agency

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.    

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Structure v. Agency and Aboriginal People

One of the core questions raised in sociology is are we determined by society or do we determine society?  Comedian Tom Ballard interviewed journalist Stan Grant on his podcast Like I’m A Six-Year-Old.  In the second half of this episode (122) arguments of structure and agency arise around Aboriginal people’s rights and treatment in Australia.  Within the interview the two also discuss assimilation, defining a nation’s history, and the role of media in politics.

like i'm aimage from Tom Ballard’s website

The episode can be found at the above link or here: 122 – Stan Grant (Live At Yack Festival) Pt. 1

Land of the Free

On the day of Donald Trump’s inauguration, Joey Bada$$ relseased “Land of the Free.”

Lyrics:

[Intro]
Yeah, you know sometimes I think
They don’t truly understand me, you know
Cause they don’t, yeah, uh
[Bridge]
Can’t change the world unless we change ourselves
Die from the sicknesses if we don’t seek the health
All eyes be my witness when I speak what’s felt
Full house on my hands, the cards I was dealt
Three K’s, two A’s in AmeriKKKa
I’m just a black spade spawned out the nebula
And everything I do or say today that’s worthwhile
Will for sure inspire actions in your first child
I’ll begin my verse now
[Verse 1]
Sometimes I speak and I feel like it ain’t my words
Like I’m just a vessel channeling inside this universe
I feel my ancestors unrested inside of me
It’s like they want me to shoot my chance in changing society
But how do I go about it? Tell me where I start?
My destiny rerouted when I chose to follow heart
You told to follow suit, but tell me what it do for you?
Except weigh you down, now you trapped inside the cubicle
They built for us
The first step into change is to take notice
Realize the real games that they tried to show us
300 plus years of them cold shoulders
Yet 300 million of us still got no focus
Sorry America, but I will not be your soldier
Obama just wasn’t enough, I just need some more closure
And Donald Trump is not equipped to take this country over
Let’s face facts ’cause we know what’s the real motives
[Chorus]
In the land of the free, it’s full of free loaders
Leave us dead in the street to be their organ donors
They disorganized my people, made us all loners
Still got the last names of our slave owners
In the land of the free, it’s full of free loaders
Leave us dead in the street to be their organ donors
They disorganized my people, made us all loners, yeah
[Bridge]
We can’t change the world unless we change ourselves
Die from the sicknesses if we don’t seek the health
All eyes be my witness when I speak what’s felt
Full house on my hands, the cards I was dealt
Three K’s, two A’s in AmeriKKKa
I’m just a black spade spawn out the nebula
And everything I do is and say today is worthwhile
Will for sure inspire action, hold up, yeah, uh
[Verse 2]
Trickery in the system, put my niggas in prison
All our history hidden, ain’t no liberty given
We all fit the description of what the documents written
We been lacking the vision and barely making a living
We too worried to fit in while they been benefitin’
Every time you submittin’, we all guilty admit it
The Lord won’t get you acquitted, but you still ask for forgiveness
Put opiates in syringes then inject his religion
How many times do I gotta tell you I’m a man on a mission
Many times I gotta tell you I don’t need no permission
A human with super vision, ain’t no livin’ condition
I’m reaching out to my children, just hoping that they will listen
Start a new coalition against corrupt politicians
It’s not enough pots to piss in, too many murder convictions
Another family evicted, another black man a victim
That’s as real as it’s getting, you should take recognition
[Chorus]
In the land of the free, it’s full of free loaders
Leave us dead in the street to be their organ donors
They disorganized my people, made us all loners
Still got the last name of our slave owners
In the land of the free, it’s full of free loaders
Leave us dead in the street to be their organ donors
They disorganized my people, made us all loners, yeah
[Bridge]
We can’t change the world unless we change ourselves
Die from the sicknesses if we don’t seek the health
All eyes be my witness when I speak what’s felt
Full house on my hands, the cards I was dealt
Three K’s, two A’s in AmeriKKKa
I’m just a black spade spawn out the nebula
And everything I do is and say today is worthwhile
Will for sure inspire action in your first child, yeah

Wealthy Homogamy

Homogamy means “like marry like” or that people of a similar background and culture marry one another.  In the documentary Born Rich, Jamie Johnson interviews his wealthy young friends about their lives and relationships.  From 45:12 – 54:55, Johnson focuses on the topics of dating, class, and divorce. 

“Its really weird.  I never really thought about it.  I think its just your compatibility”. 

“They all know each other.  And that is their dating pool.”

“We can get drunk.  We can do lots of drugs.  We can be decadent.  We just don’t have to do it with Joey and Tommy.”

“I think it would probably be weird to bring someone to your homes, to your summer house, or maybe to introduce them to your parents.  Or something like that.  Or just, you know when you introduce them to your parents and their parents are asking about where they live.  You know my parents are so… they live in a world where they might be like “so where do you summer?””