ChoiceWords Blog

Posts Tagged: gender

Chimamanda and the Art of Not Knowing

If you’re even remotely close to a queer person of color, you’ve probably heard all of the lively debate and discussion over Chimamanda Ngozie Adicihie’s comments on trans womanhood. As one of the most prominent popular feminists of our time, Chimamanda is a writer known for Ted talks and books, including the critically acclaimed We Should All Be Feminists, which aims to explain feminism in the 21st century. As a non-binary femme,  I’m not going to break down why Chimamanda’s comments were harmful, incorrect, and transmisogynistic. Multiple black trans women have done so, and anything I could come up with would pale in comparison. Instead, I would like to take the time to acknowledge one thing about Chimamanda’s comments that I know to be true. She had no idea what… Read more »

Cis People Can’t Be Misgendered

I honestly cannot tolerate another instance of a cis person recounting their experience being “misgendered”. The stories all follow the same predictable format – a late night grocery store run, clothed in sweats and a baggy hooded sweatshirt turns into a comical story of being mistakenly called “Sir.” These back-pocket stories seem to be collected meticulously as if to sooth me of my pain, as if to say “It’s okay, we get misgendered too! And it’s funny!” But my experiences being misgendered aren’t eagerly collected, nor do I find them entertaining or the least bit amusing. Perhaps that’s why cis people are able to dole out these stories so seamlessly. For them, being mistaken for the wrong gender is a laughable one-time experience while for me, each instance of misgendering… Read more »

Miss(Cis) Expectations: Pregnancy & Trans Identities

It’s the first week of classes and I’ve already had to defend my decision not to carry children twice.  It happens at least once every year, either from friends, family or well-meaning acquaintances, my insistence that I will never carry is met with disturbed, pity-filled consolations – pity because some assume I am infertile or believe my queerness has jaded my perceptions of pregnancy, and shameful disbelief that I fail to follow my “maternal instincts.” This pity typically morphs into anger or twenty-minute tirades filled with alternative options, as if I have never watched a Laci Green video, or as if my decision is not well-informed and just came overnight. These interactions demonstrate concern at best from commentators, but for me, they demonstrate disrespect towards my identity and autonomy. My first memory… Read more »

Another Reason Why We Should Ditch Toxic Masculinity

A high school student in Mesa, Arizona has been making headlines for a photo that appeared in the yearbook that has resulted in “69 misdemeanor counts of indecent exposure and one felony count of furnishing harmful items to minors.” Hunter Osborn, in response to a dare, “exposed himself in the varsity football team picture.” Yes; the then eighteen-year-old exposed his genitals in a photo he knew would appear in the yearbook and would ultimately be distributed to his classmates. There are a lot of angles I could choose to look at this story. How did nobody on the yearbook committee notice this—or the photographer, for that matter? Did Osborn not for a second consider the fact that one of the thousands of students at his school might see it and… Read more »

An Ode to Equal Pay Day

Dear Equal Pay Day, Oh how I wish this wasn’t necessary. It’s 2016, 53 years after the Equal Pay Act was signed by Kennedy in 1963, and we’re still having this conversation. This isn’t your fault, of course, but the fault of systemic misogyny, sexist societal views, and racism. You’re just here as a way for us to organize and act; as a way to help us get together and fight this oppressive system. I know, I know. This can be a lot to handle. I mean, as someone who has personally worked at an establishment that paid female employees less than male employees, it is immensely frustrating. Not only was I paid less hourly than my male counterparts ($2 less hourly than men who had the same job as… Read more »

Gender and Campus Carry

As mentioned in my last blog post, Campus Carry is going to be implemented in public universities across the state of Texas starting August 1st of this year. I’m trying to explore the intersects of this law and the way that different identities (other than the usual, straight, cis-gender, white male) will potentially be affected by this law. I explored the way that race and ethnicity affects who participates in Campus Carry and who feels safe with it implemented. This time, I want to discuss the way gender may play a part in the implementation of this law. I believe it’s safe to assume that the majority of students who are planning on participating in Campus Carry are men (most likely white men) for two reasons. The first of which… Read more »

The Importance of Acknowledging the Spectrum of Sexuality

Something that’s often hard for me to navigate as a queer person is the own intersections of my identity. When I was taught, or rather researched on my own, the different sexualities one could possess I came across an extremely binary interpretation of sexuality. Gay, bisexual, and straight were the three orientations that I understood to exist when I was initially doing my own self discovery, so naturally because I knew I was attracted to women I figured that meant I was gay. I figured that the physical attraction I had had for men in the past was merely me mimicking the sexualities of my friends in order to appear straight and fit into our heteronormative society. But now that I’ve grown in my knowledge I’ve learned that sexuality does not… Read more »

What are the Politics of Desirability?

“Those of us who stand outside the circle of this society’s definition of acceptable women; those of us who have been forged in the crucibles of difference – those of us who are poor, who are lesbians, who are Black, who are older – know that survival is not an academic skill. It is learning how to stand alone, unpopular and sometimes reviled, and how to make common cause with those others identified as outside the structures in order to define and seek a world in which we can all flourish. It is learning how to take our differences and make them strengths.”  — Audre Lorde Narratives about beauty, intelligence, and kindness have mostly been centralized on white people. Psychological experiments like The Doll Test have shown that from a… Read more »

Abandon Girl Hate

Last night, with no explanation, I walked by a girl who I instantly didn’t like. It might have been because she stared at me with a look of judgment in her eyes. It might have been because she was prettier than me. It might have been because patriarchal values have taught me to hate other women. I like to think I’m a pretty accepting person. So you can imagine my internal struggle as I try and talk myself down from girl hate, the phenomenon of hating other girls based solely on the fact that they are another woman, not for any legitimate reason. Before I knew about feminism, before I knew about social justice, I internalized everything that our society tells us about women. You should judge a woman for… Read more »

The Bechdel Test for Music

You might be familiar with something used to critique the film industry called The Bechdel Test. In 1985 it was created by a cartoonist named Alison Bechdel as a way to measure female representation in films. The test has three easy parts, A film has to have at least two women in it They have to talk to each other They have to talk about something other than a man Seems simple enough? Amazingly however today still about half of films don’t pass the test. As the test remains a good starting point for critiquing our film consumption I wondered if the test could be applied to other fields as well, like television or music. Then I found an article written for Pitchfork by Paul de Revere that adopts the Bechdel Test… Read more »