Sexism For Dummies (And Everyone Else)

Are you any sex or gender* at all? Then this applies to you.

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Sexism does not only apply to women. In fact, women are quite often sexist towards men without necessarily realising. Women have had it tough in past centuries/millennia, but now they are finally grasping at equality, it’s about time we actually paid attention to ‘male sexism’ (the term we’ll use to refer to sexism aimed at men).

Have you ever heard a young boy be told to ‘man up’ for displaying emotion? Or perhaps you’ve heard someone tell a man to ‘grow a pair’? These are just a couple of examples of extremely common male sexism. The issue with statements like this is that it creates an unrealistic expectation for boys and men to live up to. What does it mean to ‘man up’ or be ‘manly’? We’ve accepted this to refer to strength and lack of emotion. It implies that a man is not a man unless he is strong and burly, and that if he shows any emotion then he is not a real man. Women are finally fighting unrealistic expectations placed on them, yet why do we still ignore what society is doing to men? This isn’t to say that the battle fought by women isn’t real, merely that everyone should be aware that everyone has things to face.

An interesting example of the difference between the sexes is the verbs ‘to mother’ and ‘to father’. ‘To mother’ a child generally implies to nurture it and rear it, but ‘to father’ a child implies a mere contribution of DNA towards the creation of a child. Why is it that our language also reflects that it is supposedly inappropriate for men to display emotion or offer care without being seen as weak and unworthy?

There are a few campaigns fighting to raise the awareness of these matters but the first step is to learn more about it yourself. Being aware that nurturing aggression and lack of emotion in boys and young men is what causes some of the behaviour that later leads to sexism towards women which causes fear of violence and rape. It’s not that simple, but you get the idea. If we all finally opened our eyes and allowed fluidity of gender and individual interpretation of what masculinity truly is, we might make life for boys and young men much easier. Making life smoother for anyone is worthwhile, especially when we are already to striving to achieve as much for women who have fought against inequality for centuries and more. Men are capable of emotion, of multitasking, of nurturing children and so much more; it’s about time we realised that men are just people with different bits between their legs, and that this doesn’t impair their ability to behave like kind and caring, fully-functioning human beings.

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*To read about the difference between sex and gender, read this article about transsexualism.

What Does Trans Even Mean?

Liz - TransphobiaYour sex is what you are defined as in terms of your genetics and your biological makeup, for example if you have two X chromosomes, you are of the female sex. Gender, however, is how you identify. For example, you can have an XY chomosome pair (which is the marker for the male sex) but identify as a woman. This is an example of being transgender, trans- simply meaning different. If you are transgender, you identify as a gender different to the sex you were born as. If you identify as the same gender as the sex you were born as, you’re technically cisgender (cis- meaning the same).

Someone who is transgender identifies as a different gender to their birth sex, this is often found in ‘drag’ culture. Whereas someone who is a transexual has had a ‘gender reassignment’ so that they outwardly appear to be of the opposite sex in a biological way. For example, someone who is a transexual* may have had surgery and hormone therapy so that they feel they can live as the opposite sex, the sex they felt they should’ve been born as. The term ‘transvestite’ is pretty much transgender and is fairly outdated by ever-changing, modern-day standards.

Transgender is to do with gender identity, transexual is to do with biological sex: trans 101.

 

LGBT (or LGBTQ) standards for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (Q = community). Although being transgender or transexual is not sexuality, it is to do with gender identity. Many people received prejudice and discrimination over the expression of their gender and sexual preferences; the first step to fighting this is through awareness. Being transgender is the feeling that your mind is of the opposite sex to your body (in gender-binary terms**), simple as.

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*’Transexual’ is the word often used but the technical term using rules of the English language is transsexual with two Ss, but this is actually quite trivial.

**’Gender binary’ refers to the idea of the existence of only two unique genders; female (XX sex chromosome pair) and male (XY sex chromosome pair). Some people prefer an identity that does not neatly fall into one category or the other, even if they may have the reproductive organs of only one biological sex. Some people are born with abnormalities on the chromosome pair that determines sex, resulting in combinations such as X (Turner’s Syndrome), XXX (Triple-X Syndrome)and XXY (Klinefelter Syndrome); these genetic conditions are largely irrelevant to transsexualism.   tdor1

Yom HaShoah – Holocaust Remembrance Day

Yom HaShoah is the Hebrew name for Holocaust Remembrance Day. It is held primarily in Israel, but probably observed to some extent by Jews all over the world. Yom HaShoah is today. It began as sundown last night and will end at sundown tonight*.

This video shows what happens in Israel when the Yom HaShoah siren goes off, as the population of Israel remembers the 6 million Jewish people, amongst others, who were ruthlessly and brutally killed in the European Holocaust.

*In the Jewish calendar, a day is counted from when the sun sets to when it sets the following evening.

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Putin’s Put His Nose In It: Anti-Semitism In Ukraine

Ukraine CrimeaBy now, some of you may have heard of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea. Crimea, which has officially been part of Ukraine, has been claimed by Russian forces. However, it doesn’t end there…

I’m not politician; I do not claim to be an expert in politics at all, but I’ll take a crack at it.

Aside from the conflict over Crimea, there has been developments in east Ukraine. As of earlier this month, Ukrainian Jews have been told they must ‘register’ the fact they are Jewish, or risk being deported. Jews been forced into ‘owning up’ to their faith? Sound familiar? This decision bears an uncanny resemblance to the beginning of Hitler’s term in power when the National Socialist German Worker’s Party (aka, the Nazis) gradually stripped Jewish people of their rights, before completing the transition into committing horrific acts against their Human Rights. Now, I’m not necessarily accusing Ukraine of setting up any labour camps, yet. BUT, you have to admit, that there is an uncomfortable similarity.

Vladamir PutinAlthough, hang on a minute, is this really Ukraine’s fault? Some sources beg to differ… An article in The Moscow Times quite explicitly suggests that Putin has quite a big hand in this. Some attacks that have taken place have heard victims being verbally assaulted in Russian, not Ukrainian. Being the amateur I am in the politics game, I don’t have a solution to present to you. I do, however, suggest that everyone scoots forwards onto the edges of their seats because we all want to see what goes down when forces unite against power-hungry Putin, which they will… I hope.

Donetsk's Anti-Semetic Flyer

To read more on what’s been happening with the anti-Semitic developments in east Ukraine, check out these links:

http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/putins-fabricated-anti-semitism-in-ukraine/497950.html

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4510688,00.html

 

Sentenced To Death For Being A Lesbian

I recently received an email from All Out with the story of Aderonke from Nigeria. Aderonke is a lesbian. She’s been sentenced to death for being a lesbian. She managed to flee to the UK, where her case is still being decided, but three members of her family have already been killed because of her sexuality. The law in Nigeria is harsh and ruthless, yet they are still considering deporting her. Although there will be no shortage of refugees and asylum seekers in the UK who are fleeing the punishment for their sexuality, this could become a landmark case.Should Britain deport Aderonke because of who she loves?

Theresa May’s already said that some people have been forced to submit video of themselves having sex or answer humiliating questions during hours of interrogation. And, many people who provide evidence to the Home Office that they will be jailed or killed for who they love have been deported back into danger anyway.

The team at All Out have created a petition asking Theresa May to save Aderonke from deportation, and to ensure that people already fleeing their home countries because of who they love are not subjected to a humiliating interrogation process. The petition requires only 10,000 signatures, and has already gone beyond 8,000; if it can get past 10,000, maybe it can begin to represent true popular opinion that people should not be killed because of who they love.

All it takes is your email address and a minute of your time, Sign Here.All Out fights for universal equality.

Why Sweetener Won’t Kill You

sugar-spoonI can feel the judgemental gazes looking down on my and my aspartame filled diet coke, but please, just listen, I could save you calories.
For some of you who prefer sugar, need the calories, prefer the taste… that’s cool! I have no qualms with you loving a bit of the sweet stuff. However, if you have a rampant sweet tooth that cannot be tamed, let me open your eyes to the wonders of sweetener.
There are some natural sweeteners, such as those from the stevia plant, but that’s not what I’ll tell you about. We’re talking tasty artificial sweeteners, yum.
diet-coke-can-heart-truth-012910Artificial does not mean bad or unsafe, it just means that clever people worked really hard to give us something that we’ve been demanding. Find a can of diet coke, have a read, it contains aspartame. It’s true that there are rumours of links with cancer (hello, Daily Mail?) and ‘aspartame disease’ (this doesn’t exist…) but it’s a load of, what I like to call, poppycock. Aspartame can be an issue for some people. As you may have seen, it’s contains a source of phenylalanine K, which can be harmful. HOWEVER it is only harmful to people with a condition called PKU, which only occurs in approximately 0.001% of the population. If that’s not you, and it probably isn’t (you would know if it was), then you are safe to have aspartame to your heart’s content! Enjoy!
There are other popular sweeteners about, obviously, including sorbitol. Sorbitol is often used on sugar free gum. The good news is that the only problematic side effect of sorbitol is it’s laxative effect of you consume too much. That’s right, if you have too many of those tasty mints, you might get the trots.
Sweeteners can be scary, people humans make them, but humans get put in charge of a lot of food matters and I don’t know about you, but Cadbury are not in my bad books!

Moral of the story: chill out. Why would manufacturers be allowed to give you toxic sweeteners that would cost the health services and governments extra money? They aren’t that stupid.

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