Search

The Nature of Being

rethinking the facts of life

Author

selinaeckstein

Demo for all – Who are exactly like us

In my post “The church is too feminine” you could see how people take gender stereotypes for granted and how they even try to write this imagination into the church.   So let’s stay with church movements in Baden- Württemberg (a part of Germany) for a moment. Two years ago a coalition called “Demo für alle” (Demo for all) started fighting against gender mainstreaming, gender studies, sex education and the rights of queer people. This movement made a video where they `explain` gender in less than three minutes.25468930576_d4b3298e4d_o It says gender studies would try to make men and women all the same. What would result in confused children, parents and teachers because children wouldn’t know anymore if they’re a boy or a girl. Disregarding how they constitute gender studies it also shows how afraid people are of losing their accurate life boxes. The climax in the video shows the top of their fear of what could happen trough gender mainstreaming: Men could wear dresses or girls could drive a truck – that really sounds to me like the end of the world. Where was the culture again which said women couldn’t drive a car?

I can’t believe that there is a god who would jump of the clouds because of women driving trucks. But even young people believe these videos. One of my former friends posted a petition from this coalition against an education reform which was planned for schools in Baden-Württemberg. In this reform the representation of queer people as normal people in everyday life situations should become a bigger issue in school and school books. 25376585422_f6a7179aee_oIn this petition against the school reform were `arguments` like gay people would kill themselves more and would often become drug addicted and get aids. They totally twisted the `facts` and `statistics` to manipulate them for their argumentation . When I commented the post to show how many mistakes and lies obviously were in this petition. He wrote me a private message which said “Let’s face it, as if you want to have gay kids. People lie about that because politics nowadays want us to say that we have to accept queer people.” The chat escalated quickly because arguments like “kids would all try homosexual sex because the teacher said it is normal and not an illness” are not just insulting but also absolute nonsense. There was also the opinion that homosexuals are more sexual and would do `unmoral stuff` (For more information about how homosexuality is argumented as more sexual look at the posts of Dorotea. She explained it good with the representation of sexuality in movies). It really shocked me that people in my age, people who graduated from school with me, were still thinking gay people are ill and have to be cured. So I think they are the proof that we need such an education reform absolutely. To treat queer people in school as a normal part of everyday life should be a first step for a more open and understanding world. The world always changes, society changes, religion changes, people change – Let the change be a good one.

References:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8hwvyoNOpA

https://demofueralle.wordpress.com

Change of perspective

If we want to see differently, if we want to change our way of seeing, we have to change the perspective. Everyday we see so many things in our life which are normal for us because we never got to know them any other way. We learned since we were a child that that’s the way how things are.

In Vienna there was a project to change perspective in everyday life. They changed the symbols in the traffic lights. The traffic lights show always one little person, in the red light it stands straight and in the green light it walks. In Vienna this symbol was changed into two persons standing or walking together. ampelmaennchen-wien_d2b752d0aa-jpg-pagespeed-ce-ysn6iksw5uThis project was started in the setting of the pride parade, so there were three kinds of couples shown: A man and a woman, two women, or two men in love. So equal love for all shone from the traffic lights. With such a little change in the symbol we can spread a clear message. It’s also interesting how little is necessary to show us what should be a man or a woman.  The figure which is shown normally is recognized as man. But we only recognize a female figure if it is indicated by her dress. To see women in persons there have to be special characteristics to show they’re women. People would recognize it, if everywhere would be female symbols instead of manly persons. The other way around is normal for us. The manly gender isn’t special, because we’re used to it, as standard. The same way, like heterosexual couples are the norm, it’s special to see a homosexual couple. It’s great to make homosexual love more visible, so I asked myself; will there ever come a day where we just don’t recognize it anymore, because it’s just normal reality for us?

130-074-437

Also it is really funny what happens if you change the presentation of men and women in media. For example this photography project where men are shown in typical women photo poses.

16951-593217-rusty1-pt2

“Men-Ups! is a project aimed at reversing the stereotypes created by society, begging the questions; why is it sexual for a female to pose one way, and not sexual for a male? Why is it considered more comical or unsettling for males to act the more socially defined feminine? “(http://www.rionsabean.com/men-ups)

This photos show in how ridiculous poses women often are shown what is labeled as sexy. On the other way you can see how men are not allowed to show themselves in society. Projects like this open our eyes in many ways, because they let us see issues we`ve never seen before. When we switch the gender presentation, we see how deep in our performances gender is implemented, especially if it’s about performing sexuality.

We have to break something in our perception and turn it around to see what we never recognized before. We don’t just have to open boxes. The first step is to discover what is in it. It is time to see what we really see.

 

References:

https://futurezone.at/digital-life/wiener-ampelmaennchen-kuenftig-zu-zweit/130.074.624

http://www.stadt-wien.at/typo3temp/pics/ampelmaennchen-wien_d2b752d0aa.jpg.pagespeed.ce.YSn6iKsw5U.jpg

http://www.rionsabean.com/men-ups

The church is too feminine? – The magic of gendering

The protestant church in Germany built up a group for men only, because church seems to them to be too feminine. The group organizes meetings, seminars and action days, for men only. Interesting is how they argument this exclusion. There is a full day of action for men, because men would connect faith with nature. On this days they can throw a rope, drive a tractor or electro-weld things. A day, just for the “hard, strong and brave men”. They can be “men like god created them” (“Mann sein wie Gott ihn schuf”). Furthermore they criticize the church for speaking of Jesus in a too feminine way, too passive, too innocent. The way the church speaks of love and forgiveness wouldn’t fit to their imagination of men. Their goal is it to read the bible from a more manly perspective.

But really? Love and Forgiveness should just be women things? The church they want shouldn’t be forgiving but strong and fierce? Imagine what would happen if a Muslim would tell that about his religion?

Maybe the problem is that society seems to demand men to be aggressive, strong and always gladiatorial? Interesting is, how the church is taking biological and sociological descriptions for chancing their picture of their church instead of trying to change the everyday assumptions of `real men`. They take everyday assumptions of men and women for granted and `natural` and try to write it in to the church to change the imagination of good Christians. They separate everything in life, even faith, through gender.

Interesting is how Donna Haraway arguments exactly the other way around in her book “Primate Visions. Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science”.  She said in western society a men’s standard would be “disconnection from the (…) “nature” is essential to man’s natural place”. She says men would be more associated with technique. The church’s action, to create days for men in the nature, where men can be `real men`, are in contrast to this assumption. But the other way round what they actually do is use technique things in nature.

Nevertheless I don’t know if men or women are more naturally connecting nature and faith more intensive, or if it is simply about seeing connections like people want to see them. There can be always found signs, out of which we can construct completely different categories. They search in the bible for sings of their own view of manhood. They don’t think about their own categorization, they write it into the church. So maybe it has never been about the ascriptions, but about holding the opposites of men and women up, about creating opposites which fit through the difference. I don’t know, but I know I prefer love and forgiveness in all human beings.

 

References:

Altendorf – Jehle, Bärbel (2015): Mann sein wie Gott ihn schuf. Evangelisches Gemeindeblatt. Ausgabe 41 (http://www.evangelisches-gemeindeblatt.de/publikationen/evangelisches-gemeindeblatt/heftarchiv/detailansicht/mann-sein-wie-gott-ihn-schuf-1126/).

Dietrich, Peter (2013): Patriarchen und Propheten. Evangelisches Gemeindeblatt. Ausgabe 24. S. 10

Haraway, Donna (1990): “Primate Visions. Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science”, Routledge.

Sparkling wine vs. strong beer

After my last post I asked myself the question, if separating people in different boxes ends up in separation in everyday life. And I think that’s the case in many situations. Men and women get in relationships and build a family together, but when it comes to leisure time, they are supposed to do totally different things. In Germany there is this “tradition” to make Männerabende (boys night out) and Frauenabende (girls night out). On this evening, only people with the same gender can do gendered stuff. Step two is, that not only your personal leisure time is gendered, society places are too.

One of those gendered activities were computer games. Digital games were the place only for men, like football, beer and strip bars naturally. Places were men could be “real men”, rude, drunk and out of control (In German here are some suggestions for men nights: http://www.wanted.de/maennerabend-frauen-muessen-draussen-bleiben/id_54639186/index). Or what does “real men” mean? Don’t get me wrong, that’s not the way I would categorize male preferences, but that’s the way society labels it. It’s totally clear that not every man is doing exactly that kind of things on an all man’s evening, also not every woman does the same thing on a girl’s night out, but there seems to be a necessity to put your leisure time in a box. And this box here says: no women allowed. On the other hand, women make girls night out for women only, where you can drink sparkling wine, eat chocolate, watch love story films and do beauty stuff. Emotional breakouts, chatting and giggling all night long. Amazing!

The thing is, when I read about how men fight against transsexual persons in digital games (Computer games – the world of gender boxes?), I remembered how women (especially feminists) are/were fought by men in this domain, too (For example the case of Amber Scott: http://www.polygon.com/2016/3/30/11335360/nintendo-fires-treehouse-employee-who-was-target-of-harassment). Men insisted on the classic role model in games, were women were mainly sexualized. They fought for a digital place where only “real” men could live their dream, alone or in groups. Sounds to me like beautiful naked women running around all the time and the male (of course) main character is standing there with a manly, strong, giant weapon in one hand and a bloody steak in the other. Awesome!

Some heterosexual men want to control this domain, but here is my question; is there a comparable place for women? On girl’s night out, there are no men allowed (except gay men maybe, hello cliché), too. But are there women places, which are defended by women to stay `only women places`? So the only place that comes to my mind, which is taken by women on their own, is a beauty salon. Maybe something like pony clubs in their childhood, but there were always boys allowed too. Can anybody tell me a place, an organization where women freaked out because men wanted to be a part of it too (no sorry, sauna doesn’t count)? Do you have any ideas?

 

-Selina

Links:

http://www.polygon.com/2016/3/30/11335360/nintendo-fires-treehouse-employee-who-was-target-of-harassment

http://www.wanted.de/maennerabend-frauen-muessen-draussen-bleiben/id_54639186/index

Computer games – the world of gender boxes?

In my introduction post, I wrote about the strict boxes in which our society is separated. One of the strictest categories is gender. This category is written in every aspect of life. Last week I saw an article about a computer game which got a new Add-on. “Siege of Dragonspear” for the game Baldur’s Gate was released with the new character Mizhena. She provides healing to the players and you can ask her questions about her life. Then she will tell you: “When I was born, my parents thought me boy and raise me as such. In time, we all came to understand I was truly a woman. I created my new name from syllables of different languages. All have spiritual meaning to me; it is the truest reflection of who I am.” (You can see the scene with Mizhena here from minute 5: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aPadwN4r-dU). Because of this character some people (especially men) freaked out with rude comments and bad ratings.

“Fans of #BaldursGate are pissed and rightly so #SJW have poisoned the well of the Baldurs Gate legacy this is why you #DontHireSJW

“Again #SJW s don’t get it. Ppl liked Mass Effect; it had plenty of #gender themes. Ram it down ppl’s throats=poor writing. #BaldursGate.“

ScreenshotIf the game has some deficits, it’s absolutely legitimate to criticize them, but some people experienced a disaster in their favourite game series, because of the existence of a transsexual character. In many comments you see that in their opinion only heteronormativity is the right and normal world. It’s like they would assume there are normal people and then there is the rest, which doesn’t fit in the heterosexual norm and this people aren’t allowed to exist in “their normal” classic games. There are only two gender boxes, men and women, and if a person changes them, he or she isn’t a part of the normal society anymore. In classic games there were only heterosexual men and women, so the next hundred years there is no continuing opportunity? Interesting. The fascinating thing about transsexuality is how it shows the strict categories of gender. I thought games would be a place of imagination of possibilities, but when some categories are opened, their inhabitants have to roar. As loud and hard as possible. They fight for their little box- world.

Another critique was how the person tells you her history in three sentences, because people in the real world wouldn’t tell something like that a complete stranger. But why not? We are in a fantasy world. Shouldn’t it be possible to treat their transsexuality as an absolutely normal story? Something you can tell people, because there is no problem behind it? I like, that this character is going forward with this information as it would be the most normal thing on earth. If we want to come outside of our box, why shouldn’t we start in fantasy, in games?

References:

 

http://www.pcgames.de/Baldurs-Gate-Enhanced-Edition-Spiel-18532/News/Kritik-an-Transgender-Charakter-1191441/

http://derstandard.at/2000034525659/Transsexuelle-Spielfigur-Wuetende-Gamer-fordern-Entlassung-von-Baldurs-Gate-Autorin

Introduction Post

To start with the question, if there would be fewer society boxes, what could we be?

Hello everyone, my name is Selina and I am 24 years old. I’m now studying Sociology in my first Master Semester. I live in Tübingen, that’s a beautiful little city in Germany with a huge university. I am interested in gender studies, because they question and explain our whole world. There are so many things in this world, of which we once believed they were all true – because we never questioned the “facts” we were told. But when we think about some of these facts and take a closer look on them, the world isn’t so simple to “explain” anymore.People have to put everything in boxes, so that the world is easy to handle. But what about the people who do not fit in this boxes or do not want to?
My preferred sentence of Donna Haraway is: “Part of the reconstruction of gender is the remapping of biological sex. Biology is an historical discourse, not the body itself.” [1] And that’s really interesting, because as soon as somebody explains something with biology or natural science in general, people believe it. But is the world really that simple?
In my blogposts I want to look at those boxes, which society makes up and what they do with people who doesn’t fit in. I want to write about arguments of groups which state that their way is the only right way. It’s also about the possibilities to open boxes or mix them up? Although I want to look at the standards, which are often used, the white heterosexual man and how the differences to this “standard” in the world are shown.

thinking-outside-the-box
[2]
The world defines us and we define the world. It’s a journey, so let’s look where we end.

 

[1] Haraway, Donna (1990): “Primate Visions. Gender, Race, and Nature in the World of Modern Science”, Routledge.
[2] Graphic  https://media.licdn.com/mpr/mpr/p/3/005/05a/344/1070a4c.jpg, 26.01.16

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑