Engendered: An Artistic Treatise Against Gender

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Virginia Tech


As humans, we are enslaved by language. The kind of knowledge we hold is both created and limited by language. Gender is a category socially constructed in language that helps to determine our expression.

Today, however, we are living in a world where the meaning of the words 'man' and 'woman' in our language are far more blurred than they used to be. Gender and sex are no longer considered binary structures by many and this presents interesting philosophical discussions. In fact one might even say there are 1,000's of tiny sexes (or genders) . So with the topic of gender (and sex) becoming a gray area what would a world completely devoid of gender terms look like? Are we constraining individuals by placing them within such a category as gender or are we taking something significant from them if we were to remove this label? Would we provide empowerment to oppressed genders by removing such labels or simply put them at further risk of domination by the oppressors?

In this thesis I would like to argue that the removal of gender terms would create more accurate self-identity by allowing for a broader spectrum of diversity and, as a result, further equity. Due to the strong bond between language and culture, my theory is that by slowly tweaking our language over time, while intermediately allowing for the resulting cultural changes, until gender terms are removed from our everyday lives we could develop a culture that has no ability to discriminate between what we currently consider different genders.



Gender, Gender Terms, Self v Other, Social Construction of, Language