Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

7 Articles Tagged with “feminism”

  1. Yes, whiteness makes you less marginalized even when you’re trans

    Intersectionality means I can’t separate my whiteness from my transness, nor can I ignore how the privilege the former identity grants me moderates the marginalization of the latter identity. We white trans people need to do better at acknowledging this.

    So the past week has been shitty for trans people, it’s true. Whether it’s Netflix doubling down in support of Dave Chappelle’s transphobia-as-humour, Texas making progress towards banning trans kids from sports, or the BBC running hit pieces on trans-inclusive charity organization Stonewall UK, it’s easy to feel like we are under fire from all sides. And it is certainly true that the status of transgender people the world over requires improvement.

    Yet as I dip my toe into the discourse on social media swirling around these injustices, I find myself recoiling not just from the discomfort of the initial events but from the rhetoric that some trans people and allies use. Any time someone attempts to compare transphobia to racism, to say something like, “Mmm, you wouldn’t say that about Black people, would you?” I cringe. It’s not the same, at all, and we need to stop it.

    When I say “we” I’m speaking mostly to my fellow white trans people, particularly white trans women. (And maybe, I guess, to Naomi Wolf.)

    Often forgotten, yet seldom marginalized

    To understand what I’m talking about, first we need to talk about the idea of marginalization. Loosely put, this…

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  2. Review of Moxie

    I review Netflix film Moxie, which I thoroughly enjoyed yet also find very problematic and unsatisfying! Intrigued? SPOILERS AHEAD.

    A film by Amy Poehler comes to Netflix, based on a young adult novel about a high school girl rediscovering her mother’s feminist roots and feeling empowered, as a result, to stand up and say something about the atmosphere at her school? Count me in! I really enjoyed Moxie, and overall I would recommend it (especially to a younger audience—of all genders, because men need to learn about these issues too). It is a good movie. However, it is not a great movie. It is a very messy movie that often trips up in its eagerness to tackle as many feminist issues as it can. Moreover, despite its theme that girls and women can be empowered and do anything as long as they take a stand, the movie itself feels limited by the very nature of what Netflix seems to think will sell on its platform.

    Spoilers ahead! Also, content warning for the discussion of misogyny, racism, and rape.

    Diversity is Not Enough

    The movie’s casting is diverse, and the narrative attempts to be inclusive in its portrayal of feminism. Poehler’s character, main character Vivian’s mother, acknowledges that her own experiences of adolescent and young adult feminist movements in…

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  3. Femininity is my jam

    Happy International Women’s Day! Last November for International Men’s Day, I wrote about why masculinity is not for me. So I thought I would complement that piece with one for this day, all about why femininity and womanhood are indeed my jam.

    As I outlined back in my post about masculinity, I never felt comfortable belonging to that category of man. I never felt comfortable asserting my masculinity. I never looked to other men as role models. When I was watching TV, the idea of being Superman held no appeal, but I was so fascinated with Kim Possible (and now, of course, Supergirl). This is why, in my review of Disclosure, I said that if there had been better transfeminine representation on TV in my youth, I would have figured out my transness sooner. I’m convinced that if I had seen a trans girl my age on TV, the penny would have dropped—I would have understood that it is possible for someone assigned male to realize their gender is different from what society expected.

    But I didn’t, and so I looked to girls and women, and it just seemed so fun to be them. (In my anniversary post,…

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  4. Masculinity: It’s not for me

    In which I reflect on masculinity, and why I was never a man, even when we all thought I was one.

    Sometimes even the most supportive and inclusive people in my ally corner get confused when I assert that I was never a man. “What do you mean?” they ask. “You were a man for 30 years!” Language and concepts are confusing, but let me talk a little about how I came out to myself, and I hope then you will understand why, despite 30 years of misconceptions, I was never actually a man.

    Late last year, I inadvertently introduced pronoun pins to my workplace. Having been introduced to them via the Desert Bus for Hope marathon that I watch every November, I ordered pins for myself (and some gifts for friends) from an Etsy store. I proudly pinned the “he/him” badge to my ID lanyard, and I introduced myself on the first day of class to my students with my pronouns. (If you’re cisgender, part of being a good ally is normalizing sharing your pronouns.) My boss noticed my pin and liked the idea enough to order a bunch for all our staff to wear, if they chose.

    So it felt ironic, come January of this year, that I was considering changing my pronouns. Indeed, wearing that…

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  5. What are your blindspots?

    I’ve been reading Hidden Figures, in anticipation of the movie coming out next week. It’s a fantastic book, and I already have so much I want to say in the review. This is one topic that would be too much of a digression, so I’ve spun it out into an adequate starting place for my blog posts of 2017.

    Throughout the book, Margot Lee Shetterly discusses the attitudes of people towards Black, female computers working at NACA/NASA. One thing that really got me was her descriptions of how these women were simply used to the discrimination and segregation foisted upon them by life in Virginia, how they might not like it, but they tolerated and accepted it. Moreover, Shetterly goes on to discuss the white people who would work with these women, even be congenial towards them, yet did nothing to stand up against these policies, to dismantle them, to protest them or support the fledgling civil rights movement. These well-educated, fairly progressive white people, who were happy to let Black women work alongside them, could not necessarily support these women using the same bathroom or living in the same part of town. That would be going too far.

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  6. Science is awesome in this week’s link roll

    Eight days of school left, and then I get to return to Canada for a month! I had a nice dinner in Norwich on Friday with the math department. My train ride home should have been uneventful, but I stupidly forgot my suit carrier on the train from Norwich. So it’s somewhere in London Liverpool St Station, with any luck, and I get it back.

    I didn’t have that many links to share, and I was busy last weekend, so I held them over until this week. But that means I have much more to highlight!

    • I’m always happy to read about how the atomic bomb has changed our world. Wait, that sounded wrong. Let me start that again.
    • I’m always interested to find out new side-effects of using atomic bombs in our atmosphere. For instance, it’s possible to determine if a supposedly pre–World War II painting is a forgery by checking the quantity of certain isotopes, like strontium, in the paint. Atomic testing has markedly increased such isotopes in the atmosphere, so paint manufactured after World War II is different from paint manufactured before! Now, scientists have used a similar process to confirm that our brains grow new neurons

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  7. Learning to look past my privilege and listen

    I keep meaning to write a more general post about my experience in professional year, but other things always seem to be happening. Such a post will happen eventually. Or maybe it won’t, and I’ll look back at this blog three years from now and wonder what I thought about learning how to teach—except that, hopefully, the threads of what my nascent personal philosophy of pedagogy will be visible in some of these posts. Now that I am fast approaching that moment when I can call myself “teacher”, I am always thinking about how I am going to teach. And everything I read or watch or see relates to that, in some way.

    Take Slutwalk, for instance. We talked about this in my Media, Education, and Gender class last week. We discussed it in relation to violence against women and how to prevent sexual assault, as well as the implications of “reclaiming” a word like slut. Indeed, we asked some very interesting questions: who can reclaim the word, and why would that group want to do so? The N-word was brought up as a comparison. So imagine my surprise when, this weekend, Slutwalk and the N-word intersected…

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