“Please don’t call me him.”

dontcallmehim

I was joking around. I teasingly said something about Voldemort to the dog, and didn’t even realize until V looked up at me with those big eyes and firmly said, “Please don’t call me ‘him.'”

I had slipped up without even realizing it. And I got called on it.

About a year ago, then 8 year old Voldemort started playing around with pronouns. Up until then, Voldemort had been “a boy who likes pink,” or a “tomgirl.” And Voldemort would definitely let you know that he/him/his was the correct pronoun, regardless of the pink Hello Kitty shirt that said, “Girls Rule!” that was currently being worn.

Voldemort first flipped to she/her/hers right at the end of summer, and said “I’m a boy who goes by she!”

I went with it. If you think my brain didn’t gibber in terror initially, you are very extremely wrong, but Voldemort asked, so she/her/hers it was. There was a shit ton going on at home with the divorce and V’s dad moving to Alaska, and and if switching pronouns gave her some feeling of control? Let’s do it.

Then, briefly, we switched to they/them/theirs.

I’m not sure of the why of this one, exactly – we had talked about the gender binary and being gender-fluid and how some people use very different pronouns between she and he. I had an easier time with this switch – somehow my brain and tongue didn’t get as tangled on it as it did with she/her/hers – but it didn’t last long.

When Voldemort started tae kwon do at a school that prided itself on respect and using yes ma’am/no sir, and we all got a little confused as to how best to work a kid who went by they/them/theirs into that process (they were totally willing, which was AWESOME, we just..couldn’t figure out what to use), Voldemort switched to she/her/hers there all the time.

And from there, to V’s elementary school – where I met with a ridiculous amount of people, all of us nervous. It’s not like this was our first meeting. I’d always set up a meeting with the teacher prior to school starting, just to go over “my kid doesn’t gender like you and here’s how to not be an asshole about it.” But this was different. This was, in all of our eyes, a huge, giant, scary step to take. Both out of concern for Voldemort herself, and out of concern that we would do it wrong. Because my kid is the first in the school to be public about her place in the LGBTQIA spectrum. Because of course she is.

I won’t lie. It had it’s ups and downs.

For a while, her teacher just..didn’t use any gendered words when talking to or about her. Which I totally get, as I did that quite a bit, too. And there were some questions from other students as to why we were calling Voldemort a “she.” I jumped every time the phone rang, worried it was the school calling to tell me my child was sobbing or was being bullied or had run away from school.

I have to admit I breathed a sigh of relief when the end of the year came.

I was a little better prepared this year – although not for when Voldemort decided she didn’t want to use gendered bathrooms anymore. V started the year as she/her/hers, and other than one comment where Voldemort casually told me that one of her classmates says her family doesn’t like anybody transgender, there haven’t been any major bumps.

I’m not sure why, then, that Voldemort asking me a few weeks ago to talk to her childcare center and tell them to switch pronouns, was one I worried about. I told two people there. Two. The owner and the director. They were surprised (I don’t know why, they’ve had Voldemort since she was THREE), and I cringed in anticipation of what their reaction might be.

Which is how I ended up sitting in my car one day after dropping Voldemort off – flapping my hands and trying not to do more than tear up a little. Because when we had walked in, and I braced myself for whatever was to come next, all we had heard was “Good morning, ladies!” “Hey, alianora, how’s she doing today?” “Are we picking her up after school this week?”

We have been lucky. We have been SO lucky. Voldemort is supported at school, supported at childcare, supported by friends. It’s scary as hell some days, but she blows me away with her ability to self-advocate and her willingness to be so very open about her gender.

Kids are badass. LGBTQIA kids are especially badass.

NaBloPoMo November 2016

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NaBloPoMo: Here We Go Again

It seemed like a good idea when I signed up..last year went pretty well, I think?

NaBloPoMo November 2016

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(Not Quite) A Feminism Friday

Yesterday, the kid thrust a $2 off coupon for Kids Nite Out at the Rec center at me when we were on the way home.

“Can I go?”

As in, that night. In an hour. And we haven’t eaten dinner.. But sure, why not. I looked at the movie options at the local theater, because unexpected nights off can sometimes mean movie nights for mama – if the movie schedule fits when V has to be picked up.

Oh, Deepwater Horizon! That sounds good. And I’ll review the trailers in front, as it is Friday, and it’s fun.

Voldemort packed swimsuit and towel, a handful of quarters, and off we went.

As we’re parking in the lot at the rec center, I hear a sheepish sounding, “Mama? I think I forgot something..”

Shoes. Voldemort forgot to put on SHOES before we left the house.

*facepalm*

I got V signed in, discussed if the family bathroom would be open (V doesnt like using gendered bathrooms and vastly prefers not to), rolled my eyes at the lack of shoes (although attempted to be soothing, as the kid was upset about it) and headed out again to take myself to a movie.

I was pretty excited, I’ll admit. But, standing in the registration line had taken ten minutes, and the movie was due to start in five. And I wanted to see all the trailors. So I was trying to hurry.

Which is, of course, when the railroad crossing lights started to flash and the arm that prevents cars from trying to cross the tracks and end up flattened messes came down.

But..but…the trailers!

Four minutes later, I can finally cross. The movie theater parking lot is full, so it takes me another minute to find a spot to park.

I head in happily, although a little anxious.

“One for Deepwater Horizon, please.”

“Sorry, ma’am. This showing is sold out.”

*sigh*

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Feminism Friday: A Look at the Trailers Before Ghostbusters

feminism friday

So last week, I looked at the trailers in front of The Secret Life of Pets. And in front of a G rated movie marketed to children, 49 male characters spoke to only 29 female.

Let’s see what sort of trailers were marketed to a female-led PG-13 movie. I’M SURE THIS WILL GO WELL.

To start:


Florence Foster Jenkins
Main character: Female
Male speakers: 7
Female speakers: 3


Nerve
Main character: Female
Male speakers: 5
Female speakers: 3


Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk
Main character: Male
Male speakers: 5
Female speakers: 2


Sully
Main character: Male
Male speakers: 7
Female speakers: 6


Trolls
Main character: Male
Male speakers: 3
Female speakers: 1


Inferno
Main character: Male
Male speakers: 5
Female speakers: 3


Bridget Jones’s Baby
Main character: Female
Male speakers: 3
Female speakers: 5

Totals:

I find it interesting that, while there are 3 female lead movies out of the 7 shown, ONLY ONE of those have more female speakers than male featured in the trailer. And that it’s Bridget Jones’s Baby, which isn’t the first movie that pops to mind when you think of equality.

But even so, for trailers featured in front of Ghostbusters – a film led by 4 female characters, the fact that there are only 3 female led movies out of the 7 being advertised is a bit boggling.

Sully comes the closest to having equal number of male and female speakers in the trailer. I was particularly bothered by Florence Foster Jenkins, which only counts 3 seperate female speakers if you could the blonde bombshell who shakes her boobs at one point before having one tiny cheer that I’m counting as a line.

Overall, there are 35 male speakers compared to 23 female speakers.

Ongoing count from last week and this:
Male speakers: 84
Female speakers: 52

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Feminism Friday: Movie Trailers from The Secret Life of Pets Showing

feminism friday

It’s summer, and there have been several kid-friendly movies that Voldemort has wanted to see. Which is cool – i like movies, popcorn is yummy, and of course I’m going to go see Finding Dory.

But I noticed something disturbing before Finding Dory started. I noticed the number of trailers for future movies that featured only or primarily male characters. I didn’t notice until halfway through the previews, but it bothered me enough to remember to pull out a small notebook last week when we went to see The Secret Life of Pets.

Just for my own information, I kept track of the name of the movie, the protagonist’s assumed gender*, and the number of assumed male and assumed female characters who spoke in the trailer.

This is ONLY for the movies previewed in front of The Secret Life of Pets. We’re hitting Ghostbusters on Tuesday, so that will an upcoming Feminism Friday

Like so:

The Secret Life of Pets
Main character: Male
Male speakers: 9
Female speakers: 3

I didn’t count the snakes, because they went by too fast.

Makes sense? Let’s go!


Monster Trucks
Main character: Male
Male speakers: 7 (counting the monster itself, which is referred to as “him”)
Female speakers: 3 (counting the radio announcer)


Nine Lives
Main character: Male
Male speakers: 3
Female speakers: 4


Ghostbusters
Main character: 4 badass ladies
Male speakers: 2 in the trailer I saw in the theater, 0 in this one
Female speakers: 4


Trolls
Main character: Male
Male speakers: 3
Female speakers: 1


Storks
Main character: Male
Male speakers: 12
Female speakers: 3

What even is going on here. 3 female speakers to 12 male. Wow.


Kubo and the Two Strings
Main character: Male
Male speakers: 3
Female speakers: 4


Sing
Main character: Male
Male speakers: 12
Female speakers: 7

Whew. My numbers might be off by one or two, but I got pretty close. I didn’t count any character who didn’t speak, except in the case of Sing, where I counted the characters who..sang.

Out of eight movie trailers, seven of those had main characters who were male. Only one had female main characters.

Out of eight movie trailers, a total of forty-nine male characters spoke, compared to only twenty-nine female characters.

Out of eight movie trailers, only three had close to equal the number of male and female speakers.

I don’t think I would’ve done more than roll my eyes if I had been in a different movie – a non-kid-friendly movie. But this is what our children are seeing. This is what is being advertised to MY CHILD as being what is normal – and sure, we’re talking about monsters in trucks and animated trolls, but kids pick this stuff up. They absorb it. And as they get older, it’s what they expect to see in their lives as well.

And this is just looking at gender. Tell me, where there any people of color in those trailers? I can think of two off the top of my head – possibly four if I’m counting correctly in Sing.

It’s time to do better, Hollywood. Seriously.

*as all characters in these movies are presented only as male or female, so assumptions have been made

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