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Gender Performativity in Childhood Memory Among Elderly Women: An Attempt at Pictorial Analysis


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Presented at

XVI European Congress of Psychology





This study used the theory of gender performativity as its basis and analyzed and investigated the connotation of gender performativity in childhood among elderly women. The study chose Tainan, Taiwan, as the location and interviewed 16 elderly women 70 years old and above. After each interview, the results were rendered into “gender event pictures” , and then a pictorial analysis was conducted. The analytic materials include interviews, gender event pictures and generation-related literature, while the analytic elements include information of characters, scenarios, texts and generations.The results include: 1) The interviewees could describe the details of gender discrimination they experienced during childhood, which seemed to leave indelible memories; 2) “gender event pictures” served as testimony for the interviewees to obtain comfort and respect; 3) The dichotomous views about men and women, such as “men eat rice/women eat sweet potatoes”, “men learn to do crafts/women learn to do chores”, or “men go to school/women stay home”, were a basic means to practice gender discrimination; 4) The interviewees would proactively look for opportunities to break gender stereotypes and gain enhanced agency; 5)In terms of gender norms, there were counter examples existing in life; for example, an older brother took care of his younger sister by preparing a meal, or a younger sister took charge of the family matters when her older brother was away for military services.Furthermore, this study found that, through facial expressions, the surroundings, and objects, pictorial analysis could decipher many messages that could not be presented through words, together with repetitive comparisons of the pictures. Accordingly,This study gave the following suggestions: 1) pictorial analysis could effectively reveal the female experience in a patriarchal system; 2) The course of gender equality education should include the actual living cases of “performing”; 3) The teaching materials of gender education should adopt local experiences or stories to help understand more about the details and processes of gender performativity from life; 4)The future studies can include the male seniors’ gender experiences to facilitate the deeper understanding of local gender connotation in Taiwan


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All rights reserved.