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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie thoughtscape, ‘The Danger of the Single Story’ will be my point of entry into unpacking some of my thinking on the arguments circling gender. It’s increasingly apparent that we’re living plural worlds as we move through the first semester of the 18th year of the 21c.  There are cultural changes happening in this moment in time which echoes a deep sense of urgency around an inequality of thoughts and being. In this being it’s now apparent that we’re into a hyper – flux mode, and we probably want to give some credit to Generation Z, Millennials and X’ers for this wave [purposely written in reverse]. That is if you credit the hippies in the sixties for the previous movement.

If we take time out to consider the individual, and respect an idea that everyone has a unique tale to tell then I guess we can understand what lies next to the labelling certification and constant redefinitions. Here I’m intentionally being open, omitting an exact strand of the gender debate, however if I were to review gender I would take a view of gender identity alongside gender inequality, and cite Hooks, 2013. That said as my latest work in development titled Invisible Woman 2.0 seeks to process the dominance of male desire, and feeds into the representation of the ‘metoo’ or ‘times-up’ hashtag movement, my discussion here will probably mirror my own learning through my practice. Meaning that I will review reference text and also take a view of my own personal processes.

If on one side of the binary you have those wishing to self label in terms of their gender or make clear their position along the lines of what is deemed as uncomfortable in terms of harassment, on the other side there are those receivers and the question of how the message is being received, and whether there is a constant dissonance through the channel. Therefore we need to question notions that self certification is grappling with individualism and is finding new grounds where it’s part of generation X, Y  and Z. And that it’s not a single certified unit but perhaps a set of intra-pluralising processes, so it’s largely a being as opposed to a physiology. Which also reflects the characteristics of this and that, now and then, as well as over there in that space. An exploration of interconnectivity alongside reactiveness.

What lies beneath are the interconnected lives we process. Largely these days whether we’re in the virtual space online or offline handling actuality, we’re constantly unstringing who we are singularly and as a collective in equal measure – through various prisms of our social and cultural identities of race, nationalities, our complexions, class, sexuality, geography, disabilities and/or gender.

Hooks, Bell (2013) ‘Understanding Patriarchy’ 
Ted Global. (2018). The Danger of the Single Story. [Online Video]. 2009. Available from: https://www.ted.com/talks/chimamanda_adichie_the_danger_of_a_single_story. [Accessed: 13 February 2018].

4 Responses to Uncertified

  1. I guess speaking as an Xennial, you are right, i’m still unpacking the new norms of this digitalisation, new gender roles and responsibilities, cultural ties and lies, political activism vs the social justice warriors..i could go on.

    But the quest for acceptance is the consistent thread, theme that we all
    aspire to receiving.

  2. Indeed, in terms of pedagogy, how one serve the changing sensibilities of the current cohort of students living in this time and place. We listen and we offer best contextual insight, that of the historical and of the experiential and we work through the idea that there is a process and that ‘we are being’, as they are being in a learning environment that follows a curriculum and assessments. Teachers in receiving these sensibilities, sometimes reactionary attitudes to much or all of the fundamentals of the gender argument (for example first wave feminism) laid down from the previous power structures, should have an understanding of the cultural space Generation Z and Millennials occupy. One, at this stage, should accept that younger generations are on the frontline battling. They are winning on many fronts, so what if their arguments are flawed. No conflict happens in perfect terms. Gender is no longer a single story, it’s a narrative that is expanding over the digital thoughtspace and then unionised by millennials through ongoing Jasmine revolutions online and offline. My question, one I would want to understand as a practitioner, knowledge exchanger, does self-gendering needs approval or certification, where does one go? Where is the union headquarters? Where do you go to collect your certificate? In other words and in terms of pedagogy students should consider critical questions and analysis.

  3. Peju Oshin says:

    In reference to the concept of our interconnected lives I definitely believe that digital spaces have helped to advance conversations around gender and identity bringing those with similar experiences together to be able to share language to aide in self-identification and equally highlight seemingly isolated stories.

    • It’s where the internet has proven to be King, Queen and Princess, when facilitating subgroups and when it’s syncing disparate ideas, identities and positions together. As pedagogy we need to ‘reverse engineer’ and take a critical approach, using 360 degree technique. So students might want to consider how we shape the language around identities, because of the tensions against indiviualism. Be mindful of clonism.

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