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The Tibetan Women Problem of Gender Performativity 

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Women have been important for political movements for national sovereignty. The conceptual framework of the relationship between women’s movement and women’s liberalization indicates that gender plays a significant role in the activism of Tibetan women.

Firstly, the structural functionalism explains that gender is a means of organizing society into distinct roles that complement each other. The production and reproduction reflect the societal gendered division of labor as a dominant ideology in Tibetan society. The Tibetan division of labor divides and specialize in the specific type of roles in which particular genders clearly have certain responsibilities in the action of labor to stabilize the society as a whole. Havnevik argues that reproduction and the subordination of women or nuns play a significant role in Tibet. Nuns’ role facilitates gender division. Tibetan nuns’ major roles are yoga, ritual performance. On the other hand, monks manage administration. Monks are the head of villages who connect Tibetan people district to district. Monk’s role represents that men are more productive than women. Moreover, the belief of selflessness of Buddhism dogma structure women status in Buddhism patriarchy in which nuns sacrifice themselves to have lower status in order to have good lives in the future, and their lives were determined by their past lives. Therefore, the Tibetan society constructs gender roles through physical advantages foe working or sex roles. Supported the idea by Lorber, women’s roles are reproductive, and men are productive. As well as women are perceived as passive beneficiaries of welfare programs, rather than as active participants. The reflection of gender toward Tibetan women and men construct by division of labor and sex roles.

Secondly, Gender performativity is the predominant variable to explain the engagement of nuns activists in Tibetan society. There are several reasons why nuns in the age of 18-35 years old engage in political activism. Firstly, Murphy’s argument in 2000 on Buddhism practices shows that nuns Buddhism does not require weekly attendance. Secondly, in the past, monks lead political protests in which the Chinese government projected men and monks as the resistance of occupation Tibetan territory. Therefore, Tibetan nuns step in as female-lead political demonstrations. 

Thirdly, Young argues that nuns’ role does not require responsibilities as a female layperson such as family obligations. Nuns that do not have children are willing to risk for an uprising. Unlike, Frederich Engels that compared the family structure to the relationship between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat, Engles claims that wages the cause of the dependable women toward men in the household. Butler argues that gender is being perform by masculinity and femininity where heterosexuality that exists in society is powerful to define the functions of men and women, therefore, engagement of nuns are increasing gendered performance. Besides, monk activists are treated differently than their female counterparts in which the punishment for engagement differs. Monks are beaten and forced to work while nuns are punished through sexual violence. 

Fourthly, Tibetan men and women activists practice reflecting societal gender divisions. Women are more likely to engage in non-confrontational activities while men are more likely to engage in confrontational activities. The riots in Lhasa demonstrate that Tibetan women protest in non-violence over the Chinese authority of its independence. On the contrary, the argument of Glavanis-Grantham in 2005 reveals the cases of woman activist’s resistance toward political authoritarianism. Argentinian women write letters to express grieve to loses. Then, establish a women organization movement. The role of the self-organization movement led by women questions about marginalization in terms of women’s reproductive potential. Also, gender symbolic interactionism represents the meaning that derives through interaction is socially constructed according to characteristics and practices. But the practices of women activism are managed and transformed by which characterized by performances.

Fifthly, gender roles in Tibet on monk and nun activists dysfunction the Tibetan society in which monks and nuns are prohibited in marriage to produce children according to Buddhism religious belief. However, Berko argues that biological sex is used as a strategic tool for Palestinian people to increase the population in activism and change of demographic structure in Palestine to function and facilitate activism. Nonetheless, Adel Abu Hasham explains that public opinion towards women is accustomed as a factory to produce men in activism is discriminatory.

Finally, women community organizing addressed issue on force abortion and sterilization. Tibetan women share common interests and common threats that marginalized individuals as an organization for women’s human right. Tibetan women see the community building, as one method of activism, as a means to address social inequality and injustice in coercive abortion and sterilization.

Tibetan gendered women are important for the movement for social justice. Gender role and performativity are the focus on treatment, punishment, and abuse of sexuality, not only for one purpose, liberalization Tibet, but for human right issue as well. Therefore, gender is the key for activism through community organizing, protests and unrest for Tibetan women’s justice and equality.  

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The Tibetan Women Problem of Gender Performativity . (2022, May 24). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 30, 2022, from
“The Tibetan Women Problem of Gender Performativity .” GradesFixer, 24 May 2022,
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