It’s time the U.S. media stops pushing a monolithic, sexist narrative of the “Muslim World”

Very few countries have sterling records when it comes to gender equality. Almost everywhere in the world, women are paid less, subjected to greater violence and granted fewer opportunities to obtain political power than men.

Despite this problem’s global nature, the American media too often pushes a troubling narrative: that gendered oppression is the norm in Muslim-majority countries.

Here to reject this claim is Resa Aslan, a renowned religious scholar who went on CNN this week in response to comedian Bill Maher’s equating of the “Muslim world” with Islamic State, the violent group that’s taken over large parts of Syria and Iraq.

"Liberal Western culture is not just different [from Islam], it’s better," Maher said.

Here’s why this statement is so problematic

anonymous said:

So, I know gender's got to be real because thinking it isn't is transphobic, and I do generally believe in it, but I have a scientific mindset most of the time and I'm really bothered by the fact that I don't know what gender IS. If you take away gender roles, presentation, etc, what's left? How do we actually have genders? Do non-western genders exist as separate things, and if so is there really that much of a racial-genetic difference? What causes gender?

I think it’s a mental thing, a thing we use to define ourselves and others. The Gender Byenary as it stands is a western things, other genders existed in tribes usually as spiritual things or simply as people wanted it to be (from what i know). We have genders because some asshole decided to throw people into two different categories based on genitals or w/e idek actually. 
Im not in the business of thinking to hard about gender anymore, but a personal favourite of mine is Mogai Archive’s What Is Gender tag, although it is sarcastic i find a lot of the time that i only ever think of gender the way youre talking about in terms of humor. 

But anyways, i think it’s all up to the person. when i took away all my gender roles, all my internalised gender shit, all my preconceived biases, i was left with nothing. No connection to any gender. No strong physical presentation to tie me to a specific gender. No emotions that pushed me towards any genders. 
Some people, when they strip all that away, still feel connected to certain gender identities they feel fit the way they feel or think. Some people push past it, choose to reject binary gender, and identify as a nonbinary boy or girl, because they still feel connected to those terms or they feel that calling themselves a boy or a girl really fits who they are.
Gender is a feel, that’s what ive been saying sarcastically for a while now, but it’s kind of true. Simply put, gender is all over the place wacky af and idek what the hell is going on. 

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Watch: If women catcalled men, it would sound completely absurd 

Catcalls are something every woman has experienced and is expected to live with. After all, it’s just a compliment, right? What’s the big deal?

The big deal is that not only is street harassment an invasive and dehumanizing experience for women, but it perpetuates the “boys will be boys” mentality that men can’t help but look, and that women should be flattered by the attention. It’s a disturbing gender dynamic that has become acceptable social behavior.

And if you need help seeing the absurdity of this practice, all you have to do is flip the tables, as this BuzzFeed parody did.

Throughout my book, I keep asking, “What makes a man?” I think it’s about integrity. I was thirty when I transitioned; I had a whole life before that. So how can I, in this life, in this body, have a sense of consistency and integrity, with self-respect for my past? How can everything feel like it aligns all together? The longer I’m in the world, the longer I think I was born in the right body, it just was a transgender body. I wouldn’t perceive myself in ever having been wrong in who I was.
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"I think men have got to change an awful lot" - Bette Davis on The Sexes. 

The lost 1963 interview. Animated.

Misunderstand. Misidentify. Mistaken. Misogyny. Miscegenation. Miscreant. Misadventure. Misalign. The list goes on and on. A two-second search turned up a long list of words beginning with the prefix ‘mis.’ None seem very positive. Now we have a new word to add to the lexicon: misgender.

Reid Vanderburgh explains why misgender is not a bad word.

egf said:

How do you explain to a 3 year old the difference b/w a boy and a girl? Does it even require explaining? Obv can't say things like long hair=girl or other things like that. If he calls a class mate "he/she" and that's incorrect I just simply correct. He frequently points out that he's a boy and dad's a boy and mom's a girl and he's sad for me because I don't have a penis. But I'm at a loss if he digs deeper than that. I was thinking of telling him to ask if the person wants to be called he/she.

In my experience kids at 3 are both extremely inquisitive, and tend to be pretty set on wanting categories & labels.  Minky is approaching 2 and very much interested in knowing what things are - “dis?” (aka. “what is this?”) is one of his most frequently used phrases.

Explaining gender to kids is (at least in my opinion) pretty easy.  I think there is nothing wrong with pointing out some “most/many/some” identifiers when it comes to gender - ie. most men have penises, many women wear dresses, some men have beards - as long as you qualify that every person is different, and that there is a huge and beautiful range of self-expression when it comes to gender.  But I am also all in favor of encouraging kids to ask, and asking your own kid about gender.  I am not offended if a kid asks me “are you a boy or a girl?” it is often a totally honest/innocent question and I like to think of it as the sort of rudimentary version of “what is your preferred pronoun?”  With the classmate in question, I think it is probably worth just encouraging your child to ask the that question directly, and then encouraging him to honor that answer. 

But I also think it is really great and important to prepare your child to know that some people are one or the other, some people are neither, some people are both, and some people move between/around/over/under those two categories.  If you really want to get into gender in a more visual way with your child I would encourage you to get out some colors and show how between blue and red there are all sorts of shades of purple.  I think that can help to demystify the whole thing a little more.

In my experience most kids can handle gender variance without much trouble as long as it is presented to them in a matter-of-fact way.  Asking me why I have long hair, or pierced ears, or wear makeup sometimes should be no more difficult to explain to a child than why any other woman does those same things - “I enjoy it, it makes me feel pretty.”  As kids get older those questions and explanations can get more in depth.

anonymous said:

what do you think of trans being defined by sex dysphoria (disconnect towards one's own biological sexed characteristics and desire to change them) rather than "gender identity"?

What is sex dysphoria though? Thinking that you, as a male, has some innate connection with ‘the female brain’ is misogynistic as fuck. There’s nothing identifiable with the female sex - it’s factual and biological depending on our anatomy. Gender needs to be erased, and we should just be left with biological differences because prioritising ‘gender identities’ over actual scientific fact is absolutely barbaric and simply ridiculous.

Yeah, let’s favour something made up to oppress women over something proven time and time again to be true and factual. People can say ‘I’m not a misogynist’ until they’re blue in the face - but actions speak louder than words.

honestly the concept of normalizing asking your pronouns like asking your name is so so so important im so tired of people laughing when they’re asked or saying something bullshit like “i identify as caterpillar hahaha” could you grow the fuck up and realize what a dick you’re being and how important validating someone’s identity is