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Hello, class, welcome to Gender Studies 101
A huge part of being able to identify with yourself and others better, is acknowledging how you define yourself. If you are clear minded on how you view yourself, better understanding others and opening your mind to other ways of identity is a cultural richness that we are privileged to have the mediums of information from which to acquire it through. I never was able to formally study gender, but it is a topic that is so fascinating to me that I have continuously tried to learn more about it. However it is a loaded and complicated topic, and it can be overwhelming to even know where to begin when we’ve grown up with the education and system that teaches “traditional” gender binary and conservative sexuality.
When I tried to investigate where gender binary comes from (the idea that there is a concise division between male and female) the information I found suggests that it’s simply defined by society (and thus religion) (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).
However understanding the different genders and sexualities can be really tricky, so I’ve tried to find simple videos that explain it for you from people who know what they are talking about much better than I could.
Here’s a 3 minute video where Laci Green (an internet sex-ed teacher phenomenon) gives you a nutshell explanation of why there are not just two genders.
If you prefer reading over watching, here’s Planned Parenthood giving a brief description of the difference between gender and sexuality.
And if you prefer imagery, here’s a phenomenal graphic found on ItsPronouncedMetroSexual.com
The concept of non-binary gender is not only supported by people living their truth, but also historically, culturally, psychologically, scientifically, in every which way. Understanding it, is simply a matter of knowledge which can be acquired either by exposure or education.
Being cis-gendered, means you identify with the gender you were assigned with at birth. I am a cis-gender woman. Speaking in these terms aids in removing the stigma between being trans-gendered.
Sexuality is more about who you are attracted to in regards to the other gender, but it can be very scary to embrace these things when suddenly we realize everything we knew about labels has just exploded into an unknown universe and it can be scary to want to take a look at ourselves and accept others when it is too far out of our reach of understanding. That is why it is so important to be informed, to keep ourselves from remaining ignorant and stagnant in our acceptance of ourselves and others.
Accepting our sexuality helps us in loving ourselves in more fulfilling ways, to see ourselves fully. Accepting sexuality in others, allows us to be able to witness more acts of love and generosity, more freedom of expression and speech. It makes for a generally better existence for everyone.
Here are two fun quizzes you can take a look at to take a loot at how you identify yourself.
Gender Role Test
This website says: “Drawing on the work of Dr. Sandra Lipsitz Bem, this test classifies your personality as masculine or feminine. Though gender stereotyping is controversial, it is important to note that Bem’s work has been tested in several countries and has repeatedly been shown to have high levels of validity and test-retest reliability. The test exclusively tests for immanent conceptions of gender (meaning that it doesn’t theorize about whether gender roles are biological, cultural, or both). Consequently, the test has been used both by feminists as an instrument of cultural criticism and by gender traditionalists who seek to confirm that gender roles are natural and heritable.” Take it here.
How gay are you
In the 1940’s, professor Kinsley would revolutionize how western society viewed sex. (There’s a movie about it.) Kinsley theorized that everyone was just a little bit gay. He simplified this theory through a scale. You can take the very short quiz to see where you stand here.
However the Kinsley scale is outdated, as the spectrum of sexuality is as fluid and as we are unique. A more updated version of Kinsley’s scale might be the Purple-Red Scale. A bit more complicated, but worth a look.
SeLoFest17 Challenge Day 22
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The Prompt: What have you learned about your own sexuality and that of others today? If you haven’t learned anything new, think about the context others may have grown up in that did not allow them to ever witness what you grew up and knew. How might that change how a person views themselves? Do you have any issues with your gender or sexuality? Do you believe that it is still-water within you?
The activity: Watch all the videos and take the quizzes above
In your journal: Post your results and talk or draw your feelings around anything that may come up for you. And time to GENDERBEND yourself…Draw yourself of the OPPOSITE gender, or if you are genderqueer, choose a gender and draw yourself with the traits assigned to that gender, JUST FOR FUN. 😉