This discussion is going to ask you to reflect on three different videos around gender. As you watch, think about what the lessons in these pieces and how they might differ from or match the thoughts you had on gender. Be prepared to use examples from the video(s) as well as from your experience.
Miss Representation is a film that is focused on exploring and exposing “how the media is selling the idea that girls’ and women’s value lies in their youth, beauty, and sexuality and not in their capacity as leaders. Boys learn that their success is tied to dominance, power, and aggression. We must value people as whole human beings, not gendered stereotypes.”
For many folks, gender is one of those areas that feels as though it should be straightforward, easy to recognize, not shifting. But as people become more comfortable with the idea that gender is not necessarily binary, or distinct and opposite, perhaps you are noticing where these images are changing. Increasingly we are seeing people stepping outside those societal expectations.
Geena Rocero is a professional model for fashion and beauty companies around the world, and she uses her platform to share a powerful story. When fashion model Geena Rocero first saw a photo of herself in a bikini, “I thought … you have arrived!” As she reveals, that’s because she was born with the gender assignment “boy.” In this moving talk, Rocero tells the story of becoming who she always knew she was.
As you look at and listen to Geena Rocero, is it easy to consider her a woman? Does the gender binary begin to slip away? If not, if you are struggling with her story, what is most difficult for you?
Finally, let’s end with a poem. Lee Mokobe is a 20-year-old South African slam poet and co-founder of Vocal Revolutionaries. “I was the mystery of an anatomy, a question asked but not answered,” says poet Lee Mokobe, a TED Fellow, in this gripping and poetic exploration of identity and transition. It’s a thoughtful reflection on bodies, and the meanings poured into them.
For many, at this point, it might feel like a lot to carry, these ideas of gender as shifting and fluid, as perhaps different from what we have believed or continue to believe. Please share your thoughts, calling upon the lessons and the three videos, referring to them in scholarly ways to support your perspective as you process the meaning of the word “gender.” Think about how you might tie your reflections to the body of reading and video you’ve engaged with this week. Make sure to use examples of your thinking to compare or contrast to the lessons in the video(s).