Jeana

Jeana

Jeana Jorgensen, PhD recently completed her doctoral degree in folklore and gender studies at Indiana University. She studies fairy tales and other narratives, dance, body art, feminist theory, digital humanities, and gender identity.

Recent posts

A Politician Implies That All Military Men Are Potential Rapists

You may not be a single-issue voter, but surely it’s worth noting when a politician characterizes rape as inevitable, and further describes it in ways that makes it seem like he expects rape in the military to continue happening. GOP Congressional candidate and current Virginia senator Richard Black has called military rape “as predictable as human nature.” He further commented: “Think of yourself at 25…Wouldn’t you love to have a group of 19-year-old girls under your control, day in, day out?” His implied “you” addresses a male audience, hinting that all men are incapable of resisting the power dynamic of having young women around them in a hierarchy and will inevitably give in to temptation and rape someone. I don’t know about you, but I’d be pretty mad if someone implied that I was a probable rapist. Continue Reading →

No Relationship Model Is One-Size-Fits-All

As I’ve blogged about before, queer and poly relationships actually have a lot of communication strategies to offer straight, monogamous, and vanilla relationships (not to mention the fact that a world where every kind of relationship is not only tolerated but also accepted is a better world for everyone). In a similar vein, Ferrett Steinmetz’s blog post There Is No Okay In Poly does, despite the title, apply to monogamous relationships as well. The post came out of the “Is this okay to do in poly?” questions that the author got tired of hearing, leading him to write of relationship models: “Maybe you select something off the rack at first, but the end goal is to not emulate some other happy couple, but to become one yourself.” In other words, no two relationships are (or should be) the same. Continue Reading →

Decoding Trans-With-A-Star

Perhaps you’ve seen the word trans* tossed around on the internet, and perhaps not. Either way, it’s good to be aware that it’s not a typo, but rather, as this Slate article explains, a more inclusive way of referring to identities that transcend the gender binary. This linguistic convention borrows from computer coding: “the asterisk stems from common computing usage wherein it represents a wildcard—any number of other characters attached to the original prefix.” So rather than having to explain that one is attempting to be inclusive of transsexual, transgender, and genderqueer people, one could simply say trans* to refer to the spectrum of non-cisgendered identities. Good to know, right? Continue Reading →

Understanding “White Feminism”

Depending on how much of the online discussion about feminism you follow, you might’ve run across the term “white feminism.” Batty Mamzelle gives a great description of the term here, explaining that it doesn’t just describe feminists who happen to be white. Rather, it’s “a specific set of single-issue, non-intersectional, superficial feminist practices…that doesn’t consider race as a factor in the struggle for equality.” The post also suggests that when white feminists feel affronted by the term, and want to enter discussions saying “please recognize that I’m not like those other white feminists,” they should remember what it feels like to try to discuss feminism with men who say, “but I’m not one of those men who benefits from male privilege.” It’s totally frustrating to have someone miss the point of a systemic critique of oppression, right? Continue Reading →

Clearing Up Misconceptions About Trans Women

This blog about myths and misconceptions about trans women, in parts one and two, resolves some fundamental misunderstandings about transgender women. One of my favorite (and by favorite I mean annoyingly common) misconceptions is that transgender people are simply reinforcing stereotypical gender norms. In fact, this view is a typical conflation of gender identity (an internally experienced reality) and gender expression (how one behaves/displays that identity). Even cis-gendered folks usually don’t have a perfect one-to-one correlation between these facets of how gender corresponds to biological sex (which is itself a complicated matter, nowhere near as binary as we make it out to be). I’d urge everyone to read up on these issues so that we can be more informed about the complexity of gender, sex, and sexuality, as well as less ignorant about the lives of those who conform less to these standards. Continue Reading →

What If We Thought About Consent In Terms Of Food?

In my attempts to theorize consent, I sometimes think of it in terms of metaphors and stories (see my joking “tangerine consent” post for an example of this). Along those same lines, I began wondering: what if we thought of sexual consent in the same terms that we think of food? Ponder these scenarios:

A woman is really tipsy, and someone who’s talking to her reaches toward her mouth with a piece of food in hand, as though about to begin feeding her. The conversation has not been on food, and she’s not given any indication that she’s hungry. A man is napping, and someone comes up to him and begins to work open his mouth with their fingers so a morsel of food can be inserted. Continue Reading →

Body By Derby

For an interesting take on body image, check out The Rollergirl Project, with part one and part two, illustrating how female roller derby players train and treat their bodies. Aiming to show the physical effects of derby on the bodies of players for the Naptown Roller Girls of Indianapolis, this website documents their training regimens and how their bodies have changed over time. I was intrigued by the beautiful photos as well as the information that many of the women have actually gained weight while playing derby… by putting on lots and lots of muscle! Body image is often a highly individual thing, but I love the idea that getting stronger as part of a community can be an effective way for women to feel good about their bodies. Continue Reading →

Promiscuity As Strategy

One of the topics that kept coming up in the class I taught on non-monogamy this fall semester was slut-shaming. We had many a fruitful discussion about how rape culture and slut-shaming intersect to create an environment full of sex-negativity, virgin/whore complexes, and misogyny. Research on female promiscuity tends to whole-heartedly condemn it or ignore it. This is not, as you might imagine, a useful approach to sexual behavior that often happens regardless of whether it is stigmatized. Hence I’m a big fan of evolutionary anthropologist Eric M. Johnson’s new Slate post on female promiscuity in humans and other primates. Continue Reading →

Obstacles To Teaching About Racism And Sexism

Discussing structural racism in the classroom recently made news when a professor who lectured on this topic was reprimanded for making white students feel uncomfortable. The Slate article reporting on this makes a number of excellent points, which I’ll summarize here and apply to other educational situations. Article author Tressie McMillan Cottom points out that “When colleges and universities become a market, there is no incentive to teach what customers would rather not know. When colleges are in the business of making customers comfortable, we are all poorer for it.” We know that gendered and racist micro-inequalities and micro-aggressions persist in academia, which is ironic because the ivory tower is supposed to be a place of free thinkers and intellectual inquiry. Continue Reading →