Personal Ethnography

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Observing, and critically examining an embodied geography has allowed me to acknowledge the magnitude with which our world is gendered in terms of human experience. Upon completing my three individual observations, it has become extremely apparent that I am not immune to societies expectations of my sex and gender in any place, space or time. It was overwhelmingly evident in two of three locations, my home being the exception; how strongly my presence altered the functioning of the space itself. This was particularly obvious in the feminine hygiene aisle. This area, classified as public space, has been specifically designed to assert control over who may accesses it. The clearest indication is noticeable before one may even enter the space.…show more content…
While I had no qualms about his presence, he noticed my appearance and immediately left the location. In Situating Gender, Bondi and Davidson (2005) discuss the need to “unsettle taken-for-granted assumptions” (p. 15) about the way men and women exist in different spaces. The mans visible discomfort was a clear indication that we were both present in a location significantly more suited to my outwardly female body, than his outwardly male body. I am certain this man had a purpose in this aisle, and yet, there was a clear self-consciousness in his behavior. The physical appearances of the products available in this section also contribute to the gendered nature of the space. Isolated from the fact that these products are in fact manufactured for the use of some bodies and not others, the packaging communicates a gender-specific message that is separate from the sex of those partake in their use. The majority of the products had been branded in a stereotypically feminine way. For instance, “Playtex Gentle Glide” tampons are sold in a bright pink box, featuring what appears to be a conventionally female silhouette wearing a skirt. This is a subtle, yet effective way to…show more content…
The bodies present in the park gave way to my feelings of fear, anxiety and vulnerability. Johnston and Longhurst (2010) write, “Simply being seen means that most individuals will exercise self-surveillance and self control.” (p. 30) Knowing that I was being observed, as something unusual in this space, made me very self-conscious of my existence and timid in my behavior. The physical geography of this space consisted of many familiar attributes, many of which give me comfort in other locations. Benches and trees line an open grassy area where people enjoyed social activities. My solitary existence in this unfamiliar place was catching the attention of many people in the area. I wondered how my experiences might have differed in the company of a man, or had I simply occupied a male body

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