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Archive for January, 2010

egads

oh noes!!! WEIGHT GAIN?!?! what could be worse than WEIGHT GAIN?!

“This is a general health concern,” she said. “Getting married or moving in with a partner and having a baby are events that trigger even further weight gain.

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Classic victim-blaming

Did you get raped? It must have been your fault!

Petition to get the above columnist to take back this stupid shit and amend it.

Article explaining how Amy Dickinson is quite the dickinson.

upset, but not surprised. thanks to jaxie, friend and new visitor to our blog, for sharing.

question: what does it mean for a woman, rather than a man, to write this victim-blaming column?

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Hey folks. So I posted this link on the facebook a while ago after I saw it on Feministing:

I think it provides a great overview about trans and genderqueer identities (it’s not perfect). Our language doesn’t provide much room for gender flexibility, as you might have noticed. It’s a little awkward, if not, impossible for some people to speak of a person without assigning them a binary gender. As I’ve been working on my thesis, which is essentially about that awkward space–created most obviously by intersex people (people whose sexual make-up puts them outside the sexual binary), I’ve been feeling more and more uncomfortable with gendered pronouns. Especially applied to me. But I also cringe when I find myself categorizing other people who haven’t specified their pronouns to me (which almost never happens anyway). I’m trying to make a conscious effort to stop putting people in boxes and asking more questions like, “what pronouns do you use?” When I was living in New Orleans, my friends had a whole bunch of discussion and reading groups they participated in, and when we went around the room everyone would say their name, why they were there, and the pronouns they preferred. Stuff like that makes me so happy. I know some people feel awkward about it, but, in my personal experience, I have been delighted when people ask me my pronouns (I’m a fan of ze, hir, and hirs, by the way). HOWEVER, the point of this post was to point out a simple thing everyone can do that I think would make the world a better place. So here’s my thoughts:

When you are talking about someone whose gender identity or pronouns have changed throughout their life, please don’t say “okay, so they were BORN a woman… and now they’re a man”. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my thesis is that human sexual development occurs, in fact, on a spectrum. When babies are born a doctor decides what sex, of the two options, that baby belongs to. If the baby is one of the estimated 4% who are born intersex, often parents put them through “corrective” surgery or put them on hormones. Sharon Preves wrote,

“It is my argument that medical treatments to create genitally unambiguous children are not performed entirely or even predominantly for the sake of preventing stigmatization and trauma to the child. Rather, these elaborate, expensive, and risky procedures are performed to maintain social order for the institutions and adults that surround the child.”

In this way, the treatment of intersex children relies on the insecurity and fear of the “adults that surround the child” who cannot tolerate a human being outside the gender binary in their lives. (aside: I think that statement could start an entirely new and fascinating discussion about competitive child-rearing in our society and how consumerist childhoods form) However, it is important to recognize that although intersex people are representative of a small section that the binary cannot accept, everyone is part of the gender and sex spectrum. After all, not all people designated to the “male” category at birth without question have the same “penis”, and not all people designated to “female” have the same “clitoris”. There is a wide range of sizes, shapes, and hormonal drives. So. People aren’t born “male” or “female”–doctors assign these labels, and parents uphold the gender law in the household. I, and I think many trans and genderqueer people, feel that a decision was made for me, out of my control. But human beings made the decision.

“If nature really offers us more than two sexes, then it follows that our current notions of masculinity and femininity are cultural conceits”

Saying someone is “born” one way or another implies that nature made the decision. And the fact is that nature says nothing more than that there are as many sexes as there are people.

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I think I’ve found another influential form of bigotry in my history. Were y’all raised with To Kill A Mockingbird in your lives? I read that book when I was younger and saw the movie. It was one of the first books that challenged me to have morals. In case y’all aren’t familiar with it the basic premise of the story is that a disabled black man, Tom Robinson, is accused of rape by a lower class white woman, Mayella Ewell. The main character is Scout, the daughter of the white, middle class lawyer, Atticus finch, who defends the black man in court. Through the story we learn that the woman accusing is lying, pressured by her essentially evil father, Bob Ewell. The moral of the story is that Atticus is the best man ever for defending the poor black people that no one will defend from the awful poor white man.

In the same way that PETA uses sexism to promote vegetarianism, To Kill A Mockingbird uses victim-blaming and classism (and racism?) to combat racism. I have NEVER witnessed in my life a woman falsely accusing a man of sexual assault… it’s hard enough to prove it as it is, it’s not like our legal system works in victims’ favor in the first place… AND YET  my dad and so many people I know immediately jump to accusing a woman for her own rape. This movie, I am sure, planted that seed in many people’s minds.

In To Kill A Mockingbird I see the danger of bringing up “moral issues”. I saw myself loving this story for its narrative about a person who defends the underdog and attributing much of my early formed morals to it… and now I see how the Ewells, the bad guys, just happen to be working class, how Atticus fits the paternalistic white man saving the poor [racial minority] folk archetype told again and again (see Avatar, Pocahontas, Fern Gully…), how the accusation of rape happens to portrayed as something only an evil, conniving person could muster… And yet it’s still one of those movies put on a pedestal as one of “the greatest”.

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not the most radical article but hearing all these new year’s resolutions about losing weight made me read this article extra carefully so that i dont fall into the same damn trap.

We feed the billion-dollar diet industry while denying our own bodies. We accept the premise that being thin will change our lives while failing to see that the pursuit of smallness, sometimes manifested in anorexia or bulimia, can actually shorten our life span.

Fashion designers and magazine editors argue that clothes look better on skinny women. The sad thing is that many of us have bought into that twisted logic. Instead of demanding that designers create fashion that fits real women, we try to refashion our bodies to fit today’s most unforgiving styles. All hail the skinny jeans, and whatever it takes to fit in them.

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