Miss C. Cantopher: Post-structuralism and gender theory

A special end to the year: Miss Cantopher led us through the intricacies of sex and gender – beginning with the usual starting point – that sex is biological, and gender social – but then teasing this simplistic idea apart with statistics about how many people are born with no simple biological sex (about 1%), and images of how the performance of social gender roles is much more complicated than we first thought. She ended with a discussion of online gender performance – how, on sites like Facebook, and in online gaming, people can, and do, take on quite different and subtly nuanced gender roles: a burly (male) lorry-driver might play Skyrim as an androgynous elf; a young woman’s Facebook profile might show her as an old man. Miss Cantopher’s perturbing conclusion is that, if most of our waking hours are spent in such performance, which role is more real? We were left puzzling over and discussing informally this de(con)struction of the self.

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