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Binary and Beyond 2/2

Might explorations of gender in great art of the past help illuminate today's issues? Emma Smith considers ideas of transitioning or transcending the physical body in the arts.

Emma Smith explores how depictions of gender in ancient myths and great art from the past might help us understand the debates surrounding gender today.

2.How have the arts - the novel, in particular, but also dance and music - covered ideas of transitioning the gender of our physical bodies?

Might a Greek mythological character such as Tiresias, a novel such as Virginia Woolf's Orlando, or an altogether 21st century activity such as Queer Tango help us see the human body as a site of "eumorphia" rather than dysmorphia?

Happily confessing to having two left feet, Emma attends a Queer Tango session in south London in order to reflect upon how casually but deeply gendered our lives continue to be today.

She talks with the American author Jeffrey Eugenides about his Pulitzer-prize-winning novel, Middlesex; with Woolf scholar Professor Laura Marcus, author Meg Rosoff, classicist Alastair Blanshard, Mezzo-Soprano Dame Sarah Connolly, and musician and trans activist C.N.Lester to understand gender and identity. Along the way, she learns about the androgynous quality of many great artist and the more expansive gender spectrum their work inspires.

Back on the dance floor, Emma wonders sees how the arts might help each of us transcend our gendered bodies and travel "Beyond Binary", if only in the imagination.

Producer: Beaty Rubens

For Rights reasons, this programme is only available as a UK Podcast.

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44 minutes

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Friday 22:15

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