“Ho told me the other she sent a nigga to jail. I thought it was legal to beat your hoe.” These are the opening lines to Kevin Gates hit single ‘Sposed to be in Love. He goes on to describe the current state of affairs between him and his significant other. In short, the young lady has decided that she no longer wants anything to do with Mr. Gates. She has even moved his belongings out of her home as a show of her seriousness in her decision to cut all ties with the narrator. In response to the young lady’s refusal to have anything more to do with him ,he declares that they are “supposed to be in love and ain’t no breaking up, and there ain’t no walking out”.
Throughout the song, Mr. Gates alternates between telling listeners that he will not allow his significant other the luxury of leaving him alone and describing the behaviors that led her to want to leave him. These behaviors include violence as well as lying and general mistreatment of her. This song reinforces the ideals of heterosexuality and power that plays out in our society everyday.
In her article Sex and Power, Kristen Barber argues that hetero-sex is a mechanism by which men dominate women. She goes on to say that in order to understand the subordination of women in the United States, one must analyze the practice of heterosexuality. Heterosexuality enforces gender norms where men dominate women and women are supposed to adhere unquestioningly to this dynamic of male empowerment and female dis-empowerment. In ‘Sposed to be in Love, we can see this dynamic at play. This song depicts a man exercising his dominance over his female partner. She no longer loves him and has decided to leave, but as the dominant party in the situation he feels as though it is his right to set the parameters of their relationship. Including, but not limited to, whether or not she can leave him. Rap music and songs like this specifically make way for such misogyny to thrive.
This begs the question:What will have to be done before our society can see a balance in gender roles??
Church Street, located in Midtown, is considered Nashville’s trendiest alternative nightlife scene. It is home to club Play, Club Tribe, and Suzy Wong’s House of Yum. Club Play is a gay friendly bar with an adjoining dance club. Club Play also hosts drag shows every day of the week. Tribe, in a similar fashion, is a gay friendly bar with a large dance floor. Tribe differs in that its entertainment is not limited to drag shows. It is also a venue to view television shows from popular culture, such as American Horror story Freak Show and the Walking Dead. Additionally, music videos play on a constant loop. It has coined itself, “Nashville’s original music video bar”. Lastly, Suzy Wong’s House of Yum is an Asian themed restaurant that specializes in Asian cuisine, creative cocktails, and “campy” music. It stays open late to accommodate the patrons of Club Play and Club Tribe. Monday through Saturday, Suzy Wong’s is strictly a place to enjoy good food, good drinks, and good music. On Sundays, however, Suzy Wong’s House of Yum is transformed into a venue for the purpose of showcasing the drag queens of Club Play and Club Tribe. From 11am until 3pm every Sunday, Suzy Wong’s hosts Drag N’ Brunch. Drag N’ Brunch consists of a special menu and 4-5 performances from one of Club Plays drag queens. Drag N’ Brunch and Suzy Wong’s House of Yum are not traditional venues for drag culture in that the performances are very “tame”. As such, it serves as a chance for families and those who are not necessarily prepared to watch drag in the traditional sense to experience an aspect of sexual expression that they might not have otherwise been exposed to.
Transgendered individuals in America, face many problems. Their problems stem from the fact that their sex, gender, and sexuality go against the normal order of our heteronormative society.
In her article Transgendering: Challenging the “normal”, Kimberly Tauches discusses some of the challenges that transgendered individuals face in their everyday lives. These issues include, but are not limited to: tension in public places, misuse of identifying pronouns, documentation of identity that fails to identify, assumptions concerning sexual preferences, and unfriendly attitudes from the medical world.
All of these adversities make it easy for those who identify as transgendered to feel marginalized and uncomfortable in the bodies that they inhabit. Drag offers the opportunity for these individuals to step out of the margins and take pride in who they are. Suzy Wong’s House of Yum and Drag N’ Brunch assists these individuals in their work to relieve themselves from the implications of transgendering in everyday life. It provides a space for transgendered individuals to both showcase their sexuality and the pride hey have in it as well as for them to introduce it to people outside of the queer community.
How does a person’s sex or gender identity affect the education they receive?
This topic combines Tolman’s article, “Adolescent girls’ sexuality”, and Pascoe’s article, “Guys are just homophobic”. Through this combination, we can see the interplay between societal pressures and expectations for both girls and guys. Also, how this interplay is perceived and responded to by adults.
The main takeaways from Tolman’s article are the ideas of “good”/”bad” girls and being desired as opposed to desiring. While the main takeaway from Pascoe’s article is guys need to avoid being perceived as homophobic.
To clarify, girls are expected to incite desire and boys are expected to desire them. To create this desire, girls are supposed to dress and act provocatively, but not too much.They cannot actually like this or gain anything from it. It must be simply to provide boys an object. Any deviation will result in a girl being labeled “bad”, and she cannot easily reclaim her “good” label. Boys have also experience the pressure to perform. Failure to express desire or objectify a girl can result in the label of being “gay”.
Society says that it is a biological truth that guys cannot control their sexual urges and naturally desire and objectify every girl they see. Given the responsibility of girls to create this environment, it is the girls who also hold the responsibility for keeping guys in check. Girls are told that a guy will not be able to learn if cleavage, midriff, shoulders, or thighs are shown. Guys cannot be held responsible for their educational experience. How can a guy possibly concentrate on his schoolwork with an attractive female wearing a low-cut top sitting beside him? Of course, he is going to openly stare and focus all of his attention on her breasts until she is out of sight.
Additionally, guys cannot be held accountable for what comes out of their mouth. It is simply a part of growing up that boys regularly demean girls and sexually harass them. To not do this, a boy is presumed gay. Heaven forbid, a boy actually respects women. At the same time, the beratement girls face creates a very uncomfortable environment, to say the least. And yet, this topic is hardly ever discussed. Boys have a responsibility to help create a respectful learning environment. How can a girl possibly concentrate on her schoolwork with a boy sitting behind her commenting on how nice her breasts are, how much she would love to experience his huge penis, and how he could please her in so many ways (all without her approval or encouragement)?
Taking a different track, boys and girls are told what they can and cannot do in school-related activities. This is seen in ideas of how children are expected to perform in each subject, what positions they are to hold, what organizations they take part in, and what sports they play.
Currently, adults perpetuate these ideas by accepting, enforcing, and encouraging them. We cannot expect children to step outside of these scripts without encouragement. To change these strict gender roles, we have to encourage children to step outside of them. We have to counter the unjust perceptions with respectful discourses. Children need to be taught what it means to respect another person. Some adults need to be taught this as well. How can we effectively change the school environment to one of respect? There is the common example of single-sex schools. However, there are many drawbacks to these and it would be just as unfair, if not more, to take away the possibility of co-ed schools. Segregation is not the answer. We have been there and done that. Separate and unequal, we all know which side of the binary would get the short end of the stick.
Then there are the “other” identities, those who do not fit in our binary system. What kind of responsibilities do they have? What responsibilities do others have to them? How do we combat all of these misconceptions?
Is there a such thing as consent in legal terms? Does it matter to the law?
This plays out differently depending upon which side of the binary you look at: “normal” or “abnormal”.
During our discussion of BDSM culture, its common use of contracts was mentioned. These contracts are the process in which the participating parties negotiate consent. However, they hold no legal merit. In Darren Langdridge’s article “The time of the sadomasochist”, we learn that in some places BDSM is illegal. He informs us of “Operation Spanner” in which over a dozen gay men were persecuted for their non-normative and consensual forms of sexual expression. These men were convicted of assault and received fines or imprisonment. If I had to guess, I would say that the submissive parties faced fines and the dominant ones faced imprisonment. Upon conviction, they attempted to appeal their case based on the negotiated consent between parties. However, the presiding judge decided that “it was the role of the law to draw the line ‘between what is acceptable in a civilized society and what is not'” (373). I find it odd that people go to jail for practicing consensual BDSM, and yet rapists get off due to the “iffy-ness” of consent. To clarify, if you give someone permission to whip you, they can go to jail without you pressing charges; however, if you do not give someone permission to have sexual contact with you, they may or may not go to jail, depending on the circumstances. If you happen to have been under the influence, somewhere you shouldn’t be, scantily clad, or flirting, the justice system says that it may not really be rape, because all of these imply some level of consent.
Ironically, in the BDSM culture, nothing acts as an automatic, irrevocable form of consent. Quite the contrary, a participant may dresses as scantily as they like and flirt all they like, and yet sex is still not considered a required outcome. In contrary, our heteronormative patriarchal culture says that if a woman does this she is a tease and actually wants something to occur, whether she admits it or not. Once a man is riled up, he is entitled to release his tension on any woman he deems suitable. In many ways, mainstream culture says that the act of a female being in the presence of a male is consent. BDSM culture challenges that. Each relationship creates its own unique version of what consent looks like.
In Barber’s article, “Sex and power”, she mentions Dworkin and MacKinnon’s idea that “sex is about male dominance and female subordination” (45). In this context, women victims are dismissed because they are complaining about how the world works; while, the (in this case) gay BDSM men are violating this norm by being subordinate or dominating another man, and are thus prosecuted. Furthermore, it is likely that the response would be the same if a heterosexual couple consisted of a female dominant and male submissive.
In essence, our culture finds a way to discriminate against all types of people in ever creative ways. I have come to the conclusion that consent is seen as arbitrary by society.
At what age can someone consent? Does the age of the aggressor matter? Is alcohol consumption consent? How about drugs? Can someone consent to sex after they have been emotionally/psychologically abused? Can consent be withdrawn or is the aggressor entitled to completion of an act after its initiation? Is dressing or acting a certain way consent?
Why does the opinion of the parties involved not matter?
We’ve discussed extensively in class the societal necessity to classify bodies into binaries. When individuals don’t fall into either category of these binaries, they are labelled as “wrong” or “broken” – things that need to be fixed. However, these “things” are people’s lives, and the medicalization of desire holds real, tangible consequences for those affected by it, such as Mark and Pam Crawford.
Morality: the principles discerning good behavior from bad, from what is right and wrong. For many, morality is centered around discourses in the church, within the family unit, or within other social institutions. Typically seen as a positive thing, shared moral values helps create a norm among a community, and allows it to run more efficiently (socially, at least). However, what happens when morality from individual to individual differs? When it comes to morality, particularly sexual morality, some groups of people get put on a pedestal, while others are shamed and humiliated for their sexual “deviances”. Recently, discourses of sexual morality have made their way into legislation and, subsequently, into the courtroom where debates over abortion and contraception, among other topics, have erupted. Continue reading
What exactly is the “down low culture”?
According to an article published at the University of Southern California, down low culture is defined as a culture in which “Men who identify as “straight” but discreetly have sex with other men while
maintaining a sexual/emotional relationship with women. These men do not consider themselves to be gay, bisexual nor do they identify with such sexual labels. Female partners are unaware their men are having sex with other men,thus the term “downlow.”” Continue reading
What do we know about orgasms? Do both males and females experience them? Are they purely physiological? What social stigmas and implications do orgasms hold? …And why are they such a hot topic of discussion??? Here they appear in a medium of pop culture: