‘A Right Geezer-Bird (Man-Woman)’ 1 : The Sites and Sights of ‘Female’ Embodiment

  • Kath Browne School of the Environment, University of Brighton
Keywords: sexed embodiments, sexualized geography, social space, sexed dichotomies, gender dichotomies, policing practices, queer, self, women’s categorization, man/woman dichotomy, female, women


Queer theorizations of sexed embodiments have rendered the dichotomies of man/woman problematic and unstable. Yet these have yet to fully be incorporated into gendered and sexualized geographical enquiries. In turn, geographical understandings of the constitution of social spaces and embodied sites have not been extensively interrogated in queer deconstructions. In contending that bodies are the materialisation of time-space networks that are relationally constituted, the paper examines the wounding moments of encounter, whereby sexed bodies are (un)made and (re)made. Drawing on empirical research gathered with nine women who are mistaken for men, the paper purports that sexed/gender dichotomies are (re)formed both at the site of the body and through disruptive sightings of bodies that are manifest in policing practices. These policing practices that question women’s categorisation within the man/woman binary (re)create sexed dichotomies and show the tenuousness of these norms. These experiences are traumatic and women seek to (re)place themselves within the intelligible category ‘woman’ highlighting the internalisation of sexed codes and the significance of sightings in contesting their understandings of self. By examining the (re)creation of sexed embodiments through their relational formation, in this case the sightings of bodies, the paper contends that moments of (mis)reading that move bodies between the man/woman dichotomy highlight the contingency of sexed embodiments which require constant reiteration.
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Special Issue - Sexuality and Gender