Understanding My Shortcomings: Gender

In our session with Dr. Sujarta Moorti we explored the multi-faceted continuum that is gender, and how that has reflected in peacebuilding and the field of conflict resolution. As soon as the session begun I was learning new things that I never really considered too much, and the longer we were in class the more I seemed to realize that gender was relatively unexplored through most of my life, and how much more I needed to explore.

I identity as a male, and associate the cis male pronouns and identity with myself. The concept of what it meant to be male, and how that is ‘signaled’, was something I’ve never really explored in this context. I knew that society frames our perceptions about gender, but I didn’t realize the scope and scale of the scripting and coding of gender into our society until seeing how the difference between children’s advertisements are displayed. It also challenged perceptions I had of the session going into it. While I consider myself pretty fluid in terms of gender roles and norms, I found myself having to push back on instilled codes and scripts during our morning exercise, as well as the general assumption that ‘gender’ would be a discussion of mainly women in conflict and peacebuilding, when in reality it would be about the men too and how patriarchy creates such a narrow frame of expression.

This session has been very helpful in helping me explore gender as a study and lens to operate. I am still not very comfortable utilizing this lens as I have not fully grasped the total complexity that gender and I’ve had the privilege to not have to grapple too much with the binaries of gender to have to confront the lens. I think more interaction with gender will be beneficial for me in the long run and I look forward to exploring them in depth in the future.