Kate Bornstein's Courageous Writing On Gender

1315 words - 5 pages

Courage is not simply about how well you deal with fear, how many noble deeds you accomplish, or how you overcome life threatening situations. Courage is the practice of determination and perseverance. Kate Bornstein transforms everyday life with tremendous courage. With skillful criticism of rigid socially defined boundaries, an intense sense of language and revealing personal experiences, Bornstein challenges cultural attitudes about gender.

So, why label Bornstein’s writings as courageous; after all, she hasn’t done anything special but write about things we already recognize? Individuals desire interruptions from conventional ways of rationalizing ideas about life. Bornstein does a remarkable job introducing thought-provoking questions to a society of people who have never examined the true meanings of woman or a man in this culture. “… providing a link between the two: compliance within a group is set by the naming of good and bad behavior; the former is laudable, the latter is punishable. Either/ or is used as a control mechanism, as in, either you live up to our high standards here in the club, or you’re membership will be revoked.” Bornstein is daring enough to equate the gender system to a club; she even goes as far as establishing the idea of gender being analogous to a cult. Insisting that it is a social construct rather than a regular occurrence, she offers one reason our culture has difficulty accepting transgendered people. It is not the mere fact that transgendered actions are not normal, it is because they are breaking the rules of the cult. Therefore, when Bornstein constructs vivid and unique statements, it grabs the attention of the unsuspecting and stimulate atypical responses. This in turn liberates her audience from the standard way of analyzing problems.

Her writing is anarchy; how can individuals benefit from it? Inspiring questions around the subject is a vital obligation that courageous writers must take into account. “We might actually be making more progress in the area of gender than we’re aware of: more and more people are asking questions, and that’s a good sign.” Here we see that Bornstein is cognizant of the limitations on what one person is capable of accomplishing in efforts of exposing concealed truth. Bornstein encourages her audience to question aspects of modern existence. She does not bind her argument to one point of view; Bornstein stimulates others to think about the crisis. To be courageous, a person must be willing to strip their soul bare and march it through groups of managers, publishers, readers, politicians, and peers. “One of the things that makes me, and others like me, dangerous is that we do speak up. We break the silence imposed on our people.” The ability to gather supporters, engage knowledge, and support the work of others elevates Bornstein to another level that many others struggle to obtain. After all, if a writer is not brave enough to encourage others to express their own...

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