First, there is no naturalized gendered body. All of our bodies are modified with regard to gender, whether we seek out surgery or take hormones or not. All of us engage in or have engaged in processes of gender body modification (diets, shaving, exercise regimes, clothing choices, vitamins, birth control. etc) that alter our bodies,Great quote from Dean Spade’s essay “Dress to Kill, Fight to Win” from a few years ago. When checking to source, I stumbled on this good discussion of the article by Mimi Thi Nguyen at Racialicious.
just as we’ve all been subjected to gender related processes that altered our bodies (being fed differently because of our gender, being given or denied proper medical care because of our gender, using dangerous products that are on the market only because of their relationship to gender norms, etc). The isolating of only some of these processes for critique, while ignoring others, is a classic exercise in domination. To see trans body alteration as participating and furthering binary gender, to put trans people’s gender practices under a microscope while maintaining blindness to more familiar and traditional, but no less active and important gender practices of non-trans people, is exactly what the transphobic medical establishment has always done.
As Bookseller Elizabeth Bluemle points out in "True or False? Multicultural Books Don’t Sell: We Are the Problem, We Are the Solution":
“Time and time again, at the bookstore and at children’s book festivals, I have observed white children picking up books with kids of color on the cover, and heard adults express surprise at the choice. “Are you sure you want that one?” they’ll ask. Or, “Wouldn’t you like this book instead?” It’s not the kids who are the problem. Kids really, really, really only care about a great story. In twenty years of connecting children with books they love, I have only seen one child—ONE!—balk at a book cover because the main character was a different race from her own. It’s the adults who underestimate a child’s ability or desire to see beyond race.”
None of this is to say that Miley Cyrus deserves a pass, especially in light of her co-staring role in Appropriation-polooza the VMAs. There is much to be said about how she, Macklemore, Robin Thicke, and Justin Timberlake all seem to be celebrated for their connection to and performance of cultural productions tied to blackness. Yet, unlike their black counterparts inside and outside the music industry, they are not castigated for dysfunctional culture, or scapegoated for white social ills. There is much to be critical of regarding Miley’s performance and the role of MTV here (putting her face in the booty of the African American female dancer; her history with twerking; and her recent interviews saying she loves “hood” music). This isn’t just about appropriation or even the performance of black culture that is rooted in the white imagination. Rather it is about double standards. It is the celebration of white artists amid a culture that denigrates African Americans who partake in these cultural productions. It is about a culture that profits and privileges Miley and Thicke, but cites sagging pants or sexual dancing as evident of dysfunction and pathology. To talk about “appropriation” and the centrality of privilege and anti-black racism requires also talking about whiteness
Dave Leonard and JLove Calderon: From Miley to Macklemore: The Privilege Spectrum
I can highly recommend the entire article.
Janet Mock used more accurate language to describe the royal baby:
The #RoyalBaby has been assigned and designated male at birth.— Janet Mock (@janetmock) July 22, 2013
For interested people who can read German, Nicole at kleinerdrei wrote about the question "Was wird es denn?" (“What [gender] is it going to be?), why the question is terribly annoying and simply not easily answerable.
This is a interesting text by Lisa Bloom on how to talk to little girls - without reinforcing the belief/stereotype/pressure that their looks are the most important thing about a girl. The basic idea is to engage girls of all ages in a conversation about things they like - books, for example - besides being pretty. I think encouraging that the girls think that they are pretty themselves is also good, but I like the idea of it not making the first, central point of your interaction with the child.
(Via genderblog on facebook)
How inner city gun violence is a gendered issue
I’m obviously not the only person who understands gun violence to be an issue about families and gender. I had to check Mitt Romney a few months ago about his comments about unwed mothers contributing to gun violence. I disagreed with him for a lot of reasons, the main one being that most of the perpetrators of gun violence are not single mothers, or mothers at all. Shooters are usually men. We make violence sexy to men. We package and sell violence, and guns, to men. And we do this on an even larger scale to young men; and on a disproportionately larger scale to men of color. Violence is a part of how we gender our society.
Not only does this packaging of violence give us the sexy, hyper-masculine men of our Western dreams, it also helps us disproportionately target, criminalize, police, and continue to dominate communities of color. This is where we see a difference between numbers and exceptions. When we think about the death of the 15-year-old girl who performed at the inauguration, we think of someone who didn’t belong on the receiving or giving end of a bullet. But who does? I think about that 15-year-old girl and then I think about Number 500, the Westside man who was shot and became the 500th person to be murdered in Chicago in 2012. Or I think about Tony Dunn, my loved one, who I’m sure has a number assigned to him as well. Poor, uneducated men of color are the face of “the shooter.” And when they are shot we are allowed to look away, add a tally mark, and continue to report on how people like them kill folks who get to have names and not numbers.
Yet objectifying and assigning value to Asian women is okay in the mainstream. Why? Because we are “helping them” by telling them what we think they should do with their bodies? Because Asian women are submissive and quiet and won’t speak out for themselves? “I Can’t Stop Looking at These South Korean Women” is a piece which is endemic to how American media looks at Asia, particularly Asian women, and even more particularly Asian women’s appearances.I can’t stop thinking about other people who can’t stop looking at Korean women
Women’s closets are often mocked as a form of self-indulgence, shop-a-holicism, or narcissism. But this isn’t fair. Instead, if a woman is class-privileged enough, they reflect an (often unarticulated) understanding of just how complicated the rules are. If they’re not class-privileged enough, they can’t follow the rules and are punished for being, for example, “trashy” or “unprofessional.” It’s a difficult job that we impose on women and we’re all too often damned-if-we-do and damned-if-we-don’t.The Balancing Act of Being Female; Or, Why We Have So Many Clothes » Sociological Images
Sex and gender journalists ask our sources to bare highly personal details that others find painful to discuss even in private. Our subjects are not compensated when they tell us their stories. Instead, comments sections around the Web compile the most heinous reactions to their private lives, written by the world’s foremost anonymous bigots. Our story fades from the news, but it continues to hover over their Google search results, possibly forever. Their friends are free to constantly rewrite their online personalities with a new Facebook status update, but our subjects’ life stories are crystalized at a moment in time — and in someone else’s words. The reporter who lent them a sympathetic ear has shifted her focus to the next piece.We write about sex to help change the world, but we don’t always help our sources.