A women’s studies class at the University of Saskatchewan made this provocative video which questions commonly perpetuated stereotypes about gender in media. Pointing out that women are often in a subjugated position — turned into objects themselves, along with whatever object they’re supposedly selling, placed in prone, sexually provocative poses — the video connects violent images in the media with their real-life consequences. From the beginning of advertising, there have been ads that have capitalized on female sexuality, gender stereotypes and violence against women. (Seriously, some of these ads would make even Pete Campbell blush.) While it’s tough to say just how much advertising is responsible, it’s pretty clear that violence against women is rampant and more women than ever are going to extreme lengths to pursue a “perfect” body. And even men are not immune — as the video notes, media images have been linked to a recent increase in depression among men, too. Keep reading »
A few days ago, author Maureen Johnson tweeted, “I do wish I had a dime for every email I get that says, ‘Please put a non-girly cover on your book so I can read it. – signed, A Guy,’” and the Coverflip challenge was born. Johnson asked her followers to “take a well-known book, then to imagine the author of that book was of the opposite gender, or was genderqueer, and imagine what that cover might look like.” Some of the resulting cover makeovers are funny (like the above reimagining of Shutter Island as a beachy “novel of self-discovery”), some are pretty ridiculous, but they all say a hell of a lot about how books are very clearly gendered, and how publishers market male and female authors in drastically different ways. Want proof? Click on the gallery to check out a few more crazy Coverflips… [Huffington Post]
Students at a Swedish high school have requested and received a gender neutral changing room as part of the school’s locker room for any student that wants to use it. Soedra Latins upper secondary school already has male and female locker rooms, but students proposed last year that they have an additional space for students not defined by gender. Trans folks (and gay folks) all around the world are discriminated against by people who assume they use opposite-gender bathrooms just to leer; it’s particularly hard on trans kids who are, in many cases, already susceptible to bullying. A gender neutral space gives those bigots no excuse. This Stockholm suburb is the same place that discourages preschoolers from calling each other “him”/”her”/”boy”/”girl” and instead identify each other as “friends.” Between your progressive ideas about gender and your IKEA meatballs, you’re not doing anything to make me not love you, Sweden. [Huffington Post] [Photo of girl in gym locker room via Shutterstock]
Just in case you weren’t clear why we still need feminism to break down the sexism of culturally-prescribed gender roles: MTV announced yesterday it greenlit a new reality TV show called “Guy Court” which will straight-up judge bros on their bro-itude. Explains Yahoo:
In the half-hour comedic courtroom series “Guy Court,” which will premiere in fall 2013, the laws of manhood will be upheld as some familiar MTV2 faces will determine the guilt or innocence of a variety of cases in accordance with Guy Code. Each real life case will be judged, defended and prosecuted with the perfect combination of comedy and justice. Keep reading »
This piece was cross-posted with permission from the Ms. Magazine Blog.
On Tuesday, Mother Jones released an audio recording of Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speaking with members of his reelection staff. Much of the conversation focused on actor Ashley Judd, who, until recently, was rumored to be mulling a run against the current Senate GOP leader. For the most part, the recording is typical opposition research. An aide rehearses Judd’s public politics: She loves Obamacare, is pro-gay marriage and self-identifies as a feminist.
None of this, of course, is much of a surprise — Judd campaigned for President Obama and has spoken publicly on behalf of NARAL Pro-Choice America. More disconcerting than the rehashing of Judd’s political ideology, however, is when the discussion veers from policy to Judd’s reproductive choices and then quickly to her mental health. Keep reading »
“Deciding to wear a skirt onstage in September was a personal landmark. It was the first time I had ever worn a skirt in public—and I would be doing so in front of a couple of thousand people. The skirt was a gift from a friend—it was black and leather, and it fit me great. I was worried about playing in it, unsure if it would affect the way I moved. Our set that night wasn’t our best, but it didn’t matter. I was breaking new ground. Accomplishing small goals when transitioning has a cumulative effect. The confidence you gain from reaching one carries you to the next. Face your fears, I say, but choose the right skirt to do it in.”
– Against Me! singer Laura Jane Grace describes her first time wearing a skirt on stage in a really beautiful first-person account of her first year living openly as a woman. I highly recommend reading it if you’re at all interested in gender transitions and relationships. At the end, there’s also an honest Q&A with Laura’s wife, Heather, whose only lament about Laura’s transition is that she didn’t tell her sooner: “It broke my heart to know she’d been going through this on her own for so long.” Seriously, pop over and give it a read. You will be inspired. [Cosmopolitan]
The New York Times is getting a run for its money in the dubiously-credible lifestyle articles department. Today’s contender: the Wall Street Journal‘s ”Who’s Your Office Mom?” which continues on another page with the statement-making headline, “Every Office Needs A Mom.”
Really, WSJ, really? Keep reading »
If you haven’t had a chance to read Kate Bornstein’s memoir, A Queer and Pleasant Danger, go out right now and buy it. The woman has lived an incredible life — from being a male Scientology scout, to prize-winning playwright, trans activist and gender outlaw — and somehow managed to keep her wits and sense of humor through it all.
And now, after all of that, Kate’s battling cancer. Keep reading »
The blogger behind the parenting site Ben and Birdy recently had a run-in with a man who mistook her son for a girl. The incident happened in a public restroom, and the man vocally made a scene, questioning the boy’s gender and his right to be in a male public restroom. Appalled by the rude and ignorant behavior of the stranger — the guy apparently asked her, “Are you its mom?” — the unnamed blog mom took to the interwebs, and penned a hilarious and on-point response:
I just want to start by applauding your decision to shout at us right off the bat. “She was in the men’s room! Your daughter was in the men’s room! A girl in the men’s room!” For one thing, how else will we learn? For another, how else will we be covered in spittle? Plus, I think it’s good, if you see something unexpected, to proceed with violent certainty rather than with, say, wonder or even doubt. Like the time I found that slightly darker O in my bowl of Cheerios and freaked out because I knew for sure that it was a wheel from the landing gear of a miniature UFO that was going to abduct me and probe my anus; if it were cereal, it would look like the rest of the cereal. Likewise, if you see a doll with short hair, even if it’s lying next to a pair of scissors, you should think, “Ew. When did Ken’s boobs get so big?”
This week’s issue of The New Yorker includes a feature by Margaret Talbot, on the rise of young kids and teenagers identifying as transgender. While the concept of transgender isn’t new, there’s a trend emerging; kids as young as three are identifying as trans. Depending on the openness and support of their parents, many of these kids are begin to transition before they even reach puberty.
Talbot’s article opens with the story of Skylar, an attractive and popular teenage boy who just happens to have been born a biological female. Skylar was open with his parents from the beginning about feeling like he was born in the wrong body, and thankfully, they supported his decision to live happily and healthfully as a boy. Still in high school, he got “top” surgery to remove his breasts, but doesn’t plan on getting bottom surgery. What’s more, his identifying as trans wasn’t some desperate desire to make his gender match up with a heteronormative sexuality: Skylar now identifies as a gay man.
“The whole sexuality thing never seemed like a big deal.” he says. “I never came out to anybody as gay. Sometimes I forget that coming out in terms of sexuality is a big deal.”
Skylar is lucky: again, his parents are supportive, and he happens to live in a liberal suburb of New Haven, Connecticut, where his school and friends were, if not enthusiastically supportive, at least respectful of his choice. Many, many, many transgender kids are not so lucky, and we’d be remiss to ignore their reality — one study reports that 41 percent of transgender people attempt suicide at some point.