Category Archives: Gender essentialism

Voice and silence [Women and Violence, Part 8]

[This is part of my series on Women and Violence, which I am writing as a project for a Women Studies course I'm taking. For an explanation and information on my intentions with this series, please see the introduction.]

In “The Transformation of Silence into Language and Action,” Audre Lorde writes the following description of her thought process when faced with a potential diagnosis of cancer:

[...] and what I most regretted were my silences. Of what had I ever been afraid? To question or to speak as I believed could have meant pain, or death. But we all hurt in so many different ways, all the time, and pain will either change or end. Death, on the other hand, is the final silence. And that might be coming quickly, now, without regard for whether I had ever spoken what needed to be said, or had only betrayed myself into small silences, while I planned someday to speak, or waited for someone else’s words. And I began to recognize a source of power within myself that comes from the knowledge that while it is most desirable not to be afraid, learning to put fear into a perspective gave me great strength.

I was going to die, if not sooner then later, whether or not I had ever spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.” (41)

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Posted in Abuse, rape, and domestic violence, Feminism, Gender Caste, Women and Violence | 3 Comments

Policing women through violence [Women and Violence, Part 7]

[This is part of my series on Women and Violence, which I am writing as a project for a Women Studies course I'm taking. For an explanation and information on my intentions with this series, please see the introduction.]

In an article titled “‘Femininity’ and women’s silence in response to sexual harassment and coercion,” Kathleen V. Cairns describes how harassment of women functions as a method of social control over women’s behavior:

[O]vert practices include the public, ritual shaming of women in the form of catcalls, lewd remarks and so on which serves to demonstrate the fact that ‘any man or group of men feels entitled not only to pass judgement on any woman walking along minding her own business, but also to announce it to her‘ [Kotzin 1993: 167]

[...]

In patriarchy, women are taught to accept that their femaleness, their simple presence, are responsible for men’s behavior towards them [...] It becomes women’s responsibility to police themselves, to keep their dress, comportment and presence within approved limits to avoid ‘provoking’ harassment. (96-7).

This dynamic – of men acting with impunity to judge women, and women shouldering the blame for men’s actions towards them – can be applied to other forms of gender violence as well. What it comes down to is the way that negative reactions from men – or even the anticipation of those reactions – function to police women in everything from their appearance to their behavior. Continue reading

Posted in Abuse, rape, and domestic violence, Feminism, The Beauty Myth, Women and Violence | 4 Comments

The violence beneath 'beauty' [Women and Violence, Part 5]

[This is part of my series on Women and Violence, which I am writing as a project for a Women Studies course I'm taking. For an explanation and information on my intentions with this series, please see the introduction.]

Next week I’m giving a presentation in class on cosmetic surgery in regards to women of color. Now, cosmetic surgery does not readily fall under most common definitions of ‘violence,’ and I find myself hesitant to categorically label it as such.

On the one hand, while cosmetic surgery does involve bloody alterations on a person’s body, so does surgery in general, and we generally don’t label that as violent – especially when voluntarily consented to by the patient. The fact that cosmetic surgery is often (though not always) agreed to by an autonomous individual does mitigate the physical damage it brings.

Of course, we are all aware that ‘consent’ is a sticky issue, and that we can’t ignore the pressures that can constrain a person’s ability to make a choice – particularly in the case of women facing pressures to be ‘beautiful’ in a certain way.

Furthermore, the same level of physical damage can be construed as ‘violent’ or ‘non-violent’ depending on the context. Full-contact sports can be performed just as ferociously as a street brawl, yet not be uncontrolled and violent. What’s more, a session of safe, sane, and consensual BDSM can be non-violent, while the quietest rape perpetrated under clearly communicated threat is clearly not. Continue reading

Posted in Abuse, rape, and domestic violence, Feminism, Racism, The Beauty Myth, Women and Violence | 9 Comments

Obesity Moral Panics and the Gendered Presentation of Disordered Eating

The news here recently reported on a new study suggesting that eating disorder rates in Australia have more than doubled in the last decade, and the rates of “regular disordered eating” (that doesn’t necessarily coincide with a diagnosable eating disorder) … Continue reading

Posted in Australia, Gender issues, Studies, The Beauty Myth | 2 Comments

The beauty myth and character design

One of the points I constantly bring up as a barrier to gender inclusive game design is how women are hypersexualized — meaning that they are constructed to be characters whom presumably male characters would like to have sex with, … Continue reading

Posted in Feminism, Sex, sexuality, and sexual politics, The Beauty Myth, Video Games | 10 Comments

My Story [Loving Our Bodies, Part 2]

While I agree with him that it’s not fair that women are expected to remove all of that hair while men are not expected to. Whatever way you look at it, is unnecessary and well just not fair. Why is … Continue reading

Posted in Feminism, Gender Cultism, Loving Our Bodies, Series | 22 Comments

Introduction [Loving Our Bodies, Part 1]

For International Women’s Day, kristy has put up a wonderful and thought-provoking post. So thought-provoking, in fact, that my comment turned into a post which turned into a series. This is the introduction of that series. First off, let’s look … Continue reading

Posted in Feminism, Gender Cultism, Loving Our Bodies, Series | 6 Comments

Now that you've felt a woman's pain, the learning can begin

Over at Sara Speaking Sara has a post called See? See what I mean? which discusses how her male co-worker experiences the same kind of gender-based discrimination that women encounter in male-dominated jobs. Our main customer set is stay-at-home or … Continue reading

Posted in Feminism, Gender Cultism, Privilege | Comments Off

A deeper look into femininity [The Gaming Beauty Myth, Interlude]

I’m labeling this as an “interlude” because the constructs of femininity I’m about to address don’t all directly intersect with the beauty myth, but the way that they interact with femininity as a whole is a topic that I feel … Continue reading

Posted in Gender Caste, Gender Cultism, Popular Culture, Series, The Beauty Myth, The Gaming Beauty Myth, Video Games | 7 Comments

IMPACT Defense Against Multiple Assailants class

Good afternoon, Shrub.com! My name is Katie, and I’m a white cisgendered female heterosexual able-bodied blogger. Andrea gave me a Shrub login a few weeks ago so I could post ideas that I thought fit the thoughtful “breaking out of … Continue reading

Posted in Abuse, rape, and domestic violence, Eradicating Divisive Discourse, Feminism, Gender essentialism, Gender issues, Masculinities | 6 Comments