Analysis Of 'Gender' By Christine Jorgensen: A Personal Autobiography

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Identity is a person 's sense of self-awareness. The terms “gender” and “sex” are often used interchangeably, however, the two words have significantly different definitions. Sex can be argued to refer to the biological essentialism and the idea that we are who we are because of our genetics. On the other hand, gender is associated with the social constructionist theory, presented by Jeffrey Weeks, arguing that the way we are depends on our race, class, and sexuality. Every individual is different within their race, class, and sexuality, therefore, their gender is socially constructed. One’s gender identity refers to one’s perception of self either as a male or female, as well as being masculine or feminine. Keeping this in mind an individual’s …show more content…
Jorgensen states in her autobiography that, “my idealized existence was based on my skewed perception of a woman’s status in America. I trusted that as a female I would be instantly credible, acceptable, and understood…doors would be opened for me, and society would rush forward to reward my femininity with an honored position in the heterosexual society” ( Jorgensen 236). Despite her claims that she was not homosexual, many individuals within her society continued to believe that she was in fact homosexual, and her sex change was only a product of not accepting herself as a homosexual. However, the hormone injections and surgery transformed her into not only a woman but also a heterosexual. Jorgensen reinforces the belief that femininity is expressed “naturally” by embodying a normative feminine identity. Her “lady like” characteristics and embodiment of the norms of white woman hood, such as, domesticity, homosexuality and respectability contributed to her visibility in the mainstream. She was considered a “good transsexual” rather than a “sex deviant” because her particular image of femininity was an image mostly idolized in the 1950’s. In Constructing the ‘Good Transsexual’, the author Emily Skidmore further explains the idea that Jorgensen’s body was produced as female, through her embodiment of physical qualities of an idealized image of femininity. Skidmore quotes the “Los Angeles Times Newspaper” reporting Jorgensen as, “pretty, personable, and pleasant by any standard. She 's courteous and intelligent, too. Over lunch in a suite at the Statler yesterday, this reporter forgot to remember her past maleness and saw only the present femininity and charm” (Skidmore 276). Jorgensen presented herself in ways that corresponded to traditional notions of middle class

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