Every part of our lives is stereotyped and put into boxes – our class, our education, our gender, our sexuality, and our love. This is frustrating and wrong because love should be the most free, open, and genuine part of life. Instead, it is limited by strict normalized gender roles and heteronormativity. These place implied expectations and create assumptions based on one’s role as the man or the woman in the relationship. Because of this, the possibilities of what love can be are limited. Openness, comfort, and self-love on the individual level also create these characteristics in a relationship. However, these traits are stifled by what is considered “normal” and people’s attempts to conform to it. There is potential to expand the possibilities of how people love through looking at the queer community and through a vision of a post-heterosexual world. I acknowledge that this is a very broad topic. I am only going to do a brief survey of how I think queerness could help us move beyond the boundaries and institutions in place today, but I am aware of the infiniteness of this topic.
Last week I had the privilege to meet with Madeline Scyphers, an activist for the queer community. I had a lot of questions about her community, and Madeline had a lot of answers. I started out by asking Madeline what her identities are so I could get an idea of where she is coming from. She has many, and her response was, “I identify as trans. I identify somewhere between a transwoman and someone who identifies as nonbinary transfeminine. What that means to me is I do feel like the binary gender system of being a man or a woman does not necessarily fit me as a descriptor all the time. I never identify as someone who is a man or a boy, and I really hate it when someone does gender me that way.”
That’s just one aspect of her identity. When I asked her about her sexual orientation, she responded, “The best word I use is queer. I do and have always primarily dated women, but I’m attracted to most people, at least some of the time, but not all people all of the time. Bi and pan don’t really encompass that; only if you explain it to someone. Since I have to explain it to someone anyways, because it’s [the terms bi and pan] implying things that I don’t want it to imply, why don’t you just use the term queer, which is purposefully vague? I can use it, and you don’t make assumptions about what it means.” There’s more to Madeline than her sexual orientation and gender identity. Madeline said, “I also identify as an activist, I am a math student, and that’s really important to me, and it plays into a larger identity of feeling like kind of a nerd.” Continue reading “A Discussion of Language and Inclusion with Activist Madeline Scyphers”→
Last week I talked about consent in the context of sex. This week I want to take a closer look at consent and see the environments where consent operates, outside of sex. One of those environments is for individuals that are intersex. According to the Intersex Society of North America (ISNA), “‘Intersex’ is a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with a reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.” As ISNA expands their definition, they emphasize that the term “Intersex” is a “socially-constructed” category that comes from our society’s ideas about gender and sex and what it means to be normal. Continue reading “A Child’s Right to Choose: Intersex Dilemmas and Consent”→
I am always on the lookout for new and exciting books to read into the late hours of the night. When I say new and exciting, I mean novels that are not about the same (white) damsel-in-distress waiting for her prince, or another teen angst book complaining about life. These books seem to be so popular, compared to the underrepresented African American, Asian American, or Latin American protagonist, and let’s not even mention the lack of representation of lesbian, gay, or transgendered characters. Go to any bookstore and you can find a multitude of books on elves, vampires, and witches, but trying to find a book on transgendered teens is nearly impossible.
The festival includes six award-winning films. These address topics including women in labor, intimate relationships and personal identity. Their stories span across the globe, including stories focusing on women from Cuba, the Philippines, the United States, Finland, and Iran.
Tickets for the reception are $6 for students with valid ID, $12 for general admission. Tickets include the film screenings, appetizers, and one ticket to a raffle of gift items donated by local businesses and individuals. Admission to the films only is $3 for students and $6 for general admission. Tickets may be purchased at the Women’s Center in Memorial Gym 109 or at the door. Continue reading “Get Ready For International Women’s Day”→
The Women’s Center at the University of Idaho is constantly brainstorming new and engaging ways to explore different issues that affect women all around the world.
What better way to open the discussion on women’s issues than through film?
There is no denying that film is still being dominated by a male perspective. Women’s roles are dwindling. Our lines focus on men or our feelings for them. There needs to be stronger female perspectives and society needs to hear our voice and be inspired by the strong stature of women fighting against educational repression, sexual violence, victim shaming, and political restraints. We are so much more than just a love interest or comedic relief.
Cuba. Only 90 miles south of Florida; so close, yet so far away. The United States and Cuba have experienced odd relations for decades. Last December, President Obama announced the United States would change its relationship with the people of Cuba. When I saw his speech, I had hope for the US and the Cuban people. I am so thankful I was able to attend a study abroad program in Cuba this past summer. It opened my eyes to see how others live and made me question many aspects of life. Continue reading “What the United States Could Learn From Cuba”→