rhiannon gets an education

you know what? i am brave, and wonderful, and good at what i do. i put in effort, i work hard to get things done on time and to a good standard. i’ve been taught and praised by some of the most esteemed people i’ve ever met, i’ve kept on going even when i just wanted to go home, i’ve got up and out of bed every single day even when i wake up late in the afternoon and can’t be bothered to do anything. i’ve asked for help when i needed it, i’ve been kind to people in the years below me, i’ve done all i can to have fun and to love what i do. i’m not always happy, or fun, or glad, but i am here, and i deserve all i’ve achieved.

we just went to a really fantastic lecture on gender in the medieval ages. our lecturer is so good; the term cisgender was introduced and they explained non-binary gender to everyone, to deconstruct binarist conceptions of assigned sex and gender in order to look at examples of gender diversity in medieval literature (including gower and chaucer!)

and they challenged how critics in the 80s used stereotypes to make leaps of logic regarding the pardoner in the canterbury tales

there was also reference to how femininity and women were degraded and considered imperfect and lacking

as well as evidence from physicians and popular texts that intersex people were understood to exist, and that there was also a conception of not identifying with the gender assigned to you at birth – including reference to non-binary gender in parts of north africa, and people who identified with different genders than those they were assigned at birth in medieval england, such as eleanor rykener

it was really really good, and it provoked a few thoughtful discussions from the people who’d never heard of non-binary gender beforehand; one of the cis guys in my english class was working through with us his identification as a man, challenging his own cissexist assumptions about his body and feelings, which was really good to hear

it really got us all thinking about gender in a far more useful and less damaging way, which can only be a good thing! also it is so good to hear our lecturer using terms like cisgender and genderfluid in an academic context.