Elizabeth Cooper Archives

The Silver Lining of All the Hate

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Cross-posted with Equal Writes*TRIGGER WARNING*

by Elizabeth Cooper

I feel like I'm "supposed" to feel one way or another about major LGBT news stories - generally some variation of happy or sad and/or mad. Let's complicate that original impulse. All of the stories Brenda mentioned are objectively, very sad. And the momentary win for same-sex marriage in California this summer was very happy and exciting. But there are other, perhaps unexpected, impacts of both stories.

Today, I went to a lunch about Bisexual Health, sponsored by Health Professions Advising, the LGBT Center, University Health Services, and Women's Center. One comment noted that in light of the general positive trend towards acceptance (exemplified by support for same-sex marriage), people have been expressing hate that much more vehemently. The presenter pointed out that while LGBT people already firm in their identity can brush off hateful words, these words can deeply hurt those still questioning their identities. The youth that are currently being highlighted in the media as victims and survivors of anti-gay sentiment are among those most vulnerable.

But there is a silver lining. In the wake of these heartbreaking deaths, we as a country are forced to take homophobia and transphobia seriously. LGBT youth are four times more likely to commit suicide than their straight counterparts. These incidents have started a dialogue on what we as policy makers, teachers, students, etc. can do to help what is clearly still a problem.

The Rainbow Weekend - a Party, Protest, or both?

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 dykemarch.jpgCross-posted with Equal Writes, Princeton's feminist blog.

Pride invaded NYC a few weekends ago, and like many queer women, I partook in some of the festivities. Note my choice of language. Festivities. I just read a Gawker article "A Straight Person's Guide to Gay Pride" where they describe Pride as "a giant celebration of living somewhere over the rainbow." Yet the organizers of the Dyke March, an event in Pride weekend, describe it as "a protest march, not a parade." So, what is Pride? A party or a protest? What does it represent to the LGBT community, LGBT individuals, me and you?

To depilate or not to depilate

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Thumbnail image for lack of hair.jpgCross-posted with Equal Writes, Princeton's feminist blog.

To depilate or not to depilate: that is a question that most women do not even think to ask themselves. After my awakening in my WOM 201 class when I learned that we perform our genders (thanks, beloved Gayle Salamon and Judith Butler), I definitely asked myself the question of why I shaved. The next year, I stopped shaving my leg and arm hair in defiance of gender norms. The personal is political, and I wanted to do my part and be a "good" feminist, aligning my actions with my beliefs.

A New York Times article probing whether unshaven celebrities on the red carpet are "Free Spirits or Unkempt?" rambles without taking a stance or clearly presenting different sides, and considers the perspective to the notion that not shaving would make one "unkempt." I found a lot of their ideas alarming. But instead of unpacking what's problematic about the article, Jezebel's response article, "Leg Work: Body Hair Is Not Always A Statement" negates the importance of the debate, lamenting that the NYT focuses on hair at all. The author, Anna North, argues that the choice of whether or not to shave is not necessarily political and that news sources like the NYT should stop focusing on our bodies and start paying attention to our thoughts.