After reading an article in the NYTimes I felt compelled to write to the world of the internet in hopes of gaining more knowledge and potentially starting a helpful dialogue on the subject of gender. I do find a lot of the things mentioned in the article below and the way they are mentioned very problematic, however I have had so many thoughts around the ever changing gender debate that I thought I’d share something I just read.
I have been thinking a lot about what does it mean to be a woman or a man and do these things even exist beyond concept and culture. I’ve wondered what does trans mean and how is it too defined by the current binary nature of gender roles in our society. Are there perhaps more genders that exist? Does trans perhaps perpetuate an idea that you have to be one or the other? What if there will soon be a new paradigm for looking at gender without taking away from anyones experiences?
I read a letter written by Laverne Cox where she mentions the idea of cis-normative beauty in reference to Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair cover shot…(“But what I think they meant is that in certain lighting, at certain angles I am able to embody certain cisnormative beauty standards.”) I understand the sentiment, but to be honest I do not necessarily think it fair to ascribe these beauty standards to cis-women. Rather I believe these are the standards that have been placed upon western women by the media and our culture. I think there are many people who identify as women that also do not prescribe to these standards, cis or otherwise.
I also wonder where the space to talk about all these things in an inclusive caring way might be possible. I do think we need to find better ways to communicate and become educated. That there need to be more outlets for all types of people to understand someone else’s story and even their own as we can be so far removed or in denial of our own personal struggles or privileges.
I want to know more. Yes I want to read articles and go online as it is accessible, but I also want to create community and meet with real people. I understand the need to be inclusive, but I also understand the need to also be aware of the history of our culture. We must create common ground to fight for what I believe at the end of the day is the same goal…equality, inclusion, and a space to be who you are and acknowledged for it…I may be forgetting something and recognize the wholes in my own narrative.
I had an incredible conversation Friday night with two amazing women in my life. It was so refreshing to be able to talk openly, share differing views, understand better the human condition. I did leave feeling more ready to take on this discussion. But when I read articles like this I start to feel confused at things like not being able to use the word Vagina or woman. I can hear both sides of the argument, and yet I still feel torn.
Where do we begin? How can we find better ways to love and care for one another, while not undermining experience? Words and language is powerful, how do we use it to our advantage without negating historical and cultural context?
If you would like to get together with me and talk about these things I would just love that and leave the floor open to be called-in. These are important issues…for some (maybe even many) they are life and death, so lets start acting!
A link to what I would call a controversial and slightly problematic article, with some thought provoking points…