While collecting data on women’s juridical and economic agency in colonial Spanish America, I came across this fantastic bit of analysis:
Women who brought suits against men, for whatever reason, might have their sexual behavior scrutinized or even be accused of promiscuity, tying sexuality to their credibility.
Hot diggity, that sounds pretty darn familiar! It continues:
And not all women merited protection under the law. Only “honorable” women’s safety was defended by Spanish courts. Women whose sexual conduct was in question could not demand justice for rape or physical mistreatment. They were tainted and not deserving of legal protection, no matter the circumstances.
And of course:
Lastly, Spanish gender ideologies dictated that women be much more harshly punished for sexual crimes than men.
Hold the phone here, kiddos.I feel like I’ve heard this before somewhere… By golly, I do believe it’s in contemporary Western ideology surrounding law, gender, and sexuality (aka rape culture). Do you know what that means? I’ll tell you what it means, and I’ll tell you with bolded text and an isolated paragraph that I hope indicates just a smidgen of how pissed off I am. Ready? Here goes:
Western Europe, Australia, and the Americas have had the same exact bullshit rape culture ideology about female-sexed bodies and gendered behavior and creating piss-poor excuses for enacting violent crimes for six goddamn hundred years at a goddamn minimum. I mean, Jesus Christ on a cracker, people.
Granted, the Americas and Australia may have had— and did have, if I recall my pre-colonial history correctly— a marginally less abhorrent example of the ideologies of human, especially female, sexuality.
(Source: Women in the Crucible of Conquest - Karen Vieira Powers)
Okay, yes Hillary was a kick ass Sec of State, but um… why the fuck are the shoes pink platform peep-toe shoes? We get that Hillary is a woman…and we know it’s Hillary’s because her name’s on the shoe, but WHAT?
Because everyone must be reminded that the former Secretary of State and all-around badass is a woman, and thus she is first and foremost a sexualized object/person and only after that a powerful, ambitious, intelligent, successful political figure. Plus, baby pink platform peep-toes are a symbol of fashion-conscious young femme sexuality, and this allows for Ms. Clinton to be subtly belittled by implying shallowness and reiterates that she is a female, i.e. childlike or childish, as well.
my friend mariah left a bunch of dresses over here. my friend azelia decided she wanted to photograph me wearing them. shit’s about ta get sexy. or something. i feel pretty tonight.
But the point, the point, is that whenever I hear someone talking about how it’s wrong to have sex and sexiness in YA novels, what I actually hear is this:
I’m terrified that the first fictional sex a teenage girl encounters might leave her feeling good about herself. I’m terrified that fictional sex might actually make teenage girls think sex can be fun and good, that reading about girls who say no and boys who listen when they say it might give them the confidence to say no, too – or worse still, to realise that boys who don’t listen to ‘no’ aren’t worth it. I’m terrified that YA novels might teach teenage girls the distinction between assault and consensual sex, and give them the courage to speak out about the former while actively seeking the latter. I’m terrified that teenage girls might think seriously about the circumstances under which they might say yes to sex; that they might think about contraception before they need it, and touch themselves in bed at night while fantasising about generous, interesting, beautiful lovers who treat them with consideration and respect. I’m terrified of a generation of teenage girls who aren’t shy or squeamish about asking for cunnilingus when they want it, or about loving more than one person at once, and who don’t feel shame about their arousal. I’m terrified that teenage girls might take control of their sexuality and, in so doing, take that control of them and their bodies away from me." - Foz Meadows - Why YA sex scenes matter (via apfelgranate)
A common experience for those of us with lesser-understood sexual or gender identities is dealing with people who “play devil’s advocate” with us.
In order to “help” us understand ourselves better, these lovely folks barge in without doing any research and ask us probing questions—usually with a condescending attitude, encouraging us to just THINK about what they’ve said—and when it’s all over and we’re angry, disgusted, triggered, REALLY TIRED OF BULLSHIT, or desperately sad, we’re generally patted upon the head and scolded for our emotional reactions, then told this was an experiment designed to help us learn.
Here is a list of thoughts to keep in mind before you play devil’s advocate with someone else’s identity.
- Your discussion partner has more experience being them than you do. (Them: All the time. You: None of the time.)
- Your discussion partner has thought about their identity. You do not need to encourage them to do so.
- Your conversation partner does not owe you any proof of who they are before they “get to” call themselves whatever they’re calling themselves.
- Could you please ask yourself what you lose by being inclusive? And then ask yourself what your conversation partner loses if they talk to people who refuse to be inclusive? Okay then.
- If a discussion partner is clearly just coming to terms with their identity—especially if they are coming out to you—do not grab the reins of the conversation and begin laying down conditions for belief. You should let them control the conversation, because this is about them. They’re letting you in, not asking for your blessing or permission.
- Don’t suggest that your conversation partner has to have been “diagnosed” with their identity by a professional or needs to have answered your questions to your satisfaction before you will “believe them.” Their identity is not something they get to have only if they’ve proved it isn’t anything else.
- Your conversation partner is entertaining your questions and demands for information because they want to help YOU understand. Don’t treat it like it’s really the opposite.
- Your discussion partner has probably been mocked and attacked for this identity. It is clearly important to them if they feel it’s worthy of defending. Keep this in mind before you act like it is trivial.
- It often requires a great deal of courage and conviction and personal strength to engage you. You aren’t risking anything on this conversation. It’s probably hard for you to understand how and why this makes them feel vulnerable, but you should try (or at least be sympathetic).
- You aren’t in charge of what constitutes “proof.” You’re frequently expecting to see external “data” (like refusing to believe a trans* person is trans* if they haven’t had/don’t want surgery, or saying an asexual person isn’t asexual if they have sex). You’re wrong if you think you get to set the conditions for what “proves” someone else’s identity.
- Your job is to listen when someone tells you about themselves. If your first reaction is a knee-jerk disbelief, you should probably do some research before opening your mouth.
- When you argue with someone about their identity and excuse your ignorance with “Well that’s my opinion,” remember that what your conversation partner hears is “I have chosen to believe you are bullshit and that’s my right based on absolutely nothing. Why don’t you respect my opinion?” Well, why should we when you don’t respect us at all?
- Don’t laugh. I’m serious. And don’t make a dismissive joke.
- Don’t tell your conversation partner that this is a pointless discussion because there are bigger problems or “real” oppression that is in your opinion more violent or more problematic. If it’s really that unimportant to you, go pay attention to whatever you think deserves it, and leave us alone.
- Don’t create misleading analogies to explain someone else’s identity. An asexual person isn’t going to nod their head when you say “Oh I get it, you put all your passionate energy toward your creativity instead of sex!” (That’s no more accurate than saying a basketball enthusiast focuses all their physical energy on shooting hoops “instead of” SCUBA diving.) A gay trans guy isn’t going to agree with you when you say “Oh, I get it, you’re a guy but you’re attracted to guys. So you’re basically just a straight chick.” (That’s no more accurate than saying anyone who’s attracted to guys is female. Gender isn’t determined by sexual orientation whatsoever.)
- Don’t bring up how you think you would feel in your conversation partner’s shoes. We don’t care if you think you’d kill yourself if you were asexual. We don’t want to know how glad you are that you’re cis. This goes for “positive” interpretations too, like saying you’re jealous of asexual people because asexuality is a sign of being spiritually enlightened (hint: it isn’t), or that you wish your gender identity was queer because it must be so freeing to be exempt from gender-related expectations (hint: they’re not).
- Don’t compare your situation to your conversation partner’s situation and suggest that since you’re “really” the same, it’s unreasonable for them to use a different label. It’s unlikely you’ll be on the same page with someone if you say things like “I don’t want to sleep with people I don’t love either, and you don’t see me calling it ‘demisexual.’” Or “Sometimes I like girl things more than guy things on any given day too, but I never thought that makes me genderqueer.” If you don’t relate, that’s you. You don’t get to say your failure to identify with a label means other people shouldn’t, especially since your examples are almost always invalid comparisons.
- Don’t assert your right to use our reclaimed slurs. I won’t repeat them here, but yes, it does absolutely matter who’s saying it as to whether it’s an appropriate thing to say.
- If your conversation partner says they’re not comfortable discussing something, you should not announce that they therefore must be unable to defend their position and you must be right about it by default. Their identity is not a “position.”
- Don’t call your conversation partner’s identity “a decision.” They may have “decided” to come out, or may have made decisions on surgery, hormones, clothing choices, sexual behavior, or lifestyle choices, but their identity itself is not a choice and you should not conflate it with the related choices they may have made (e.g., “You had to DECIDE to transition, so of course being trans* is a choice!”).
- Don’t bring up your conversation partner’s identity in unrelated conversations in public discussions if they have not told you you can. And if you’ve already done this and been rebuked, don’t tell your conversation partner that they “should” be comfortable being “out” to everyone (or just that group). You don’t get to choose that and you have violated their trust. You aren’t the victim if you get criticized for doing this to someone.
- If you have engaged someone on an issue of identity and find yourself a little overwhelmed by the intensity of your conversation partner’s arguments, it’s dismissive and offensive to tell them to stop taking it so seriously or to calm down or to learn to take a joke. Do not accuse them of being hysterical, unreasonable, or in need of mental help. The proper response to outrageous behavior is outrage. Check yourself; you may have said something outrageous.
- If your conversation partner corrects you on something—preferred pronouns, definitions, historical facts—your job is to correct yourself and apologize if you’ve offended. Not to tell them they are silly for expecting you to know or expecting you to care.
- Don’t tell a person with a marginalized identity what experiences they “should” be willing to tolerate, up to and including this conversation with you. No, they aren’t obligated to become activists if they really care. No, asexual people shouldn’t be indifferent enough to “just try sex” if they expect other people to believe them about their feelings toward it. No, people who are not cis should not “just be mature” and accept that people can/should/will use the wrong pronouns or the wrong name. They are doing what they can to make a better world for themselves and people like them. They will not appreciate being told they should do it the way you would do it when you do not have the experience they’re telling you about.
- Don’t slavishly repeat concepts you take for granted and expect us to understand their truth as self-evident. We know you think “But there are no asexuals because everyone needs sex! BIOLOGY!” We know you think “But there’s only male and female—I’ve never heard of anyone in between, outside, or fluctuating around that gender binary! BIOLOGY!” If this is what you think and you really must ask how we address these concepts, you’ll end up with a much more satisfactory and civil answer if you don’t start your statement with “but.”
- Don’t tell your discussion partner that their identity is something they put on for the Internet. That’s vile.
- Furthermore, if your conversation is happening on the Internet, don’t suggest it matters less. Just because people—like you—might be jerks on the Internet doesn’t mean your conversation partner is overreacting when they get harassed there. (Especially since the harassment they get there probably mirrors what they get offline, if in fact they are public with their identity.)
- Don’t engage people of non-mainstream identities with baiting techniques like “You’ll regret that” or “When you grow up, you’ll change your mind.” You don’t look wise or mature by telling someone what they will feel in the future. You look like a bigot.
- Stop insisting that “science” makes you right. We know that “asexual” applies to the reproduction of some non-human creatures, but we are saying our orientation is asexual, not our bodies or our reproduction. We know that chromosomes control a creature’s sex, but shouting “XX is female, XY is male, end of story” is a gross oversimplification of sex, and it doesn’t address gender. Trump cards of science don’t “win.” They make you look like an ass.
- Similarly, stop insisting that language books make you right. We know that “hir” and “ze” aren’t currently in the dictionary. Is that really your reason for refusing to use them even though someone has told you this is the way ze wants to be respected? I don’t suppose you care about rendering language according to “establishment” standards in most of the rest of your daily life. (I’m an editor. If you use this as your excuse for not using someone’s preferred pronouns and cite the Sanctity of Language, I will edit the shit out of you.)
- Reference books that you may be using to erase and shame people are also written by people, many of whom may be ignorant about these issues. These textbooks and whatnot are not laws of the universe. They are collected knowledge by imperfect beings. If your conversation partner says you should get a second opinion, recognize that reference books (yes, even the dictionary) can be biased, and do it.
- If your conversation partner tells you to do research—yes, even if this is suggested snidely or otherwise unkindly—you have probably said or asked something that is so commonly known among people who are trying to learn about this identity that it is firmly documented. Accept this and look for the information. This is not the time to demand links (or to tell them that you DID research and actually the YouTube video you watched supports your “opinion,” not theirs). Asking is okay if this is a civil conversation. Whining that you can’t learn if they don’t educate you is not.
- Do not request extremely personal information from a stranger unless they have invited you to do so. If you must know about the masturbation habits of asexual people or how trans* people go about gender-appropriate name changes, ask in the general and do not suggest that your conversation partner’s unwillingness to disclose personal information indicates failure to think their identity through or lack of commitment to awareness efforts.
- And because I’ve seen this so often, I should say specifically that YOU SHOULD NOT THROW QUESTIONS OR ACCUSATIONS REGARDING ABUSE AT PEOPLE when trying to find out how and whether abuse experiences affected that person’s identity. Abuse discussion should be initiated by the victim in the context of their choice. Not brought up by you (especially if you’re a stranger), as you look for trauma to blame so you won’t be forced to acknowledge the legitimacy of someone’s misunderstood orientation.
- Your conversation partner does not care if you know a formerly asexual-identifying person who “got over it.” Your conversation partner does not care if you know a trans guy who thinks all trans guys are very masculine or they’re really not trans guys. You don’t “win” if you have an anecdotal counterexample. Especially since you’re giving us YOUR interpretation of what your supposed acquaintance has said.
- If you turn your nose up at “social justice” or “political correctness” as a way to make yourself seem brave and free-thinking, you’re being an asshole, not being respectably rebellious. “I don’t adhere to that PC stuff” is another way of saying you want to be allowed to deny others respect without any consequences, which is an expression of support to the status quo, not a reversal of it. You want to fight and argue for the right to say hurtful, erasing, and marginalizing things to people who have already been hurt repeatedly by those attitudes? Great job.
- When you declare yourself the orchestrator of a “social experiment” or a devil’s advocacy game, you are communicating that this conversation was nothing but an exercise for you, implying that you’re ultimately HELPING your victim by encouraging them to defend their position. News flash: we get these questions consistently from people who are not playing at all. We do not need your help to learn to educate others. We do not need pretend douchebags. You are not a pretend douchebag if you do this. You are a real one.
too true. it’s almost a given that the person will derail the convo over being CALLED -ist rather than caring that what they did/said is =ist.
As a Privileged Person®, it is natural that you would feel excluded and frustrated by the recent spate of Marginalised People “reclaiming” historically negative words to refer to themselves.
Not only do these Marginalised People™ kick up a great big ole stink by making it “politically incorrect” for Privileged People® to use these words - even going so far as to have some of them defined under ‘hate crime’ legislation! - they take the insult one step further and use them freely amongst themselves!
This is very perplexing and annoying for Privileged People®, who can only stand on the outside, gazing wistfully in, wishing it were a simpler time when it was totally okay for everyone to call women whores, Mexicans spics, Trans* folk trannies, gay men faggots and people of African descent the n-word.
After all, who do those Marginalised People™ think they are, taking ownership of language traditionally used to oppress them! That just isn’t playing fair!
But take heart, because there is a way you can worm around this one - where there’s Privilege®, there’s always a way!
First of all, you must feign utter cluelessness about the ins & outs of reclaimation and behave as though you were under the impression that in these ‘post race/sex/sexuality/gender/etc times’ that we had all evolved into a new era where ‘words don’t mean anything’ and it’s totally okay for everyone to use offensive slurs and then… well: use them.
When a Marginalised Person™ calls you out on it, become indignant. Express confusion. Demand an explanation. Say that you just don’t understand - if you people use those words to refer to each other, why can’t I?!
You see, you’re implying that they’re being hypocritical. That if they are going to use abusive & oppressionist language amongst each other, they simply have to accept that they’re employing a ‘double standard’ by preventing the Privileged® from using them.
What this enables you to ignore is the reality of the power dynamic involved. Language reclaimation is a means by which Marginalised People™ gain back some power they are traditionally denied by taking control of words used to demean and discriminate against them. When these words come from Privileged People®, there is a long and very serious negative history behind them that cannot be divorced from the words themselves. Thus, when Privileged People® employ these words, they are perpetuating that history and the psychology behind the word. They are exercising oppressive power that have become inherent to those words - a power Marginalised People™ seek to subvert and dismantle when they use them.
Pretend not to understand this. Just continue to imply hypocrisy and pout that it isn’t fair.
It also ignores the fact that, from within Marginalised Groups™, discourses around abusive language are actually not simple and there are many divided and varied opinions on the subject. Treating Marginalised People™ like a hive mind is always a great way to further subtly insult them and since the point of this entire debacle is to come out with as many notches on your belt as possible, you want to make sure you slip in as many knocks below their belt as you can manage." - ‘But If It’s Okay For Marginalised People To Use Those Words, Why Can’t I?’ - http://www.derailingfordummies.com (via mooglets)
In case you needed another reason to support wage equality other than, you know, being a decent human being.
lost in the election season banter over women’s issues is the fact that pay equity, if taken seriously, could stimulate the economy to at least twice the degree that President Barack Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill did.
TWICE AS MUCH. IF EMPLOYERS JUST STOP DICKING WOMEN (ESP. WOMEN OF COLOUR) AROUND.
These signs were posted outside the ballroom where the Non-Sexist Dance was being held on my campus; they’re posted in the line and at the entrance of this dance every quarter. This dance is put on by the LGBT Center, and actually is the most popular event of the school year outside of Sun God. Clearly these signs are a good reminder, as I’ve only been approached disrespectfully once in the past three years, and I have never seen any open discomfort, disrespect, or violence, even in the temporarily gender-neutral restrooms.
In addition, this quarter’s was a Halloween-themed dance, and it was made very clear that anyone who chose to wear a racist costume would not be let in to the dance; accordingly, I did not see any costumes in the range of questionably kosher to blatantly racist. Normally I am a cynical person and have very little in the way of positive things to say about our student body, but the Non-Sexist Dance makes me a pretty happy and hopeful queermosexual.
Rebloggable by request.
op could you please explain how a non-binary person ‘should’ present to reflect their identity? like are they supposed to wear completely agendered clothes or what
also could you please explain how ‘if you’re nonbinary you should dress nonbinary’ is different from ‘men shouldn’t wear dresses and women shouldn’t wear suits’
t i a
like this is the ‘transtrender’ argument over again and obv as a cis binary dude i can’t really give a minority opinion on this but it strongly reminds me of ‘no you have to fulfill THESE roles or you’re not who you say you are’
hahaha yeah please explain because it’s exactly yhis kind of attitude that invalidates my gender identity just because of the way that I dress & it’s something I’m extremely anxious about daily and causes me a lof of grief b/c I’m terrified that people like you won’t “believe” I’m non-binary lmfao
just because your best friend or partner or whoever is close to you is non-binary, it doesn’t automatically make you more informed. like how exactly am i supposed to “present” as non-binary when everything like it or not has a gender attached to it? do i wear a white sheet?
This ask started off okay and then went soaring straight off into problematic shittyville population: you so quickly that the noise from it shattering the sound barrier was akin to god farting
File Under: This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things Pt. 62, Allies Being Policing Assholes Instead of Allies
Roominate – a new line of dollhouses for girls aims to spark interest in science, technology, and STEM rather than reinforcing the gender stereotypes of traditional toys. The startup comes from three female engineers.
so so so so so cool.
can i have one?
Legos are still the best. But these would have also been awesome toys to have. I hope they or something like them is still around if and when I decide to have children.
I know this probably won’t be a surprise to most of you, but it’s always handy to have concrete evidence of biases in our culture.
That’s the conclusion of a new study in PNAS by Corinne Moss-Racusin and collaborators at Yale. (Hat tip Dan Vergano.) To test scientist’s reactions to men and women with precisely equal qualifications, the researchers did a randomized double-blind study in which academic scientists were given application materials from a student applying for a lab manager position. The substance of the applications were all identical, but sometimes a male name was attached, and sometimes a female name.
Results: female applicants were rated lower than men on the measured scales of competence, hireability, and mentoring (whether the scientist would be willing to mentor this student). Both male and female scientists rated the female applicants lower.