Exactly two years ago, I sat apprehensively in the reception area of the public health clinic, waiting for my name to be called. I remember looking around the room at the other trans girls sitting nearby. I couldn’t wait to be just like them. Two years and 4,860 pills later, I now realize how little I actually understood back then. Today, I’d like to share ten lessons that I wish I had known.
Revenge porn – never heard of it? This new internet craze, specifically focused on women, occurs when a person shares a sexual or nude photo or video with a partner or hookup who later decides to make the private photo public. And in most places, it’s perfectly legal. You heard that right. It’s legal in every state except California and New Jersey.
You’ve probably thought before about the implications that feminist ideals can have on your relationships. Society’s social norms can make things tricky, especially when not all of our relationships exist with equally as feminist people. But how you chose to relate to and with others is completely up to you. The ultimate feminist act is to practice this.
Superhero films are known for their male-centric nature. Women are left sorting through the female characters that we are offered, and boy, is it grim. The common question that comes up when chatting with people about the role of gender in superhero films is: “Well, he is sexy too, isn’t he? It’s unfair to both sexes.” And the answer is yes, it is. But there’s more.
The real issue isn’t how different boys and girls are, but how parents react to those small differences that turn them into the much larger differences society associates with boys and girls. If we can identify areas where we may have a bias, we can direct our awareness there to overcome it or compensate for it. Let’s look at some ways to compensate for implicit bias in our parenting.
The Internet is very much a public space – with all of the same sexism, racism, homophobia, and transphobia of our streets, but often, much worse. Women are the targets of a lot of this ugliness. Not unlike street harassment in the way we feel its hovering, ominous presence and the way it can control our actions — or at least try to — online harassment is an issue to be taken seriously.
Not only do I love parties, but a big part of my work is encouraging sex-positive party culture on college campuses. Parties can be profoundly dangerous places, especially for women. So it leaves me wondering this: Aside from the changes we can make to ensure party culture is more sex positive, how can men act as allies to women at parties, particularly as we look to prevent sexual violence?
Within the last ten to fifteen years, shows like South Park, Family Guy, Futurama, and American Dad have been popping up, creating huge hordes of followers and dominating the airwaves. These shows are unique in that they are animated, which allows for extremely off-color, inappropriate, or even offensive stereotypes. The question is: Are these stereotypes positive or harmful?
Have you ever been defined through a calm waters lens? You know the type, right? That “Why does she always have to make shit so uncomfortable for everybody by speaking out?” type. Surely, there are moments when the best thing to do is to shut up and wait for safety. But don’t default to that logic, because your safety and your enslavement aren’t always the only two choices you have.
Some people may not be discriminatory at heart, but old habits die hard. Unfortunately, offensive language and implications are cultural habits most people acquire without realizing it. Some of these scenarios are what I like to call Accidental ‘-isms.’ But you have the power to shape your conversations. So here are some of my ideas for confronting your next Accidental ‘-ism:’