Gender & Identity

I already posted about this on my tumblr, but I thought the issue was important enough to post here as well.

Pan Party: To the submitter via email address: (TW: gender erasure)

pansexualparty:

I’m sorry, I don’t feel comfortable posting your submission as it is.

You’ve kind of mixed up sex and gender, when you talk about being a girl or boy and genitals.

You’ve kind of mixed up gender presentation and gender, when you talk about suits and dresses.

Gender isn’t gender roles, either. And when you say that there’s no such thing as gender, and that gender is a social construct, I understand it’s because you’ve mixed it up with sex and presentation, but you erase people genders and insist they are false.

We all know that genitals, clothes or anything else isn’t gender and doesn’t define gender. But gender is real. You say you’re pansexual, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable in a relationship with someone who didn’t believe my gender existed.

Also, how did you submit via email address?

Totally right, it’s the presentation of gender, what is ‘normal’ and what isn’t, which is a social construct, not gender itself.

People construct their own gender themselves in the way that is true for them, to say that it is constructed by society is to take away a person’s identity, make them less of a person.

Bathroom Talk

My Google Reader continues to come up with little gems occasionally.

This is it’s latest offering:


- Poly in Pictures

This lead me to this fantastic essay on how images are used to segregate rest rooms. This of course is yet another way society polices and enforces its own construct of gender. (You can see my own thoughts on this subject here.)

GO WHERE? SEX, GENDER, AND TOILETS

Women’s and men’s washrooms: we encounter them nearly every time we venture into public space. To many people the separation of the two, and the signs used to distinguish them, may seem innocuous and necessary. Trans people know that this is not the case, and that public battles have been waged over who is allowed to use which washroom. The segregation of public washrooms is one of the most basic ways that the male-female binary is upheld and reinforced.

Click on picture for yet more gendered toilet signs.

As such, washroom signs are very telling of the way societies construct gender. They identify the male as the universal and the female as the variation. They express expectations of gender performance. And they conflate gender with sex.

I present here for your perusal, a typology and analysis of various washroom signs.

[Editor: After the jump because there are dozens of them... which is why Marissa's post is so awesome...]

The Universal Male

One of the ideas that supports patriarchy is the notion that a man can be representative of all humanity, or “mankind”, while a woman could only be representative of other women. For example, in politics we see “women’s issues” segregated from everybody issues.

Washroom signs illustrate this idea by depicting the male figure simply, and the female as some kind of elaboration on the male figure. Read the rest here.

An Animal Comparison

The courier man delivered an exciting package from Mighty Ape yesterday :)

The first book is Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihi, PhD.

I first became aware of this book during my Gender Studies paper at the beginning of last year. I wanted it back then, but time went by and I forgot all about it. My Sociology paper this semester reminded me about it, and I wasn’t going to let myself forget this time!!

It’s full of great tid bits of information, like how male giraffes prefer the company of other male giraffes, and how male ostriches will put on a much more elaborate mating dance for other male ostriches compared to those they put on for female ostriches.

There’s also an examination of the different types of family groups and coupling that goes on within the animal kingdom. Coupling doesn’t always mean the grouping of two in this instance, there are occurrences of pairs, triads, quads and more throughout the kingdom. There are also many instances of homosexuality, bisexuality, transsexuality, transgender, omnisexuality, non-monosexuality etc.

This is the quote that first piqued my interest:

The scientist gasps and drops the binoculars. A notebook falls from astonished hands. Graduate students mutter in alarm. Nobody wants to be the one to tell the granting agency what they’re seeing.

A female ape wraps her legs around another female, “rubbing her own clitoris against her partner’s while emitting screams of enjoyment.” The researcher explains: It’s a form of greeting behavior. Or reconciliation. Possibly food-exchange behavior. It’s certainly not sex. Not lesbian sex. Not hot lesbian sex.

Six bighorn rams cluster, rubbing, nuzzling and mounting each other. “Aggressosexual behavior,” the biologist explains. A way of establishing dominance.

A zoo penguin approaches another, bowing winsomely. The birds look identical and a zoogoer asks how to tell males and females apart. “We can tell by their behavior,” a researcher explains. “Eric is courting Dora.” A keeper arrives with news: Eric has laid an egg.

- Susan McCarthy


The second part of the exciting delivery was my very own copy of Animal Farm by George Orwell. After Terry Goodkind’s Sword of Truth series, this is my favourite book.

It’s a fantastic satirical look at Communist Russia, with Stalin and Trotsky being characterized as Napoleon and Snowball the pigs. They lead a revolution against the drunken Mr Jones of Manor Farm. The civilians of Russia are shown as the other farm animals.

If you haven’t read this yet, I strongly advise that you do. You won’t regret it.

Remember:

All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.

More Hate/Phobia In The Bisexual Community

NOTE: I have placed emphasis on the responses to the original post.  Seriously though, where do people get off, telling others who they can identify as and who they can be attracted to *rage*  I should also note that the responses (the rant) is from pronounnotfound (I think) and is not my own writing.  I just placed emphasis to make it easier to read.

Snagged from Pansexual Pride Flag:

Can I just say, I HATE it when people refer to themselves as pansexual?

pronounnotfound:
Yes, you can say. Freedom of speech, blah blah blah. But just because you have the right doesn’t make it right to say.

pyroblackcat:
It’s like they’re putting themselves up on this nonexistent pedestal. The definition of pansexual is ‘being attracted to ALL genders’.

Good job, you can read a dictionary and/or know basic prefixes.

NEWSFLASH: THERE’S ONLY TWO.

NEWSFLASH: You’re wrong. Not only are you wrong, but you are not the ultimate arbiter of what is and isn’t.

As in bi-. So if you don’t care which of the two your mate is, you are bi-sexual.

Again, there are more than two! It’s not a fucking “which” sort of choice!

Other definitions say its the attraction to who a person really is, the attraction to their mind and not their sex.

Attraction, a word which here means, you want that person. In whatever way. If we were all intangible minds floating around, it’d be different, but we’re not. We’re flesh and blood, male and female. You can be attracted to one of the two, both of the two, or none of the two. There’s no fourth option.

Attraction, a word which means here… attraction. I’m just going to throw out romantic attractions here. There is a fourth option. And a fifth and a sixth and a seventh, etc. I really think, here, what is happening is that you are conflating sexual attraction and romantic attraction. You seem aware of the fact that asexual people exist (still no cookies for you), but you seem to be unaware of the fact that many asexual people still have happy, healthy relationships even though they don’t experience sexual attraction to people. Why? Because they are romantically attracted to people. I won’t keep going on on this point, as I am not asexual. If any of my asexy followers want to take this part up, go for it. And, having said that, I am going to point out that people who aren’t asexual also have romantic attractions. Most people do. I know a few people here and there who are bisexual, but only heteroromantic. Just. Yeah.

Also on this point, sex ≠ gender. A vagina doesn’t make you a woman. It makes you the owner of a vagina. I know some pretty fucking awesome men who are also the owners of vaginae. And and and. Sex itself isn’t even binary, let alone gender. This statement that “we’re all…male and female” is false. You’re erasing intersex people right there. If you don’t know what intersex is, Google it. And, even in the male and female sexes, there is room for much variation.

It’s a pet peeve of mine.

Ignorance is a pet peeve of mine.

Like, you’re pansexual. Okay, what does that mean? You like pans? When I hear the prefix pan- I think pandorama, pandemic. Everything everywhere. Pair it with -sexual and the visual I get is anything that breathes. Animals included.

Right, because pansexual people don’t get this load of bullshit all the time. You aren’t witty or edgy by saying this. Seriously. All right. I’ll be frank. I always have a hard time refuting this for two reasons: 1) I get really pissed off when people make this statement and 2) I end up stumbling all over my words. But run with me for a minute. Following this logic, that pan means all, period, rocks and trees and steel girders and everything, then what does bi- mean in the same context? Two of what? Like… are bisexual people attracted to men and… hooded sweatshirts? That’s two things. That would be bisexual by your logic, right? That little -sexual bit is the key part, here. So, please, fuck off with all the funni jokesies abt teh silleh pansexual ppls. We deal with that shit all the time. It’s tiresome and repetitive.

I feel like it’s just another silly label people have made up to make themselves feel special in some way.

No. Just… no. People, in general, don’t “make up labels” for giggles. They make labels because they fit them better than labels that existed previously. They make labels because they have the right to define themselves. You know who doesn’t have the right to define other people? You and other ignorant asses like you with opinions.

In this one post, you have managed to erase people with non-binary genders and intersex people and you’ve insulted anyone with a multi-sexual orientation that isn’t bi. And probably a lot of people who are bi, too, to be frank. And people with multi-romantic orientations. And people with romantic orientation, which is a lot of people. This is all a lot of people. Please, educate yourself before you go around bashing people by using antiquated ideas of sex and gender and sexual orientation.

I can’t anymore. I am tired of being erased and demeaned and being unable to articulately defend myself. So here it is. A pissed off response. And you know what? I know some pansexual people who take on the label without really understanding it and then run around being all high and mighty about it. Maybe I even come off that way sometimes, I don’t know. But that is not every pansexual person. Stop lumping everyone together. You don’t do it with straight people, do you? You don’t have one bad experience with a straight person where they are rude to you and then run around saying every straight person is rude and the straight orientation makes people rude and only rude people identify as straight, do you? No? I didn’t think so. So don’t do it to people with other orientations, either.

This fails, I know. If someone wants to pick it up and do a better job than I did, go for it. Seriously.
/rant