How are Dine gender practices similar and different from those of your culture?
In many cultures, there are only two genders recognized, these are male and female. Every member of the society is expected to belong to either of these genders. The gender that a person belongs to will determine how they are expected to behave and carry themselves in society. For example, there are some characteristics of the male gender that men are expected to follow. Men are expected to be tough. They should be able to withstand pain without showing emotions. This is the reason why many men in society do not cry publicly. This showing of emotion in public goes against the cultural expectation of the gender they belong to. Similarly, it is considered normal for a woman to show their emotions publicly, since they are considered more emotional.
These gender characteristics are fixed. When a person belongs to one gender, they are expected to have the characteristics associated with the gender and not the opposite gender. In the dine culture, gender characteristics are fluid. A female can have male characteristics and still be considered a woman. A man can also have female characteristics and still be considered a man. The main similarity between these two cultures is that there are gender characteristics that are associated with each gender. The main difference is the fluidity of the genders in the dine culture while it is more rigid in my culture.
How would you describe a queen? What makes it hard to know who or what is a queen?
A queen is a male person with female characteristics. In the Dine culture, society considers this person male despite their female characteristics (Epple, n.d). A queen is also considered a hermaphrodite who has mainly female characteristics but has male sexual organs. In reality, a queen would be the man who identifies themselves as female and in modern society; the equivalent is a transgender female.
It is very difficult to know who a queen is. This is because the queen will actually look like a woman and only people the queen is intimate with will know the difference. It is also different to understand who a queen is because of the rigid classification of gender by the society. The definition is also different among the dine community. Real hermaphrodites were traditionally accepted as queens but there are also people who choose to be queens. The penetration of Christianity among the native reservation has also resulted in a more blurred definition of the terms as there is no equivalent in Christianity.
How do queens view marriage? What kinds of marriages do they contract?
Queens's view of marriage is the conventional view. Although they are physically men, they will get married to other men. They do not consider this to be homosexuality as the queen will exhibit female characteristics. However, there are some problems because the queens are not able to fulfill some demands of the marriage. They cannot give birth and it is not uncommon for men to get married to women for reasons of procreation while at the same time keeping their queens for sexual pleasure.
How do the stories we tell vary in different situation? What implications might that have for meanings of man woman, gay, straight, and so forth?
Many queens give a different version of themselves depending on the situation. For example, queens consider themselves to be heterosexual. They believe they are women and therefore are attracted to other men. However, in reality, this would be considered homosexuality as two people of the same gender were physically attracted to each other. They consider themselves straight while in actual sense, a straight person is attracted to the opposite sex. Although they are physically men, they are psychologically women. Their psychological view of themselves as women therefore plays a very important role in the stories they tell. Despite this, the implications for mainstream society remain small. People still describe people according to the two main genders and the attraction between the genders determines the stories used. How does this article coincide or differ from your view of a hermaphrodite? Has it altered your view of this reality?
A hermaphrodite is a person who has ambiguous genitalia (Fausto-Sterling, 2008). This means that it is not possible to identify the ender of the person by looking at their genitalia. This might mean that the person has both genitalia for both sexes or lacks any. However, there have been cases where people have been assigned a gender and as they grow, it is discovered that they exhibit more of the opposite genders characteristics than the gender they were assigned. This can result in a person changing gender later in life. From the article, the same definition of a hermaphrodite is given as my views. However, there is a major difference in the definition of queens. These are seen as males who exhibit female characteristics and behave like women (Epple, n.d). Some of these people do this by choice and can therefore not qualify to be hermaphrodites. The term I would use to refer to this group of people is transgender, rather than hermaphrodite.
Epple, C. (n.d) Queen for a day. n.p.
Fausto-Sterling, A. (2008). Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality. New York: Basic Books.
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