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.
Something nice for a change: here’s a clever new video from the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault about “breaking the box” of society-prescribed gender stereotypes. Boys can cry. Girls can play football. Taking advantage of a drunk woman doesn’t make you a “man.” It’s 2013, everyone!
What do you think of the PSA? [Feministing]
When you live in New York City, it’s impossible not to find yourself inadvertently in the middle of someone else’s crazy. Sometimes it’s a domestic dispute and sometimes it’s a person in the throes of a psychotic break — either due to mental illness or substance use. You learn to assess these situations as best as possible and take your best guess as to whether to call the police or keep the hell out of it. This becomes even more difficult when you find yourself trapped in a subway car with a threatening situation. This happened to me this morning.
A visibly intoxicated 30-something woman got on my train. I’m guessing she was intoxicated because of the water bottle full of what looked and smelled like whiskey she was carrying and the way she was stumbling and slurring. As she pushed her way onto my subway car, she began ranting immediately. This happens a lot — ranters on the train. You usually move as far away from them as you can, avoid eye contact and hope for the best. It’s harder at rush hour when the train is crowded, as it was this morning. My personal motto when it comes to crazies on the train is: “Don’t poke the mad dog.” Keep reading »
Like everyone else in the country with excellent taste and a belly full of adult beverages, I very much enjoyed Beyoncé’s half-time performance at the Super Bowl on Sunday. I loved her all-woman band, particularly Bibi McGill’s spark-shooting axe. I loved the Destiny’s Child reunion. I loved that my Beyoncé half-time BINGO card included a square for “killing it,” which I ticked off within seconds of the show’s start.
And yet, my reaction to her post-halftime announcement of the upcoming “Mrs. Carter Show” tour was not to cheer her on in a post-feminist choose-your-choice fist-pump, but to huff: “Call me when Jay-Z goes on a Mr. Knowles tour.”
Why does the most powerful woman pop star in the world want, or need, to remind everyone she’s married? What does a Mrs. moniker have with her ability to sing, dance and write songs? And no, the name issue isn’t what gets me. I’m not raising a figurative eyebrow at “Carter,” I’m raising a figurative eyebrow at “Mrs.” Keep reading »
It’s easy to think that some behaviors are just inherently male or female. Boys like to play with trucks. Girls like to play with dolls. Men propose marriage, women take their husband’s last name. But what may be normal in the Western World isn’t necessarily around the world.
See what we discovered about gender norms across the globe.
1. Belgium: Boys Wear Pink
When it’s time to paint a baby’s bedroom or pick out an outfit, many of us immediately choose pink for girls and blue for boys. But it wasn’t always that way, and, in some places, it still isn’t. Up until the early 20th century, the opposite was true — blue was considered feminine and pink was considered masculine. Pink was thought to be stronger, and blue was thought to be dainty, hence the gender distinction. In contemporary Belgium, this is still considered normal. Read more…
This amazing video shows what it really looks like to go through a gender identity change. YouTube user iiGethii writes, “This video is of me going through a three-year transition (roughly one thousand pictures). I have had FFS during the process. I started roughly around when I was 20-21 years of age.” The photos show in striking detail how iiGethii grew more and more feminine in appearance, and became the beautiful young woman she wanted to be. [YouTube]
Pay attention to this clip of Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on Thursday’s “Morning Joe.” Perhaps you’ll notice that every time a woman talks during the show, Scarborough talks over and through them. When a man speaks, Scarborough let’s them ramble. When BBC correspondent Katty Kay attempts to join the fray — ironically over Obama’s record with female appointments — Scarborough talks through her. And then … he has the nerve to bring up the Lilly Ledbetter Act out of one side of his mouth, while the other side is behaving in a condescending and demeaning way to the women in the discussion. And then … when Brzezinski calls him out on his chauvinistic behavior, Scarborough implodes. Watch the whole 10 minute clip (I know, I know) and you’ll see the arc of Scarborough’s behavior. Keep reading »
Hello from out here in Man Card America, where proving your masculinity to the dude-friends who are vigilantly looking to revoke your “Man Card” if you get caught engaging in unmanly activities like being scared, doing what your girlfriend wants to do sometimes, enjoying a song by a woman, or drinking the wrong kind of cheap light beer is an ongoing campaign. If you look at the advertisements of the past several years, you’d think that having your Man Card revoked was, like, a real thing that could actually happen. Keep reading »
“It’s a little bit of male chauvinism … It’s not just Anna — I see powerful women who really get slammed for being too forthright or running their business in a very determined way. If [former GE CEO] Jack Welch were being named as a potential ambassador, people wouldn’t be saying, ‘Oh, but hang on, Jack’s a little strict in the way he runs his companies.’”
— Shelby Bryan, telecommunications pioneer, international business executive, venture capitalist (disclaimer, I just copy and pasted that straight off his Wikipedia page), and Anna Wintour‘s longtime boyfriend, doesn’t exactly confirm the rumor of his significant other’s potential ambassadorship, but he stands to defend the idea of it. I’m not surprised that Anna’s partner of 13 years appears to be intelligent, sensible, and savvy to the existence of gender inequality and double standards in the business arena. Because, you know, Nuclear Wintour does not suffer fools, and she certainly does not suffer foolish men. Just one question: does this Mr. Bryan have a son? [Racked]
A 13-year-old girl who complained to Hasbro that its purple and pink Easy-Bake Ovens needed to be a little more unisex for her 4-year-old brother has won: Thanks to her online petition, Hasbro is releasing a blue, silver, and black version—and adding boys to advertisements for the classic toy, the AP reports. “They really met most or even all of what I wanted them to do,” says McKenna Pope of New Jersey. Brother Gavyn’s reaction to the design? “Awesome.” Read more…