Essay on Gender And Gender : A Common Mistake

Essay on Gender And Gender : A Common Mistake

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An Uncommon Solider
A common mistake individuals make is that they describe sex and gender as the one in the same. Sex is assigned at birth and is based on a person’s genital appearance. Gender is a social construction; it reflects a culture meaning associated with a performance of femininity or masculinity. Sarah Rosetta Wakeman was born with the sex of female but as she grew older she would be seen associate with the gender of male. Wakeman was a simple farm girl from central New York and was the oldest of seven children. She left home and began dressing as a man and later joined the service into the 153rd regiment for the Union. She used the alias’ Private Lyons Wakeman and Edwin R. Wakeman. Wakeman ability to pass as a man in the Civil War shows the flexibility of gender in the mid-nineteenth century America. Exploring this will help to under stand the social constructs of this time period.

To better understand how Wakeman decision to dress as a man we must look at her upbringing. She was the oldest of seven and 5 where girls and 2 boy. Her brothers were the youngest in the family. Wakeman being the oldest we can assume that she had multiple responsibilities. Her family was farmers and since the boys where so young she was asked to help her father with the farming responsibilities. Where as her mother also wanted her to fulfill womanly responsibilities like helping with her siblings. She did not fit into the gender form of female because she had to help her father on the farm. To better comprehend this she is perceived as a tomboy.

She did not fit the social norm of a woman for that time. She was strong and willing to do manual labor. This seemed to be a strain on the family dynamic. The strain on the family can be shown...


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...re willing to fight. One reason to support this is while her time in the war she visited fellow friends and family that where soldiers in the army.

Wakeman in many letters home would ask about friends and family that went into war and would also write if she was able to visit them. A letter written home she states, “They knew me just as soon so they see me. You better believe I had a good visit with them.” (49) This statement describes when she went to Georgetown to visit her friend Henry Austin and her second cousin Perry Albert. Both Austin and Albert must have known that Lyon was Sarah but did not expose her. She must have being an asset as a soldier. It seems as thought an individuals ability to fight and be a soldier was more importance than their sex. The soldiers were more concerned with who will help keep them alive rather than what genitals they have.

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Essay on Gender And Gender : A Common Mistake

- An Uncommon Solider A common mistake individuals make is that they describe sex and gender as the one in the same. Sex is assigned at birth and is based on a person’s genital appearance. Gender is a social construction; it reflects a culture meaning associated with a performance of femininity or masculinity. Sarah Rosetta Wakeman was born with the sex of female but as she grew older she would be seen associate with the gender of male. Wakeman was a simple farm girl from central New York and was the oldest of seven children....   [tags: Gender, Male, Gender studies, Female]

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