The Pay Gap Is Between More Than Just Man & Woman

The Good 4 Utah, Gender Equality Bake Sale article opened up with he following line, “Here’s a quiz. 2 cookies, 2 chocolate chip cookies, exactly the same. Yet one sells for a dollar, the other 77 cents. Why? Because in America, for every dollar a man makes, a woman only makes 77 cents. So we’re raising awareness for this…” said Kari Schott with the Young Democrats Club at Jordan High School.” (good4utah.com) It is great that this bake sale was organized to spread awareness about the gender wage gap, it’s problematic that the chocolate cookies are the same. Why? Well since the cookies are the same it implies that men and women are exactly the same and that other factors such as race and sexuality for example do not have an impact to a person’s pay wage, when in fact it does. The bake sale fails to acknowledge intersectionality or gender diversity and it’s role in society and thus perpetuates a white cis-gendered feminist agenda, as opposed to a feminist agenda that acknowledges the differences amongst the population of all feminists. Whilst I acknowledge it is a great idea for awareness, it definitely fails in many ways.

Intersectionality is hugely overlooked within today’s society and perhaps because it makes introducing and educating others about these issues so complex. The bottom line is you cannot look at a situation through a single lens. For example, let’s say Fred is a queer, Jewish, cis-gendered man. Fred can only be viewed within the contexts of being a queer, jewish, cis-gendered man. His queerness can not be separated from his Jewish and cis-gendered perspectives and vice versa. We must view Fred on a whole as a queer, Jewish, cis-gendered man and we must observe how the different planes of his identity intersect, overlap, and interact with each other. The bake sale fails to do this by only breaking up the categories into Men and Women. This is also problematic because there are a wide range of gender identities that are not simply cis-gendered men, and a cis-gendered women, when in fact there are transgendered, intersex and other genders to be considered. Gender and Race have been known to affect pay wages and employment rates, for example in Canada, “…all racialized groups—except those who identify as Japanese and Filipino—tend to find themselves on the unemployment line more often than non-racialized Canadians. Racialized men are 24% more likely to be unemployed than non-racialized men. Racialized women have it worse: They’re 48% more likely to be unemployed than non-racialized men. This may contribute to the fact that racialized women earn 55.6% of the income of non-racialized men.” (Canada’s Colour Coded Labour Market, 2011) That is only amongst racialized populations, non-conforming gendered and disabled people are affected as well, again the bake sale has simply oversimplified the gender wage gap issue.

I personally felt that the bake sale was neat idea to raise awareness, after all anything yummy does attract people’s attention especially within the highs school setting. Though there should’ve been an attempt to diversify the baked goods, because in life not everyone is a chocolate chip cookie. The world has been made for chocolate chip cookies! So what are the brownies, cakes, Nanaimo bars, hard candies, baklava, tongyuan, mochi balls, cakes and pies (etc.) supposed to do? Surely the Chocolate cookies can’t speak for everyone. With the lack of representation and acknowledgement of these other diverse groups and issues that pertain to those groups, fixing these problems will be even harder if these issues are not brought to the forefront. We cannot fight for the equality of all women, for by saying so is assuming that all women have the exact same issues which homogenizes the group. Within that homogenized group some women’s issues a hierarchy will appear and some issue’s will become more of a priority than others for example white feminists’ priorities will be taken more seriously over a radicalized feminist’s priorities.

For some constructive criticism for the bake sale, I do not expect a high school bake sale to have a massive, diverse plethora of desserts to represent each non-white, cis-gendered, able-bodied, straight person out there. However, what I do expect is some attempt at demonstrating diversity. Have different desserts for the racialized, the disabled and queer gendered, and include a disclaimer that all groups are not represented due to the diversity of lives in America/ North America or wherever. It’s OK to acknowledge the impossibility of representing everyone at a bake sale. The fact that there is some acknowledgment to diversity opens up the opportunity for bake sale buyers to learn about the different groups out there. I would want the bake sale organizers to let it be known that the gender pay gap in America is not as black and white as being an issue between only men and women. It is an issue that involved all the parts of a person’s identity and we must investigate and acknowledge that.

Sources:

http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/gender-equality-bake-sale-causes-stir-at-utah-high/10246/0gE6cCkPA0mvNkLZEjyO4Q

http://www.policyalternatives.ca/sites/default/files/uploads/publications/National%20Office/2011/03/Colour%20Coded%20Labour%20Market.pdf

(I apologize for the lateness 😦  Also I love the theme of food)

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Why The Gender Pay Gap Has Not Gone Away.

At a recent bake sale at a Utah high school students decided to sell cookies for one dollar to males and seventy-seven cents to females as a reflection of the current pay gap in today’s society. In Canada our statistics tell us that for every dollar a man makes, a women with a graduate degree makes 96 cents, a women with a bachelor’s degree makes 89 cents and a women with a trade’s certificate makes a mere 65 cents to her male counterpart. (Stats Can) In the recent past social constructs told women that they were not permitted to be in the workforce and once given admission to join were doing so under the conditions of men who had already occupied it. Rooted in women’s initial entrance into the workforce, men continue to employ antiqued stereotypes about gender roles as a means to maintain the stable system of inequality that is the gender pay gap in society.

Despite huge strides made towards eliminating this belief, gender socialization still tells us from an early age that household roles for females take precedence over their roles in a career. There has been a stable system of inequality in place that places men as breadwinners and as a result power holders while women remaining at home, powerless. This system has been argued to have been maintained by stereotyping women as communal, docile beings. (Rudman and Glick) If a women’s career cannot be validated as her true job, instead of raising kids or maintaining a house, how can she expect to be credited for he work in the same way that a man is? It is also these same stereotypes of emphasized femininities that tell women that if she sticks to ‘traditional’ caring and nurturing roles she can bask in what society deems to be a woman. Seeking ‘non-traditional’ roles triggers sexism in her society. (Fine) I feel many women fear this backlash and work to fit the expected niche of a woman in a family. The concept of sacrificial motherhood means a woman may not be able to devote herself to a career in the way that a man can without fear of criticism. Sadly, I feel this means women will not pick careers that require extended amounts of graduate studies (often those that are high paying) or once having her career may not put in extra time, opting instead to use this time fulfilling duties she feels is expected of her at home. This pattern would maintain the pay disparity we see today.

It is important that pay inequality be viewed as a discriminatory act against women despite it not being as overt as a racial slur or a tangible hate crime. The discrimination a woman may face during both her hiring process and her time employed also correlates with how much she will make on average comparative to men. The jobs that often bring in a larger paycheck are those that are managerial positions. The traits that we associate with leadership are in direct conflict with traits that society perpetuates that belong to women. Studies have shown that agentic women are viewed to be socially deficient and as a result experience hiring discrimination. (Rudman and Glick) Discrimination is something that is learned and not innate. We see discriminatory practises intersecting with inbred social constructs to disqualify women from positions where they may earn higher wages. These constructs that do not have room for women in positions of power are the same that often delegate women to ‘pink-collar’ jobs where they are obstructed from advancing in organizational hierarchies. (Fine)

The androcentric lens in which many view our current workforce in free markets sees no pay gap. We seem to believe that where you end up is a direct result of the work you put in and the degrees you have earned. Removing this lens, you will see a hierarchy in which men are elevated. Susan Faludi asks “what ‘equality’ are all these authorities talking about?” She reminds us that American women make up two-thirds of poor adults and nearly seventy-five percent of women still make less that twenty thousand dollars per year. (Faludi) For women to make more however, men must make less. I do not think it is in the nature of anyone who holds power to relinquish it. Living in a society driven by personal incentive and gain, we often do not see people investing themselves in issues that do not affect them personally. In the United States, Reagen’s reign as president pushed millions of women below the poverty line as his administration made severe budget cuts to programs that serve women. (Faludi) You cannot expect an administration lead by and serving the interests of white, wealthy males to consider women, the poor and people of colour when making decisions. Until we see women, and all kinds of women, represented in places of power in society, I think it will be hard to push the issue of a pay gap to the forefront of any political agendas.

-srhs

-Word Count: 834

Works Cited

Rudman, Laurie & Glick, Peter. “Prescriptive Gender Stereotypes and Backlash Toward Agentic Women.” Journal of Social Issues (2001) : 743-762. Web. 2 Apr. 2015

Fine, Cordelia. Delusions of Gender. [Kindle Edition]. (2010). Retrieved from Amazon.com

Statistics Canada. “Women in Canada: A Gender-based Statistical Report.” (2013). Web. 2 Apr. 2015 http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/89-503-x/89-503-x2010001-eng.htm

Faludi, Susan. “Backlash, the undeclared war against American women.” (1991) Web. 2 Apr. 2015 <https://ereserves.library.queensu.ca/ares/ares.dll?SessionID=R112317293N&Action=10&Type=10&Value=13761&gt;

The harm surrounding the Twittersphere and rape culture

Media plays an impact on everyone’s life in current day society, influencing, and distracting people from the real harms being caused right in front of them. Through the use of Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. today’s generations are very easily manipulated through the technological advancements that grow with these social medias. This often leads to blunt remarks, and uncensored comments promoting rape culture and abuse.  In the case of Ashley Judd a famous actress, she speaks out on behalf of twitters lack of protection against abuse and rape comments. Social media has no protective boundaries to help ensure the safety from alleged misogynistic remarks towards female users and celebrities, causing rape culture to be belittled.

“It was time to call the police, and to say to the Twittersphere, no more.” (Alter).

Actress Ashley Judd spoke out on the harassment she and many other women have faced from the twittersphere, after receiving hateful online comments from a harmless tweet about basketball.  Judd found a direct connection between the harmless tweet she posted and the cultural misogyny that fuelled her experiences with rape and incest at an earlier time in her life. For today’s youth and young adults, technology and social media has been around for the majority of their lives, and takes up a lot of their free time.  This causes hegemonic masculinities as women are being subordinated to violence, aggression, and hate in the social media universe. Society develops this veil of ignorance towards how people should act on social media, as it is seen as harmless activity.

This not only happens to women however, as seen in the article from the reading “Why Does Popular Culture Treat Prison Rape As a Joke?” societies attitudes towards sexual abuse specifically sexual abuse in prison can lead to a culture surrounded by permissiveness (Clark).  By having this comedic sense of rape being okay in prison it dehumanizes the inmates and places them on a lower social status. Thus causing further problems amongst rape culture. As long as rape culture is not taken seriously in society it will continue to grow as a harmful presence on the Internet. Jokes being made about prison and sexual abuse should not be tolerated, and should be taken offensively when movies portray this as a comedic act. By film media portraying sexual abuse in such a way it influences the non-critical consumers as they fail to see the harm behind the comedic remarks. However people do not see the true harm behind rape culture and continue to joke about it online. “The impact on the people who are abused is significant both physically and psychologically” (Clark). The Internet space can conceptually be viewed, as not real, by not giving it the validity and attention it deserves when people are being abused. As spoken about in the reading surrounding abuse in prison, it is perfectly visible that these jokes and remarks have not just a physical impact on people but also a psychological one.  Female celebrities are expected to “grow thicker skin” and to not take these remarks personally. The media causes females and prison culture to be oppressed and victimized from the safety social media should be granting them.

However the sexualization of women in media does not help promote against these misogynistic remarks surrounding rap culture and abuse. In video games, film, and television women are portrayed as overly sexualized figures. In the reading “Same Shit Different World” avatars can be made in the gaming world to be hyper sexualized, and lack diversity. However in these online gaming worlds, they enjoy a sexualized culture, with dirty talk, cybersex, and harassment. These games have very few rules protecting people from verbal and sexual abuse, usually between older men and tweens. Without proper laws in these gaming worlds it promotes and encourages the use of sexual and verbal abuse online. These games however do not just promote abuse in the games but promotes abuse on social media accounts.

In order for these misogynistic remarks towards women in media to be stopped, stricter rules and regulations will have to be enforced. These social media outlets should start enabling stricter rules, banning, and reporting those who use these accounts to promote rape culture, and to harass other users. The themes in Ashley Judd’s article reflect universally how we talk about girls and women and raise a chain of questions; why was she wearing that? What did she drink? Why was she in that area of town? How late was it? By putting these restrictions on social media, society will stray away from these questions, and will place legitimate restrictions on tweets such as that which Ashley Judd was exposed to.

“I felt like I had the chance to finally speak, fight and grieve, and be consoled and comforted. But then, on literally the very next day, I received a disturbing tweet with a close-up photograph of my face behind text that read, “I can’t wait to c-m all over your face and in your mouth” (Alter).

Works Cited

Alter, Charlotte. “Ashley Judd Speaks Out About Twitter Abuse and Rape.” Time. 2015 <http://time.com/3750788/ashley-judd-speaks-out-about-twitter-abuse-and-rape/&gt;

Clark, Anna. “Why does popular culture treat prison rape as a joke? Our attitudes towards sexual abuse in prison leads to a culture of permissiveness that destroys lives.” Alternet. 2009

<http://www.alternet.org/story/141594/why_does_popular_culture_treat_prison_rape_as_a_joke?page=0%2C0&gt;

Forms of Backlash towards Resistance against Sexism, Rape Culture, and Racism

Kari Schott from Jordan High School, in Utah, created quite a controversy through her Young Democrats Club bake sale. The Young Democrats Club sold their cookies for a dollar to boys and 77 cents to girls (Carlisle). It was meant to raise awareness about the wage gap between men and women in America. Some commented that it was a clever way to put a light onto the issue but not everyone responded positively.

The bake sale has initiated a lot of discussions, both online and offline, about gender equality. Unfortunately, the Young Democrats Club fails to go past the ideologies of the second wave feminism, in that they see gender as a binary structure. They also fall short in acknowledging wage gaps for people of colour and for the LGBTQ community.

However, rather than focusing on the bake sale, I would like to highlight the way some reactions from Jordan High School, as well as from the comment section of the news article, are expressed. Interestingly, they bear the same pattern that occurs as responses to other women’s rights issue, such as rape culture, and social injustice like racism. Therefore, this article serves as an example of the nature of intersectionality of these issues.

Victim blaming is commonly seen in discussions about women’s rights, such as wage gaps and rape, as a response to justify the offenders’ actions. One of the comments on the article criticizes that women do not take high paying jobs. The commenter is accusing the victim for putting the misfortune on themselves, rather than examining the big picture and seeking systemic flaws, which inhibit women to get promoted to higher positions. Similarly, fingers are often pointed at rape victims for being under the influence, dressing inappropriately, and being out late. Victim blaming deflects the attention from the crime and the offender and reinforces dehumanization of gender and sexuality, which subjects them to further violence and abuse (Wolfe) (Faludi).

Another common reaction is questioning the validity of the data, thus, the existence of the problem itself. This is a response, by a Jordan High School student, taken from the news article:

“…I believe in their standing for a cause, but I just don’t believe the statistics they’re using are correct. I would love to have a debate with them, about what they believe in…” (Carlisle).

By using words like “believe” and “debate”, he illustrates the statistics as something questionable and can be proven false. In fact, I was able to trace a US government document that supports the data. A commenter of the article also suggests that wage gaps do not exist:

“So roughly half the people feel one way and half feel the other. Got it. I’m a hiring manager, I have all the salary data… I know we can’t underpay anyone and expect to keep them.” (Carlisle)

Again, by using a word like “feel”, the comment suggests that the problem is a matter of perception and emotions. On the contrary, by stating his position and authority, the commenter hints legitimacy of his personal experience in representing the entire condition. These remarks that reject the existence of problems are comparable to those made about racism in Canada. Well-known for our hospitality and multiculturalism, Canadians can easily assume that there is no racism in Canada. With thousands of Indigenous women disappearing, the false representation keeps others and Canadians ignorant about Canada’s race problem. By the way people word and present themselves, they can rephrase a fact as something arguable and deny that injustice exists in the first place.

In another news article, Schott states that several students called her sexist (Catalfamo). They argue that charging men more for the cookies is discrimination against men based on their gender, which is sexism. This idea that sexism can be directed towards the majority by the minority is analogous to the concept of reverse racism, where racism is directed towards white people by people of colour. A Video by Aamer Rahman covers issues, such as colonialism, imperialism, and privilege, to effectively explain why reverse racism does not exist (Rahman), which can also be applied to “reverse sexism”. The oppressors of both sexism and racism exist through privilege and power, which the minority group does not possess. Thus, “oppression” by the minority does not hold any real social implications on the majority. Some backlash, by suggesting the dictionary definition of sexism and racism, which defines them as discrimination against people based on gender and race, respectively. However, they fail to recognize the historical and social context the terms carry in real life. Sexism and racism cannot merely be defined as prejudices but a social hierarchy that systemically reinforces itself to assure the domination of a certain group. By illustrating victims as oppressors, these notions have repercussions similar to those of victim blaming.

Adverse reactions against movements to eradicate sexism are found in many forms, such as victim blaming, disregarding the existence of the injustice, and “reverse sexism”. Unfortunately, they are often obscured by nuances of language and are challenging to identify at first glance. Nonetheless, these reactions intersect with those of other social issues like rape culture and racism. Therefore, it is important to closely examine the phrasing and wording that can further contribute to oppression of minorities.

Word count: 880

References

Carlisle, Randall. “Gender equality bake sale causes stir at Utah high school.” Good4Utah (2015).

Catalfamo, Kelly. “Bake sale ignites gender controversy in Utah high school.” The Salt Lake Tribune (2015). <http://www.sltrib.com/home/2308842-155/sandy-students-use-bake-sale-to>.

Faludi, Susan. “Introduction: Blame it on Feminism.” Faludi, Susan. Backlash : the undeclared war against American women. New York: Crown, 1991. xi-xxiii.

Majority Staff of the Joint Economic Committee. Invest in Women, Invest in America: A Comprehensive Review of Women In the U.S. Economy. Government document. Washington DC: United States Congress, 2010.

Rahman, Aamer. Aamer Rahman (Fear of a Brown Planet) – Reverse Racism. 28 November 2013. 5 April 2015.

Wolfe, Lauren. Eight reasons why victim-blaming needs to stop: Writers, activists, and survivors speak out. 17 December 2012. 5 April 2015. <http://www.womenundersiegeproject.org/blog/entry/eight-reasons-why-victim-blaming-needs-to-stop-writers-activists-and-surviv>.

#BLACKLIVESMATTER

Since Trayvon Martin’s murder in 2012 there seems to be a rise of violence against black bodies in America. In 2014 there was an overwhelming amount of cases of police brutality and police caused murders against black people. From Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, the choking murder of Eric Garner in New York, to the murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, it has become apparent that black bodies and black lives are under attack. Beyond that it seems as though that neither the media nor the justice system is on the side of black people in the states. Courts have not been holding these murderers accountable for their crimes; many of these police officers are simply getting away with a slap on the wrist. The media has been labeling the victims as thugs and thief’s as if to say they are deserving of these crimes against them, and portraying their murderers in positive lights, attempting to minimalize their crimes. It seems as if this trend has followed us into 2015. In January alone there were already more then 50 police caused murders across the United States. (Fairbanks)

Along with murder there also seems to be a rise in police brutality especially during arrest. Almost everyday a video will arise on the web of of a black person being arrested and officers using unneeded force. The most recent of these cases was against student, Martese Johnson at the University of Virginia.

Martese Johnson, who is an honors student and star athlete at his university, went out for a night of drinking last month with his friends. While attempting to get into a bar he was turned away and the police were called. The police accused him of using a fake ID and preceded to arrest him, they exerted unneeded force upon him. Martese constantly tried to explain his innocence but the cops would not listen. The arresting police officers even went as far as shackling his feet. (Vultaggio) To a black person this is beyond degrading, given our history of slavery. His life should be respected. Whether or not he is a honour student or a star athlete, or even whether or not his ID was fake or real, Martese should have never experienced that much aggression nor brutality from the police, who are supposed to serve and protect us.

As stated before Martese Johnson’s case is just one of many occurring across the United States. Many Black people not only in America but also across the world have banned together to fight for equal rights for black people and to change the way in which the black community communicates with each other and how others view it. For many the only positive thing to come out of these crimes was the creation of #blacklivesmater. This statement has turned into a chant, then a trend, and now a community organization that has demands and goals it wants to achieve. (Blacklivesmatter.com) The group, much like the NAACP serves as a voice for the victims and families of the victims. They are specifically associated with violence directed toward black people and are all encompassing, serving both black men and women, black transgender people, black gay and lesbians, etc. (Blacklivesmatter.com) This is an important fact that adds to their message that every single black life matters.

The BlackLivesMatter movement also has done a great job of destroying anti-blackness mainly within the black community. Many people have found a greater sense of pride in who they are after realizing that their life is one that matters. They also have worked towards ending this belief in black respectability politics. Respectability politics is this idea that black people have to dress, talk and act a certain way in order to be respected in society, which of course is completely false. This is a delusional way of thinking that is very harmful and negative. For young people you are silencing their creativity and voice. Also telling them that their life only matters as long as they live up to this specific guideline. It’s very much racist and prejudicial.

Martese, Mike, Eric, and Tamir, are only a few of the countless names of black people who have been murdered or physically assaulted by police. These offences have shown a pattern of abuse and blatant disrespect toward the black community. These events are things that could have broken this community but instead have made it stronger. The organization BlackLivesMatter have done a lot to perpetuate a proud black image, as well as demand justice for these people who continue to go unpunished. It’s hard to understand how these issues are still so apparent in 2015. They shouldn’t be, there shouldn’t be such a clear divide in a society that claims to have equality.

Word Count: 800

References

Fairbanks, Cassandra. “People Killed By Police in 1st Month of 2015.” The Free Thought Project. N.p., 03 Feb. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.
“Support the Movement for Black Lives!” Black Lives Matter. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Apr. 2015. <http://blacklivesmatter.com/&gt;.
“Virginia Governor Calls for Inquiry into Student Arrest.” BBC News. N.p., 19 Mar. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.
Vultaggio, Maria. “UVA Student Martese Johnson Chained On Night Of Arrest, Twitter Photo Shows.” International Business Times. N.p., 25 Mar. 2015. Web. 07 Apr. 2015.

The social stigma surrounding the transitioning family structure

Social norms are an ever-changing notion in society, especially those norms surrounding family structures and minority social groups. When people in careers are given the opportunity to opt out of helping marginalized people they are in fact just dehumanizing them. This dehumanization involves not just homophobia but all cases of discrimination. However, when this is tied to family structures, it usually has to do with a disconnect from the “traditional family” views. Oppression and privilege can arguably be the two biggest factors in these cases, as they show how the views surrounding family structures cannot change until everyone equally receives privilege.

When the same–sex couple Krista and Jami Conteras welcomed a beautiful baby in to the world they were denied the access of the doctor originally scheduled for the 6-day old infant, based off their sexuality. The happy couple had met with Dr. Roi before their baby was born, who was a hundred percent supportive to be the babies doctor. However on the morning of the appointment they were greeted by another doctor and told that Dr. Roi would no longer see them due to religious beliefs. There is nothing stopping doctors from refusing patients if it coincides with their beliefs as “the American Medical Association says physicians cannot refuse to care for patients based on sexual orientation, but doctors can refuse treatment if it’s incompatible with their personal, religious or moral beliefs.”(FOX)

It is important to be aware of the social structures such as health care and education as they can often be the most prone to discrimination. Even though doctors can turn down patients who are part of the queer community due to personal, religious, or moral beliefs, it is seen as an arbitrary act of discrimination or dehumanization. Homophobia however, is apparent to be the main issue in cases involving the failure to treat same-sex couples the same as heterosexual couples. These acts of homophobia cause families of same-sex couples to be denied essential human rights, and cause greater struggles for their maturing children. Access to health care is an essential need for people, especially young children and babies as they are at a higher risk of catching illness. Doctor Roi took away the privilege of the six-day-old Bay and put Bay at risk because of the sexual orientation of the parents.

Without laws or privileges protecting same-sex couples they are being forced into oppression. Same-sex couples are not receiving the same advantages as heterosexual couples since they are not being granted this heterosexual privilege. As the one mother said “When we started calling other pediatricians my first thing on the phone was, we’re lesbian moms – is this okay with you,” Krista said. (FOX). Oppression is not just forcing this couple but many other people out there to face criticism because of their sexual preference. A Heterosexual couple in our society would never have to tell a doctor of their sexual preference just to see if they could be tended for. In a similar comparison an abled-bodied person would never have to face the levels of discrimination as a disabled person. In the article “Disability Beyond Stigma: Social Interaction, Discrimination, and Activism” we see a similarity to that of which the couple faced. In this reading it explains how disabilities affect people, and cause them to be treated with discrimination. Disabled people suffer from mobility, access, jobs, independency, and other basic life needs that abled body people have complete privilege of having. These stigmas can cause social problems, marginality, and discrimination amongst many other issues. This conception of society however can be viewed threw similar lenses. People of disability tend to get placed on a lower social hierarchy then able-bodied people, causing them to get less needed attention and more unnecessary, unhelpful attention. Like in the case with the lesbian couple they received the kind of attention they did not want from their doctor, which was hateful, and placed them as a lower social status then that of straight people.

Another circumstance can be seen in society when looking at the article “It’s all in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Nation” the family values can be seen to naturalize U.S hierarchies of sexuality, gender, and age. In the traditional family “Predicted on assumptions of heterosexism, the invisibility of gay, lesbian, and bisexual sexualities in the traditional family ideal obscures these sexualities and keeps them hidden” (Collins). This ideal figure of the traditional family does not conform to social minorities in the United States, as it is a naturalized hierarchy of gender and age. By looking at this Binary thinking of heterosexual and homosexual, society needs to help push the family structure away from this idealized traditional family and let the ideals of family become more fluid.

By being socially aware of the changing family dynamics on society, people will become more accepting of same-sex couple families as they are not uncommon in society. However to put an end to these serious conditions of oppression amongst families and individuals of minorities, they must enact laws that protect them just as much as it protects the minorities.

– Thatguy1214

Word Count: 858

References

myFoxDetroit.com staff.”Doctor refuses treatment of same-sex couple’s baby.” February 18, 2015. myFoxDetroit.8 March 2015.<http://www.myfoxdetroit.com/story/28142401/doctor-refuses-treatment-of-same-sex-couples-baby&gt;

Fine, Michelle and Adrienne Asch. “Disability Beyond Stigma: Social Interaction, Discrimination, and Activism” 1988. PDF. 10 March 2015 <https://ereserves.library.queensu.ca/ares/ares.dll?SessionID=W103152420G&Action=10&Type=10&Value=13664&gt;

Collins, Patricia Hill. “It’s All in the Family: Intersections of Gender, Race, and Nation” 1998. PDF. 10 March 2015. <http://www.jstor.org/stable/3810699?seq=4#page_scan_tab_contents&gt;

Transmisogny and Transphobia Within the Black Community

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Since I was a young child I’ve known whom the “other” is when it comes to gender identity. If I wasn’t hearing negative comments from family members, then I was hearing it on TV and in movies. People around me had no regard or care and often used words like “fag”, “homo”, “she/he”, and “tranny” to describe those who looked or acted differently whether or not they identified as gay or transsexual. These words that I heard and the negativity that I saw definitely had a stronger impact on my views and opinions than I ever realized. This became apparent to me when I was 13 years old and found myself committing what some would call a hate crime. Keep in mind that I lived in a predominantly Black Caribbean neighborhood, and in telling this story and writing this paper I am speaking from the position of a black female. There was a gay couple that lived in my neighborhood; sadly this couple was often the victim of a lot of ridicule by children in our neighborhood. Many parents were very aware of what many of their children were doing and beside a small slap on the wrist they would pretty much get away with their antics. Now, I would say that I wasn’t as bad as many of the children in my neighborhood but at times I was, although I knew right from wrong I still continued to do bad things. One afternoon l I was out with two of my friends. We happened to find an old spray can around the neighborhood and decided it was a smart idea to vandalize our neighborhood. As we walked around we found ourselves in front of the gay couples house, right away we started with the jokes. My friend said that the couple was always hiding and acted like they were afraid to let people know they were gay. Of course smart, bigoted 13-year-old Nyah took it upon herself to let the whole world know that this was a gay couple in our neighborhood. I took the spray can and painted the word “GAY” in big letters on the sidewalk in front of their house with arrow pointing directly to their door so that no one would be mistaken. I knew what would happen when I painted that, people would go their house, some of the older guys would possibly attack them, their neighbors who had no problem with them would start to judge them and as I painted those letters I instantly felt regret. It hurt me the most when I saw the couple come out one day and get on their knees to scrub away the words that I had branded on their sidewalk. The point of me telling this story is not to address my specific issue but rather to look at the whole picture. Any other child that was in my neighborhood at that time could have committed that crime. The point of that story is to comment on the transphobia, homophobia, and transmisogyny that are very apparent within not only the black community but within all communities. People often say that words are just words but words hold power. The words that I heard as I child shaped how I viewed the world, and believing in that point of view is what caused me to put those words into action. We have seen in recent history how hateful words create hateful actions. The LGBTQIA+ community already has an alarmingly high rate of homicidal deaths but recently the murder of Trans women has been on the rise especially the murders of Trans Women of colour. “Trans women make up 72% of anti-LGBTQIA+ homicide victims, and 89% of these victims were people of colour.”[i]

Laverne Cox’s speech addresses this specific issue and takes it a step further and puts an intersectional analysis on it. She discusses and tries to explain the overwhelming amount of transmisogyny and transphobia within society and specifically within the black community. Cox explains how a history of oppression, demasculinization and humiliation within slavery and the Jim Crow South have affected the black people of today’s society. On this she made a comment that really helps to put context and a background to the problem of transmisogyny within the black community,

“Most of us know that during slavery and during Jim Crow, black bodies, usually black male bodies were often lynched. In these lynchings, the men’s genitals were cut off. Sometimes they were pickled and sometimes they were sold. There was this sort of historic fear and fascination with black male sexuality.”[ii]

This quote in many ways introduces hegemonic masculinity within the black community. This idea that because of their violent history, black men feel that they have to prove their masculinity. When seeing someone who does not share that same belief, it is deemed as disgraceful and inappropriate and often leads to hate speech and violence. This issue of proving or defending masculinity goes beyond the black community. Our society is based upon a strict gender binary that is detrimental to all who do not fit within it. This being said we have to realize then that transmisogyny and transphobia are learned practices and are social constructs.

Cox offers a solution to this issue by sharing a quote from Cornell West that says, “Justice is what love looks like in public” and she goes on to say that, “If we can love trans gender people, that will be a revolutionary act.” I think along with love we have to focus on educating people as well to destroy their preconceived ideas of the “other”. I know that my opinions were changed through love and education. When we love and support those that are marginalized as well as educating those around us we are fighting against all of the “isms” and “phobias” that society has created and enforced upon them.

[i] Cox, Laverne. “Laverne Cox Explains the Intersection of Transphobia, Racism, and Misogyny (And What to Do About It).” Everyday Feminism. N.p., 07 Dec. 2014. Web. 05 Mar. 2015.

[ii] ibid.

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