Consider the following images and statements. Do they seem more “masculine” or “feminine” to you? Where would you place them on the gender continuum?
[Female firefighter] We might choose to locate this person near the “feminine” end of the continuum because she is female. But her profession is more typical of a man than a woman, which means we might be inclined to shift her position toward the “masculine” end of the continuum. What happens to our ideas about this person’s gender when she finishes her shift, goes home, paints her nails, does her hair and dons a pretty party dress for a night on the town?
[Male chef] In this image we see a man cooking, a behaviour that is more often performed by and associated with females. We might be inclined, as a result, to place this person in the centre of the continuum. But this “cook” may be a “chef”, a profession that has been dominated by men. Would or should this distinction lead us to place him closer to the “masculine” end of the continuum?
[Man sewing] We might decide to locate a man who sews closer to the “feminine” end of the continuum because he is performing a traditional female task. But we might change our minds if we know whether he is doing it because he has no choice, because it is his hobby, or because he is a tailor or fashion designer.
[Woman with child] Because this person is a woman and engaged in a typically female activity — caring for children — we might place her close to the “feminine” end of the continuum. But if she works as a welder, does this change how we think about her gender?