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March 8 2021 International Women’s Day: Interrogating the Idea of Woman and Identities of Sex and Gender As Performance Art and Revolutionary Struggle

Life is a performance art, and we all have one problem in common; each of us must reinvent how to be human.

     This process of becoming human or individuation is controlled by a second or historical principle; humans create themselves over time, and a third or social principle; humans create each other through their interdependence.

     Our idea of self derives from the persona, the ancient Greek theatrical mask through which characters speak, and the possibilities of becoming human are a function of the struggle between authorized identities and the self- ownership of autonomous individuals.

     Our identities, including those of sex and gender, are literally masks; social constructs and artifacts of our process of adaptation and becoming human. Herein the primary shaping, informing, and motivating source is the interface between authority and autonomy as an unknown and unclaimed potential, a blank space of limitless possibilities of the reimagination of humankind, like the places marked Here Be Dragons on our maps of human being, meaning, and value.

     As we learn from John Cage in music, Harold Pinter in theatre, and Piet Mondrian in art, it is the blank spaces which define and order meaning; and in history it is the silenced and erased voices to which we must listen most carefully, for here the emptiness speaks to us of secret power and of the key functions and relationships which authority must conceal to maintain its hegemony over us.

     Let us pay attention to the man behind the curtain.

     Always there remains the struggle between the masks that others make for us and those we make for ourselves.

     This is the first revolution in which we all must fight; the struggle to create ourselves.

     Our performance of identities of sex and gender is a theatre of possibilities, of negotiations and dances with normativity and the transgression of boundaries, of the questioning and reimagination of idealizations of masculinity and femininity, of self-creation as liberation and autonomous total freedom, a quest for our uniqueness and for the human transcendent, and of truths which are immanent in nature and written in our flesh.

     All true art defiles and exalts.


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