What We Missed

Melissa Harris-Perry’s long awaited book, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America, is now available for pre-order. I’m really psyched for that one.

Campus Progress and Colorlines.com have teamed up to host this keynote competition for their summer national conference. Have something to say about race and young people? Enter here!

Check out this Q&A from the Dart Center with Latina author and journalist Celia Ballí about her reporting on the drug war in Mexico and the challenges of writing about traumatic events.

In case you thought gender panic didn’t exist, read about how folks have responded to a J. Crew ad where a boy painted his toenails pink. Our gender norms are strict ya’ll–especially if you’re talking about male-assigned people doing things that are considered feminine.

I wrote an article for Colorlines about the raising rate of maternal mortality in the US, how it impacts women of color and what some midwifery advocates are trying to do about it.

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3 Comments

  1. Posted April 13, 2011 at 10:57 pm | Permalink

    I saw this article this week and thought it was really interesting. Pink for girls and blue for boys is so much a part of our culture, it never even occurred to me to think about if there was a time when it wasn’t that way.

    http://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/When-Did-Girls-Start-Wearing-Pink.html

  2. Posted April 14, 2011 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Regarding the J Crew gender panic– while its neat that they push at gender norms a teeny bit (in a for-profit ad) please don’t forget that they’re not actually fans of trans folks at all. They discriminated in their hiring practices against trans applicants, and then refused to engage with the folks that wanted them to fix that: http://gothamist.com/2010/03/14/transgender_need_not_apply_at_jcrew.php

  3. Posted April 14, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Oh, fer chrissakes….

    Look, when I was a little boy, I wore a sun dress. My sisters painted my face, cut my hair, and dressed me up. I played tea time with them. This happened on more than one occasion. I also had a stuffed animal, and sometimes I watched girly cartoons.

    Today, I’m a heterosexual, cisgendered (but neither homophobic nor transphobic) man wearing plaid and blue jeans, working on farms and in construction, studying the uber-manly profession of agriculture, and flirting with women. Even if being gay or transgender was wrong, which it isn’t (a lesson in life taught to me by my sister and her transman ex), these things don’t turn you gay or bisexual. They don’t even necessarily break down your gender norms. Take me for example. Yes, I am NOW a pro-feminist man who scorns the binary gender paradigm and its exclusionary, dehumanizing ways, and who builds his sense of identity not off of ‘masculinity’ or ‘femininity’, but out of basic ideas of responsibility, compassion, and integrity. But it wasn’t dressing up as a girl when I was a little kid that made me that way. In fact, by the time I hit puberty, I had developed quite the conservative sense of gender roles and an anti-feminist belief of the kind I find common in most men my age in my area. What turned me into the pro-feminist man I am today was not the sundress, or the makeup, but the fact that AFTER I developed this sense of gender identity, my sister introduced me to the ideas of feminism through Jean Kilbourne’s ‘Still Killing Us Softly’, and it got me thinking, so that, throughout my teenage years, I learned more and more about gender and feminism and developed into the person I am today.

    So I guess there are three morals to this story:

    1. Painted toenails and other ‘feminine’ aesthetics won’t turn you gay or trans. It’s not guaranteed to even make you pro-feminist.
    2. Even if it did, who cares? I don’t feel particularly bound by gender, and I’m fine.
    3. My sisters are awesome and have made me a better and wiser person in every way

    Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a genderfuck drag show to practice for, and I want to make sure my fully grown, uber-manly beard looks fabulous for the ladies. Oh remarkably liberal Catholic college, I love you.

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