How safe is America?

March 31, 2012 § 1 Comment

How safe is America? Never in my 22 years of life have I ever felt unsafe where I grew up. I was raised in a small town 25 minutes out side of West Lafayette. Everyone generally knew everyone, and my graduating class probably totaled around 100 people.  Kids were free to ride their bikes around town and hang out without a parents worry. Now if I was to go to Chicago or New York, yes I felt a little different. It had nothing to do with the amount of money I made or my parents made. It was a big city a change of pace for a small town girl.  This essay has really got me thinking and, I find it hard for myself to relate to this at all. At the age of 16 I was pretty much on my own if I needed more for clothing or lunch I had a job to pay for that kind of stuff. My parents were never wealthy but we weren’t in poverty either. Just like the majority of the world we were living in the middle class. Being middle class has never made me feel unsafe and where I come from I don’t know of anyone who could feel unsafe in this neighbor hood. I understand that living in a city in poverty is a completely different story.  We as Americans never stop to think that this place we call home can be threatening just based on the amount of money we make, because we have never been in the situation. As I cannot speak for everyone this is just a personal experience. Never leaving small town life, I will never know what its like to live in a city in poverty.

Americans Dirty Work

March 31, 2012 § 1 Comment

Before our visit to the Black Cultural Center I never would have guessed in a million years that Human Trafficking was still a current problem, and before a few days ago I wasn’t ever really sure what human trafficking even was.  After listening to the story of how he got to America and what he endured on his way is heart breaking that our fellow Americans and Humans would treat someone like that. The fact that humans are harboring other humans in there houses paying them only dollars a day and brain washing them into thinking that the real world outside the house is much worse than what they have it inside, how can people do that to other humans.

This global issue to me seems to be put on the back burn as unimportant, we are not publicly talking about the issue and informing Americans about this. Little do we know, our neighbors could be harboring trafficked humans, or better yet the woman that does our nails at our local saloon could be trapped? I think the issue about emigration and Human trafficking she be taught to our youth. We need to be aware of the things happening around us. More times than not human trafficking seems to be a detrimental life style.

This was on my dashboard today.

March 30, 2012 § Leave a comment

I don’t know how to take videos that are uploaded directly from Tumblr, so here’s the link:

http://sexgenderbody.tumblr.com/post/20160534872/dumbthingswhitepplsay-hamburgerjack

Basically, it’s Rick Santorum JUST about to call Barack Obama the N word.

Thoughts?

Global gender issues:

March 29, 2012 § 1 Comment

Global gender issues: With how much I am on the internet, you would think that I would all know about all kinds of things that were going on in the world, particularly dealing with gender. After all, I follow the blog SexGenderBody and on a daily basis they post about some sort of injustice that is happening with the world, pertaining to, surprise surprise, sex, gender, and bodies. But here I was, still sitting here at 4pm on Thursday afternoon when this blog is due in less than twenty-four hours. I googled “global gender issues” in hopes that it would lead me to somewhere, but surprisingly, that got me nowhere. What was I going to do? Am I just going to keep going throughout my day, hoping that something was just going to pop into my head? I began to play around with an idea in my head that I had been considering this assignment was assigned. Thailand. Transsexuals. Thai transsexuals. Perfect. I have been interested in Asian culture since God knows when, and transsexuals were always something that I was interested in. And that’s when it finally hit me. No, not just Thai transsexuals, but just within the last week, a finalist of Miss Universe Canada were disqualified for being born a boy. And now I found my topic.

So in case you have no idea what has been going on, let me fill you in. Just a few days ago, a woman named Jenna Talackova became a finalist (along with 64 other women) of Miss Universe Canada. The title would give the chance for the winner to “honor of representing her country.” On March 23, 2012, the Miss Universe Canada’s website (http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/) made an announcement that one of their contestants, Talackova will “not compete” in this years competition. To quote the website:

Jenna Talackova will not compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada competition. Jenna Talackova from Vancouver, British Columbia will not compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada competition because she did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form. We do, however, respect her goals, determination and wish her the best.

Organizers say Talackova lied about having undergone sexual reassignment surgery, but I am not too sure about how true this was. And even if she was born a male, what does it matter? Talackova is legally and physically a woman now, and isn’t it the present that matters the most about these competitions?

“As with any competition, the Miss Universe pageant has rules which apply to all of its franchises around the world. Such rules include, but are not limited to, citizenship, age, and marital status requirements. Additionally, the rules currently state that all contestants must be naturally born females,” the Miss Universe Organization said.

As CNN states in their article about the situation, the rules are not posted on the website, so whether or not that holds true or not is not available to the public.

Ever since this announcement was made, a huge controversy started. A petition on Change.org was made in order to try to reverse the disqualification, and not even a week after the announcement was made, 44,544 people have already signed it. “Her being trans represents that it was harder for her than most to get where she is today, and that make her the perfect Miss Universe contestant,” said a signer. People have begun to criticize the pageant on Miss Universe Canada’s Facebook page. Upon looking at these comments, many of them are shaming the competition and saying that these actions are appalling. A few of these comments are such as “Perhaps you’re unaware that the Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits discrimination based on gender identity,” and “If your requirement is that only women who were born in the right body can compete, then you should probably change the requirements.”

These “requirements” were apparently that all contestants had to be born female in order to compete. I found this out by SexGenderBody, and for this post, I decided to read a few more articles about the incident.

Apparently Talackova headed to her Twitter once the decision was made, and said, “”I’m not going to just let them disqualify me over discrimination. I’m not giving up.”

Now without a doubt there are people who support Miss Universe Canada’s decision, but those people are not so easy to find even on the internet. For most of the articles and comments I have seen about it, it is expressing the outrage of this disqualification. And I would have to say that I am fully a part of this outrage. So far the only support for this decision was from a poll that I found on theweek.com. They asked the question “Should beauty pageants be allowed to ban transgender contestants?” and the results are as followed:

29% say No. This is unfair discrimination.

13% say Yes. Allowing transgender contestants tilts the playing field.

21% say No. If contestants can have nose jobs, why not sex changes?

37% say Yes. Private organizations have the right to as they see fit.

This controversy brings up the whole question of how and when a person is considered male or female. Some believe that once you were born something, that is what you are for life. Others believe that once you change sex, then your reassignment is what you are. And others believe that you are what you feel that you are, surgery or not. Talackova knew that she was a girl ever since she was four years old. At fourteen, she began to take hormones and finally at nineteen, she underwent gender reassignment surgery.

There are pageants, which are specifically for transgendered woman, but they seem to be few and far in-between. The World’s Most Beautiful Transsexual Contest was only held once in 2004, and Thailand’s Miss Tiffany’s Universe, which is “is internationally recognized as one of the largest and most colorful transgender beauty pageants in the world.” With these two, it shows how transgendered women do not get many chances to compete, but the question as to why they even need their own competition instead of just joining other women comes up. If someone who looks like acts like, feels like a “natural woman,” then why is she not allowed to compete with all the other women? Some believe that this is an unfair advantage, but I do not see anyone being disqualified over some plastic surgery.

Boyette, Chris. “Miss Universe Pageant Ousts Transgender Contestant.” CNN. Cable News Network, 27 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 Mar. 2012.             <http://articles.cnn.com/2012-03-27/americas/world_americas_miss-universe-transgender-contestant_1_pageant-miss-universe-organization- contestant?_s=PM:AMERICAS>.

Le Fevre, John. “Thailand Transexuals Compete for Miss Tiffany’s Universe    2011beauty Queen Title.” Photo-journ’s Newsblog, 20 Apr. 2011. Web. 29 Mar. 2012.

<http://photo-journ.com/2011/thailands-most-beautiful-ladyboys-line-up- for-miss-tiffanys-universe-2011>.

“Jenna Talackova’s Disqualification from Miss Universe Canada Sparks Fresh Outrage.” National Post. National Post Wire Services, 29 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 Mar. 2012. <http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/03/29/jenna-talackovas-  disqualification-from-miss-universe-canada-sparks-fresh-outrage/>.

“Miss Universe Canada | Facebook.” Facebook.com. Web. 29 Mar. 2012.

<http://www.facebook.com/pages/Miss-Universe-Canada/131659650240205>.

“Should Transgender Contestants Be Banned from Beauty Pageants?” The Week. 27 Mar. 2012. Web. 29 Mar. 2012.          <http://theweek.com/article/index/226092/should-transgender-contestants-be-banned-from-beauty-pageants>.

Feminist Poet Adrienne Rich Dies at 82

March 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

Adrienne Rich wrote beautiful poetry and prose, and to top it off she was a feminist as well. I’ve always been struck by the fact that her poetry showed up in my English classes and her essays in Women’s Studies readings. She was a phenomenal writer.

Josephine’s Story: she cannot both live with her family and support it

March 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

I was shocked after reading both Essay 48 and Essay 49, but not surprised. I am disgusted that an employer, a human rights lawyer nonetheless, confiscated his worker’s passport, forced her to work more than 12 hour long days for less than 1 dollar per hour, and allowed a friend of his to rape her subsequently refusing to take her to a hospital to receive medical care.

As detailed by Joy M. Zarembka, the epicenter of this oppression and exploitation in the U.S. is Washington D.C. I don’t know any families around here who employ immigrant domestic workers, but I’m sure there are some in our area (just not as many as in D.C. or other lager cities). Still, even if this issue does not seem to apply to us or have presence in our area, shouldn’t we all be enraged?

The biggest roadblocks to helping immigrant women who are already in bad situations and keeping women from entering them are our laws and social support systems, or the lack thereof. As we all know or at least should know, laws in this country to protect and improve the lives of individuals are only created and implemented when enough people demand it.

A big step would be to enact similar procedures and regulations with A-3, B-1, and G-5 visas like those with J-1 visas. In the meantime get angry. I know I am.

On “The Impact of Multiple Marginalization”

March 25, 2012 § Leave a comment

When I think of the LGBT community, I don’t immediately conjure up images of racial exclusivity.  If I were to imagine the LGBT community as exclusivistic, in all honesty, I would probably imagine it excluding straight people exclusively.  Whew.  Enough of the exclusion talk.  What I’m trying to say is that this reading forced me to recognize my own misperception of the LGBT community, and of gay/bisexual/transgender identity in general, as some monolithic and all-encompassing identity which transcended all other aspects of identity.  To a certain extent, that’s what I feel like it’s become in our shared cultural awareness.  Right now, because it is one of the most contested fronts of the new civil rights movement, it has by necessity gained a lot of weight as an identifying characteristic.  It is an electrifying topic, an identity both marginalized and uplifted, and it has become a focus of national obsession.  And for the time being, that’s exactly what the LGBT community needs.  Without a unifying presence and awareness on a national level, they may not be able to muster up the clout needed for lasting victory.

But it can’t be an uncritical unity.  Paula Rust wrote her essay, “The Impact of Multiple Marginalization”, in 1996, before the term LGBT had even gained widespread acceptance in either academic or common parlance.  Since then, I wonder how much, if at all, the situation has changed.  Despite having come of age well after this essay was written, I am still familiar with many of the same ethnic/homosexual stereotypes and slurs mentioned in the text.  Likewise, I have seen Proposition 8 fail because of negative perceptions of homosexuality within the California Black community.  If the LGBT community cannot acknowledge and fight for the rights of the minorities within its own ranks, even those who do not choose to openly express their sexuality, then it exhibits the same failing as first-wave feminism, which excluded the experiences and agendas of women of color and women in poverty from its rhetoric.  It fails in the same way that the African-American Civil Rights Movement failed Black women, pushing their concerns and their voices to the side to favor the advancement of Black men, predominantly. 

A united front is necessary to win the fight for LGBT rights, but unity doesn’t have to mean the appearance of homogeneity.  By perpetuating the illusion of a single type of queer experience, the LGBT community may in fact be fracturing itself internally, alienating its own supporters by not addressing their difficulties in their ethnic communities and working to promote understanding across different cultural perspectives.

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