The colonial/Modern Gender System

The colonial/Modern Gender System
In the article Heterosexualism and the colonial/modern gender system, Maria Lugones analyzes the modern/colonial gender system related to the colonial period. The colonial/modern gender system is a term coined by Anibal Quijano. The term was developed to explain the roots of the gender binary system. She defines the term as a biological, dimorphic, patriarchal, and heterosexual organization of relations. She develops the argument that gender itself is a colonial introduction. Lugones describes the process in which the colonial/modern gender system is imposed. She also discusses the two aspects to the modern/colonial gender system which can be viewed as the light and the dark side.
Lugones describes the introduction of the imposition of the colonial/modern system as a slow, discontinuous, and heterogeneous process that violently inferiorized women. She suggest that the gender system was introduced was one informed through the coloniality of power. The coloniality of power is another concept Lugones discusses in her article. This concept deals takes on three forms concerning hierarchies, knowledge, and cultural systems. Lugones believes an understanding of the history of gender systems will let one understand the present functions of hetero norms. An example of this would could be dated back pre-colonial period. Before the colonization of America occurred the indigenous people did not necessarily have gender structures. Gender roles were less associated with biological terms. After the colonization of America the indigenous people were introduced to these new concepts. Essentially, these gender system imposed was a method of controlling reproduction, inheritance, as well as a hierarchical structured society with white males possessing dominance.
There are also characteristics of the light and the dark side that are crucial to discuss. The light side is the side that contains white bourgeois women. These are women that experience oppression in a contrasting way to those women who fall under the dark side category. The bourgeois white women were considered weaker, less intelligent, and were not considered capable of holding authoritative positions and positions of power. Virginity and purity were expectations of women until marriage when women were then expected to be mothers and wives. These white bourgeois women were used to maintain race and the purity of race as well as other forces were used to oppress these women so that men, white me in particular, could maintain power.
The dark side consists of the non-white women, women such as Native Americans or slaves. These women were not viewed as dainty or civilized. These women were viewed as animalistic, they processed no social gender, and were reduced through violence and exploitation to bore physical capacity. These women were of no value, no more value than a mule or an ox. Women on the dark side often not only experienced the exploitation of slavery, but also experienced the brutality of rape and other sexual offenses.
The two sides light and dark consist of two different groups of women, both groups hindered and oppressed by a male dominated society. These views still control American society’s norms. This concept of the colonial/modern gender system provides an understanding of how gender and the roles associated with gender have dictated norms throughout history and the present.

Brittany Ledford


“Trans 101” Questions

“Trans 101” Questions

  • How should one go about asking another individual how they identify themselves or their pronouns of choice? I know the “Trans 101” website says to ask politely, but it still seems intrusive. In your experience with transgender people, what do you find they prefer?
  • In what environment have you encountered the greatest acceptance as a transgender person?
  • In what environment have you encountered the least acceptance (or harassment) as a transgender person?
  • Generally speaking, how many transgender folk in America have the support of their family?
  • If family support is missing where else do transgender individuals find a support system, if they have a support system at all?
  • Has your gender identity separated you from larger American society in terms of career options, your social life, and so on?
  • How available are hormones and/or surgery for transgender folk who wish to undergo such procedures?
  • How common is the practice of purchasing hormones off the black market? How safe and/or harmful has this practice proved to be concerning one’s health? 
  • How does your gender identity affect your romantic relationships, specifically regarding your experience with meeting potential partners?
  • Popular culture has begun to open its doors more to transgender folk in recent years. DC Comics, for example, has started to introduce gay or lesbian characters which were once banned by the Comics Code Authority, and is about to take a major leap forward by introducing a reality based trans character. Do you see this as an indication that mainstream society is becoming more comfortable with people who identify as transgender?

Morgan McFetters

 WMST 2020-001


United Nations Population Fund

United Nations Population Fund

            Of the ten reproductive rights organizations listed in Women Worldwide, I recognized The United Nations Population Fund’s work as being the most attentive to geopolitical and cultural differences of gender, sexuality, and family. Each organization’s website included at least a brief statement regarding their commitment to taking regionally specific approaches due to geopolitical differences. However, it was the United Nations Population Fund which devoted the most discussion to realizing the cultural and geopolitical differences of gender, sexuality, and family concerning reproductive rights.

            Broadly understood, the United Nations Population Fund outlines reproductive rights as the right to: “Reproductive health as a component of overall health, throughout the life cycle, for both men and women; reproductive decision-making (including voluntary choice in marriage) family formation and determination of the number, timing and spacing of one’s children and the right to have access to the information and means needed to exercise voluntary choice; equality and equity for men and women, to enable individuals to make free and informed choices in all spheres of life, free from discrimination based on gender; and, sexual and reproductive security, including freedom from sexual violence and coercion, and the right to privacy.” Employing this definition of reproductive rights, therefore allows room for those inevitable differences regarding gender, sexuality, and family that will arise across the world.

            Furthermore, the UNFPA’s commitment to cultural sensitivity can be evidenced in the strategies they employ in varying regions of the world. For example, in Yemen, they helped to create a guide for imams which relates reproductive health to the Koran and emphasizes the Prophet’s teachings on gender equality. Additionally, the UNFPA gives particular attention to indigenous groups. Using Panama as an example, “a study on the Mbya, who were traditionally hunters and gatherers, is being conducted, and includes a systematization of Mbya’s experiences in sexual and reproductive healthcare, their myths and culture. Community participation, especially that of Mbya male midwives and traditional women midwives is being incorporated into this research.” In this way, it appears to me that the UNFPA’s understanding of reproductive rights is aware of the need for developing initiatives with respect to unique geopolitical conceptions. As a result, their mission to extend the right of reproductive health to everyone becomes more effective in its implementation.  

Morgan McFetters

WMST 2020-001

Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Health

WGNRR campaigns and takes action with international members and partners and focuses on access to safe and legal abortions, access to contraceptives, and promotes awareness of sexual rights. They specialize in working with groups such as adolescents.
WGNRR focuses on a larger goal. They work with organizations and programs on an international level. They focus on the larger goal at hand which is international full achievement of reproductive health and rights.
They take a holistic approach to their goal. This is a reason they understand reproductive rights in a way that is attentive to geopolitical differences in understandings of gender, sexuality, and family. Taking the holistic approach means they have developed an understanding in all the interconnected parts of sexual reproductive health and rights, these parts consists of taking into consideration race, religion, culture and so forth. Taking a holistic approach means they are looking at this issue from all angles.
They have five program goals. Each goal focus is viewing the social issue from an international level. The first goal involves working with other countries to demand changes to current policies and government regarding sexual reproductive health and rights. The second involves efforts to improve access to contraceptives to people living in other countries failing to achieve. The third is to increase abortion access to those living in other countries. The fourth is to increase awareness and the recognition of the importance of sexual rights internationally and fifth is to increase the capacity of youth members and advocate for young people on an international level.
The approach this organization takes is holistic. It views people experiencing this social issue in a manner that attempts to view all aspects of their situation, even though they have the same problem socially, it is understood that these aspects are known.

Brittany Ledford WMST 2020-001




Trans 101

– I would like to know a little more about the identities that give transgender people such diversity from one another. For example: tranny, tranny boy/girl, transexual, boy-girl,girl boy, butch dyke, bi-spirit, glitter boy, etc…

– I would like to know around what age is typical for a person who is transgender to become aware.

– What is the process that a transgender person experiences. I know every persons experience is different, but I want to know general process that leads to acceptance of oneself.

– I also would like to know about partnerships or relationships between transgender couples. I would like to know the details in gender identity affecting their choice in a partner. I would simply like to know if gender identity affects sexual orientation. A person who is transgender could in fact be heterosexual?

– I feel after reading the article, I learned that there are so many labels to label transgender people. After reading the article I also felt like labeling was the problem. Putting a label on a gender identity seems to make it less individual. I understand that a person’s gender identity is their own, and a part of who they are, I feel,  labeling would take away from each person identifying in their own way. I would like to know more about why there is so much labeling if every person identifies differently.

– For those transgender people who choose genital alteration, what is the importance of the operation. For those transgender people who identify as one gender, but biologically are another and do not want genital alteration, I want to know why they do not seek the surgery.

-I would like to know what help is out there, presently, for those who are transgender? What services are specifically offered to address their needs?

-I would also like more information on transgender children and how parents react and cope. The damages caused to children by parents. I would also like to know the positive methods to raising a child who is transgender.


-Brittany Ledford WMST 2020-001






The Abortions Rights Coalition of Canada still feels that there is still a lot that needs to be done when it comes to the reproductive rights of women. There has been some progress since the Supreme Court in Canada threw out the unconstitutional abortion law in 1988. In recent years they are facing other pro-choice groups disbanding so they need extra support building a coalition to help improve abortion access. ARCC faces the anti-choice movement because it’s very active and strong today. Its stated on the website that “Anti-choice activist remain committed to various campaigns, such as working to defund abortion, spreading misinformation, and promoting laws to restrict abortion; through there hasn’t yet to be any violence they still receive low-level harassment.”

I am going to post there mission statement and their vision about what they want out of there nation to give a better understanding how they view reproductive rights.

Our Mission: To ensure women’s reproductive freedom by protecting and advancing access to abortion and quality reproductive health care.

  • To achieve equality, all women must have the right to decide for themselves whether and when they will bear children, and how many. Without control of their fertility, women cannot have autonomy over their lives and cannot play a full and equal role in society.
  • Women have a constitutionally-based right to unrestricted, fully-funded abortion, without legal or other barriers or discrimination due to gender, class, ethnicity, race, age, location/region (or area of residence), or any other characteristic, including reasons for choosing an abortion. The rights of pregnant women must not be abridged—a pregnant woman is “one person” under the constitution.
  • Women have the right to receive a full range of reproductive healthcare options, services, and information, including (but not limited to) medical and surgical abortion, contraception, family planning services, and comprehensive sexual health education.
  • Women have the right to access reproductive healthcare services safely and in a timely manner, in an atmosphere of dignity, privacy, respect, trust, and compassion.
  • All abortions are medically required—not “elective”—and fall under the protection of the Canada Health Act (just like all childbirths). The delivery and funding of abortion and other medically required reproductive healthcare services must meet the Act’s five principles.
  • Providers of reproductive health care services have the right to deliver such services free of discrimination, harassment, and violence.


The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada states on its issues link that abortion is medically necessary. “It should not be left to politicians or religious leaders to determine what is and what is not medically necessary.” On the websites link about abortions there is a tab that is about sex selection abortions. “In 2005 a new test promised to accurately identify the gender of the embryo as early as five weeks. A major concern around sex selection abortions is that female fetuses will more likely be aborted than a male fetuses, particularly by women whose cultures have traditionally valued males more than females.” (Position Paper #24) How the Abortion Rights of Canada deals with sex selection abortions is in Canada women do not have to provide a reason of why they are receiving an abortion. They state it is important for them to remember that they cannot restrict women’s right to abortion just because some women might make decisions that they disagree with. If women feel obligated to abort a female fetus; these women are still dealt with in a compassionate and safe way.

Fitch: 2020-001


Questions for Transpersons

0. What pronouns do you prefer?

1. Around what age did you start recognizing/coming to terms with your gender identity?

2. How do you deal with the adversity you face on a day to day bases?

3. Have you received any harassment for your gender identity? From family, friends, or strangers?

4. How does your gender identity affect your relationship with friends and family?

5. Do you have a support system?

6. How do you handle situations when/if someone is misgendering you? Do you stop that person and ask them to gender you the right way?

7. How costly is it for hormones? If you have insurance does it pay for your hormones?

8. How you received transphobia from a medical professional?

9. How does gender dysphoria affect you?

10. Does gender identity affect one’s sexual orientation?

Fitch: 2020-001