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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Today in class, we had to opportunity to either stay with the professor and the teaching fellows in order to have an open mic to talk about anything; or to go downstairs and facilitate one ourselves without teaching fellows. I decided to stay with the teaching fellows because I thought that the discussion would be more structured. During our discussion, we talked about the question of reverse sexism. I asked Levi if he thought if the definition of reverse racism applied to the definition of sexism, in the long run, he said that women cannot be sexist to men, only prejudice. Because the issue of sexism works on a system that advantages men over women, and women cannot turn the system around overnight, we cannot be sexist but prejudice. I disagreed with him a bit on that because I believe that the system does disadvantage men. For example, there are never any baby changing stations in the men's room which puts the millions of single dads in the America at a disadvantage. This is my definition of reverse sexism. Though reverse sexism isn't as prevalent in the mainstream media, but it is a problem especially for men who don't fit the stereotypical "macho" man role. Society refuses to accept that feminine men exist and the reason this is a problem is because our society relates anything remotely feminine as a bad thing. Because we live in a woman hating world, anything involving women is seen as inferior and bad unless it's sex. 

After the sexism conversation, we moved on to transgender rights. We touched on the topic of the suicide rates of transgender people and the right to access healthcare and other inalienable rights. We argued a bit about the abuse of LGBTQ+ undocumented immigrants in detention centers. We mainly argued about Obama's response to a undocumented trans-woman who was draw his attention to that problem. I think that because Obama is our president and a public figure, he should have handled the situation in a more respectable manner. He owes it to the public to treat people better than the average Joe treats people. I understand that he has been dealing with hecklers for over seven years that he's been in office but he should have kept his composure. 

After lunch, we headed to the Philadelphia Magic Garden to look at some Mosaic art. I didn't understand most of the art that I saw but art is not meant to be understood. The artist, Isiah, utilized sexuality, different cultures, and sculpting. He had a lot of sculptures of dogs which led me to believe that he owned a dog, this was not true because his response to people asking if the dog next to him was his, he said "no I'm his human." I thought that was very sweet. We asked him different questions about his art such as the use to gender fluidity displayed by the sculptures with male facial features with women bodies. He had a lot of energy which was far from what I expected just from hearing about him. He was very nice and accommodating to us. 
The artist himself
After class, I decided that I wanted to join the evening session on the topic of sex workers in India. We spoke to a man who represented one of the unions that advocated for sex workers. I learned that sex workers are considered actual workers in India but this was not without battle. They fought with their government for years before eventually becoming a social movement that advocated for the right of privacy and the right to their bodies. He cleared up some stigma about sex workers by providing facts about them. He said that less than one percent of unionized sex workers are HIV positive and nearly 90 percent of sex workers are married women with children. There is still violence against sex workers but there are laws that are being passed to prevent them; it is still a very dangerous occupation to be in. I asked TJ if his union still advocated for and protected non unionized workers and he answered with, "absolutely." 

After the evening session, I considered catching the last half hour of karaoke but decided that I was too tired of walking and I just wanted to sleep. I heard good things about the event and I'm kind of bummed that I missed out on the talent. Maybe next time. 

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