Gender identity

Gender identity whether you believe it or not, is strongly influenced by the people and environment around us. The way you carry yourself and the way you interact with others is completely based on the things around you especially when it comes to your gender identity. When those around you are positive and supportive of what you identify as, things for you becomes much more easier and peaceful than somewhere that doesn’t accept who you are. An environment can affect you in both positive and negative ways depending on where you are. Whether peaceful suburban environment or a run down graffiti filled urban community, both have positive or negative on a person depending on how they choose to take the influences around them.
Traditionally, when it comes to gender norms, the women are supposed to be feminine and males must be masculine. Whether you choose to express yourself in those ways are all up to you. Whether or not you’d be judge for the path you decide is based purely on your environment and the people around you. When you are around those who accept who you are unconditionally, you will never be afraid to be who you really are when you are away from your environment. On the other hand, when those around you are judgmental and aren’t as accepting of who you are, it will force you to be someone who you aren’t or even worse to become violent and have violent outbursts towards yourself or those same people around you.

The influences around you with eventually shape who you are. In Susan Faludi’s “The Naked Citadel” the boy’s gender identity was very over exaggerated due to the fact that they all didn’t want to seems as if they weren’t feminine in anyway. The boys are enroll in “ the big bad macho school”(Faludi 73), which made them to believe that they indeed had to act like they were the big bad macho men of the school.This was a all male school so the way they would treat females at the school was purely based on how others around them would acted and treated females. The negativity they had for them was purely based on the fact that the environment around them was based on masculinity and the idea of a female coming in and disrupting that would bring them shame. This female was Sharron Faulkner who they relentlessly refused to accept into their environment.

When it came to Faulkner, the boys seemed to try to come up with any excuse there was in order to convince themselves and the higher-ups that they did not belong in the Corps. These boys said “ they’ll have to put up window shades in all the rooms… think all the windows in the barracks. That would cost eight thousand, nine thousand dollar”(Faludi 75). They didn’t want someone different to come in and disturb the sexist and misogynist environment that they created for themselves. From calling women “ pigs and sluts”(Faludi 77) to the cruelty they show each other, all of this comes from the toxic environment they have made. Much like the Broken Window Theory in Malcolm Gladwell’s “The Power of Context”, one broken widow will trigger others and eventually the environment will become toxic for those who are currently in them.

This negative environment that they have created around them unfortunately are more common than we may think. A place full of judgement and closed minded people can traumatize some of the people in the community thus creating this broken window. Some of these acts can resort to violence, just how Goetz shot the teenager in the train or how the cadets stabbed the raccoon to death chanting “Kill the bitch! Kill the bitch”(Faludi 81). These outbursts are a formed by those restrictions caused by this environment. They were forced into this place and without knowing how to act, the outburst of violence accused within them causing harm to something or someone. The anger that they had couldn’t be expressed in any other way or so they thought.

When it came to the cadets in the Citadel, their overly exaggerated gender identity cause them to act in ways that diverted them from their masculine path. However, due to the fact that their environment was created by them none of them notice that they are going astray from their masculine norm. The cadets seem to go out of their way in feminine acts and yet they don’t seem to realize that they are doing them. They say that when they shower all together, “ it’s very intimate…we’re one mass, naked together. You can cry”(Faludi 97). Showing emotions seems like a taboo thing when it comes to a traditional masculine role and yet these men continue to do these feminine intimate things with each other. The cadet during the interview stated “ Maybe it’s a Freudian thing, but males feel more affectionate with each other when women are not around. Maybe we are all homosexuals”(97). Other cadets quickly retaliated, yet they still continued to act the way they refused to admit, and thats feminine.

They’re gender identity are completely mixed with both masculine and feminine and they refuse to acknowledge their feminine side. Their feminine negative environment has made them confused about how they really are. It has gotten to the point for them that they are even going to drag bars, a bar where males dress and act like females. They completely know that these “women” are men in dresses and yet they still engage sexually and romantically with these men. Their environment has made them think that this actions are still masculine. Although these are not violent acts, these are still outburst from their communities that they are used to. Now if the Citadel had actual female cadets, the community would be completely different maybe it would be more of a positive and compassionate environment where these male cadets wouldn’t feel the need to act violently or act out in the outbursts.

When it comes to Goetz’s case, the trauma he had experienced when he got mugged and the environment around him is what caused his violent act. His negative community became too much to handle and he decided to take out his anger and frustration on the teenagers in the train. Now if the community was in a better, more positive light then the outcome might have been different. Goetz’s decision to shoot those teenager might have not even happen if the area and the people around him might have been different in a more positive way. Even those cadets who have the misogynistic mindset, everything about them, even their lives would have been different if they’re “broken window” was never broken to begin with. When it comes to your environment, no matter how hard you try it will affect you in one way or another. For Goetz and for the Citadel, these examples are a perfect way to expose how your community can make you behave whether it be peer pressure or self frustration. These acts of violence ultimately are the extremes of the situation they are currently in, and unfortunately these acts are still present in modern times. These “broken windows” are only causing things to get worse for these communities and its only a matter of time before another violent outburst has to occur for society to notice the broken windows.

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