Peggy Seeger, a musician practically since she was born in 1935, is one of the most successful and celebrated female folk singers in twentieth century America (Good 5). In addition to performing classic American and British folk songs, she composed many of her own tunes as well. Written for a festival in early 1972, “I’m Gonna Be an Engineer” is Peggy Seeger’s first and most famous feminist song (Good 43–44). The piece exposes and explores societal expectations of femininity: contrasting what it means to be a lady and what it means to be woman. Despite presenting a powerful message against the “cultural scripts” that govern and reinforce feminine behavior, Seeger creates, at the same time, a limited notion of female liberation in her notion of what a woman can be. This paper discusses the limited scope of early liberal feminism represented in Peggy Seeger’s “I’m Gonna Be an Engineer’ using the theoretical framework of Judith Butler.
Butler understands gender as a constant performance, which is a useful way to understand the frustrations that inspired and the content discussed within “I’m Gonna Be an Engineer” (“Performative” 526). Throughout the piece, one can see the social pressures to conform to what Butler would call the conventional “scripts” on which the performance of the feminine gender is based. These scripts, when modeled by others “render social laws explicit,” teaching others how to perform and reevaluate how they perform their own genders (“Performative” 526). The script modeled for the character revolves around traditional notions of how to be a “lady”—the ostensible epitome of femininity in the early 1970s, when Seeger wrote and first...
... middle of paper ...
...res to play with a group of boys as a child. According to the character, “Everybody said I only did it [i.e., played with the boys] to annoy / But I was gonna be an engineer.” Much as Seeger equates the category of woman with the female sex, here she somehow equates her desire to be masculine to her desire to be an engineer. This suggests that engineering is an inherently masculine field. If Seeger’s message is that women can be engineers as well as men, it does not make sense to endow the character in the song inherently “masculine” qualities in order for that character to be interested in becoming an engineer. If anything, this strengthens the very assumption that one’s sex at birth is naturally conducive to a certain gender, and thus renders natural the constructed scripts she despises, a notion that further reveals the contradictions of early liberal feminism.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Sex, Gender and Gender Roles From the moment we were conceived sex and gender have been an important part our lives. It determines the colors for the baby shower, the toys we will receive on holidays, the roles we will take on as adults and even the inequalities we will endure in life. In chapter 10 of “ Essentials of Sociology: A Down-to-Earth Approach, Eleventh Edition” Jim Henslin discusses the factors that make up a person’s sex and gender, and gender roles. Sex pertains to an individual’s reproductive characteristics, in contrast, gender is the expected behavior based on the sex of an individual.... [tags: Gender, Male, Female, Sex]
800 words (2.3 pages)
- The term sex, since classical times, has been used to designate matters related to biology and medicine when male, female or bisexual were in context. The term gender has generally been used in community or cultural contexts, in distinction from biological ones. Both terms have shown useful in many ways although distinctions between the two words, sex, and gender when one might be more appropriate than the other, no one knows. For some people, their identity, character, and gender are in concert.... [tags: Gender, Female, Male, Sex]
851 words (2.4 pages)
- Powerful Theme and Allusions to Sex in Anderson's Womanhood Catherine Anderson's poem "Womanhood" tells about a young girl and her transition to womanhood. In this intricately woven poem the reader will learn very little about the girl. Neither she nor her mother are ever named, and no information is given about them or their family life. What the reader does discover is what lies ahead for her as she begins her first day sewing rugs. The poem begins a few moments before she enters the gates of the sweatshop that symbolizes her entry into womanhood. Anderson uses metaphor within this poem to dramatize the difference in what lies ahead for her. She should be looking forward to a br... [tags: Anderson Womanhood Essays]
1327 words (3.8 pages)
- In biosocial terms, gender is not the same as sex. Most people believe gender and sex are kindred, but they’re not. There is a difference between gender and sex. Sex is how society classifies a person’s genetic and biological anatomy. Gender is how an individual views their identity, regardless of sex. Sex is biological in nature and determines one 's biological destiny. Gender, on the other hand, helps define one 's role within society. Lorber wrote: “Individuals are born sexed but not gendered, they have to be taught to be masculine or feminine” (1994).... [tags: Gender, Transgender, Male, Sex]
1286 words (3.7 pages)
- Gender is different from sex; however it cannot be completely isolated from the term. Gender is a result of sex. I will discuss the differences between these two terms and the historical background which shaped these characteristics of typical male and female behaviour as well as how gender is constructed by society and by sex. I will look at the influence that culture has surrounding the fact. DIFFERENCE BETWEEN SEX AND GENDER In the modern day society the two terms gender and sex gets often confused when carrying out informal discussion surrounding sexuality.... [tags: Gender, Male, Gender role, Sex]
1805 words (5.2 pages)
- Throughout Gendered World sociologist argue that gender and sex are socially constructed instead of being innate. The authors present evidence in regards to history, biology, and contemporary viewpoints using day-to-day examples. Although alternative viewpoints may argue that through a biological perspectives gender and sex is an innate characteristic through deeper examination it can be determined that gender and sex are truly socially constructed. First of all, what are sex and gender. Sex is described as the interaction between genes, hormones, behavior, and the environment.... [tags: Gender, Sex, Male, Female]
1089 words (3.1 pages)
- Throughout Gendered Worlds sociologists argue that gender and sex are socially constructed as opposed to being innate. The authors present evidence in regards to history, biology, and contemporary viewpoints using day-to-day examples. Although alternative viewpoints may argue that through biological perspectives, gender and sex are innate characteristics through deeper examination it can be determined that gender and sex are truly socially constructed. "In dismantling the notion that sex and gender are innate, first the two must be defined.... [tags: Gender, Male, Sex, Female]
1353 words (3.9 pages)
- Quite frequently, gender is confused with sex. Considering these terms are often confused, what is the explicit distinction between the two. Our sex has to do with the psychological and biological characteristics; Gender on the other hand, has to do with the characteristics a society profiles as either masculine or feminine. Sex remains the same throughout the world but what delineates gender varies depending on what society/culture you are from. With that being said, it can be deduced that gender is socially constructed and not formed by natural means.... [tags: Gender, Female, Male, Sex]
785 words (2.2 pages)
- Throughout the history of America, the issue of social liberty has been in question since the beginning of the Civil War. Aside from social equality for blacks and immigrants, the issue of woman’s suffrage was slowly surfacing. As a result of Victorianism, women were domesticated and were expected to uphold proper behavior established by Victorian society. However, during the late 1800s, the progressive reform produced widespread consumer, political, and labor changes throughout the country. Women were more educated and given more opportunity to expand into new fields of employment.... [tags: Gender Studies]
1252 words (3.6 pages)
- Preface: Confronted with this assignment, spread intimidation. Conscious; this was the first time I would find myself in the enclave of true womanhood. Despite being a woman, I have always found women threatening; still, I set out to grapple with my womanly-quandary. I dawned on Valentine’s; despite the brooding and clutter of toys-laundry-dishes-dirt – I was on-schedule until I heard his cooing and rousing. Mission suspended. Trying to gain an ally; I reasoned with his father. Between the downpour, droning engine, strained-conversation and baby-talk; I unloaded at Main and Hastings in a haze.... [tags: Gender, Woman, Gender role, Domestic violence]
1921 words (5.5 pages)
- Standardized Testing Can Harm Student Performance And Impact Their Learning
- Same Sex Couples Should Be Legal
- What Makes A Good Writing?
- What Individual Behavior Issues Might Arise Within Managing These Types Of People? What Work Team
- Graduation Speech : High School
- The Election For President Of The United States