Tag Archives: sex

Trans-misogyny, I’m sick of it.

About a week ago a co-worker of mine explained how horrified he was to see a “he-she” at the bar that he took his date to.  This weekend I was walking around St. Marks with a new friend who wanted to share some juicy gossip about a girl we both know who may have once been biologically male. Why is this acceptable banter? I’m sorry but this is insane. That “he-she” is a transgender person. The girl rumored may in fact be a trans person. The point is they are people. I’m sick of hate being acceptable. I’m sick of that which is new or strange to us being stomped out and spit on and kicked out.  I’m sick of being quiet.

Both of these individuals would otherwise identify as being friendly to gays and lesbians, they support gay marriage. But apparently anyone trans is weird.  WTF? Wake up guys, it’s time to shut out this hate.

We all know about Constance McMillen who was sent to a fake prom because she wanted to take her girlfriend to herSenior Prom in Mississippi.  Juin Baize, a transgender student at Constance’s school was kicked out for wearing “feminine clothing.” While it is illegal for public schools to discriminate against students based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex or disability. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students have no explicit federal protection.

Demand equal protection for LGBT students!

As a feminist I demand that we accept everyone on the spectrum of gender. In order to fully achieve equality among the sexes we must be allies for to all who are oppressed by patriarchy. If you are a Trans Men or Trans Women, if you’re a Lesbian. If you’re Gay. If you’re a person who is sick of seeing other people excluding those who are different, then I want you to know I’m on your side.

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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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Filed under feminism, gender

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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Lady Gaga: Nuhah!

Okay Lady Gaga seems pretty cool on the surface. I mean she’s about the most avant-garde thing in pop music since Madonna or Cyndi Lauper. She’s a LGBT advocate and she’s breaking the ground about perception of female beauty. I must applaud her for these things alone.

But than I saw this…

C’mon Lady!

Here’s the quote :

“You see, if I was a guy, and I was sitting her with a cigarette in my hand, grabbing my crotch and talking about how I make music ’cause I love fast cars and fucking girls, you’d call me a rock star. But when I do it in my music and in my videos, because I’m a female, because I make pop music, you’re judgmental, and you say that it is distracting. I’m just a rock star.

Are you also a feminist?

I’m not a feminist – I, I hail men, I love men. I celebrate American male culture, and beer, and bars and muscle cars…”

Okay, so, what she’s saying she doesn’t want the criticism that comes with of being an empowered woman, but by no means is she willing to be associated with the F-word? Not very edgy.  She gets the double standard that female artist face but refuses to address the issue. I’m surprised that she is that fearful of the stigma.

Contact @LadyGaga and tell not to be scared!

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The 2010 Vagina Monologues at Hunter College

Quick Update:

v-day

The Vagina Monologues at Hunter College were amazing!!!

I want to thank every women who preformed tonight, many of whom blew Eve Ensler away.
I fell in love with each and every one of you. You are the locus of goodness and pussy power/cunt power/ righteousness/ good.

I am so excited to be at Hunter this time next year. I think any ideas I had about going to another CUNY school were totally  dismissed tonight.

Pending essay completions review to follow

Tonight was the last night at Hunter but you should all go see a V-day event near you… until the violence stops.

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Filed under Events, feminism, gender, V-day

MYTH: The Big Scary Ugly Feminist

Recently someone posted a response to a status update on my Facebook asking if it were necessary to stop shaving my armpits in order to attend The Young Feminist Leadership Conference in Washington DC.

The comment.

The comment that got me thinking.

This statement says a lot. First and most obviously it says that all feminist are ‘hairy armed’. Second it implies that to be allowed admission into a feminist event one cannot fit into the current aesthetic of feminine beauty. Now, it perpetuates the concept of the “ugly feminist”. Okay I know what you’re going to say. “Just because I want to have the same equal human rights as the next fella, to be paid the same, to not have an unpaid ‘second shift’ after work, to feel my job safe if I chose to have children, to know my culture status is not at risk if I do not [etc.] Doesn’t mean I’m ugly!” And you are right. You are beautiful. Most of the men and women involved in feminism are. So, let us examine the myth of the ugly feminist and set the facts straight. Since this is my first post I’d like to start with me. I am 21 years old. I love reading, tea, coffee, art , especially printmaking. I wear dresses. I like pretty things. I wear make-up with some frequency. I like to painting my nails and I shave my pits…There’s more to me but what am I forgetting? Oh right and I AM A FEMINIST! [pardon the caps locks].

Arielle Cohen
Me. I am a feminist.

Now that’s out-of-the-way. You ask ‘What is a feminist any way?’

Feminism-

Pronunciation: \ˈfe-mə-ˌni-zəm\

Function: noun

1 : the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes
Basically, it’s this funny idea that ladies are equal to gentlemen. We have some work to do to make sure that this idea is reflected in the law, economy and society. So, women (and men) have joined forces throughout time and have made huge strides to make everything more equal. Let’s face it- men and women are different. That’s a good thing. As time goes on and society evolves, things change. Gender roles are always in flux. There are inequalities that face us all and things that just don’t work no matter what our race, class, or gender. These issues hurt us all. It’s complex. However, we all deserve respect and we all deserve the same human rights. Feminism is a way of talking openly about these issues instead of ignoring them. Plus when we get together better things happen.


But do we still need feminism? Isn’t that, like, a 60’s thing?

So, a little background. There are three ‘waves’ of feminism: The first wave happened way before the 1960’s. These women got us the right to vote in the US. They also focused on property rights for women and they fought against “chattel marriage,” which legally allowed a man to own his wife [and children] Their main goals focused on overturning legal obstacles that stood in the way of equality.  The second wave is what you’re thinking of. They did a lot of work. They had a lot of great ideas and basically shaped the way we live today. They didn’t actually burn their bras. The movement starts with Simone de Beauvoir and ends when Sandra Day O’Connor becomes the first woman nominated to the Supreme Court with a unanimous vote by the senate. Read Gail Collins’s book for the fullest historic overview that I know of, it’s also a fantastic and easy read.
Now the third wave. That’s where I fit in. The third wave had the realization that women come in all shades and sizes and are everywhere. We come in many colors, and from all nationalities, religions and cultural backgrounds. We “embrace contradictions and conflict, and accommodate diversity and change. There is, in this wave, no all-encompassing single feminist idea.” [1] Which is great! And it means we all have different ideas about sexuality, the law, policy, everything—including beauty.
Some women see pin-up queen Betty Page as an iconic, beautiful, liberated women. She is to some a feminist icon. Others may disagree and say Betty Ford reigns queen over their feminist world view. Libbers may recall that Betty Friedan is the penultimate feminist ruler. These three Betty’s are totally different and give a very small sample of the varied images of women and feminists alike.

So what does a feminist look like?

Well a feminist looks just like me.  They look like you, and my boyfriend, and your boyfriend and your girlfriend and your mom and her mom … Oh yeah and my Dad too.

I’d like to thank the girl who posted the comment, because it was what sparked the need more me to blog this.

More examples:

Please share feminists that you find beautiful.

OR ADD YOUR PRETTY/HANDSOME/GORGEOUS FACE!

Gloria Steinem often deemed too beautiful.

Gloria Steinem, often deemed too beautiful.

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Erykah Badu, stunning black feminist.

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Performance Artist, Musician, Writer, Actress, Film Director, Feminist

Miranda July, Performance Artist, Musician, Writer, Actress, Film Director, Feminist

.

Yoko Ono and John Lennon

Yoko Ono & John Lennon. Both feminists!

Aung San Suu Kyi Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Feminist

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Lauryn Hill

Lauryn Hill, Queen of hip hop, feminist.

Joan Jett sexy rocker feminist.

Joan Jett, sexy rocker feminist.

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Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston, groundbreaking and beautiful.

Liz Phair Indie Queen

Liz Phair, Indie Queen

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Tori Amos redheaded siren of Feminism.

Tori Amos, redheaded siren of Feminism.

Jessica Valenti in her wedding dress looking lovely.

Founder of Feministing, Jessica Valenti in her wedding dress looking lovely. OMG Feminists get married!

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