On proof and progress in feminism


The Accidental Mathematician

The recent allegations against several celebrities have led to a broader conversation on how we, as a society, don’t believe women. In a “he said, she said” situation, we trust the man and assume that the woman is either mistaken or lying. “Taking us seriously” means that we are advised of such and offered an explanation for our dismissal instead of simply being dismissed outright. It’s not only personal bias, conscious or not; there are institutional mechanisms perpetuating this state of affairs. No proof is ever sufficient if it comes from a woman. Should she present multiple affidavits, all signed and notarized in triplicate, she’ll be informed that they do not prove her claim; she, on the other hand, probably violated multiple rules and procedures by collecting and presenting her evidence in the first place. She should stop before she gets into more trouble.

Meanwhile, there’s a growing crop of…

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Angry Bird

Via twitter, I recently responded to a tweet that upset me. In most cases when I read something I don’t like and/or disagree with I am able to remind myself that more often than not, arguing encourages behavior that you are arguing against. I remind myself that the best way to be heard and understood is when people want to hear what you have to say. Despite that this guy probably had no interest in what I had to say, his small post provoked me enough to reply. It said “Men objectify women. Women objectify men. Lets move on.”

Keep in mind that I don’t even follow this guy, a guy who I happened to go to elementary school and high school with, whom had too many accounts of being “creepy” towards my peers. I have no interest in what he does with his life, and to be honest most of what he says gets on my nerves. I hadn’t heard from him in a long, long time. It was my very good friend, however, that sent me a picture along with the text “I hate people like this. JUST BECAUSE PEOPLE DO IT DOESN’T MAKE IT OKAY???” Yes, my dear friend, just because people do it does not in any way of the world make it okay. That is exactly what I told him, then proceeded to remind him that ignoring the problem is, in fact, encouraging it. Let’s NOT move on.

God, it’s people like that who get under my nerves. First off, let me just say that OF COURSE it is okay to have your own opinion. I spend a lot of my time encouraging the youth I am surrounded with to become educated in the world and form their own intellectual, fact-based opinions. No, they don’t have to match up with mine. In fact, we will probably disagree on something because humans are not built with identical fundamentals. What gets under my somewhat tough skin is when someone, and there is always a someone, tells people to move on, get over it, stop talking about it, like because they don’t feel the importance of the subject, in this case gender inequalities, nobody else should bother to either. By all means tell me that, in your opinion, oppression needn’t be addressed, but do not ever tell me or anybody not to act upon their beliefs. I know it’s a small tweet, but many wrongs do not make a right, no matter how small, and believe me this isn’t the first of the sort that I’ve seen.

Secondly, I was bewildered by the fact that he then told me to stop trying to pick a fight over twitter! For crying out loud he posted this on twitter, and infamous social media site for online arguments. It is best to always keep in mind that if you post something online, you are then giving the opportunity to others to open a discussion. It is something to expect, especially when the post offered is one that is meant to apply to certain people, in this case to those who represent themselves as a feminist via twitter, something that has been very popular over social media not only in my own social clique, but across the country and around the globe. Feminism has become a very vogue topic since we have been presented with strong, feminist
women like Michelle Obama, Lena Dunham, Roxanne Gay, and Emma Watson. What a time to be a feminist with all these wonderful leaders! With that said, peoples should not feel scared or ashamed to share their beliefs. They should never feel like they are not allowed to say what they feel needs to be said, that they shouldn’t be demanding their voice be heard. Besides, isn’t he, by posting this, participating in what he felt needed to stop? Wasn’t he contributing to the ongoing online “conflict?” Wouldn’t he, by his own words, be supporting his own said beliefs by saying nothing at all about the subject? Like I said, feel free to express your opinions, but don’t expect people to not respond, and please don’t tell me what to do.

The point is that people should feel free to say what they need to say, when they need to say it. I think that he was tired of all the heat over twitter on the subject, tired of all the women standing up for their beliefs. I stated earlier that by ignoring social injustice you are supporting the oppressor; by not giving opinion you are supporting the opponent. We should always stand up for ourselves. No, twitter is not the ideal way to do this, and no, you do not need to reply to every single thing that goes against your belief because there will always be something that does. My point is that we should never feel that we can’t, and that we always stand up for ourselves when we feel the urge or need to do so.

Transition is not death

Wonderful because it is important to know. Whether you have experience with this subject or none at all, it is worth reading and understanding.

a gentleman and a scholar

We need a better way to talk about trans children.

Christmas is the hardest time of the year for me. Not for the reasons why it’s so hard for so many trans people – their reasons first, and then mine.

This time of year brings it home – in mundane, everyday little ways – that trans people are so often people without families. Or, rather, without families of origin – by necessity, we’ve become adept at building our families of choice.  A facebook status asking for a donation to help homeless trans teenagers, or a recommendation for a trans-friendly shelter for victims of domestic violence – overwhelming numbers of empathetic responses rooted in experience. Invitations to alternative festive events, on days when most people are expected to find themselves with parents, grandparents, the in-laws. Survival guide blog posts for those trying to face their family of origin – knowing that…

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A Start

As a young adult in America, and more specifically female, I have long since realized the harsh reality of the world we live in. I have spent an immense amount of time questioning cruelty in all forms, whether it be racism, sexism, poverty… the list is too long, and I have spent so much time trying to wrap my head around why these atrocities exist in the first place. Like so many others I long for a world that values kindness and respect, that agrees to disagree and that, above all, teaches individuals to support and to care for one another. I am a hopeless protagonist in a series of unfortunate events, but what’s new? I am one of the many young women across the horizon who are seeking improvement. Some of it is selfish, some is for the greater good. I can admit that part of the reasoning behind my longing to right these wrongs is so I can have peace of mind, but also because I wish the same for so many others.

As if being a woman wasn’t already a heavy title to bear, I carry other titles openly and have experienced the repercussions of doing so. For lack of explaining myself without the use of labels, I am bisexual. I feel that the term bisexual is too black and white, however. As far as my sexuality goes, or whenever somebody is curious, I prefer to say that I am a person who  is attracted to other persons. No, that does not mean I want to sexually attack anything with two legs. It means that I do not care the gender, and that is not simply divided into two categories: biologically male or female. Importantly, to me at least, it means that I am attracted to personality and could care less what is hiding underneath the fabric. For some reason, this confuses people. I tend to get many questions after this explanation, such as: “Which do you like more?” I then go on to explain my theory, again, that being bisexual is not black and white, man or woman.”Wait, so you would date a transgender?” Yes. “Wouldn’t that bother you?” No. Or my favorite, which isn’t essentially a question at all, “Prove it.” When people tell me to prove my sexuality, it cracks me up and partly confuses me. My point was that I have no preference of gender, what exactly would you like me to prove? Would you like me to go kiss a woman, perhaps to prove my attraction to the same sex? Would you like me to kiss a man? Would you like me to maybe ask around, see if there is a man who was born a woman and kiss him, ignoring the fact that that would be completely rude? Or maybe, would you like me to kiss you? And to do all this without inappropriately touching ones body without their  consent, all in order to quench your curiosity? Please explain. Friendly reminder that you are by no means entitled to prove your sexuality to obliviously curious people, or to anyone that asks for that matter. Obviously sexuality in America, and across the globe for that matter, can be a very touchy subject. The privilege that straight men and women receive is ludicrous only because LGBTQ persons are not granted that same privilege.

I can go on to say that not only am I a bisexual female, I am also a feminist (note: I have also been called a satanist because of this.), a democrat, pro-choice, pro-legalization of marijuana individual who is completely content with being alone. Six months ago, I shaved my head to remind myself that I am still a woman, even if I don’t have long, white-gold locks. I have facial piercings. I am proud of who I am too, and pride also comes with a price from someone, somewhere. The point is I get a lot of attention for being the person I am. I extended on my sexuality not for the pure enjoyment of talking about myself (that was just a plus) but to provide insight on why I am doing this. Why I am creating this blog, why I am reaching out. It is not an attempt to say “poor me, poor me. I have it so hard,” because I truly understand the privileges I hold, how lucky I am to belong to a family in the upper-middle class, to have food in the pantry, to have a car… I acknowledge that the life I have is good. One thing that I am desperately trying to convey to anyone who will listen is that it is important to acknowledge what is RIGHT in your world, but also just as important to acknowledge what isn’t; not just in your world, but in everybody else. Being a woman is hard, so is being bisexual, I imagine that it is also hard to be a man. It pains me that there are others in the world dealing with the insecurities that I too face. It embarrasses me that there are things that I am ignorant to, yes I am only human but that is no excuse to be uneducated. I will never pretend to understand the hardships that are put on people of color, what it is like to be a gay male (the acceptance of men who have controversial sexuality is far lower than that of women), what it is like to not be white and living in America, to have parents who are immigrants. There are so many things that I will never know by experience, but with that said, I will continue to promote the rights of those who are struggling still, like me, to grasp the inconveniences of not being America’s Poster Child. I am young. I am doing what I love: Writing. I have a voice and I care about equality. I am going to share my views, experiences, opinions in the hope that I  help in some way by simply communicating.

I have titled this blog Oh the Places I’ll Go! after the famous Dr. Suess book titled Oh the Places You’ll Go! As a child I cherished this book. It is still sitting on my book shelf with a gnarly hot cocoa stain on the front, waiting to be read whenever I need a reminder that I am not stuck. Incidentally, my final 10 page paper in high school on preparation, passion, and philosophy was titled the same. This blog is going to be a learning experience. With hopes that I am corrected if wrong, I am excited to finally be blogging, an enchanting idea that I hadn’t yet summoned the courage to start until now. I want to share my words with those who will listen, and help those who are still learning as well by offering them a partner to learn with. If I am no more than a source of entertainment, at least I am being heard and planting new thoughts inside new minds. My name is Madeline, and this is my way to start participating in the revolution.