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#gender & sexuality | Vox Clamantis In Deserto

Lorie Smith, What Would Jesus Do?

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Does anyone remember the WWJD wristbands from the 1990s? Jesus opposed all that the pharisees stood for, yet he welcomed them into his gatherings. If they were not among the attendees, how were they have been there to pose questions to him? They tried to compel his speech about paying taxes to Caesar (Mt 22:17, Mk 12:14, Lk 20:22). But what did Jesus do? He got creative and avoided the very words that the Pharisees expected put in his mouth. Whether it is baking a cake or designing a wedding website, can we not love these neighbors as ourselves? Should a Christian refuse to love her neighbors by withholding alms from homeless lesbians? Should the Christian who pulls off the road to assist stranded motorists drive away when he adduces them to be homosexually-wedded men? Not every Christian is sufficiently spiritually mature to implement what I propose here, but why can’t Christians design a wedding website or cake while engaging in genuine loving prayer for the customer-celebrants? And shouldn’t a Christian do that for every such customer, even the heterosexual ones? Indeed, can the designer not imprint a resonant verse like “God Is Love”? (1 John 4:8,16) Does that not avoid the issue, love our neighbor, and plant a highly memorable seed that the Holy Spirit can cultivate over time? Tragically, high profile battles like Creative, LLC, and Masterpiece Cake Shop only injure Christianity’s message. I’m relieved that SCOTUS preserved free speech protections, but I wish this case had never been brought.

What Is Gender Nonconformity?

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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

What To Call Skirts Marketed For Men?

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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

Why I Wear Skirts (as a man)

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Muscular man in masculine brown skirt and blue polo shirt

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

Gender Equality in the Shadow of 1960s Civil Rights

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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

Adam and Eve

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According to the Genesis (chapter 2) account in which Eve was “extracted” from Adam, that means Adam was the biological sum of man and woman. So Adam became man simultaneously with Eve becoming woman. Man and woman were thus created simultaneously, not sequentially. Man is not preeminent over woman.

On Vanity

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Age-defiance vanity is underrated. Vox

A Quick Note on Sex & Gender

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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

Why Are Skirts Perceived As Feminine?

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Before the women’s liberation movement, skirts were just what women wore. In post-liberation America, skirts became something that accentuated the female identity rather than just aligning with the identity. With Queen Victoria’s prudishness far in the rearview mirror, hemlines rose and skirts no longer merely accentuated gender, but became a means of summoning attention once society finally admitted the legitimacy of a woman’s sexual self. Would it be unreasonable to think that males therefore came to cognitively associate skirts with exaggerated femininity?  After all, that seems to be the only time most men take notice of how women dress—when the skirt is styled to stand out or the pants are tight or the shorts are extra short. In other words, males fail to notice (or the brain fails to imprint) when women wear anything “ordinary” that does not compel attention. That leaves only the out-of-ordinary to be noticed.  And if it is out of the ordinary for a man to skirt, that gets noticed. Could it be as simple as men failing to notice the aesthetic range of women’s skirts, noticing only when women wear certain skirts and therewith construe all skirts as a purposeful intent to assert femininity?

The History of Skirted Men

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Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales (1594 – 1612)In the not all to distant past, men wore unbifurcated garments and while few would want to dress like Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, it is not a novel concept that men should not be confined to trousers. Little by little, journalists, sociologists, and artists are looking into the history of skirted men and sharing their findings:

I Still Don’t Understand Religious “Modesty”

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Perhaps it is just something peculiar to my neurodiverse brain (probably), but religious “modesty” practices are nonsensical. Why is an ankle-length skirt “modest”? Is an exposed calf that alluring? And why is such skirt a “modesty” when the presence of the ass is still known and the form of the breasts is still evident? The reality is that there is no universal anatomic feature that captivates every man. As is best known, there are “ass men” and “tits men” and yet this is absolutely too reductionist. Men are likewise captivated by Continue Reading

The Fundamental Flaw in HB2

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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

Corporate Retailer Gender Policies

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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.

The New York Times: “Skirts for Men?”

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New York Times (1984) - "Skirts for Men? Yes and No."The social acceptability of men wearing skirts is by no means a nascent subject, but has has anything really changed since the Industrial Revolution? In 1984, the New York Times ran this piece regarding a Paris fashion show featuring men in skirts that was, according to French designer David Hechter, “the most important thing to happen in fashion in the past 20 years!” Hechter was one of the first designers to break fashion norms previously “when it was scandal for women to wear pants.” Rodney Martin puts a sharper point on it: “It makes me feel free. It’s a statement by which I can say I am free to do whatever I want. It does cause hostility on the streets, though. Sometimes I keep my coat closed over my skirt so no one will see it. And I do have to sit differently. But it’s not about being a woman.”Continue Reading

Another Man’s Skirt Conversion

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Travis MartinRight now I’m on a train headed to Toronto, writes Travis Martin, and I will be on another train coming back, late tomorrow evening. I’ll be participating in a photoshoot at Ryerson University as part of a research project on men’s fashion. The focus of the study is men of my generation who are using fashion to express themselves, and changing what “masculinity” means in the process. I am expressing myself right now, with my fashion. It feels awesome, empowering, and….   Continue reading How (and why) to Wear a Skirt (as a man)

Envisioning Nontraditional Men’s Clothing with AI

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AI Image of man wearing knee length sleeveless Oxford shirt dress with elasticized waist.

The problem with demonstrating non-existent clothing is the fact that such clothing does not exist. And whether man or woman, very few consumers have the capacity to draw what they imagine or to sew what they draw. If it can’t be represented, how will a tailor or seamstress be able to create a custom order? Maybe AI can empower the strident consumer to refine his wishes with detail that he can’t quite articulate. This image is the product of “Man wearing knee length sleeveless Oxford shirt dress with elasticized waist.” Perhaps its simplicity will provoke more complex endeavors. (Credit to Deep AI) The crazy thing is that AI does not often generate any two identical images ftom the same text prompt. So if an image isn’t close, just refresh. If an image is close, don’t havigate away or take a break. The AI will abandon its flow. Keep tweaking the text prompt.

In a Man’s World

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Bravo has a cutting new series titled In a Man’s World.  Women from various walks of life receive full-body muscle suits, and craniofacial prosthetics to create a physique that is out of this world. The women also receive vocal and movement coaching and then simulate their regular selves….as a man. The circumstances and settings are a bit artificial (after all, some explanation has to be offered for the presence of video cameras) but some balance is achieved with additional hidden cameras. What I find most interesting about the series, though, is the coaches’ observations of the subtle differences between men and women. Esco Jouléy’s keen insight into body movement is fascinating and empowering for skirted men wishing to amplify their masculine aura.

Circumcision Fiction

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For many decades of the twentieth century, American physicians both recommended and presumed consent for routine infant circumcision. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics sharply revised its policy position in 1999 to hold that circumcision was strictly a cultural and/or religious consideration with no medical bias for or against. A decade later, the AAP again revised its policy position in 2012 citing two medical benefits—reduced risk of UTIs for the first year of life and reduced risk of STIs later in adulthood. (There may also be an indirect reduction in risk of penile cancer due to a reduced risk of HPV, but there is now a male HPV vaccine). However, the data only showed that the statistical benefit was greater than the statistical risk of the procedure. Therefore, infant circumcision was categorized as an acceptable medical procedure, but the data were not strong enough to medically recommend the procedure.Continue Reading

Nymphomania and Satyriasis

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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.

Skirts, Pants, and Deuteronomy 22:5

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Cognitively-challenged Christians are eager to invoke Deuteronomy 22:5—in judgment of women as well as of men—that “woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD.” Some denominations read this as requiring women to wear dresses (or, in the contrapositive, as prohibiting women from wearing pants). Likewise, Deuteronomy 22:5 has been invoked to condemn and deny skirts as menswear. This was certainly my experience when I “saw the light” and “converted” to skirts in 2016, but it has taken me three years to get around to publishing this formal rebuttal.Continue Reading

A Guy’s Guide to Getting Skirted

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Words do not adequately describe a skirted man’s enhanced comfort in the sweltering summer months. While comfort is an enormous justification for donning a work-appropriate skirt, comfort is neither the sole benefit nor the sole justification, as I have pointed out in “Why I Wear Skirts” and other posts about men and skirts. Skirts need not be frilly, froufrou, or feminine, and skirts can indeed be very masculine if a person first understands the basic design characteristics and uses this knowledge to make some sensible selections.Continue Reading

Heroes, Villains, and Toilets

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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

Lesbians and Transwomen — Part 1

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Without judging the writer, let me say that am a little baffled by this opinion piece that I stumbled upon just now. Perhaps it is simply that, being neither ciswoman nor transwoman, I am unable to relate to the argument of “Lesbians need to get the L out of the LGBT+ community.” That said, I think the author is defending a ciswoman’s right to be exclusively attracted to ciswomen. Taking the role of spokesperson for like-minded lesbians, she complains of pressure form gay and/or transgender community to consider transwomen as romantic candidates. With the caveat that no one has a right dismissively label another person’s opinion, I find myself in conflicting (dis)agreement. Continue Reading

Is Sexual Orientation a Choice?

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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?

The Time a Cop Touched My Junk at a Club

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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

A Guy’s Guide to Basic Aesthetic Improvement

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A man need not be “trans” or “metro” to want to present his most attractive self to the world. After all, men shave (or shape) their facial hair and style their hair in a manner that they see as enhancing their aesthetic. I do not want suggest that all men wear full-on cosmetics, but having some knowhow in a back pocket and some basic tools in a gearbag can really prove useful! After all, ho hasn’t had a important photo scheduled or a really big date planned or a really big presentation prepared only to see a giant pimple, an ingrown hair, or a boneheaded razor nick in the bathroom mirror?Continue Reading

Simultaneous Misogyny and Misandry?

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I found myself in a brief conversation today about gender roles. Specifically, the topic was equitable division of labor in the family, that is, where one spouse or partner is the career breadwinner and the other is the homemaker. All available indicators point to the thriving gender bias that men are expected to be breadwinners and women, the homemakers. But this tacit social norm is simultaneously misandrist and misogynist. Continue Reading

A Quick Note On Gender Expression

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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.

On Striving for Gender Neutrality

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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

European Men, the Historical Initiators of High Heels

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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

Why Is “Cunt” So Radioactive?

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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 dickheadprick, and asshole are not?

Self-proving Dress Codes

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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

Just because (wo)men do(n’t)….

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Just because women normally do (or don’t do) a-b-c and just beause men generally do (or don’t do) d-e-f does not mean non-conformity is inherently improper. After all, most people eat whatever they wish, but then there are vegetarians…..

Why Men Still Don’t Casually Wear . . .

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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