Gender Failure Symbols & Objects

Coyote, Ivan
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Breasts

Breasts symbolize the tipping point for Ivan in their realization that they no longer identified as a typical cisgender female. In Ivan’s chapter of “Gender Failure,” Ivan talks about how breasts and bra shopping came between them and her best friend at the time, Janine - “So I guess the first things that ever truly came between the two of us were those breasts. They set us apart; how could they not?” (23). Later, Ivan decides to bind their breasts to appear less feminine. The binding becomes too intense and burdensome, and after 19 years of binding, Ivan decides to surgically remove their breasts through a double mastectomy, otherwise known as top surgery. The breasts therefore are a symbol of femininity and a reminder of their assigned gender at birth, but also something that interferes with their identity.

Prairie

The prairie is a complex symbol for Rae...

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This section contains 1,515 words
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Buy the Gender Failure Study Guide
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