Sunday, November 14, 2010

How to Make a Sexist/Homophobic person: The Perfect Recipe!

Have you ever wondered why some people are sexist, homophonic tyrants and bigots? With all of the hateful comments and actions towards, as well as inaccurate portrayals of the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community, you have to question what is the process or processes by which some people become insanely or even mildly anti-gay, leading you to further question if this aforementioned prejudice is a product of that age-old paradigmatic tug-of-war, “nature vs. nuture.” While I am in no way omniscient, or all-knowing, I DO know through my life experience and deep self-education that no person is simply born with hate coursing through their veins. A prime example of this comes directly from a truly painful, yet familiar eye-opening experience I had just two days ago while working.
In my “other” profession, one of the many duties I have is conducting screenings with parents/caregivers regarding their child’s early development to detect delays. While speaking with a father about his son’s Fine Motor development, one of the questions I asked him was if his son is able to string small items, such as beads, onto a string or shoelace. What came next from this man’s mouth was so unbelievable and extreme that I knew I had to discuss this further in my blog. His exact words were, “stringing small items on beads is something that a girl does…not my son! I mean, I don’t mean any disrespect to any homosexuals or anything, but I want to teach my son how to be masculine because he’s a boy!” He continued for what seemed like an eternity, with his rant about how because “he’s a man and masculine” he wanted to teach his son the same. Feeling my blood pressure reach levels as high as Mount Everest, I was SOOOOO enraged and disheartened by these comments for many reasons, the most obvious one being that this small child who’s only been in the world for 3 years is ALREADY being conditioned and socialized to believe and behave in ways that are both chauvinistic and prejudiced towards women and the LGBT community. Additionally, due to this small child’s immediate social environment, [which is influenced by larger oppressive and sexist institutions] his adoption and later execution of 13th century antediluvian notions of “hypermasculine” or should I say “pseudomasculine” characteristics is inevitable. Given that this incident was work related, I felt prohibited from “correcting” this man in my customary fashion, however being who I am, I simply could not let this moment pass me by without saying something to this father. I told him with a very serious, yet reserved tone, “Just so you’re aware in the future, this activity [stringing small beads] is in NO WAY gender-based and if you and your wife actually place your child in a child development center or pre-school setting, you would know that ALL children, regardless of their sex/gender, will participate in this activity to further develop their fine motor skills!” Why is it that people attach generalizing gender-specific and/or sexual-orientation onto certain activities?
I’ve realized, in my frequent and often excruciating encounters with people, that the present issue of sexism and homophobia are the result of an intricate process of mental and social conditioning and egregious mis-education! Much like the processes of age, weight, disability and racial prejudice and discrimination, homophobia and sexism are maladies of the mind, constructed by an exclusionary and highly influential group with unmerited economic and social power; their beliefs alone dictate the flow of separatist and nationalist ideologies, which leaves profound impressions or scars in the minds of consumers around the world. Through this separatist group’s [primarily comprised of White/Eurocentric, heterosexual, middle-to-upper class men] control of diverse media, religious, and the political economic spheres, the reinforcement and affirmation of sexist and homophobic belief systems and practices continue. The whole notion of gender-specific activities or “traits” is completely outlandish and perilous to the psyche of our global society. Honestly, if a man/male opens the door, takes out the trash, works on the car, and pays for EVERY SINGLE ACTIVITY, whether meals or other forms of social entertainment, does this REALLY make him a man?!  If he presents a “take no mess” attitude with a heavy, forceful voice and walk to match, does this HONESTLY suggest that he’s a man?!  The same is true for women/females; if a woman/female wears high heeled shoes, dresses, etc., and wears make-up, has long hair, speaks in a dainty, “non-threatening” tone, and presents an attitude of the archetypal “damsel in distress,” does this mean that she’s REALLY a woman?! If she performs “domestic” acts, such as constant cooking, cleaning, ironing, and washing, while behaving in ways that are “nurturing,” does this TRULY CONFIRM THAT SHE’S a woman?!  Let’s just take stock a moment: our minds are inundated with visual imagery through the media that highly supports the ­gender-based illusions as the ones described above. From the time that we are born [conceived even,] we are indoctrinated and conditioned to believe certain schools of thought without questioning their accuracy and act in a manner that has been specified depending on our gender or sex [as in the case of the father enforcing "male-related" or masculine activities. How often do we see a film or a television show where women are preparing dinner, while the men sit down in the living room watching some sports program on television or engaged in a game of cards? How often do we see movies and/or films where there is the quintessential philandering husband who constantly engages in duplicitous behavior with other women, while the “virtuous” wife stays home “nurturing” the family, even if she’s aware of this behavior? And furthermore, how often have we seen inflated and extreme images of "LGBT" behavior and lifestyles in films, television shows, etc.? Gay men are often portrayed as being incredibly effeminate and often the “clown” of the group, while lesbian women are typically highlighted as possessing more “butch” or “traditionally male-like” traits. Why and how has this influx of sexist, homophobic and gender-based imagery in media happened you might ask? The answer is simple: the very same exclusionary group that controls all areas of media, religion, and the political economy came in contact with one, possibly two people that executed behaviors such as those above and assumed that this is how they [meaning women and the LGBT community] all act. Once members of a distinct group have been generalized, the commodification of culture and “novelty”, as well as exoticism quickly ensues!
If we look at gender roles in a global context, we come to realize that the gender-based­ characteristics previously mentioned is NOT a global standard and are therefore, a U.S. or Westernized social creation. The Aka Pygmy community of Central Africa, is one of the numerous groups whose sexual division of labor consists of women as the primary hunters and producers of crops, while their men spend around 47% of their time rearing their children! The Apache community of the Indigenous Americans, while having varying adult-based gender roles, taught both girls and boys to cook, skin leather, follow tracks, use weapons, sew skins, and ride horses. While there are a plethora of other cultural groups that I could present to you, I think that my point of superficially developed gender roles has been illustrated!
An additional issue of the reinforcement of sexist and homophobic beliefs is the persistent use of scientifically distorted gender-based stereotypes and social constructions about how women and men, as well as members of the LGBT community are predetermined or “naturally” inclined to behave in specific ways; this mental malady, historical in nature, has become a global epidemic, afflicting our entire world! Some individuals, keen on the “reliance” of science, love to use biology as an irrefutable entity to confirm why “men are genetically superior to women;” for how can one dispute the most “natural” element of life….DNA?! This use of biology as the “natural order” of things allows the justification of oppressive acts, such as men still receiving higher salaries than women, acquiring substantially better deals when purchasing automobiles and the persistent commodification of women as sexual objects in pornography, marketing advertisements, and music videos, as well as in “perceived non-extreme” scenarios, like shampoo commercials (i.e. Herbal Essence.) In the early 1800s, numerous European philosophers, theorists, and researchers used science to authenticate and institutionalize their personal beliefs and prejudices concerning those of African, Asian, Australian aboriginal and indigenous American descent. This use of “Scientific Racism” also known as “Eugenics” strongly supported beliefs of genetic or hereditary supremacy of Northern European groups, which allowed these European, and later European-American or White communities, to produce “scientific-based” research purporting ideals like, “Africans/African-Americans are intellectually inferior,”  which we all know is the FURTHEST thing from the truth! [I strongly encourage readers to research this issue further in the book, The White Architects of Black Education: Ideology and Power in America, 1865-1954]
Given this use of “science” to support one’s extreme bias and subjugation towards groups, such as women and the LGBT community, that fall “outside” of the socially constructed model of the “standard,” anyone with true spiritual openness, knowledge of self, and half of a cerebrum would understand that these ideologies are erroneous, sexually separatist and all in all oppressive! With all the we [hopefully] know from the above discussion, I think that it is safe to say that people become the very sexist and homophobic extremists that oppress others, which answers the question of “nature vs. nurture.” I do, however, believe that because there is spiritual love, beauty, and light inside of everyone, there is the possibility of breaking free from the psychological imprisonment of the isms that plague our society, but this is only achieved through intentional self-education, exposure, and grounded experience! If not, I suppose that our society will continue to follow the "standard" recipe or formula of sexism and homophobia, to continue making "ideal" members of society to advance the nationalist agenda:

How to Make a Sexist/Homophobic Person
Note: Can be used for a Female or Male
Prep time: About the first 15-20 years of life
Cook time: A Lifetime
Makes: 8400 billion servings
Ingredients
16 pounds of domineering patriarchy
2 pounds of gender-specific childhood activities (must repeat daily)
4 hours of mis-educational (i.e. biased) television programs/movies (daily)
3 gallons of hegemonic/oppressive political control of civil rights
5 splashes (equal parts) of sexually separatist religious and biological ideology

Directions
1. Mix all ingredients together simultaneously from birth until the person consistently uses sexist and homophobic slurs and behaves in ways that strongly support socially generated ideas of being a “woman” or “man.” Note: Person must use appropriate language and assume "gender-specific" traits to be complete! Now, you're ready to serve!

2 comments:

  1. AMAZING INSIGHT & CONTENT! You always provide a wealth of knowledge & depth in your posts. Thank you for including reference information as well. The recipe at the end is a great visual and is one that I hope will soon be permanently lost. Unfortunately that recipe has been used far too often & like so many other recipes, has been committed to memory & passed from generation to generation. Keep up the excellent work!

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  2. Peace, Queen...what a great blog post. I wanted to let you know that you and your sister in Cali have inspired me to start at blog too. I'm trying to publish on 12.24.2010

    Coincidentally, I am planning on making some of my first posts about my notes and opinions on an excellent book I am reading called; Return to the African Mother Principle of Male and Female Equality by Oba T'Shaka which goes in depth on the subject of Just Societies and gender equality in pre-colonial Ethiopia (as well as other parts of the continent).

    Check out my blog here (should be ready on 12.24.2010)- http://blacknena.wordpress.com/

    Until then, keep posting this real shit for the h8trs out there....;)

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