If you are part of a privileged group and have to constantly demand that somebody in an oppressed group say “not all (insert privileged group here) are like that”
what you are really demanding is that they reassure you that you’re not like that and you’re not being held accountable
which is a cowardly thing to do and also shows the great lengths you will go to in order to avoid examining your role in a toxic system
Truth bomb if I ever saw one.
Going beyond the Western gender binary - unlearning our backward cultural conditioning
In Western colonial society (which dominates many aspects of the globalized, capitalist world today) we operate under the presumption that there are only two genders, male and female. But gender is a social construction. One’s options for what gender they identify with are shaped by the culture they are born into. Biological factors are most-often the primary driving forces that choose among the available socially-constructed gender categories.
Cultures around the world have different ways of talking about, thinking about, and identifying gender. It’s often a challenge for (particularly cis-sexual) Westerns to think about other ways gender can be socially constructed. Westerns have the false equivalency of gender and sex drilled into their eternal psyche from the time they are very young, and re-enforced through examples in popular culture. There is no biological reality to gender. Many Westerners have the bizarre belief that one’s XY-sex-determination should also inform one’s gender identity, a socially constructed role in society.
In some cultures, there is no distinction made between gender and sexual orientation and the same can be said for sexual orientation - our culture socially-constructs the options and our biology helps us identify which socially-constructed option feels most ‘right’ and best resonates with us.
I’ve attached some photos to offer some examples of non-colonial, non-Western construction of gender. They’ve all been uploaded onto our Facebook page photostream in case you’d like to ‘like’ or ‘share’ them there. There are literally hundreds of ‘third-gender’ identifying peoples around the world. The eight I’ve chosen are mostly examples I remember from some of my anthropology courses but if you google ‘third genders’ you can find many lists and examples.
Who cares? Why it matters.
The most obvious reason to care about the way our culture has constructed gender and sexual orientation is to deepen one’s capacity for solidarity with people who identify as transgender, transsexual, and others whose gender or sexual identity exists outside of binary Western culture.
But there are other reasons as well. Western culture’s binary nature often creates non-sensical, problematic binary identity constructions that are inherently problematic. For example, I believe that Western masculinity (dominance, aggression, lack of communication, lack of emotional expression, etc) is inherently problematic. I believe that to be the reason why most acts of large-scale-violence and terror are committed by men (see: 100% of the mass school shootings in the United States), and I believe it fosters a degree of internal misery within people who heavily adopt these particular ‘masculine’ traits.
In the age of information, and the age of global connectivity, there is no longer any reason (particularly for young people) to feel isolated or restricted to Western definitions of gender, sexual orientation and identity in general. I think the social ramifications of a generation where more and more people begin to identify outside of the gender binary would be tremendous, and I think we should all consider how we can unlearn our cultural conditioning to embrace other, perhaps less exploitative and dominating identities.
Background information on the identities depicted in the above images:
Hijras are male-body-born, feminine-gender-identifying people who live in South Asia (mostly in India & Nepal). Many Hijras live in well-defined, organized, all-Hijra communities, led by a guru.
Although many Hijras identify as Muslim, many practice a form of syncretism that draws on multiple religions; seeing themselves to be neither men nor women, Hijras practice rituals for both men and women.
Hijras belong to a special caste. They are usually devotees of the mother goddess Bahuchara Mata, Lord Shiva, or both.
Nandi female husbands
Among the Nandi in Western Kenya, one social identity option for women is to become a female husband, and thus a man in society’s eyes. Female husbands are expected to become men and take on all of the social and cultural responsibilities of a man, including finding a wife to marry and passing on property to the next generation through marriage. Female husbands may have lived their lives as women and may even be married to a man, but once she becomes a female-husband, she is expected to be a man. Women married to female-husbands may have sex with single men uninterested in commitment in order to become pregnant, but the female-husband (who is often an older woman, often a widow) will father the child of said pregnancy and treat the child like her own.
Two-Spirit is an umbrella term sometimes used for what was once commonly known as ‘berdaches’, Indigenous North Americans who fulfill one of many mixed gender roles found traditionally among many Native Americans and Canadian First Nations communities. The term usually indicates a person whose body simultaneously manifests both a masculine and a feminine spirit. Male and female two-spirits have been “documented in over 130 tribes, in every region of North America.”
In South America (with a large presence in Brazil), a travesti is a person who was assigned male at birth who has a feminine gender identity and is primarily sexually attracted to masculine men. Therefore, sometimes the distinction between gender identity and sexual orientation is not made. Travestis have been described as a third gender, but not all see themselves this way.Travestis often will begin taking female hormones and injecting silicone to enlargen their backsides as boys and continue the process into womanhood.
The work of cultural Anthropologist Don Kulick (a gay male by Western definitions) in Brazil demonstrated that gender construction in Brazil is binary (like Western gender construction), but unlike Western gender construction, instead of having a male-female binary, there is a male-notmale.
In this particular construction of gender:
- Males include: men who have sex with women, men who have sex with Travestis but are never on the receiving end of anal sex, men who have sex with men but are never on the receiving end of anal sex.
- Not-males include: women, men who receive anal sex from ‘male’ gay men or from Travestis.
Fa’afafine are the gender liminal, or third-gendered people of Samoa. A recognized and integral part of traditional Samoan culture, fa’afafine, born biologically male, embody both male and female gender traits. Their gendered behavior typically ranges from extravagantly feminine to mundanely masculine
Waria is a traditional third general role found in modern Indonesia. Additionally, the Bugis culture of Sulawesi (one of the four larger Sunda Islands of Indonesia) has been described as having three sexes (male, female and intersex) as well as five genders with distinct social roles.
Six Genders of old Israel
In the old Kingdom of Israel (1020–931 BCE) there were six officially recognized genders:
- Zachar: male
- Nekeveh: female
- Androgynos: both male and female
- Tumtum: gender neutral/without definite gender
- Aylonit: female-to-male transgender people
- Saris: male-to-female transgender people (often inaccurately translated as “eunuch”)
Kathoey (often called ‘ladyboys’)
Australian scholar of sexual politics in Thailand Peter Jackson’s work indicates that the term “kathoey” was used in pre-modern times to refer to intersexual people, and that the usage changed in the middle of the twentieth century to cover cross-dressing males, to create what is now a gender identity unique to Thailand. Thailand also has three identities related to female-bodied people: Tom, Dee, and heterosexual woman.
Excellent overview of non-binary gender categories. Sadly, Western imperialism has all but extirpated many traditional concepts of non-dualistic sex and gender categories through residential schools and religious indoctrination. -Q
Radical feminists want to destroy the diversity of gender in PoC cultures and communities. This is what they want to kill when they say they want to abolish gender. They are nothing more than white supremacists.
It’s kind of gross when a bunch of people who aren’t from these cultures are using it as “proof” of the Western binary not existing. I’m not saying it does, but I’m saying I hope you actually understand what you’re talking about before getting your nasty ethnocentric hands all over these cultures.
On Wednesday, February 27, at noon, author Eric L. Muller will discuss his book “Colors of Confinement.”
This program will also be streamed live over the National Archives UStream channel.
In 1942, Bill Manbo and his family were forced from their Hollywood home into an internment camp at Heart Mountain, Wyoming. Using Kodachrome film, Manbo captured community celebrations and recorded his family’s struggle to maintain a normal life. Eric L. Muller uses these photos to describe Japanese American life in the camps.
The program will be held in the McGowan Theater at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC. The program is FREE. A book signing will follow the program.
I missed the livestream, but this book sounds really fascinating.
“Watterson depicts the world from Calvin’s perspective, and manages to illustrate both how odd this perspective appears to others around him (his parents, teachers, peers, even Hobbes) as well as the tenacity with which Calvin clings to his unique view of the world despite the fact that it often fails to accord with reality and ritualistically comes into conflict with his social obligations as a child (school, chores, social etiquette, and norms of deference and respect, etc.) and the diverse roles he plays as a social actor (both real and imaginary). “
…so…. someone wrote [basically] an essay on Calvin and Hobbes and why it is important.
Every part of me is delighted beyond measure and you should read it too!!
”Usually, white students respond with naive amazement that black people critically assess white people from a standpoint where ‘whiteness’ is the privileged signifier. Their amazement that black people watch white people with a critical ‘ethnographic’ gaze, is itself an expression of racism.
Often their rage erupts because they believe that all ways of looking that highlight difference subvert the liberal belief in a universal subjectivity (we are all just people) that they think will make racism disappear.
They have a deep emotional investment in the myth of ‘sameness,’ even as their actions reflect the primacy of whiteness as a sign informing who they are and how they think.”
— bell hooks
Black Looks: Race and Representation (1992), p. 167
This is an amazingly powerful, clear and well-researched article that exposes how the “pro-life” movement is anything but.
Negative experience = because of your fat
Positive experience = in spite of your fat
Also: this is a fab post, but don’t read the comments. I cried.
I haven’t seen this video yet, but MY GOD THAT MUSTACHE!
Glamour Magazine Body Size Stereotypes Survey:
What the Glamour Magazine poll shows about the assumptions women hold
Heavy women are pegged as…
“lazy” 11 times as often as thin women; “sloppy” nine times; “undisciplined” seven times; “slow” six times as often.
While thin women are seen as…
“conceited” or “superficial” about eight times as often as heavy women; “vain” or “self-centered” four times as often; and “bitchy,” “mean,” or “controlling” more than twice as often.
Even the “good” labels are unfair.
An overweight woman may be five times as likely to be perceived as “giving” as a skinny one. “But it just fits into the stereotype that thin women are not that way,” explains Ann Kearney-Cooke, Ph.D. “It’s still putting women in a box based on their body size.”
This is so interesting… and really sad. The fact that heavy women ALSO judge heavy women and thin women judge other thin women is so disheartening.
Hopefully places like Stop Hating Your Body can help change this even a little bit at a time…
(click on the image for the entire article, it is worth the read!)
It’s very interesting that the article is about stereotypes, and yet both the women shown here, while their body sizes are different, are both white, blonde, and what the media would like to push as being ideally ‘beautiful’.
Yes, I understand that the two bodies should be otherwise similar to drive home the point that the size of the body is the only thing affecting the opinion. But still, why choose a white, blonde, ‘beautiful’ person to begin with?
That being said, however, the article does make a good point. People are far too eager to place people in a box strictly on what the shape of their body, and it’s not okay. The only way to change is to question what you’re made to think, and why.
Not strictly science but still, for a poll done by a beauty mag it’s happiness.
Seven. What is a living wage in the US?
Dr. Amy Glasmeier of Penn State University has created a Living Wage Calculator that estimates the hourly wage needed to pay the cost of living for low wage families in the US. It breaks down the cost of living by state and locality across the nation. In New Orleans, a mom with one child needs to earn $17.52 to make ends meet. In New York, the mom with one child should earn $19.66 to make it. If we now realistically calculate the number of people who work and do not earn a living wage, the numbers of working poor in the US skyrocket to several tens of millions.
Sometimes I like humanity. Then other times I don’t.
SumOfUs is a global movement of consumers, investors, and workers all around the world, standing together to hold corporations accountable for their actions and forge a new, sustainable and just path for our global economy.
The current Sum Of Us issue is Apple’s use of sweatshops, and they’re hoping to raise signatures for a petition. It’s well worth it.