She had to – What? Behave appropriately. Speak appropriately. Say nice shit or keep her mouth shut.
“Essentially, nearly all people are born with physical characteristics that are labelled male or female. ” states Office of National Statistics in the UK. WHO defines gender as based on socially constructed features.
That being said, Peg Tittle did it again, with this new controversial novel. I found myself nodding every time Kat made a comment, every time she had to present the facts to everyone working in the correctional(!?) facility.
I know this book migh create a controversy for trans-women and I don’t want to go there, because this was not the message I got from reading it.
It’s about hundreds of years of women being subordinated. There is this standardised image of women, our society promotes. The consumerism society pushes women to buy all sorts of make-up to look better, to hide their age, to not feel confortable in their own skin. It’s a whole industry build on the concept of women perfection. You need to wear this in order to be attractive to the opposite sex. Everything is made in coordination with men’s needs. No doubt they are behind all this industry.
Being a photographer and studying poses in women portraiture, you easily come to the conclusion they were first created by men. Every pose either expresses fragility or sensuality. Rarely, some photographers decide to brake the rules. However, most women like posing in this way, so I guess the programming worked pretty well.
Also, as a woman, you should be quiet, not correct anyone, especially not a man. You should always smile and feel happy. If you fail to do these, you are sanctioned in a way or another.
Gender Fraud addresses all the issues stated above. I enjoyed the dialogue between Kat and Dell and her answers to the psychiatrist’s questions were ace.
“Lose the battle to win the war.” does not always work as Kat learned from attending various groups, all on irrelevant matters (cake decorating, sewing, nothing to require’s one intellect). Childless Group was one of the worst and I totally agree with Kat on that one.
Whenever I read a book that speaks to me on a deeper level, I’d like to pick up the phone and invite the author for a cup of tea or hot chocolate. That way we could chat for hours on subjects you rarely talk with other people.
That happens to me every time I read a book by Peg Tittle. And because I was born under a lucky star, I even got the chance to ask Peg some questions. However, the best part is she agreed to answer them. I will share with you the whole interview:
Mesca: First of all, let’s get to know you. Who is Peg Tittle and what defines you?
PegTittle: I’m anti-sexism (I consider that to be more accurate than calling myself a feminist, especially since the meaning of ‘feminist’ seems to have changed significantly, and for the worse, since the 1970s), I’m an atheist, I’m anti-capitalism, and I’m an environmentalist. I’m probably a bunch of other things, but since those four come to mind, I suspect they’re most important to me.
(By the way, I grinned at the ‘What defines you?’ question because I’ve been busy promoting Gender Fraud: a fiction, a novel about gender identity, and I can certainly say that sex and gender do not define me—as least as far as I’m concerned; unfortunately, in our sexist society, that’s exactly what defines me.)
I might also add here that I’m also Jass Richards (my pseudonym for my funny-with-an-attitude writing; see jassrichards.com) and I’m Chris Wind (my pseudonym for my more-on-the-literary-side writing; see chriswind.net).
Mesca: Was there a special event in your life that made you start writing about women’s issues? Or was it the voice inside you that needed to speak out?
PegTittle: I think it was an accumulation of little things … I think I am Eve (chris wind) was my first feminist piece, and it was actually an essay I wrote for my Milton course in university. That gave me the idea of investigating the rest of the Bible for misogyny (I hadn’t yet discovered Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s The Woman’s Bible). I wrote Ophelia (chris wind) as a result of my Shakespeare course, and that led to several other soliloquies written from the point of view of Shakespeare’s women. Revisioning fairy tales was very much ‘in the air’ in the 70s, so I did that as well (Snow White Gets Her Say, also by chris wind).
And Judy Chicago’s The Dinner Party had a great effect on me: I remember standing outside the gallery after I’d just walked through, reading the information at each plate setting, just stunned and tears started rolling down my cheeks as I became suddenly conscious of the full weight of centuries of misogyny, and my boyfriend, who had come with me to the gallery, said with great insensitivity “I don’t know what you’re crying about” (I should have left him right then and there, I know); Deare Sister (chris wind) was a result of that (those four, along with UnMythed, comprise Satellites Out of Orbit).
Then surely feminism informed my work as Jass Richards, but I wouldn’t call any of it “about women’s issues” except for A Philosopher, a Psychologist, and an Extra-terrestrial Walk into a Chocolate Bar.
I started writing fiction as Peg only recently (she was the academic of the three of us): What Happened to Tom was clearly inspired by Judith Jarvis Thomson’s famous philosophical thought experiment about abortion (“The Violinist”)—I thought ordinary people, not just philosophers, should know about it, and I thought it needed to be really ‘fleshed out’ for people, especially men, to get the point. It Wasn’t Enoughand Impact just followed as a result of a years and years of living in a male supremacy (same for This is what happens, by Chris—though I’d actually written an early version of that in my 20s, but couldn’t get an agent or publisher for it) … And Gender Fraud: a fictionwas specifically triggered by the relatively recent rise of gender identity, specifically the ‘gender recognition’ legislation being passed in so many countries.
Mesca: Out of all the books you’ve written have you got a favourite? Which one? Or if you haven’t got one, why not?
PegTittle: Well, What Happened to Tomsort of started it all, in terms of writing conventional novels (I actually wrote it as a screenplay first, and it exists as a stageplay), so that’s important, but I think I like Impact most because of its hard intensity (that feels more like me).
That said, I’m quite fond of some of the pieces in Satellites. And This is what happens, because it covers my life, feels like my magnus opus.
That said, I think I actually enjoy writing as Jass Richards most—I have fun with Rev and Dylan.
Mesca: What was the worst thing you’ve been told and how did you react to it?
PegTittle: No one thing stands out. I think my life—and probably many women feel this way, if they’re at all aware of their lives (I’m appalled at how many women just sort of stare at me, with either incomprehension or pity for my presumed delusion, when I say ‘misogyny’ or ‘male supremacy’…)—has been full of such things, an accumulation of insults (from simple discouragements to seemingly harmless dismissals to outright intimidations and injuries) that eventually either outrage or numb you. (Or both.)
Mesca: Do you think the world is changing for the better or worse when it comes to women’s rights?
PegTittle: One, it depends on where you look, in terms of both place and time. There are huge differences between what happens to women in one country and what happens to women in another country. Also, I don’t think there has been a steady course one way or another: even in my lifetime, things got better, then they got worse (for e.g., reproductive rights—when I was a child, no access to contraception and abortion; by the time I was in my late teens, access to contraception and abortion; now, so far so good, but there are forces trying to restrict access again…)
Perhaps that’s how it’ll always go: women will achieve one step forward, then men will be so outraged, they’ll force them one or two steps backward … I often find myself saying to young women “But we figured this out in the 70s, have you forgotten? Why do we have to keep re-proclaiming our personhood, why do we have to go through the same fights over and over …?” Maybe that’s why: they’re responding to the backlash of their present …
Mesca: What is the advice you’d give to any woman out there who has experienced discrimination just for being a woman?
Peg Tittle: Well, surely that includes all women out there (they may not be aware that their experience is discrimination just for being a woman). I guess first and foremost that would be my advice: realize that it’s not personal, it’s not you—it’s because you’re female. (That’s in large part why I wrote This is what happens.)
I’d like to say something about how to change it, what to do in order to eliminate such discrimination, but I just don’t know. It’s been going on for centuries, literally (I’ve just finished reading Jack Holland’s The History of Misogyny), and surely we’ve tried almost everything, without success, apparently …
Thank Peg for accepting to answer my questions as I know you are quite busy writing and promoting your new book. I am nearly half-way through Gender Fraud: a fiction and it is a book I can’t wait to write a review on. Maybe we can have a conversation on the subject of gender fraud, who knows?
All of the books can be purchased directly from Peg Tittle (epub, mobi, pdf) through her websites; they will be available in print, probably from September, due to the pandemic.
The ReGender App by Jass Richards might answer that question
Could an App change the way you see the world or maybe just confirm some of your doubts? Well Rev and Dylan are about to find out.
Starting reading the book I had no idea how things are going to turn out. But must admit I was very impressed with it. First and foremost the characters are really cool (for their age). They are those type of people I’d like to hang out with. Intelligent, witty and adventurous. I enjoyed their dialogue and insights.
I won’t give away the plot as I never do, all I’ll say is: this is a very interesting book. The idea of an App that could change your gender (Rev and Dylan had a great debate over this) through a hologram, drew my attention. Rev could test if being a man would bring her more privilege and Dylan could test if being a woman would make him more vulnerable and discriminated.
I loved the issues Jass Richards touched in this book. We live in a world where women’s discrimination is still an untackled subject. It was interesting to see how things are being seen once you live in the shoes of the opposite sex and see the world through their eyes.
Rev and Dylan had to write a report on the App as they’ve tested the Beta version and I totally agree with their views in the end.
A book I really recommend to any book club and to people who are interested in gender differences and gender discrimination.
We live in a strange world. Is it just me, or each year we become more distanced from ourselves and others? We connect to our phones while disconnecting from real life? Could we save ourselves before it’s too late?
Gandhi once said “Be the change you want to see in the world.” and I constantly wonder how many of us really do that. We are used to complain about everything, starting from the weather, to politics even lifestyles. We get swapped by the Web ob deception that turns us into negative Nellys. And in all this process we forget about us.
When was the last time you stopped, on your way to work, and admired the flower that desperately tries to grab your attention? When was the last time you listened to the birds tweeting in the morning? When was the last time you did nothing, just be one with the world?
Instead, we like flowers on Instagram and Facebook, Tweet our thoughts first thing in the morning and try to multitask most of the time. Are we on a speed train that has no destination? Are we about to lose who we are whilst becoming someone just like anyone else?
I hope not, I hope we will stop the speed train and derail it into a better direction, to a destination that will benefit us as individuals and the humanity as a whole.
What do you think? The guard attacked those ladies for not wearing their masks in the right way and if that was the only issue, it has obviously gone too far.
Why are we becoming monsters when we are scared? Was the violence necessary in that situation? What happenes to human rights and why did the guard became aggressive, when she could have only addressed wearing the mask accordingly? Is this the beginning of strange control?
I don’t have the answers for these questions and it saddens me to see violent reactions like this. We are all in this, some people have chronic rhinitis and can’t wear a mask, others suffer from anxiety and panic attacks and some can’t breath through it at 40+ degrees. We need to be more understanding. At least that is how I see it.
What do you think? Did the guard act in the right way? I’d like to see your answers
Have you ever felt like the tasks at your job are way above your knowledge or abilities? Have you ever felt like a fraud and atribute all your accomplishments to luck? You don’t like compliments as sometimes you feel you don’t deserve re them? You as many others like you, have possibly experienced the impostor syndrome.
Waking up this Saturday morning I decided to share with you my experience and what I have learned so far about the Imposter Syndrome. Apparently it was first studied on women and it was believed only women suffer from it. But it’s not the case. Here are the successful entrepreneur Mike Cannon Brookes and actor David Tennant talking about their experiences with impostor syndrome.
It was such an informative short course. I had made some tests to determine the degree of impostor syndrome in my brain and wasn’t surprised to find it way over 50 per cent. I have learned there are 5 types of imposter syndrome and learned how to overcome them. Also, I have read that many successful people as we saw already, suffer from it. Here’s a more detailed article.
We all have our doubts and sometimes we feel like frauds. The key to everything is to keep growing your mind and learn more things, expand your consciousness. Change our mindsets from fixed to growth and soon we’ll feel better. And if that doesn’t work, when the imposter syndrome tries to get ownership over your brain, remember this quote from Michel de Montaigne, that will at least cheer you up: