Constellation Essay.

Masculine Gender Identity by Lawrence Aaron Gilson

In this academic piece, I will be referencing articles, journals and thesis’ by Rosalind Gill, Karen Henwood, Carl McLean, Lawler, Finkelstein, Balsamio, Galilee and Featherstone. I have indulged in reads of books, predominantly on the body or social theory; The Body and Social Theory by Chris Shilling, Body and Organization by John Hassard, Ruth Holliday and Hugh Willmott and Body Modification by Mike Featherstone.
I am interested in looking thoroughly at the masculinity of transmen and how they are differentiated to that of a masculine cismale.

The Panopticon mentions locking up ‘a madman, a patient, a condemned man, a worker or a schoolboy.’ this could relate to Gender Identity and mental illness as in past times, those who were out of cultural norms – such as homosexuals or those suffering mental illness – were punished. The Panopticon effect mentions nothing but cells and one tower where a security guard resides, constantly watching to iregulate bad behaviour.

Finkelstein mentions ‘we hastily read character physiognomically, from the shape of the individual’s nose and chin, or the colour of the eyes and hair; on the other, we create a sense of identity, by dressing or behaving after a particular fashion or style. We know, too, that other people in all likelihood are doing the same. They may be wearing a hair piece using hair dye or displaying a sun-tan or have had plastic surgery or a hair transplant.’ This is a strong relation to Gender Identity, as Finkelstein speaks about how we as a society hastily judge one’s gender based on appearances solely.

Upon reading a thesis on The Technologies Of The Gendered Body, there was a paragraph that mentioned a reconstructed fiction of gender identity.
It may be questioned how this relates to masculine gender identity. This can be explained in Galilee’s thesis ‘Men and Masculinities’, Galilee mentions how heterosexual men are conceived as the powerful hierarchy in comparison to that of a homosexual man, who is considered weak due to the stereotypical image that lingers over homosexuality. So, where do transmen stand in the hierarchy?
A Female-to-Male Transman may have been born biologically female, but their mind-set and gender identity would be fully masculine. They have a burning desire to be socially perceived as male – something that becomes more adaptable after Hormone Replacement Therapy and a long process of surgeries. But right at the very beginning of their transition to masculinisation, being perceived predominantly as male is a challenge. A transman will have faced countless times where they have been hastily judged and read as female due to their feminine facial features or their more curved body shape or the pitch of their voice.

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Author: lawrenceaaronmaker

Studying a BA Hons in Artist, Designer; Maker at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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