Last day of class…
and it was one of the most informative classes we’ve had. The morning was just a discussion about the most significant things we’ve learned. Again one of mine was that what you might consider to be right and universal doesn’t mean that you necessarily occupy the superior moral position (i.e. LGBT rights and third world countries. ask me for more info). Just be careful in how you criticize other because not everyone has the same experiences and education as you.
Another thing that many of us felt was that America isn’t as bad as we (Americans and Tumblr) make it out out to be. And though legislatively we might be behind in progressive reforms, in some sort of weird way i honestly believe we still are one of the most progressive and dynamic countries in the World. It’s not to say i don’t like the Netherlands. I love it here. But spending a month here, the whole “America should catch up with Europe argument is kinda B.S.” There’s a lot of shit to criticize America for but when it comes to social progress, check yourself Europe. I know that sounds really like overly patriotic and i apologize but still… and again i still really like it here and I would love to come back).
For the second half of the day, we had an intersex individual from a national intersex foundation to talk about what intersex really is, and let’s say that i got pretty much everything wrong. Not to mention how often do you actually hear about intersex in LGBT discourse? I don’t wanna get into everything that was said on this post so if you want more info please feel free to ask. There was a lot of parallels between the arguments within the trans* community with the medicalized approach vs. the non medical which was interesting. Though two things that need to be made clear: 1, there is no such thing a a person who is a hermaphrodite. A human being cannot be a hermaphrodite. Second, trans* ≠ intersex.
again feel free to ask anything.
Veronika Scott was a fashion student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit when her teacher, Stephen Schock, challenged her class to create a product that filled a need, rather than satisfying or creating a fad. Veronika’s design was a coat for homeless people that could transform into a sleeping bag, since in her city, she says, “you are constantly faced with the homeless epidemic.”
Not only did her design win a International Design Excellence Award from the Industrial Designers Society of America, it’s become the core of Veronika’s nonprofit organization, The Empowerment Plan, which hires people from homeless shelters and transition homes to help her make the coats. Now, three years later, the 24-year-old social entrepreneur expects that her team of 15 seamstresses will produce over 6,000 coats in 2014 — all of which will be distributed free of charge to people living on the streets.
Veronika originally designed the coats seeking input from people at a homeless shelter. After receiving feedback from people who used the prototype over a Detroit winter, she refined the design to create her final version which, in addition to being a waterproof and windproof coat and sleeping bag, also transforms into an over-the-shoulder bag with storage in the arm sockets.
When she started out, Veronika states,
“Everybody told me that my business was going to fail — not because of who I was giving my product to but because of who I was hiring. They said that these homeless women will never make more than a peanut butter and jelly sandwich — you cannot rely on them for anything. And I know my ladies enjoy proving everybody wrong.”
And, their impact is growing — according to CNN, which recently honored Veronika as one of their 10 Visionary Women of 2014, “The Empowerment Plan expects to launch a ‘buy one, give one’ program that will make it sustainable beyond the donations and sponsorships that keep it running now. Hunters and backpackers who’ve asked to buy the coat will be able to do so, and the Empowerment Plan will still create coats for homeless people who need them.”
Veronika is also excited to show other clothing producers that local manufacturing is possible: “I think we’re going to show a lot of people: you think it’s outdated to do manufacturing in your neighborhood, but I think it’s something that we have to do in the future, where it’s sustainable, where you invest in people, where they’re not interchangeable parts.”
You can read more about Veronika’s organization on CNN, or watch a short video about her work here.
To learn more about The Empowerment Plan or how you can support their work, visit http://www.empowermentplan.org/
For a wonderful book about women’s great inventions throughout history, check out “Girls Think of Everything” for readers 8 to 13.
For those in the US who would like to support efforts to end homelessness and help the over 600,000 people who experience homelessness on any given night, visit the National Alliance to End Homelessness athttp://www.naeh.org/ or to find a local homeless shelter to support in your area, visit http://www.homelessshelterdirectory.org/
Important in so many ways.
This is amazing and wonderful.
Aries: stop jackin off
Taurus: hoe and not ashamed of it
Cancer: crybaby ass
Leo: BIG Bitch and u fuckin kno it. u love it dont u.
Virgo: ethereal and always SO busy
Scorpio: u are sleepy and powerful.
Sagittarius: probably like drinkin some healthy shit. u look good as hell too.
Aquarius: clean ur fingernails
Pisces: stop bein so stingy an love urself
I love these now because of Battlestar
Update part 3
So i just copied and pasted this from the class blog post i had to make so it sounds different from my last ones but hopefully is more grammatically correct.
So today we finally we able to have a first hand perspective on the divide between the Dutch “autochtonen” (native born) and Moroccan immigrants. Our speaker, Dr. Nadia Bouras first detailed her work in a documentary called “Sex and Sin”, which depicts the lives of several different Muslim women living all over the world. It was interesting to see all of the different ways, from orthodox to “secular”, that these Muslim women live in and still find a common bond within Islam. There was a controversy between members of the group about how the interviewer treated one of the Orthodox Muslim women living in England. Some believed that the interviewers comments about the interviewee’s veiled face making them uncomfortable were offensive and Islamophobic. However, some believed that this was meant to portray the “white” Dutch community and how it sees the veil as oppressive. Either way, the interviewee gave a very elegant answer on how it’s her choice as a Muslim based on her own interpretation of Islam.
Dr. Bouras then went into islamic immigrants, specifically Moroccans, and how there is such diversity within this “one” community and the differences between generations of Moroccan immigrants. During the 1960s, the “1st” generation of Moroccan guest workers arrived to fill low wage jobs that the majority “white” Dutch were not filling. Often these immigrants were uneducated and not fluent in Dutch, and held conservative views on their faith and society. However, when these 1st generation Moroccans began to bring their families to the Netherlands, the population of Moroccans exploded. With these new Moroccan immigrants, along with the first of the Dutch-born Moroccans, and new younger generation of Moroccans was taking shape. With a better handle on the Dutch language and better access to the Dutch school system, this generation was able to go father in Dutch society than their parents, and started to change the stereo-types about Dutch-Moroccan immigrants. However as evidence by Dr. Bouras’ story of her brothers being pulled over by the cops only on the basis of their perceived ethnicity, much more work is need to fight the institutionalized racism within Dutch society.
After our morning discussion we had a representative from the Mail and Female feminist sex toy shop to come in and talk to us about various issues with in the sex toy “industry”. First and foremost, one of the glaring issues is that their is no official sex toy industry. Because of this lack of classification, there is no regulation on how sex toys are manufactured or the chemicals used in manufacturing that can be harmful to the human body. Secondly, because the topic of sex toys is still taboo to discuss in society, many people are harming themselves by mis-using toys or using objects that are in no way designed to be used for sexual stimulation (i.e. a glass bottle). It was surprising to learn that in some emergency rooms 30% of the cases are from objects lodged in the anal cavity, presumable because these people were looking for sexual stimulation. This discussion really highlighted the need for more active and constructive dialogue about the sex toy industry and that as we bring the topic of sex toys out of the dark, we are better able to protect the consumers of these products.
After this discussion we went to the actual feminist sex toy place, and basically there are a lot more types of vibrators than you can imagine. (this wasn’t in the blog)
So tl;dr there is still a lot of racism in Dutch society towards Muslim immigrants and sex toys can be dangerous so make sure you do your research before you buy. (basically, if you’re using it on your genitals, go spend the extra money to buy the safe toys. plus they come with more options)
Update part 2
So yesterday (Monday) we were focused on the trans* experience through the medical community, and the procedures and operations that many trans* individuals go through. (this is going to jump around a lot i didn’t take the best notes yesterday)
Our first speaker did her Doctoral research on a perspective that many activists fail to recognize within the realm of trans* health; the actual clinicians themselves.
Though just a quick overview in what we learned was the timeline in which trans* individuals received medications and surgery to alter their body. First it’s 6 months to a years of mandatory counseling then it’s hormones for 1-2 years, and then it’s an operation. this varied with a lot of speakers and informational sources and with different countries and ages but the main issue was with the mandatory counseling and i’ll get into that later.
For them and for many trans* individuals (i’ll explain a specific example later) they choose to see this as an actual medical condition. In their opinion, the gender dysphoria is something that is in fact wrong with someone, not to mention it is still in the DSM, and that it needs to be fixed. It’s not that these doctors and nurses working with trans* individuals are transphobic. They really do care about the health and well being of these individuals, and they want to help. But they see it as a medical problem.
Now one of the issues with this medicalized view of the trans* experience is the mandatory counseling. In order for these individuals to receive medical care, the have to basically spend months on end telling a psychiatrist the “stereo-typical” experience, (i.e. i feel trapped inside my body or i always wanted to be the other gender. not to say that some people don’t feel this, but it’s not the experience of everyone). Not to mention that if trans* youth want medical care, they also must fall into depression before they can be entered into the program. This not only lying among those who really do desire care, but don’t experience the “stereo typical” trans* struggle, but also it makes those looking for treatment basically as though they don’t have control over there own bodies. that unless their psychiatrist says so and these individuals say that right things, they cant receive treatment. not to mention that if at anytime during this months long period if you say they wrong thing that you can be kicked out.
The second half of the day was spent with a lecture from the director of the largest gender clinic here in Amsterdam, and a trans women who went to the clinic for part of her “treatment” as she called it. Here again the really focused on portraying trans* individuals as having a disorder, and that they should be provided with care to bring their gender dysphoria into alignment. And i’m literally just reporting on what was said, but or trans women speaker who came in did say that she is now “cured” of being trans* and that here hormones and sex change surgery were a treatment. in fact i really shouldn’t be using trans women because she does not believe herself to be trans* because to her it was a medical problem that has now been solved.
Though overall, in my belief this gender clinic does not share the most modern view on trans* health, it was still an interesting perspective on trans* health issues.
Now it’s here that i want to say something about the whether or not “gender dysphoria” should be apart of the DSM ,and considered a medial problem, or should it be removed. On the one had, keeping this in the DSM to many trans* people symbolizes the institutionalized trans* phobia within society and the medical community. Not to mention the fact that with trans* classification in the DSM, it is considered a mental disorder, and that comes an immense amount of stigma. This argument also draws parallels to the removal of homosexuality from the DSM in the 70s, as that it should be considered “normal” to be trans*, just like it’s “ok” to be gay. Yet on the other hand, keeping gender dysphoria in the DSM gives trans* people the backing of the medical community. just speaking in terms of the American experience, trans* individuals can tell their insurance company, hey look i have an actual medical condition that needs to be solved so you have to pay for my hormones/surgery (though i’d imagine that this rarely happens). In other countries, it is this reason for gender dysphoria being in the DSM that hormones and surgery are covered by national health plans as it is seen as a medical condition and allows for trans* individuals to receive care for free. not to mention, this in a way helps lessen the stigma related to trans* people, as it shows that they have something that is out of their control that they are receiving assistance for. (these were the arguments made in class, not my opinions though i can give you mine in a separate ask. not to mention i’d imagine that these arguments have a lot more for and against them than im writing. though i will point out, that in the research of our first speaker, many trans* people going through a transformation choose the second medicalized view )
Also just a side note for tumblr. In speaking with the gender clinic and the speaker that studied the clinicians, we forget that in most cases, most trans* people do look to go form one gender to the other, and the concept of being “gender neutral” is something that still isn’t really that prevalent (this was information provided by these two sources) though im not saying theres anything wrong with being gender neutral
Im sorry this jumped around so much and there was more info but i hope you got the gist of our conversations we had in class. If you have any questions or want my opinion or want to give yours please feel free to send an ask.
Sorry for no update for the past few days so im going to do this in parts. Part one: this was our trip to the Ann Frank house. These pictures were taken by someone else on the trip and the quality isn’t the best cause technically we weren’t supposed to be take.
So let’s just say that the movie doesn’t do justice to it’s portrayal of the conditions that Ann lived in during her two years in hiding. It is a lot smaller and cramped in person and being forced to live there for two years is unimaginable. It was erie to see the pencil marks made on the walls to show how Ann and her sister had grown while in hiding. Not to mention that you get to see some of Ann’s original letters. It really hit me when we went pace the actual bookcase that was placed in front of the “Secret Annex” that how terrible it must of been to never go outside, or even make noise for fear of being arrested and killed. Ann was such an eloquent writer and keep in mind she was barely a teenager and it was her dream to have a book published an read all over the world. So in that sense her dream did come true with her diary. (Though for the record she did plan on publishing it herself).
i guess that’s it then
Voyager with her fancy armor and transphasic torpedoes, courtesy Admiral Janeway (until, that is, the Temporal Directive task-force comes to correct this breach of the Temporal Prime Directive, as well as the whole JJ Abraverse timeline)