Flight Papers

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Archive for the ‘gender’ Category

Some very nice phraseology

Saturday, July 4th, 2009

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I never did quite wrap my head around why the cis- discussion at Pam’s went as it did, with nobody asking why “cis” was such a nasty word, and what we ought to have replace it. Then I got wind of it not actually being about the particular word, which, yes, makes quite a bit more sense.

The argument seems to be that “cis-gender” has been used in anger, with trans activists who will have a prefix whether they like one or not angrily denouncing a cis-centric LGBT movement. And, since “cis” was originally envisaged as a nice, neutral, polite prefix—drawn from Chemistry, for goodness sakes!—meant to just lightly tag—oops! there you go, darling—cisgender privilege, this new use in anger was a very nasty twisting of the word indeed.

Which does seem a little off from where I’m standing. I mean, you name a privilege, it seems more than a little naïve to figure that nobody will ever get angry about it. Hurl it about a bit. Maybe attach an invective or two? “Fucking white supremacists” surely have feelings too, you know, so if you’re trying to be really polite about it all around, it’s probably best to avoid all that nasty “privilege” and “liberation from oppression” business altogether. Just let it drop, bite your tongue, and sweep it all under the rug like you’re good friends who truly can’t stand each other getting together at the only coffee shoppe you can ever manage to agree on for a nice, steamy cup of fair-trade, organic joe. Skone?

Oh, and if you’re cisgendered and feel a bit glum that I just called you such a nasty thing, DGlenn would like to have a word with you. It’s a very good word. (There are tables.)

Feminism is to blame for this, of course.

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

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According to an article in the Boston Globe, an informal poll taken among 200 teenagers has revealed that almost half of them blame the pop star Rihanna for her recent beating, allegedly by her boyfriend, Chris Brown.

It’s just one survey. But it’s very bad news. And feminists are to blame.—Kathryn Jean Lopez, “What Feminism Wrought”, National Review Online


Thank you.

Thursday, November 20th, 2008

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Thank you for your ignorance. Thank you for your apathy.

Thank you for walking on our bodies until we join the sidewalk; thank you for barely noticing. Thank you for shedding a small tear for the tragedy that inevitably ends our lives, and thank you for so efficiently erasing our names and our stories thereafter.

Thank you for letting our families know what manner of things we are. Thank you for helping them let go of us. Thank you for helping them push us into the street. Thank you for helping them kill us. Thank you for helping them forget us.

Thank you for the names you have given us: Abomination. Grotesque. Thank you for telling us these names, on our streets and in our homes. Thank you for helping us erase whatever other names we might have had or foolishly thought we wanted. Thank you for giving us these to take their place: Freak. Monster.

Thank you for helping us realize the value of our lives—how painful they must be, how pathetic. Thank you for helping so many of us find the courage to cut open our own throats.

Thank you for killing us.

Thank you for stabbing us. Thank you for bashing in our skulls, for putting bullets into our organs, for beating us until we could no longer remember how to breathe. Thank you for drowning us in water and in the liquid parts of our own bodies. Thank you for your remarkable efficiency, that the dead should be so many that no single one of us could remember them all.

Thank you for all you have done for us.

Had you done otherwise, we should not have learned what manner of creatures you are.


Thursday, November 20th, 2008

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Kellie TelesfordGabriela Alejandra AlbornozStacy BrownAdolphus SimmonsAshley SweeneySanesha (Talib) StewartLawrence KingLunaLloyd NixonSilvana BerishaRosa PazosJuan Carlos Aucalle CoronelAngie ZapataSamantha Rangel BrandauNakhia (Nikki) WilliamsRuby MolinaAimee WilcoxsonDuanna JohnsonDilek InceTeish (Moses) CannonAliUnidentified Iraqi WomanUnidentified Iraqi WomanValentina FalcoNakia Ladelle BakerHasan SabehKeittirat LongnawaTatiana (Aldomiro Gomes)Moira DonaireRuby RodriguezErica KeelManuela Di CesareVictoria ArellanoOscar MosquedaStefania CoppiMaribelle ReyesThanawoot WiriyananonSally (Salvador) CamatoyThousands upon thousands whose names we have forgotten.

The gender game.

Tuesday, July 22nd, 2008

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There is a simultaneously cool and infuriating post over at Feministe about kids and gender policing. It’s made me think about how kids relate to gender, and how the patriarchal gender structures slowly mold little-kid gender play into big-adult gender conformity.

Because, make no mistake, gender is a game. Especially for kids. It has rules, like any game—this means girl, that means boy—but at least initially, those rules aren’t strong. A genderqueer friend of mine works with kids. When they ask zir if ze is a boy or a girl, ze says ze isn’t either. And that’s cool more than it’s weird, at least for a certain age group.

Of course at some point, kids start realizing that the adult world is playing this game much more seriously than they are. And that breaking the rules, or bending them even slightly, can put you in a dangerous place. And that conversely, if you see someone breaking the rules, you can call them on it and gain power over them. That’s when it starts to go sour, and that’s how, eventually, all of us start to forget that it’s just a game.

I think that’s the best way to present it to kids, if they’re young enough.

What kid isn’t familiar with dress up? What boy hasn’t tried on a dress; what girl hasn’t tried on a suit? When it’s all play, it’s harmless, and that’s when they’ll be really receptive to, well, the truth—all these rules about boys wearing this and girls wearing that? Those are just the rules. You can bend them. You can break them. You can make your own game that’s similar, but different. But when you do that, you’re highlighting the fact that this gender thing? It’s a game. And that’s a thing that a lot of us grown ups have forgotten, or a thing that we need to be reminded of at times even if we haven’t forgotten it entirely. And when you remind people that the thing they use to gain power over others, to hold onto power they have, is a game? Well, sometimes they’ll get a wee bit defensive. Sometimes they’ll try to hurt you—sometimes, they’ll succeed.

That doesn’t make it universally not worth playing. And there’s definitely the potential for real harm there, and make no mistake that kids will become really, really aware of that. The thing is to keep it from crushing them. People will make you play, sure. And sometimes, they’ll make you play by their rules, under threat of blood. And that’s simply injustice, oppression, and there are women who will never be free from that.

But sometimes? Sometimes, you make the rules. Make them glorious.