Jake Finan, photo by Kristen Carey
This is the first of many installments on the exploration of what makes up the feminine or masculine, and how these concepts affect us.
Jake Finan is a junior physics major at the University of Idaho. Outside of academics, Finan is active in the university’s Gay Straight Alliance, and is a regular performer at the TabiKat drag shows, known by many as the fierce Jacqueline Suprise. Finan, standing at six foot five minus heels and, as he put it, “2XX” pounds, is very vocal about and personally connected to the issue of gender identity.
“As my gender identity, I identify as trans…I don’t feel uncomfortable in the body I was given…there are some people that transcend gender, and I think I more or less fit into that…it’s nobody’s business what’s in my pants.”
Finan was blunt about how he fits into the spectrum of gender.
“I don’t feel that I fit into the male-female binary,” Finan said.
Finan had a broad perspective on his sexuality.
“…for all intensive purposes I identify as gay because I feel like it’s a concept I can really grasp on to…it’s about labeling yourself to a point where you get stuff done but not labeling yourself so much that you are confining yourself to a box…I identify as queer more than anything…I’m not hetero-normative; I might identify as a male, but there are definitely cross-sections between gender and sexuality.” Continue reading
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I think my confusion started when I was in fifth grade and a friend told me my fingers looked funny. I looked at my fingers, and then hers. I couldn’t see how they were different. Then, the friend pointed out they were just “weird” shaped.
My friend’s body analyses were usually more rigorously applied to strangers and celebrities. These conversations were shared as if it was gossip – as if it is a dirty secret that some celebrities have cellulite.
When I was in elementary school I thought this behavior was something my friends would grow out of, but it is something American culture has grown in to.
The women* we see in media must fit a rigid standard of beauty – generally white (or Anglo features), large breasts, small waist and skin that never hints at blemishes. Freckles are evil – and frizzy or ethnic hair doesn’t exist in the media world. Average models are thinner than 98% of women in the U.S.
This alone seems to provide reason why 81% of 10-year-olds want to be thinner. But, this society doesn’t just hold up an unattainable standard – it even condemns those who do fit the standard for not being perfect absolute. If an actress jiggles in a swimsuit she must be prepared to see a spread in a magazine literally magnifying her imperfections. Continue reading
photo © 2007 Marcin Wichary | more info (via: Wylio) Kristen Carey
The video game business is widely known as one of the most gendered industries in the world. If you have ever been down the video game aisle in your local mega-store, you will know exactly what I am talking about. Games like Call of Duty, Halo, Assassin’s Creed, or possibly the worst offender of all Grand Theft Auto are selling off the shelves, creating sequel to sequel to sequel, and enforcing gender roles through many a television set in America. These games, with minor exception, ooze with hyper-masculinity, portraying all the main characters as not only male, but violent, physically strong, street smart and emotionally insensitive. This is problematic for two reasons: one, it creates a paradigm of masculinity that is harmful for young boys everywhere who feel inadequate for not falling within those guidelines, and two, omitting women from the lead role in these games is equivalent to saying that women lack the qualities the lead possesses: brain and brawn.
The women they do decide to include in video games fall short of satisfying. I present the court “Exhibit A”. In the game Grand Theft Auto IV, women serve five main purposes: a) to get beat up, b) to get killed, c) to get run over with a vehicle, d) to have sex with and e) to sell illicit drugs. Women are absent from any place of “honor” (although to say any part of this “game” resembles anything remotely related to honor would be a stretch). “Exhibit B” gets better, but still has much room for improvement. Continue reading
In the entertainment industry’s ever increasing trend of turning books into movies—Harry Potter, Twilight, Kick Ass—any and all books are subject to adaptation. One such movie slated to begin production this year comes from author Suzanne Collins’s trilogy The Hunger Games. The first of the series, The Hunger Games chronicles Katniss Everdeen’s battle to survive in the dystopian society of Panem, not to mention the country’s annual televised death match.
Unlike the male dominated cast of Harry Potter and the pathetically dependent female protagonist of Twilight, The Hunger Games showcases a strong and fully capable heroine more reminiscent of Kick Ass’s Hit-Girl. But, while Hit-Girl retains her femininity with pigtails and skirts, Katniss is portrayed as a more ambiguous character.
The book as a whole offers a more gender-neutral vision of the world, and not just in regard to Katniss. In the first pages of the book, Collins gives little indication that Katniss is even female, and we aren’t given many reminders throughout the book. Continue reading