Behind the Curtain-Heteronormativity

Take a look around you. Chances are, you will find multiple invisible acts of heteronormativity. Watch a movie and ask yourself why the protagonists are usually heterosexual white people. Look at boy and girl children and ask yourself why they play with the toys they play with. Take a look at the front cover of a Cosmopolitan or Mens Health magazine and ask yourself what these covers say about masculinity and femininity. The answer: heteronormativity.

Our lives are socially constructed along gender lines, in which we are assigned to fixed identities. Society has an obsession with labels. We feel the need to classify people, so much so that those who do not fit into these definitions are often marginalized and isolated. Heteronormativity is the normalizing of particular societal manners of being, defining strict definitions of how people may and may not act. The ideal is projected as white, attractive, thin, heterosexual, and able-bodied. This process occurs at the very beginning of people’s lives. The minute the sex of a child is announced, decades of gendered norms come into place, shaping that child’s life. Read More

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Keeping Up with Kat

The year was 1999. JT was still in NSYNC,  Britney Spears had just come out with “Baby One more Time” and Y2K was a legitimate fear. It was in this setting that the world was graced with the third best teen movie to ever exist (first being Clueless, and second Mean Girls). Along with the movie came the feminist role model we didn’t know we needed.  Read More

To Spot A Feminist

There she goes, the bra-less, make-up free feminist. Look at her in her unshaven state. Notice the gleaming fangs ready to snap at any man she crosses. There she is folks: a feminist in her natural environment.

This is the image conjured up when many people think of feminists. Because obviously a beautiful woman who wears makeup, cares about fashion and tries to stay in shape cannot be a feminist, right? Feminists are ugly, fat man-haters. Basically, Feminism has everything to do with the way a person looks, not the way that person thinks. I’ve gotten my fair share of confused looks when I’ve proudly stated that I am a feminist. I can almost see the gears turning behind their frozen expression as they try to find something to say that will not offend me. They usually do not achieve that goal. Their expression says it all. Their eyes beg the question: but how can you be a feminist if you look like that? A girl that looks like me, a person who loves makeup, hair and fashion cannot be a feminist.

It has gotten so difficult in this day and age to recognize a feminist. Lucky for us, American radio show host Roy Thompson of The Blaze has asked, via Twitter, the very necessary question of how to spot a feminist. The hashtag #HowToSpotAFeminist began trending worldwide. Queue the polarizing responses. Read More

Transitioning

After months of speculation, this past week Bruce Jenner made the brave public statement that he is transgender. In a sit down with Diane Sawyer, he recounted the events that led him to this important decision. His interview has opened up the much-needed dialogue about the transgender community.

Getty:AFP:File

Getty/AFP/File

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The ‘S’ Word

On Tuesday the 21st of April, the DA marched to Mpumalanga Legislature to hand over a memorandum opposing discrimination. This march comes after ANC MP’s told DA Mpumalanga Deputy Leader Jane Sithole that her dress was inappropriate, with someone even likening her dress to one “worn by prostitutes”. What she wore, which had no bearing on the issue that was tabled, came to eclipse the meeting. This is what she wore:

A prostitutes dress?  photo by DA Mpumalanga

A prostitutes dress?
photo by DA Mpumalanga

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Cover Me, I’m Going In-The Controversy Around the Hijab

Choice

Choice-original photograph(Kirsten Jacobs)

“I wear my hijab because it is encouraged in the Qur’an, because I don’t feel the need to sexualize or objectify my body in accordance with society…because I want to assert my female Muslim identity.”

This is how Aaliyah* responds to my question “Why do you wear a hijab?” The question becomes important in the context of the controversy surrounding the hijab seen around the world. The hijab, a large square scarf draped over the head and shoulders, is a requirement for Muslim women. The hijab protects a woman’s modesty. The hijab, and other Islamic dress articles, have become the topic of discussion in various feminist circles. Western claims that the Islamic dress code can be viewed as a manner of oppressing and controlling the bodies and sexualities of Muslim women have largely dominated the discourse. But what do Muslim women think? Read More

Girl, look at that body

perfect-body-21

The perfect body-photo creeds to http://www.dearkates.com

This weekend I had the pleasure of looking after my 9 year old cousin and her two friends. My day consisted of 5 hours of incessant screaming, awful jokes and annoying laughter, all while reigning myself in from swearing at them. A few hours in, the girls decided they wanted to play the Sims, something I have done hundreds of times before. But this particular day was different. By watching them play the game, I saw decades of the medias fascination with the body at work. Read More