Tagged: Gender

Proposed U.S. Citizenship Test Questions! What is a woman?

This is the last in my series of proposed U.S. Citizenship questions. As always, I’m going to give you first the average British answer to each question, just to show what an uninitiated, unassimilated person would say, and then the real answer. Previously: What is Cream Cheese served with? How many bathrooms does the average family house need? and How do you make a cup of tea?

Question: What is a woman?

Foreigner’s answer:

Wow, that’s a complicated question! The simplest answer is that women are one half of the world’s population. And I guess the biological definition could be that women are people who have two X chromosomes, or who have female genitals and secondary sexual characteristics like boobs.

But we aren’t defined by our biology alone, and the social definition of gender is always historically and culturally specific.

The safest definition is probably a woman is someone who identifies as a woman. Which might sound circular, but that’s ok! Gender, like everything in our life, is ‘remade’ every time we enact it.

That said, it doesn’t exist in a power vacuum, right? So we can also acknowledge that what it means to be a woman depends on our other intersecting identities. Cis-women, heterosexual women, white women, adult women, and middle or upper class women are less likely to have their gender policed or called into question.

U.S. Citizen’s answer:

A woman is a uterus that sometimes acts as if it had a mind of its own.

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A Piece of Paper. Waking up as an immigrant on Nov 9, 2016.

<> on June 27, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.

Naturalization ceremony. Photo from Daily Yonder

The funny thing is, I was actually looking forward to waking up on November 9th. And yet yesterday I discovered that I have lived for the past eleven years surrounded by people who hate me. They may not know it, but they do. And now I know it as well.


Back in September I was disappointed that the evening class I’m currently taking met Tuesdays from 6 to 9pm. It meant J and I wouldn’t be able to celebrate the election together at the Grafton Pub, as we had when Obama won in 2012. (We dared each other to drink a shot of Malört if he won. The barman warned us it tasted revolting, and it did.)

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Plays to go see now! The Bottle Tree by Beth Kander


Back in May, I announced with some fanfare the Theater Reviews For People Who Are Afraid Of Bad Theater! But then, ironically, we didn’t see any theater, bad or otherwise, for the rest of the summer because J was in a show of his own and I had to stay home with the baby.*

Now we are back in the normal swing of things, and yesterday we finally managed to hire a babysitter, get ourselves into presentable adult clothes, and actually leave the house together to go the opening night of Stage Left’s production of The Bottle Tree by Beth Kander.

It was fantastic, so I’m excited to properly kick of this series with a play I can wholeheartedly recommend. It runs until Nov 20th, tickets cost $20/30, and a spoiler free Q&A is below!

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The Women I Know: Thoughts On The Abuse At Profiles And Being A Bystander

Profiles Theater front

Profiles Theater papered with copies of The Chicago Reader in the days after the article was published

Cox was jealous and controlling, Sara says. He convinced her to destroy the blouses she wore to work because he thought they were too revealing. He would look through old photo albums with her. “You want to keep that one, hon, do you?” she remembers him asking when they came across pictures of her high school boyfriend. “You don’t want to keep that picture. You should just rip it up. If you love me, rip that up.” He insisted on being in the room whenever she talked on the phone to her family. Slowly, Sara felt him chipping away at her personality.

The theater community in Chicago has been reeling this month, after The Chicago Reader published an exposé of alleged abuse at the now-closed storefront theatre company Profiles. The result of a year-long investigation, journalists Aimee Levitt and Christopher Piatt documented a climate of fear, intimidation, and violence perpetuated and enabled by the two men responsible for much of the theater’s output over the two decades: Darrell W. Cox and Joe Jahraus. Continue reading

First Ladies

So Clinton has won the nomination, as everyone knew she would. If I could vote in US elections I would (of course) vote for her over the horror show that is Trump.

But still, I’m sad that Sanders, the candidate I would’ve supported based on his policies rather than his symbolism, won’t be on the ballot. Particularly as I think he would be the safer guard against Trump, as well as a more progressive President.

I’m one of the people who resents the idea that I ought to be excited by Hillary Clinton, on the basis of the fact she’ll be the first female president (although not the first female presidential candidate). But then I come from the UK, where we have the cautionary tale of Margaret Thatcher to prove that a female politician does not automatically mean a feminist politician. Continue reading