The Concept of the Fluidity of Gender Identity

Topic : Consider the concept of the fluidity of gender identity, that an individual’s gender exists on a vast spectrum. In the “The Kind of Man I Am at the DMV,” Waite intentionally obfuscates the speaker’s chosen gender while clearly interrogating the male/female dichotomy. What gender do you think the speaker identifies with? (note: there is no “right” answer here–multiple interpretations are possible, as long as they are supported by the text.) Examine the poem closely, and remember that the speaker is separate from the poet. Respond to all of the following:

• Why does the poem insist on the male/female gender dichotomy? What do you think Waite is suggesting about that dichotomy?• Consider the way the speaker describes the boy in stanza 2. What do you think the speaker is suggesting about masculinity?• How do you interpret the final three lines of the poem?

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• Read this poem against Anne Sexton’s “Cinderella” and/or Marge Piercy’s “Barbie Doll” (page 1151). What do the two poems suggest about gender roles and heteronormativity?• Read Judith Ortiz Cofer’s poem “The Changeling.” Use “The Changeling” and “The Kind of Man I Am at the DMV” to investigate the way gender roles are constructed by society and maintained by individuals.

Your postings will be reviewed according to the following criteria:

  • Writing well-developed paragraphs relevant to the prompt(s) (minimum 300 words).
  • Be sure that your thesis is explicit and supported with one to two quotations from the literature.
  • Do not write in first or second person.
  • Following the rules of Standard English. Please proofread your writing before clicking the ‘submit’ button!
  • When you include a quotation from the literature in your mini-esssay, please place an in-text citation (also called a parenthetical citation) immediately after you close the quotation marks and before you place a period at the end of your sentence. That way, anyone in the class (including me!) can easily find the quotation in the literature if necessary. If you’re not sure what to place inside the parentheses, there is instruction in the textbook in Chapter 34- Quotation, Citation, and Documentation. 
  • When you include in-text citations, there must be a Works Cited listing at the bottom of your post.
  • Be sure to follow the “Quote Sandwich” when you insert quotations.


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