Can we take a second to say THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts, to all of you, for making our first couple of weeks here in the Tumblr-sphere so fun? We’re loving the comments, reblogs, and questions from you guys, so keep ‘em coming! We also appreciate the feedback you’ve been giving us about how to make our Tumblr even better. We’ve heard from a lot of you about the importance of making our Tumblr a safe space for folks across gender and sexual identities. To help make that happen, we’re going to be using some gender inclusive terms here. Here’s a quick rundown:
Gender refers to society’s expectations about how we should look, think, and act as girls and boys, women and men. It’s different from our sex, which is biological, and includes stuff like our genetic makeup, our hormones, and our physical parts (like our genitals). Gender identity is how we feel about our gender and gender expression is how we convey those feelings in the ways we dress, behave, speak, express ourselves, and more.
Transgender is a gender identity that differs from conventional expectations based on a person’s biological sex. Transgender is a big term that can include lots of different bodies and identities. Some transgender folks have surgery and/or take hormones to alter their physical bodies to match their gender identity, and this process is often called transitioning. Transitioning can also mean changing your gender expression, using different pronouns, etc.
Cisgender is a gender identity that is consistent with conventional expectations about a person’s sex. Cisgender refers to people who identify and present as the gender they were assigned at birth.
If you haven’t thought about gender much, some of these ideas might seem really new and maybe a little confusing. We came across The Genderbread Person, a visual tool that helps explain some of these concepts. It’s just one of many gender models, and while it’s probably not perfect (some might say it’s a little too binary. I mean what if you feel like you don’t fit anywhere on some of the spectrums?), it’s a good starting point in helping folks understand that people aren’t always just male or female.
Thanks to all of you for making us better and smarter. We know this is just the beginning.
- Your friends at Planned Parenthood Tumblr
"Using normality to alleviate sexual shame is like using capitalism to alleviate poverty. Capitalism creates, distributes, and requires poverty. Sexual normalcy creates, distributes, and requires sexual shame. There is no capitalism without poverty. And there is no sexual normalcy without sexual shame."
"It is the height of irony that women are valued for our looks, encouraged to make ourselves beautiful and ornamental… and are then derided as shallow and vain for doing so. And it’s a subtle but definite form of sexism to take one of the few forms of expression where women have more freedom, and treat it as a form of expression that’s inherently superficial and trivial. Like it or not, fashion and style are primarily a women’s art form. And I think it gets treated as trivial because women get treated as trivial."
"Consider the headline of this recent USA Today piece, by Sharon Jayson: “As NOW marks 45 years, is feminism over the hill?” Get it? “Over the hill!” Much like a 45-year-old woman would be! Because, God knows, they are also useless. Too bad for you, Feminism: No one will marry you now! Perhaps you should have been less demanding in your younger years! Regardless, the only option now is to get into your rocking chair and wait for death."
"When I ask my students at the beginning of my Men and Masculinity course about “real men,” I get responses like, “real men aren’t afraid to show affection,” or “real men like to dance,” or “real men can cry in public and not care what anyone else thinks.” My students want to subvert the traditional “sturdy oak” model of masculinity. They mean well. But all they’re doing is swapping one unattainable ideal for another. Just as “real women have curves” delegitimizes countless slim women, “real men aren’t afraid to cry” shames those men who for any number of reasons are awkward about public displays of emotion. The contemporary “real man” ideal presents itself as inclusive, but it’s just another cultural straitjacket."
This pattern — women can dress like men, but men don’t dress like women — suggests that there is, in fact, something demeaning, ridiculous, or subordinating about presenting oneself to the male gaze. Most men feel stupid, gross, or vulnerable when they do it. This isn’t just about conformity to different gendered expectations. If it were just about difference women would feel equally weird dressing in men’s clothes. Instead, when women adopt masculine ways of dressing and moving, they often feel empowered.
So, when men do femininity they feel ridiculous and when women do masculinity they feel awesome. This is what gender inequality looks like.