I was born to be a radical feminist – and it is nothing radical

I When I was in school and a boy teased me, the other girls said: “It is because he likes you!” I told them that if he likes me, he is supposed to treat me well. It seemed elementary to me. I did not know it yet, but there was a group of women out there who understands why men and boys treat even women they supposedly like badly – and why it matters.
When I could not see the use of wearing make-up, and my mother begged me to please, at least, put on a little lipstick, these women already understood why society expects this of me – and how their expectation is a problem: Continue reading

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Gender discussion: Could we please include all the stakeholders?

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I have been discussing gender roles for years. Nowadays, when I do that, transgender activists also enter the discussion. From them, I learned that some people in this discussion exclude others and are filled with fear. Continue reading

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Gender issues: Who are the stakeholders?

 

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“He commanded that I give up my car, my tv, my guitar, etc, I complied with only a whimper of protest. I didn’t have the rights to own things anymore. I was a wife now, and my husband was my spiritual authority. …So later, when my husband gave me lists for what I had to clean to perfection before being allowed to go to bed at night, etc, I submitted because I thought that was what God wanted… According to the teachings of this camp, the only time a wife has the right to say no to her husband is when he’s asking her to sin. And giving a detailed list of how the kitchen had to be completely sanitized and toothbrush-scrubbed before I could climb the stairs for bed (where he was waiting for me, ready for some action), was not sin. Right? My heart would sink to my stomach as I climbed those stairs, finally done with my job, and, get this, again… I would be so ashamed of myself for MY sin at not being a cheerful and amorous wife.” – Journey

In 2014, MMA fighter Tamikka Brents got a concussion and a broken orbital bone after a two-minute beatdown from Fallon Fox. Fox was born male, or “Assigned male at birth” (AMAB) in transgender language.

[My son] was getting bullied at football. They called him a ‘shemale’ and wouldn’t pass him the ball because they thought he looked too much like a girl. – Christa d’Souza, discussing her long-haired 10 year old.

In the UK, 300 members of the labour party allegedly quit because the party included transwomen on all-women shortlists. “They claimed without a gender recognition certificate “any man can simply claim to be a woman” and make a shortlistsome female activists … believe allowing transgender women on to all-women shortlists for certain parliamentary seats will make it harder for other women to stand for office.”

“I went to seminary, but no church in my denomination wanted me as a pastor because I am a woman” – The lament of hundreds, perhaps thousands, of women who hope to be preachers.

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All the above stories concern people who, in some way, was affected by issues of gender. I will start this post by defining gender. The World Health Organisation (WHO) define it this way:

Gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics of women and men – such as norms, roles and relationships of and between groups of women and men. It varies from society to society and can be changed. – WHO

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Unsure origin, found on pinterest: https://za.pinterest.com/pin/593771532091257445/?lp=true

In short, for the discussion I will have here, “sex” denotes biological truths – genitals, the chromosome that is usually XX or XY (but could have a few other, rarer permutations), and secondary sexual characteristics. “Gender” are socially constructed expectations of women or men – if you call mascara and high heels, or a nurturing nature, feminine, you are discussing gender, not sex. If you call a dominant personality or mathematical ability masculine, you are discussing gender, not sex.

At times, it is not the whole society, but the individual who defines his or her gender. A transwoman, for example, usually has a fully male body and says he is a woman, hence being a “trans” (trans = other side of) woman. “Trans” is a verbal admission that your body (your sex) and whatever else you think make you female (or male, or neutrois, or genderflux, or demiboy, or ambigender, or …) are not on one side.

(I think transgender folks probably has a misconception about those they call cisgender. But that is a topic for another blog entry.)

All the following groups are affected by gender:

1) Everyone who is pressured to fulfill a certain role which is regarded as suitable for their sex:
From a boy who hear he is supposed to be tough and not show emotions, to a woman who is asked to submit one-sidedly to her husband, to an autogynephile (a man who gets sexually aroused from thinking of himself as a woman) who get ridiculed for going to town dressed “as a woman” (quotes, because in order to believe he is dressed as a woman, you need to attach a gender to clothes) , all of them are affected by gender, by the expectations we connect to the sexes.

2) Everyone whose competencies is undervalued, or their problems under-estimated because of their sex (or gender):
These are, more often than not, women. For two examples, many woman writers found their manuscript has a better chance of getting accepted for publication if it comes from a man. And some studies find that doctors take the pain of male patients more seriously.

3) Everyone who need a safe space, away from a sex or gender who are generally stronger/ more likely to commit crime:
In this issue, the trans lobby often mention the example of transwomen who will feel safer in, for example, a female prison. I can see the point, but a counter-argument is true for another part of their group: Transmen also feel safer in female prisons. Should a biological woman – who in most cases did not have plastic surgery to look male – who feels, in her heart, she is a man, be sent to a male prison?

What about biological females? Would we be less safe if we allow penis-having people to self-identify whether they want to enter our spaces? The argument is not even that transwomen are dangerous. It is that dangerous men would, assuming anyone could choose to enter female spaces (with complaining women called bigots), do so for nefarious reasons – not because they are trans. This does not create a safe space for any women, trans or so-called cis.

4) Everyone who need words to describe themselves

I identify as member of a group whose birth was announced as “it is a girl!” Who was told, in childhood, that I should help more in the house than my brothers – because I am a girl. I never had the chance to study for the job I want – all people I ever saw doing the job was from the other roughly half of the population. Who had problems with menstrual cramps and menstrual shame. Who got told that it is my job to say “no”, sexually, as the other group cannot control themselves. Who got told I must accept hair-pulling and being made fun of by the other group, “they are showing they like you.” Many members of my group worry about pregnancy, being abused by a partner, irrational expectations for how hard they should work on outward appearances, and in some other countries, FGM.

I wonder if there is a name for my group? Women? No, say the transgender lobby, as transmen also give birth and get menstrual cramps, and all the rest. And there are people who never menstruated, who can get a partner pregnant, whom society expect to put on pants and men’s shoes and no make-up, who are also women. Women is the name for all who feel in their hearts they are women.

“Wait a minute”, I say, “that is a circular definition. It is like telling me zuxicovs are all who feel in their heart they are zuxicovs. It gives us no idea what a zuxicov – or a woman – is.”

“We call you vagina havers”, says the transgender lobby. Hhmm, it sounds rather crude to me. I prefer “woman.” Plus, everything that has ever been written to give a modicum of help to vagina havers contain the word “women”. For example, knowing what problems we face, some philanthropists put out bursaries for girls/ young women. The intention was to help vagina havers – should we now exclude the vagina havers who feel in their heart they are male from those bursaries? Medical professionals have studied pregnancy – should everything they wrote, containing the word “women”, now be seen as offensive and discriminatory for not mentioning transwomen or transmen?

What about “assigned female at birth”?, asks the transgender lobby. Among the problems with those is that it is not a word, but a multi-word description. Secondly, there are laws in many countries – in my country it is constitutional – to not discriminate against women. There are no laws that prevents anyone from discriminating against a birth assignation. If, for example, a business has both men and transwomen in management, they could be said to not discriminate against women.

5) The autistic community

A disproportional percentage of youths who don’t feel masculine or feminine enough are on the autism spectrum. As I see it, handling of this issue could go in one of two basic directions:
* The child could be told to disbelieve gender stereotypes: He is not “girly”, nor does he fail at being a boy, if he has more fears than other boys, or likes pink toys, unicorns, and glitter. As a parent, you could ensure him that his male body is perfect, so is his autistic mind, and so is his preference for so-called “girly” things. (For an autistic girl, use stereotypical “boyish” behavior and clothes, and call her girl body perfect.) This has the potential of not solving the child’s unhappiness wih who he is.
* The child could be told that he is indeed a girl if he say so/ she is indeed a boy if she says so. The parents could assist the child in believing he is a girl (or she a boy), and encourage others to do the same. This implies that the child’s body is wrong – and this implication is made to a child who already hears his or her autistic mind is wrong. It also implies that sterilization, puberty prevention, and life-long hormonal medication, is the best way to deal with someone who is not happy with his or her body as it is.

 

How does this overlap with 1. feminist and 2. transgender concerns?

(a) Women – the group feminists care about – are often (a1) pressured to fulfil roles suitable for women – and those roles tend to be subordinate roles; often (a2 )get their competencies undervalued because of their sex, and often (a3) need a safe space away from men. Women are (a4) as likely as men to want to describe/ identify themselves. Some women are (a5) autistic.

(b) Transgender people are often (b1) pressured to fulfill roles suitable for their biological sex – those roles could be subordinate or dominant; could (b2) get their competencies over- or undervalued because of their sex or gender, and often (b3) need a safe space away from biological men – this goes for both transmen and transwomen. Transgender people also (b4) want to describe/ identify themselves. A disproportional percentage of transgender people are (b5) autistic.

My conclusion:

Gender-related issues affects everyone or almost everyone. The transgender community is affected, but are only a small percentage of the population. The majority of people affected by gender issues are not transgender. As such, the trans community should get a place at the gender discussion table, but they should not be allowed to silence other stakeholders, like (so-called cis) women.

Gender-roles

They, too, are affected by gender roles.

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I am autistic. Autism awareness can go to hell. Unless…

2 April is World Autism Awareness day. This post is my Autism Awareness contribution.


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A recent South African movie, Raaiselkind (Puzzle child), was about parents who struggled a lot with their autistic son. The producers said they wanted to help with autism awareness. A good thing, you think?

Well, some autistic South Africans gave them advice about changes they could make to represent autism better. They could, for example, mention that not all autistic people are like the child in the story. And that there are some actually autistic people who can shed light on why autistic children behave the way they do. Continue reading

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The Rose McGowan incident shows how trans activists are wrong about feminists

Imagine, for a moment, a women’s shelter advocate in the USA named Trudy. Trudy has never done anything in particular for abused women in Latvia. She has never been in Latvia and did nothing there. She does not speak one word of Latvian.

Now imagine a man saying:

“Latvian women’s issues are women’s issues. If Trudy is not fighting for Latvian women, Trudy is not fighting for women.”

It would be complete nonsense. The first sentence does not lead to the conclusion in the second sentence.

Trans activists make an equally silly claim. Here, I quote the words of Andi Dier, a transgender child sexual predator who harassed Rose McGowan at a book promotion at Barnes & Noble a week ago:

“Trans issues are women’s issues. If we’re not fighting for trans women, we are not fighting for women.” – Andi Dier 

Others claim Continue reading

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Children’s ministry: Illustrate the creation lesson while you tell it

Many lesson series for teaching children has a creation lesson at the start of the year. This is a stick figure drawing, easy enough for the artistically handicapped among us, to help children remember the days of Genesis 1.
I am not trying to tell you how to present the lesson or what application you should have for the lives of children, so the wording will be short. (Refer to your Sunday School/ children’s church manual for your lesson message.) Some explanations – what a cloud is, the meaning of “separate” – is for younger children and may not be needed in your class.

You need: A writing board or large piece of paper stuck to the wall/ to corrugated cardboard; 2 colors of pen/ crayon for the type of board you use (use the brighter color for the numbers, the other for the rest.)


The beginning: God made the heavens and earth. This circle side (show on the picture) is earth, the rest is the heavens. The earth was empty and dark, but God(‘s Spirit) was already there.

 

Day 1: This long red line I am drawing is a 1, for the first day. (Color to the right of the 1 with a dark color. If you use a blackboard, leave the dark side and color with the side of white or light blue chalk on the left side.) God separated light and dark. To separate things is to take them away from one another. He put darkness on one side and light on the other side.

Day 2: (Draw a 2 with clouds above and water lines on the earth.) God separated – took away – the water in the air from the water on the earth. Clouds are water that is up in the air.

Day 3: (Draw 3 as a line between land and sea, and a few plants on the land side.) God made dry land appear, and He made plants.

Day 4: On day 4 to day 6, God made things to live in the places he made the first 3 days. On day 4 he made things to live in places made on day 1, on day 5 to live day 2 places, on day 6 to live in day 3 places. On day 4 he made the sun for the light He made, and the moon and stars for the darkness. (Notice how two fours are used as lines for the sun and for a star.)

Day 5: (A 5 in the air makes a wing and part of the tail for a bird, and a fish’s side fin is the rounding of another 5.) On day 5 God made birds for the air He made, and fish for His sea.

Day 6: (Draw a few animals with sixes as faces or bodies.) God made animals to live on the ground. This is a cat face and a lamb. Up to now, God called it all “good.”
(Draw two stick figures with sixes as faces and a part of hair.) Now God calls it “very good.” The earth with humans is better than the earth without it.

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What 50 Shades of Grey (and other romantic stories) really say about women – it was not what I thought

When “50 Shades of Grey” came out, I did not want to live on this planet any more. In my mind, women were reading about a woman getting beaten and stalked – and enjoyed hearing how she suffers. I read excerpts like these, and was horrified. Continue reading

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