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Inclusive Practice: Pronoun Usage | Office for Diversity and Inclusion

The following was written by and represents the opinion of Mackenzie Cartin, Co-Director of OUTstanding 2015. 

Preferred pronouns: She, her, hers


I believe it is important to address what has been occurring since Donna Braquet’s article on inclusive practice with gender pronouns (see link above.) Specifically in regards to the WATE News link on the article I posted to the OUTstanding Facebook page.

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Realism v. gender ideology: Women in apocalyptic fiction shaving their armpits.

By Lisa Wade, PhD

This is what gender ideology looks like. That’s The Walking Dead’s Rosita Espinosa and a total absence of armpit hair. 

This is also gender ideology at work: the privileging of an idea of gender over real life or, in this case, realism.

The Walking Dead’s producers go to great lengths to portray what a zombie apocalypse might be like. They are especially keen to show us the nasty bits: what it really looks like when dead people don’t die, what it looks like to kill the undead, and the evil it spawns in those left alive. It’s gruesome. The show is a gore orgy. But armpit hair on women? Apparently that’s just gross.

Gender ideology lost this battle with realism, we’d see armpit hair on the women in Gilligan’s IslandPlanet of the Apes,The Blue LagoonBeauty and the BeastWaterworld,  Lost and, yes, The Hunger Games – but we don’t. (Thanks to Ariane Lange at Buzzfeed for the whole collection and to @uheartdanny for the link.)

At least Rosita could conceivably have a razor. How do women supposedly shave their armpits on deserted islands? Did the Beast slip Belle a razor, you know, just as part of his controlling personality? And maybe some persnickety women would continue to shave even if they were lost in purgatory, but Riley in Alien? Come on.

Our interest in realism only goes so far. Armpit hair on women is apparently one of its limits.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

 the makeup a person wears does not indicate their gender (◡‿◡✿) 

 a person’s hair length/style does not indicate their gender (◕‿◕✿)

fashion expression and style do not indicate a person's gender (⊙‿⊙✿)

just because someone is wearing clothing or styles normally associated with one binary gender  by society does not mean they are that gender

Still think bisexuality is binary?

I just wrote this thing for a lecture I’m going to be giving soon and I thought some people might find it helpful because it’s quick, painless and crammed with information.

Bisexuality is often accused of reinforcing the gender binary. Because “bi”means “two” in Latin, bisexuality is presumed to refer to attraction towards only two genders, and those two genders presumed to be cisgender women and men. Because of this, bisexuality is ruled to be binarist, transphobic and oppressive towards trans people.

However, this arguments oversimplifies the meaning, etymology and history of the term.

  • The term bisexuality has originated in medical and scientific theories of the 19th century, meaning that it was invented by the medical and scientific institution and only later reclaimed by bisexual people and movements.
  • In addition, the “two” in bisexual doesn’t specifically refer to any gender (or even gender at all), but simply to two unnamed categories.
  • Also, language changes and evolves:
    • “queer” literally means “strange and unusual”;
    • “lesbian” literally means “someone from the isle of Lesbos”;
    • “gay” literally means “happy”;
    • and “transgender” literally means “someone who’s crossed to the other side of gender” (which is no less linguistically “binary” than “bisexual”).
  • Historically, the bisexual movement in the US started gaining popularity in the 90’s, around the same time as the transgender movement. So while language wasn’t always available, bisexuality was consistently described in terms of attraction to women, men and other genders, using such terms as “androgynous people”, “third gender” or “in between”.
  • Also, bisexual trans people exist. According to recent studies, 25% of trans people identify as bisexual.
  • Today, most bisexual organizations in the world define bisexuality as attraction to more than one gender or to genders similar to and different from our own.
  • And yet a special standard is applied to bisexuality in particular. Why?

Not responding to backlash sorry not sorry

Read more here (links to wordpress):

“We still live in a binary world in which the idea is imposed on us that there are only two genders; we need to change that perception.” Cox is determined to use the platform that OITNB  has given her to raise awareness of the plight of her trans sisters, and is working on a documentary about CeCe McDonald – who was jailed for killing a man who attacked her – as well as ensuring other cases aren’t forgotten. “Monica Jones falsely arrested for prostitution; Jewelyes Gutierrez charged with battery for taking on her school bullies; Islan Nettles beaten to death for being a trans woman…” as Cox  recites their names it becomes clear that where other actresses see fame as a reward, she sees it as a weapon, a way of reminding the world of its injustice towards those it struggles to understand.

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