Posts Tagged ‘gender’

via blue tea leaves


I find this to be very comprehensive, and not nearly as polarized/binary as we often paint these constructs to be. I had a long conversation this weekend that touched on this diagram and why I thought it made sense, and why I believe that many people collapse (polarize) themselves even though they’re a bit more complex than they allow themselves to be.


Life Explained

Posted: August 17, 2011 in Food for Thought
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via Tumblr

The 7 Layers of Division in Black America:



There’s a great wish in the African American community for a wonderful utopia known as UNITY. The word brings about images of 70′s era movies where everyone picks their blow-out Afros, slaps high-fives and echoes “Right on!” in unison.

This reality was lived out by our parents but now the word has become pure fantasy. A fellow AA writer and myself discussed this unity thing and came up with 7 layers of division that keeps black unity a myth. This list may not be exclusive to blacks but it plagues us and keeps us separated in a major way.

The 7 Layers of Division in Black America:

Layer 1 – Bourgie vs. Ghetto
Middle/upper class vs. lower class for those confused by the derogatory terms. These two classes of people don’t necessarily hate one another but cannot coexist due to different outlooks and prejudice towards one another. So how would you go about unifying them?

Layer 2 – American vs. Immigrant
African Americans’ “us versus them” mentality, the effort to stay “the most screwed over minority” and the immigrants who segregate themselves so as not to be confused with native-born blacks is an old and hard issue that will not go away easily.

Layer 3 – Church vs. Cynics
Many of us grew up in the black church only to leave and become cynical. I won’t get into the reasoning for this (there’s a full article on it for those who need clarification). The cynics will never agree with those who quote scripture because they do not respect their stance on anything.

Layer 4 – Racially Scarred vs. Racially Ambiguous
When you grew up being called a nigger and being denied based on your color it is a different world than growing up where everyone is cordial and the “n-word” is something you hear about versus actually hearing it. One says “Don’t trust them” and the other says “Get over it!” Each thinks the other is hopeless.

Layer 5 – Light vs. Dark
Every culture of color has had this issue it seems. The light is right attitude of our ancestors has left a nasty and bitter taste in some of our mouths but sadly many black people still follow it.

Layer 6 – Huey vs. Uncle Ruckus
Uncle Ruckus hates his blackness and hates everything to do with it. Huey loves the skin he’s in and cannot fathom how a black man could hate himself. Like their namesakes from Aaron McGruder’s “Boondocks” there are many who cannot see eye to eye when it comes to blackness.

Layer 7 – Men vs. Women
Many of us are in great relationships with black men/women but sadly enough, we don’t talk about that them as much as we talk about the jerks (guilty) from our past. Men are stereotyped as uneducated jailbirds and women as bitchy co-eds, the Cosby dynamic being laughably inaccurate.

So will black people ever “unify” and appear as together as our fellow minorities? I don’t think so and after seeing the 7 layers that we would have to overcome, you can understand why.

Now this right here is deeeep.

Hey, how’s it going? Mind if I sidle up? I saw you over here sitting alone and I thought, that’s fine. A woman should be able to self-sustain. In fact a lot of women are choosing to stay alone, what with advances in salary equitability and maternity extensions, and I think it’s an important and compelling trend.

I noticed that you were about to finish your drink and I was wondering if I could possibly watch you purchase another one. And, at the risk of being forward, if you could possibly purchase one for me.

What do you do? And before you answer, I’m not looking for a necessarily work-related response. I don’t think we have to be defined by our industrial pursuits, especially when they’re antiquated and hetero-normative. I curse my mother, who is an otherwise lovely human person, for not buying me an Easy-Bake Oven when I was younger. I grew up idolizing male thugs like Neil Armstrong and Jimmy Carter. And, yes, I work at ESPN, but I spend more time being spiritual and overcoming adversity, for example, than I do working for some faceless corporation. And if I were to find a mate, be it you or someone else here tonight, I would be more than happy to tell the proverbial “man” that I quit so I can raise our offspring with gender-neutral hobbies, while my biologically female partner continues to pursue her interests, be they industrial, recreational or yes, even sexual with another mate.


Crazy news about the first female African head of state and Liberia’s sitting president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, huh? Announcing her candidacy for 2011 so soon! Wow. What do you think of her chances? I think she’s a shoo-in, but I’m admittedly a bit concerned about Prince Johnson making some last minute strides, especially amongst the Gio people in the Nimba region. I’m thinking of launching a letter writing campaign on behalf of EJ-S or at least cold calling potential Nimba voters over Skype.


Miss Obama – She dispels the negative impact that years of reality tv have had on the portrayal/reception of black women. #bow

Boy in Dress – A boy wears a dress to highlight gender discrimination

SNL Uh– Kristin Wiig retires Gilly (thankfully) and Penelope (unfortunately)

Facebook Loses – Zuckberg hired a PR agency to plant negative stories about Google….Harvard people are really annoying sometimes

Faux Gigolos – In shocking news that is not shocking, the great show Gigolos has paid actors/actresses.


Meta Social Media – Photos of buckets and tumbl(e)rs, books with faces, etc

Gendered Colors – When pink and blue became associated with gender/babies.

Gay Vballer – A gay volleyball player was taunted during a match, and his team showed a great deal of support for him. Kudos!

Western Exoticism? – It seems that Freida Pinto is just ‘average looking’ in India, yet in the US we lurve her. Isn’t this the case with most international stars? Javier Bardem anyone?

Yellow Peril – One of the more interesting people I have the pleasure of meeting. His take on things is stellar, intelligent and well-written.

Deep Thought: Gender x ‘Rightness’

Posted: November 16, 2010 in Everything

via Goodbye forever fatty


I just finished up a few weeks in the Bay Area, and I started to think about some questions more deeply. The starting point that sparked me to want to write this were some of the rules at our job. It was forbidden for boys or girls to be in each other’s rooms, but that it was OK for same-sex members to be in the rooms so long as the door was partially opened. Now, this is actually something that one of my 16 year old “residents” mentioned, but mainly because he likes to be oppositional.

Next, the structure of our program meant that each staff member was assigned a group of “residents” of the same gender. Granted, it makes sense because our title is Resident Advisor, so we will be living with them etc etc. BUT, I did find it strange that being an RA meant your contact was essentially limited to same gendered folks. Given that an inappropriate relationship is frowned upon, and did actually happen this summer. What if two same-gendered people did have a relationship? Then what about the rules?

So all of our group activities were based on same-gender groups, or packs as I like to think of it. We wonder why it is so hard to control the kids when they are in a single-sex group and forced to be that way when they are at the peak of puberty. To be honest, it is expected that 10+ students with similar hormones will cause trouble. No doubt about it. Either tons of bitching or violence.

Now the part that gets me is that the system forced the staff to fall into gender stereotypes. They hired a staff that was diverse in terms of interests, schools, majors and life trajectories yet we still were anchored to gendered roles. Two of the female RAs expressed disinterest in doing overly “girly” things like manicures, pedicures and tons of time shopping even though that’s what her girls wanted to do. And I know that me and another of the male RAs are way more cerebral than sporty – so our idea of fun wasn’t soccer or basketball.

You could say that it’s what was demanded, but only because the students wanted it. False. Some of the students wanted to do what other groups had done, one group falls into gender roles and it sounds appealing to the other group. Collapse differences because of group think, and you have reinforced some activities. I did have one student who wanted to go shopping, and many more who spent more time getting ready than girls did. But they always wanted to play sports or do otherwise hypermasculine things.

The structure of the program made some of these issues issues but I guess that’s just the way things often fall. But really, this is a tipping point for my next post.

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Meet the Butch Clothing Company: “the first clothing line aimed at butch women.”

Founder Shaz Riley says she’s cherished the dream of her own clothing line for more than 25 years, telling the Guardian, “All those years of having to wear men’s clothes will be behind me now. BCC will make a lot of butch women happy. If they have ever had to put up with negativity from people because of being butch, my clothes will give them the confidence to hold their heads up high.”

We’ve written before about the challenge of finding typically masculine styling that actually fits the very different proportions of a woman’s body; it’s not easy. Says Riley, “Butches don’t want to be or look like men; we just don’t want to wear female clothing,” and as such, her company, which operates online and through a Brighton-based consultation room, carries bespoke tees, pants, and shorts – and of course, formalwear. Seeing as it’s custom, Riley’s clothes don’t come cheap – but there’s every chance it’s just one of the first to address a yawning gap in the market. One can only hope that the concept can gain the traction to extend to more physical stores, too; Riley – as well as style sites dedicated to the subject – comment on the difficulty of dealing with hostile or simply unhelpful sales staff when shopping for menswear. And while formalwear – and competent, sympathetic staff – might be most needed in those cases, such as civil ceremonies, in which someone’s more inclined to pay custom-bucks, we’re guessing customers are going to want these options all the time.

We’ll let the site have the last word*: “The concept of our brand is simple. Butches are women; they are women who choose to wear men’s clothing. Apparel is a major part of the butch identity. We aren’t reinventing the wheel, just allowing our design team to create clothing based on classic male styles and the latest fashion trends.”

I just thought this was interesting, not much of a commentary here but an eye brow raise of intrigue.


I stumbled across this article/exhibit after looking at someone’s tumblr, and thank it unique enough to want to share.

The work is called the “Daintification of Masculinity” and “upsets” the gender binary in this author’s words:

My work explores gender permissions and the challenges that arise from straying from the prescribed norms. It questions the qualities of gender by considering what constitutes masculine and feminine. It critiques stereotypical gender mediums by creating “masculine objects” using “feminine processes” such as crochet, sewing, and applique.

I like this take on what is means to be masculine or feminine, although I guess it’s funny that my impression of them as they currently stands is novelty and not exhibition. Or I should say that because they have been crafted not genuinely that I see them as a novelty and not a statement, but that is statement enough as to how I have constructed gender in my own mind.

Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated, chime in?

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