North Carolina’s 15 electoral votes may end up being a deciding factor in this Presidential election. For all the political bluster of blow-outs on either side, the demographics of the U.S. and the mechanics of the Electoral College point to a close race. North Carolina is in play due to the hyper-right partisanship of Governor McCrory and his cabal of McCronies. It should be a warning to all Republicans that hyping up and acting against social issues such as transgender and voting rights, and against the previous signature Republican tenet of supporting local control will cost the Republicans in the long term. North Carolina is in play because of the bungling of Pat McCrory, plain and simple. He rolled the dice on transgender as an issue, and his re-election went straight into the toilet as a result, potty pun intended. His unpopularity is hurting the Republican ticket up and down the ballot. It is unclear whether the shooting in Charlotte will save or finish his and Republican hopes in the state, but if North Carolina goes blue this year and Hillary Clinton wins by less than 15 votes, the anger and recrimination of Republicans nationally may be focused on the North Carolina Republican establishment. The greatest irony would be that the lid would be closed and hopes flushed on Republic efforts to win the White House due to North Carolina’s HB2.
We have hopefully moved beyond casting a white man in black face to play an African American or in face paint to play a Native American. The egregiousness of miscasting, as exemplified by Hollywood actually casting John Wayne cast as Genghis Khan seems silly to us today. Perhaps we will someday look upon the casting of cisgender actors in transgender roles the same way in the future. Hollywood and smaller film producers should seek to rectify this practice as soon as possible. The fact that there are few well known transgender actors speaks to the lack of roles and opportunity. Transgender actors are not even cast in minor roles, preventing them from gaining experience and exposure. Remember Audrey Hepburn started as a cigarette vendor, so even a “bit part” can lead to opportunities. The film industry can help by writing transgender characters into normal roles, such as “the girl next door, the shop owner, the assistant scientist, or the “co-worker.” Transgender roles need not be limited to stereotypes such as “prostitute #3 or drag queen performer.” By doing this, Hollywood can continue its long history of social activism and make a positive change in the lives of many transgender people. In the same way African Americans gained hope by seeing Nichelle Nichols on the bridge of the USS Enterprise in Star Trek, thousands of transgender people will take heart in seeing a transgender actor in a respectable role in television or the movies.
I searched my Linked In profile today for clues that would give someone the thought that I would possibly be interested in the porn industry, giving massages, meetings for sexual encounters, being hired as a secretary, or connecting with random people that have no bearing on my chosen profession. I thought that I had perhaps accepted someone as a contact in the past that may have led to one of the above assumptions, however I do a fairly thorough job of scrutinizing people before connecting with anyone, and my search yielded no suspects. So why or how am I getting requests to connect with people interested in those topics? I searched my posts next. Perhaps I had written something suggestive? No, I didn’t find anything of that nature. I looked at my picture. Could that be provoking a response? I’m smiling. Did that cause it? Perhaps I should be frowning, but I thought I should look friendly in my LinkedIn picture- but not too friendly. My picture does show a tiny hint of cleavage at the bottom, but certainly nothing that would look out of place in an office setting. I had cropped my picture so as to not show any cleavage; however that also cut my hair out of the picture, and I like my hair so I went with the uncropped picture. So what could generate those assumptions about me? The only answer left is that I am not a man. I am not a man therefore I must be interested in being a porn star. I am not a man therefore I must be available for sexual encounters with the self-proclaimed well-endowed suitors that proposition me. I am not a man therefore I would be willing to serve as a man’s secretary with the promise of no office duties other than massaging his back once in a while, or other tasks as assigned. I am not a man so therefore I must be interested in connecting with someone who has nothing to do with my industry or interests simply because the requestor presumes I should be honored to connect with such a handsome person. I expect this treatment at a bar, or even walking down the street. I don’t appreciate it or welcome it, but I’m under no illusions as to how society runs. I do however hope that in a job networking site such as LinkedIn; that the majority of connection requests, or email messages that I receive are actually related to work. Such has not been the case. It has not been the case by far. As a man you are unlikely to be the recipient of such annoyances, so you cannot appreciate the cumulative effect it has on women. It doesn’t break us because we are strong, and have been culturally conditioned to deal with it, but it is tiring. Tiring. That is the right word. It is a heavy weight that we have to carry on a daily basis, and a weight it is. It is a weight you do not have to carry. But we do. Every day. We carry the weight that you as men cumulatively place on us with the words that you think are cute, or witty, but that are nothing more than one more brick placed in the weighted bag that all women must carry. You fill it up. And you don’t even realize it. I wish you could. I wish someone would look at you and only see a piece of meat to be exploited or used as a sexual object. Oh great you say, you’d welcome that you smirk. But you really wouldn’t. Not over time. Not every minute of the day. And I wouldn’t actually wish that on you. Because I am a human being. I have feelings. I have feelings for you and what you feel. Maybe you should try to have those feelings for me? Think of how your actions impact me. As a woman, I think of how my actions impact everyone. How will it make you feel? Will it hurt you if I say that? Will it diminish you? So I don’t say those things. It’s not weakness. It’s respect. I treat you with respect. Try returning some of that respect. Women are people too. I know all men are not this way. I’m not stereotyping you all in one group. I’m simply talking to those of you who do treat women the way I describe. You don’t have to be less a man to treat women with respect. It’s not just about opening doors; that alone doesn’t make a gentleman. What makes a gentleman is a man who will treat a woman as a fellow human being, equal both in the law and in society. So try to think about some of this the next time you leave your home. Try to catch yourself just once during the day and prevent yourself from placing that brick in some woman’s weighted bag of society’s expectations. Peace. God bless
Are We Prepared for a Tidal Wave of New Misogyny?
by jenni contrisciani
In my college physics classes I learned that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Hillary Clinton has all but won the Democratic nomination, barring a major development that makes her legally unable to be nominated, and people across the United States are starting to seriously think that a woman may soon be the Commander in Chief of the most powerful country in the world. It’s not the first of the firsts however; we are now just nearing the end of the administration of the first non-white President in our history. If we look at the national reaction to Barack Obama serving as commander in chief we can extrapolate that the reaction to Hillary Clinton may be just as forceful. During Barack Obama’s Presidency, the number of militia and patriot groups went from an average of 150 during the eight years of the Bush administration, to 1,360 in 2012, a 900 percent increase. (SPLCenter.com) The number of firearm purchases doubled. In terms of race relations, blacks are evenly split with 30% saying they have gotten worse, and the same percent saying they have gotten better, however only eight percent of whites felt race relations were better and forty-seven percent said they were worse. (Racismreview.com) The rise in militia and patriot groups, gun purchases, and an overall national feeling that race relations have degraded clearly shows a backlash against the first non-white American President. Given that Hillary Clinton is not only a woman, but a deeply unpopular politician who is polling as one of the most polarizing candidates in political history, and who is running against a demagogue who is backed by a white middle and lower class electorate that is currently suffering clear depression with loss of job and status, and it creates a perfect storm for a backlash. The rhetoric against President Obama was based on his policies, but clearly had a racial component, and the rabidity against his policy ideas often served as cover for hidden racism. The same will be used against Clinton. The language will be about her policy failures, but a large percentage will be based simply on the fact that she is a woman. I don’t particularly care for Clinton, nor do support her campaign so disclaimer right now that I am not a Hilary apologist. She certainly has made many mistakes, and is a fundamentally flawed candidate, but the resultant reaction will be against her gender as much as her poor choices, and the effects will not care for the reason, they will simply occur. She will serve as a manifestation that the definition of being “a man” and the privilege of being “a man” has shifted in America. Women now comprise the bulk of college students and men are increasingly being relegated to manual labor, with the corresponding drop in income and all the power dynamics that entails in home situations. If men react to a Hillary Clinton Presidency as forcefully as many whites reacted to President Obama then we are very possibly in for a tough four years. Hopefully American men will be able to find their inner Angels and not allow Hillary Clinton to release their bottled up reservoir of misogynistic feelings to freely spill forth. It’s not like it is a box of chocolates for women here already, dealing with wage gaps, sexual harassment, promotion discrimination at work, fearing to walk alone at night, domestic abuse, rape and all the other lovely things that come with being female. All these things are likely to increase and possibly spike during a Clinton Presidency. This is not an argument against a female president, but as women we need to be prepared for it. Hopefully the nation will not follow an equivalent trajectory of the reaction to President Obama. If it does, we’d all better start our self-defense training and be even more aware of our situation and our relationships than ever before. To the men of America, if Hillary Clinton is elected President, please check your actions and ask yourself, are your feelings truly justified, or are they a reaction to her? Remember we are your sisters, cousins, friends, and wives.