Posts Tagged With: societal norms

Hair, Hair and MORE Hair!

(song is: I Am Not My Hair ft. Akon by India.Arie)

Natural v. Styled. Long v. Short. Curly v. Straight. Dyed v. Not Dyed. Hair. It is part of our bodies, but can also be considered an artwork or an entity of its own. However, hair is more noticed by some people than others. Sometimes how kept a person’s hair can determine their personality or how well one dresses. Did you know during the London 2012 Olympics Gabby Douglas was criticized for her hair? Tiya Miles writes an article for CNN titled, Opinion: Why focus on Gabby Douglas’ hair?, which discusses how there was a spotlight on Gabby’s hair while also basking in her win of Gold.

While watching the re-run of the Gymnastic events, I was focused on Team USA’s routine and performance. However, I did unconsciously observe each gymnasts’ hairstyle. What I am having trouble wrapping my head around is the fact that there was a major discussion on Gabby Douglas’ hair at the time she is also receiving her Olympic medals. I know that haircare is important, however, do women truly need to mutilate their hair to adhere to a standard that the hegemonic society has set?

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Gender, Sex and The Internet

Because the personal is political. Because the bedroom is a political space. Because queers have been silenced for such a long time, any and every expression of our identity, of what makes us who we are, is revolutionary.

~Doug

The Internet provides a space where people’s ideals and beliefs are able to transcend hegemonic boundaries society has set. It has become a space where anyone is able to voice their opinions or advocate for change. In “The Reality of Virtual Reality: The Internet and Gender Equality Advocacy in Latin America,” Elisabeth Jay Friedman states:

The internet is a critical resource for marginalized or socially suspect groups and subjects, providing a unique space for the expression and transmission of often ostracized ideas and identities.

Taken from Donna Koehn’s article “Patriotism inspired “Rosies” to serve country during war”

Rosie the Riveter is an iconic image of the U.S. from World War II era. It was used as propaganda to spur women to take on an active role on the home front during WWII. Rosie symbolizes the alternative occupations to being a housewife during the war, it was the first step to working women. However, Rosie the Riveter can also symbolize many ideals as this well-known icon can be interpreted in so many different ways.

Rosie (from the picture shown above) can be seen to have a very feminine face with bright red lipstick and a very masculine body build. One can argue that Rosie the Riveter is a transfemale (someone who is born male that identifies as female) that has begun the process of transitioning her body to become identical to her internal identity.

Lea T. is the first transsexual super model and she has begun her transitioning from male to female. In the video below, Oprah interviews Lea T. and learns of Lea’s journey as a woman in a male body. One point that was brought up was Lea’s parents and their reactions to her decision of being a transfemale. The differing reactions from Lea’s parents also identifies the struggle parents’  of children who queer, bisexual, or trans faces.

Oprah has interviewed people who are intersex and then she interviewed Lea T. By interviewing all these people, she is utilizing the media to spread awareness that our world is not solely of two sexes.

In “Queer Blogging in Indian Digital Diasporas: A Dialogic Encounter,” Rahul Mitra and Radhika Gajjala felt that online blogging creates differing meanings of the same concept between online and offline reality. The differing meanings between the online and offline worlds may be due to the generational gap that may exist. However, which concept then becomes the mainstream and widely accepted concept?

In “On Queer Liberation and My Own Struggle,” Doug starts off explaining the differences between gender and sex while also giving the correct terminology of queer, tran, bi, and pan instead of using LGBT. In the quote (seen all the way in the beginning), he emphasizes that the individuality is also the key to revolutionizing, while also breaking down stereotypes and ignorance.

Did you know that december of last year, a few bloggers asked their readers and Toronto’s trans community to boycott  Xtra!, (a major queer media outlet)? I didn’t. I only found out about the boycott through one of the trans blogs i found while writing for this post. Although the incident was settled within a day, why did it not make headline news? How is the latest celebrity scandal more important than people being disrespected for being themselves?

Another blog I found is by a trans activist and writer named Julia Serano. In her blog titled, Whipping Girl, she gives updates on upcoming events, however on the occasion, she’ll blog and I found her pre-election post titled, Thoughts on the election and “Romnesia,” very interesting.

Finally, a blog written by Angus “Andrea” Grieve-Smith titled, Trans Blog. I found his/her blog post titled, My life as a data point, quite interesting as he/she exposes the problems of generalizing test results. I quite enjoyed how he/she took apart the study piece by piece with his/her opinions as it showed the readers the discrepancies, even if it was only one person of the many they studied. Sometimes, it only takes one participant to make all the differences in the results.

I feel that the queer community has had a greater voice now than 20 years ago, however, this voice took several decades to be heard. The trans community also has a voice, although significantly smaller in volume. How do we raise trans’ and queers’ voice? How do we knock down the wall of ignorance society has placed?

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Weight Issue: What is “Just Right”?

“This one is too hard. This one is too soft. This one is just right.” These well known three short sentences are from the story of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” and I feel that they describe body image perfectly. Being too hard could possibly refer to being just all skin and bones, which is the thought of being too skinny. Too soft could be the ideal of being obese, similar to the batman shown below. However, what is the “just right” weight? How are we to deem others and ourselves as “just right” weight-wise?

Taken From itsnotbadatall.com

Societal norms place shackles on everyone as it dictates what the ideal weight and image of a person’s body. Topics of female celebrities on tabloids and magazines tends to focus on their looks and fashion. However, the attention focused on female celebrities often include their weight and including [media’s] opinions of them being “too skinny” or “getting fat.” Jessica Simpson and her post-pregnancy weight is a prime example of the limelight celebrities are thrusted into regarding their weight. According to Dodai Stewart on Jezebel.com, after giving birth to her daughter there has been 109 articles all solely written about Jessica and her weight. An article called, Fat Camp, was written by my fellow blogger, Elizabeth, who believes that the reason there is a widespread following about celebrities and their weight is due to the widespread coverage of celebrities by the media. Which is true, as celebrities are watched under a microscope similar to that of a bird-watcher watching exotic birds.

Apparently Jessica Simpson signed a contract with Weight Watchers that required her to lose a certain amount of weight by a certain date. If she was successful then Weight Watchers would pay her $1 million dollars as their spokesperson. It is quite interesting as Jessica is essentially being paid to lose weight, while everyone else pays to lose weight. Celebrity advantages? Tracie Egan Morrissey writes about her struggle with losing post-baby weight. She has already spent $7800 dollars on trying to lose her pregnancy weight!

During her lecture this past thursday, Melissa Campbell (@pluralisms) mentions:

Fat is a manifestation of societal pressures on women’s bodies and emotions—caused exclusively by emotional overeating, etc.

I believe that there are many different factors that results to fat and gaining weight for women. Melissa’s statement regarding fat being a manifestation of societal pressure as a product of emotional overeating. However, emotional strain on one’s body can also cause one to start overeating. Therefore, is The Biggest Loser productive or counter-productive when it comes to losing weight? Also, why put yourself under so much emotional and physical pressure?

Society pressures everyone to lose weight and be healthy, however, is it healthy to dramatically lose a ton of weight? How do we determine that we are okay the way we are weight-wise? When will we decrease our expectations and judgment on celebrities and their body image?

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