Female Brains and How That Concept Reifies Misogyny

Damn sometimes it just pays to be lucky and subscribe to the New York Times, considered by many to be one of the last real newspapers in America.

Here I am talking about how I find the concept of “female brains” as reifying the ideology of female inferiority  in the world of intellect and accomplishment.  Something I consider profoundly anti-feminist and I am blessed with the following article in the New York Times.

See complete article at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/22/science/22women.html?scp=1&sq=women%20in%20science&st=cse

Bias Called Persistent Hurdle for Women in Sciences

By TAMAR LEWIN

A report on the underrepresentation of women in science and math by the American Association of University Women, to be released Monday, found that although women have made gains, stereotypes and cultural biases still impede their success.

The report, “Why So Few?,” supported by the National Science Foundation, examined decades of research to cull recommendations for drawing more women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the so-called STEM fields.

“We scanned the literature for research with immediate applicability,” said Catherine Hill, the university women’s research director and lead author of the report. “We found a lot of small things can make a difference, like a course in spatial skills for women going into engineering, or teaching children that math ability is not fixed, but grows with effort.”

The report treads lightly on the hot-button question of whether innate differences between the sexes account for the paucity of women at the highest levels of science and math.

Five years ago, Lawrence H. Summers, then the president of Harvard, sparked a firestorm when he suggested that “there are issues of intrinsic aptitude, and particularly of the variability of aptitude” reinforced by “lesser factors involving socialization and continuing discrimination.”

The association’s report acknowledges differences in male and female brains. But Ms. Hill said, “None of the research convincingly links those differences to specific skills, so we don’t know what they mean in terms of mathematical abilities.”

At the top level of math abilities, where boys are overrepresented, the report found that the gender gap is rapidly shrinking. Among mathematically precocious youth — sixth and seventh graders who score more than 700 on the math SAT — 30 years ago boys outnumbered girls 13 to 1, but only about 3 to 1 now.

“That’s not biology at play, it doesn’t change so fast,” Ms. Hill said. “Even if there are biological factors in boys outnumbering girls, they’re clearly not the whole story. There’s a real danger in assuming that innate differences are important in determining who will succeed, so we looked at the cultural factors, to see what evidence there is on the nurture side of nature or nurture.”

And of course the money quote:

Making judgments about an individual’s abilities based on his or her sex is a classic form of discrimination, said Nancy Hopkins, an M.I.T. biology professor who created an academic stir in the 1990s by documenting pervasive, but largely unintentional, discrimination against women at the university.

All the talk about female brains vs male brains somehow seems to validate way too much discrimination.  If female brains are not good at certain things such as science, engineering, biology or management and say finance then would that not be reason to exclude them?

It is like all the emphasis upon gender that has come to the forefront during the reactionary backlash against the liberation and feminist movements of the 1960s and 70s.  Gender too gets used to define the appropriate roles for men and women with feminine men considered not real men and masculine women considered not real women.

Look at the very idea of gender transgression and gender variance.  The very idea often seems to be the playground of the rich and privileged while too many of the working class are dress coded into androgynous uniforms consisting of pants of a certain color and polo or other collared shirt of the same color.  The idea being that those of the new servant economy have no individuality and are defined by function in their role of selling products or serving those with economic power.

The Revolving Cast of Characters with Aliases and Grandiose Theories

In the thirteen months I have been running this blog I have had several people whose blogs seem obsessed with me and how I have somehow failed them.  My imagined crimes are many and to prove it they mine my words looking for nuggets they can strip of context to prove their point.

Mostly though I have failed them by returning to my left wing hippie ideals of fairness and social justice.  My unpardonable sin is that I consider transgender people human beings and as such endowed with inalienable rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  Further I am as willing to defend their rights as I am my own.

I realize I live in a nation filled with people who are often ignorant regarding basic matters of biology, ecology, physics etc.  Not to mention history and the basics of feminism.

I am really concerned regarding the idea of “female brains” and “male brains”  That leads us down the garden path to some very nasty places that justify some very humanity denying positions as well as supporting misogyny, racism, homophobia etc.

About 15 years ago there was a book titled The Bell Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life by Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray.  See Fair’s Review from 1995.

Racism Resurgent

How Media Let The Bell Curve’s Pseudo-Science Define the Agenda on Race


By Jim Naureckas

When the New Republic devoted almost an entire issue (10/31/94) to a debate with the authors of The Bell Curve, editor Andrew Sullivan justified the decision by writing, “The notion that there might be resilient ethnic differences in intelligence is not, we believe, an inherently racist belief.”

In fact, the idea that some races are inherently inferior to others is the definition of racism. What the New Republic was saying–along with other media outlets that prominently and respectfully considered the thesis of Charles Murray and the late Richard Herrnstein’s book–is that racism is a respectable intellectual position, and has a legitimate place in the national debate on race.

The Bell Curve was accorded attention totally disproportionate to the merits of the book or the novelty of its thesis. The book and its dubious claims set the agenda for discussions on such public affairs programs as Nightline (10/21/94), the MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour (10/28/94), the McLaughlin Group (10/21/94), Charlie Rose (11/3/94, 11/4/94), Think Tank (10/14/94), PrimeTime Live (10/27/94) and All Things Considered (10/28/94).

In addition to the above-mentioned New Republic issue, the “controversy” made the covers of Newsweek (10/24/94) and the New York Times Magazine (10/9/94), took up nearly a full op-ed page in the Wall Street Journal (10/10/94), and garnered a near-rave review from the New York Times Book Review (10/16/94; Extra! Update, 12/94).

While many of these discussions included sharp criticisms of the book, media accounts showed a disturbing tendency to accept Murray and Herrnstein’s premises and evidence even while debating their conclusions. “While Murray and Herrnstein base their findings on various surveys and extensive research, many of the conclusions they draw are fiercely disputed,” declared Robert MacNeil (10/28/94). “You’ve written a long book,” Ted Koppel told Murray (10/21/94). “I assume a great deal of work and research went into it. But the problem is your book has become a political football.”

Continue at: http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1271

Female brain is such a gross simplification of matters as to fall into the category of,  “I’m not a trannie, I’m really intersex.” claims.

The simple answer is, “Perhaps, but not in the grossly simplified manner in which you are presenting it.”

Transsexual people and transgender people have been hurt by the cabals of people hiding behind aliases positing all sorts of grandiose theories and attacking anyone and everyone who points out the flaws in their theories.  This goes for those who found Bailey and Blanchard to provide answers to their questions of why just as it applies to those claiming impossible/improbable combinations of intersex conditions and spontaneous sex changes  that are contradicted by their having fathered children.

While I would like to think that most of the bullshit has come from benevolent ignorance I am a political lefty and have seen too much malevolent theorizing used to prop up misogyny, homophobia and racism.  I find it hard to view those hiding behind sock puppets and aliases while generating hateful theories and attacks upon anyone who questions those theories as coming from a space of innocent ignorance.

I ignore ignorant sheeple even when they devote major portions of their blogs to attacking me and spewing their ignorant bigotry.  People see them for what they are, they have ever since these people trolled the Usenet.

I am not going to waste my time going after the ignorant.  Rather this blog goes after the cabals that function as internet gangs of thugs hiding behind aliases and sock puppets while harming transsexual and transgender people.

President Obama Breaks Faith with Women

Statement of NOW President Terry O’Neill

March 21, 2010

The National Organization for Women is incensed that President Barack Obama agreed today to issue an executive order designed to appease a handful of anti-choice Democrats who have held up health care reform in an effort to restrict women’s access to abortion. Through this order, the president has announced he will lend the weight of his office and the entire executive branch to the anti-abortion measures included in the Senate bill, which the House is now prepared to pass.

President Obama campaigned as a pro-choice president, but his actions today suggest that his commitment to reproductive health care is shaky at best. Contrary to language in the draft of the executive order and repeated assertions in the news, the Hyde Amendment is not settled law — it is an illegitimate tack-on to an annual must-pass appropriations bill. NOW has a longstanding objection to Hyde and, in fact, was looking forward to working with this president and Congress to bring an end to these restrictions. We see now that we have our work cut out for us far beyond what we ever anticipated. The message we have received today is that it is acceptable to negotiate health care on the backs of women, and we couldn’t disagree more.

Thousands March in Washington DC Anti-War March

While the racist Neo-Nazi teabaggers got all the news coverage for engaging in storm trooper tactics that included calling African-American Congressman John Lewis a n****r and gay Congressman Barney Frank a f****t there were other people marching in Washington.

Real Americans led by Cindy Sheehan and World Can’t Wait

By MATTHEW BARAKAT, Associated Press Writer Matthew Barakat, Associated Press Writer Sat Mar 20, 7:30 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Thousands of protesters — many directing their anger squarely at President Barack Obama — marched through the nation’s capital Saturday to urge immediate withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

At least eight people, including activist Cindy Sheehan, were arrested by U.S. Park Police at the end of the march, after laying coffins at a fence outside the White House. Friday marked the seventh anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Continue reading at:  http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100320/ap_on_re_us/us_anti_war_protest

The real question we should be asking and demanding an answer from the MSM is:  why does the Neo-Nazi Teabagger Movement get all the ink while the anti-war and progressive movement gets ignored?

Pope apologizes for priests’ child sex abuse

Pleads to keep the jewelry, satin dresses and red Prada pumps.
Time to disestablish Catholicism.  The con game is some 1700 years old and has murdered and enslaved more people than Hitler, Stalin, and Mao combined.  These crimes are only the latest in a long list of crimes against humanity.
By Agence France-Presse
Saturday, March 20th, 2010 — 6:50 pm

Pope Benedict XVI apologised Saturday for Irish priests’ child sex abuse in a letter with far-reaching implications, but victims said it was not enough to address the growing scandal.The pastoral letter, which came with the sex abuse scandal having spread to several countries, including the pope’s native Germany, also said Irish bishops had “failed” in addressing the problem.

“You have suffered grievously and I am truly sorry,” the pope said in the long-awaited letter to Irish Catholics to be read in all Irish dioceses, in which he also expressed “shame and remorse.”

Continue reading at: http://rawstory.com/2010/03/pope-apologises-priests-child-sex-abuse/

Norrie May-Welby”s Recent Antics

I first encountered Norrie May-Welby some ten years ago, back when I was still struggling with alcoholism and was coming to grips with the utter devastation doing sex work had brought to my life and to the lives of friends of mine who were or had been sex workers.

I was on a list called “Trans-feminist” run by another winner, Emi Koyama.

I was amazed to find myself being trashed by these people for speaking the truth about my personal experiences with sex work, about how it had gone hand in hand with substance abuse and led to the deaths of most my friends who had been sex workers in the early 1970s.

I was told I was being oppressive and anti-feminist to want to talk about the negative impact doing sex work had on the lives of people doing it.

Considering I was a feminist and part of the actual second wave before Koyama was born I found this to be rather bizarre.

My take on Norrie May-Welby fell more into the category of my take on someone who caused transsexuals all sorts of problems back in the 1970s, a freak who called himself “Angela Douglas”.  Angela was all over the place claiming to run an organization and getting herself in all the underground papers.

When Jan and I first encountered this person we were running the NTCU.  We were supported by the Reed Erickson Foundation and had connections in the SF Public Health facility, The Center for Special Problems on Van Ness Ave. We were getting publicity from Lee Brewster in the form of an announcement in Queen Magazine.  She actually sent us a letter warning us about this person.

Well Angela got her surgery, then the wheels came off and the craziness came out.  Eventually Douglas went back to being a guy after leaving a trail of damage in his wake.

At a time when a number of us were quietly involved in the lesbian feminist movement he wrote a letter to one of the feminist newspapers proclaiming that transsexuals were vastly superior to natal females.

Now at a time when post-op transsexuals are facing a whole ton of bullshit from the right wing Christo-fascists, including finding ourselves being changed back into our birth sex by right wing legal actions, comes Norrie May-Welby, who wants to be considered a neuter.

Over on 365 Gay, lesbian columnist Emma Ruby-Sachs asks, “What do you think? Should neutral replace trans? Are they similar or the same? Do we need to do away with the gender discussion before we can start playing with the norms that exist?”

(http://www.365gay.com/blog/ruby-sachs-the-worlds-first-genderless-person/)

All I can say regarding Emma Ruby-Sachs suggestion is that she go fuck herself.

But regarding Norrie May-Welby…  “Ze” or what ever the fuck Norrie is,  should never be taken seriously regarding anything as this person is a narcissistic sociopath.

This person is far more harmful to transsexuals than a whole bus full of transgender activists.

Back when Jan and I meet Douglas I said to Jan, “My what a freak.”

Jan said, “Look at us.  Who are we to judge?’

I thought about it a bit and said, “Who better to judge than us, we are hippies and have seen the strangest of the strange.  We are transsexuals and have seen the strangest of the strange walk through the doors of this office.  We  aren’t judgemental and don’t view the merely different as bizarre, someone has to be truly strange for us to think they are bizarre.”

So it is with Norrie May-Welby…  Maybe when those of us who society considers strange think you are bizarre… Maybe just maybe it is time for you to do a gut check and consider some therapy.

I’m Special, I am a True Transsexual, I Have a Female Brain

Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah…

You are not freaking special and I’m tired of all this female brain shit.  That one is such a misogynistic rap and basically reifies the idea of women as second class citizens.

You are transsexual if you want to get an operation to change your sex and you want to get an operation to change your sex because you are transsexual.  The reason is the reason and is tautological.

We live in an era where many people are experiencing economic hardship.  Just managing to keep a job and a roof over one’s head is a major accomplishment for people with an unemployment or under employment rate that pretty much matches that of young black men who have dropped out of high school, been arrested and now have criminal records.

Often what separates  women with transsexualism, who get SRS from those who wind up struggling to survive the best they can, living as transgenders dealing with the same internal feelings, is a matter of luck as well as class privilege and often times white skin privilege.

In his song “Working Class Hero” John Lennon sang, “First they  abuse you and torture you for twenty odd years, then they tell you to go pick a career, When you can’t hardly function cos you’re so full of fear.”  But of course transsexual and transgender people aren’t supposed to suffer from all that abuse.

After all Conan the Barbarian quoting Nietzsche, “That which does not kill us only makes us stronger.”

Except it doesn’t it just leave so many of us so full of pain that we are lost.

I spent a long time in confrontation games with sisters who came out later in life than I did basically trying to figure out why and the answer kept coming back to fear with the subtext of histories of abuse.

The game of how one person who got SRS is better than another person who got it because of some imagined element is a product of trans-childhoods spent knowing no one else like ourselves.

When you grow up thinking you are the only one that feels a certain way it comes as a shock to learn we are damned near as common as dirt and like today when Tina and I went to Fry’s to buy OEM copies of Windows 7 and the person who pointed us to the right department was a sister.  We are everywhere.

It kind of sucks to waste so much energy tearing each other down when we could be building each other up instead.  But then that is what those kids who bullied us in first grade and are now in political office or are ministers want us to do.

Ask the APA to Remove “Transvestic Disorder” Diagnosis from the DSM-5

Reposted from Bilrico with the permission of Author

http://www.bilerico.com/2010/03/the_international_federation_for_gender.php

By Kelley Winters

March 16, 2010 1:00 PM

The International Foundation for Gender Education (IFGE) has posted an online petition calling for removal of the Transvestic Disorder diagnosis (302.3) from the pending Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Please help put an end to this defamatory and hurtful psychiatric label by adding your name and spreading the word to your organizations, friends and contacts.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) released draft diagnostic criteria for the DSM-5 last month, and a period of public review and comment ends April 20th. Their proposal includes the diagnostic category Transvestic Disorder, previously called Transvestic Fetishism, which classifies crossdressing by birth-assigned males as mental illness.

This diagnosis perpetuates false stereotypes of sexual deviance that are used to deny human dignity and civil justice to gender variant and transgender people. It punishes feminine gender expression that does not conform to masculine conventions. It pathologizes harmless consensual sexual expression and sexualizes gender expression that is not necessarily sexually motivated.

The Transvestic Disorder category is not limited to crossdressers or male-identified people. It also targets transsexual women with a specifier of “autogynephilia,” a deeply offensive label to many transwomen, implying that all transsexual women transition for sexual reasons rather than harmony with gender identity.

Please ask the the American Psychiatric Association DSM-5 Task Force, Board of Trustees and elected leadership to reject the proposed Transvestic Disorder category and remove this gender nonconformity diagnosis from the DSM-5.

http://dsm.ifge.org/petition/

[I know how many feel about Cross Dressers but the root of pathologizing male cross dressing is primarily found in misogyny.  It is part of pathologizing not only TS/TG folks but anyone who strays from some imaginary  set of rules governing appropriate behavior for males.]
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Friday Night Fun and Culture

New Movie: “The Runaways”

I was living on Sunset Blvd near Fairfax Avenue in the mid 1970s during the era when the Runaways were around.  They hung out at Rodney Bingenheimer’s,  Starwood, the Whiskey. Went to after clubbing 3:00am breakfasts at Ben Franks and the Denny’s near Rodney’s club.

They were so young and so cute and we loved the very idea of girls playing hard core rock and roll.

It is about time there was a movie about them.

From the New York Times

Proving Their Mettle in the Men-Only Era of Rock

By A. O. SCOTT
Published: March 19, 2010

“The Runaways,” which takes place mainly in Southern California in the mid-1970s, evokes its moment and milieu with affectionate, almost uncanny fidelity. It’s a sun-baked teenage wasteland of muscle cars and hamburger stands, and the two young 21st-century movie stars who play the main characters seem to fit right in. Dakota Fanning and Kristen Stewart, who are Cherie Currie and Joan Jett, lead singer and guitarist for the band that gives the movie its name, were born a long time after the book had closed on the real-life Runaways, but the seriousness and self-confidence with which they tackle their roles goes a long way toward establishing a sense of authenticity.

Continue reading at: http://movies.nytimes.com/2010/03/19/movies/19runaways.html?ref=movies

Posted in Uncategorized. Comments Off on New Movie: “The Runaways”

More on the “I’m Really Intersex” BS

I’m an archivist and keeper of the history.

Recent reads and rereads have included: ROBERTA COWELL’S STORY, An Autobiography and Becoming a Woman: A Biography of Christine Jorgensen

Both claimed vague intersex conditions.  Neither had those claims substantiated by their physicians.

I mean we can all suspect these sorts of things but I have watched these claims go to ridiculous and unbelievable places.  Further in Roberta Cowell’s book she felt it necessary to attack Christine Jorgensen as less valid than herself.

That is sort of what I see happening with all the HBS/Classic Transsexual BS.

Lady Gaga shows more common sense. Why not leave it at, “We were born with transsexualism.”  Or…  “We were born with transgenderism.” as the case maybe.

To put it bluntly.  If you opt to have an operation that changes your assigned at birth sex once you have reached the age of agency you are or at least were a transsexual.  All the modifiers are BS and just aimed at being more equal than others.

All the claims of unsubstantiated and improbable if not impossibly contradictory claims of vague and obscure intersex conditions making you special are as harmful to transsexuals as a class being taken seriously as the actions of Norrie May-Welby (I want my identification to show me as neither male nor female) or the “myn” who seem to be competing with Octomom to out do each other in dropping babies.  It is stupid and boring as well as undermining the chances of transsexual/transgender women and men being taken seriously at a time when we are struggling to get removed from the DSM, as well as get employment non-discrimination measures passed and marriage equality for all, not just straight people.

Lady Gaga – Lady Gaga Says Homosexuality Isn’t A Choice

Statements like this are cause me to really seriously love Lady Gaga.  Notice she knows that there are both transgender women and transsexual women.  This is exactly what I and others have been asking for, a recognition of the two different groups rather than the erasure of either.

Lady Gaga Says Homosexuality Isn’t A Choice

Lady Gaga says people have no choice in whether or not they are gay, as she believes you are born that way.

Lady Gaga says being gay is not a choice.

The 23-year-old singer, who has previously discussed her own bisexuality at length, believes homosexual men and women are “born” that way.

Gaga – who claims her new video ‘Telephone’ is “groundbreaking” because she showcases lots of different types of sexuality in the nine-minute promo – said: “There are transsexual women and transgender women and suddenly it becomes poisonous and something else because there are some people in this world that believe being gay is a choice. It’s not a choice, we’re born this way.

Continue reading at:  http://www.contactmusic.com/news.nsf/story/lady-gaga-says-homosexuality-isnt-a-choice_1136053

Social Justice vs Right Wing Victimology

In the world of right wing Christo-fascism victimology the real victims of bigotry are those who routinely abuse the rights of others most specifically but not exclusively women,  LGBT/T people, as well as people of color.

In fact if one listens to them right wing control of only 90% of the radio and a substantial voice in other mainstream news outlets reflects a liberal bias to the news.  This is mainly because there are still people who call them on their lies.

In the US a rich elite that is mainly white, the top 5% in terms of wealth control 70% of the wealth and resources that produce yet more wealth.  It has gotten to the point where the bottom 1/3 of the population controls such a small percentage of the wealth that they live lives of constant insecurity.  Yet suggesting raising the taxes on the rich to even the point they were at under Reagan are met with howls and cries of “class warfare” as though the rich have not been in fact waging class warfare upon working people.

In Texas the rabid right wing Republican Christo-fascists have been demanding a rewriting of history and science books in an act of historical revisionism and Orwellian wishful thinking that make the acts of Stalin pale in comparison.  Suggestions that history is based on facts not fiction are met with argument that would make the most ardent believer in post-modern relativism burst out in laughter.

In the world of right wing victimology women who have raped or beaten by their partners are not the real victims.  The real victims are the men who have been accused.  It is the OJ Simpson world where the abuser becomes the victim while the person raped and murdered caused the act of violence by some short coming on his or her part.

Yesterday I saw a show on Current TV regarding LGBT/T people coming to terms with who they were.  Towards the end of the show there were  gay kids who were driven from their homes by homophobic parent, kids deprived of their education.

I have rarely heard stories of happy childhood free from abuse from people who were obvious transkids or for that matter were obviously gay or lesbian.  For some of us it is written on our bodies and was an invitation to years of physical and emotional abuse.  Yet when we point this out we are accused of oppressing the bullies.  Right Wing Christo-fascist embracers of victimology howl that the creation of anti-bullying laws and hate crimes laws restrict their freedom of speech and religion.  As though one of the core tenets of Christianity is the abuse and persecution of others.  Some may think it odd that as an atheist I have actually read the Bible from cover to cover and while it is filled with stories of god ordained genocide, murder, incest and a myriad of other behaviors that we as a more civilized society have deemed wrong I have not found the persecution of LGBT/T people to be any sort of core belief or requirement.  Particularly one that doesn’t fall into the category of barbaric behavior we now treat as crime.

On the other hand the central figure of the New Testament seems to be a rather left wing chap with stories about him that suggest a semi-socialist approach to life and a willingness to forgive offenses that had prior to his coming been treated by the quaint custom of stoning to death.

But even here the historical revisionists of right wing Christo-fascism exhibit a desire to remake even their own book of mythology in their Ayn Randish image.  Some how their victimologist claims that not being allowed to abuse LGBT/T people is an infringement upon their rights seems to contradict the whole concept of their slogan that asks “What would Jesus Do?”  Somehow I have a hard time picturing this mythical champion of social justice engaging in that sort of behavior.

In tune with a feature of the Bill Maher Show:  “New rule.  If you regularly engage in the abuse and oppression of whole classes of people based on some particular physical trait of those people such as sex, sexuality, gender, skin color or wealth then you do not get to claim victimhood if your victims complain about you doing them harm.”

Dallas Jail Guard Fired Over Anti-Gay Remarks

DALLAS (AP) ―

A Dallas County jail guard recently fired after allegedly making anti-gay remarks and commenting about religion has said his free speech rights have been violated but he will not seek to regain his job.

A sheriff’s department review concluded Stephen Johnson, 59, persisted in volunteering his religious opinions and speaking out against homosexuality.

Johnson, after nearly 17 years with the department, was fired Jan. 20 for conduct unbecoming an officer and for lying to internal affairs, the Dallas Morning News reported Tuesday.

Johnson in October interrupted a private conversation among jail staff and “interjected his own opinions,” telling them all gays should be annihilated, according to a sheriff’s report.

“They made it out to be that I was a bigot. I was fired ’cause I hurt someone else’s feelings,” Johnson said Monday. He said that his free speech rights were violated but that he will not appeal.

Continue reading at: http://cbs11tv.com/local/Dallas.Jail.Guard.2.1564992.html

Trans Bodies, Trans Selves

Yesterday I followed a link on Feministing to a book project I think we should all consider participating in.

In the 1970s women were dissatisfied with the level of knowledge they were able to glean regarding their bodies.  The medical books were mostly written by men as was the popular literature.  Many women came together with the Boston Women’s Health Collective and contributed to a project that produced the book , Our Bodies, Ourselves.

A number of people whose lives have been touched by trans-prefixed words, many of whom are Facebook friends and are people I personally admire and trust, are coming together to work on producing an equivalent titled Trans Bodies, Trans Selves

I know how I feel about answering studies, I generally feel like I am being manipulated into giving answers that validate some straight person’s foregone conclusions.  That the study’s main purpose is the further aggrandizement of the “researcher and that any supposed benefit to those of us who have had our lives impacted by transsexualism or transgenderism will be accidental.

Multiple choice questionnaires are the worst as they tend to show the naked bias in the limited number of acceptable answers.  Particularly those that immediately terminate your participation if you say you do not identify as transgender.  My one bone to pick with this survey is that you do have to cop to transgender or gender variant to get into the survey but after that one is presented with the opportunity to answer questions in ones own words.

It is a long survey and perhaps should be downloadable as a PDF with the opportunity to think about each question at length.

It does allow you to not be anonymous if you wish and includes a space for an e-mail address leaving open the door for answering questions in greater depth and at an increased level of participation.  I highly urge anyone interested in committing to participation beyond answering the questionnaire to do so.

This book represents the next step on the road to our regaining the control of the discourse regarding our lives for the psychiatric and even medical profession who have taken it upon themselves to define us.

I am fully aware that if you ask the opinions of a hundred different TS or TG folks on any given topic that you run the risk of getting a hundred different and often contradictory opinions.

Perhaps one of the most important results of this project will be the validating of the idea that there are many communities of different identities and thinking rather than just one united by a common shared identity.  In the space of time (13 months) this Blog has been pubishing I have watched more and more people start using transsexual and transgender instead of simply transgender.  Further I have seen greater usage of transsexual for those who actually have gotten or are in the process of getting SRS.

There is hope that people are starting to recognize that one paradigm does not fit all.  We have the opportunity being handed to us to show that those representing many different communities can work together on a project that could be beneficial to all.

Please go to this site and participate.  It is for us and by us.

http://www.transbodies.com/home.html

I will be adding two links to Trans Bodies, Trans Selves one will be under Website and a direct link to the study will be under Petitions, Studies and Polls.

DSM as Marketing Tool

As I look at what is in the newly proposed DSM I am struck by how much it resembles a marketing tool.

So many of the disorders seem of the same sort of manufactured needs one finds in the ad placed on television marketing new miracle drugs aimed at treating problems one never knew existed.  With a whole litany of side effects including death.

Something worth considering when judging the validity of the “science” of the DSM

Drapetomania

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Drapetomania was a supposed mental illness described by American physician Samuel A. Cartwright in 1851 that caused black slaves to flee captivity.[1] Today, drapetomania is considered an example of pseudoscience,[2] and part of the edifice of scientific racism.[3] The term derives from the Greek δραπετης (drapetes, “a runaway [slave]”) + μανια (mania, “madness, frenzy”).[4]

Cartwright described the disorder — which, he said, was “unknown to our medical authorities, although its diagnostic symptom, the absconding from service, is well known to our planters and overseers”[4] — in a paper delivered before the Medical Association of Louisiana[5] that was widely reprinted.

He stated that the malady was a consequence of masters who “made themselves too familiar with [slaves], treating them as equals.”[6]

“If any one or more of them, at any time, are inclined to raise their heads to a level with their master or overseer, humanity and their own good requires that they should be punished until they fall into that submissive state which was intended for them to occupy. They have only to be kept in that state, and treated like children to prevent and cure them from running away.” [7]

In Diseases and Pecularities of the Negro Race, Cartwright writes that the Bible calls for a slave to be submissive to his master, and by doing so, the slave will have no desire to run away.[8]

In addition to identifying drapetomania, Cartwright prescribed a remedy. His feeling was that with “proper medical advice, strictly followed, this troublesome practice that many Negroes have of running away can be almost entirely prevented.”[4] In the case of slaves “sulky and dissatisfied without cause” — a warning sign of imminent flight — Cartwright prescribed “whipping the devil out of them” as a “preventative measure.”[9][10][11]

Ever notice how psychiatry serves the master and not the oppressed?  How there are a thousand “disorders” that women have and yet misogyny skates free?  How we have GID but being a dickwad who spends all his time addicted to sports, beer andhyper consumption of products aimed at reinforcing his image of himself as masculine in a world where the corporations own his balls is not a disorder?

The DSM is the Vogue magazine of the Psychiatric Profession selling things as problems to both insurance companies and to people at large.

Hyper Retail Hype

Some days before work my mind is a fog while I wait for water and grounds tun into the magic elixir of working people, coffee the staff of life for the the exploited and drug testable workers in retail hell I look for inspiration in the morning e-mail.

Today was no exception.  I’m in an extra thick layer of fog due to the loss of an hour of sleep from the shift to day light savings time.

Top title:  From Macy’s… “The Hot List: Free Shipping on spring fashion must-haves”…  WTF???  Why must I have these items?  Will they make me brighter? Get me a promotion?  Cause me to find love and have more and better orgasms?  Or will they just keep me in debt and enrich the Corporate overlords while fellow proles working in retail hell get exploited the same way I do?

I think I’ll pass on that offer as I am working to beat down the advertising fed addiction to “Must have” along with other self destructive behaviors that allow the masters to own me.

Then from Ralph Lauren, now part of a mega-corporation that owns Ralph Lauren’s name and produces cheap crap in Under Developed Nation to sell at inflated prices in formerly industrialized nation that now often have whole cities under foreclosure.  I highly recommend Naomi Klein’s No Logo.  Labels are about selling image and the idea of luxury and exclusivity not about selling actual design and quality.  This is not the era of the rag trade when real live people in the area between the Macy’s flagship store on 32nd street and Times Square’s 42nd street ran the schemata industry and employed people who were members of the ILGW.

So from Ralph Lauren: “Poolside Style: Discover A New Season Of Swim”  Pretty fucking presumptive on his part thinking I might have a pool to sit beside, time to sit there and a body that I might want to display in clothes made by exploited teenage girls in the sweat shops of far away under developed nations that are sold at huge profits as luxury items.  While the knock off Stasi patrols Canal Street looking for clones ie counterfeits.

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Food Porn

Okay I admit it, we watch the food channel, especially “Iron Chef America” but also other food shows that are ostensibly about cooking but are in fact advertisements for food that is very expensive in terms of both money and health.

If one listens to certain sectors of the media, anorexia and bulimia are the the worst of all problematic relationships that we can have with food.  We even have whole organizations devoted to fat acceptance that will trash anyone who dares to speak as disparagingly of obese women as very thin women regularly are spoken about.

Even women who work out intensely and are able to run marathons and hold their own in the weight room are suspect as being too obsessed with thinness.

Yet as women become fatter and less physically fit they are devalued.  It is almost a way of keeping physical health and attractiveness at a premium.

In fact it is one of those perks that goes with wealth as healthy food often costs more than the crap they sell in the glossy TV ads for fast and not so fast restaurant chains.  Food BTW that never looks as good in real life as it does when shot with all the special lighting and food stylist magic.

I work with food and marketing it.  I feel guilty sometimes when reading the ingredients and specifications like sugar content, fat content and sodium.

I am obese.  As I quit drugs, smoking and booze I ate.  Moving to suburbia where one drives instead of walking or taking public transit and walk added too the problem.  I’m older working out is harder.

I’m not alone obesity is epidemic, especially among Americans in the working classes.  Economic uncertainty and job related stress  play a role as does working long hours and it being just so easy to go out to eat.

It becomes a vicious cycle with every meal having far more calories than are healthy and we eat them because of childhood messages regarding cleaning our plates.  We regard food as love and acceptance, a protection from need and scarcity.  The psychic dread of hunger.

Food become an affordable reward.  The extra 800 calorie dessert on top of the 1800 calorie meal.

Perhaps I need to broaden the sorts of issues I write about on this blog because the personal truly is political and having had an association with a trans-prefixed word is only part of the problem.  We live in a rapidly changing world where countries like Greece are faced with going into default.  A world where globalization is destroying the standard of living for working people in the developed nations by moving our jobs to place where people work almost for nothing.

The movie “Food, Inc.” really got me thinking about the amount of cruelty that goes into consuming so much meat.  Perhaps eating less meat and the idea of being more of a flexitarian will help us become healthier as well as lessen the animal abuse.  I see grass feed cattle in the fields near where we live and that seems a better approach than the factory farming of the feed lots.

I’m on a diet because I do not have health care and obesity contributes to high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease and diabetes.  My knees and feet hurt and it limits my life.  What I am not on is some sort of fad diet.  Rather I am eating less, particularly less meat and sugar and more vegetables as well as hitting the exercise bike for ten minutes a day.

Getting back down to a weight where I am healthy and fit will require changing patterns and becoming aware of how corporations get you addicted to eating all this crap with all their food porn.

Many of the changes are not all that severe.  A good pizza doesn’t have a pound of cheese product on it and a pound of high fat meats like pepperoni, salami and sausage.  It has  real cheese,  sauce and a few pieces of other things.  One of my favorite pizzas is the vegetarian.

Over the next few months I’m going to introduce some new topics like food issues.  After all how long can one talk about the “evil transgenders” or even the nasty “classic transsexuals” before the subject grows trite and boring.

Vatican fights to distance Pope from child sex scandals

From Raw Story

The Vatican fought attempts to link Pope Benedict XVI to child sex abuse in a counteroffensive on Saturday against widening paedophilia scandals.

“It is clearly evident that in the past few days there are some who have sought — with a dogged focus on Regensburg and Munich — elements to personally implicate the Holy Father in questions of abuse,” spokesman Federico Lombardi said.

“It is clear that these efforts have failed,” he said on Radio Vatican.

On Friday, the pope’s former diocese of Munich confirmed a report that, as an archbishop in 1980, the pontiff approved housing for a priest who had been accused of forcing an 11-year-old boy to perform oral sex.

Six years later, the priest was given a suspended prison sentence for child sex offenses. The archdiocese said he still works in Bavaria, with no known repeat violations.

Continue reading at:  http://rawstory.com/news/afp/Vatican_fights_to_distance_Pope_fro_03132010.html

Burce Springsteen’s Real American Values