[Content Note: Sexism, Rape Culture, Objectification of Women]
I didn’t get a chance to write a blog post for today as i was having too much fun celebrating my birthday yesterday. However, I wanted to spotlight Libby Anne’s post from today. In it, she discusses a preacher who is pro- modesty movement and who recently wrote an article in the Christian Post in which he discovers that (heterosexual and bisexual) women experience sexual desire when they see men. I love and fully agree with Libby Anne’s response to this discovery:
He had never considered it.He had never considered it. Twenty years of ministry, twenty years of preaching modest, and he’d never thought about the fact that women are also sexual beings. This alone is illustrative of a huge blind spot in the circles that preach modest, if you ask me.
Of course, experience tells me that this isn’t just a problem with people in the modesty movement. The idea that women are sexual beings seems to escape the notice of a lot of people, especially a lot of men. There are too many narratives about men being the sex-seekers and women being the gatekeepers of sex. Those narratives also tend to ignore the idea that women might actually want and seek out sex rather than try to prevent it. In many ways, the erasure of women as sexual beings with sexual desire is a key component of treating women as sex objects and the proliferation of rape culture1.
So I’m not entirely surprised that this minister missed the memo that women have pantsfeelings too. After all, we live in a society that too often ignores a lot of things about women, including the fact that they are fully human and therefore sexual as well. And it contributes to a lot of problems.
At any rate, be sure to go read the rest of Libby Anne’s post if you haven’t yet. It’s great.
1As an aside, Libby Anne’s blog is a great resource for exploring how both the modesty and purity movements influence and reinforce the objectification of women and rape culture as well, despite the fact that their stated intent is to uphold the value of women.
There’s a lot that I could and would like to say about this video, and I suspect I may do multiple blog posts about it due to the vast range of thoughts I had and my limited time today. Part of me is tempted to hold off on this post for a few days so I can work more on it, as this topic deserves a great deal of thought and consideration. However, my desire to keep my commitment to talking about this today is going to take precedent. I think it would be way too easy for me to use “working on a better, more considerate post” as an excuse to procrastinate.
I think one of the things that interested me is how the Authentic Gender Model breaks down and separates physical sex, gender roles, and gender identity. Having done some reading on gender essentialism and the growing body of evidence that most of the traits and roles that we tend to consider inherently gendered is a matter of social conditioning, I’m well aware that physical sex and gender roles can be quite distinct. The idea of gender identity being a distinct paradigm separate from gender roles, however, is somewhat new to me. It’s quite possibly the one take-away from this video that I need to think more about. I hope to get a better understanding of what it means from a trans* person’s perspective when zie says their gender identity is as a man, a woman, or neither.
The other part that I found interesting about the AGM was the fact that it presents even physical sex as a spectrum. Before this video, I had never considered that there’s more to physiological sex than which genitals someone has. The video rightfully points out that even in terms physiology, sex is much more complex than the simple binary we tend to make it out to be. To me, this strengthens the already strong argument that our understanding of gender needs to be even more complex when we start to move beyond physiology and think about roles and identity.
My first take-away from this video is an even bigger understanding of just how nuanced and complex gender actually is, and that being trans* is first and foremost about recognizing that complexity and rejecting society’s attempt to force one to fit into the simplest and most inaccurate model in favor of embracing the far more complex and unique reality for oneself.
One of the things that I noticed about both the panelists from Thursday night and the trans* people who spoke in this video is that they are unique, authentic, and compelling people who are seeking to live authentic lives. As one of the speakers in the video says, she desires people to avoid reducing her to a transwoman and see the incredible person that she is overall. I hope and trust that by allowing her and other trans* people the freedom to express their gender identity authentically, we enable them to show what incredibly unique and and complex individuals they are in other ways as well.
What are some of your thoughts on the video?
Notes:  I’m intentionally leaving out the fourth component of the model, sexual orientation, for this initial post to focus on the first three. There will be time enough to talk about sexual orientaten and how it relates to gender later.
 Thank you for guiding me down that path, feminists.
 I’m also hoping that the resources at the Gender Identity Project site will provide me with deeper insight.
 I’m hesitant about saying “person” here rather than “woman.” On the one hand, I want to stress that her identity includes far more than her gender identity and that she’s incredible for more reasons than just her gender identity. On the other hand, I don’t want to deny or ignore that identity either. Her gender identity may not define all of who she is, but it is an integral part of who she is, and I don’t want to deny or invisibilize that part of her, either.