Monday, January 14, 2013

Feminism and Me

Today is my first day back in school, and I'm pretty excited to get back to work.  Any break longer than two weeks or so tends to make me lazy and a little crazy.  Call me an over-acheiver, but I love to learn.  I've already completed my first homework assignment: an introduction about myself and my views on feminsm for my Gender Studies class.  Enjoy!

Hi, my name is Dori.  I’m 26 years old, a Junior, a Psychology major and recent transfer from community college upon receiving my Associates Degree.  I don’t own a car, but I commute from Dallas by using the trains and my trusty bicycle, Lulu.  My partner Chris and I have been together for 3 years and we have a cat, Baby, and a new puppy, Kes, both of whom we love very much.  We met at our community college’s Gay-Straight Alliance and hit it off right away.  He was the only straight man and I was the only woman interested in men!  I work at a queer youth center, Youth First Texas, which provides a safe-space and social outlet for queer teenagers and their allies.  Queer rights are a huge passion of mine, particularly because I’m a bisexual and transsexual woman.  I transitioned years ago and am currently pursuing Psychology and Counseling so that I can work as a therapist for transgender people, especially youth.  I also write a blog, Trans and Godless, that is steadily gaining popularity among the secular and queer communities.  I’m an outspoken atheist and have given several presentations about feminism, queer rights, diversity, and secularism as a guest at conventions and classrooms.  I’m also a bit of a nerd.  My partner has turned me into a big Trekkie, I love comic books (especially Batman), I’ve played video games since I was 4, and I love to read.  I’m certainly outspoken, so I’m sure you’ll get to know me very well over the course of the semester.
As for my views on feminism, I think it has been systematically misrepresented.  At its very core, I believe feminism is about equality for everyone, regardless of gender.  It is about not having our lives dictated by biology, but by our actions.  It has been falsely portrayed as being solely concerned with the welfare of women, but men stand to benefit from gender equality as well.  Patriarchy hurts us all in different ways.  Because I’m a transsexual woman and thus have spent some portion of my life being perceived as male, I have a unique perspective on how men and women are treated differently.  Before my transition, I was systematically punished for not “acting masculine”.  I was physically and sexually assaulted because of my feminine body and mannerisms.  I was cast under suspicion whenever I worked with children I was not directly related to.  On the other hand, as a woman I have been disrespected in the workplace by male subordinates who could not handle a female boss.  I have been treated like a child by men who assume I need to be protected and talked down to.  I have been fed misleading ideas about the female body by the media and have struggled with body image issues as a result.  Feminism did not “kill chivalry”.  Feminism is not about blaming or punishing men.  Feminism is about eliminating privilege, creating equality, and making the world better for the next generation.  Feminism is absolutely necessary.  It extended the right to vote to everyone, it gave us reproductive rights, and it continues to fight injustice in our society.  I’m not just a feminist, I’m a mad-dog feminist.

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