I once experienced a freak Saharan heatwave with highs over 40° C while studying in Madrid. It was a dry heat, though, and very different from one recent 103° F July afternoon in south Georgia. I bounced to a thrift store in search of some well-worn (breathable) medical scrubs and that’s when I saw it: the plain, charred olive A-line mini. It struck me as the ultimate heatbuster and looked so sensible and professional that it triggered a brief flashback to my days in the corporate offices of a large regional bank and I wondered, as progressive as the bank was, if I would have been permitted to elect its female dress code. On second thought, I have no desire to cross-dress, but shouldn’t gender equality give men the option to wear skirts just as it gave women the option to wear pants many decades ago? As counterintuitive as it might be, I suspect the bank would have been much more cerebral than most universities in contemplating such questions. This being a summer break, I decided to test the waters and having donned various skirts for three weeks now, I reflect upon deeply disconcerting truths.Continue Reading
Why I wear skirts has everything to do with equality. It started one roastingly hot July day in 2016 and I haven’t looked back since. Sure, I see the curiosity in others’ eyes and on their faces, but it surprises me how few people are direct enough to ask about it. This is, after all, the deep south far from international megatropolises like Miami, Los Angeles, and New York where cultural anomalies might be more commonplace. Perhaps southerners just want to avoid the appearance of rudeness. Even so, a few days ago a local librarian lamented that I had not blogged my experience and this led me to think that just maybe the public at large might be interested in my personal reasons and my social message.Continue Reading
The outside temperature reached 103° F one recent July afternoon in south Georgia. I once experienced even hotter temperatures in Spain a decade ago, but the gulf humidity here is a beast of a different kind. I bounced to a thrift store in search of extensively used (i.e. breathable) medical scrubs. Little did I know that this simple mission would ignite a profound inquiry into gender equality.Continue Reading
Sex and gender are not the same things. Biological sex is defined by anatomy and genetics. Gender, however, refers to the manifestation of that physiological sex. A person whose biological sex and manifested gender are congruent are termed cisgender. A person whose biological sex and manifested gender are incongruent may be (over broadly) considered transgender, but that does not necessarily mean such person intends to undergo medical sex reassignment or that such person intends to live as a different sex. More appropriately being “trans” simply means that the person transcends binary gender much in the way that D-block elements on the periodic table are called transitional elements because those elements have both metallic and nonmetallic properties. Such transmetals can appear to be metals in one context but nonmetals in another context.
Gender does influence sexuality but gender is not determinative of sexuality. In actuality, there are three components at work: Gender Identity, Gender Expression, and Sexual Orientation.Continue Reading
So I was just pondering the statement that “straight” people don’t choose to be straight. Of course, the über-religious will say that’s because it’s the natural order of things…the way we’re created. But if someone is physiochemically wired a certain way, doesn’t that imply that God either makes mistakes or that God is a watchmaker rather than a timepiece? To avoid that theological quagmire, they equate homosexuality with sin and since sin necessarily depends on choice, sexual orientation must therefore be a choice as well. It seems to me that the blindly religious are spending way more energy trying to avoid the theological heavy lifting than it would take to just sit patiently and meditatively for understanding to come. Theophilosophy shouldn’t weaken one’s faith; it should strengthen and deepen it. As an axiom, a sovereign deity cannot err and all people must have the same free will. So shouldn’t it be the case that if heteros don’t choose to be hetero, homos don’t choose to be homo?
People probably know of “misogyny,” but what about “misandry”? This Psychology Today article explains.
As noted in another post, sex and gender are not the same thing. Sex is typically seen as a binary trait that flows from reproductive function whether that be regarded as genital, chromosomal, gonadal, hormonal, or structural. There are, of course, biologically intersex persons born with karyotype disorders, androgen insensitivity disorders, and/or genital dysgenesis disorders. According to the U.N. World Health Organization, as much as 1% to 2% of persons are born intersex worldwide. Gender, however, is more complex and is not a monolithic construct.Continue Reading
As do countless citizens and corporations, I fundamentally disagreed with North Carolina’s 2016 legislation now known commonly as HB2. It was as much hateful as it was an egregious violation of federal law. I have pointed out in other posts that treating all females as frail victims incapable of defending themselves or speaking for themselves is supremely misogynistic just as it is supremely misandrist to presume all males to be menacing predators. In fact, I argue that the same mental processes which make a particular person (man or woman) a predator are the very same mental processes that make a comparable person a hero. You see, while a predator perceives a given set of circumstances as a potential victim to be exploited, a hero perceives those exact same circumstances as a potential victim in need of defense. And in this the old cartoons got it right! The hero and the villain wear identical hats and the color merely reflected the content of their character. Apart from these extremes, though, most males just go about their own business and their presence is neither good nor evil.Continue Reading
USA Today reports that Target does not stand alone in its respect for non-cisgender persons. Starbucks, Barnes & Noble, and Hudson Bay (Sacks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor) all condone customer election of the facility that matches that customer’s gender identity. Sears (as well as its Kmart subsidiary) is not as outspoken, but condemns all forms of discrimination. Read the full print article here
And there is evidence that other companies agree. CBS affiliate KTVT reports that Ross Dress-For-Less and TJX (TJ Maxx, Marshall’s) also endorse facility election based on that customer’s gender identity. The station also reports that Walmart has no specific gender policy one way or the other. Read the full story here.
Humans are not covered in downy feathers, they are not yellow or mottled, and they, usually, do not chirp. Obviously, no one would confuse a human with an adorable baby bird so how did chick come to refer to female humans?Continue Reading
The old cartoons with the heroes in white hats and villains in black hats were pretty much right on the money. Heroes and villains can dress alike, look alike, and even act alike and if not careful, the hero can be lumped in together with the villain. Continue Reading
Men do not casually call women cunts. Yes, men might casually refer to them as bitch or ho, but cunt is neither casually bantered nor indiscriminately hurled. Indeed, cunt is reserved for extraordinary cases and when it is used, it is (probably) well deserved (either on general principle or for specific conduct demonstrated at or near the moment of invocation). But why is cunt so horrifying? Perhaps it is that cunt is the ultimate reductive objectification . . . meaning that the denigrated female has absolutely no value apart from her vagina *or* that she so lacks social and intellectual value that she is equal to a whore or prostitute. Yes, in this light cunt would seem unbelievably harsh, but as far as reductive objectifications go, why is cunt so taboo while dickhead, prick, and asshole are not?
In the not too distant past, European aristocratic males wore both skirt-like garments as well as high heels. (In fact, women adopted high heels from European men and made them daintily and femininely narrower.) Over time, though, the European and American industrial revolutions made bifurcated pants and flat shoes more utilitarian for daily life. Women, however, who were relegated to lives of domesticity continued with the less practical fashion. But there has always been a double standardContinue Reading
Gender expression is essentially the outward manifestation of a person’s gender psyche. Gender expression could also be equally described as the outward presentation of how a person wishes his/her gender to be perceives. In this light, at least, it is worth observing that presentation is characterized as much by what isn’t as what is. So the opposite of ‘masculine’ is not axiomatically ‘feminine’ but rather that which is simply anti-masculine. (And of course the inverse is true of the opposite of ‘feminine’.) So to represent that one is not [fully] masculine, it is necessary only to deconstruct the cultural aesthetic of ‘masculine’ of ‘feminine’ and this can be achieved by blending elements of both aesthetics in an unexpected, highly individualistic manner. This is the crux of what it means to be non-binary. The man who deconstructs the masculine aesthetic is not automatically pursuing the feminine aesthetic or declaring gayneas any more than the woman who deconstructs the feminine aesthetic seeks to attain the masculine aesthetic. Either is simply a representation of the gender psyche.
Separate areas with sofas, vanities, and even writing tables used to put the “rest” in women’s restrooms. Why were these spaces built, and why did they vanish? Read City Lab’s story titled The Glamorous, Sexist History of the Women’s Restroom Lounge
Though it offers nothing not already contained in the research and publications of Univ. of Utah law professor Terry Kogan, Time magazine’s Why Do We Have Men’s and Women’s Bathrooms? is still a good, medium-length read.
I was just recalling an incident from several months ago at a local club (this event was still a few months before the time a female police reached under my skirt at this same club). I rocking an awesome 15″ Gap or Ralph Lauren chino skirt. I found myself speaking with a group of three or four females when one of them rather abruptly asks me, “what do you have on under your skirt?”Continue Reading
I was cogitating on the percrptive societal dissimilarities of sexuality while turning the use of “nymphomania” over in my head. The “nymphomania” label (to say nothing of “nympho”) carries an implicit connotation of abnormality and even a subtext of whoredom that is not commensurately accorded to males (the implication being that males are whorish dogs whose sexuality is valueless while the sexuality of women is valuable). There is so, so much to unpack here, but for now I want to mention a particularly interesting preliminary finding. It turns out that there is a male analogue called “satyriasis.” That said, the fact that no one ever hears this word is itself a statement on society’s dissimilar treatment of female and male sexuality.
It occurs to me today that Americans do have a Constitutional right to be “weird” by virtue of the First Amendment’s freedom of expression.Continue Reading
A few months after the “double standards” occurrence, I was again at the same club and speaking with two ladies. Something in the conversation prompted a third to disclose that she was municipal police (and although the club was not in that city, municipal police in this state have extended jurisdiction for the entire county in which the city partially lies, which did include the county of this particular club). No fan of cops (and definitely not white cops), I excused myself from the conversation and went on my way. Over the course of the eveningContinue Reading
Very few people know it, but high-heeled footwear actually began among European men. Women then emulated the style, daintifying it in the process. in time, the fashion fell out of favor (perhaps for practicality) among men which leaves society with the mistaken belief that high-heeled shoes are uniquely feminine. Cowboy boots are “high-heels,” as Jill Maurer points out. Continue Reading
The 1-A aired a segment today on NPR titled “Designing Our World: Clothing Without The Gender Binary.” A transcript does not appear to be available, but the 30-minute segment can be streamed from the 1-A website.
If an employer specifies distinct garments for males and for females, and if a “male” employee wears a garment classified for the opposite gender, then by definition that male is due to be construed as a member of the other gender. The dress code thus self-proves the validity of his attire.Continue Reading
Reviewing Google’s search data I was surprised to see queries about how to wear a skirt (the suggested subtext being “. . .as a male”). I have seen this and similar queries on Quora were a variation asks whether a parent should allow a boy to wear skirts “like a girl.” The answer to both is astoundingly simple:Continue Reading
Cristen Conger explains everything.
Cristen Conger explains everything.
The Wall Street Journal has this interesting piece on the historical legacy of men’s nightshirts, and their suppression due to evolved Western gender constructs.: Why Some Men Favor Nightshirts Over Pajamas.
I love that this piece about Sebastiaan Vermeulen appears in a gender-targeted venue with a largely heteronormative readership. Philip Ellis and Sebastiaan Vermeulen sublimely and succinctly lay it out for the reader: “In the end, it’s the same you, just a different piece of fabric.”
An interesting morsel, in its original Brazilian Portuguese, or in English, via Google Translate.
Part of the women’s liberation movement was inventing new vocabulary which enabled women to differentiate their agenda as the pursuit of equality and not emulation. Women sought to be treated equally as men (particularly in employment) but it was also clear that they were not to be regarded as men. Employment law shifted accordingly such that if trousers were acceptable attire for men, they must also be acceptable attire for women. And since men were not required to wear stockings or heels, neither could women. As I have pointed out in other posts, these cultural strides were not reciprocated for men. While it remained acceptable for women to wear sandals to the office, I have yet to read a single employee dress code that specifically extends such option to men. (Granted, no one wants to see most men’s feet, and most men lack fashion sensibility to select dignified sandals, but the same can be said for a number of women as well.)Continue Reading