Victoria Aveyard Versus Xenophobia

Victoria Aveyard Versus Xenophobia

This "New York Times" bestselling author isn't having it.
71
views

I started following Victoria Aveyard after reading through her Young Adult fiction "Red Queen" sometime last year. As an avid reader and English major, I've taken a distinct interest in some of the newer literary phenomenon that has come up in the past ten years or so, especially the YA dystopian genre. While the dystopia has been around for a very long time, newer books like "The Hunger Games," "Divergent" and "Maze Runner" have formed a sort of category of their own in recent years. Somewhere around this genre is where we find Aveyard and "Red Queen." At this point, you might be expecting me to summarize the book, maybe provide some feedback or tell you my experience. Not happening. There are plenty of places where you can learn more about that kind of thing elsewhere.

Aveyard's Twitter account is a world of its own, always full of lively (even heated) conversation about current events. Lately there's been a lot of political commentary and thoughts on "The Bachelor." Sometime since Donald Trump began his political tirades Aveyard came out in open protest against his various prejudices, especially taking on his statements about Islam and immigration. It wasn't long before the Trump crowd found out and began bombarding her account with anti-Muslim / anti-immigrant tweets. During these exchanges Aveyard made some crucial points that, I believe, represented the beliefs of many of her Millennial peers and fan base. If the Bernie Sanders campaign has taught us anything, it's that social justice and equality are incredibly important to our generation. Increased conversation across cultural boundaries has made it more and more evident that racial, economic and religious equality has not yet been achieved and that we must take purposeful action if we want to fix it.

Point 1.

This opinion becomes more popular as more Americans actually begin to interact with Muslims, many of whom are American themselves. In an open letter to Donald Trump on his Facebook page, Humans of New York photographer / journalist stated:

"I’ve watched you compare refugees to ‘snakes,’ and claim that ‘Islam hates us.’ I am a journalist, Mr. Trump. And over the last two years, I have conducted extensive interviews with hundreds of Muslims, chosen at random, on the streets of Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan. I’ve also interviewed hundreds of Syrian and Iraqi refugees across seven different countries. And I can confirm -- the hateful one is you."

So we have these two major Millennial voices saying, "We do not hate people for being Muslim," and people who actually do have it out for Muslims begin to pour in (check out the Humans of New York visitor posts on Facebook). Millennial fans see two very different opinions exhibited. On one hand you have all these claims that Islam consists of a bunch of dangerous, conniving criminals and on the other hand you have people saying, "Hey, doesn't your own culture have some of the same types of people?" I know mine does. While I am openly Christian, I desperately hope that I will not be grouped with Christian radical hate groups like the Westboro Baptist Church, the Puritans of the Salem Witch Trials, the massacres of Muslims during the Crusades, etc. Even with all of that aside, it really just takes getting to know a little bit about the Islamic community in your own area to see the distinct difference between murderers and the majority of people at your local mosque.

Point 2 (or maybe 1.5).

Hating an enormous, complex group of people is not the way to retain a Millennial or Generation Z fan base. Aveyard is a YA author -- that stands for Young Adult. And who do we see advocating for equality and standing against prejudice? Young adults. By openly condemning xenophobia (the irrational fear of people from other countries) Aveyard may alienate a few, but I would venture to guess that she will entice far more readers than she lost. We want to hear strong voices speaking out and standing up for other people. Millennials may be the poorest generation financially, but I think we are far more likely to throw whatever support we have behind efforts for cultural equality.

Cover Image Credit: www.hypable.com

Popular Right Now

No, I Don't Have To Tell You I'm Trans Before Dating You

Demanding trans people come out to potential partners is transphobic.
108978
views

In 2014, Jennifer Laude, a 26-year-old Filipina woman, was brutally murdered after having sex with a U.S. marine. The marine in question, Joseph Scott Pemberton, strangled her until she was unconscious and then proceeded to drown her in a toilet bowl.

Understandably, this crime triggered a lot of outrage. But while some were outraged over the horrific nature of the crime, many others were outraged by a different detail in the story. That was because Jennifer Laude had done the unspeakable. She was a trans woman and had not disclosed that information before having sex with Pemberton. So in the minds of many cis people, her death was the price she paid for not disclosing her trans status. Here are some of the comments on CNN's Facebook page when the story broke.

As a trans person, I run into this attitude all the time. I constantly hear cis people raging about how a trans person is "lying" if they don't come out to a potential partner before dating them. Pemberton himself claimed that he felt like he was "raped" because Laude did not come out to him. Even cis people that fashion themselves as "allies" tend to feel similar.

Their argument is that they aren't not attracted to trans people, so they should have a right to know if a potential partner is trans before dating them. These people view transness as a mere physical quality that they just aren't attracted to.

The issue with this logic is that the person in question is obviously attracted to trans people, or else they wouldn't be worried about accidentally going out with one. So these people aren't attracted to trans people because of some physical quality, they aren't attracted to trans people because they are disgusted by the very idea of transness.

Disgust towards trans people is ingrained in all of us from a very early age. The gender binary forms the basis of European societies. It establishes that there are men and there are women, and each has a specific role. For the gender binary to have power, it has to be rigid and inflexible. Thus, from the day we are born, we are taught to believe in a very static and strict form of gender. We learn that if you have a penis, you are a man, and if you have a vagina, you are a woman. Trans people are walking refutations of this concept of gender. Our very existence threatens to undermine the gender binary itself. And for that, we are constantly demonized. For example, trans people, mainly women of color, continue to be slaughtered in droves for being trans.

The justification of transphobic oppression is often that transness is inherently disgusting. For example, the "trans panic" defense still exists to this day. This defense involves the defendant asking for a lesser sentence after killing a trans person because they contend that when they found out the victim was trans, they freaked out and couldn't control themselves. This defense is still legal in every state but California.

And our culture constantly reinforces the notion that transness is undesirable. For example, there is the common trope in fictional media in which a male protagonist is "tricked" into sleeping with a trans woman. The character's disgust after finding out is often used as a punchline.

Thus, not being attracted to trans people is deeply transphobic. The entire notion that someone isn't attracted to a group of very physically diverse group of people because they are trans is built on fear and disgust of trans people. None of this means it is transphobic to not be attracted to individual trans people. Nor is it transphobic to not be attracted to specific genitals. But it is transphobic to claim to not be attracted to all trans, people. For example, there is a difference between saying you won't go out with someone for having a penis and saying you won't go out with someone because they're trans.

So when a cis person argues that a trans person has an obligation to come out to someone before dating them, they are saying trans people have an obligation to accommodate their transphobia. Plus, claiming that trans people are obligated to come out reinforces the idea that not being attracted to trans people is reasonable. But as I've pointed out, not being attracted to trans people supports the idea that transness is disgusting which is the basis for transphobic oppression.

The one scenario in which I would say a trans person should disclose their trans status is if they are going to have sex with someone and are unsure if their partner is attracted to whatever genitals they may have. In that case, I think it's courteous for a trans person to come out to avoid any awkwardness during sex. But even then, a trans person isn't "lying" if they don't come out and their partner is certainly not being "raped."

It is easy to look at the story of Jennifer Laude and claim that her death was due to the actions of one bigot. But it's more complicated than that. Pemberton was the product of a society that told him that disgust towards trans people was reasonable and natural. So when he found out that he accidentally slept with a trans woman, he killed her.

Every single cis person that says that trans people have to come out because they aren't attracted to trans people feeds into the system that caused Jennifer Laude's death. And until those cis people acknowledge their complicity in that system, there will only be more like Jennifer Laude.

SEE ALSO: Yes, You Absolutely Need To Tell Someone You're Trans Before Dating

Cover Image Credit: Nats Getty / Instagram

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

10 Men That Will Change Your Mind About Hair Loss

It happens to the best of them, but these men look better with a bald head!

539
views

Hair loss is such a common thing for men to face as they get older. As a society, I feel as though we typically frown upon it. This is probably the case due to the amount of hair transplants and hair products to stop hair loss and start hair growth. However, there are some men who can make the hair loss turn into a great thing because of how good they look bald. So, I have found the best looking bald men (in my opinion, of course!) and put them all into one list for your viewing pleasure!

Giphy

1. Will Smith

First of all, I am extremely bias because I believe that Will Smith is the best looking man on this planet (even my boyfriend knows this!). Second, Will Smith is not always bald, but when he is, he tops the list of all bald men. In his role of Deadshot in Suicide Squad, Will was rocking the bald cut and looked absolutely amazing while doing so. 10/10, would recommend.

Will Smith: Deadshothttps://batman-news.com/2016/12/13/deadshot-movie-...


2. Idris Elba

Once again, another man that is not usually bald but when he is, he sure does kill. Idris Elba is such a great looking man and has an even better sounding voice. What is better than a man with an accent that looks good bald?


Idris Elbaidris-elba-hairstyle


3. Dwayne Johnson

We all know that the Rock is a favorite among women. He is tall, handsome and has the big strong muscles. Not to mention he plays the sweet father role well and has a great sense of humor. But the most impressive part of him is that he can be bald and pull it off VERY well!

Dwayne Johnsonhttps://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/f...


4. Morris Chestnut

Such a beautiful man with an amazing smile. I am not sure how someone could not love the appearance of Morris Chestnut. Did I mention his smile?

Morris Chestnutmorris-chestnut


5. Shemar Moore

Another man with no hair that steals the show with a great smile is Shemar Moore. His bald head stands out in a great way and I think it would be impossible to have this type of list without Shemar on it.

Shemar Moorehttps://mymajicdc.com/3632803/see-the-photo-that-h...

6. Kobe Bryant

Not only is the MVP of basketball but he might be the MVM (most valued man) of the bald men out there! Once again, another beautiful smile. Not to mention, he's extremely talented.

Kobe Bryanthttps://www.kcra.com/article/nba-legend-kobe-bryan...


7. LL Cool J

A singer and an actor, representing the best of the bald men out there. Such a beautiful smile (are we seeing a trend here?) and an even better looking man. Could not leave LL Cool J off of this list either.

LL Cool Jhttp://comicbook.com/2014/10/29/ll-cool-j-says-hes...


8. Tyrese Gibson

Another man who can definitely give a positive view on being bald and losing your hair, Tyrese has been doing the look justice for a long time now.

Tyrese Gibsonhttps://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/tyrese-gibs...


9. Vin Diesel

We all know him from the Fast and the Furious, but let's recognize that he is a great looking man, rocking the bald head look. We love the movies and we love him. Go you Vin Diesel, keep rocking out and winning over all of our hearts (and eyes!).

Vin Dieselhttps://pagesix.com/2017/12/29/vin-diesel-named-fo...


10. Common

What common lacks in hair on his head he gains in facial hair. I swear he has one of the best beards ever. Also, those freckles? Hello? So cute!

Commonhttps://www.grammy.com/grammys/news/common-becomes...


Hopefully, after seeing as these wonderful men absolutely slaying the bald look, you'll think twice about hair loss (whether you're a man or a woman!).

Related Content

Facebook Comments