Be a Man, do not Cry like a Woman: Analyzing Gender Dynamics in Pakistan
Keywords:Gender, Masculinity, Femininity, Gender & Discourse, Gender Performance, Gender Performativity, Identity, Gender Identity
Contrary to the view that gender is fluid, as concurred by several social scientists, in traditional Pakistani understanding, gender is seen in fixed binaries, i.e., either you are a man or a woman. The third category is known as the third gender in Pakistan. It is interesting to note that although gender is seen as fixed in Pakistani cultures, in informal discussions, varied shades of gender are highlighted by informants based on gender performativity. By drawing on the postmodern feminist theory of gender performativity, this paper does a discourse analysis of informant’s views about gender construction and dynamics in rural Sindh. Ethnographic fieldnotes have been used as primary data to analyze gender nuances implicit in Pakistani men's informal discourse. This paper argues that contrary to unchanging gender identities as endorsed by Pakistan society's patriarchal structure, men dismiss these fixed identities during an informal discussion. Instead, they shuffle gender identities by branding men and women as feminine men and masculine women, respectively, based on their gender performativity. We conclude that irrespective of physical outlook, the power lies in hegemonic forms of agency. Gender relationships and gender performance shape the sexual and gender identity of subjects.
Ahmad, A., Hafeez, M. R., & Shahbaz, M. (2020). “Sell-outs, fatsos or whores?” representation of politically active Pakistani women on social media. Pakistan Social Sciences Review, 4(1), 40-50. https://pssr.org.pk/issues/v4/1/sell-outs-fatsos-or-whores-representation-of-politically-active-pakistani-women-on-social-media.pdf DOI: https://doi.org/10.35484/pssr.2020(4-I)04
Atencio, M., & Koca, C. (2011). Gendered communities of practice and the construction of masculinities in Turkish physical education. Gender and Education, 23(1), 59-72. https://doi.org/10.1080/09540250903519444 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09540250903519444
Blommaert, J. (2005). Discourse: a critical introduction. Cambridge University. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511610295
Butler, J. (1988). Performative acts and gender constitution: an essay in phenomenology and feminist theory. Theatre Journal, 40(4), 519-531. https://doi.org/10.2307/3207893 DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/3207893
Butler, J. (2011). Gender trouble: feminism and the subversion of identity. Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780203824979
Butt, B. I., Ashiq, U., & Abbas, N. (2020). Pro-women laws and government masquerading: a description of pre-independence and post-independence women legislative framework in Pakistan. Review of Education, Administration & LAW, 3(3), 395-401. https://doi.org/10.47067/real.v3i3.84 DOI: https://doi.org/10.47067/real.v3i3.84
Cheong, S. M., & Miller, M. L. (2000). Power and tourism: a Foucauldian observation. Annals of Tourism Research, 27(2), 371-390. https://oi.org/10.1016/S0160-7383(99)00065-1 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S0160-7383(99)00065-1
Clyne, M., & Clyne, M. G. (1996). Inter-cultural communication at work: cultural values in discourse. Cambridge University. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511620799
Connell, R. (1987). Gender and power. Polity Press.
Connell, R. W., & Connell, R. (2005). Masculinities. University of California.
Daraz, U., Ahmad, A., & Bilal, M. (2018). Gender inequality in education: an analysis of socio-cultural factors and impacts on the economic development of Malakand. Liberal Arts & Social Sciences International Journal (LASSIJ), 2(2), 50-58. DOI: https://doi.org/10.47264/idea.lassij/2.2.6
De-Beauvoir, S. (2010). The second sex. Knopf. https://www.uberty.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/1949_simone-de-beauvoir-the-second-sex.pdf
DuBois, M. (1991). The governance of the third world: a Foucauldian perspective on power relations in development. Alternatives, 16(1), 1-30. https://www.jstor.org/stable/40644700?seq=1 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/030437549101600101
Foucault, M. (1970). The order of things: an archaeology of the human sciences. Translated by Les Mots et al. Vintage Books. https://monoskop.org/images/a/a2/Foucault_Michel_The_Order_of_Things_1994.pdf
Foucault, M. (1972). The archaeology of knowledge and the discourse on language. Translated by A. M. Sheridan Smith. Pantheon Books. https://monoskop.org/images/9/90/Foucault_Michel_Archaeology_of_Knowledge.pdf
Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and punish: the birth of the prison (Vol. 227). Translated by Alen Sheridan. Vintage Books. https://monoskop.org/images/4/43/Foucault_Michel_Discipline_and_Punish_The_Birth_of_the_Prison_1977_1995.pdf
Foucault, M. (1978). The history of sexuality: an introduction (Vol. 1). Translated by R. Hurley. Pantheon Books. https://suplaney.files.wordpress.com/2010/09/foucault-the-history-of-sexuality-volume-1.pdf
Foucault, M. (1980). Power/knowledge: selected interviews and other writings, 1972-1977. Vintage Books.
Foucault, M. (2012). The history of sexuality: the use of pleasure (Vol. 2). Translated by Robert Hurley. Vintage Books. https://monoskop.org/images/a/a3/Foucault_Michel_The_History_of_Sexuality_2_The_Use_of_Pleasure.pdf
Foucault, M. (1997). Ethics, subjectivity, and truth: the essential works of Michel Foucault 1954-1984. Edited by Paul Rabinow. Translated by Robert Hurley et al, (Vol. 1). https://monoskop.org/images/0/00/Foucault_Michel_Ethics_Subjectivity_and_Truth.pdf
Hall, S. (2001). Foucault: power, knowledge, and discourse. In M. Wetherell, S. Taylor, & S. Yates (Eds.), Discourse, theory, and practice (pp. 72-81). Sage.
Hussain, M., Naz, A., Khan, W., Daraz, U., & Khan, Q. (2015). Gender stereotyping in family: an institutionalized and normative mechanism in Pakhtun society of Pakistan. SAGE Open, 5(3), 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015595258 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/2158244015595258
Karsten, L. (2003). Children’s use of public space: the gendered world of the playground. Childhood, 10(4), 457-473. https://doi.org/10.1177/0907568203104005 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/0907568203104005
KTN Entertainment. (2021, 22-01/2021). Masi Moran online. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SUJPnWCApGs
McDonald, S. (2013). Boys play cricket, girls play house: examining the gender binary in Pakistani public schools. Sustainable Development Policy Institute. https://books.google.com.au/books?id=_AgYjwEACAAJ
Rabinow, P. (1984). The Foucault reader. Pantheon Books. https://monoskop.org/images/f/f6/Rabinow_Paul_ed_The_Foucault_Reader_1984.pdf
Rind, U. K., Shahriar, A., & Sangi, M. K. (2018). Gender stereotype and gender-based socialisation: an early age development of habitus and its transformation in Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice Candy Man and Water. The Women-Annual Research Journal of Gender Studies, 10(10), 115-131. https://sujo-old.usindh.edu.pk/index.php/THE-WOMEN/article/view/4465
Sanauddin, N. (2015). Proverbs and patriarchy: analysis of linguistic sexism and gender relations among the Pashtuns of Pakistan. University of Glasgow.
Shah, S., Bashir, M. S., & Amin, M. (2020). Career progression of women academics in Pakistani Universities: enablers and barriers. Sir Syed Journal of Education Social Research, 3(3), 11-21. https://doi.org/10.36902/sjesr-vol3-iss3-2020(11-21) DOI: https://doi.org/10.36902/sjesr-vol3-iss3-2020(11-21)
The Turmeric Project. (June 15, 2017). Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc8VtrHA8QE&feature=emb_imp_woyt
Ullah, H., & Skelton, C. (2013). Gender representation in the public sector schools textbooks of Pakistan. Educational Studies, 39(2), 183-194. https://doi.org/10.1080/03055698.2012.702892 DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03055698.2012.702892
Walsh, D. (2006, 01-14-2012). Pakistan's late-night, cross-dressing TV star. SFGATE. https://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Pakistan-s-late-night-cross-dressing-TV-star-2535184.php
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2020 Dr. Abdul Razaque Channa, Dr. Tayyaba Batool Tahir
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
Licensing & Copyright Policies
Articles in LASSIJ-IDEA are Open Access contents published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) http://
The copyright policy of LASSIJ-IDEA is based on a non-exclusive publishing agreement, according to which the journal retains the right of first publication, but the author(s) are free to subsequently publish their work. The copyright of all work rests with the author(s).
The users may use, reproduce, disseminate or display the article(s) provided that the author(s) are attributed as the original creators and that the reuse is restricted to non-commercial purposes, i.e., research or other educational use. Authors are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the various creative commons licenses.