How Oppression Works

We talk about sexism, racism, heterosexism (homophobia), ageism, cissexism, and other systems of oppression a lot around these parts. However, there is occasionally some confusion about what oppression is and how it works in the context of social justice. Oppression is a complex topic. This blog will serve as a basic overview, or a starting point, to related conversations.

Oppression typically operates as a system. This means that there are multiple forces taking away someone’s power based on a part of their identity (their sex, sexual orientation, skin color, etc). All of these forces work together to marginalize, subordinate, dehumanize, or otherwise devalue groups of people.

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Chest Binding Guide

I can haz emailz?

Hi Laci! I’m a female that identifies as male, and I’ve been curious about maybe trying to bind my chest (in a healthy manner). I’ve heard about all of these ways to bind your chest, but so many of them seem to have these side effects or health issues. Like one friend of mine tried to bind herself using Ace bandages (which, as you know, compress), so she unknowingly was binding her chest with bandages that compressed! I’m sorry if this is a really random question, but…Do you think you could help me out with a nice, safe way to chest bind?

I once tried binding my boobs down when I was in high school. My friends and I somehow decided that DUCT TAPE was a good idea. Dear lord….never again! I thought that shit was going to pull my nipples clean off.

Yeah….I know. Lesson learned.

For those who are wondering, FTM (female to male – female sex/male gender) binding is pretty common as a way to alter gender expression. Chest binding is also used for cosplay or to cross dress. While Duct Tape is the bottom of the barrel, Ace bandages are not a very sustainable idea either. These bandages work in a way that causes them to become tighter/less flexible every time they are used, which with multiple uses could: warp your ribcage, weaken your chest muscles, cause fluid to build up in your lungs, or other serious back harm. Do not want.

To reduce (though not eliminate) the risk of injury by binding with an Ace bandage:

(1) Use each bandage only a couple times.
(2) Don’t bind for longer than 8 hours.
(3) Don’t bind too tightly (try puffing your chest up while you’re binding).
(4) Wear something under it to prevent digging & binding too tightly (tank tops, t-shirts, and sports bras seem to work well for this).
(5) Stretch a little once it’s on – this helps, especially if it comes out a little lopsided. Take a deep breath, hug yourself, and twist back and forth a few times.

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“Boycott Girl Scout Cookies!” said the Girl Scout.

If you’ve been keeping up with your viral videos lately, you may have come across the 14 year old Girl Scout named Taylor.

Taylor posted a video advocating for this year’s Girl Scout cookie fundraiser to be boycotted because Girl Scouts allows transgender girls to participate in the program.

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The Rapey Right, Sex Illiteracy, Trans H8

Recent sex health news in the United States

House Republicans to Redefine Rape
Lately, a large body of powerful people–most of which are men–have been trying to narrow down of the definition of “rape” (and you thought the guy next door with the crazy hair was creepy). From Mother Jones:

Rape is only really rape if it involves force. So says the new House Republican majority as it now moves to change abortion law.

For years, federal laws restricting the use of government funds to pay for abortions have included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest. (Another exemption covers pregnancies that could endanger the life of the woman.) But the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” a bill with 173 mostly Republican co-sponsors that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has dubbed a top priority in the new Congress, contains a provision that would rewrite the rules to limit drastically the definition of rape and incest in these cases.

With this legislation, which was introduced last week by Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), Republicans propose that the rape exemption be limited to “forcible rape.” This would rule out federal assistance for abortions in many rape cases, including instances of statutory rape, many of which are non-forcible.

Let’s look beyond the “political party” shit. I don’t care if you’re a Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Communist, or IDontGiveAFuckist–does this not seem primitive and barbaric? Have we moved forward at all since the early 1900s? Why must our social and human needs always come second to politics, money, and corporate interests? The good news is, in response to pressures from political activist groups (ye-ah!!), Republicans have initiated corrective measures. Thanks for doing the right thing.

Sex Educators Notice That Adults Are Clueless About Sex Too
It’s like a virus that is passed socially, generation by generation, from parents to their children. Perpetuated by a nation in which 2/3 of the states reject comprehensive sex health education, the trend of being completely clueless about sex is not only worrisome, it’s sad. With the same belief, some badass sex toy reps have taken it upon themselves to use sex toys as an aid to exchange information about sexuality and healthy reproduction. This movement of researchers and educators to bring sex health education to light in new ways is a gentle reminder of how fearful we have become with our bodies, our sexuality, and feeling pleasure.

NoShitNews: Study finds transgender people are discriminated against

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) made history with the 1st nationwide study about the experiences of people who do not conform to our gender boxes. They found that profound forces of discrimination exist in nearly every dimension of life for transfolk. In their intersectional approach, the research also indicates that: “No dumbasses, racism isn’t dead either”.

Here are some examples of the findings:
♦Respondents were nearly four times more likely to live in extreme poverty, with household income of less than $10,000.
♦Respondents were twice as likely to be unemployed compared to the population as a whole. Half of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment or other mistreatment in the workplace, and one in four were fired because of their gender identity or expression.
♦While discrimination was pervasive for the entire sample, it was particularly pronounced for people of color.
♦Housing discrimination was also common. 19% reported being refused a home or apartment and 11% reported being evicted because of their gender identity or expression.
♦An astonishing 41% of respondents reported attempting suicide, compared to only 1.6% of the general population.
♦19% reported being refused health care due to bias against transgender or gender-nonconforming people, with this figure even higher for respondents of color.
♦Harassment by law enforcement was reported by 22% of respondents and nearly half were uncomfortable seeking police assistance.
♦Over 78% reported feeling more comfortable at work and their performance improving after transitioning, despite the same levels of harassment in the workplace.