The Question is : SEX?
November 2016 @ Minut Init: Introspection on Gender Identity
Asexual. Bisexual. Androgynous.
A lesbian Disney princess stuck in an Ewok’s body.
What are you?
These are just some of the labels given to me by others and most of the time I tend to agree with them, mainly because I honestly didn’t care or understood how the gender role expected from society has anything to do with my masculinity or my self identity. As the curator and manager of Minut Init Art Social, I have met plenty of characters from the creative industry with all manner of sexual preferences and I have been fortunate enough to be able to have an open discourse and intellectual conversation with them on the question of Gender Identity.
Why does being soft make you gay and less of a man? Why does being attracted to all gender have a promiscuous perception? What if one have no sexual attraction to any gender? What does sexual preferences have to do anything to do with gender? Is it wrong to change one’s genitals to suit the gender identity of one’s choice? Why is Why does the gender inequality still persists and why does Feminism gets a bad reputation nowadays? Why is such questions are still a taboo in some culture? And most importantly for me, what does it mean to be a Man?
Recently, we were fortunate enough to host a film screening of “Emak Dari Jambi,” an Indonesian documentary of a mother and her transgender child and we were proud to throw our first LGBT Pre-Halloween party, Rojak Horseman by The Rainbow Rojak’s DJs. These events were not just a stroke of luck but was also part of my intentions to slowly focus the events and exhibitions towards the brewing questions in my mind. And since the whole month of November, I’ll be participating in a social trend of not shaving one’s facial hairs to bring awareness to testicular cancer more commonly known as Movember and plus on November 20th is The Transgender Day of Remembrance; I felt that this month is the perfect month to be highlighting and bringing forth the questions of Gender Identity.
And ever since Frida Kahlo’s gender-fluid self-portraits and Man Ray’s photographs of Rrose Selavy (Marcel Duchamp’s female persona), Art has always been the best platform to interrogate and recognize these gender specific characteristics and behaviours ascribed by one’s culture and expected the society at large. Thus, “Minut Init’s Sex Month: Introspection on Gender Identity” was born.
In a country that still holds to the traditional ideology of gender role and predominantly more inclined toward the patriarchal culture, it seemed difficult to discuss and differentiate “Gender Identity” (one’s innermost concept of self as a male, female, a blend of both or neither) with “Sex Identity” (one’s sexual and romantic preferences). This is due to our double standards and moralistic attitudes towards sexuality as identified in Hofstede’s Masculinity/Femininity research (1).
Therefore it is fitting that we kick off this entire social discussion with first trying to understand a little better about the ill psychological and sociological effects produced by expectations of “masculinity” (variety.com) with a film screening of “The Mask You Live In” on Thursday, 10 November 2016.
In the efforts of recognizing gender identity, we invite you to de-sexualize the human body as more than just fuck toys and see them in their most vulnerable state with the group exhibition “In One’s Skin: A Group exhibition on Nudity” from 11th till 16th November 2016.
From Nudity to Fluidity.
From removing sexuality from gender, we can finally focus on Gender itself. And Gender is more than just a binary. Thus our next line up of exhibition in our effort to dwell deeper into Gender Identity, we’ll discuss how gender fluidity is more common than Malaysians like to believe. Our country is still colonized with the dominant conservative and religious perspectives on gender identity, we should be reminded that South East Asia, gender identity is more fluid in nature. “Mak Nyah” has been around in our local culture since before the Islam was introduced. Gays, Lesbians and Transgender alike had always been apart of our nation’s history. Thus, we would like to call for an open submission and speakers for the “Fluidity: A Group Exhibition on LGBT”.
The term ‘gender fluidity’ has been chosen as an umbrella classification to encompass all realms of non hetero-normative, gender variant identity. This classification therefore acts as a convenient terminology, inclusive of all gender identity that sits outside of traditional paradigmal expressions of dimorphic gender. (Matthew Jackson, 2011)
As stated above, masculine culture is deep rooted into our society and it has create a bias and inequality in our treatment towards our female counterparts. So with the help of a Russian Art Historian, Irina Lebedeva we are called out for submissions for the “Women Are Not Human: A Group Exhibition on Feminism” in which we wish to bring awareness to the monstrosity and obscenities women face globally and hopefully this awareness can help bring out change and empowerment for women. The focus of such will help identity the gender stereotypes from; their place, their rights and their duties imposed on them by the brutal aggressive nature of Men.
But of course, these exercise on the introspection of gender identity in the form of visual arts are an open discussion and we are excepting all form artworks from any medium of choice. We’re excited to see what the local creative talents have to contribute towards this subject and help us better understand what it means to be a man or a woman in this modern era so that we could all better understand our identity and how the various culture effects our perception of it.