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Old 02-26-2006, 04:07 PM   #21
Eugene R. Allen
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Google gender and you will get a rather eye opening collection of stuff like this as regards some airport detection equipment:

Several new detection devices were deployed in Orlando International Airport yesterday (March 15, 2002). These prototype machines will be tested here to determine whether similar machines should be deployed nationwide. These machines may potentially expose cross-dressing or cross-living individuals to public challenge, humiliation, detainment, not to mention flight delays! Transpeople should be aware of these machines, and may want to oppose their deployment on the grounds that they pose a violation of privacy. Information on how to register opposition is given below.

Transpeople, cross-dressing, cross-living individuals. OhhhhKay. Entire industries are built around this whatever-you-do-it's-OK mindset. In a philosophy class I took at PLU the professor brought in this 6' 2" 230+ pound guy who dresses as a woman. Heels, dress, wig, stuffed bra, 5 o'clock shadow, adam's apple and an absurdly affected voice. His, it's point was that it was just so awful that people are mean to him when he dresses like that, and that people shouldn't be that way. Agreed. My posit that men shouldn't dress like women brought us through this idiotic construct of gender identity and confusion. For the record Tim, you have no confusion whatever but that Bimbob (that reminds me, it went by Roberta) in class sure did. What would all the people that make a business out of gender issues do if we went back to what I learned back in the 60's that there were girls that did mostly girl stuff, guys that did mostly guy stuff and girls working out and playing sports is OK and guys dancing being interior decorators will pass but guys wearing dresses, cutting off their man parts or getting married to each other for crying out loud is just not cool. I just must not be with it, I think men should marry women.

I might be getting off the track here. As far as male dominated social constructs go and that hyper-masculinity thing - the CF girls collectively and individually can do pretty much everything CF better than I can. I am a guy and they can smoke me in every measureable sense. Yet, they are as beautiful, graceful, feminine and gender entrenched as females as any Oprahfied, Dr. Philled housewife. How can the dichotomy of maleness and femaleness be measured on some absolute scale when very feminine women can outperform very male men?

CrossFit takes no prisoners and is blind to race, sex, gender, political persuasion or belief system. We don't measure our masculinty on how we stack up against the CF girls, if we did, I'd have to change my name to Nancy.
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Old 02-26-2006, 04:17 PM   #22
Sarah Paynter
 
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Kawika,

Yeah, I was talking about the dominant western/Eurocentric conception of masculinity which exists today. Hegemonic masculinity has spread to various places around the world. I think you can go ahead and point a blaming finger directly at white, Eurocentric/western concepts of masculinity for being imposed on traditional or tribal (as you call them) gender systems especially where colonialism was present. See, the pointing of the finger is at a system or set of social/political relations that privileges something or someone over another… the pointing is not at a person.

When I say that a certain masculinity dominates, I’m not angry at men, I’m just recognizing a social process whereby certain men (white, middle class, Christian??? Other??) are privileged over others (such as men of colour, homosexual, anyone feminine, including women). These men aren’t trying to be EVIL or BAD… are not necessarily consciously trying to dominate others, but they are privileged within society compared to others. hypermasculinity probably hurts more men than it does women anyway.

Gender norms vary from place to place and from time to time. I’m certain there existed places where women were/are hunters along side men and other places where only men hunted. There are very real/tangible reasons as well as social/power reasons why gender systems exist. I don’t discount this fact.

It’s interesting to look at how masculinity/femininity has changed over the years and in different places. What it is to be a ‘real’ or “successful’ man has changed as social norms are renegotiated. For a North American example, look at Adam West as Batman vs today’s Batmans. Also check out 1960’s GI Joe dolls and compare them to the ones today!

I want to make it clear that I’m not saying gender is wrong or that we should do away with it. I just personally think that we could all benefit from recognizing the social processes involved in (re)creating gender and other social relations. At least one reason for this is to see who or what the system leaves out, hurts, demonizes, or “others”.

I do believe that men and women are different in many ways… both socially inscribed and physically. But while studies show that most women do X and most men do Y, does this mean it is natural? Genetic? Do women keep tidier households because it is natural or because they’ve been socialized as housekeepers and caretakers from day one? Or do women cry more because they are more emotional creatures….or is it just that it is more socially acceptable, if not expected, behaviour for women? I don’t have a concrete answer, but I would say that to some extent we are socialized into normalize roles.

Someone said that their son took a doll and used it as a car… that this was a sign of the inherent nature of masculinity/femininity (gender)…that they are naturally inscribed in male/female (sex). I’m sorry but who created the cars? Is this a natural thing? Our world is constructed around the automobile. Few people in North America’s landscape live in walking communities, and even where they do, they see cars parked everywhere. I’d bet that little girls go vroom, vroom, vroom to! Kids imitate what they see… so if they see that car driving is for boys and dolls are for girls they’ll probably play along. Kids don’t naturally say VROOM… we teach them that noise!

I hope that people don’t take what I say here personally because I’m not making personal statements or attacks. I am simply providing a critical analysis of North American society where gender (among other elements of difference) is a key element in our social relations. And I’d like to recognize that my focus on gender is limited because it has largely excluded class, race, sexuality, ability etc. etc. etc. I imagine that a black woman would have a different experience than a Hawaiian man or a *** white male or a Hispanic hermaphrodite.

I’m an MA student in Human Geography at Simon Fraser University. I’m 29 years old, white, middle class woman. I come from a privilege background and have been lucky enough to have had a widely diverse education at various schools around the world. I say this not to suggest authority on these matters but to situate myself within my discussion on race, class, gender etc. I do read a lot about gender and other social relations and I am a teaching assistant for Gender and Geography. There are just too many scholars for me to credit, so I’ll just thank social theory in general. If you do want to start reading you could start with Judith Butler, Michael Foucault, Gillian Rose and Gill Valentine.

Wow, this post is way too long! If you’ve got this far, thanks for taking the time. This stuff means a lot to me. Cheers :-)

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Old 02-26-2006, 04:35 PM   #23
Sarah Paynter
 
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ps. if you want to research 'gender' as a social theory, at least use Google Scholar http://scholar.google.com/ which searches published and often peer-reviewed materials, not just the stuff that any person posts on line.

thanks
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Old 02-26-2006, 05:46 PM   #24
Peter Queen
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Wow Sarah, that's way too much reading and thinking for this knuckle dragging, low brow, mouth breather.:lol:
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Old 02-26-2006, 08:27 PM   #25
Motion Macivor
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Don’t sell yourself short Peter!
I think the fact that you took the time to read Sarah’s Post proves that you (and I are not a lost cause. You don’t have to agree with her but I think she makes a few really good points.

“This binary construction of gender sets up "US" vs. "THEM/OTHER." In this way we can often see images of femininity existing in stark contrast to images of masculinity. This "othering" of groups is also applied in Homo/heterosexual, white/coloured, occident/orient, rational/irrational constructs. You can't have good if you don't have bad...”

We live in a world that is coloured in shades of grey not black and white absolutes. And while I don’t think it’s appropriate to criticize the young men and women who put their lives on the line to protect our sovereignty. I feel uncomfortable glamorizing a profession in which young men are encouraged to murder other young men for the political gain of old men.

By creating an image of “others” we find it easier to foster an us vs. them attitude thereby normalizing the murder of other people. How do we reconcile the very real need to defend our way of life with destroying the lives of “others” in “far away places”. These are people too they have families, jobs, loves, vegetable gardens, and mortgages.

I am not na´ve I understand that the real world does not run on candy floss and gum drops. Often hard brutal decisions must be made in the interest of the greater good, but does that mean that we have to draw a line in the sand where we question the patriotism of people who disagree with those decisions?

Let’s not allow our society to be weakened by these simplistic notions of right and wrong, male and female. We can be much stronger when we find common ground and work together. What is stronger, a family with a strong father figure and a nurturing mother, or a family where the father and mother are both strong and nurturing to the best of their abilities?

One of the things that really attracts me to Crossfit is that not only are we inspired by the performances of Dave and Greg but also Angie and Eva. There are no qualifiers in the praise that these athletes receive, only respect and admiration. I think it’s important that we recognize the sameness of “others” It’s a key to respecting our own humanity.
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Old 02-26-2006, 08:29 PM   #26
Tim Weaver
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Sarah wrote:

"For a North American example, look at Adam West as Batman vs today’s Batmans. Also check out 1960’s GI Joe dolls and compare them to the ones today!"

Ok, now I call Bull****.

1960's Batman was, from the outset, a parody...a campy "action" show that was NOT trying to make the Dynamic Duo to be the Superheroes of Today.

As for G.I. Joe? I am sure some government study has been done, but I posit that a) it was pussified parents who wouldn't let Johnny get one because of the sissified educational crap they received that War Was Bad, and thus anything representing war was also bad.

This day and age, a kid DRAWS a STICK FIGURE of a gun and they get expelled. Children with G.I. Joe miniature plastic toy rifles get expelled or it gets confiscated when they get on a plane.

People (often white, middle class people from a privilege background, who have been lucky enough to have had a widely diverse education at various schools around the world) are so freaked out about anything to do with firearms or self-defense/violence that it's any wonder G.I. Joe's are made at all. Let's give all our male children Barbies so they grow up to be loving adults. Doesn't work, as the "vroom vroom" example shows.

I've known many a woman who wasn't "socialized" (or didn't have the correct chromosome or whatever) to keep their house clean. I've also had friends I grew up with whose little brother was a whiz at baking and cooking. And now he's an interior designer (yes, really). That same friend is bisexual, but turns wrenches for a large trucking firm. He owns guns and likes hunting. But he doesn't wear a dress.

Nancy, I mean Eugene, I agree. Guys who wear dresses should figure on getting teased. Sure, it might hurt their feelings, but until (if) such things start to become "normal", they're just going to have to Cowboy Up and take it like a man, so to speak. One has to wonder how much crap they get if living in the Bay Area.
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Old 02-26-2006, 08:56 PM   #27
Motion Macivor
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Tim,
After reading Sarah's post I took a look at what GI joe toys look like now. I used to play with snake eyes and storm shadow when I was a kid and they basically looked human. The GI Joe toy's being sold today look like coked up 'roid monkys to me. Is that the image we want to push on our kids? do we want our sons to suffer the same body image problems that our daughters are already facing?
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Old 02-26-2006, 09:57 PM   #28
Tim Weaver
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Personally, no. I'd rather have the old GI Joes back. I had one (the 12" version) with a whole footlocker full of combat and frogman gear. It'd be worth a bundle today. :-)
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Old 02-26-2006, 11:45 PM   #29
Sean Guerrant
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FWIW Sarah,
There's an increasing body of scientific evidence (pet scans, brain scans, etc) that men and women ARE DIFFERENT at the most basic level (as if that weren't physically obvious). They use different parts of their minds when doing the same math problems. The evidence is very strong that men and women are different mentally from the word go - not merely as a result of cultural templates imposed on them. That evidence points to women using the centers of the mind more closely tied to emotion, while men, not as much. This neither means that women are overemotional nor that men are more reasonable; it may help explain why women are more attuned and better at dealing with feelings and men may be less inclined to do so. That's genetic, not social. Social forms may reinforce what is a genetic fact. You may want to take a look at the most recent research on the human mind. It may be that we are hard-wired (AND evolved) into the social norms that you note.
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Old 02-27-2006, 12:20 AM   #30
Jamila Bey
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Hey Peter!
You know, I actually married a hippie... He once had hair down to his tushy. But my parents wouldn't even meet until near a decade later, so I can't be too judgemental.

To Sarah, thanks for answering my question by clearing up your point.

I believe that the only sufficient response I could make in this thread would come after a good meal, good laughter, and good wine.

I have no interest in starting a flame war or retuning to the ivory tower that sucked more money from me than knowledge it instilled. My views on academia pertaining to the social sciences are skeptical at best.

That said: Everything I am, everything I believe, and everything I love is "other." In 3rd or 4th grade, the nuns called in my parents for a conference because "She's so aggressive for a girl. She never wears skirts and only has boys for friends. She'll grow up to have a 'complex.'" I have no interest in changing (too much) now!

Should we meet in person, I'll go on. For now... it's something I'll consider.
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