(Raleigh, N.C. branch at Poyner Place, behind Triangle Town Center)
“Every time we made a trip to your neighbor store, Target, my son would longingly look in the windows of Justice and say, “I wish I could shop there.” But we never went in. There was just something off-putting about those words on your window, reading, “Just for girls,” that kept us away time and time again. My son doesn’t identify as a girl, at least he hasn’t for as long as he has been able to communicate, although he has always acted like a stereotypical girl, played exclusively with stereotypical girls toys, and has almost exclusively female friends.
We’ve all been on a journey to understand his gender non-conformity, but finally my husband, myself, and my 2 older cisgender children are all on the same page, and we’re just looking for ways to support our gender creative, in transition, born-male child. He may one day be LGBTQ+. He may not. We’re open to whatever, as long as he’s happy, true to himself, and not hurting anyone.
We rushed to get there, and just around 5:10 arrived. There were no other customers in the store. My son’s eyes were huge and overwhelmed with possibilities. Stephnie came right over to greet us didn’t bat an eyelash, and basically took on the role of my son’s personal shopper for the evening.
I was blown away by the fact that Stephnie stayed well-past her shift’s end, just to continue working with us. She made my son feel beautiful and totally free of judgment. I want to thank her for that precious, precious gift. I rarely get to see my son being his full potential, his absolute true self in public. She encouraged that and even helped bring it out. I felt so much hope for the future.
We left the store 2 hours later with 2 full bags, and I snapped a picture of my son standing by the store window that reads, “just for girls.” He was clutching his 2 bags of new clothes, standing beside those words, and challenging the notion of “just for girls.”
Thank you, thank you, thank you. ❤️
Martie Sirois, parent of a gender non-conforming 10-year-old boy transitioning to become someone even more beautiful than he already is.”
Something you put on clothes. Not on people.
As you know I’ve been wanting to create a tumblr for a while now. The reason being is that I have so many moments that are just too big to share in a short 140 character tweet. I also have so many feelings that I want to be able to express. I want us to be able to have an environment where we can discuss topics that need to be addressed, a place for us to give each other advice and to support one another. I want this to be a place that we can come and let our feelings out, our opinions out and pour our hearts out. So I hope that you will be a part of this journey with me!
The first thing I want to write about is something that I am currently experiencing and something that I’ve truly always been going through without me being old enough to realize it. I think to be quite honest ALL of us at some point in our lives go through this and IT. NEEDS. TO. BE. TALKED. ABOUT.
I’m talking about LABELS. No, not the kind we put on our lunch boxes when we are a kid, or on our sweater so if we lose it on the playground it can be returned to us, or even the ones that we put on the side of a mason jar with the fresh jam we just made (hello Pinterest thank you for the idea). I’m talking LABELS. The kind of LABELS that are put on PEOPLE. I was sparked to write about this after finding a post on a twitter account saying:
“If a girl likes ugg boots and starbucks she’s stupid and stereotypical, but if she likes combat boots and obscure coffee houses she’s a hipster wannabe and is trying too hard. If a girl listen to boy bands and other popular artists she’s a dumb follower, if she reads comes or plays video games she’s a poser/fake geek girl, if she likes sex she’s a slut but if she doesn’t like sex she’s a prude…”
Now, I’m going to interrupt the quote for a quick minute to get personal about that last description. I was just labeled as a “prude” by someone a few weeks ago. Now at the time I didn’t know what it meant so I just laughed it off and nodded my head awkwardly (as I do). I then got home and looked up the definition of it and was so taken back… For those who aren’t sure of the definition either, it’s this:
n./adj. One who will not engage in any kind of sexual activity with a member of the opposite sex. 1. Usually used as a discriminatory word. 2.Can be used in a fashion as to bait someone into sexual activity.
So this word isn’t a kind word. There’s no way to make it a kind word.
Here’s what upsets me and makes me feel a little confused: Where does having morals and waiting to take big steps until you’re absolutely ready to take them a negative thing? I didn’t know that making a personal decision based on what you believe in your heart was such a terrible thing…. that’s because IT ISN’T.
I didn’t speak about this for a while until a few days ago at breakfast. I was with my mom, a castmate of mine and his family. We were sitting around talking about life and it just kind of slipped out. It was only then that I let myself actually feel hurt about it after weeks of holding it in. I don’t want you to ever hold things in. Talk about it to anyone who you feel comfortable with. I don’t care if it’s the barista at your coffee shop. Never. Hold. Stuff. In.
I am not a prude. I respect myself and my body and I will always always do what I believe in that doesn’t make me any word or anything besides:
Okay- now back to the quote:
“…. if she doesn’t wear makeup she’s a slob, if she has low self esteem she needs to learn to love herself but if she has high self esteem she’s overconfident and vain, if she’s interested in politics she’s a crazy social justice warrior but if she prefers to stay out of social matters she’s a dumb airhead….”
I don’t know about you BUT this Twitter post really effected me and hit me straight in the heart. I also want to make a point to say that this doesn’t just go for girls it goes for boys as well…. and that’s where we move on to stereotypes.
stereotype : A stereotype is used to catergorize a group of people. People don’t understand that type of person, so they put them into classifications, thinking that everyone who is that needs to be like that, or anyone who acts like their classifications is one.
How many of you have been stereotyped? I know I have. I’ve been called: fat, skinny, fat again, anorexic, fake, smart, innocent, precocious etc. All words that have flown over my head and that I’ve made myself laugh at rather than cry over but I know that that isn’t the case for ALL of us. How do you think the boy in the glasses who happens to like reading books feels when the whole school looks at him as some foreign object who can only date a science book? Or how about the boy on the football team who happens to be good at football but is immediately labeled the jock who is gonna be with all the girls in the school? There is so much more to a person than what they do and what we can see. Not all of us can be there with them to see what they do at 4am when they can’t sleep, or when they come home after winning a game to a house with their parents screaming at each other. None of us can completely know what that person is going through unless we are that person. So let’s stop talking about that person unless we really know them and even then don’t talk unless it’s something positive. Yes, I know it’s fun to talk to your besties about the latest drama and the he said/she said of it all (trust me I’m guilty of it too) but remember that much like the internet, once you put something out there it’s out there. Once you say something you cant take it back and you have to live with what it, so make sure you can before you say it.
We live in a generation where we are judged and looked upon every two seconds. I know that in my case I am being watched because I am in the public eye. I also know that one small mess up or mistake could honestly overpower any good that I have managed to do because sadly people are more interested in the bad mess ups than all the good things we do. Labels and stereotypes don’t help this situation. So here’s what I want to encourage us all to do:
Take out a piece of paper.
Grab a pen.
Take out a phone or a laptop or any device that can record. (and if possible I would love for you to tweet/ instagram me your pictures and/or video, I’ll be putting together a project about it)
I want you to know write down any word that you have ever been called on that paper.
Once you’re done lift up that paper and face it towards the camera so we can see those words.
On the count of three I want you to stay facing the camera and tear that paper into as many pieces as you can.
Did you rip it?
Now I want you to explain what you see.
What’s left on that paper? Is it just scraps of letters here and there?
At the end of the day if we put those words on a piece of paper, they just become words and if we rip the paper they become scraps. In theory they become NOTHING.
However as people we are EVERYTHING. Not one person is the same as another. Not one word can define exactly who we are. You can’t put us on a piece of paper, you can’t rip us up and you can’t make us nothing.
So, next time you are labeled or placed into a group that isn’t you… grab your phone, blast your music and have an epic dance party because YOU are worth so much more than a word.
“The Disney Store has taken a step to make sure that kids feel encouraged to choose from any of its Halloween costumes, regardless of their gender.
In the past, Disney promoted its Halloween costumes by identifying them as either girls’ costumes or boys’ costumes.
For Halloween this year, the company’s site is promoting costumes “for kids” and “for baby.” This means kids have all of the store’s options at their little fingertips, not just costumes traditionally deemed appropriate for their gender.”
A very brief overview of the so-called “War on Drugs” which lends its purpose to disenfranchising Black and Latino peoples, promoting poverty, and the creation/perpetuation of stereotypes (thugs, dope boys, criminals, Welfare Queens, etc.), which ultimately threaten not just our general well being and success, but our lives, such as in the cases of Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner and countless others. This is the true example of racism. Fuck your hurt feelings, we are fighting for just our basic rights to live.
“The carefully engineered appearance of great racial progress strengthens the ‘colorblind’ public consensus that personal and cultural traits, not structural arrangements, are largely responsible for the fact that the majority of young black men in urban areas across the United States are currently under the control of the criminal justice system or branded as felons for life… Far from undermining the current system of control, the new caste system depends, in no small part, on black exceptionalism. The colorblind public consensus that supports the new caste system insist that race no longer matters. Now that America has officially embraced Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream (by reducing it to the platitude "that should be judged by the content of our character and not by the color of our skin”), the mass incarceration of people of color can be justified only to the extent that the plight of those locked up and out is understood to be their choice, not their birthright… Black success stories lend credence to the notion that anyone, no matter how poor or how black you may be, can make it to the top, if only you try hard enough.”
– Michelle Alexander, New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
I hope this doesn’t come off as offensive to anyone but...
Please remember the femme lesbians. Please remember the lesbians who only own one flannel shirt or none at all. Please remember the lesbians who prefer wearing a skirt or a dress. Please remember the lesbians who use most of their income on make-up. Remember the lesbians whose favorite color is pink. Remember the lesbians who grew up playing with dolls, playing dress up and loving princess movies. Remember the lesbians who are cheerleaders and ballerinas. Remember the lesbians who never leave town without a pair of heels. Remember the lesbians who would change a tire in these heels, and remember the lesbians who have no idea how to change a tire.
Just please remember us lesbians who prefer to be just a little “girly” but are still as much attracted to other girls as any other lesbian.
Remember the lesbians who feel like, they don’t the fit into the community because they don’t fit the general image of a lesbian. Be aware that you can’t generalize the personality and the looks of someone who is attracted to a certain gender. We can only be sure to have one thing in common, and that is that we love girls and that we’re a minority, and that’s more than okay.
We have to stick together and we have be the open minded ones. You can be a lesbian and love flannels, and you can be a lesbian and not love flannels. Both are okay, and both are gay!
Last but not least, please support lesbians who are not golden. Please support lesbians who didn’t realize they were lesbians before they became adults. Please support lesbians who are biromantic and homoromantic, even if they are asexual. And please. Please support lesbians who are not lesbians but who are bisexuals. Please support all bisexual girls!
Just please support all kinds of girls who are attracted to girls and make this community our home too! :-)
1. NOT all asians are the same, china, and japan are not the only countries and there are so many other considered asian.
2. China does NOT equal Japan and we are not the same so please don’t act like we are
3. Don’t tell people to go and make your Nike’s this is so rude and its not okay
4. Get over our eyes, like they are different but its almost the same as making fun of our skin, its not okay
5. We aren’t smart because of our race. We are smart because we try. Don’t expect every asian to get an A
6. If we have a talent its not because of our race, its because we are a talented individual.
7. Don’t ask us if we speak the language unless you are really sincere about it. For example: I have a strong American accent because I’ve lived here my whole life, so when people ask do I speak the language, I look at them and say no, I think DO I SOUND LIKE I SPEAK THE LANGUAGE WITH MY FULL AMERICAN ACCENT?!
8. Don’t ask where we are from and be surprised if we say some where that is not an Asian country.
9. My 5th grade teacher got my class to yell and say that they hate china (where I’m from) and everything about it. This was because they thought China was ruining the U.S’s economy….if you believe that, fine, but don’t get a bunch of others to scream bad things about China. Stick to the topic of the economy, DON’T ATTACK THE CULTURE OR PEOPLE, Because most likely you don’t know anything about them or how they live. (Nicest way possible)
10. Don’t fake talk an asian language with fake words and language its rude
11. NEVER MAKE ANY RACE FEEL BAD ABOUT THEMSELVES.
The Qur’an and Sunnah are ground-breaking sources, because they shatter stereotypes.
A number of the wives of the Prophet ﷺ
did not have children,
and they are STILL promised the *highest* level of Paradise. The wife of Pharaoh,
Asiya سلام الله علیها
was infertile, but she is the best of women.
Maryam سلام الله علیها never got married, and our communities claim that
life begins when the marriage bells ring. She was content, spiritually
successful, and a symbol in not only Islam, but Christianity.
This teaches us that marriage and motherhood are not the
only ways to Paradise.
The Prophet ﷺ taught us the value of all women, and he got
married to divorcees. Why do our communities see women who have been divorced
as damaged goods? Why do we only see them as second wives? They have an
abundant amount of wisdom and experiences that can transform any marriage – but
we need to move beyond our perceived stereotypes.
Yusuf عليه السلامwas desired by Zulaykha, the wife of Al ‘Aziz, and she
was a woman, who said that women don’t have desires? Who claims that desires
only belong to men?
The Queen of Sheba سلام الله علیها
was in a leadership position, and Prophet
Sulayman عليه السلا was a wealthy King. Was he intimidated by her confidence? He loved it,
and approached her for marriage – it was one of the reasons that attracted him
to her. They were joined in a loving bond. Did his wealth take him away from
His Creator, quite the contrary; it bought Him closer to Allah, as he used his
wealth for His sake.
Yunus عليه السلام
responsibility, so he ran away from the responsibilities that Allah bestowed
upon him – the responsibility of calling his people to one God. In our
communities we’ll judge, we’ll slander, we’ll be unwilling to give. However,
Allah teaches us that even the best of people make mistakes and they are in
need of His mercy and ours. He recognised he had made a mistake, and He turned
back to Him sincerely – Allah سبحانه و تعالى
accepted his call.
Asiya bint Muzahim سلام الله علیها
was married to the greatest tyrant that
ever lived, but she refused to let him define her, she had a powerful
connection with Allah, regardless if she came from a non-practicing family.
Yusuf عليه السلامwas abandoned by his brothers, he was sold into
slavery selfishly, he was betrayed by Al ‘Aziz who he trusted. He was molested
by a woman he worked for. He was thrown mercilessly into jail, when he was innocent. He genuinely helped two prisoners, and they forgot about him – leaving him to wait patiently
in jail, all alone. Did Yusuf عليه السلام suffer hardships? Yes. But he was still
stronger than them, he refused to break down. He was stronger, and through his
tests he taught us that we are human - yes, but we have the ability and inner strength to overcome the tide.
Everyone expects us break down in our storms, but we can be unrelenting in faith, and
refuse to be the victim – this strength will help us stand, when everyone
expects us to fall.
The Qur’an and Sunnah is structured to give us solutions to
all the stereotypes and limiting beliefs in our communities. We have done a
great injustice to ourselves by holding on to that which Islam came to
eliminate from our lives. We need to use the *ready made* replies of Allah سبحانه و تعالى
clear all the misconceptions.