Some thoughts on gender
Illustration by Candice Noelle, the artist behind NoelleRx Art
Visit Candice's Etsy shop here.
Today is the International Women’s Day. But what is a woman anyway? It may seem obvious, but the more you think about it, the more complicated it seems. The last year has seen public events that have showcased a question gender researchers and third wave feminists have been asking for a while now; is there such a thing as a “female experience”? Women are inherently more different than they are similar. Our assigned gender is just one of many things that define us. We have different cultures, races, religions, sexual preferences, all kinds of different identities. If we automatically assume that gender has the ability to transcend all the other factors that make up our individual experience, then we risk marginalising and silencing those that don’t fit. As illustrated by the Black Lives Matter movement for example, being a woman of colour is an entirely different experience to being a white woman, and white feminists have a history of silencing the voices of women of colour to unify in the battle for equal rights. We find another recent example in the Rowling debate around transgender women’s access to female spaces. Gender is complicated.
As a theatre company, we in Bric à Brac have a responsibility to remember this complexity when creating theatre. This doesn’t mean that we can’t tell stories about women, but that we need to be mindful that no story is truly representative of all of womanhood. Luckily, this does not mean that any of those stories are less important. As a company, we are constantly trying to evolve and learn. About gender, diversity, sexuality and everything else that defines who we are. From that perspective, it is amazing to have a day like the International Women’s Day, devoted to reflection around gender. Let us in the future create a gender role that is inclusive, and that gives us freedom to be a woman in whichever way we desire to be.
Christina Henne Holmbek