What’s a Trans? Is that a type of Unicorn? How do they become Unicorns?!

So I have always wondered what Transgender really means and how that whole process comes about… I know for a lot of people it is difficult to understand the things that trans people go through because people who are not trans, have not gone through it. And many have either little or no knowledge about them at all. They are seen as the unicorns of society. YES people, they exist, they are breathing humans and they are people just like you and me. I have had multiple conversations with people my age and even older about trans people and how they just don’t understand.

WELLLL I decided to try and help. I interviewed a trans male (meaning that he was a she, got it?), Randolph student Shane Collins, the other day to get some answers to maybe help people understand.

Photo courtesy of Shane Collins. Pic 1, 2yrs old. Pic 2, 19 yrs old. Pic 3, 23 yrs old and present day.

11128280_1636540673235405_1344173354_nHere are some of the Questions and Answers from my interview:

ME: What do people in the Trans community like to be addressed as “Transgender” or “Transsexual?”

SC: “A lot of people don’t like the term transsexual because they feel it’s more of a derogatory term, whereas transgender is a more up to date and modern term.”

ME: What is your definition of “transgender?”

SC: “Someone that doesn’t identify with their own biological sex and decides to change/transition/ or modify themselves into the opposite gender.”

ME: Is it hard to explain this to people?

SC: “Yes, a lot of people think transgender people are a joke because some people just think it’s like.. “ I wake up, I feel like a boy today… but yesterday I felt like a girl” it’s not an on and off switch. In a way yes you wake up and you feel different, but it’s a gradual process and the realization comes with the waking up one day and then finally putting a name to it.”

ME: When did you first realize or start to realize that something was different?

SC: “When I was little, 5 or 6. I had long hair and then my mom cut it off, really short because it was easier to deal with… She had 2 girls. So when we would be in the store, people would say “oh what a cute boy you have” and it was weird because I wouldn’t get like really happy, but I had this spark of emotion, that wasn’t a negative one. From then on I noticed being into the more boy-ish things. I had race car toys, played with all the boys, and didn’t have many girlfriends. When I played Barbie and I had a girlfriend with me, I would make her be Barbie because I wanted to be Ken. I looked and acted like a little boy. And from then on, I just kept with it and finally when I was 21, I learned about and decided to go through with the transition process.”

ME: How did you end up putting a name to your feelings?

SC: “I heard the word ‘transgender’ for the first time when a friend of mine came out to me as trans. Not fully understanding, I did my own research and it ended up fitting the way I feel. It really helped knowing someone else.”

ME: What is something that is Important, that YOU want people to know?

SC: “Being Trans is not ‘just a phase’. it’s a very hard decision to go through. It’s an even deeper process for the person going through the actual transitions. And if they don’t end up going through the full transition, it’s not because they “don’t feel different” anymore, it’s for deeper reasons like comfortability in society, safety, etc. I really want people to be educated about it! I want people to know and understand that the T in LGBT means something. We are not mythical creatures, Trans people exist”

I hope that this has helped some of you understand a little more, with all the talk that’s been in the media lately.

La Laa Laaa Behind the Red Brick Wall

Throughout my years as a Randolph student, I have been very intrigued by the music department. They always have amazing performers and put on great concerts, of course, but I wanted to look at this field of work and find out how gendered it is. In my mind, at the beginning, I thought that there would be more women in this department. *Stereotyping at its finest!* (It sucks when you see how you’ve been socialized too much and now are a product of your crummy society, wahhh) Back to music! However, thinking about it more, I am not sure why… but it’s true, most people think that classical music is more of a feminine dominated department.

Taking a look at Randolph’s website, I checked out all of the majors that Randolph offers, with the Music Department being one of them I was 100% wrong in my prediction that women dominated this field. I made a tally of 12 male instructors and only 6 female instructors. However after reading that, It did come to my surprise (and made me happy to see) that the Chair of the Music Department is in fact a woman. Then that got me interested in seeing how many other departments have Female Chairs at the moment. Out of the 28 majors that you can click on, there were 17 women Chairs and 11 male Chairs. Interesting right?

Retuning to MUSIC! I went to the Touch of Harmony concert tonight and I wanted to see how many students, in this performing group, were made up of men and women. I think it’s an interesting concept, kinda… maybe?  I found that in the performing group “Voices” there are 8 male singers and 8 female singers. (unless I missed someone, or someone didn’t go..) IT’S EVEN! I have no idea if they have it that was for a reason, but I like that there is some equality!! yay!

On another note, I think that the music department has sculpted beautiful pupils and performers! The concert was so beautiful I encourage everyone to go check one out during your time at Randolph. Check the events calendar for dates and times… However, since it’s the end of the year you’ll have to wait till next year…

To all a goodnight!

-June

Aca-Believe It.

In honor of the new Pitch Perfect 2 movie coming out in a few weeks, I wanted to talk about feminism and how it is portrayed in the first film. Being one of the most quotable, relatable, down right hilarious, and catchy in the past decade, Pitch Perfect is also a great example of modern feminism, which is basically women going against the social norms of traditional female gender rolls that society has perscribed women to follow. How, you might ask? Um… have you seen the movie?! What about this isn’t going against some of the norms of what society wants expects of women?!!

Get ready to get Pitch Slapped!

1. They have sassy lead character named Beca, played by Anna Kendrick, who is a tomboy-ish girl who is very passionate about music, wants to make “mad-lib beats” and become a music producer. Not interested in going to school to be nurse, or find a husband. **yasss gender roles*** She keeps to herself, and doesn’t manage to have a lot of close friends due to her not really opening up, until the end of course.

2. The Bellas made it to the ICCA’s previously but choked and lost to boys (The Treblemakers). However this year, they made it once again and challenged the “norms” of the traditional Bellas and won!

3. Originally the members in The Bellas fit into the stereotypical roles of women. Having a very conservative fashion style, song choices that are not so modern (“nothing from this century” as said by Becca), and only allowed beautiful women in the group. The two leaders try to continue this tradition, but due to lack of interest in the girls that “fit” what they are looking for after the loss at the ICCA’s the previous season, they settle for the new group of Bellas.

4. Everyone is so different in the new Bellas! Lets start off with Fat Amy. Aca-scuse me?? Who calls themselves fat, especially if you are a girl in modern day society. Fat has such a negative connotation, but Fat Amy owns it! She is a free spirit who is not afraid of anything or anyone, hilarious, and someone who is comfortable in her own skin (but who’s real name is Fat Patricia…lol)

5. Then there is Cynthia Rose a young, black lesbian lady who, at the beginning of the movie, was mistaken for a male. Also we don’t find out she is gay until the end ,but I think that has some deeper meaning to it, because the end of the movie is where all of the members of The Bellas really break away from the “traditional” singing group and become modernized/ alternative with their own style).

* Everyone in real life is different, and I think they do a great job of representing the different kinds of social groups (race, sexuality, gender, etc) in this movie.. just saying…

6. The two new leaders of The Bellas, Aubrey and Chloe, do not want to change from the traditional  style they have maintained over the years, and the rest of the new group is fighting for change with Beca as the “face” of change. They are not  only fighting the captains, they are fighting what society wants them to be. It is not about their voices, it is about their looks. And the last performance shows it!!! 

I would also like to address Anna Kendrick’s response to The Daily Beast, about feminism. She made my day and I thought you might want to read it, too!!

“It’s hard because words confuse me sometimes. There isn’t a word for a member of an ethnic minority who is pro equal rights for all races, but thereis a word for gender equality—and that’s feminism. It’s a very female-centric word. I understand that the implication is that “I’m a woman who supports women” and not “I’m a person who supports gender equality.” I feel like the word can be appropriated by the wrong people for that reason and misinterpreted by those people, but you just have to fight back and own that word. It’s practically become a curse word. Somebody says, “Oh, you’re being such a feminist,” and you’re supposed to be like, “No I’m not.” Why are we afraid of that word? It exists and we can’t get rid of it, so let’s fight for it and embrace it.”

haha Can you say WOW? Not only does she play a non-traditional female in the Pitch Perfect movies, but she lives it in real life too by actively participating and voicing her views of feminism! What she said is kind of the point of Randolph Riot, to teach and spread the word about feminism. You crushed it, Anna!

If you haven’t seen the movie, I’m sorry for spoiling some of it for you it for you but you should go watch it anyways because it is life changing….. And then get a “toner” (a musical boner) when you go see the 2nd movie when it comes out May 15, 2015. 😉


Credit to:
http://www.mommyish.com/2014/11/25/anna-kendricks-is-a-feminist/#ixzz3YYZsdjLh

http://pitch-perfect.wikia.com/wiki/Pitch_Perfect_Wiki

*and various tumblr pictures of mine.

What if you need another plan? (PART 2)

As a continuation from the post “What if you need another plan” I did a few weeks ago, I went on a hunt to find out what Randolph offered for the students who go here. With Randolph being a former woman’s college, I thought hearing the opinions of some of the staff members would be interesting. I had asked some questions to two Randolph staff members that work in the Health Center about what is offered, their opinions about some women’s health issues, and what the school does for the students here.

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Let’s Talk About What Not To Do…

Relationship Advice 101   

I have compiled a small but not so small list of things not to do in a relationship. These are somethings that I have experienced in past relationships, input from a few of my friends bout their relationships, and opinions I gathered while doing simple observations of people on and off campus. These are just things that bug me, and kind of go against how I believe a relationship should be like. I am sure that not everyone believes the same as I do, but I value my opinion and thought someone else might too.

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What if you need another plan?

When you can’t handle plan A… you should be able to use Plan B, right?

'We need a plan B.'

Photo Credit of: Jantoo Cartoons – http://www.jantoo.com/cartoons/keywords/missing

 

The subject of women’s health can be a touchy subject. Especially when it comes to abortion. But you know what? It is not someone else’s choice to pick for others. And the government has made it very difficult for women to have options, due to the lessened amount of clinics around the country. For example, there is no abortion clinic in Lynchburg, and the closest one is miles and miles away. That is no problem for me and other fortunate women who have a car, but what about women who have no way of transportation? Where do they go? All the way to Richmond ? All the way to Roanoke  ? Yeah right. This needs to change! Continue reading

Who says you have to be skinny to feel pretty?

You know, I’ve always had an interest in how wotumblr_nkp29gplNz1qgbnkbo1_1280men are portrayed in the media, and how it has affected society as a whole. So far in history, the media has done a horrible job at protecting women and helping them rise above. They continue to objectify women, and consequentially, it makes others think it is okay to do that to women too.

I have seen women here at school, as well as out and about in society, be constantly ridiculed for being overweight or continuously shamed for being fat. There are so many stigmas and stereotypes that say overweight women are not pretty and never will be unless they lose weight.

But wait! By golly, put your sandwich down because fat fashion bloggers have come to the rescue!! This is something I recently learned about and I find it very interesting. Because of feminism, women around the world have started to change the way we look and value ourselves, which is AMAZING!

Fat fashion bloggers are fat females who disrupt conventional understandings of beauty and social categories through active participation in cultural discussions of beauty. They want to share with the world what they know about fashion and how to feel beautiful in your own skin. I have found that these women have gained confidence by showing their unique style and posting pictures of themselves in these outfits.

Specifically, they are participating by having an online identity and engaging in the ‘fatosphere,’ which is an interconnected network of online resources which end up creating a safe space where individuals can encounter non prejudice bloggers, engage in communal experiences, and promote a positive understanding of ‘fat’ or plus sizes and the acceptance of it.

These women are engaging in feminism by becoming online activists and participating in invisible politics with people on the Internet. They are a community of women who have chosen to take the negative stigma from this word.  From what I’ve researched on this subject, this goes against all social norms and violates what the media says we should be.

Also, it went against what I have learned about women in society within the classes I have taken at Randolph. Fat Fashion is all about women feeling comfortable in their own bodies no matter how big they are! This form of feminism is helping women feel empowered by their own bodies no matter how small or big the woman might be, and I believe that is an amazing accomplishment. This gives me hope!

I’m going to end this post with a big BUT(pun intended!)…Do you think this form of feminism can lead to the elimination of the perfect body image? Although this might be a great start, are these networks available to everyone, or just the middle to upper class? How do you think people can spread the word about networks like this? Do you think this form of networking and fashion sites are encouraging people to stay at an unhealthy weight, even if they feel beautiful?

Wanna check some blogs out?!?!

http://www.nicolettemason.com/

http://girlwithcurves.com/

http://fuckyeahchubbyfashion.tumblr.com/

Asking The Wrong Questions..

4112013214252StatsOnSexualAssaultYou want to know what grinds my gears? Sexual assault.

A majority of people currently know or have known someone who has been sexually assaulted. This fact is absolutely horrible! I do not understand how anyone can think that violating someone’s body is acceptable in any way, shape, or form (I am not just referring to men assaulting women or even other men; I am also including women assaulting men and other women).

A lot of cases happen on college campuses because there are more opportunities to dominate someone else. A great example of an opportunity could be a dorm room party where (commonly) we hear about a male forcing himself onto a female. Imagine that you were at a party on, say, Main 2nd, you could be surrounded by a lot of people and you felt pretty safe. Then the party died out and there were only a few of you left, by which time you may have drank a little bit more than enough. Perfect! Because now, no one would know or suspect foul play because you were already in there for the party, right?

When sexual assault happens on college campuses, a majority of the time it is committed by someone the victim knows, which, in the end, can make it harder for the victim to report it because the assailant(s) was/were friends or they didn’t even know it was considered sexual assault. This is an issue that involves everyone.

However, my biggest problem is when sexual assault is within the family. I personally know a handful of people that have been sexually assaulted when they were younger by someone in their family, and it destroyed a part of them. It takes away so many things that people might not realize…

The victims lose a sense of self identity and become confused about who they are and what this will do to them. Often people become depressed when dealing with the after math and overall shock of the situation. Also, people may feel a lot of pressure by being sexually assaulted by a family member who may come off as threatening. This can occur not only during the initial assault, but also in the following days of being forced to “participate” again and again. And finally, they feel trapped because it could ruin other family dynamics if they talked to someone about it. A big problem, I found, was not having someone to talk or report to that they thought would 1) believe them and take their words over the assailant’s and 2) take them seriously and not think they are lying. What do you think drives some people to believe that sexually assaulting a child (let alone one in your family) is okay?

Society teaches girls to have fear of safety. And constantly tips on what not to wear so they won’t get attacked. For example, if a girl is at a party and wearing a skimpy dress, people assume she is asking for it (it meaning sex). She might be… but she is not asking to get raped or assaulted.

The clothes someone wears does not regulate whether or not you should rape them. Self-presentation should have nothing to do with the issue of sexual assault. The victims should not be the ones questioned, it should be the assailant.

But in society today, we tend to focus more on what made a person get raped, rather than why the other person raped to begin with. We ask the question why did you get raped? Rather than, why did you rape? We need to change the system and start asking the right questions!

**Here at Randolph, there are many people (faculty and staff) that you can talk to if something like this has happened to you. Don’t feel like you are alone, people here want to help you! And you deserve to be heard. Stay strong, whoever you might be. (:

Comments are welcome!

Photo Credit: http://iwastesomuchtime.com/on/?i=71409