androgyny / gender : also identity and sexual orientation

Talent Development Resources --..home map


"I'm more of a girls' girl since I've grown up a little bit; the woman inside has 'blossomed.' But it very much makes sense that I have two sons. I have such a tomboy quality, and I feel very comfortable in the presence of men. I 'get' the way men think. I'm half man, quite frankly... I've never been a girly-girl."

Natasha Henstridge

[ interview - posted on]
[photo from “Commander in Chief”]

     ~ ~ ~ ~

Carla Gugino on portraying a leader

One thing that was really important to me with Molly is that a lot of times when women play strong, professional women, it's an easy trap to fall into, the idea of taking on the worst characteristics of a man and becoming sort of cold and detached.

I wanted Molly to be completely a woman - sexy, insightful, empathetic - but without being the cliches of a woman in terms of being sentimental.
In life, no matter how successful anyone is, there's still a person underneath figuring out how to be loved and navigating through the human experience.
   [ Oct 21, 2005]

Carla Gugino plays contingency analyst Molly Ann Caffrey on tv series “Threshold”

> another page on gender & human nature : 
depth psychology

~ ~ ~ ~

Charlene Nguon, a 17-year-old lesbian high school student alleges in her lawsuit filed by the ACLU that she was unfairly disciplined by Garden Grove school officials for hugging and kissing her girlfriend on campus...

She hopes to attend Stanford University and study international relations, and had been a straight-A student in the top 5% of her class at Santiago High. [LA Times September 8, 2005]
> photo from

> related topic :... social reactions

~ ~ ~ ~

Why Gender Matters -
quotes from the book

The brain develops differently. In girls, the language areas of the brain develop before the areas used for spatial relations and for geometry. In boys, it's the other way around.

A curriculum which ignores those differences will produce boys who can't write and girls who think they're "dumb at math."

The brain is wired differently. In girls, emotion is processed in the same area of the brain that processes language. So, it's easy for most girls to talk about their emotions.

In boys, the brain regions involved in talking are separate from the regions involved in feeling. The hardest question for many boys to answer is: "Tell me how you feel."

Girls hear better. The typical teenage girl has a sense of hearing seven times more acute than a teenage boy.

That's why daughters so often complain that their fathers are shouting at them. Dad doesn't think he's shouting, but Dad doesn't hear his voice the way his daughter does.

Girls and boys respond to stress differently - not just in our species, but in every mammal scientists have studied. Stress enhances learning in males. The same stress impairs learning in females.

> from NASSPE [National Association for Single Sex Public Education] site --

> quotes from the book Why Gender Matters: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know about the Emerging Science of Sex Differences - by Leonard Sax

~ ~ ~ ~

I'm not really a good cook. I want to just watch people cook; I stare at them. It mesmerizes me. I've always had that with girl-oriented things. Ever since I was a little girl, I thought, "I'm not a real girl."

Because I have a big brother and was raised by my dad. I didn't have any sisters. So I studied girls all the time when I'd be at sleepovers, like I'd go in their bathrooms and check out their toiletries, so I'd know what girls used... All the characters that I do on the show ["Saturday Night Live"], I realize they're all drag queens, which is really just a guy trying to be a girl.

Maya Rudolph / BUST magazine Ap/May 2005

~ ~ ~ ~

appearance & identity
& doubt

The other day, I was going through the airport security and I was searched by a male security guard.

I'm very often referred to as "Sir" in elevators and such.

I think it has to do with being this tall and not wearing much lipstick. I think people just can't imagine I'd be a woman if I look like this. ///

I'm basically interested in identity, and I still find fascinating the question, "How do we identify ourselves, and how do we settle into other people's expectations for our identity?" ///

There is something insane about a lack of doubt. Doubt, to me anyway, is what makes you human, and without doubt even the righteous lose their grip not only on reality but also on their humanity.

Tilda Swinton .. [ bio] /
photo : George Pimentel,

~ ~ ~ ~

Androgyny & Gender Dialectics -

excerpt from article
by Thomas Gramstad

One of the biggest and most prevalent mistakes in Western Culture is the idea that there exist two separate and "opposite" genders, masculinity and femininity.

This gender dualism is not only false and without any factual or scientific support, but also very harmful.

One strategy to overcome this wrongness is the idea of androgyny, by which masculinity and femininity are not conceived as opposite ends of one spectrum, but as two separate spectrums: you can be or have both at once (or neither), not only the one or the other....

Some people think that the androgyny concept doesn't go far enough; because androgyny still reproduces elements of the old false split of femininity and masculinity, it should be abandoned.

What we need is not to construct combinations of two false concepts, but to go back to - and forward to - a situation with no split in the first place, a place without a gender dichotomy. ...

We must thus move beyond androgyny, in order to overcome the cultural and social schizophrenia of gender dualism.

> art : Adam and Eve. Jan Pietersz Saenredam (1563?-1607)

~ ~ ~ ~

Lynn Collins is starring as Portia, a clever young heiress, in Michael Radford's film adaptation of Shakespeare's "Merchant of Venice," opposite Al Pacino and Jeremy Irons.

The most challenging aspect of her role as Portia.. was transforming herself into Balthazar.

"Men don't apologize physically; they have angular, straight lines," says Collins, sitting up straighter in her chair, her presence more commanding now.

"Men are meant to exude energy. Women are more languid; we have breasts and a bigger bum, which we sometimes try to hide.

"And vocally, men don't apologize. It was hard for me to tell Larissa, 'Get me a glass of water.' To really embody masculinity and intelligence and power, you have to have your own back."

> from The trials of a young talent - by Nancy Ramsey,
Los Angeles Times Dec 26 2004

photo at left by Jeff Vespa

~ ~ ~ ~

By 1950, Stanwyck's tremendous popularity was, in large part, the result of an androgynous star persona and a history of film roles which explored the limitations of gender.

On and off screen, in character and in interviews, Stanwyck came across as a smart, powerful woman who was in control of her life, qualities traditionally associated with men.
Her androgynous image was enhanced by her angular face and slim, athletic build, which contrasted with the voluptuous ideal of the female body during the studio era.

Although actresses such as Katharine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich also employed androgyny in their film roles and star persona, Stanwyck's "aggressive, experienced 'maleness'" was distinctly her own.

Moreover, she often utilized her androgyny to create complex characters who challenged male authority and chafed under restrictive gender roles.

> from article : Barbara Stanwyck: Warrior Woman in Hollywood's Gender Wars - by Torey L. King [Whoosh!]

related article : Warrior Women On Screen -
by Douglas Eby

~ ~ ~ ~

It was the feel of her presence in my room that woke me -- again. I rolled over in bed and squinted at the clock on my nightstand.

"What time is it?" My voice slurred. The blurry numbers came into focus. Two thirty-three. "Two thirty-three?  Don't you ever sleep?" She didn't respond.

I scooted my pillow against the headboard to sit up, see what she was doing.

"What is that?" I asked.
"Like it?"  She shimmied in front of the mirror. The layered fringe on the dress she was wearing swayed in waves.  "It's an old flapper dress I found at Goodwill," she said. ///

As I heard her slog across the floor toward my desk -- where she'd unveiled her makeup caddy in all its glory -- a sigh of resignation escaped my lips. Yeah, I loved her. I couldn't help it. She was my brother.

> from the novel Luna - by Julie Anne Peters
[National Book Award Finalist for Young People’s Literature]

"While Luna is about a transgender teen... it also speaks to any teen who has struggled with his or her own identity," says [the author's] longtime editor, Megan Tingley.

"...Julie's readers recognize themselves in her. She respects her characters and speaks the truth about them."

> quotes and excerpt from Julie Anne Peters site

~ ~ ~ ~

Many organizations and companies have made great strides in their appreciation of the contribution and worth of women. 

But while women comprise 52 percent of the population, women still do not have the recognition, visibility and clout that men enjoy. 

Yet when given opportunities to excel, many women have successfully moved their organizations forward to greater success. ///

The words "male" or "female," arouse preconceived ideas of behavior and traits. We assume men and women look at the world from opposite directions.

I suggest looking at it in a new way. Think of masculinity and femininity on each end of a continuum. 

Each end represents extreme expressions of male and female attributes and virtues. 

As we move toward the middle, these attributes are not as strong and actually appear less opposing.

Using the continuum as a model, we see how a woman uses feminine strengths in one situation and masculine behaviors in others. 

Conversely, a man may choose to use a feminine approach to a particular problem. 

The lesson : we don't have to go to extremes of behavior, but rather decide when to use one, the other, or a combination of both to arrive at the best solutions for specific situations. 

from article A Woman's Place Is In The...
- by Hedria Lunken

photo & article from her site Hedria Consulting

~ ~ ~ ~

I definitely had that problem [identity] as a child. Boy, did I have that problem. I had so many possibilities. The only thing that got in my way was the fact that I was a girl. But I was so hard-headed that I didn't realize that was a liability, so it didn't become one. ///

I was never treated like a little girl, because I never behaved like a little girl, I always behaved like a boy. And it did serve me well.... //

But I don't even identify myself as female, exactly. Or male. I mean, I know I am a woman, and there's no doubt about it, but all of this stuff that society heaps on girls and women about what it means to be a woman -- I just never bought any of it, so I really don't know how to define myself or where I stand, except I know it's on the fringe. I'm happy there. Totally. I wouldn't be anywhere else.

screenwriter Anne Meredith - from interview by Douglas Eby /
photo: Tatum O'Neal in "Paper Moon" (1973)

~ ~ ~ ~
Charlize is very much a whole person, very feminine, but at the same time strong and masculine," says Theron's producing partner, Meagan Riley-Grant.

"That's one of the reasons she can play anything."

from article "Why She's the Toughest Woman in Hollywood" - Elle magazine, June 2003 - 
posted on  [AP photo by Laurent Rebours]

~ ~ ~ ~


The Advocate : In both Peter's Friends and Carrington you play a woman in love with a gay man. Has that ever happened to you?

Emma Thompson : No... However, I have the honor of being the only woman I have ever known to pick up a gay guy in a gay club. I'm so proud of that! ... He was just gorgeous.

I'*m just not used to thinking about the difference. What I think is more interesting is people who are asexual. 

I think that most people really are bisexual, but asexual people are very interesting. ///

I like people who are sexual because I am a very sexual being. I have always been driven in that way. That's why I have gone for men who are very heterosexual...

The Advocate : That's quite different from Carrington's character.

Emma Thompson : What is so interesting about Carrington and Lytton [author Lytton Strachey] is that they do contain so much of the masculine and the feminine, only the opposite in each other. 

Carrington didn't like being female at the beginning. I think that was because she didn't want to be penetrated in any way -- not morally, physically, or spiritually.

The Advocate : And a gay man would leave her this space?

Emma Thompson : Yes, she didn't want to be judged and she didn't want anything to get inside. One of the things that attracted her to a homosexual -- and I think it attracts a lot of women to homosexual men -- is that he didn't judge her. ///

The Advocate : In the beginning of Carrington, you are mistaken for a boy. Your hair is cut shortish, and you're dressed somewhat butch... Did you feel any loss of femininity dressed this way?

Emma Thompson : Oh, no! I felt lots of freedom, complete freedom. But when I went to university, I shaved my head, wore little wrap glasses and butch overalls, because I didn't want to be trapped in femininity. 

I felt it as a trap. I don't think it is necessarily; I love seeing gorgeous women dressing themselves up as gorgeous women. I like looking at them.

[Dressing that way] is not something that I feel comfortable with, because it draws a particular kind of attention that I've never wanted and that I'm really not interested in. 

I've never, ever wanted that extreme femininity. Carrington's persona was incredibly liberating to me, even though it was also frightening because it posed so many questions.

Emma Thompson - about portraying painter 
Dora Carrington (1893-1932) in film Carrington (1995) [dvd]

from interview by Judy Wieder, 
The Advocate, September 19, 1995

....books :
Carrington: A Life  / 
The Art of Dora Carrington

~ ~ ~ ~

Carol Gilligan : I used to tell women graduate students, half-seriously, that the role of slightly rebellious daughter was one of the better roles for women living in patriarchy.

  ~ ~

Psychotherapy Networker : In The Birth of Pleasure, you describe discovering your memories of pleasure with your mother and also some of the difficulties in your relationship at the time of your own adolescence. 

She seemed to be the primary bearer of cultural messages about femininity.

Carol Gilligan : My discovery that Anne Frank, when she edited her diary, omitted her descriptions of pleasure with her mother led me to ask myself how I had edited my memories of my relationship with my mother.

What surprised me was how accessible my memories of pleasure with her were, once I found the key. It was a Proustian experience. 

For Proust, the lost time that he recovered was a time in early childhood. For me, it was early adolescence. 

These are times of heightened risk in boys' and girls' development, and through my research, I came to connect this risk with the initiation into patriarchal gender codes that occurs earlier for boys than for girls.

from Psychotherapy Networker interview

....books by Carol Gilligan

The Birth of Pleasure

In a Different Voice: Psychological Theory 
and Women's Development

Meeting at the Crossroads

~ ~ ~ ~
Sara Warn, editor of, a website devoted to lesbians and bisexuals on TV, says that "from a marketing perspective, there is no way 'The L Word' could have been accurate and been a success.

"They have to appeal to a wider audience, which means they had to pick the most conventionally attractive characters. They need more than lesbian and bisexual viewers. This show is subject to the same conventions as all of U.S. television."

from article Dressed-up diversity By Booth Moore, LA Times Feb 8 2004

photo of Bette (Jennifer Beals) and Tina (Laurel Holloman) from The L Word section on AfterEllen

~ ~ ~ ~

[Erin Daniels plays closeted tennis player Dana on 
The L Word - Showtime's new lesbian ensemble drama.]

It was obvious to me from the beginning that Dana is defensive in a very sarcastic way because she has something to hide. 

I think it’s very honest when you see people’s flaws because everyone has them. And for a woman who’s struggling so hard to fit in and figure out who she is, who just wants so badly to be loved... 

I decided to spin her that way, and in sort of a goofy way, because I think most people are goofy... She tries so hard to be cool and it just backfires, which (laughing) God knows I've done, so many times. ...

On the subconscious level, she’s the sort of schadenfreude character of the group, she makes the others feel good about themselves because she has so many problems. 

But at the same time she’s a really good person, a really good friend. She’s very open about questions she has with her friends, especially Alice and Shane. 

I give Alice a hard time because she’s bisexual and I want her to pick a side, so I know where to put her, and I give Shane a hard time because she has everything that I don’t, everything that I think I want.

  [Also, Shane being so out is a direct threat to Dana...]

Exactly, but at the same time I think there’s a lot to be learned from Shane because she’s so comfortable being out, and Alice is so comfortable being bi, she knows who she is, too. 

I think they’re a really good influence on Dana. But I also think Dana’s a really good influence on them, because she asks them questions and forces them to question who they are.

quotes and photo of Erin Daniels from interview
by Sarah Warn, January 2004

...related reactions / interactions

   ~ ~ ~ ~


What attracted me to the project ["The L Word"] was the fact that it could make a difference in a person's life -- that it was the type of project that could change somebody's mind and could save somebody's life. 

Not to be too dramatic, but it's true. 

You think of a young [lesbian] girl in the middle of Kentucky or somewhere, who doesn't have any access to an extended community, and to be able to see herself represented in some way, shape or form gives her a cause to celebrate rather than be ashamed, which I am sure is what the government would want her to be. ...

Sexuality.. is the mystery of where we come from and where we are going and who we love. ... 

It's much more complex than race.

"The L Word" is a groundbreaking series in that it's the first of its kind, and I hope that it is widely accepted, not only by gay people but by straight people. 

And... I hope that George W. Bush will not be able to make a whole group of people invisible.

Jennifer Beals

from article: Lesbian Drama, "The L Word" - by Greg Archer, 
Jan. 14, 2004 - posted on site The L Word Online

~ ~ ~ ~

Gender, Culture, and Achievement 

While women are no longer prohibited from entering most professions, there continue to be many subtle and powerful influences working against their achieving at levels commensurate with their ability, most markedly at the highest ability and achievement levels. 

In a discussion of adolescent development from a global perspective, Petersen, Silbereisen, & Sörensen (1996) provided research findings showing sex differences across many cultures: boys tend to be significantly more self-confident and better adjusted than girls, demonstrating better self-control, less vulnerability, more pride, and a higher subjective sense of well-being. 

Girls show a decline over the adolescent period; by the age of seventeen, their emotional tone and sense of well-being are much lower, and they are suffering from many more symptoms of depression than are boys.

Findings were included in this review showing girls as more susceptible to many affective disturbances, including sleep problems, stress, and negative self-appraisal. 

In attempting to understand these findings, Petersen et al. (1996) cited a number of ethnographic accounts indicating that girls are routinely subjected to more restrictions than boys at puberty, from severe limits on their freedom of movement and dress, to less free time as a result of increasing household responsibilities. 

Boys, they concluded, are more likely to be encouraged to pursue their education and to be less supervised in their pursuits. Young males, then, are more likely to be given opportunities through their adolescent years for exploration, self-discovery, and the development of autonomous competence than their female peers. 

Gifted females are at a serious disadvantage in the development of their gifted-level ability.

< from article Educational Exceptionality as a Risk Factor and Strategies for Increasing Early Adolescents' Resiliency - by Dona J. Matthews, Nada Barraclough

related book : College Student Development and Academic Life: Psychological, Intellectual, Social, and Moral Issues by Karen D. Arnold, Ilda Carreiro King

image from book : Women and the Machine: Representations from the Spinning Wheel to the Electronic Age -- by Julie Wosk

...related pages:....nurturing talent : teen / young adult .......self-esteem / self concept
  ~ ~ ~ ~

...related pages:......androgyny / gender : page 2.........androgyny / gender : page 3 : quotes articles books........
body image..........identity.
...............self-esteem / self concept.........sexuality.........sexuality : teen/young adult
****home page --..*site contents*** **books etc

  ---******** *--- Women & Talent ------Teen / Young Adult talent