Gendered Neutral: Identity Development of Francophone Individuals with Non-binary Identities.
Margulies, Carolyn I.
- In 2012, a Radiolab podcast episode called “Colors” interviewed Guy Deutscher, a man who has studied and researched how differences between languages shape the way people perceive the world. Deutscher discusses a casual experiment he performed on his young daughter. As she grew up, he never told her what color the sky was. When she was a few years old, he asked her to look up at the sky and tell h... read moreim the color. She was unable to, and said that she only saw it as white. The older she grew, the more language she learned, and the more experience she had looking at the sky, the more she was able to see the sky as blue. This experiment shows a question that scientists and researchers since Isaac Newton have been trying to uncover: can people see color if they do not have a name for it? This question brings to light the question of the power of language in how humans understand the world. How much does language influence how a person understands their own life experiences? Can people have feelings for which they do not have names?Can people have a gender for which they do not have a name?The aforementioned question is the foundation for this study, which looks at the power and limitation of language on gender identity development. Specifically, this study explores how people with non-binary gender identities who speak French understand and develop their gender given the binary gendered constraints of the French language. When is language important and when is language not important in developing a gender identity? These questions are explored using literature on gender from a social constructionist lense, sociolinguistics, and identity development and using interviews with non-binary Francophone people.read less