Author: Ellen Thomas

Oppression and Empowerment in an All-Girls School

I went to an all-girls Catholic high school. Societal prejudices were compounded in the small, southern, privileged community I grew up in and indoctrinated in our everyday experiences at school. Some women went off to college and learned to recognize these internalized messages and fight against them, some didn’t, but the subtle lessons unquestionably shaped our perception of others and ourselves. For a school devoted to raising young women, our curriculum was soaked in sexism. Traditional gender roles, sexual shame and male gaze are three interlocking ways our culture perpetuates a social hierarchy that places men above women, and...

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Trans on TV

No one can doubt that LGBTQ representation on television has improved in recent years, but there’s one area that lags sorely behind: the portrayal of transgender characters. GLAAD, a media monitoring organization that promotes LGBTQ representation, released its annual “Where We Are on TV” Report for the 2016-2017 season. According to GLAAD, transgender characters on TV have more than doubled in the past year. The hopefulness of this finding is slightly diminished, however, when looking at the fact that there were only seven trans characters on TV last year, none on broadcast television, and now there’s 16. Also, more...

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The Trouble with Gendered Toys

One of my earliest memories is of dismembering Barbies. I had a box full of dolls, some inherited from my older sisters and some gifted by well-meaning adults, that I completely overlooked in favor of my brothers’ Legos and Hot Wheels. We decided to finally put them to use by chopping off their hair and hurling them at the ceiling fan until our playroom floor was littered with miniature limbs. But while I was exposed to a large array of toys and allowed to choose what to play with based on my actual preference, many children are not. The...

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Keeping up with Kultural Appropriation

La Familia A post shared by Kylie (@kyliejenner) on Feb 16, 2017 at 7:33pm PST Kylie Kardashian posted another Instagram with cornrows last night, or as the Kardashians call them, “boxer braids,” once again showing how the Kardashians’ Cutting Edge looks won’t be hindered by constant criticism of their cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation is “the adoption or theft of icons, rituals, aesthetic standards, and behavior from one culture or subculture to another” according to Unsettling America: Decolonization in Theory & Practice. The term has become a popular discussion topic in recent years, possibly fueled by the Kardashian family’s embracement...

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