’s movement seems more predicated on a desire not to be drawn into some web of femininity, rather than a desire to question the construct of male identity. Women, on the other hand, have been taught that they’re the “second sex,” the distaff gender, so their lives are an almost daily struggle with the concept of gender. The trap for women is the system itself; it’s not men who are the foe so much as the bi-polar gender system that keeps men in place as more privileged.

And p.114:

  • I’m nearly six-feet tall, and I’m a big-boned gal. When I began living as a woman, men started opening doors for me, offering to carry packages, letting me go first down passageways. I was really puzzled. On the one hand, I was glad to be perceived as a woman; on the other hand, I didn’t like being treated like a child.
  • But manners were only the beginning. I’d been in quite a few sales jobs — I knew how to sell…as a man. As a woman, the clients didn’t want to hear my “expert opinion.” As a woman, the clients wanted to hear me say, “Well, you know better than me, Mr. Jones — what do you think?”
  • As a man, I had access to work, and when I was out of work, I had very free access to job interviews. As a woman, for the first time in my life, I was told to not bother coming in for an interview.
  • The differences in the way men and women are treated are real. And the fact is this difference in treatment has no basis in the differences between men and women. I was the same person, and I was treated entirely differently. I got real interested in feminist theory — real fast.

One Response to “Kate Bornstein conducts a gender experiment”

  1. […] post the day before on the same blog has excerpts from a book written by someone who has transitioned […]

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