Posts Tagged ‘Gender’

I feel a little bad about it, but it seems I can never go through a cultural competence seminar about LGBTQ folks without getting annoyed at some aspect of it that I feel the presenter has gotten wrong.

A major one is conflating gender identity with gender expression. So many times I’ve had these trainings teach that gender identity is how masculine or feminine one is, or how much a person fits social norms for being a man or a woman.

NO!!!

That’s gender expression. Someone female assigned at birth may be very masculine and always wear men’s clothing while still identifying as a woman. That woman’s gender identity is “woman” but her gender expression is masculine.

Another person female assigned at birth may be trans and identity as a man, his gender identity is “man”, yet he may still have a feminine gender expression.

Essentially, these two thing can come in all combinations.

Gender identity is really nothing more than the gender one identifies as. The end. There are no rules for it, no qualifications one must meet. There is no test that will tell you your correct identification based on clothing, characteristics, or sexual orientation.

For myself, I am a cis women, and tend to be slightly more to the feminine side in terms of gender expression, though I often feel very mixed in terms of it as in many ways I am. I have many characteristics deemed masculine by society, an many deemed feminine. In term of appearance I’m pretty femme though I still sometimes prefer more masculine looks.

When it comes to how I feel about my gender I actually have a lot in common with many gender queer friends who are faab (female assigned at birth). The big difference though is that they identify as gender queer because of the ways they have felt out of place in terms of social norms for women, and for me despite the ways I have felt out of place in terms of social norms for women, I still identify as a woman.

That’s how it works! Gender identity is personal and based simply on what gender(s) you feel describe you best according to your own feelings and preferences. Often this matches up with gender expression, but it does not always an does not need to.

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I’ve been thinking recently about how we perceive aging and appearances.  Particularly for women.  It’s commonly said that man more attractive, more dignified looking,  as they get older, whereas for women youth is paramount.

Which is bullshit.  It really is.  Why is being young considered so desirable for women? 

I have times I look back at photos of myself in my later teen years and think I liked so much better,  and why didn’t I appreciate it at the time?  (Side note but when u do thin this,  I try to remind myself that I may feel that way about myself currently,  so I need to appreciate myself now. )
But other times,  I look in the mirror and think I like how I look now much better than when I was 18, despite all the reasons I “shouldn’t” according to whoever.  And I am still fairly young, and so subjected to little of the negativity women get about their appearance and worth as they age.  All I often hear messages about how is all downhill after 18 for women, and I think- why should I want to look 18 again?

Why should I want to be 18? What is it about being young we desire so much?  I have learned so much since then,  I have gotten wiser,  smarter,  and stronger.  I am less inclined to tolerate bullshit,  and I have a better understanding of what really matters in life.
I care less what people in general think of me,  I care less about being cool,  popular,  or fitting in.  And frankly,  I often look forward to getting even older and giving less a shit about these things as time goes on. 

Photo of my jeans

Photo of my jeans

A little while back I went to a thrift store with a friend and decided to buy some men’s jeans, because I was interested in playing with some less femme outfits.

This pair of men’s jeans has now become my go to pair of jeans… mainly just because they are currently the only jeans I own that both fit and don’t have huge gaping holes in the thighs.

Wearing them though has really emphasized some of the difference between men and women’s clothing. These are things I sort of knew before, but it’s different to hear about than experience.

The First is Obvious: The Different Cut

Like I said- obvious. Though despite knowing that men’s pants were not designed for people with significantly wider hips than waists, it still didn’t help to much with trying to guess what would fit me. Although men’s jeans are sized supposedly with straight forward numbers for waist and inseam, that didn’t help me much. Should I try to find a waist size that is the size of my hips? No, surely that would be too big… But it should definitely be larger than my actual waist size.

It didn’t help trying to guess that the men’s jeans that fit me look way larger than women’s jeans that fit me because of the fact that they are basically straight up and down. The women’s jeans I typically wear have a smaller waistband than hip/ass area, then they are fitted around thighs, knees, and upper calf then either straight down from the calf or slightly wider after the calf. So men’s jeans that fit around my hips look massively larger in every other area.

I think the size for these jeans ended up being about 5 inches larger than my actual waist measurement. I expected them to be a bit on the big side and to need a belt but they actually fit fine without a belt. A bit loose around my waist when standing, but smaller than my hips by several inches still so no risk of falling off. So clearly I was right that I didn’t need to get a waist size as large as my hips, but certainly more than just a couple inches larger than my waist.

Oh, also I wear them around my waist, higher than most of my women’s jeans fit. Because I cannot get used to men’s clothing were the crotch ends up between your thighs.

The Material is Thicker

This is probably the biggest difference. The material is so thick and heavy to me. There are good things and bad things about this, it’s been an adjustment getting used to how heavy they feel compared to women’s jeans because they have a thicker material. Also more material than fitted women’s jeans that I would wear, but even compared to some wide legged women’s jeans I’ve had, these are much heavier because the material is so much thicker.

Like a lot of women my size, I am constantly having to replace jeans because the thighs end up with huge holes in them from my thighs rubbing together while walking and wearing away the material. I find myself wondering how long I could go before that would be a problem with these jeans- I am sure they would last much longer due to the thicker material that seems designed to hold up to wear better.

Now obviously I am working with a very limited and bias sample here. Also for women’s jeans I prefer the stretch material jeans which is a thinner material. But imagining tight fitted pants in the material of my men’s jeans… I don’t think I’ve able to move!

The Pockets are HUGE

Seriously- HUGE! I’ve always known that men’s jeans have bigger pockets, but damn! Even when I have women’s jeans with pockets, and pockets that seem a decent size to me, my phone will typically take up the whole pocket and still be sticking out a little. If I put my wallet and keys in my pocket- part of that is hanging out.

These jeans though- the pockets are almost the size of my primary purse. I have purses that are smaller than these pockets! I feel like I need to put my phone on a string to pull it out of the depths of the pockets. I could fit whole books in the pockets if I wanted to- not that I really want to, but I could! They pocket starts a little below my waist and ends about halfway down my thigh. Now, I’m only 5ft, so that is obviously not as far a distance as taller people, but still. HUGE!

Really the main take away though, and reason I felt like posting this is how much it really makes obvious to me how men’s clothing are designed for function, and women’s clothing are not. Women’s clothing often don’t have pockets at all, or small pockets when they do, because pockets can ruin the lines and look of clothing- no one gives a shit about if you have shit you need to put in a pocket, it’s always appearance over function. The thinner material likely goes hand in hand with fit difference, women’s being designed typically for a form fitting look. Yet it definitely has me wondering about the average lifespan of men’s jeans vs women’s jeans, because I am sure these men’s jeans will hold up longer than my women’s jeans.

1 Mile Run

Posted: September 14, 2015 in Running Blogging
Tags: , , ,

I was planning to get in 3 runs last week but after the Wednesday running group I couldn’t walk without limping until today. Feet still hurting, but I decided to go out for a short 1 mile run (plus warm up walk and cool down walk) after my OHP workout today.

OHP’s didn’t go great. I find it very hard to make progress on them and was feeling very weak during the workout.

So then out for my run. Not used to measuring my runs in distance. Had runkeeper set to repeat .5 mile run with a warm up and cool down. So warm up walk, then I get the notification for my first .5 mile run. After the first block of running I’m thinking “how far is a mile? Am I almost done? I don’t think I can run this whole distance.” But shortly after 5 minutes ish in I was feeling better about it.

Notification for the second .5 mile run which meant time to turn around and head home. About 2 blocks in, I stop for a car- this time of night/morning the lights are blinking reds or blinking yellows and no sidewalk crossing signals, so I just wait for cars to clear. Except even after I wave for him to go, he is still stopped at the light with no traffic. Ok, I’ll cross then. As I’m in front of him I hear the person honk. I finish crossing and take out my headphones, but I don’t hear anything at first, then dude pulls slowly around a bit and next to me and says something I can’t hear, so I walk back a bit and ask what he said. He says something about working out together, and wanting to meet new people. So I respond “you want to workout with me?” He says yes, says he walks in the mornings and it would be nice to have someone to walk with. Then he says “or do you have a boyfriend?” I ask him if he’s looking for a walking buddy or a date. I don’t have a boyfriend but I also don’t typically date men. He says he just wants a walking buddy but wouldn’t want to be talking to me if I have a boyfriend.

… So you just had to check if another man owns me or not before talking to me?

So that’s new!

So I went back to my running, thinking how I won’t be able to have an accurate sense of my pace during the mile now.

Though I was a bit confused how doing .5 out and .5 back the second .5 was a full block longer than the first somehow o_0 What’s with that runkeeper?

I am now back to limping :-\

I’ve also been out of kinesiology tape for awhile. Hopefully once I get some more and go back to taping I won’t be limping between runs like this.

I think everyone should go check out this blog post by an MIT student about research on stereotype threat, and research on ways it can be countered.

In a now-famous study, psychologists at the University of Berlin falsely told participants that they had been selected to participate in a series of tests “to measure the ability to put oneself in someone else’s position” – a fabrication devised to avoid confounding factors in their real study on gender identity priming. They prepared a text describing a day in the life of a “stereotypical woman” who takes care of her family, works part time, and is insightful, helpful, and agreeable. They also prepared an equivalently-structured text outlining the activities of a stereotypical manly man who is tough, risk-taking, and does weight training after work. Subjects were randomly given one of the two texts, and then asked: “If you were the person described in the text, which adjectives would you use to describe yourself?”

Soon after participants described themselves with either the male- or female-associated traits, they were asked to take a mental rotation test presented as independent of the first part of the study, supposedly to measure their personal spatial aptitude. On this mental rotation test, women who were “primed” with the female identity scored an average of 3.86 on the exercise, compared to the female-primed males’ average of 5.14. Okay, expected. But then when primed with the male text, women scored an average of 5.49, while men scored 5.53… wait a second, what?

As it turns out, there is zero statistically significant gender difference in mental rotation ability after test-takers are asked to imagine themselves as stereotypical men for a few minutes. None. An entire standard deviation of female underperformance is negated on this condition, just as a man’s performance is slightly hindered if he instead imagines himself as a woman. (well then.) Although this study is of course not a logically definitive answer to all things “nature versus nurture,” it does add a tremendous structural asset to the growing mountain of evidence that “natural” ability differences are confounded by identity and subconscious self-stereotyping. Demographic expectations may be subtle or overt, but they are omnipresent, and they are likely much more powerful than most of us have ever considered.

There is a lot more really great info in the original post, so go over there and read the whole thing!

I at least thought about writing this awhile ago and couldn’t remember if I actually did or not, but I tried looking and didn’t see any post about this, so I’m assuming it was one of those things I thought “I should write a blog post about that” and never did.

I’m fat. It would make perfect sense in dating for me to want to date people who have a preference for people with my body type. Yet whenever I come across someone who self-identifies as a “chubby chaser”, or says they want a big girl, a bbw, or whatever else, I tend to avoid pursuing anything with that person. I actually have the same reaction to women who say they are only looking for femmes/lipstick lesbians/girly girls/”a real girl/woman” despite the fact that I am also femme, and the reasons are actually very similar.

Finding Someone Sexually Attractive Does Not Equal Respect

Ok, this probably isn’t really a “reason” so much as a side problem- but it is bizarre to me how many people have a preference for something in a sexual/romantic partner without having respect for people with that characteristic.

I’m starting with this because this post was largely inspired by a woman I met from Tinder not long ago. The fat issue was actually one of the least offensive things during the date, yet it still was offensive.

I met this woman from tinder and almost immediately she starts complaining about how fat her ex was, and how she was so fat because she ate all the time, and she complained about getting fatter, and so she just needed to stop shoving food in her mouth then, and on and on about how fat her ex was as a negative thing. Which was really awkward for me as I’m sitting there quite obviously fat, yet wanting to avoid any confrontation over this because that’s the last thing I want when meeting someone from a dating app. When I meet someone from a dating app/website and things do not go well, I just want to be able to be polite until it’s over and then never talk to you again.

This would have been bad enough, but was actually worse to me given that right toward the end of our meeting she starts telling me how attractive she finds big girls, like me, and has always dated big girls except once she dated a thin girl but did not enjoy it or find her attractive.

… You prefer big girls like me, yet still use fat as an insult after breaking up with your ex? It’s a good thing up until things go bad and then you will have no problem using it as an insult?

This seems to be a not uncommon problem. I suspect coming in part from treating fat women as a fetish, and objectifying us with that, and not seeing us as real, full people because of that.

I said a lot of this applies to me aversion to women who say they only want a femme and the same does apply with that too. Just as some butch women may prefer dating a femme, they still can internalize negative ideas about traditional feminine characteristics.

I’d rather date someone who sees me and respects me as a person first and foremost rather than a sexual object.

They Tend to be Attracted to a Specific Stereotype

I obviously cannot speak for all “chubby chasers” or women who say they only date femmes, I can only speak to my experience with people who identify this way that has caused me to have a negative reaction to people identifying as such.

Also, in both cases my reaction is not to the preference, but the sort of person who states front and center- and there does seem to be a difference (in my experience) between people who just have a preference and are more likely to pursue dating/sexual relationships with people with those characteristics, and those who go out of there way to announce such, typically on a dating profile.

In my experience people who have that strong of a “bbws only!!!!!” or “femmes only!!!!” preference tend to have a very specific stereotype of what that means, and I don’t often fit it, and I don’t want to.

For example, from the times I have dated someone who preferred “big girls” they would often discourage me from working out, because part of the appeal of a “big girl” was being soft, not having hard muscle under the fat. There is nothing wrong with having that preference, but I don’t fit it, and more importantly I don’t want to and I don’t want to be with someone who tries to push me into fitting the stereotype they have of a big girl that they are attracted to.

The same goes for femmes. While I’m certainly more femme than androgynous or butch, I will not always fit the “girly girl” stereotype, I don’t want to always fit that stereotype and I am so incredibly not interested in a queer relationship with strict gender roles around the butch vs the femme in the relationship.

It seems I always run into these strict stereotypes with people who identify as “chubby chasers” or make a big deal about only wanting to date femmes, which is the main reason I tend to avoid wanting to get involved with people who identify that way.

Comic shows a man and woman getting married. In the first panel the priest asks “Do you promise to love him in sickness and in health?” The bride answers “Yes.” Second panel the priest asks “Do you promise to love him ’till death do you part?” The bride answers “Yes.” Third panel the priest asks “Do you promise to order your OWN fries if you want them, instead of saying you DON’T want fries, then requesting a ‘taste’ of his, and helping yourself to roughly half of them?” Fourth Panel the bride says, “Wha… who wrote these vows?!” The Groom says, “Just answer the question”.

I saw this the other day, shared on a website, and honestly didn’t think too much into it at the time. Yet it’s been stuck in my head a bit since then, bugging me a bit more over time.

The thing that bugs me about this comic strip is that it plays on a pretty common trope- women want something like fries but don’t order them instead eating a large portion of their (typically male) partner’s serving of that food.

If you want fries, just order your own fries, right?

Why is it apparently so common for women to not just order their own fries?

I feel pretty sure the issue is mostly related to pressure women feel to not be seen ordering too much food or the “wrong” kinds of food. That is the part that bugs me. Makes me mad actually. That we worry, that there is any cause to worry, about being judged if we did just order what we want.

Which to be clear- I order what I want when I eat out. Still, I can certainly relate to worrying about being judged for ordering what I want. Especially because of my size, but also certainly because I’m a woman. Because femininity is associated with daintiness and being small- and so we should be eating small, dainty portions right? Or better yet just not eating those foods at all because food is for some reason very gendered in our society! Burgers and fries? Those are guy foods. Women should order a salad. There is also this social image of women as dieters, where in it almost feels like an expectation that women be dieting, and trying to eat better (and less). Even if we don’t, how normal is it to preface such things with comments about how bad we are being for eating this or ordering that? It’s not the slightest big out of place to hear “I really should get the salad but that burger just looks so good!” To the point that it starts to feel like a social obligation to make it clear we know we aren’t supposed to be eating the burger and fries.

I certainly fall into this. Especially because I do tend to eat a lot in one sitting, particularly since I practice intermittent fasting. When I eat out at a restaurant, that’s often the only meal I eat that day, so yeah, it’s going to be big. It’s just common sense it will be bigger than someone for whom that is one of 3 (or more) meals they eat that day. Because of that I do find myself thinking “I really want to order this, but what are the people I’m with/the server going to think of me ordering that much?” I think more often than not these days I end up at “well fuck what they think, I’m ordering the food I want”, but it’s also pretty clear that this is something a lot of women, myself included, struggle with thinking. I also find myself making comments about it sometimes, like I need to acknowledge to someone that I know it’s a lot of food, or even apologize for that. I remember for instance going to a Coney Island restaurant with a friend who was visiting from out of state, who had never been to a Coney before. Looking at the menu, I really wanted a chili dog. I also really wanted a greek salad. And also chili cheese fries. So what did I order? All of the above. (Also ate all of the above plus half of a big dessert dish split with my friend after. And it was good.) I also remember making some comment to my friend essentially apologizing and saying that I was about to order a whole lot of food for myself.  Which is of course completely ridiculous. I don’t need to apologize to my friend because I’m eating a  lot of food. If I want to eat it, I don’t need to justify it, or apologize for it to someone else.

I suspect though that this is the underlying reason why it is, according to popular culture at least, so common for women to say they don’t want something like fries, and then eat part of their partners. This eliminates some judgement about what the woman orders for herself- not just from her partner, but the (often imagined) judgement from other random people, as well as from herself. “I’m bad for eating this” isn’t just something people say far too often, but also something far too common for women to feel. Yes, we want the fries, but we have years of programming telling us we are bad if we give in and order them or eat them. So you don’t order them, you just eat a few of your partner’s, which maybe ends up being more than a few because damn it you did actually really want the fries.

So, I absolutely agree that if you want fries, go ahead and order fries for yourself! But also, while we laugh about this phenomena of women who won’t order their own fries, why don’t we also consider what we are doing as a culture to make women feel bad for ordering fries?

(Also, I have some frozen fries in my freezer that I am definitely thinking of digging out and cooking later tonight thanks to this post! lol.)

I’ve actually been thinking a lot recently about being single and my feelings about it.

Now just a quick disclaimer here- first off I am speaking about my own experiences, and that is really all I can speak on. Similarly, because I’m speaking from my own experiences, I’m throwing a bit together here that isn’t all directly defined by being single. Some of this is also specific to living alone, and living alone in a house- I could be single and still not have that experience. But that is part of my experience with being single.

1. I’m comfortable being single

As much as I sometimes want certain benefits of a relationship, I’m also very hesitant of getting involved in one- mainly because there are so many perks to being single! I was talking with someone about this and they suggested it’s normal to be afraid of getting serious when you’ve been hurt before… but that’s not how I feel. I’m not afraid, least of all of being hurt. There was a time when I was hesitant of dating for that reason, right after coming out of two back to back abusive relationships. But now? I’m not afraid to get close to people. I’m not afraid of having my heart broken. And honestly I’m not even afraid of the risk of abuse, because I know I can get out and I can survive any of it.

Damaged people are dangerous, they know they can survive.

Quite the opposite, I’m just not about to give up all the good things of being single quickly or without good reason. And I notice that after spending most of my adult life un-attached, I’m very comfortable in being single right now.

Now part of this is liking the perks of being single, especially living alone- things are my way, I don’t have to share, I don’t have to accommodate someone else, I don’t have to accommodate their schedule, or worry that my dirty clothes all over the house or general clutter will bother them. And I don’t get annoyed because someone moved my [insert thing] and now I can’t find it!

someecards says: “Yes, I’m single. And you’re gonna have to be pretty amazing to change that.”

But there is a deeper level to being comfortable being single as well- I’m comfortable with myself! I’ve seen friends who just can’t be single. They get antsy and uncomfortable spending mere weeks without a significant other. The result being they jump into relationships not because they found someone who they are so into they really want to be with them, but because they just really want to be in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship. Most people I’ve observed who do this, seem to be rather uncomfortable with themselves alone. Being alone with yourself can lead to some deep reflection on who you are. If that makes you uncomfortable you either have to make some serious changes in yourself… or you just try to avoid being alone with yourself long enough for that to kick in. The latter can be a lot easier! There is also an issue with social acceptance and this ties in with being comfortable with yourself though! I’ve had friends who told me they couldn’t stand being single just because they felt left out among coupled friends, or felt like they were judged for being single. There is this idea people have that being single means you “can’t get someone”. People tend to view being single as something forced on a person rather than something they would choose. This often is not the case, but if your single, you are going to come up against this stereotype. Are you comfortable enough in who you are to not give a damn what people think of you for being single?

By being single for so long, I feel like I’ve had to deal with a lot of these things, and so many more. I have grown and I am a better person for it.

2. I’ve learned I’m capable and I can handle myself

A big motivation for me writing this is actually just the mundane things about living alone that I’ve learned to deal with, or you could say even overcome.

For example, today I removed a dead bird from my backyard, all by myself! That may sound silly, but I’m pretty proud of myself for that!

Now, this was after getting some advice from my family who pointed out the common sense solution- use a shovel! I was a bit horrified thinking I needed to get a glove or plastic baggy and pick it up with my hand. We all have our strengths and weaknesses- I’m learning one of my weaknesses is that I sometimes I overlook the simple, commonsense solutions to basic problems. No shame in admitting I’m not perfect!

But this got me thinking about all the things I’ve had to do myself because- it’s just me! I also think most people could benefit from living alone a least for awhile for these reasons.

It’s funny to me, because there was a time I thought I couldn’t live alone! I thought I would always need roommates at least.This was due largely to a fairly serious phobia of bugs- all bugs. I could not deal with them. I could not kill them because that required getting too close to them.

It’s gotten a lot better over the years, and that is due a lot to simple necessity. I had to get used to it/figure out solutions that work for me (I still can’t get close enough to most bugs to kill them by squishing them with something, I  have to use raid that I can spray from a distance. But I keep home and garden raid on hand now so I can handle it my own way!)

Now, I’m also thankful that I was eased into living alone in a house, because I would not have managed going from living with my family to having my own house well. But rather I went from living with family to a dorm with a roommate and a hall full of other students and an RA. Then I tried that again the next year with a different roommate and ended up with a sociopathic, homophobic rooommate who did everything she could to make my live miserable every second of the day because she was upset at having a “gothic dyke like [me]” for a roommate (and this was actually before I was out!)

That was the push that made me brave living alone. I switched dorm rooms for the rest of that year and had a totally nice roommate, but still I decided to move offcampus and live by myself in a studio apartment the next year. Which gave me plenty of living alone experience, though I never had to deal with outdoor things.

Now I rent a house I live in just me and my cat. Which comes with so many more challenges than an apartment. I have to do yardwork- and venture outside and deal with all the  bugs in the process.

Yet ironically despite my general hatred of being outside with bugs, I like mowing the lawn and don’t mind most of the yard work. Which I’m thankful to learn about myself, I know I can handle things that I do not like- like disposing of the dead bird, or having to kill spiders myself. I also learned that I prefer certain chores that I would have thought I hated, and ones that are generally considered men’s work. I’ve had guy friends over who make comments about doing things like mowing the lawn for me or whatever and I’m just like… why? Yeah I’m a woman, but I can handle it! I live alone, who do you think usually does it?

So I’m glad to know that I can be self-sufficient. And again, I think that’s a big benefit to take with me when I do get into a relationship.

Oh, and to throw in a little bit related to the actual theme of this blog- lifting helps with this stuff too! Makes being a single, self-sufficient woman a lot easier. Today I was doing yardwork and hauled my bag of yard waste to the alley and filled it as much as I could with leaves and branches my neighbors keeping throwing on my part of the alley. So then I tried to drag the bag back to my house, but it was too heavy it didn’t really want to easily slide across the uneven grass. So I said fuck it, and just picked it up and carried back to my house. I’ll need to repeat the when I take it out to the curb for pickup. Certainly makes things easier when you don’t need assistance in lifting or moving the heavy stuff- just saying 🙂

I also suck at making lists- this should probably have more than 2 listed items…. oh well.

This morning on my facebook newfeed I came across this image:

Image Description: A flyer says "Check Your Privilege Gender - Man (+50) -Woman (-50) -Genderqueer (-75) -Intersex (-100) Transgender (-300) Race -White (+100) -Asian (-50) -Latino (-50) -Black (-100) -Middle Eastern (-150) -Other (-100) Religion -Christian (+50) -Non-Religious (-10) -Jewish (-20) -Muslim (-50) -Other (-20) Disability  -Able-Bodied (+25) -Disease (-30) -Immobile (-50) -Deaf or Blind (-50) -Autistic (-200) Sexual Orientation -Heterosexual (+50) -Bisexual (-50) -Pansexual (-50) -Asexual (-50) -Homosexual (-150) Status -Plutocrat (+100) -Wealthy (+50) -Middle (+25) -Poor (-25) -Homeless (-250) Appearance -Average Body (+10) -Overweight (-20) -Underweight (-5) -Disfigured (-40) -Tall (+10) -Short (-10) Very Priveleged: 100+ Priveleged: 50-100 Non-Priveleged: -100-0 Very Dis-privelege: >-100

Image Description: A flyer says “Check Your Privilege
Gender
– Man (+50)
-Woman (-50)
-Genderqueer (-75)
-Intersex (-100)
Transgender (-300)
Race
-White (+100)
-Asian (-50)
-Latino (-50)
-Black (-100)
-Middle Eastern (-150)
-Other (-100)
Religion
-Christian (+50)
-Non-Religious (-10)
-Jewish (-20)
-Muslim (-50)
-Other (-20)
Disability
-Able-Bodied (+25)
-Disease (-30)
-Immobile (-50)
-Deaf or Blind (-50)
-Autistic (-200)
Sexual Orientation
-Heterosexual (+50)
-Bisexual (-50)
-Pansexual (-50)
-Asexual (-50)
-Homosexual (-150)
Status
-Plutocrat (+100)
-Wealthy (+50)
-Middle (+25)
-Poor (-25)
-Homeless (-250)
Appearance
-Average Body (+10)
-Overweight (-20)
-Underweight (-5)
-Disfigured (-40)
-Tall (+10)
-Short (-10)
Very Priveleged: 100+
Priveleged: 50-100
Non-Priveleged: -100-0
Very Dis-privelege: >-100”

The more I look at this or think about it the more wrong with it I notice, including the misspelling of privilege. I can’t make out anything on the flyer that indicates who created it. I’m sure they had good intentions to help make people aware of their privileges with it. Though I am skeptical of whether this is even effective for that.

The first issue with this is that privilege and oppression cannot simply be added. My experiences as a queer woman are not simply sexism + heterosexism. Rather the way I experience sexism is as someone who is queer and the way I experience heterosexism is as a woman. Or to put that another way: I don’t experience sexism as straight women do + heterosexism as gay men do. This goes the same for areas of privilege. The way I experience sexism is also impacted by my white privilege as much as by queer oppression.

This is also one reason I’m skeptical of this doing much good for helping people be aware of their privilege as this suggests that my being gay somehow cancels out my white privilege (and then some). That’s not how it works. When it comes to race my privilege is not less just because I lack privilege in things not related to race.

Next up is that a lot of the numbers relatively are off. The first that stood out to me was sexual orientation, bi and pan represent 1/3 the lack of privilege of being gay which is just bullshit. bi and pan folks experience heterosexism/homophobia just like gay folks. Passing privilege is a thing, but not one specific to bi and pan folks- it’s neither inherent to those identities nor limited to them. As a single queer/gay/lesbian* woman I often have an easier time passing as straight if I want than a bi woman in a relationship with another woman. I’m never outed by talking about a current significant other or just being with them.

*I prefer queer as an identifier but will also use gay or lesbian. On a spectrum I fall somewhere closer to totally gay than middle of the road bi. On a kinsey scale about a 5.

And then that being bi or pan is equal to asexual that I personally do not think belongs there at all. Heteroromantic asexual people (those who have/desire hetero relationships but do not desire sex) are not oppressed imo. This also reminds me of the recent Daily Show segment showing past reports from correspondent Jason Jones where he is talking to a man who says that (gay) people shouldn’t have special rights just because of the kind of sex they have. The thing is, sexual orientation is not about the type of sex one has! At most it give you an idea of the gender of people I have sex with. It is a common question of how two women have sex, but the reality is the answer is all sorts of ways! There are many different acts that two women may or may not engage in, they may have very vanilla sex, or very kinky sex. And if it’s kinky, my sexual orientation tells you nothing of if I’m a domme or sub or a switch. It doesn’t tell you what my kinks are or aren’t. Gay sex shouldn’t be extra taboo imo, but being queer is about far more than sex and it’s effect on our lives goes far beyond the bedroom.

Other categories have weird hierarchies int hem as well. Autism is the most oppressed of all disabilities? Who decided that being middle eastern is the most oppressed racial group?

There are also issues with terminology. First off I don’t get the categorization for class, I don’t see anyone identifing as a plutocrat, and wealthy folks will just think they are middle class anyways.

“immobile”, “disease”, “disfigured”- many of these seem like they were chosen by people who are not part of that group. Even though I have diseases, in context I would prefer “chronic illness”, since I think of myself as “ill” not “diseased”- there is definitely a negative connotation to that. I’m not even sure who all is supposed to fall under these categories. There are definitely disabilities that don’t fit any of them.

Then there are the cross group issues. I’d rather speak to those that apply to me, so let me talk about those. First off, short? I’m short at 5’0″ but I am not oppressed by that shortness. Even within the appearance category, it is not comparable to being fat. And fat is nearly equivalent to being poor? I don’t think so. And for me I feel being a woman is a bigger factor in oppression that being queer, though I’m not sure where I’d rank everything. But socio-economic class needs to be higher up there. Of course the problem with ranking is it is personal! To me being a woman feels like it should rate a bigger negative score than being queer but that does not mean another queer woman won’t feel differently from her experiences. And much of this goes as well to the fact that we all typically experience varying degrees/aspects of oppression. My experience being queer is different than someone who was disowned by their family when they came out. My experience being fat is different than someone who has difficulty with chairs in public spaces accommodating their size. Experience with disability varies so fucking widely I wouldn’t even know where to start there. And socio-economic status is incredibly complicated in how we define it and where one falls. By income level I am poor. But that is to some extent ameliorated by other aspects of class privilege like education.

All in all, it’s just kind of a mess. Which tends to be the result whenever anyone tries to quantify or compare privilege.

Confession: if I mention that I lift to you and you ask what I curl, I’m totally judging you.
Why is it some dudes think the only thing you can do with weights is curl them? Or maybe curl and bench.
Deadlift? What’s that?
Squat? Why?

It does seriously crack me up though. This topic always makes me think of a former friend who actually tried to argue with me that men never train legs. He went so far as to seriously argue with me that male bodybuilders don’t ever train legs, only upper body. Only girls squat or deadlift.

Sorry this still cracks me up when I’m reminded of it, so I just had to share.

Edit: Swapping out my original photo for this video, because it’s funny 🙂