Above is a Ted Talk to briefly recap our Gender Theory meeting and help build a foundation to expand upon this Thursday at 5pm in the Grindstone Room at our Non-Binary meeting. Enjoy some snacks and bring a friend February 16th as we engage in a more discussion-based meeting about gender together. See you there!
Thank you to everyone who was able to join us at our meeting this past Thursday where we discussed Gender Theory. For those of you who weren’t able to make it, here’s an overview of what we covered.
We talked about the differences between sex, gender identity, and gender expression. Sex (female/male/intersex) is defined by one’s biology. It is often assumed that sex and gender are one in the same, however this isn’t true for everyone. Gender identity is what you identify as regardless of your biological sex. Gender expression is the way in which one expresses their gender identity, typically through appearance and/or behavior. Society tends to associate and ascribe certain genders to certain sexes in a binary system. We’ll be discussing non-binary identities more in our next meeting on February 16th. When sex and gender are assumed to always be the same, rather than being independent of one another, individuals can experience gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is when an individual identifies as a gender other than that which was assigned at birth based on their sex. Due to the social construct of gender and its association with biological sex, “compulsory hetersexuality” becomes commonplace. This is to say we assume all the little boys will grow up to be men and will like women, and all the little girls will grow up to be women and like men. In fact, if an individual was born intersex (having ambiguous genitalia; falling outside of the categories of male and female in terms of biological sex) doctors used to test whether the child was born with a large clitoris or small penis by deciding whether or not they thought the organ could penetrate. Heteronormativity and compulsory heterosexuality played a large role in these individuals lives, and while there are some cases where medical action is required for the health of the child, when the gender and sexual orientation are assumed, it can cause a great deal of problems. It is generally accepted and agreed upon within the LGBTQIA+ community that gender is a social construct, but perhaps the more controversial idea, as Judith Butler claims, is that sex is also socially constructed. This concept is somewhat difficult to perceive, but essentially, we, as a society, tend to associate sex with chromosomes and primarily primary sex characteristics, however the mere existence of intersex individuals disrupts this and for all intents and purposes, proves that sex is socially constructed, just like gender.
This meeting was largely built on the ideas of Judith Butler and her book, “Gender Troubles”, which is available in the Ally-brary (our library) for anyone to borrow.
Above is a brief intro to our Gender Theory meeting at 5pm on Thursday, February 2nd in the Grindstone room on the first floor of the Union. Questions are encouraged as this only briefly summarizes the topic of our meeting and it is an exceptionally complex topic. We’ll have our typical blue pumpkin and slips of paper for you to anonymously write questions on, or if you feel comfortable enough to participate verbally as questions arise, we support that as well.
Bring a friend and expect some free snacks while we learn about gender identity, expression, and sexuality!
In light of our latest Allies meeting, we decided to make this post as a compilation of tips for when self-esteem is just hard. There is no one single answer to celebrating the *kween* inside of you, but there are a few tricks worth trying.
So, tips from our executive board to you...
Treat yourself like you're a 90-year-old woman!
“I recently read Amy Pohler's Yes Please. This tip is one that came up in the book, and that I totally agree with! The idea here is to think about the way that our inner voice thinks about who we are, and what we do. Weird right? But the idea is simple. Too often when we make mistakes, our internal voice degrades, berates, and utterly shames ourselves in words and thoughts that we would never think to express publicly. So how can we fix that? Amy suggests adopting the view of your 90-year-old self. How does that work? It's similar to the idea that we should treat ourselves like we are our own best friend. We wouldn't say 90% of the nasty things we say to ourselves to a friend—or a 90-year-old—and we shouldn't, but we also shouldn't say nasty things to ourselves.” Dylan
Don’t worry too much about what other people think about you.
Why? Because “they're also worrying about what you think of them.” Emma
Take time for yourself to go somewhere or do something that gives you more self-confidence.
“Even if that's something such as connecting with people online or binge watching a show. For me personally, when stuff gets bad in real life I get on an online game and goof off with friends there who have nothing to do with anything that's bothering me in real life and who don't have to know about anything in my life to make me feel better.” Ro
“Anxiety and depression run through my family line. One thing I wish I had engaged in sooner for these issues is mindfulness. Strangely, I noticed this most with driving. If I had a two hour commute, and even part of that commute was on a busy highway, I would spend the entire drive leading up to that highway worrying about merging on, being in the appropriate line, and not missing my exit. Now, I can say to myself, “hey, lady, you still have an hour ahead of you before that even happens. Turn up the music and focus on this road.” Of course, part of mindfulness is trusting in yourself to do or say the right thing when the time comes. In other words, trust that you’ll succeed even without hours of “preparing” (read: worrying).” Al
Focus on the things you can change.
“There is no point in wasting energy on things that you can’t change. Think about things that you have the power to control.” Mela
Find joy in the little things!
“To build self-esteem, I think that you really have to surround yourself with positive things. We can feel good about ourselves when there are good people, good places, and good things happening around us. What makes this more challenging is that we can't ACTUALLY control our external environments. Instead, I choose to find joy in places that aren't necessarily that awesome:
At first, it feels stupid, and it's hard to do, but eventually, you really start to think about the world in a better light. Instead of dwelling on the bad, you start to see the positives more frequently. In fact, I have to SEARCH for negative things in my environment because seeing the positives is more second nature.” Dylan
Always have a laugh.
It’s free and flattering. (Tylor)
Do something nice for someone else.
When? Anytime! But especially “when you are not feeling good about yourself.” Emma
Why? Because “When you are kinder towards others, you tend to treat and think kinder about yourself.” Mela
Look for others who have been where you are and came out ahead.
“When I'm struggling with anything in life, I like to watch youtubers or interviews with creative people talking about what their experiences were like earlier in life and how that helped them get to where they are now. It's a confidence boost to know that other, sometimes "famous," people struggle with things like self-image and low confidence and yet still are able to make it far and, in many cases, overcome these issues.” Ro
Take life slow.
It’s called rush hour, not rush life. (Tylor)
“It’s much harder being objective when you're dealing with yourself, but it’s not impossible. It’s okay to feel whatever you’re feeling. Feel it. But also evaluate, analyze, and compartmentalize it. Be your own detective. Why are you feeling this way? Is it a way you want to feel? Is it avoidable or is it a necessary part of healing? What are some ways you can cope, both now and moving forward? How long do you want to feel this way? Instead of having your day or night ruined, give yourself an hour. Accept the feels, and then let those feels go.” Al