First of all, as a student of culture and popular culture and the impact that it has on us all, I know this to be true: Seeing yourself represented in the popular culture is really critical in terms of forming your own self image.
I’m old enough to have been around before seeing black people represented in the popular culture in diverse ways. When I was a kid, it was a big deal to see a black person on television. So that’s why it was important in a science fiction thing — in “Star Trek” — it was huge. I read a lot of science fiction books as a kid. As a kid of science fiction, “Star Trek” was important to me and seeing a person of color in a command position was hugely important to me.
actor Levar Burton, Star Trek and Reading Rainbow.
“Languages like Spanish, French, German and Russian not only oblige you to think about the sex of friends and neighbors, but they also assign a male or female gender to a whole range of inanimate objects quite at whim. What, for instance, is particularly feminine about a Frenchman’s beard (la barbe)? Why is Russian water a she, and why does she become a he once you have dipped a tea bag into her? Mark Twain famously lamented such erratic genders as female turnips and neuter maidens in his rant “The Awful German Language.” But whereas he claimed that there was something particularly perverse about the German gender system, it is in fact English that is unusual, at least among European languages, in not treating turnips and tea cups as masculine or feminine. Languages that treat an inanimate object as a he or a she force their speakers to talk about such an object as if it were a man or a woman. And as anyone whose mother tongue has a gender system will tell you, once the habit has taken hold, it is all but impossible to shake off. When I speak English, I may say about a bed that “it” is too soft, but as a native Hebrew speaker, I actually feel “she” is too soft. “She” stays feminine all the way from the lungs up to the glottis and is neutered only when she reaches the tip of the tongue.”—
You know what’s even more mind-blowing? Speaking a gendered language with a neuter. In Greek we can change the gender of a given referent to anything we want by adding suffixes such as ακι, αρα, ος (aki - neuter, ara - feminine, os - masculine). It’s such a rich language - your entire thoughtscape changes once you’re immersed in it.
“We grow up being told that anger is bad. Good girls do not express their anger, good girls play nice, they accommodate, they please. It is time we start looking at anger differently. Why are we so bent on suppressing this anger when for so many, it is the only emotion left in the face of injustice? Why should young women appear compliant and docile when they are obviously being subjected to violence or inequity? Why shouldn’t anger be a legitimate drive for our politics? Change will not come because we ask for permission, change will happen because we leave no other alternative.”—Flavia Dzodan, “Show them how to resist: Connecting girls, inspiring futures” at Tiger Beatdown (via morecoffee)