I was forwarded this link earlier in the week, and I thought I would share.

Titled “Privileges of Non-Transgender People”, this blog lists the emotional, legal and societal advantages cnon-transgender (or cisgender) people are allowed. It’s always startling and unnerving when someone points out the privileges you take for granted on a daily basis. I think also that, in order to be a good ally, it is important to keep in this sort of thing in mind.


50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World

Utne is a website that describes itself as a digest “of independent ideas and alternative culture. Not right, not left, but forward thinking. We’re most interested in creating a conversation about everything from the environment to the economy, politics to pop culture.”

If this is intriguing to you–I hope it is–check out their list of 50 Visionaries Who Are Changing Your World. I loved reading it–almost every single entry on the list was really fascinating. Some awesome women were represented– check out the entries for Patricia van Nispen tot Sevenaer, Sarah Schulman, Sarah Haskins, Rana Husseini, Nawal Nour, and Alexis Pauline Gumbs (just to name a few). And of course, check out the entry for Dean Spade, who graduated from Barnard!

Growing Pains

The current issue of the Economist has an interesting article about the concerning rise in teen pregnancy rates. I recommend reading it if you have the time. Something that interested me about the article is the assertion that “Abstinence-only education makes a convenient scapegoat. But attacking it is a bit of a distraction.” Certainly, the point is valid that a more holistic approach to preventing teen pregnancy is necessary. But abstinence-only education is problematic for more reasons than just leading to ignorance about pregnancy and STI prevention. It also leads to sex being seen as something wrong and unnatural, which is definitely harmful to any teenager currently become a sexualized person for the first time.

What do y’all think?

The Fun Theory

I saw this video today, and it kind of weirdly brought tears to my eyes:

Isn’t that great? I know I’m a sap for effective music choices, but I still think there’s something so touching about this idea. It reminds me of child psychology–try to make doing homework fun–and I think that’s great. Behavior modification doesn’t have to be torturous. The “fun theory” is an initiative of Volkswagen (good for them!) dedicated to using fun to encourage people to make healthy changes. I really recommend giving the website a glance and thinking about how to apply this in daily life.

Is marriage the wrong goal?

Marriage is controversial.  Ironically, the institution that’s touted to bring stability to society causes more disagreements, more turmoil, than many other issues (on the controversy scale, I’d put it somewhere between the ‘Support mandatory, third-term abortions for everyone!’ and ‘Let’s give President Obama the Nobel Peace Prize!’). There’s a lot to unpack, surely: whether or not states and governments have legitimate roles to play, whether religious institutions do, whether fiscal benefits should come with the marriage licence or not, who should get to issue said licence (if we decide there should be one), whether marriage has ‘traditionally been between one man and one woman’ (hint: you’re a damn fool if you think it has been), whether it’s better for kids to be raised in a two-parent home, whether fears over single mothers is justified or not, whether fears over black mothers is justified or not, whether the whole point of marriage is to have kids, or to create a stable economic bloc for the state, and so on.

Yes, it’s no secret that same-sex marriage is controversial, though it might be a surprise to some that there are some in the LGBTQQ community whose answer to the question, “Should we fight for marriage rights?” might be anything besides a resounding, “FUC HELL YEAH!”  Everyone’s joining the discussion (even, upsettingly, Facebook).  And everyone includes the gay community.  There is a pretty heated intracommunity debate about same-sex marriage (see this Symposium in the Rutgers Law Review for a scholarly review of the issues at hand).

Is marriage a fundamental right?  Is it an institution that gays and lesbians have been denied, and so is an issue of civil rights?  Or, conversely, does the whole institution of marriage need to go?  Is the institution useful to the liberation of the LGBTQQ community?  Are there more pressing issues that need to be addressed first?

One of my roommates took a stab at this question and started a blog – well, ok, a blog post – on the issue.  It’s got the very informative title, “Queer Kids of Queer Parents Against Gay Marriage!,” and can be found here

My Little Red Book

We’ve been talking about menarche and the female experience with her monthly period in my Psych & Women class. A student in class shared with the rest of us a very interesting website called My Little Red Book that provides different stories of women and their menarche.

Also, through a class assignment, I was surprised to find out that even though times have changed and menstruation is still a secretive topic in our society in the sense that women don’t generally talk about it, there is still a sense of shame and disgust associated with it, and education about the cycle of menstruation is not generally taught at home and probably one or two days during middle school. The assignment for this class was to interview a woman 25 years older than me, from a different ethnic/economic/ cultural background than mine or a woman my age but with all the other differences. And I must admit I was surprised to find out that not much has changed. On one part I felt a connection with them because our experiences were similar to mine in that our mothers had never really educated us about menstruation, it was a topic not to be talked about at home or school, there was a desire to get our menarche so we could “become a woman” and join the cool girls club but a feeling of shame and burden when we actually got it.

During my class today I found out that my experience and that of the women I interviewed were very similar to that of all the women in my class who shared their menarche story as well. So what do you think about this? Did you have a similar experience?