Tag Archives: gender

Trump’s Transgender Ban

Once again, Donald Trump is trying to ban transgender people from serving in the military. Trump has recently signed a memo that would ban transgender people who have undergone, or are requesting, a gender transition. His previous ban was blocked by federal judges, but Trump is making another attempt, though this one is trying to limit only certain transgender people in an attempt to make it pass. The new ban also allows transgender people to be banned if they have experienced gender dysphoria. Essentially, the new ban would ban virtually all transgender people, or at least a vast majority.

Needless to say, this is vastly unfair and blatantly transphobic. The gender of an individual has no impact on their ability to serve in the military. Frankly, whether or not a person is transgender should be inconsequential to their ability and potential. There is no legitimate reason that transgender people cannot serve in the military; this ban is nothing more than a hateful and pandering gesture on Trump’s part. What good does it do to ban people from serving their country? Why deny them their own agency?

Trump and his ban disrespect transgender people’s very existence because the ban suggests that their presence somehow has a negative impact on people. It does not consider what they do and how they act, just that they are transgender, and that is somehow wrong, according to Trump and his ban. Trump seems to believe that transgender individuals will cause a distraction among the military because of their gender dysphoria and they will not be able to “stand ready.” This coming from the man who is, frankly, a walking disaster and a constant distraction from the real issues with his many scandals and numerous Twitter rants.

 

Photo from Splinter News

What is gender?

Gender is more than what’s in you pants.
Graphic from learn.uvm.edu

Gender, by definition, is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between and from masculinity and femininity. Nowhere in that definition does it say anything about the type of genitalia you have. Gender is a social construct forced on to people by society attempting to make everyone fit into one of two categories, masculine or feminine. Unfortunately, American society has decided that to be masculine means to be a boy and to be feminine means to be a girl. However, that’s not what it means all over the world. It some countries, the women are seen as more masculine, building homes and finding food, the bread winners if you will, while the men take care of the children and stay at home, taking the feminine traits for themselves.

Gender is the idea of certain characteristics belonging to a specific genitalia. Feminine with vaginas and masculine with penises. Who decided that? I understand that there is biology involved with men being taller, having a higher center of gravity, and having less body fat making it easier to gain muscle mass. However, women can be strong too. Most of the ideas surrounding what it means to be a man and what it means to be a women are created by what society wants and expects from us.

Society has told us that men can’t cry, can’t be scared, can’t be vulnerable because those emotions are deems weak, feminine, meant for women and women only. They say that men can be angry and scary even, but it doesn’t matter because they’re showing how strong and tough they are. They’re allowed to be scary because it’s what is expected of them. Women, however, are expected to be soft-spoken, weak, submissive, kind, and every other word you could think of that could also describe a daffodil. Women aren’t allowed to be angry, to be tough, to be strong because if we are, we’re called bitches or rude. We’re told we don’t smile enough, that we’re too rough and need to lighten up. Men would never be told to lighten up.

Gender is an idea, a box, that society wants to put us into so all the jobs that are required to keep a society going are dealt with. Women take care of the children, cook, clean, while men work with other men, bringing home the money and continuing the manly man’s world. What would happen if we stopped? Stopped being what is expected and turned society on it’s head? Do you think society would end? Or would it become something worth fighting for?

Rates of depression and anxiety normal in supported transgender children

According to a new study published on February 26 in Pediatrics, transgender children who are given the opportunity to socially transition, to change their hair, clothing, and use their preferred pronouns as well as preferred names, had the same rate of depression and anxiety as two control groups of cisgender children.

Image from healthywomen.org
A mother who fully supports her transgender child. Image from healthywomen.org

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These discoveries question the “long-held assumptions” that mental health issues in transgender youth are unavoidable, and some go as far as considering being transgender as a type of mental disorder.

The researcher, UW assistant professor of psychology and lead author Kristina Olson, noticed that in her experiment, 73 children, ages 3 to 12, had levels of depression and anxiety no higher than two control groups, which consisted of the transgender children’s siblings and other cisgender children of the same age. “Their rates of depression and anxiety were significantly lower than those of gender-nonconforming children in previous studies,” says Olson.

The research not only involved the children, but also the parents, having them fill out two short surveys asking the frequency of their children experiencing depression or anxiety in the last week.

The research said that the levels of depression regarding transgender children was an average of 50.1, essentially the same as the national norm, while their anxiety rates were 54.2, only a bit higher than the national average.

Researchers understand that “positive mental health among study participants might be explained by factors other than parental support.”

They know that the possibility of a parent making their child seem happier than they are is great, but they plan on creating future studies to investigate those possibilities.

This study was a part of the TransYouth project that Olsen founded. It’s the first large study of transgender youth in the U.S. It contains more than 150 transgender children and families from about 25 states, and Olson is still recruiting more participants.

Pay inequality between men and women in Hollywood

jennifer lawrence
“In her usual witty way Lawrence pointed out the glaring inequality, so frequently overlooked in Hollywood, garnering a huge response from the public.”

In 2015, we would all like to think that issues such as gender inequality don’t exist anymore. Unfortunately, this shielded belief is very far from the truth. Oscar winning actress, Jennifer Lawrence recently released an essay (published in actress and writer Lena Dunham’s newsletter) about finding out that she was paid less than her male costars for the movie American Hustle due to the infamous Sony hack that occurred at the end of last year.

“In her usual witty way Lawrence pointed out the glaring inequality, so frequently overlooked in Hollywood, garnering a huge response from the public.”

Lawrence wrote, “When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony, I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need.”

In her usual witty way Lawrence pointed out the glaring inequality, so frequently overlooked in Hollywood, garnering a huge response from the public. The response was so big that her American Hustle male costars, such as Bradley Cooper, are now speaking on her behalf. Cooper went on the record, commending Lawrence for standing up for herself and other professional women facing the same injustices.

On average, women only make 79% of what their male counterparts make. The pay gap gets even wider where colored women are concerned.

These frightening statistics need to change and it’s brave celebrities like Jennifer Lawrence, who’re willing to voice the uncomfortable truth, that will make that change happen.

Relatable as ever, Lawrence admits that not everyone will be sympathetic to her specific situation. After all, despite the pay inequality she has faced, Lawrence remains one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood, worth an estimated $60 million.

It seems as though Lawrence’s angry letter has fueled her negotiating skills as she will be paid a whopping $20 million for her upcoming film, Passengers. That’s $8 million more than what her male costar, Chris Pratt, will be receiving.

As more and more prominent Hollywood women speak up on behalf of women’s rights and sexism in the entertainment industry, hopefully we’ll soon begin to see a shift in how women are treated.

 

Breaking the stereotype

We live in a society where being different is frowned upon. Expressing who you truly want to be is unacceptable and can make you an outcast within friends, family, and professional environments.

People can be judged on every small detail starting from how you carry yourself to how you dress. Clothing companies strive on stereotypes created by a society built on fitting into a certain category, making it that much harder to tear down the walls and expand out of what is expected of us.

Don’t you wish we could define ourselves however we want to? Can you imagine a world where we are allowed to wear whatever we wanted to without being judged or ridiculed for not dressing how the world wants us to? The first place we need to start is retail stores.

boy and girl
“There are “girl” sections and “boy” sections that are separated in halves. If you are a girl, you shop in the “girl” section and vice versa. If you even think about heading to the other side of the store, eyes follow your every move, confusion and judgment covering their faces.”

Clothing stores are the definition of stereotypes. There are “girl” sections and “boy” sections that are separated in halves. If you are a girl, you shop in the “girl” section and vice versa. If you even think about heading to the other side of the store, eyes follow your every move, confusion and judgment covering their faces. It’s not their fault, really. Society has constructed those people into thinking that gender comes in only black or white, boy or girl, masculine or feminine, but that simply isn’t true.

People should be defined as just that, people. Some identify as a boy or as a girl, but some people don’t. It isn’t fair to expect someone to fit into a specific definition when it’s way more complicated than that.

I’m a girl who likes to wear “girly” clothing but I also love to wear “boy” clothing. When I head over to the “boy” section of a store, I want to feel comfortable and like I belong there, not as if I am confused or out of place. Clothing companies owe it to us to give us the opportunity to be our authentic selves, not to be forced to be the person we think we should be.

Designers need to catch up to the 21st century and start designing clothes that are gender neutral. I’ve been dying to see clothes that have always been made for boys being made for girls. Start creating masculine clothing that fits my small frame. One of the most frustrating experiences is finding a shirt or a pair of pants in the “boy’s” section that I love but having it be way too big for me.

If designers starting making “boy’s” clothes fit girls, it would allow for the inclusion of all genders as well as let everyone wear the clothes they want to and to feel comfortable in those clothes.

Of course, I know that beginning to make clothes gender neutral doesn’t create the end all of gender stereotypes nor the feeling of not fitting in; however, I believe we have to start somewhere and allowing for those who don’t fit into society’s ideal of gender were to be able to express themselves appropriately through clothes, it would be a good start.

I f–king love SCI2

Elise Andrew is the curator of the IFLS (I Fucking Love Science) Facebook page and website where a large portion of inspiration for the lovely content you find right here comes from. Later this year she will be teaming up with the Science Channel to bring you the best science videos the internet has to offer.

The collection will feature on TV through the SCI2 channel and concentrate on popular science. And, according to Andrew, she’s excited to have the opportunity to weed through a lot of junk science to provide a thoroughly proven assortment of real science. She hopes to get the name out for other bloggers and Internet do-gooders who simply really fucking love science and want to share what they know with the world.

Yeah, science! Graphic from Geeks of Doom
Yeah, science! Graphic from Geeks of Doom

Andrew’s Facebook fame is a story or surprising success, even to her. She began to compile interesting facts, images, and videos and post them on a page for her own amusement and claims she never expected it to go farther than a few dozen of her friends. However, within the first 24 hours of creating the page, Andrew had over 1,000 likes and within six months reached over 1 million. As of Oct. 26, the page has 18,689,377 likes.

Significantly less popular, but hosting similar content, is Andrew’s clean (language-wise) Facebook page Science is Awesome. While it has just as good quality content, perhaps you might recommend this to kids and stick with the original for your adult friends.

The Internet can be a fickle friend, however, as was made clear in March 2013 when Andrews created a Twitter account for the IFLS page with her face as the avatar. Fans seemed shocked to find out that Andrew’s was a woman, despite sharing that information on several occasions. The reactions were rather sexist, Andrew claims, and she was baffled by the sheer stupidity — er, lack of observation — from her supposedly science loving followers.

Andrew’s and the Science Channel’s team up isn’t the first of its kind, nor is it the first for Andrew. She has also curated videos for Discovery Communications in Aug. 2013 for their streaming site. To get caught up on this previous collection, find them and much more on IFLS’s Youtube channel.

How is a man supposed to be feminist?

To men, feminism can sometimes be a scary word. It sometimes brings up the imagery of bra-burning, man-hating, all-around terrifying display of female dominance. In a male society where being girly is social suicide, it can be hard for a man to actually consider himself a feminist, but it happens.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Aziz Ansari, and John Legend have all recently come out as feminists despite being men. While this isn’t evidence of a trend that men are starting to understand the importance of feminism, it has sparked a lot of discussion about the need for men in the feminism movement.

In a recent article posted in mic.com , and shared via Huffington Post, writer Derrick Clifton lists 11 simple rules to follow if you want to be a male feminist. By the end of the article, any male would come out of it thinking the entire purpose of that article was to tell men to shut up and keep quiet while the women are talking. It says that men don’t decide if they are “allies” to the feminist movement, women do.

I am an ally of the feminist movement. I don’t do it to get “ally cookies” as the article suggests, and I don’t do it so women will like me. I consider myself a feminist because treating women as equals is the human thing to do. No one, male or female, gets to tell a person they have to be accepted into this role of supporting equality for women. Similarly, if you’re greatly outnumbered in war and you have allies that want to help you, you don’t tell them that they have to be accepted first. That’s a good way to lose the feminism battle.

Feminism isn’t the same as man-hating, but it seems like the loudest feminist voices in media are out to shame all men because of the sexist pigs among us. It isn’t fair to the people who genuinely want to help. True, I’ll never know what it’s like to go through a pregnancy, a period, or a paycheck that’s less than a male of the same job, but that doesn’t mean I can’t add my voice to the feminist cause. It’s time to do away with the concept of male privilege and start working together to make real progress on gender equality.

It would be nice to think that women can win equality without the help of men. It would also be unrealistic, seeing as men equal about half of the population. Feminism wouldn’t survive without the help of men telling other men why sexism is wrong. It’s an unfortunate truth that some men will only listen to men, but it’s the truth nonetheless. It doesn’t make men inherently bad because of it, but it’s a system that will take time to break down.

Unfortunately, as long as feminism has the reputation of man-hating and shaming, it won’t get far. No minds can ever be changed when the entire demographic of ‘oppressors’ is antagonized the way they’ve been. Men have a real stake in feminism, and shutting up and listening isn’t the right way to make progress happen.

WWCHNT: emotional double standards

I was recently watching a clip from Jon Stewart’s “The Daily Show” where Hillary Clinton had been criticized for getting “misty-eyed” at a campaign event. Many Fox News reporters–male and female alike–jumped at the opportunity to question her credibility. This isn’t the first time Hillary — or any female politician for that matter– has been criticized for being “overly-emotional.” But how often to male politicians receive the same criticism? Continue reading WWCHNT: emotional double standards