BREAKING NEWS! we have our first toy retailer who has taken the Playfair Pledge! The One World Shop in Edinburgh have promised to make sure their range of toys and children’s products do not uphold stereotypes. Know a local shop who might do the same? Why not use our model letter to write to your local toyshop? And don’t forget to let us know the result!
Dale Spender, an Australian feminist who has been a strong advocate of female rights in this area, noted that teachers who tried to restore the balance by deliberately ‘favouring’ the girls were astounded to find that despite their efforts they continued to devote more time to the boys in their classrooms. Another study reported that a male science teacher who managed to create an atmosphere in which girls and boys contributed more equally to discussion felt that he was devoting 90 per cent of his attention to the girls. And so did his male pupils. They complained vociferously that the girls were getting too much talking time.
In other public contexts, too, such as seminars and debates, when women and men are deliberately given an equal amount of the highly valued talking time, there is often a perception that they are getting more than their fair share. Dale Spender explains this as follows:
The talkativeness of women has been gauged in comparison not with men but with silence. Women have not been judged on the grounds of whether they talk more than men, but of whether they talk more than silent women.
In other words, if women talk at all, this may be perceived as ‘too much’ by men who expect them to provide a silent, decorative background in many social contexts. This may sound outrageous, but think about how you react when precocious children dominate the talk at an adult party. As women begin to make inroads into formerly ‘male’ domains such as business and professional contexts, we should not be surprised to find that their contributions are not always perceived positively or even accurately.
As a teacher, I give girls what I hope is a lot of attention. I don’t know if I give girls their fair share, but I aspire to, especially after noticing that boys are willing to use their greater share of teachers’ attention to get girls who they feel aren’t being quiet and docile enough punished. I have therefore acquired a reputation for “caring more about the girls.” This has had two marked results: Some straight boys have gotten more hostile toward me, and most girls have gotten more confident around me. This makes me think I’m doing something right.
Longer thoughts on how this phenomenon relates to sexual harassment in classrooms, if you’re interested: The girls figured out I won’t report them if they hit boys who are sexually harassing them, I’ll only report the boys. This led to an increase in how often girls got the last word and boys got smacked in my classes, and, also, to a DECREASE IN HOW OFTEN GIRLS GOT SEXUALLY HARASSED. The sexual harassers seem to have been depending on the sort of “equal blame” and “retaliation is never warranted” and “don’t hurt others’ feelings” perspectives so many schools try to instill in kids; the sexual harassers were usually the ones bringing me into the situation by saying, “Miss, she hit me! You should write her up!” Once they figured out I was only ever going to respond, “If you don’t treat girls like that, they won’t hit you,” the girls got more confident and the sexual harassers largely shut the fuck up.
In schools, fighting against sexual harassment is often punished exactly the same as, or more severely than, sexual harassment — a lot of discipline codes make no distinction between violence and violence in self-defence, and violence is ALWAYS the highest level of disciplinary infraction, whereas verbal sexual harassment rarely is. Sexual harassers, at least in the schools I’ve been in, rely heavily on GETTING GIRLS IN TROUBLE WITH HIGHER AUTHORITIES as a strategy of harassment — creating an external punishment that penalises girls for and therefore discourages girls from fighting back. Sexual harassers are willing to use their greater share of floorspace to ask to get girls who won’t date them punished. By and large, teachers do punish those girls when they swear or hit. Schools condition girls to ignore sexual harassment by punishing them when they speak up or fight back instead.
Once the sexual harassers in my classes understood that girls wouldn’t be punished for rejecting them, they backed off around me. And there started to be a flip in what conversations I get called into — girls are telling me when boys are being nasty (too loud and dominant), instead of boys telling me when girls are being uncooperative (louder and more dominant than boys think they should be). (via torrentofbabies)
“Straighten out your wrist, Brotha!” When my boxing coach yelled these words, I knew his call was about more than perfecting my jab.
I have experienced the demands of Black masculinity and the responses to my failure to perform properly are not alI that different from the experiences of failed masculinity that I felt within Black lesbian communities.
But it is true, I am now a young Black American Male. People usually assume that I am somewhere between the age of 15 and 20. I’m 28.
The world is unkind to Black bois. The world is unkind to Black girls. But the way our gendered bodies are policed is different. Black bois are assumed thugs, thieves, rapists, and overly aggressive.
I knew this already, but I feel it more now like when I got kicked out of a Hollywood store because the owner assumed I was there to steal something.
He didn’t just make that assumption. This white man came over and hovered over me yelling for me to get out and to never return because “he knew my kind.”
I spoke calmly, but he kept yelling. I couldn’t help but think this man can’t see or hear me.
He could only see what he believed to be true about young black bois, and it didn’t matter who I was, who I had been, or who I might become. My future and past were predetermined in his mind.
I was the dangerous body that needed to be policed.
And Black women have it too. Bearing the brunt of pathology, the Black woman has been told that she is the reason why Black people suffer. Because she has been too strong and emasculating. Because she is crazy and angry.
She needs to be put in her place by Black men and those outside her racialized community.
When my boxing coach told me to straighten out my wrist, it came after lots of criticism around my push-up form, my strength (or weakness). The way my body moved was sub-par especially in comparison to this ripped Black man.
I have gone from being a big, strong looking Black woman to occupying the body of a young, lanky Black man. The more my body masculinizes, the more I feel my femininity stands out as contradictory to those who invest in normative types of masculinity.
So What is Masculinity? How Did I Come To Learn How To Wear It?
When I was in high school, I learned there was a code to same gender loving life. You were either masculine or femme, a stud or her girlfriend.
I was told that my look was confusing. People couldn’t tell what I was. Someone told me that I was sporty “femme.” I didn’t know what that meant but I was happy that I had a name to call myself, a place to belong.
The first woman I went on a date with, was masculine presenting, a stud. She had a way of making me feel her masculinity as a direct opposite to my femininity.
I didn’t like the room I was given to move or to not move.
I know that this interaction was circumscribed by chivalry. She opened my door and closed it. She paid for dinner. Something about this interaction made me feel trapped.
I decided that I would be nobody’s femme and therefore I must be like her, a masculine woman, a stud.
I wanted to be in control.
I took the summer to learn my gendered role. I became a stud. And it worked because I was able to get the attention of the femmes that I was attracted to.
In those early teenage years, I mostly learned from other studs how to be. I remember the first time I learned about stud misogyny. I was 18 or 19 at the time and I was at a house party in the Bay.
There were many beautiful Black women in the space.There were studs and femmes.The host was a stud who wore cornrows, baggy jeans, and perhaps a polo or a jersey. She was good looking, but somehow I knew that was something I wasn’t supposed to articulate aloud.
I remember looking at her and examining the family photos that had been on display in her house.
The girl in the picture was different. She was femme. She smiled.
I wonder if the girl in the picture felt like she needed more room. I wonder if the stud she had become gave her more room.
I wonder how that room, that liberation that she felt came from dominating feminine women or perhaps the feminine that might have been a part of her.
I remember walking in on a conversation between two studs. One told the story of how her girlfriend broke her chain and how upset she was.
The other stud chimed in, “If that had been my girl, I would have slapped her.”
Everyone laughed, but I was afraid.
That’s probably one of the earliest moments that I felt uneasy about being a stud and the kind of masculinity we were creating and inheriting.
Another lesson in studly masculinity came for me when I was in college. I had fallen for an older femme woman.
We’d spend time walking and holding hands in the New England chill. She taught me how to be a good stud.
“You should always walk on this side of the street, so that I feel protected.”
“You should always open the door for the lady.”
I was getting schooled in old-fashioned chivalry and I was good at it. I was in love with it. The giving, the idea that I could somehow protect.
But it wasn’t simply that I could protect. There was an insistence that I MUST.
Anything else meant failure.
What if I was afraid? What if I needed to feel/be protected? Well, that was the sacrifice of normative masculinity.
After I had top-surgery, I needed help with my carry-on bags when flying. I wasn’t able to raise my arms above my head. No one could see that I needed help. I didn’t have any visible wounds, so I had to ask.
I asked a white stewardess for help and she glared at me. She was annoyed and she didn’t want to help me. I explained to her that I had just had surgery and still annoyed, she told me that next time I would need to check my bag if I couldn’t do it myself.
I was a young, seemingly able-bodied Black man. I wasn’t elderly.
Why did I need help?
How can we expect to create healthy men and bois, if they live in a society where asking for help is met with punishment and enforced shame?
Is there room for vulnerability in masculinity? We must make room.
Who I Am Today
I walk in the world today as an effeminate Black transman. Queer, indeed!
I never want to straighten out my wrist. I want it to flare, I want it to paint flame across canvass because I am unafraid of femininity.
It is the place from which I garner my strength.
The term Masculine of Center has been one that I have clung to for sometime now. Masculine of center (MOC) coined by B. Cole of the Brown Boi Project, recognizes the breadth and depth of identity for lesbian/queer/womyn who tilt toward the masculine side of the gender scale and includes a wide range of identities such as butch, stud, aggressive/AG, dom, macha, tomboi, trans-masculine etc.
When I discovered it, I thought, “Finally, a term that can hold me!”
But as I sit here today and write, my center feels feminine. Is there room for that? We must make it.
I have always carried with me both masculine and feminine energies, but I have often been forced to choose one over the other depending upon the space around me.
I have been on hormones since July 2011. I had top surgery in May 2012. It is 2013 and while some things have clearly changed physically and emotionally, some things have stayed the same.
I still bleed every month. For many this may seem to be a contradiction to my masculinity or maleness, but I cherish the moments.
I am thankful that my body carries both masculinity and femininity at its core, because at the end of the day, what we should all be striving towards is balance.
We need to build relationships between men and women that allow space for both parties to grown.
We need to build relationships between men and men, women and women, that allow space for both parties to move freely.
The gender binary affects us all in detrimental ways. And while masculinity may seem to offer more room, it also has its limitations.
And femininity, if only understood as masculinity’s property, is detrimental to women and other people who identify as femme.
Hi, my name is Kai M. Green. I am a Black Transman. I am a Black feminist and my center is just as feminine as it is Black. - Kai M Green
Hunter and Evelyn
Evelyn and Hunter, a 9 months pregnant trans man, came into a photo booth I recently hosted at a play party, right as I was closing up shop. I was tired, but was I going to give up the chance to document these two out in public mere days before parenthood? Never.
Steve Bowler tweeted a photo of an assignment that his 8-year-old daughter’s teacher said she did incorrectly. The homework assignment had a list of toys or activities, and the kids were supposed to categorize them based on whether they were for boys, girls, or both, with equal numbers in each box. The assignment takes for granted the gendering of toys, and that there is a “correct” answer to the question of which gender they are appropriate for.
Bowler’s daughter did the assignment differently. After placing 3 items in the “boys” category and 2 in the “girls” group, she made additional boxes to add more things in the “both” column.
But at the bottom, the teacher notes that the assignment wasn’t done correctly. The point of the assignment is to categorize; the implicit message — that boys and girls are different types of people who like different types of things — isn’t questioned. A child sees this list of items and doesn’t gender them in the way the lesson took for granted; the reaction wasn’t to acknowledge her innovation and perhaps question the gendering, it was simply to say she did it wrong.
Bowler, for the record, said he was proud his daughter failed the assignment and just wished she’d done even worse on it.
[some gender-related bullshit removed.]
THIS IS SO FUCKED UP. NO. NO. NO. IF MY KID EVER GETS GIVEN AN ASSIGNMENT LIKE THIS, I’M GOING TO FUCKING ADMINISTRATION. THAT IS BULLSHIT.
Today I gave a workshop at the 2012 Michigan Library Association Annual Conference called “Literature OUT Loud: A Guide to Young Adult Literature for Trans Teens.” The workshop went spectacularly and I plan on writing about it in greater depth soon, but I had some requests that I share the book list I gave out and discussed during the workshop so I thought I would make a quick post sharing it. It says this on the book list, but I’d like to just reiterate that this list is not meant to be a list of the best young adult literature for trans youth, it is a list on the existing young adult literature for trans youth and there are some titles on there that I cannot or would not endorse. This is derived from a list I created on GoodReads which I have added to over time and which has also grown via crowd-sourcing over the year+ since I created it. Some titles are omitted from this list but I tried to omit titles on the basis of them either being a) not teen/ya books or b) not featuring trans characters, rather than based on quality, but the list on GoodReads is ever expanding so I would recommend checking that out too.
I encourage readers to please feel free to use this list however you would like (I would prefer that you use it for good), but I ask that you please try to credit me if you use it when possible/appropriate.
(original source: Jack Does Library School)
A persistent critic has been Tanja Bergkvist, a mathematician at Uppsala University whose blog consistently attacks Sweden’s “gender madness.” In an article for the newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, she questioned whether children were not being “brainwashed by our parents already at the age of 3 months.”
as if modern culture isn’t already brainwashing
Our comrades at Untorelli Press just put out a collection of essays and communiques called Dangerous Spaces: Violent Resistance, Self-Defense, and Insurrectional Struggle Against Gender. It includes some stuff we’ve posted in the past and a lot of cool action and analysis surrounding the struggle against gender. Check it out!
An excerpt from Paris Lees’ article about the misrepresentation of trans people in the media, available here: http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2012/08/31/lies-about-transgender-people-and-how-to-spot-a-rubbish-journalist/
I question everything, now. I recall articles from years back, on various subjects; “facts” stuck in my head; fears I was given; health advice. Were all those items poorly researched too? I see so much rot written about trans people that I just don’t know anymore. Does anyone – from legal correspondents to sports editors – really know what they’re writing about? And, if not, why read their work? News is produced on increasingly small budgets and research is becoming a luxury. Press standards are under scrutiny. Would cynics be better off reading blogs by real experts?
So, how can you tell if what you’re reading is rubbish? I have no idea how much of my daily news is true, but a visit to Islamophobia-Watch.com suggests that trans people are not the only minority group newspapers lie about. Still, there are 6 giveaways for poorly written trans features:
1. Sex Change. This is seldom used by trans people and has zero medical currency. Authors who use this have nothing valuable to share on trans issues.
2. Children having “sex changes”. Always false. In the UK, trans surgery is only performed on those aged 18 and above. Children prescribed reversible puberty blockers will have been monitored for years following careful guidelines.
3. Hermaphrodite. Widely offensive and biologically inaccurate. Humans with biological sex differences are described as intersex. Or people.
4. Taxpayers/NHS waste of money/cosmetic surgery. Don’t trust anyone who mentions tax during a polemic against trans people. Trans people also pay taxes, and we are more likely to do so when provided with proper healthcare and freedom from discrimination. Nevertheless, “wasteful” trans treatment costs are frequently exaggerated.
5. “Gender” – in quotation marks. Everyone has a gender identity. Clothing, language, toilets and many other arbitrary social cogs are gendered. Pretending that trans people have imagined their gender is, well, delusional.
6. Regret. Studies show that an astonishing 98 per cent of people who undergo genital surgery express no regret. Regret usually focuses on surgical results. Any journalist who mentions transition regret, without acknowledging this, has made a terrible mistake.
If it looks like a male lion and is perceived as a male lion—well, sometimes it isn’t. That’s the case of Africa’s unusual maned lionesses, which sport a male’s luxurious locks and may even fool competitors.
Though uncommon, maned lionesses have been regularly sighted in the Momba area of Botswana‘s Okavango Delta (including the individual pictured below), where the lion population may carry a genetic disposition toward the phenomenon, according to Luke Hunter, president of the big-cat conservation group Panthera, which collaborates with National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative. (The Society owns National Geographic News.) (Click pic to continue.)
But the gender binary is MADE BY NATUUUURREEE, guiz!!
This is freaking awesome. I’d love to get more info on these lionesses once more people have studied how their families work.
,This just made my life!
KNEW IT PPL BEEN TELLING ME FOR YEARS LIKE YOURE A GIRL AND LIONESSES DONT HAVE MANES…..
Bitchhh i been like pleaaassseeeeese