I feel like it was the third quarter of the year that I really got on key and started to be heard. My views doubled from June to July and then again in September. Not that September was immediately repeatable, but the improvement has definitely lasted. This is the time when I feel like my writing had started to sound like someone who had a small clue what they were talking about. The themes I wrote about were oppression, women’s issues, and non-binary people’s issues respectively.
I was still doing the Twitter topic clouds in July but changed over to Monday Musings in August. I enjoy my Monday posts because I get a chance to throw something out there that I may not have a full post for or isn’t on theme. It gives me a chance to talk about some current events or things I found without having to give them too much attention, particularly when others already have. I also expanded into other areas of social media during this timeframe, which has been recommended by successful bloggers. I solidified the concept of keeping the posting schedule where the monthly themes would be repetitive every year. I got better at setting up ideas within themes and layering them appropriately. I figured out my posting style and that I don’t need fancy graphics, a simple line on a simple background will do the trick. I really started to feel like I was getting it together.
This quarter is when I stopped just reading whatever book on gender seemed interesting and began focusing reading for the upcoming or current month. It had been in August that I realized that I didn’t know nearly enough about transgender or non-binary people to adequately write about them and their treatment for September. For this, I read The Other Genders: Androgyne, Genderqueer, Non-Binary Gender Variant by Ken Wickham, Transgender History by Susan Stryker and Fragments of Gender: Anatomy is not Destiny by Lisa Lees. I had already read Between XX and XY: Intersexuality and the Myth of Two Sexes by Gerald N. Callahan which was wonderful and addressed matters beyond gender but still applicable. It made me wonder if there have always been people who didn’t physically fit into either sex, how can we expect that all people will fit into two strict categories without exception? It makes it obvious that we were always kidding ourselves and that people have been beaten into compliance, literally and figuratively, over the generations. During that quarter, I also read Gender, Work, and Economy by Heidi Gottfried, Gender Oppression: A Bloke’s Perspective on the Struggled for Gender Equality by Allan-Stuart J. McLeod, Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society and Neurosexism Create Difference by Cordelia Fine, Unspeakable Things: Sex, Lies, and Revolution by Laura Penny, Myth of Male Power by Dr. Warren Farrell, and Love is an Orientation by Andrew Marin and Brian McLaren. I was still refining the idea that my reading should stay in theme, and I wish I had thought to do it sooner. I wish I had read The Myth of Male Power and Gender Oppression in June. Between the two, I would read Gender Oppression first. McLeod just does a superior job of walking the reader through the issues, which are mostly the same.
In my own writing, I broke down oppression into categories. They were force, coercion, and mutilation. Wanting to end on a high note, I included redemption and ways to be a part of the solution to these problems. I was actually really proud of these. I wrote them from the position that oppression shouldn’t be approached by gendering them. All genders are oppressed and while some seem unique to one or two genders, most of them aren’t. Anyone can be a victim of rape, domestic violence, or trafficking. Their gender doesn’t give them immunity from these problems.
This was followed by discussions on issues that are considered women-specific. Part of my discussion was that this is an untrue assumption for these issues. Equal work at home, body image, equal pay, and workplace sexism are all considered women’s issues but they are inseparable from men in many ways. Men suffer from body image issues and sexism in the workplace as well, and they are effected in the home by both the pay that would be helpful or is needed and being able to have a better relationship with their families. To me, the whole feminist movement is about choice and opportunity, so this last one was particularly important to me. We must be able to make choices that are best for us without people outside our homes feeling like they have a say or an option to pressure us. And that goes for men too. Men can feel like they can’t make certain choices for themselves because they will be judged and discriminated against and that it will negatively effect their families opportunities.
In September, I took on non-binary issues. It took me a long while to figure out how to approach this subject and a lot of research. In the end, I decided that the best way to do it would be try to talk plainly to binary people about who the non-binary are and answer the most obvious and obnoxious questions that we tend to have up front. You see, the biggest obstacle to being a trans or non-binary ally seems to be focusing on the things that don’t actually matter. We tend to focus on how and why they are the way that they are as if their identity is broken and we can fix it somehow. I broke it down into three parts (one, two, and three linked here) and then on the last week, I wrote a post introducing specific non-binary blogs, people, and groups to my readers. I find it is hard to empathize with someone and their problems if you’ve never met or seen someone like that person. These remain among my most popular posts.
Getting to do the entertainment posts has been awesome. I wrote my most popular entertainment post during September. It was about how Disney princesses have been bending gender roles and definitions well before Frozen. I’ve read and written on both the Bechdel and Mako Mori tests and how they improve and diminish our perceptions of movies sometimes. I discussed role models in media at great length and in different ways. It’s important to realize that not all women’s jobs were always “for women mostly“, we shouldn’t be expected to be perfect, strong is different to everyone, and so is nice. It’s been fun to add the little clips in with these posts and to talk a little about pop culture sometimes, though I find that I reflect on movies and shows of the past a lot more often than the current stuff.
This quarter was a great quarter of growth for me in many ways. Posts got better and more informed. Stats went up, perhaps because of that. I branched out into other forms of social media. I figured stuff out.
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