Tag Archives: rape

Where does gender start?

“We’ve begun to raise daughters more like sons… but few have the courage to raise our sons more like our daughters.”-Gloria Steinem

The other day my Sociology professor asked the class? “How do you define a man?”

The responses varied, “strong” “tough” “independent” “good husband” “athletic” etc. What they didn’t say “sensitive” “tender” “imaginative” “good samaritan” “academic”.

I think the gender based inequalities harm both our little boys and girls. We begin to gender children very early. By assigning color codes to distinguish  an otherwise completely androgynous being. We discourage them from playing with toys that don’t match their sex. We excuse rough play of males because “boys will be boys” but I say boys can play like girls and girls just like boys.

Where does gender start?

Well, the first question when approaching an infant or pregnant woman is “Oh what is it?”. This question is asked so that the person knows which stock comments to avoid and what gendered compliments are acceptable. Is it really that inappropriate to say “Oh look at those muscles on little Gladys, wouldn’t wanna mess with her” or “Ralphie has such beautiful long lashes, he could model”  No. They’re babies at this point they have the ut most potential. Gladys might in fact grow up to become a champion Strongwoman, Ralphie may have the look the fashion world has waited for. My point here is why not just be genuine? Say what you think if you’re going to speak at all not what society has taught you to think. If you are the first to point out the natural and unique qualities of one persons child, you might actually encourage confidence and originality rather than just making some empty small talk.

We are tougher on a small young men and sweet to approaching very young women. These small acts of gendering deeply affect the individual psychology, which in turn perpetuate societal gender stereotypes.  By inundating young people with ideas of what is and is not acceptable we force other wise sensitive young males to shut out, “man up” and tell little girls “to hush up” and “be lady like”.

I think the concept of gender-role transcendence or allowing for more androgynous roles is a healthier approach.  As human beings we have complex emotions and modes of operation.  We tell young men that they may not cry because they look weak, and we are shocked when they become insular and numb, capable of violence. We tell women they may not speak out of turn  or be confrontation and we are horrified and confused when they don’t flea or stand up to repeated abuse.

Gender roles are responsible for these seeming illogical acts. Gender constructs breed doubt and fear of alienation.

Helpful Definitions. Sex and gender are not the same.

“Sex” is the biological and physiological characteristics that define men and women. [genitals, hormones so forth]

Gender the socially constructed roles, behaviors, activities, and attributes that a given society considers appropriate for men and women.

I contend the there is a spectrum of gender. I am a female but I have many characteristics that my society deems less than lady like. My boy friend is male and he might not be seen as super manly. People are more than gender prescribed to them and the sex to they are born to. When we impose these standard we dull the qualities that make us who we truly are and leave little room for fulfillment and self discovery.

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Why bother?

“Because women’s work is never done and is underpaid or unpaid or boring or repetitious and we’re the first to get fired and what we look like is more important than what we do and if we get raped it’s our fault and if we get beaten we must have provoked it and if we raise our voices we’re nagging bitches and if we enjoy sex we’re nymphos and if we don’t we’re frigid and if we love women it’s because we can’t get a “real” man and if we ask our doctor too many questions we’re neurotic and/or pushy and if we expect childcare we’re selfish and if we stand up for our rights we’re aggressive and “unfeminine” and if we don’t we’re just typical weak females and if we want to get married we’re out to trap a man and if we don’t we’re unnatural and because we still can’t get an adequate safe contraceptive but men can walk on the moon and if we can’t cope or don’t want a pregnancy we’re made to feel guilty about abortion and…for lots of other reasons we are part of the women’s liberation movement”-The Torch

Just leting you all know I’m working on two new but longer posts an exciting project with Jessi Arrington of Workshop and lots more exciting news.

ALSO TRIP TO DC THIS FRIDAY. Will you be there?

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CUNY Needs A University-wide Sexual Assault Policy!

(AND YOU CAN HELP!)

Did you know that City University of New York (CUNY) does not have a university-wide sexual assault policy for it’s half-a-million students?

(all information is copied from the Facebook Group

HELP BUILD A SAFE CUNY!

HELP BUILD A SAFE CUNY!

 

YOU CAN HELP CHANGE THAT BY COMING TO THE FOLLOWING PUBLIC FORUM OR CONTACTING US ABOUT HOW ELSE TO HELP at cunypolicy@gmail.com. CUNY Central is ready to present a proposed policy to the Board of Trustees for approval in April. However, a large group of us, including elected officials* feel that the policy lacks two vital components – – 1. clearer language about mandatory education and 2. anonymous reporting. 

 CUNY Board of Trustees public hearing on Monday, May 15, 4:30pm-6pm. If you wish to speak during the Staten Island borough hearing, please call the Office of the Secretary of the Board at (212) 794-5450 by 4:30 p.m. on Friday, March 12, 2010.

 However, you can just attend without having to call ahead. BOARD OF TRUSTEES 

 The City University of New York Annual Staten Island Borough Hearing The College of Staten Island 2800 Victory Boulevard Staten Island, NY 10314 Center for the Arts – Recital Hall. 

 The Board of Trustees of The City University of New York welcomes testimony and statements from concerned individuals about University issues. BACKGROUND INFO: Since 2008, my good friend Jerin Alam has  been 1 of 5 students on a CUNY-wide task force of 12 to create this policy, which includes CUNY’s General Counsel staff, the Council of Presidents, Student Development personnel, faculty and staff researchers, and Public Safety. 

Clear language about mandatory education is the most important part of the policy; without it, the implementation will be just as ineffective as the CUNY-wide sexual-harassment policy, which is one of the strongest on paper. 

 Currently, the harassment education involves a 10-minute online quiz a student takes once during freshman orientation . The student can just go back and change the answers if she/he marks an incorrect response. At a recent CUNY college orientation about sexual harassment, the education involved a true/false quiz, and the faculty member giving the orientation used inappropriate, victim-blaming language. Obviously, the lack of concrete language in the CUNY-wide harassment policy resulted in colleges not enforcing the mandatory education component. 

 I appreciate the legal concerns involved with making provision for anonymous reporting, but the best sexual-assault policies, in different types of institutions across the country, offer anonymous reporting to alleged victims. For instance, the military has been successfully using anonymous reporting to mitigate the potential fear and shame attendant upon reporting sexual assaults. As you may already know, most college campuses have historically under-reported incidents of sexual assault. Recent estimates suggest that 90% of sexual assault go unreported to law enforcement officials, a situation that further ostracizes victims. *elected officials such as Congresswoman Maloney, NYS State Senator Liz Krueger, and Assembly member and chair to the Higher Ed Committee Deborah Glickstein, and organizations like NOW, Feminist Majority, etc. 

These are the two key issues we have been adamant about from the beginning. In fact, I was one of two students who started this whole process in 2008 by approaching CUNY Central, and my interest began in wanting to have mandatory prevention education on campus. 

We are happy to meet with ANYONE appropriate to discuss why these issues are so important and to answer any questions/concerns.

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Burma VJ: Best Documentary Feature

Tonight is the 82nd Annual Academy Awards.

Burma VJ nominated for Best Documentary Feature.

This daring movie was filmed entirely on hand-held cameras, and the footage smuggled out of the country. At one time Burma had one of the freest presses in Asia. Today it is arguably the least free country in the world. According to Reporters Without Borders For Press Freedom attempting access to the Internet alone can be considered a dissident act. These daring film makers expose the repressive regime controlling their country. If you haven’t yet seen Burma VJ please, do!

Here is some background on BURMA.

In 1989 the State Law and Order Restoration Council (SLORC) changed the name of Burma to Myanmar. Now know as  the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), to this day Burma suffers a long list of human rights voilations. In 1990 Aung San Suu Kyi was elected by an overwhelming 82% vote. She is now under house arrest and unable to take her rightful place as Prime Minister of Burma.

Aung San Suu Kyi received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. Her sons accepted this honor on her behalf. With the 1.3 million dollars granted by the peace prize she has set up a health and education trust for the Burmese people. She is the only Nobel Peace Laureate to be imprisoned! The media have been banned from visiting her, a major act of oppression and a major reason so few in the West are aware of the horrific situation state of Burma.

The systematic use of rape by the regime has become integral part of its strategy to suppress Burma’s peoples, and to control and exploit the rich resources the ethnic states. Many women dare not speak out for fear of the junta’s reaction and the social stigma that rape carries in their communities. The use of militia rape is not opportunistic . The rapes are carried out for the sole means of punishment, torture, and to further isolate the devastated ethnic states of Burma.

To find out more please attend the Panel on Women’s Status Global Issues & the Law Tomorrow! You will hear me speak and be able to ask questions.

Free  at  NCC One Education Drive, Garden City, New York 11:00am-12:30pm  CCB 252-253

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Book Worm: The Feminist List of Must Read Literature

What I’m reading this month. Here’s a few books that you may not have read yet.  These books might change your life.

Gail Collins –  When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present
Eve Ensler -Insecure at Last: A Political Memoir 
Necessary Targets: A Story of Women and War
 I Am an Emotional Creature: The Secret Life of Girls Around the World
and of course The Vagina Monologues
Jessica Valenti – Full Frontal Feminism: A Young Woman’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters

  What books helped shape the way you view the world?

Ken makers great buttons

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