There’s a message being sent here that black transgender women’s lives have no value. That it’s OK for trans women of color in this country to be in particular danger. That we’ll just have more Lashai McLeans, Tonya Harrells, NaNa Boo Macks, Chloe Alexander Moores, CeCe McDonalds and Islan Nettles.
I’m stating the obvious here, but it needs to be said: This shit is wrong. And until we can get underneath the irrational fear that cis men (yeah, I said it: cis men) have of transgender women; until cis men quit using battery of trans women as an assertion of their own maleness; until they understand that battering, stabbing, shooting at and killing trans women of color will actually result in prison time, this violence isn’t going to stop.
Van De Putte: Some folks have told me that they can understand the gay and lesbian thing, but why include trans people?
Q: And what do you tell them?
Van De Putte: Because they’re people too. You can’t discriminate against someone just because of who they are, any more than you would based on gender or the color of someone’s skin or for their age.
As women, we are taught to be tiny. To have small bodies, to never be imposing. The ideal of our gender are thin and childlike, hairless and dainty. We are defined by our bodies; defined by our control over them. We are taught to obsess over our physicality and to be repulsed by our desires and intelligences.
We are taught to walk scared late at night. We cradle our keys between our perfectly manicured fingers, walking gracefully like a baby antelope in a herd of lions. That our virginity defines our character. That I am a frigid bitch if I do not fuck him, and a dirty slut if I do.
When I was a teenager, I was very critical of feminism too. I was a white girl, about to grow up into a world of white privilege, and I didn’t see the point. Then, the workplace discrimination started happening, then the sexual harassment, then the assaults, then the catcalls, then the condescension from men who weren’t as smart or accomplished as me, the sports coach who was too friendly, the male mentor with other intentions, the drunk male friend who won’t leave the room after the party so you can sleep, the car horns blaring, the groping: it all started happening at about the age of fifteen. I started realising that there was a large portion of the population to whom I was as good as chattel: I was an object to be acted upon.
I also started realising that I’ve been a female misogynist my whole life, and had a lot of unlearning to do too. Change starts with eliminating the noxious parts of yourself you have internalised during socialisation in a misogynistic culture. Feminism isn’t just about stopping the abuse of women by men, it’s about stopping the abuse we do to ourselves and others by genuinely beginning to believe we deserve to be treated as less than human.
Feminism isn’t just about stopping the abuse of women by men, it’s about stopping the abuse we do to ourselves and others by genuinely beginning to believe we deserve to be treated as less than human.
A study on masculinity and aggression from the University of South Florida found that innocuous – yet feminine – tasks could produce profound anxiety in men. As part of the study, a group of men were asked to perform a stereotypically feminine act – braiding hair in this case - while a control group braided rope. Following the act, the men were given the option to either solve a puzzle or punch a heavy bag. Not surprisingly, the men who performed the task that threatened their masculinity were far more likely to punch the bag; again, violence serving as a way to reestablish their masculine identity. A follow-up had both groups punch the bag after braiding either hair or rope; the men who braided the hair punched the bag much harder. A third experiment, all the participants braided hair, but were split into two groups: those who got to punch the bag afterwards and those who didn’t. The men who were prevented from punching the bag started to show acute signs of anxiety and distress from not being able to reconfirm their masculinity.
Who really benefits from the pink ribbon campaigns: the cause or the company? In showing the real story of breast cancer and the lives of those who fight it, this film reveals the co-opting of what marketing experts have labeled a “dream cause.”
If you’re a woman, take the time to watch the documentary Pink Ribbons, Inc.
Watch it on
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It saddens me to see girls proudly declaring they’re not like other girls – especially when it’s 41,000 girls saying it in a chorus, never recognizing the contradiction. It’s taking a form of contempt for women – even a hatred for women – and internalizing it by saying, Yes, those girls are awful, but I’m special, I’m not like that, instead of stepping back and saying, This is a lie.
The real meaning of “I’m not like the other girls” is, I think, “I’m not the media’s image of what girls should be.” Well, very, very few of us are. Pop culture wants to tell us that we’re all shallow, backstabbing, appearance-obsessed shopaholics without a thought in our heads beyond cute boys and cuter handbags. It’s a lie – a flat-out lie – and we need to recognize it and say so instead of accepting that judgment as true for other girls, but not for you.
I’m Not a Joke (No Soy Tu Chiste) is a campaign spreading awareness for the LGBTI community through art and design, created by Daniel Arzola (@Arzola_d) in light of the recent violent acts against the sexually diverse community in Venezuela and the World. It initially seeks to expand in the online community. If you’d like to share your opinion please do so via twitter using the hashtag #ImNotaJoke. Like my page on Facebook and share the posters to support the cause!
For every T-Shirt you buy, one dollar will be donated to the campaign
These days, before we talk about misogyny, women are increasingly being asked to modify our language so we don’t hurt men’s feelings. Don’t say, “Men oppress women” – that’s sexism, as bad as any sexism women ever have to handle, possibly worse. Instead, say, “Some men oppress women.” Whatever you do, don’t generalise. That’s something men do. Not all men – just some men.
This type of semantic squabbling is a very effective way of getting women to shut up. After all, most of us grew up learning that being a good girl was all about putting other people’s feelings ahead of our own. We aren’t supposed to say what we think if there’s a chance it might upset somebody else or, worse, make them angry. So we stifle our speech with apologies, caveats and soothing sounds. We reassure our friends and loved ones that “you’re not one of those men who hate women”.
What we don’t say is: of course not all men hate women. But culture hates women, so men who grow up in a sexist culture have a tendency to do and say sexist things, often without meaning to. We aren’t judging you for who you are but that doesn’t mean we’re not asking you to change your behaviour. What you feel about women in your heart is of less immediate importance than how you treat them on a daily basis.
You can be the gentlest, sweetest man in the world yet still benefit from sexism. That’s how oppression works.