Category Archives: genderism

listen to the truth tellers

It’s horrible, of course. All of this “Trump stuff” (useful shorthand) is terrible. But I keep thinking about the thousands and thousands of people who have lived with this reality for hundreds of years but so many of us didn’t notice. We didn’t realize it was “this bad.”

I’m trying to imagine what it must be like to not only find the new realities we are facing — the corporate takeover of our Democracy — terrifying, but to also have to bear witness to the thousands of newbies just now waking up. The frustration must be enormous.

As we practice standing together, now that we’ve started listening, I hope that those of us who so recently realized “how bad it is” will dig deep into listening to those voices who have been telling us about it all along.

Here’s one powerful example: “An Open Letter to My Sister, Miss Angela Davis” by James Baldwin

 

 

 

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Filed under activism, genderism, politics, racism, socio-economic class

vulva. vulva. VULVA (not vagina!)!

In my late 30s (in the early 2000s), the Houston Press hired me to write a review of a play showing in Austin, The Vagina Monologues. By now, most people have heard of the play, I’d imagine.

Guess what I found out as I watched the play? I found out that my vagina isn’t my vagina. That is, the vagina is actually the soft tunnel that leads from the outside of a female’s body up to the cervix (which leads to the uterus).

A vagina is not, it turned out the whole squishy area on the outside. That, I learned, is called the vulva.

Did you know that?

A lot of people, full grown adults, don’t know that. In fact, I’d venture to guess a lot of people will find the word “vulva” very silly sounding.

I was in my 30s. I was an adult. I didn’t know the name of my own body parts. I was not alone.

Why does this matter? Why am I writing about it?

I’m writing about it because this kind of knowledge is power. I saw an article recently advocating for using proper names for body parts when teaching children. You know, instead of hoo-ha or pee-pee, use the correct language. It was a good piece. But, guess what? It referred to the female parts as “the vagina!” Even an article stressing the value of naming body parts correctly got it wrong!

It winds me up because we women (cisgender) are encouraged to live in ignorance. How can we accept ourselves unconditionally when we don’t even know ourselves?

I’ll end with this post I saw recently that I think illustrates my point well:

“Imagine if male genitals were treated like female genitals? Like testicles weren’t even referred to as testicles and some men didn’t even know what they were actually called and the general area was just called “penis”.

Imagine if boys were told that their prostate doesn’t exist. Imagine if hairy genitals on men were called “bearded snakes.” And they don’t know how many different holes they have until adulthood. Imagine.

imagine if men were flocking en mass to get “testicle tightening” surgeries.  imagine if men weren’t taught that they could have orgasms.  Imagine if it were considered rude to say “penis” even in debates regarding legislature involving medical care about men’s penises.  Imagine penis was a word that was considered too “dirty” to be said on television. Imagine if penis’s were depicted only as meat-sticks that fit in vaginas with no other value.  Imagine if teenage boys heard joke after joke about how all dicks smell terrible no matter what

Imagine if people thought the more a penis was used, the smaller and more useless it became.

Imagine if people didn’t understand how penises ‘work’ and therefore their orgasms didn’t matter.

Imagine if having a penis meant you were paid less money.”

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Filed under activism, genderism, the beauty myth, women's medical freedom

privilege = having options.

In the last year, I’ve spent a lot of time and energy examining my own role in racism, classism, and genderism. What I’ve learned is both disgusting and not surprising. I did much of the “work” on racism in the 90s. But then, I stopped.

I get to “stop” if I want to.

As I’ve re-focused my attention (again on racism, more recently on socio-economic class, just touching on genderism), I’ve found myself utterly and completely exhausted by the whole thing. Right now, I feel like retreating into my own little privilege bubble where everything is easy.

I have a choice.

In the 90s, I felt “white guilt” because I didn’t want to be racist. I was out of touch with the actual issues because it was all about me and my experience.

These days, the bell still can’t be unrung. I know that when I retreat into the easy ways, it’s a choice I get to make without many direct consequences. Many, many people don’t have the choice. They have to live with racism, classism, and genderism every day and it’s inescapable.

I’m not sure what I’ll do on a daily basis. I see now that the only way I can really make change is to: 1) listen to people who experience it without the option to take a break *without interjecting my own experiences/perspectives*, and, 2) uncover ways I can help make systemic, institutional level changes and do those things.

But, my god, it’s not easy. I literally can’t imagine how “not easy” it would be if I could never escape the fight.

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Filed under activism, genderism, newly poor, politics, racism, socio-economic class