Sometimes music sounds youthful and exuberant, and then sometimes you flip the record cover over and see the a picture of three smiling 16-year-olds and you think "damn, they are actually are young and exuberant!" This week's BitchTapes is dedicated to those who don't wait around to start making awesome music.
Today marks the end of my time as a guest blogger for Bitch. Eight weeks and 24 posts later, I've learned a lot from the editors (thank you, Kelsey!) and readers about writing and politics. And the politics of writing. Rather than end off by talking specifically about a particular topic at the intersection of youth, sexuality, and education, I want to reflect on the nature of doing analytical writing at this political nexus.
The idea was that a study capable of producing statistics and other empirically grounded information could be used as a way to get more funding for existing services and in the creation of new services for trans people. Of course Scanlon and Travers already knew there was a pressing need for better health services, but they had to find a way to formalize and support what they already knew so that the government would have a harder time ignoring their requests.
With a community-based research model directed in significant part by a community engagement team of trans people, researchers Greta Bauer from the University of Western Ontario (my alma mater!) and Robb Travers from Sir Wilfrid Laurier University were (rigorously) interviewed and hired to help out on the project with the provision that they met a specific set of criteria, one of the most important being their ability to let trans people be experts in their own issues. Trans PULSE has used respondent-driven sampling, where access to a comprehensive online or paper survey is shared through networks of trans people who already know each other. This method allows the project team to access an appropriate sample of what they've called "hidden populations" who can't be randomly sampled.
Kids are indeed the future and so they're also the site of great moral panic. As more kids are skipping the closet, debate rages on about what is appropriate to "expose" young people to—which also raises the question of what is appropriate to acknowledge as already existing in young people's experiences. And because it is easier to recognize the specificity of queer sexuality, sociality, and familial forms in the face of unmarked mainstream culture—where hetero love stories provide the narrative framing for most cultural products—youth and non-normative sexuality are a fascinating and revealing combination. (Maybe my next post will be on why the Disney Princesses have made the "PC" leap to include a princess of color but won't be advertising a lesbian princess any time soon?) So in this series, I want to ask: How have discourses of sexuality and gender been transformed in the context of youth? Who gets to speak for kids? Where do young people receive their most influential messages about the values around sex, sexuality, and gender, and their proper performance?
Dressing up and pretending to be an adult is a natural part of childhood. Adults (just like fairies, kings, or queens) hold a bit of allure and enticement for young kids, making it a treat to pretend to be them for a while.
Yet, in today's consumer-driven culture, the notion of "aging up" kids is happening in a way that has taken all the fun and pretend out of it. Clothing that is marketed towards kids, especially girls, looks less "girly" and more like smaller versions of outfits found in the tween and teen sections of stores.
It should come as no surprise to anyone who's been on the job search in the last two or three years that networking is now being held up as the be all and end all of job hunting strategies. Normally, I simply skim this ubiquitous and rather facile advice (it's on par with Cosmo beauty tips when it comes to regurgitating the same ol' same ol'), but this piece from the Wall Street Journal was effectively the straw that broke the camel's back. I think it was the use of voila. It's a recession, lady. There ain't a whole lotta voila-ing going on, ya dig?