Reading Response Essay

659 words - 3 pages

Connell: Chapters 1 & 2: After reading these two chapters, I found myself completely captivated by the story of Harriet that is found in Chapter 2, Case 3. Though Harriet’s entire life is quite interesting and rather adventurous, I was mostly intrigued by the revelation that Harriet is not a transsexual woman. I was surprised to discover that even though Harriet crossed gender boundaries in many ways, including having breast augmentation surgery, that he lived most of his life as a man. My first thought was how difficult it was to live as a male while carrying around the breasts of a female. I wondered if he tried to conceal them while dressed as a man or if he was comfortable not concealing them at all. I was also intrigued with the variety of sexual partners that Harriet had and how one partner preferred to have him in drag, while others became comfortable with Harriet outside of his drag persona. This story was quite gender bending and also opened my eyes to the “constant interplay between gender and sexuality” (p.23).
Evans & Williams “Agency”: Agency is an important concept for gender studies because it is defined by our ability and willingness to act. Without action, we cannot change or influence our environment. Therefore, it is through these actions (resistance, negotiation & transformation) that a foundation or building block for change is formed.
One of the most profound statements that I discovered while reading about this concept was that “subjection (of the process of becoming a subject) is fundamentally dependent on discourses that we have never chosen, but these discourses also sustain and initiate our agency” (p.9). To think that the situations that we are born into help us to develop our call to action is quite powerful. It goes on to state, “Subordination to particular discourses is thus a part of what it means to become a subject” (p.9) which affirms that inaction prevents an individual from becoming an enlightened...

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