Archive for the 'Theory' Category

05
Mar
12

Vaginaphobia

Due to circumstances beyond my control, it’s been quite awhile since the last post. Still dealing with said circumstances, but I just have too much wandering about inside my little head.
V-Day having just passed, I feel the need to comment. For those non-feminists in my reading public, V-Day as mentioned here refers no to WWII, but rather to the day(s) devoted to bringing awareness of issues relating to violence (sexual and physical) against women worldwide. As part of the V-Day movement, The Vagina Monologues (VMs) is a collection of theatrical monologues performed to both educate and to raise funds for local violence shelters. So, having provided a short background, I will get on with my random thoughts…

This year there was a great deal of backlash about the VMs. As promotion, our group of young (and not quite so young) women went out and “chalked” our university campus, writing various bits of vagina information, including the dates of the show, some statistics and “Until the violence stops,” among others. One of those with which we were the most impressed was the section on the library steps, ”Vagina words: What do YOU call it?” Here there was a wonderful list written in various colors, many of which offered by passersby who were entertained by the fervor with which our chalk was flying. Some even asked to draw chalk vaginas on the sidewalk and we gratefully granted the chalk for the artistry.

The next day, as the young (and not so young) women involved in the chalking wandered campus, they listened with pride as people commented on the drawings, dates, and yes…the vagina euphemisms. It wasn’t until later in the day that things went awry. Our vaginas were disappearing. Not the drawings, not the FABULOUS euphemisms (which admittedly were the most likely to offend, so we thought), but the actual word: VAGINA.

I received a slightly intriguing email from a professor informing me of the disappearing vaginas. Said that appeared to be the only thing missing. Sure enough, on further inspection, the vaginas were the only thing missing. Someone or someones were removing “vagina” from every chalk tag within a 50 foot radius of one particular building of campus (the other side of campus was left untouched). Reluctant facilities services workers were dragging wet mops across the letters, removing them as though they were some form of profanity. A professor (who shall remain nameless here) was seen removing the word from a large tag stating “The Vagina Monologues 2012, Until the violence stops!” Yes, it was not the euphemisms that were found offensive (beef curtain was a personal favorite, as was the snack that smiles back), but the actual word “vagina”.

That same night, the young women (and not so young and a couple of male assistants) showed up in force with a great deal more chalk than before, and covered the section of campus that had been carefully censored. Also, there was hairspray involved for the purposes of sealing against future mopping. The next day, the same facilities service workers, as reluctant as before, began the work of removing the freshly restored vaginas. At this point, the head librarian stepped out and informed them that they were not to touch any of the work within her area, as that was her domain and it was done with her permission (which is only about half true, but that’s not the point).

It was wonderful to know that we had support. It was amazing to see people standing together for a cause so important. It was disappointing to see that people were so disturbed by such a simple word.

Had the word been “arm” or “leg” or “heart”, I am fairly confident that it would have remained untouched. I am saddened that the words “sideways clam” and “fish sandwich” remained, while “vagina” was removed. Why?

Why is vagina thought to be such a dirty word? Why was something as simple as a body part offensive, while negative euphemisms were left behind? Why, in an arena of free thought and advanced learning, is VAGINA thought so disgusting that it must be censored?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I do understand now, more than ever, why it is of the utmost importance that Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues be presented time and time again. We must, MUST begin to realize that vagina is not a dirty word, that it is a body part like any other while being a part like no other. To quote Ensler:

“THE HEART IS CAPABLE OF SACRIFICE.
SO IS THE VAGINA.
THE HEART IS ABLE TO FORGIVE AND REPAIR.
IT CAN CHANGE ITS SHAPE TO LET US IN.
IT CAN EXPAND TO LET US OUT.
SO CAN THE VAGINA.
IT CAN ACHE FOR US AND STRETCH FOR US,
AND DIE FOR US.
AND BLEED AND BLEED US INTO THIS DIFFICULT…
WONDROUS WORLD.”

05
Jan
12

The truth about nobama…

Each of the following items is TRUE. Check them for yourself if you don’t believe it.
1. Obama requests personal information before accessing the Whitehouse website. This is a PUBLIC, GOVERNMENT WEBSITE!

2. Obama makes a statement of “shared history and shared values” with people from the Middle East! REALLY!!?? I am NOT a Muslim, thank you very much!

3. More than 180,000 were in Afghanistan and Iraq within the first year of Obama being in the Whitehouse. OUR soldiers are over there fighting for THEIR safety and he sits around talking about “hating war”? Yeah. Anything to get a vote from the stupid commies.

4. Obama Care legislates federal dollars to perform abortions. This one pretty much says it all for itself.

5. Obama Care forces American companies to dole out endless payments to people who don’t even work! If somebody is too lazy to work, why do hard working Americans have to pay for their laziness!

6. Obama supports the ‘marriage’ of Adam and Steve. That’s right. He said (and I quote) “the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples”.

7. Obama is seen dining with a group that frequently lobbies Washington on behalf of illegals and gays. That’s right folks. Cozying up to the lobbyists.
So next time you hear a liberal talking about how great Nobama is…Show them this! Share away friends, and SPREAD THE WORD!!!!!

05
Jan
12

And it begins…

The above entry is an experiment in conservative propaganda. As stated, each item is in fact true, but also there is a negative spin through omitting information, careful use of capital letters, sarcastic comment, or negative tags.

The experiment? This is a relatively quiet blog. Visits are most often faithful followers or people who Google information on related content. Average visitors are approximately 1-3 per day with the occasional spike around University finals time (with which comes an abundance of Googling of sociological and political terminology). I am looking at the number of hits through reposted links (FB, Twitter, etc.) as well as through the negative tags.

All information in the above entry is offered below without the conservative spin and with a direct link to the original content.

1. A ‘Keep Informed’ link on the entry page. One can also choose to enter without providing this information.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/

2. Statement made in regard to the US and Israel in a joint commitment to deny the right of sovereignty to the Palestinians.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/advancing-israels-security

3. In remarks addressing the UN. The 180,000 soldiers were placed before Obama entered the Whitehouse.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/09/21/remarks-president-obama-address-united-nations-general-assembly

4. Only in the case of rape, incest, and impending maternal mortality.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform/myths-and-facts

5. Insurers can no longer cap medical expenses on covered persons and dependants. Translation, they can’t cap on long term illnesses in children (you know, those pesky people who don’t work).
http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform/healthcare-overview

6. OK, that one hurt. This is just flat out true, but posting it with the spin almost made me vomit.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/07/19/president-obama-supports-respect-marriage-act

7. Obama spoke at a national Human Rights Campaign annual dinner. The group works to provide equal access and civil rights to all people.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/10/01/remarks-president-human-rights-campaigns-annual-national-dinner

03
Oct
11

In Honor of LGBT History (or herstory as the case may be)

1920 – “Gay” first used to refer to homosexuals in the publication

Underground

1921 – U.S. Naval report on entrapment of “perverts” within its ranks

1924 – First commercially produced play with a lesbian theme, “God of

Vengeance,” opens on Broadway; theatre owner and 12 cast members found

guilty of obscenity (later overturned)

1924 – Illinois charters the Society for Human Rights

1925 – After a year of police raids, New York City’s roster of 20 gay and

lesbian restaurants and “personality clubs” is reduced to 3

1926 – The Hamilton Lodge Ball of Harlem attracts thousands of crossdressing

men and women

1927 – New York state legislature tries to ban gay-themed plays

1927 – “Well of Loneliness” by Radclyffe Hall published, all British copies

destroyed as “obscene”

1930 – Encyclopedia of Sexual Knowledge illustrates first “sex-change”

procedures

1932 – Man Into Woman, the Story of Lili Elbe’s Life, published

1933 – Hitler bans gay and lesbian groups, burns the Institute of Sexual

Science library

1934 – Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour opens on Broadway to rave

reviews

1935 – “Successful” electric shock therapy treatment of homosexuality

reported at American Psychological Association meeting

1937 – Morris Kight organizes the Oscar Wilde Study Circle at Texas

Christian University

1939 – New York City “cleans up” in preparation for the World’s Fair, closing

most of the city’s best-known gay bars

1940s – Revealed that Holocaust victims include LGTs

1940 – Courts rule New York State Liquor Authority can legally close down

bars that serve “sex variants”

1941 – “Transsexuality” first used…in reference to homosexuality and

bisexuality

1942 – Switzerland decriminalizes adult homosexuality (men only; lesbianism

wasn’t outlawed to begin with)

1943 – U.S. military bars gays and lesbians from serving in the Armed Forces

1945 – The Quaker Emergency Committee of New York City opens the first

social welfare agency for gay people, serving young people arrested on

same-sex charges

1945 – First known female-to-male sex change surgery, on Michael Dillon in

Britain

1947 – “Lisa Ben” publishes the first Vice Versa

1948 – New York Times refuses advertisements for Gore Vidal’s The City and

the Pillar

1948 – The Kinsey Report says homosexual behavior among men is

widespread

1948 – Hollywood Ten and the Blacklist

1950 – A Senate hearing reveals the majority of State Department dismissals

are based on accusations of homosexuality; Senate approves wide-ranging

investigation of homosexuals “and other moral perverts” in national

government

1951 – The Mattachine Society founded

1951 – “Donald Webster Cory” publishes The Homosexual in America

1952 – Christine Jorgensen comes to public attention

1952 – British mathematician and computer pioneer Alan Turing sentenced to

a year of hormonal treatments causing impotence and breast development

for “gross indecency with males.” He commits suicide in 1954.

1952 – American Psychiatric Association includes homosexuality under

“sociopathic personality disturbance” in its first official list of mental disorders

1952 – Immigrants banned from U.S. if they have “psychopathic personality,”

including homosexuality

1953 – Twenty-nine out of 30 men arrested during an 8 day period, charged

with engaging in homosexual acts in the Atlanta public library restroom, lost

their jobs after newspapers printed their names and addresses at least 6

times

1953 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower orders dismissal of all federal

employees guilty of “sexual perversion”

1953 – Kinsey report on women’s sexuality, including lesbian behavior,

released

1954 – Dr. Evelyn Hooker presents a study showing gay men are as welladjusted

as straight men, at an American Psychological Association meeting

1955 – Howl! published; Allen Ginsberg unsuccessfully prosecuted for

obscenity

1955 – Daughters of Bilitis formed; publication “The Ladder” launched the

next year

1955 – In the wake of the murder of a boy, 29 Sioux City, Iowa men

suspected of homosexuality are committed to mental asylums as a

preventive measure

1956 – James Baldwin publishes Giovanni’s Room

1957 – “Transsexual” coined by Harry Benjamin

1957 – Ann Bannon publishes Odd Girls Out

1957 – American Civil Liberties Union approves a policy statement saying

laws against sodomy and federal restrictions on employment of lesbians and

gay men are constitutional

1958 – U.S. Supreme Court rules ONE magazine is not obscene and can be

sent through the postal system

1960 – First U.S. public gathering of lesbians, at San Francisco’s Daughters

of Bilitis national convention

1961 – First openly gay person runs for U.S. public office (drag queen Jose

Sarria, running for San Francisco city supervisor)

1961 – First use of the term “homosexual” in a feature film shown in the US

(British movie Victim); motion picture code seal of approval is denied

1962 – Illinois becomes first state to make consensual same-sex acts legal

1962 – First known positive radio program about homosexuality (Randy

Wicker and 7 gay people, on WBAI in New York City)

1963 – American Civil Liberties Union opposes government interference in

the private sex lives of consenting adults

1964 – Life magazine runs positive cover story on “Homosexuality in

America”

1964 – The first openly gay person appears on national television (Randy

Wicker, on The Les Crane Show)

1964 – Series of public demonstrations held in Washington, D.C. by the East

Coast Homophile Organizations to protest U.S. government discrimination

against lesbians and gay men

1966 – “Lesbian” heard for the first time in a Hollywood movie (The Group)

1966 – First U.S. gay community center opens, in San Francisco, led by The

Society for Individual Rights

1966 – Harry Benjamin publishes The Transsexual Phenomenon

1966 – First transgender public uprising at San Francisco’s Compton’s

Cafeteria

1967 – England and Wales legalize male homosexuality

1967 – Bisexual rap group held in San Francisco

1967 – New York and New Jersey decide that state liquor commissions can

no longer forbid bars from serving gay men and lesbians

1967 – First gay bookstore in the U.S. opens: Oscar Wilde Memorial

Bookshop

1967 – “John” turned into “Joan” at John Hopkins Hospital after a

circumcision accident; published case widely impacts gender theory

1968 – Metropolitan Community Church formed

1968 – The American Psychiatric Association moves homosexuality from

“sociopathic” category to “sexual deviation”

1968 – Bi Alliance begins at the University of Minnesota

1969 – Betty Friedan warns feminist movement of the “lavender menace”

within its ranks

1969 – Stonewall Riots

1969 – National Institute of Mental Health study chaired by Dr. Evelyn Hooker

urges decriminalization of private sex acts between consenting adults

1970 – Boys in the Band, first major Hollywood movie on gay life, premieres

1970 – Gay “zaps” begin; first against New York City Mayor John Lindsay

1970 – Unitarian Universalist Association becomes first U.S. mainstream religious group

to recognize LGB clergy and laity within its ranks and to demand an end to anti-gay

discrimination

1970 – The Vatican issues a statement reiterating that homosexuality is a moral

aberration

1972 – “Ithaca Statement on Bisexuality,” by the Quaker Committee of Friends on

Bisexuality, is published in The Advocate; National Bisexual Liberation Group forms in

New York

1972 – East Lansing, Michigan, becomes first city to ban anti-gay bias in city hiring

1972 – First openly gay man ordained, by the United Church of Christ (William Johnson)

1972 – First time a U.S. national political convention (the Democrats) addressed by gay

leaders

1973 – American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its list of mental

illnesses

1973 – U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear case on the firing of an Oregon teacher for

lesbianism

1973 – Lesbian Herstory Archives founded

1974 – First state-level openly gay person elected: Elaine Noble of Massachusetts

1974 – Ohio Supreme Court rules that even though homosex is legal, the state can

refuse to incorporate a gay organization because “the promotion of homosexuality as a

valid life style is contrary to the public policy of the state.”

1974 – AT&T becomes first major American corporation to agree to an equal opportunity

policy for lesbians and gay men

1974 – Time and Newsweek run “bisexual chic” articles

1975 – U.S. Civil Service Commission stops banning gay men and lesbians from federal

jobs

1975 – Footballer David Kopay is first major sports start to come out (voluntarily) publicly

1976 – First openly gay police officer hired (by San Francisco)

1976 – “Tales of the City” published by the San Francisco Chronicle, includes LGB and T

characters

1976 – Doonesbury is the first mainstream comic strip to feature a gay male character

1976 – Lynn Ransom of California is one of the first openly lesbian mothers to win

custody of her children in court

1976 – Renee Richards outed as MTF and barred from a women’s tennis tournament

1976 – San Francisco Bisexual Center opens

1977 – Anita Bryant and Save Our Children succeed in repealing Miami law against

discrimination based on sexual orientation

1977 – 80% of surveyed Oregon doctors say they would refuse to treat a known

homosexual

1977 – Arkansas recriminalizes gay sex after two years without such a law

1977 – Florida forbids adoption by gays and lesbians

1977 – White House sponsors first-ever meeting with gay activists

1978 – Openly gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk murdered by colleague

1978 – National Coalition of Black (later Lesbians and) Gays formed in New York City

1978 – Rainbow flag debuts in San Francisco

1979 – First National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights; 100,000 attend

1979 – Moral Majority founded

1979 – First openly gay judge appointed (Los Angeles, CA)

1980 – First Harry Benjamin Standards produced for therapists working with

transgender persons

1980 – BBC broadcasts “A Change of Sex” about an MTF

1980 – Aaron Fricke takes Paul Guilbert to his high school prom after winning

a lawsuit against the school

1980 – Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence debuts

1981 – First reported cases of what came to be called AIDS

1981 – The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies published

1982 – Wisconsin enacts first statewide gay civil rights legislation

1982 – Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) founded

1982 – Gay Men’s Health Crisis formed

1983 – Congressman Gerry Studds comes out; first federal official to come

out as gay while in office

1984 – FBI releases 7,500 pages of information gathered over 30 years of

watching gay groups

1984 – Martina Navratilova’s female lover publicly sits in her “box” at

Wimbledon and the French Open

1984 – Berkeley (CA) becomes first U.S. city to extend domestic partnership

benefits to lesbian and gay employees

1984 – San Francisco Department of Public Health closes the city’s

bathhouses

1985 – NAMES Project memorial quilt for AIDS victims launched

1985 – First school for openly lesbian and gay teenagers opens in New York

City (Harvey Milk School)

1985 – Rock Hudson comes out, admits he has AIDS

1986 – U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to state sodomy laws

1987 – Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights;

Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt shown

1987 – What becomes BiNet USA formed

1987 – ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) is formed

1988 – National Coming Out Day launched

1989 – Jazz musician Billy Tipton dies and is revealed to be FTM

1989 – BiPAC New York successfully challenges Hetrick-Martin Gay and

Lesbian Health Clinic to remove a “Bisexual men: Fact or fiction?” workshop

from curriculum.

1989 – First Lambda Literary Awards given

1990 – First National Bisexual Conference held in San Francisco

1990 – Federal Hate Crimes Statistics Act passed; first law extending federal

recognition of gay men and lesbians

1990 – U.S. restrictions against gay immigrants lifted

1991 – First Black Lesbian and Gay Pride celebration held in Washington,

D.C.

1991 – Amnesty International decides to work on behalf of those imprisoned

for consensual same-sex acts

1991 – Karen Thompson named Sharon Kowalski’s legal guardian after an

eight-year fight

1992 – World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its

classification of illnesses

1992 – Press for Change founded in Britain to work for trans people’s equal

rights

1992 – Colorado voters ban state and municipal rights laws for lesbians and

gay men

1993 – Intersex Society of North America founded

1993 – “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” U.S. military policy adopted

1993 – Brandon Teena and two SOFFAs murdered in Nebraska

1993 – March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and

Liberation held

1994 – Olympic gold winner swimmer Greg Louganis comes out

1994 – At U.S. insistence, United Nations suspends observer status of the

International Lesbian and Gay Association

1995 – First U.S. conference for FTMs

1995 – President Clinton names the first-ever White House liaison to the gay

and lesbian communities

1995 – Million Man March has no openly gay speakers

1996 – Congress passes Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), forbidding

federal recognition of (and benefits for) married same-sex couples

1997 – South Africa becomes the first country to enact a constitutional ban

outlawing sexual orientation discrimination

1997 – Rolling Stones article details failure of John Money’s John/Joan case

from the 1960s

1998 – Matthew Shepard murdered in Wyoming

1998 – First open lesbian elected to federal legislative office (Tammy

Baldwin)

1999 – Britain bans discrimination against trans people

1999 – Texas post-op MTF Christine Littleton ruled legally male and not the

legal widow of her husband

2000 – British ban against lesbians and gay men serving in the military is

lifted

2000 – Britain outlaws discrimination against lesbians and gay men

2000 – Vermont offers civil unions to same-sex couples

2002 – MTF teenager Gwen Araujo murdered by sex partners, in California

2003 – Massachusetts Supreme Court rules it is unconstitutional to deny

marriage to gay and lesbian couples

2003 – U.S. Supreme Court strikes down remaining state sodomy laws

2004 – United Kingdom: trans people allowed to change the gender on their

birth certificates

2005 – New Zealand first country to outlaw employment discrimination and

hate crimes on the basis of gender identity

2006 – South Africa begins recognizing gay marriages

Click to access LGBT_elder_timeline.pdf

14
Sep
11

Spawned by FFC

In response to http://hellogiggles.com/im-not-a-feminist-but

I am a feminist. I love men. I love women. I love myself. Why are ANY of these statements mutually exclusive?

Secondly, on what planet (and perhaps this is the masculinity theorist in me) do all men enjoy the security of walking alone at night? Or freedom from sexual harassment? Or the freedom from the ‘unique burden’ of keeping their bodies looking a certain way? And while the author of this piece may be considered ‘too emotional’ as a woman, she herself states that a man must defend his outward show of emotion.

She will never know what it means to be policed by every other child on the playground (both male and female) as to whether or not she is accurately portraying her feminine role appropriately. She will not know what it is like to be silenced by her peers for the sexual harassment she receives. She will not understand, despite the difficulties women as rape victims face, the consequences a man faces when raped. Google “sexy woman” and then “sexy man”. Are the images of both not stereotypical and harmful? She must be thin and busty, but he must be buff and strong (and rich, too I might add).

Something that I think she completely misses the mark on here (and maybe that is only because that is not the point of the piece) is that it is also OK to be MASCULINE women. Why must I, as a feminist proclaim my femininity in high heels and a dress? Why CAN’T I wear my jeans and t-shirts and combat boots, and that be OK too? So yeah, I’m a granola eatin’, boot wearin’, make-up burnin’, Feminist. Deal with it.
I understand that this all relates to the degradation of women and the horrors associated with femininity as a whole (that last part was sarcasm), but the source does not justify the action. Yes, we as feminists need to stand up and support Feminism as a study, as a social science, and as movement, but we CAN NOT do that without discourse. Without discourse, we become a cult of crazy people wandering around the compound agreeing with each other, never stepping out among the non believers.

10
Aug
10

Passive Resistance and Social Change

“Some of the most celebrated social struggle victories of the 20th century are attributed to the great pacifists of our time, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. This constitutes a historical whitewash, as these “victories” were achieved when the state weighed its options and chose the lesser of two evils: the pacifists. In this segment Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, Aric Mcbay, Harjap Grewal, Gord Hill and Peter Gelderlus deconstruct the Gandhi myth and show us why militant action plays an important in movements of resistance.”~From the film makers

After viewing and then tossing in some thought, this is what I’ve got…The key word here is resistance. While protesting orderly has its place in raising awareness, it is not the agent of change. Pacificity, on the other hand, does not mean compliance. One can be effectively passive, yet still annoy the shit out of the powers that be. Sitting in mass numbers and refusing to leave, for example. Standing in front of the whitehouse with qoutes from the president that make him look REALLY bad is another. While I appreciate their comparisons in both India and the Civil Rights Movement, they neglected to introduce pacifists who brought change without participating in ANY violence. Victimized by it yes, but giving it back, no. The Women’s Suffrage Movement is the ideal example here. Those who are most often credited (Susan B. Anthony) with bringing women the vote in the US were those same that were mentioned as being conservatives within the movement. Alice Paul and Anna Howard Shaw, on the otherhand, are lesser known but were certainly crucial to the vote. It was the latter two that, through passive resistance (if not some level of passive aggression) forced Wilson’s hand.See More

30
May
10

Rise of Patriarchy?

I’m asking for your input here. Please only reply to the question at hand and not to the replies. I’m looking for reasonable responses with actual support. No hate speech please. Anyway, to the question….

Functionality of egalitarianism in small societies is not up for debate. Historically, it existed in societies worldwide, but as societies grew and humanity began to globalize, egalitarian structures failed. Through this gradual process, patriarchy slowly rose to become a dominant societal structure.

My point here is not to argue the positives and or negatives of patriarchy, but to examine WHY patriarchy arose. Why did patriarchy become the dominant structure and not matriarchy? There have been very few matriarchal societies. Predominately the one’s that have existed did so under a matriarch, but still under the patriarchal structure, in other words, the place of men was still above that of women as a whole. Again, I am not arguing the consequences of patriarchy (positive or negative) only stating historical fact.

But why? Why has larger society, regardless of geographical region, tended toward patriarchy?

17
May
10

Validity of Feminism

Many MRAs argue that feminism is invalidated by the many factions (branches if you will). I counter this argument by offering a breakdown of both social and hard sciences. I am not claiming that feminism is a science in itself (yet), but that, as fields of study progress to the level of a science (and by this I mean the empirical study of something) different branches actually ADD validity.

As someone pointed out in a recent discussion, with branching out to different areas of thought, comes specialization. No one person can know everything about their field of study. Branches off of a main idea offer a more thorough knowledge in any field.

Examples:
Sociology-Environmental, Political, Deviance, Criminology, Functionalism, Symbolic interaction, etc…
Anthropology-Biological, Physical, Socio-cultural, Linguistic, Archaeological, etc…
Psychology-Social, Industrial and Organizational, Educational, Abnormal, Clinical, Counseling, Research, etc…
Biology-Micro, Botany, Biophysics, Ecology, Agriculture, etc…
Medicine-Endochrinology, Cardiology, Nephrology, Neurology, etc…
Geology-Mineralogy, Petrology, Geomorphology, Paleontology, etc…

Point being, there are basic foundations for each of these sciences. Sociology is the study of society, Anthropology of human cultures, Psychology of the minds, Biology of life, Medicine of healing, and Geology of Earth history.

Feminism-First, second, and third waves consist of suffrage, primarily reproductive rights, and recognition of contributing factors (respectively). Each of these waves created different branches of feminism: Literary, Masculine theory, Queer theory, Historical perspectives, etc…

But each of these branches has its foundations in the history and development of feminist theory. And thus I coin my own term…

MARXINAROLOGY: The study of marginalization.

12
May
10

Transexuality: What Practitioners Should Know

Unlike most of the disorders listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), transexualism or “gender identity disorder” is the lone disorder treated, not with medications or psychological counseling but with cosmetic surgery. Because of this anomaly, one could suggest that transexualism is not a psychological disorder, only the wish to make one’s body look as one feels it should, as is the case with any cosmetic surgery.
While the rest of the sexual disorders listed in the DSM-IV-TR range from sexual dysfunction (such as hypoactive sexual desire disorder) to paraphilias (including pedophilia and sexual sadism) that lie outside of the socially constructed norms, transexuality continues to grow in acceptance and is gaining a wider social support network.. This indicates that social norms are once again changing, setting transexualism outside of the realm of dysfunction.
Part of the problem, however when addressing transsexualism is that the very mental health professionals who diagnose Gender Identity Disorder (GID) are also relatively unaware of the long term ramifications of treatments. Hormone injections and surgeries can be dangerous to both immediate and long term health of transsexuals, in addition to the psychological distress associated with the delay in treatment (Israel and Tarver 1997).
Defining Transexualism
A recent article published by the American Psychological Association (APA) regarding the ethical treatment of those diagnosed with gender identity disorder defines transsexuals as transgendered people who desire to live full time as members of the gender opposite of that to which they were biologically born (APA, 2006). The authors go on to describe females who wish to transition to males as “FTM” and males who wish to transition to females as “MTF”. This article, published by the APA describes the treatment for these individuals as “making their bodies as congruent as possible to their preferred gender”.
The unfortunate reality surrounding this definition includes the problem of defining not only transexualism, but gender. When the leading authorities on psychological treatment offer such an explanation, it serves to further cloud the problem due to the failure to define the most important diagnostic term (gender). Gender is not simply a matter of black and white, but rather of a spectrum of minute differences subject to interpretation (Kessler & McKenna, 1985). How then can one be the opposite of a single degree in such a wide spectrum? At exactly what point does gender identity cross from the norm for one’s biological sex to the opposite of it? These questions are left, as of yet, unanswered.
Diagnostic Criteria
As listed in the DSM-IV-TR, the diagnostic criteria for gender identity disorder include, but are not limited to the persistent desire to live as the opposite gender, the stated desire to be the other sex, dressing or “passing” as the other sex (American Psychiatric Association [APA], 2007). Also included are feelings of the other sex, discomfort in the gender role of one’s assigned sex, the need to get rid of sex characteristics, or the belief that one is born the wrong sex. These criteria require that there is no intersexual (previously labeled hermaphrodism) condition present, and that there must be a significant distress to one’s social, or occupational well being. The DSM-IV-TR also requires that the medical diagnostic codes for sexually mature adults include sexual preference despite the difficulty of transsexuals’ self-interpretation of identity.

Treatment of Transexualism
The first step in the treatment of transexualism is to diagnose (Hausman, 2006). A transexed individual must go through psychological counseling and a long battery of psychological testing to receive the diagnosis of gender identity disorder that is required to continue further treatments. Ironically, this is not required for any other form of cosmetic surgery.
The second step in transexed treatment is that the individual must live for at least one year as the “opposite gender” (Hausman, 2006). This practice is to assure that the transexed individual is completely sure of his or her choice before continuing with further steps. Hormones given during this stage assist in the development of secondary sex characteristics, such as breast development in the case of MTF. There are multiple plastic surgeries carried out during this stage, including shaving of the larynx and vocal cords, and breast augmentation (MTF) or breast reduction (FTM) (Israel and Tarver, 1997; Hausman, 2006).
The third, and most expensive, step is sex reassignment surgery. For many transexed individuals this step is unattainable because of the extreme cost, as it is rarely covered under insurance (Israel and Tarver, 1997; Hausman, 2006). Simplified, in MTF cases doctors first make an incision down the length of the penis to just above the anus. This tissue is inverted to construct the vagina. The remaining sensitive tissues are used to construct labial and clitoral structures. Recovery is long and painful. After surgery, individuals must take care to assure that the vaginal cavity remains open and does not close due to collapse or scar tissue (Richards, 1992). In FTM surgeries, surgeons remove female sex organs, and then create a phallus with existing tissues, but little care is taken to insure sensation. Full erection is often not possible without mechanical assistance (Israel and Tarver, 1997). With both the MTF and the FTM procedures, further surgeries are often required to maintain results.
Cost restraints are a major factor in seeking sex reassignment surgeries. For a MTF transition, costs can run upwards of $33,000, not including labiaplasty (creation of the labial structures) or revisions of initial work (Israel and Tarver, 1997). For FTM procedures, costs range widely and can total more than $150,000. As previously mentioned, these costs are not usually covered by any medical plan and must be paid out of pocket by the transexed individual.
Ethics of Treatments
The negative ethical implications of treatment are extreme and far-reaching. While sufferers of most psychological disorders can begin treatment after relatively few medical visits, transsexuals must endure a long course of psychological counseling and testing before any physical treatments can begin. In addition to this problem, there is the choice made by the medical and insurance communities that places these individuals’ desires to correct what they feel is wrong outside of their reach due to cost. The vast majority of other diagnoses in the DSM have treatments covered by either medical insurance or state managed medical assistance. By refusing to cover the costs of sex reassignment surgeries, the medical institution is disallowing care for what they consider a diagnosable illness. This practice is highly contradictory.
In addition to the problems of treatment coverage, further ethical problems exist with denial of services until 18 years of age (Hausman, 2006). Again, the medical community singles out transexualism, this time by refusing to allow treatment prior to legal adulthood. Other DSM diagnosable disorders not only have treatment options for adolescents, but also are encouraged to be addressed early if possible to prevent further problems.
One of the most pressing ethical dilemmas is the problem of informed consent (Israel and Tarver, 1997). Doctors mislead transexed individuals with false statements regarding the possibilities to postpone treatments should patients choose to put off surgery for one reason or another. Doctors also discourage patients from seeking second opinions from other physicians or seeking the advice of transsexuals who are considering or have had surgeries.
Social Impact
Because of the nature of the treatments for transexuality, it is natural that the families or loved ones of a transexed individual are also impacted (Richards, 1992; Boylan, 2004; Hausman, 2006; Davies, 2009). Often there is resentment from parental figures and or siblings that the family member has lied about who they are. In the case of those who marry prior to diagnosis and/or treatment, there is marital strain, usually ending in divorce, if the state of residence does not require it. Children of transexed individuals have reported feelings of abandonment and perception of the loss of a parent (losing a father in cases of MTF).
Impact on the individual from the community is a larger problem. As mentioned previously, the acceptance of transexed individuals is growing, however the period of living as the opposite gender still causes a great deal of unrest (Hausman, 2006; Israel and Tarver, 1997). Employers have difficulty handling public restroom appointment, laws often block record changes such as licenses and passports, and there have been numerous murders and attacks on individuals in transition.
Policy Changes Needed
Many of the problems mentioned above can be addressed with policy changes in diagnosis, treatment, and government. Should the medical and psychiatric communities decide to maintain the stance that transexuality is in fact a diagnosable disorder, a code of ethics and laws should be imposed. As with other disorders listed in the current DSM, insurances and medical plans should be required to cover treatment expenses. These same institutions should also reduce the amount of time and effort required for the transexed individual to receive treatment. Prolonging pretreatment procedures and expenditures only delays the resolution of gender identity disorder. It is the duty of the medical profession to minimize suffering if no further harm occurs.
Many laws need addressing to acknowledge the rights of transexed individuals who receive treatment. In many states, there are laws that would dissolve marriages after sex reassignment surgery. Many states and even local laws provide no protection for individuals based on their diagnosis. Many could lose employment or housing based solely on their diagnosis and/or process of treatment. Most often, crimes against transsexuals because of prejudice is not a hate crime, thus lowering the charges and sentences of those committing crimes against transsexuals.
Areas for Further Research
Most disorders evoke the need for researching causality, but in the case of transexualism, this also is problematic. With the finding of causality comes the searching for a cure. Because most parents would not likely choose a transexed child, the implications here are obvious. Assuming a biologic cause, both genetic engineering and termination of pregnancy are possibilities.
Having argued for either the equal treatment of transsexuals or the removal of
Gender Identity Disorder from the DSM entirely, the suggestions for further research are many. Looking into the long-term ramifications on the individual including physical, emotional, and psychological well-being would give a greater picture of the effectiveness of current treatments. Finding alternative treatments that require fewer psychological tests and shorter wait times before surgery would assist in the treatment of transexed individuals. Lastly, comparing the lasting effects of treatments based on the age at which treatments first began has the potential to set the stage for treatments earlier in life. If an individual has greater results based on earlier treatment, it would follow that treatment can be started before adulthood (in extreme cases) to maximize the positive affect of treatment.
Conclusion
Admittedly, the arguments mentioned above could apply to the vast majority of DSM diagnoses, however the difference between those and transexualism lies in the treatment. Not until the psychiatrists and physicians charged with reviewing and updating the DSM acknowledge that there is a major treatment differential in dealing with transexualism can the ethical and social stigmas of transexualism truly be changed. Transsexuals are treated differently in every aspect of the social spectrum and medical establishments and this is an inequity that must be addressed for the good of both the individual and the credibility of the psychological field.

References
.
American Psychiatric Association. (1990). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
American Psychiatric Association. (2007). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (4th ed. TR). Arlington: Author.
American Psychological Association. (2006). Answers to Your Questions About Transgender Individuals and Gender Identity. [Brochure]. Washington D. C.
Boylan, J. F. (2004). She’s Not There. New York: Broadway.
Davies, E. (2009). Third Wave Feminism. Finding Ourselves: Postmodern Identities and the Transgender Movement. Whales: Palgrave Macmillan.
Fausto-Sterling, A. (2000). Sexing the Body: Gender Politics and the Construction of Sexuality. New York: Basic Books.
Hausman, B. L. (2006). Changing Sex: Transexualism, Technology, and the Idea of Gender. Durham: Duke University Press.
Israel, G. E. and Tarver, D. E. (1997). Transgender Care: Recommended Guidelines, Practical Information and Personal Accounts. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.
Kessler, S. J. (1998). Lessons from the Intersexed. Camden: Rutgers University Press.
Kessler, S. J. & McKenna, W. (1985). Gender: An Ethnomethodological Approach. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Richards, R. (1992) Second Serve¬. Lanham: Stein and Day Publishers.

12
May
10

Kimmel (first of many)

“Of course, you will point out, rightly, that these violent ethnic nationalists and white supremacists receive significant support from women.” (Kimmel 104)

What is of interest to me in both this quote and in the article (which Kimmel fails to mention) is that women experience this same power loss of which he speaks. I believe that is why women support these men. Just as men lose the entitlement to their class rank, so do the women that are, or have potential to be the males’ mates.
Women emotionally and politically support men in every socioeconomic status, but the higher the class the more the women have to lose if that class ranking fails. I engaged in a discussion the other day that women in the upper classes have an even stronger dependence on men than do poor women. Thus, if a woman who supports the ideologies that attribute to the perception of power gain, then she also would reap the benefits of any economic gain.
While I was reading this article a friend called, frustrated about the theories of ecological racism. Between the two of us, we came to the conclusion that (for both his purposes and mine) it is all about power. Power through economics. Sexism stems from a belief that the “other” causes the problems, as do classism, ethnocentrism, and racism. The power (or as Kimmel proposes, the entitlement to power) is based solely on economic and material wealth. It is the loss of class status in which violence and hate set their roots.




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