Posts Tagged ‘masculinity

08
Aug
14

Lap Dogs

I know it’s been awhile, but a Huffington Post blog brought up this tangent (see link below).

Why are men stuck in the tiny little pigeon hole of what it is to be “a man?” The blog in question was addressing the positives of daily sex. Aside from the author’s obvious heteronormative views on relationships, she stated that men only need “Food, appreciation, and sex. That’s it.”

Really, lady? If that is all your significant other needs, I weep for you. If your mate is only a lap dog who needs a bowl of chow, the occasional pat on the head, and a leg to hump, perhaps you should both broaden your horizons. While I can accept that you feel that your womanhood lies in your drive to reproduce, to lump all men in this sad group of puppy land and to use that generalization to offer advice to millions of women is misguided at best. So, I offer my own suggestion on how to “make your man feel like a man.”

Treat him as an individual and as a person, not a dog. Make him feel like he is more than your meal ticket, that he has intellectual contributions to your relationship far beyond what he can add monetarily. Give him appreciation for doing more than working out of the house, acknowledge his contribution to your household and your children (if you have them, because I do not measure a woman’s worth as a human being by the number of times her uterus has housed anyone). Offer him love, but understand that men too enjoy a good cuddle, a soft touch, and moments of quiet conversation. Last but not least, understand and show him that men are just as complicated as women, that you understand he has emotions but that society makes him bottle most of them, and that he is a person of value and not just a sex crazed garbage disposal seeking your approval.

Link to original blog post:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/meg-conley/five-reasons-you-should-h_b_5647291.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000063

22
Jun
12

Identifying with the other

So, recent comments on my intersex post have led me to feel the need to write another post. Hooray for you! (sarcasm)

The discussion (for those who don’t want to read all the comments) is about identifying with the other. Wanting to be the other to justify why a person feels the way they do, the other not understanding why anyone would desire to be that other, feeling they don’t understand what being other entails. Thus, I’m going to lay it all out there…

It seems many trans individuals want to have a label so that they understand WHY they feel like their parts don’t match what they feel in their hearts and minds. Having a diagnosis that explains why stuff doesn’t match up. OK. I get that. I get that it is difficult to deal with the internal cognitive dissonance that comes with the external incongruence. It makes complete sense.

The reality, though, is that for all the similarities between trans and intersex (having to deal with stupid doctors, a medical community who rarely understands the needs of the individual when it comes to both the internal and external organs, etc) the differences are ignored. Intersex people do not WANT their genitals to match the dichotomy. They do not wish to be shoved in a pigeon holed description of what sex and gender are to the majority of non-intersex people. They want to live as they are (or were before being hacked upon by some self important asshole).

Like trans people, intersex people want to be able to use the public restroom without fear of retribution. But that fear is based solely on the structure which dictates what is too small or too big. They want to go through their day and not have to hear a joke about how much size matters, that someone needs to ‘grow a pair,’ or that a man isn’t a man if his penis is ‘too small.’ They want to have their clitoris be loved as it is. Not have a mate turned off because she is too big to be a woman. They want to live life, not having to wonder how things might have been, had they not been reassigned without their permission and without their parents being pushed to have it done (if they were consulted at all). They want to hear someone speak of female genital mutilation, knowing it wasn’t done to themselves, ripped apart because some stupid doctor with a tape measure could see her parts when the doctor felt it shouldn’t be seen. They want to know that their size really doesn’t matter, despite what the jokes and snide comments say.

I want it understood…I am NOT saying that the intersex road is harder than the trans. They are both two very difficult rows to hoe. But I think trans people sometimes underestimate the daily struggles of living in a world where, the only way a person can be judged of their full worth, is by what is or is not in their pants.

20
Jun
12

intersex is NOT a disease

Claim: That is an opinion and I can accept that is where you stand and you have the choice to hold that view if you wish.

The words sex and gender have often been skewed to indicate that these are entirely determined by culture. They are not. They are however a combination of cultural and individual experience and the genetics with which a person was born. Such fallacies are implemented due to the poor research and misleading publications, not of a social psychologist, as this photo suggests, but rather by those of a psychoendocrinologist who developed these theories (Dr. John Money).

We, as animals, do not have a gender, but as social creatures we do. This statement in the picture, however is contradictory to the statement above it which states that gender is biological in nature.
Nouns do have gender, as do pronouns (for the most part), however it is very ethnocentric to make said statement about all languages, as many have gender in items such as desks, pencils, chairs, etc. Secondly, this statement is also stated quite poorly as ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are not in fact nouns, but adjectives.

To say that XX, XXY, XYY, and the myriad of other variations are ‘deformations’ is both condescending and purposefully inflammatory. Green eyes are a ‘deformation’, as are many other characteristics that are easily seen about any individual’s appearance. The assumption that any of these variations are believed to be newly discovered is, at best, misguided. XX and XY, while being the most commonly occurring genetic variations, however the explanation that follows is incorrect. The XXX, XXY, and XYY variations do not occur due to random mutation of a normal gene. They are, in fact, genes of their own consistency, that is to say they are heritable. Also, to equate said variations of intersex with Down’s Syndrome is incorrect. Those individual with Down’s are most often infertile, and when not, Down’s is not heritable. Additionally, there are many other types of intersex variation that do not include the genetic variations listed above. Some of those are random mutations, yes, but mutation does not equal deformity, only difference.

‘Hermaphrodite’ is a medical term that describes none of the three intersex variations listed above in the picture. The terminology here is very off, which would indicate that the individual who created it is not informed on the correct terminology. Hermaphrodism refers only to individuals who have BOTH male and female primary or secondary sex characteristics and does NOT include those of the ambiguous variations.

99% of XY women do not reach puberty? That statistic is blatently false. I’m not exactly sure how many of them do, as that would actually be a suicide or accident statistic, but the vast majority do in fact reach puberty, but because pubertal onset means an increase in both estrogen and testosterone production, the secondary sex characteristics can be either male, female, or both, depending on the individual. Secondly, the bad grammar here again diminishes the accuracy of this picture (more taller).

“Take the brain that occurs the most” doesn’t even make sense, see comment above. The male brain has no different ‘parts’ than the female brain. This entire section makes no sense whatsoever if anyone is even remotely educated in brain structures. There are relatively few sex differences between male and female brains. The ones that do exist occur after pubertal onset, when there is a major change in growth and a pruning of unused neural pathways. Some suggest that the cultural norms of what females are expected to do vs males may be responsible for these differences, other evidence suggests that it may be hormonal. The reality is that they just aren’t sure. The only significant difference between the two is size. Women’s brains tend to be somewhat smaller, but have an increased number of gyri, thus increasing the overall surface area.

There is not a legitimate scientist (endocrine, geneticist, neural, or otherwise) who would use brain structure as a determining factor of sex. That is another blatantly false claim. Again, male and female brains do NOT have different parts.

Well, for all the arguing against any rights for intersex individuals, at least it makes a good argument for transsexuals. False, but convincing, nonetheless. In reality, what the photo to the left fails to indicate (as does the text to the right) is that the hypothalamic activity (and yes, that is what the photo to the left is actually showing) is changed with high levels of chronic stress. MTF transsexuals have an incredibly high level of chronic stress and, thus, would have the levels concurrent with those of females. A good example of this contractual error is the SIDS research of the early 20th century. Hundreds of thousands of children’s brains were irradiated to reduce the size of the hypothalamus because they thought that large ones caused SIDS to occur. In reality, they were only comparing upper class SIDS deaths to those of poor (and highly stressed) infants lost to other causes (such as starvation). Bad sample, much? Point being, this is being misattributed to sex differences when it is in fact a stress difference.

Cisgendered is an act of choosing not to PERFORM gender, not to identify that one is not present. Again, false. And why, exactly does this photo repeatedly compare intersex to physical illness or life threatening differences? Intersex is not life threatening (unless someone who is ignorant or misinformed beats someone to death).

And now, we get personal. Call it logical fallacy if you wish, but as I have offered fact alone up to this point, I really don’t give a shit. The last comment on the right would indicate that A. intersex individuals are sterile (which is true in the minority, but most are fertile) and that B. fertility should be somehow controlled, or intersex individuals should be somehow contained so as not to spread their ‘disease’. There is a reason that there is no source information on this photo. It promotes genocide, is inflammatory, and uses (at best) half truths to make a point for hurting people who deserve nothing but the same humane treatment every other person receives. How dare you, or anyone else imply that intersex people are any less people than you are. It is exactly this type of ignorance and half education that cause people to die at the hands of doctors who think they know how to hack a person’s genitals to pieces, or at the hands of ignorant bastards who believe that a person’s worth lies in his/her pants.

But I ask you now, what is it exactly that gives you the knowledge to back any of the statements made in this graphic? Is it a degree? Is it hours of research on intersex variations, articles about those variations, history of those? Weeks, months, and even years of talking to experts in the field or the individuals who are affected daily by the ignorance this graphic displays? Perhaps it is the daily experience of facing the challenges often associated with the intersex? Or maybe it is grant writing to the NIH to advance study of the consequences of this type of ignorance on the individuals who suffer it’s wrath? You see, it isn’t culture, biology, or society that cause intersex individuals problems. It isn’t their health, or their fertility, or their brain activity. It is the ignorance of people who refuse to do the work necessary to actually learn something other than the regurgitated (and false) shit that gets thrown at them by a grossly falsified graphic. THAT, is what needs to be fixed.

23
Apr
12

harold* and the purple crayon (*names have been changed to protect from homophobes)

Bullying is a major problem, we know this. There are anti bullying initiatives, programs, and classes. Schools tell kids to report it. They tell them to stop it. They tell them not to do it. That’s great and all, but me think we are not getting to the crux of the situation. We are pulling at weeds, picking the leaves, and not touching the roots. Yeah, yeah…Enough metaphors. My point?

Parents. We spend millions of dollars per year trying to keep kids from beating the crap out of each other and making each other feel like shit, and yet parents are ignored or enlisted to help teach. This is where so, so, SO many of the teachers need to be the students. PARENTS teach hate. PARENTS teach homophobia. PARENTS teach bigotry. These are not traits that a small child picks up at the local bar on a Friday night. Four year olds don’t judge because someone’s crayon isn’t the right color.

I don’t share a great deal of personal information here, but today it seems necessary. My daughter was upset when I picked her up today because one of the other girls yelled at a little boy for having a purple crayon. My daughter had a blue one. She informed the other girl that if she could have a blue crayon, then the boy could have the purple one, then proceeded to retrieve said purple crayon from the trash (the other girl threw it away) and hugged the little boy.

I get that children have developmental milestones they reach at different times, including indication that ‘blue is for boys’ and (in this case) ‘purple is for girls’. Yeah. I get that. They gender divide. BUT belittling the little boy for the purple crayon? Throwing it away in the trash? THAT is NOT a milestone. That is hateful, mean, and spiteful. I don’t blame the little girl. She did not know that it was hateful, mean, or spiteful, she only knows that is something an adult in her life would never tolerate.

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.

22
Jan
11

Racism, classism, and sexism: Wrapped up with a stark white bow

I am writing about this here for two reasons.

1) I feel the need to rant about this properly.

2) While I do not care in the least if I offend anyone who reads this with any regularity, I do care if I offend family, simply because I must live and interact with them on a regular basis and don’t want to hear about it. I feel pretty safe here as no one I know actually reads this thing anyway.

Anyway, back to the point…Cotillions. Yes, cotillions. I discovered today that this antiquated process still takes place. From the limited research into these events I have established that this occurs predominately in the South and most often in places that seem to readily embrace Southern traditions gone by the way side in every other area of the world. Much like Ale81 and Moonpies.

This is what I have managed to glean from the “National League of Junior Cotillions” website (yes, there really is such a thing), this seems to be a sort of schooling in etiquette. While no longer touted as the mating ground it once was, cotillion culture does appear to maintain many of its roots. When I say this, it is (despite the fact you can not actually hear it as this is in print) with dripping sarcasm.

Racism

This “ism” is quite clear by simply beholding the photos on the afore-mentioned website. While examining each and every photo provided I took note of a glaring omission. Namely, color. Among the photos I noted only two with persons of color. One was a very young African-American child amongst a parade of small caucasian ones. I also will point out that I use the word caucasian with some measure of drippy tone as well. The reason is that, if my guess is correct, they are less caucasian and more Anglophile. Rather creepy, really. The second picture was one of a mayor who was signing some sort of proclamation. He and some of his staff were African-American. None of the children, mind you. Only those who worked for the city in question.

Classism

In addition to the issues of race, are those of class. Again, while I can not readily prove this, the impression of the website is that these are predominately upper middle class people who feel the need to display their wealth (or at least their illusion there of). I sincerely do not get this. As if the cars they drive, clothing they wear, neighborhoods in which they reside, and general attitudes do not display this enough, they must also join an elite group (outside of the country club) which accentuates this even further. How often do we see this anywhere else? I know that I do love walking around, proudly wearing my Goodwill labels and often brag about my lack of funds and need to “rob Peter to pay Paul” as the saying goes. As an aside, I must add, Peter is getting pretty pissed off at this whole arrangement.

Sexism

As is true to the style of the upper middle class old South, the young women in these photos looked starved but adequately glimmering in their virgin white attire. The women/girls only, that is. Not to say that there are no young men in these photos, only that they are attired in fabulous black suits and tuxes, so as to set off their Manly state of wealth (women, you see are sex objects, while men are success objects). So, I point out that this sexism is not one-sided. Girls must be “meek” (it actually says that on the website) and boys must present their wealth adequately through their attire and manners.

All this can be yours! Well, as long as you happen to be an upper class White Anglo-Saxon Protestant, that is.

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.

04
Mar
10

Gendered Borders

            The term “border” has become synonymous with the edging of a main area or group, generally referring to property or geographical region.  Many think of borders as physical markers such as a fence or wall, but most geographical borders are open, allowing people to cross unhindered.  While many (or even most) geographic borders are crossed with a measure of ease, social borders are not so easily traversed. 

            Social borders present a different sort of bind from physical borders, though they are often intertwined.  An individual may be outside of the majority in both race and class, thus also placing them within a geographic placement associated with both class and race.  Difficult as race and class borders are, perhaps one of the most dominate borders in both the US and globally is that of gender identity.

            For some, the duality of gender is a given.  Man and woman, male and female, and the masculine and the feminine are simple fact.  Reality shows us this is simply not so.  The biological dualism of man and woman blurs as we examine the variants of genetics, the general appearance of genital development, and the surgical advances that allow for both sex assignment and reassignment (Wiegman, 49).  Male and female blend as culture drifts from the once rigid gender roles to a more fluid representation of the definitive male or female (though it is important to note that the female drift is more extreme).  Masculinity and femininity change as certainly as the man/woman and the male/female.  But despite these blurs, drifts, and shifts, the borders remain.  There are simply many areas in which the female is not allowed to tread or where the male is forbidden.

            This border of gender disallows people, in particular men, from expressing their individualism, their true nature, and often their identity (Kimmel & Kaufman, 17).  The constraints placed on men to define their masculinity, their manhood, and their maleness, prevents the expression of emotion, nurturance, and weaknesses based solely on the borders defining gender.  Men must be strong (both emotionally and physically) in order to maintain the privilege associated with patriarchy.  Men must not show that they are capable of the same emotions and capabilities associated with “the feminine”.  To show these qualities is to show weakness, allowing for social and often physical sanctions that are potentially dangerous at best.

            For women, the gender borders are less constraining to a point, however they still exist.  Women run the risk of appearing too pushy, too opinionated, and too abrasive.  Women who cross the gendered borders are labeled “whores”, “dykes”, and “bitches” (Frances, 216).  Social sanctions for women are lesser than those for men, however the physical sanctions are just as damaging.  For a woman to cross too far into the domain of men places her at risk for physical harm, just as crossing for a man does for him.

            While gender borders are often unreasonable to the individual and the group as a whole, they find their basis not only in social constructionism but also in biological necessity.  Whether or not third wave feminism or masculinity theorists want to recognize the importance of biological contributions, they still exist.  Women alone give birth.  Women alone have the unique ability of nutritionally sustaining infants without the aid of modern technology.  Because of these factors, women (and men) must recognize that some borders are just not possible to cross at this time.  There are, however things that can be changed to eliminate many areas of the gender border.

            In many nations, men are granted paternity leave after the birth of a child.  This allows for a more inclusive role for fathers in the child rearing process.  In addition to increasing the presence of fathers in early infancy, many nations also acknowledge the financial contributions women make to the home, understanding the cost associated with the need for childcare, meal preparation, and household management.  These acknowledgements allow for a greater level of nurturance from men and recognition of the support given by women.

            Encouraging the breakdown of gender borders in early childhood works to allow the breakdown in adulthood.  In young boys, supporting the development of emotional response, discouraging violence as a solution to conflict, and encouraging bonding with other males based on love (as opposed to modeling) holds the potential to reverse the punishing sanctions that currently exist.  For girls, allowing greater development of skills outside of the home, such as offering toys that do not center around childcare, house work, or subservience, would exemplify the potential for a greater number of choices in adulthood.

            While it is important to acknowledge the origins, functionality, and problems with gender borders, it is most important to understand and recognize that gender borders (like physical borders) can be changed.  But, it is also important to note that, as is also the case with physical borders, with change comes initial (and sometimes long term) opposition to the redefinition of borders.




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