One of DC2’s extracurricular activities got bought by a creepy 20-something mega-Christian. We didn’t find out until one of their events in which the new owner started by talking about how Jesus was more important than [extracurricular activity] and how they incorporate Jesus in every class and then we were asked to pray. We asked DC2 and zie confirmed that zie had been asked to pray in class. The place’s website has also been modernized since we signed DC2 up and talks about Jesus on a little text thing that comes and goes. I was already pretty pissed off at this place because of the unannounced mommy participation day. And it was fairly obvious from the older kids’ that this studio really isn’t focused on [extra-curricular activity] at all– I have been to so many of these events in my life and this one was easily the worst. As soon as we got back home from said event we withdrew DC2 and looked for a studio that focuses on [extracurricular activity]. I really hate stealth proselytizing. (I am also not a fan of [extracurricular activity] but DC2 is, so what can you do?)
The kids’ piano teacher also starts recitals with some musings about Christian religion, particularly the Christmas recital, but for some reason that doesn’t bother us as much. It could be that since she was DC1’s music teacher when zie was at a religious school we were forewarned, but we think it’s more that she makes it clear that she’s talking about her personal faith and she doesn’t make everybody pray. (The quote on the program this time was Isiah, “The people who walk in darkness shall see a great light,” and she talked about how every morning there is a sunrise and it seems like we’re living in dark times, but there will be light again, and the Christmas season reminds us of that… which I dunno, seems pretty accurate and not something that the person in the previous bullet is even aware of.) It is a Christmas recital, but non-Christians also play non-Christmas music (both of the holiday and non-holiday varieties). So it seems more inclusive.
Some academic self-proclaimed feminists sound really transphobic on their twitter accounts these days. I strongly suspect that this “problem” they talk about of people forcing kids to change their gender is not really a thing, but acting like it is probably does actual harm. I don’t see how the existence of trans women who are attracted to women hurts other lesbians in any way. (And definitely not in any way that wouldn’t disappear if the patriarchy were dismantled!) These “feminists” seem to think that being trans is an act or a lie or something that people are tricking other people into doing. I will admit that I do not “get” gender identity at all– with respect to me, I only see gender as a way that the rest of the world categorizes and interacts with me, not the way I see myself (except as is reflected by the rest of the world). It is really easy for me to take the path of least resistance. Sure I’d rather be a guy just because the patriarchy means that guys have it easier, but being a trans guy, and being a trans guy who is attracted to my husband, that seems really hard. But I also understand that many people do have strong gender identities, and that gender identity doesn’t always match up with the sex they were assigned at birth and those people don’t need people like [insert “feminist” tweeter here] telling them that they’re being duped by society and hurting other LGB people… as if someone can be convinced by society to become trans in this culture. Really? Trans people are real people who are fully dimensional and have life stories and opinions and thoughts and histories and feelings just like everybody else. Excluding them, telling them they’re wrong… that is not what feminism should be about. That’s a pretty piss-poor feminism.
Speaking of the above bullet– I think it is easier to imagine people complexly (to paraphrase John Green) if you know a lot of different people and read/watch a lot of media in which people tell their stories and fictional people are drawn complexly. Deirdre McCloskey was the first trans person that I ever really listened to on the topic (there were some trans folks at my high school, but they weren’t really in my social circle, though they may have been in #2’s)– I’d spent two semesters reading and loving her work published under the Donald name (economic history) and had heard stories about how horribly she’d been treated by her family from other professors whose own advisors had been involved in the march to get her out of the mental institution her relatives had committed her to (in IL you only needed 2 people to commit you!). Then she gave a talk about being a woman in economics, “notes from a novice” and answered any and all questions we had (my question was, “should we cite your pre-transition work as Donald or Deirdre?”– she said Deirdre and that she hoped to get it all changed). Deirdre McCloskey is a trans lesbian and a truly wonderful person. Well loved and known to be a fantastic mentor. She’s not harming anybody. I also love the contrast of Claire in Questionable Content compared to Carla on Dumbing of Age. (Claire is neurotic and wonderful and so much with the terrible puns, while Carla is kind of a jerk, but a jerk who generally does the right thing. Completely different people.) The trans students I’ve had in class have been, to my knowledge, trans men or trans gender neutral. I don’t know much about their lives other than the standard student stuff because they’re also just people trying to learn statistics and economics like everybody else. But they’re the reason I’ve spent so much time on the phone with legislative aides pleading and arguing about various bathroom bills over the past several years. Bathroom bills are a genuine threat to people’s lives. Not this fake garbage that creates some kind of LGBTQ hierarchy. That’s BS.
Ok, maybe I do know a little bit more about my students than their statistics knowledge: I recently learned a valuable lesson from one: never impulse buy flying squirrels on a road trip in an overcrowded car, even if they’re for sale at an open market you stop at. One of my colleagues and I agree that they should sell the story to National Lampoon as a Christmas family road trip.
You can create new regency romance titles by switching out “Squirrel” with “Earl” in Squirrel Girl volume titles. “Earl, You Really Got Me Now”
… thank you, Mint, I guess, for sending me an email the other week telling me I’d lost $30K in the previous week’s stock market crash. I’m not sure how to feel about that. Good, I guess? I mean, that’s a lot of money. (I didn’t check to see if that was actually accurate– sometimes Mint double counts one or more of my retirement accounts.)
I’m seeing a lot of New Years posts with people talking about how they’re going to ignore the news in 2019. I hope that you all don’t do that– I know I’ve been feeling a lot of political fatigue especially since the last election, but we can’t give up now. I don’t have time right now to do a super long pep-talk, but we have to keep pushing forward with activism. We have to keep fighting. Children’s lives are at stake… the environment, women’s rights, minority rights… so many things. Rest and relax, but don’t stop moving forward.
The gender stuff…. I’m off Twitter but I suspect I know the sort of thing you’re talking about. I will say (and I say this as a parent and someone with a background in women’s/gender studies) I know folks who are trans. I know folks who are ‘butch’ lesbian.’ And I also know folks (from the teen crowd) who use the language of ‘nonbinary’ to basically say “I don’t like normative gender roles” in a way that CAN BE misogynist and anti-feminist OR highly liberatory and flexible. It is so complicated. And personal. I feel like we’re in the midst of a major cultural shift.
Buying flying squirrel at all even without crowded road trip … sounds like lots of fresh air and medical treatment might have been helpful.
Glad you will continue re political news. I am also. AND, now is very important time to be organizing and working for the future, which will come in one form or the other; I care about that form.
As you know, you really only lost if you sold at the low…….. But it is unpleasant anyway.
There are a lot of layers to gender and identity, and I think a lot of the dialog is people talking past each other.
Like, some people might see a male/female spectrum and say they are somewhat in the middle because they are androgynous in their presentation. Others might say they are somewhat in the middle- on average- because they have many identity- important male and female typed components. Still others might say they feel most authentic in their identities when they focus on things where gender is irrelevant.
(and of course, that’s not even getting into whether a spectrum is the best analogy for gender)
As far as the transphobia problems…
A subset of people who don’t like normative gender roles want to actively undermine them at the cultural level. This is uncomfortable to people who identify strongly with their gender role (whether that identification began with sex assigned at birth or otherwise), and sometimes uncomfortable to people who identify strongly with both male and female typed things.
A smaller subset of people who don’t like normative gender roles and want to undermine them, are actually deluded about how much of a role trans people play in propping up these roles. Those people are what I think of as TERFs.
That said, a lot of the time I see the term “TERF” thrown around it is A) people who are legit transphobic, but not because they have the “dismantle gender norms” style of feminist belief or B) people who are not transphobic, but experience mutual discomfort with transpeople because of their motivation to dismantle gender norms.
“TERFs!” I came here to say. Awful people. How does it affect them in any way whether people decide that their gender presentation doesn’t match their gender at birth? They’re not doing anything to you. Also yes, Claire is delightful. I didn’t read much of DoA though I know it was pretty good.
Definitely not ignoring the news in 2019, just taking lots of refresher breaths as needed.
YUCK to the proselytizing extracurricular activity, I’m glad you have other options.
I’m lucky enough to be looking at the market drops as an opportunity to invest some of our hoarded cash without overextending ourselves into investments but it’s early days yet. We’ll see how I feel in 6 months.
Ugh at the extracurricular activity change. I went to far too many Christian camps as a kid because those were the only options for certain activities.
I like your view on gender identity. I feel similarly except that I don’t like it as a way for the world to categorize and interact with me. This creates a lot of struggle with my in-laws who really associate with their gender assigned at birth and confuses my mother-in-law and husband’s brother and his wife and her family to no end. (This is part of my personal childfree preference.) I don’t understand all the importance on gender and don’t see it a strategy on which we should categorize people except for sex information for medical reasons. Anyway, stuff for me to continue to sort out in 2019.
“I don’t like it as a way for the world to categorize and interact with me.” This. If there is any “danger” to trans activism, it’s that it’s occasionally co-opted at times by people who deeply want to support and enforce normative gender roles. Featuring a quote from Caitlyn Jenner about now being free to love nail polish publicly can be spun that way; I am not less of a woman if I wear nail polish once a year or so, but one pop news article a few years ago was trying to make Caitlyn relatable and sure made it sound that way. Let’s just keep working to decouple gender identity from interest in math, or nail polish, or computers, or reptiles, or weightlifting, or whatever you want to be interested in!
I also don’t feel particularly gendered, but I don’t feel particularly white/part of the cultural default assumption, either. I assume that, like race issues, gender issues are more noticeable to the people who don’t fit the default assumptions. I am not aware of any prejudices I have but they may be lurking/embedded! I did see an awesome bathroom sign lately, something along the lines of: What to do if you suspect someone of the other gender is using this restroom: Do nothing. Assume that person knows what they are doing! I love my liberal bubble.
I’m still going to check the news, but I’m trying not to fixate on the market – and definitely not clicking on news headlines that are really just click bait. My total balances are lower, but I’m certainly planning to just ride it out.
I loved the TED talk by Paula stone Williams on how people treated her differently once she became a woman. There are some subtle things that you may not even notice as a lifelong woman that Paula saw right away, which goes back to Leigh’s point.
Anybody who is for bathroom bills is not allowed to comment on this blog. There’s a ton of learning on their end that needs to get done before we can even have a discussion and we’re not transphobe/TERF whisperers.