Sexists, Skeptics, Symbols, and Sepsis

Introduction: Why Sexists?

Posted on: 2013/05/09

Rather than introducing myself–because I hope that any potential readers will come to know me well enough over the course of my blogging that a formal introductory post will be unnecessary–I think it’s better to give my reasoning for the title of the blog itself.  So: “Sexists, Skeptics, Symbols, and Sepsis.”  Why are these four things my particular focus here and what do these things have to do with draining the wounds in the body politic?

Why sexists?

I have pulled my first bait-and-switch on you, and I apologize now. I’m most experienced arguing about sexism, but sexists themselves are not particularly interesting to me since we all, consciously or unconsciously, hold sexist views, which means that it is relatively meaningless to assign labels like “sexist” to people as opposed to positions. All of us have been spending our lives stewing in a society rife with unexamined ideologies, all of which inform our identities, and sexism is just the one of these things that I tend to know the most about. This blog will approach social issues from the perspective of intersectional feminism–that is, it not only holds the radical perspective that women are people, but also holds the apparently-even-more-radical perspective that women can have myriad identities, all of which have an impact upon their experiences of womanhood. They are not people in a uniform sense; they are people in the gloriously diverse sense that all people are people, and must be treated as individuals (albeit with some overlapping experiences) as a result. Equally importantly, this blog holds the radical perspective that men are people, with the capacity to experience a full range of emotions and to control themselves around women; to view men otherwise is demeaning and downright sexist. Of note is that it is not possible to hold these views without having room for the diversity of gender expression and biological sex that experiences in the real world, and there will be no question as to the right of nonbinary, trans*, and intersex bodies to define themselves however they wish in this space. Although a separate post on commenting policies is forthcoming, suffice to say that misgendering and refusal to abide by requested pronouns will result in swift and uncompromising bannination.

Some of the deepest wounds in our society are in relation to sexism. Essentialism marginalizes every body it touches, leaving no room for the uniqueness that is part and parcel of every human experience. It demands that every person be woman or man as they are assigned at birth, that every woman be nurturing and kind, that every man be unemotional and strong, that people behave simply as either divine or genetic chess pieces in pursuit of a society of boxed-in, easily-defined identities. We have to step out of these boxes where we feel inclined to do so and, in doing this, we’re going to step on toes. It’s worth facing head-on the fear of being unconventional, though, because doing so shines light on the uncounted bodies who live invisibly, in fear of speaking their deviance, knowing that to do so may be emotional or physical suicide. If we don’t heal society of toxic notions of gender and sex then many people will never have the opportunity to step into the light.

I should say, too, that I am relatively privileged. For disclosure’s sake, I am white, cisstraight-ish, middle-class (but with a brief period of poverty and homelessness), and have a newly-minted, shiny bachelor’s degree that I intend to expand into a doctorate when some of my ducks fall into the right row. Because of my privilege, I may not always recognize when I have firmly lodged my foot in my mouth, so please don’t hesitate to correct me if I screw up (particularly if you’re marginalized in a way that I just don’t have a lot of perspective about).

I look forward to sharing and learning from anyone kind enough to read.

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3 Responses to "Introduction: Why Sexists?"

Excellent and I look forward to more.

I too look forward to more. Especially since

Although a separate post on commenting policies is forthcoming, suffice to say that misgendering and refusal to abide by requested pronouns will result in swift and uncompromising bannination.

this seems like a good kind of space to participate in.

I hope it will be a good space to participate in! That will entail my actually making more space, but that’ll happen over time. I’m glad that makes you feel safe.

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