I found this fantastic article written by a transgender woman talking about her experiences with her gender identity. There are roughly 700,000 people in the US who identify as transgender in the US. Transgender refers to a person who does not identify with the gender they were given at birth (ie a biological male identifies as a woman). There is a lot of stigma that is attached to being transgender mainly because many people do not consider it “the norm” and it has been gaining a lot of public attention in the past 5-10 years.
There are many theories as to why people are transgender– some believe that it is associate to how much/how little testosterone a fetus is exposed to in utero. Many who identify as trans*gender experience depression and suicidal thoughts, as well as substance abuse before diagnosis due to the internal struggles of not identifying with ones given gender. Many who identify as trans*gender receive hormonal treatments to get the biological traits of the gender they choose to identify as, or even get sexual reassignment surgery.
However, sadly many people do not accept people who identify as trans*gender as their choose gender identity. Many women do not believe that transgender*women (who were born male) are really women because they do not have the internal organs of a woman. I think this is really problematic. It think we should be more inclusive of the trans*community. Just because someone doesn’t have the internal organs doesn’t mean they aren’t a woman. Many who are born as women aren’t born with uterus, like Miss Michigan 2013.
Recently, Woody Allen’s adopted daughter brought up her long-time accusation of the sexual abuse her father inflicted upon her during her childhood, after his life-time achievement Golden Globe. Dylan Farrow’s letter to the public was published on the New York times blog and has stirred up a lot of debate among the public, most of whom do not want to admit that one of our “most beloved” actors could have done something so horrendous.
Despite the facts of the case, which there has been a history of some sort of abuse and Connecticut police has enough probable cause to charge Allen with crimes, the American public continues to shame Dylan, trying to make her recant her long time statement. Celebrities like Stephen King say that these allegations aren’t true and Dylan is just being a “palpable bitch”. Sadly these sort of things aren’t unique to Dylan. Rape victims are often blamed and shamed into recanting their statements– this is very common in the United States where we put the victim on trial in order to discredit any chance that what she’s saying may or may not be true to get her perpetrator off. This perpetuates on of many rape myths that women make false rape allegations most of the time– when in reality, only 28% of rapes are reported. In a study, the FBI discovered that an 8% of rapes are “unfounded” meaning maybe they were falsely accused, but that label also includes situations where the women didn’t fight back, the attacker didn’t use a weapon, the attacker and victim had a prior relationship, or if the victim didn’t sustain injuries. When combining these two statistic- only 2.2% of rapes are false accusations (at best).
So when there is a history of abuse in this case and the likelihood of a false alligation is at best 2.2%, why do people continue to believe that Woody Allen didn’t abuse his daughter? Well, we don’t like to think that someone who is so beloved in our culture could truly be a monster. Take the example of iconic Bill Cosby– who was accused of drugging and raping women on multiple occasions, was never charged and settled out of a civil suit with one victim. We idolize these actors, and they get off because they have all the money and power to buy off victims or scare them into not reporting and scaring the cops not to touch them because it could ruing their careers. I think instead of blaming the victim we should take a look at the structures of our society that lets rich men with lots of power get away with horrendous crimes.
According to a study of last year’s top 50 movies, movies that have 2 or more women who talk about something that isn’t a man, make up to 60 million more than movies who don’t. This test, called the Bechadel test, has gained popularity in recent years. And while it doesn’t indicate whether a movie advocates for feminist ideals” it does indicate that women do more than just participate in the traditional female stereotypes (ie women are “boy-crazy” or are dependent on men).
So if movies that pass this test make more money- why aren’t Hollywood producers making moves that can pass the Bechadel test? It’s really a question I couldn’t find an answer to. Maybe gender stereotypes trump making money. Maybe Hollywood producers don’t know the statistic on movies that pass this test. Maybe movie goers aren’t ready for all movies to pass this test and break all gender stereotypes. Gender roles and stereotypes die hard unfortunately, most people don’t even know why their problematic (ie they portray false images of said gender and make a norm that most people don’t want to live up to). I think it’s fantastic that most movies that defy gender norms in one way make more money– Hopefully, more Hollywood producers, movie writers, and directors take the hint and start changing their ways.
I think this political cartoon is really awesome about comparing representations between cultures. I think that women especially are quick to judge each other and we forget sometimes that we all are on the same team, fighting the same sorts of problems. I think instead of judging other’s for what they wear or how they act in accordance to their culture, we should examine the structures that define those norms and how they affect women and men at large.
Hi I’m Sam and welcome to my blog.This blog is meant to show how both gender are told how they should act under patriarchal norms in order to be a “good male” (ie a tough guy) or a “good female” (ie a sexy, yet virginal women).
For my first post, I want to show that that feminism is for everyone: men, women and any gender in between. Despite it being called “feminism“, depicting the idea that it’s ideals only advocate for women, the basic belief of feminism is that everyone should be equal, and most norms are problematic. Feminists advocate for the rights of all LGBTQ members, whether they identify as male or female, and they are one of the few supports for male victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault. Feminist understand that males are also affected by patriarchal norms, which force men to do things like keep emotions hidden from people or “over preform” masculinity.
I think something that’s important to note, it that many consider feminism a “dirty word” and its terrible to be known as a feminist. I think this is the case with many celebrities such as:
Katy Perry, who claims “I am not a feminist, but I do believe in the strength of women”,
Carrie Underwood who says” I wouldn’t go so far as to say I am a feminist, that can come off as a negative connotation. But I am a strong female.”
Lady Gaga claims “I’m not a feminist! I love men! I hail men.”
And Beyoncé who claims that she doesn’t want to be called a feminist: “I need to find a catchy new word for feminism, right? Like ‘bootylicious.'”
It’s problematic that these awesome women deny the term feminism because they are role models which most women in the United States and even the world look up to. These women deny the term because (1) they mispercieve feminism as being a concept that condemns all men and (2) they don’t want to be associate with the stereotypical feminist who is seen as bitter, angry and unattractive because she doesn’t shave or wear a bra. When these role model celebrities use the term feminist as a four letter word, they hurt the movement as a whole because more people accept that feminist are bad and shouldn’t be listened to.
However, there are some celebrities who embrace the concept and the name feminist. For example:
Ellen Page says “But I don’t know why people are so reluctant to say they’re feminists. Maybe some women just don’t care. But how could it be any more obvious that we still live in a patriarchal world when feminism is a bad word?”
Geena Davis founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media, which analyzes how females are portrayed and advocates for equality. Geena says “It’s all about feminism. Feminism simply means equal social and political status for men and women. There’s nothing radical about it or about using that word or having that as a goal. We’re simply trying to elevate the status of the female characters to equal. We take up half the space in the world so it would be great to see roughly half of characters be female.”
Party” whose mission is to “Our aim is to help young women and the young at heart with the process of cultivating their authentic selves. We change the world by being ourselves, and being ourselves is a life long quest. Smart Girls hopes to provide some fun reference materials along the way.” When asked if she was a feminist she replied, “Yes, I consider myself a feminist, and it informs my work only in that it’s just who I am, in the same way that I’m a woman, or I’m 5’2″ or whatever. I was lucky that I came through a system that had many people who did much more hard work and road-clearing before I got there.”
My favorite response to being asked if one was a feminist came from Joseph Gordon-Levitt when he was interviewed on Ellen recently.
When Ellen asked him if he was a feminist he responded “‘I do call myself a feminist. Absolutely! It’s worth paying attention to the roles that are sort of dictated to us and that we don’t have to fit into those roles. We can be anybody we wanna be.'”
The reason I love this answer is because it really encompassed the view of feminist that this blog emulates, which is that patriarchy isn’t about males being bad– it’s a dominate system which victimized both men and women to their norms and we should look to where we get the norms of our society and question their validity.
I hope everyone enjoyed my introductory post– stay tuned for more posts on representations!