Sex, Sexuality and Gender in Rural Albanian Society
Societal norms are a powerful construct created by human beings which provide corrective measures for human conditioning. There is a symbiotic relationship between the two and so in order to understand any human behavior; their society must be analyzed which because they differ must be studied in their specific context. One such example is of the rural Albanian society. This paper will be looking at how their unique understanding of sex, sexuality and gender allows them to live as men and whether this is emancipatory for these women. Initially, the paper will define and look at the relationship between sex, sexuality and gender in rural Albanian society. Their understandings would then be contrasted with the Travesti of Brazil. Then, based on these definitions, it will be determined what makes it possible, desirable and/or necessary for rural Albanian women to become men (sworn virgins). And finally, the aspect of emancipation as a result of the gender switch will be analyzed.
Sex is defined as biological status such as male, female. Sexuality refers to the sex of attraction, for example; attraction to opposite sex is categorized as heterosexual (Definition of Terms 2011). And lastly, gender refers to feelings, behaviors and attitudes that a culture associates with biological sex (Definition of Terms 2011). The first term is similar in all cultures but sexuality and especially gender have very different cultural connotations. In the rural Albanian society, beliefs about gender are highly dependent on clothing such that wearing caps, trousers are considered masculine whereas scarves are markers of femininity (Young 2000). It is a patriarchal society where a man is the head of the family, he makes all decisions regarding the family; men possess all political and social power (Young 2000). These beliefs about gender roles are very rigid. So, biological sex determines the gender where biological males...
Bibliography: American Psychological Association (2011). Definition of Terms: Sex, Gender, Gender Identity, Sexual Orientation. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/sexuality-definitions.pdf
Kulick, D. (1998). Travesti: Sex, Gender and Culture among Brazilian Transgendered Prostitutes. Chicago: Chicago University Press.
Young, A. (2000). Women Who Become Men. Albanian Sworn Virgins. Oxford/New York:Berg. 71-86.
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