Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

YJ's picture

A Reaction to Stryker

I thought Susan Stryker was a great speaker who made some really amazing points but in such a simple way. She also made me think very deeply about the sorts of issues she's had to intimately deal with for a very long time.

All during class I felt pretty guilty, especially after she began talking about everyone's need to gender (or misgender) her because I too felt the urge to box her into some "knowable" category. It made me feel terrible to realize just how tied I am to these social constructs, this gender binary. As much as I would like to consider myself this liberal feminist, I still can't seem to ever step away from those social norms pertaining to gender and sexuality, not even for a moment. Since Stryker is actually the first transgendered person I've ever met, it was the first time I think I really felt how powerful I've been socialized to perceive others in a certain way.

Not to say that Stryker is now my representative for all transgendered people, certainly not, but rather I've never felt so personally and insistently the urge to label someone. I definitely felt and still feel like I was one of the people she was describing in class today-someone who can't simply accept the label "transgender" as the category but wants to stick her into that gender binary, make her fit somehow. And it made me feel terrible. But I think it really pushed me to question my deep-seated assumptions, always an ongoing process, which is definitely valuable in and of itself.


To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
7 + 10 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.