Author: S. Hanks

Reclaiming Through Tattoos

One common reason cited for getting a tattoo is to reclaim the (physical) body.  It might be a general reclaiming, or focus on a particular part of the body.  These tattoos can represent individual agency or control over the tattooed person’s “body narrative,” but also connect them to larger communities.  Examples include the use of tattoos relating to marks of self harm, previous addictions, sexual assault, surgery and cancer, trafficking and surviving war.  Specifically, these forms of tattoo are popular amongst women and LGBTQ people.

tattooimage from The Daily Mail

 

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The Word ‘Queer’

The Allusionist, a podcast about language made by Helen Zaltzman, has a new episode about the word ‘queer,’ the complexity of its history and current use.  A79+logo+Queerimage from The Allusionist

Ear Hustle Podcast

Ear Hustle is a podcast made by Earlonne Woods, who is currently incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison, and Nigel Poor, a visual artist who works with prisoners.  A variety of topics about prison culture are covered, including the need to nurture, maintaining relationships, the effects of solitary confinement, and importance of cellmates.  Though not explicitly political or abolitionist, prisoners are humanized and some faults of the criminal justice system are highlighted.
ear hustle radiotopia
image from Radiotopia
I highly recommend listening to all episodes, but thus far there are two in particular I found useful for the classroom:
 –
This episode discusses the unwritten rules around race in prisons.  A few prisoners discuss rules around who you can take food from, what style of party prisoners have, who you shower with, and what type of tattoos you can have.
 –
This episode is about sex trafficking and restorative justice.  A survivor and a perpetrator of sex trafficking are interviewed and then have a discussion.  Obviously the episode is very emotionally charged and can be upsetting for listeners. Sara Kruzan discusses her life, how she was trafficked, terminology around sex trafficking (specifically the word ‘pimp’), and healing.

Gender Identity

We commonly differentiate ‘sex’ as biological identity, from ‘gender,’ which is the cultural, social, and psychological differences between males and females.  Gender then refers to the patterns we associate with men and women in a cultural context.  The relationship between sex and gender often seen as direct or compulsory, but is socially constructed.  As I’ve previously posted, the Gender Unicorn illustrates the difference between gender identity, gender expression, sex assigned at birth, physical attraction, and emotional attraction. 

Some other cultures have historically included gender identities outside of the male / female binary.  This recognition of identity does not necessarily mean that they do not face discrimination

Recently, Germany has recognized a third gender for intersex people.  As I’ve previously posted, intersex people “do not fit the typical definition of male or female… biological characteristics.”  Theorist Judith Butler argues gender is performative in that it “produces a series of effects” that “consolidate an impression of being a man or being a woman.”  We are not born as men and women, but that it is in social interaction that gender identities are reproduced.

Other terms that have entered the general vernacular around gender include ‘cisgender’ and ‘transgender’ people.  Cisgender people are those whose sex assigned at birth does correspond with their gender identity.  Transgender people are those whose sex assigned at birth does not correspond with their gender identity.  Because transgender people encounter intolerance and violence, gender performance can be complex.

It is becoming more common for young people to identify as gender ‘non binary,’ meaning they do not identify as male or female, or ‘non conforming,’ meaning their gender expression does not correspond with the cultural expectations of their respective gender.  A study recently found that 27% of teenagers in California are gender nonconforming.  In Oregon and California, residents can legally identify as non binary on drivers licenses and state documents.  In 2017, a baby in Canada became the first to have the gender status of ‘unassigned’ or ‘undetermined’ on their health records.  Some celebrities, such as musician Sam Smith and actress Amandla Stenberg, have also come out as gender non binary.    

Americans, Guns, and Relative Deviance

I previously posted a reference to campus gun policies in relation to relative deviance and sex.  Relative deviance is when behavior is defined as deviant in a cultural context.  Restated, how we define deviance is dependent upon both when/time and where/culture.  With the recent school shooting in Florida, activists are mobilizing around changing gun laws.  Various sources are making cultural comparisons to point to the duality of Americans’ views on guns.

Transgender people’s rights:

feminist news trans guns

image from Feminist News

 

Sanitary and sexual products, in an ad campaign from EVOLVE:

images from Upworthy

 

Abortions:

abortions.jpg

image from Feminist News

 

Humanitarian crisis around disease:

video from Sunday with Lubach, a comedy news parody television show in the Netherlands.

 

Prisons:

fla today and fort myers news press image from Cagle by cartoonist Jeff Parker for Florida Today and Fort Myers News-Press

 

And with campus issues specifically, such as lab safety:

lab safety.jpg image from MadBiologist on reddit