Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Age Reassignment Surgery

Note: This is a re-post from several months ago.  My reason for re-posting it is to followup yesterday's post about Dr. Vartan Mardirossian. I am very pleased to say that he is my surgeon.  Below are some of the justifications that I went through when I made my decision. 

Dr. Mardirossian will have a booth at Southern Comfort this coming week so stop by and say hello.  Private consultations with the doctor will be available and are free.  Also please feel free to ask me any questions and comments are always welcome.  I hope to see you at SCC. 


I have a confession to make.  After all the years insisting that I was “no-op” and would likely never have surgery I have succumb to the inevitable.  One day I looked in the mirror and said, “It is now, or never.”   How can I face tomorrow knowing that another person wants to have her story told?   A younger looking version of the person I had become.

As I looked into the mirror, I saw an old person; my beloved grandfather.   Yes, the surgery I had was not Gender Reassignment (GRS).  To be technically correct, I had typical (female) fresh face surgery.   Blessed with somewhat feminine features, the years have taken their toll. I hated what had happened to my lower face, neck and jowls.   No amount of contouring makeup was ever going to hide what time plus gravity had accomplished. I just did not feel as old as I looked.

I am involved with several social and cultural organizations and there was still an abundance of opportunity to be out.  However, after getting ready for an event, early last fall, I looked and thought to myself, “This is not working.” Fortunately, because of a commitment, staying home was not an option. I know all of us have been there.

My due diligence started a few years back. Plastic surgeons do provide free consultation and estimates so I visited several.  Always as my feminine self, so there would be no question as to my preferred outcome. Although all were friendly and professional from a business prospective, we can always perceive when there is a lack of either acceptance or downright prejudice.  My search continued and just recently, a wonderful and accepting surgeon relocated to my area. He actually mentioned “Transgender Fascial Feminization Surgery (FFS)” on his web page, so I knew he would be knowledgeable in this area.

Not only was he accepting, but also had studied and worked in the Boston area with one of the best FFS doctors/experts available.  Dr. Vartan Mardirossian helped me decide what would be best for a younger look and suggested subtle and reasonable options.  His male and female “before and after photos” were remarkable. I committed.  It has been about a year and could not be more pleased with the outcome - A fresh look.  I question myself now as to why I waited so long.   Being 67, I did think that it was too late to do anything. I was wrong. I like to describe my procedures as “Age Reassignment Surgery.”   There was a younger person inside that needed validation.

We baby boomers are rewriting the book as we have done all along.  I am living proof that “60 can be the new 40.”  Do feel free to ask me questions as to cost, recovery and realistic expectations.  My e-mail address is rhondawilliams at bellsouth.net or use the comment section in my BLOG.  Also, visit the site palmbeachplastics.com.


Thoughts of an FFS Surgeon

Note: I have a guest post today.  There will be more on this subject later this week so stay tuned.

Thoughts of an FFS Surgeon - Good title! Now, where should I start?

Should I start from the moment I see them filling in the "precious" paperwork in the waiting area or should I start from the moment I shake hands with them in my room and sit across from them to listen to their concerns, desires and life stories. Or should i simply start from WHY I started doing FFS?

I am Armenian, but I was born and raised in Bulgaria.  Simply because I was born and lived the early part of my life in Bulgaria people were telling me that I should identify as Bulgarian.  When I was 16 I moved to Italy, I and lived there for 15 years.  As a result of living in Italy for a decent duration of time people started telling me I should identify as Italian.  During this time I also acquired a Russian citizenship.  After the acquisition of this citizenship people started telling me that I should identify as Russian.  

Society naturally wants to categorize things, but in this instance we are talking about one's person.  To try and label oneself with such singularity does not take into account that we are much more.  We are the sum of our life experiences and what we feel we are inside.  

My own journey of self has in part created the affinity I feel with the transgender community.  It is the courage of transgender people to identify as their true self, and not what is dictated by the circumstances of what society says.

But what are the principles that we follow when evaluating a person who wants to undergo facial feminization surgery? What makes a face beautiful at any age?  What distinguishes the male from the female face and what are the features that make them both attractive? Certainly interesting questions!

First of all, the patient can be either a biological man or a biological woman. It is not uncommon for for me to operate on women who are self aware of their heavy forehead or heavy jawline or in general unhappy of their facial contouring.

Facial feminization is all about studying ways to enhance the attractiveness of the face. It takes the brain only a thousandth of a second to decide the gender, the age and the attractiveness of a person based on their facial features. During that period the eyes perform a myriad of involuntary tracking movements scanning the entire face and the neck and submitting the information to the subcortical centers of the brain. And literary “before you know it” you realize what the gender of the person standing in front of you is! This means that the understanding happens without even using the higher centers for consciousness of the brain, like the cortex.

Male and female features are quite different, but the features that are considered attractive are quite similar in both genders.  While a woman’s face presents with a smooth forehead, higher cheekbones and smooth oval shaped jawline, just like the shape of an inverted cone, men generally have a protruding forehead, lower eyebrows, larger nose and a more prominent jawline, more like a rectangle.

We know this quite well - the center of the female face are the eyes - there are a constellation of procedures are designated to underline their shape, color and innate beauty. The blepharoplasty or “eyelid lift” is a procedure aimed at removing the excess skin from the upper and lower eyelids to eliminate the so-called “tired look”. At the same time lifting the eyebrows in an aesthetically pleasant position, eliminating the crows` feet and adding more volume to the cheekbones  directs more light into the eyes to naturally enhance their beauty. 

To underline the oval shape and the attractiveness of the jawline a “classic” facelift and necklift can eliminate the relaxed cheek tissue on the sides of the chin along with tightening the skin and the muscle of the neck. A further step is to soften the contour of the forehead and the jawline if they are too prominent - those are safe and proven procedures of bone contouring that more and more men and women are looking into, to enhance their attractiveness and make their face more feminine looking.

Of course, along with the “golden rations” of aesthetics, each person has unique subtleties and giving balance to the face is a delicate equation that should respect its natural attractive traits.

There really infinite aspects to FFS surgery - few are related to the external appearance, but many more are part of the inner world of the patient. And that is what the real task in front of the FFS surgeon lies: to capture the inner beauty, to transform it in anatomical shapes and contours, to bring a person to a new life and level of confidence, to do the right thing for a patient. And in all this, not to forget that it takes real bravery to travel to and to be your real self - it is an honor for us to be of help and guidance in this journey!

Monday, September 28, 2015

Southern Comfort Conference


Love it or hate it - It is difficult to challenge the 500 pound guerrilla or to argue with the last man standing (so to speak).   The Southern Comfort Conference has out lasted almost all of the other Transgender Conferences and is the undisputed USA largest.  Politics has plagued the management (volunteer staff) and lack of self discipline has turned off many, especially within the cross dressing wing of the transgender community.  if nostalgia serves me correctly, it started as a family oriented cross dressing convention.  Yet it has survived when most of the other conferences folded.     

This year is the 25th anniversary of SCC and it has a new venue.  Lots of people are not happy with the new location and it is very hard to think of any part of Florida south of Palm Beach being "Southern".  Maybe a new name should be in order -"Snowbird Comfort", "Peak of the Hurricane Season Comfort" or "English As A Second Language Comfort".  I guess this week will tell if the die-hard Southern Comforter's will show up.  Let's hope. 

For me I am happy it is in my back-yard.  After having been absent for a few years, I will be there this year!  Most do not attend for the make-up seminars, big shoe vendors, or cold rubber chicken.  We attend to socialize with our sisters - our separated at birth sisters.  One of my friends described it this way: "This is the family we would really like to spend Thanksgiving with." Also in the year of the transgender celebrities, rumors abound as who might be in attendance. 

So sisters - I hope to see you there.  I will be hanging out in the vendor area working with a friend.  But that is another post. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cute Jeans Shoe

Sometime a shoe is just too cute and adorable not to share.  I fund this in my size at a JC Penney in Ontario California.  It is a canvas wedge and I bought them in white as above.  I did some research for you and they are still available on-line from the above link.  Plus on sale and in sizes up to 11! You could always try your local JCP. They may be in stock and you get to try on.  

With long or boot cut jeans they are perfect.  Just enough heel to know you are not wearing boy flats but sporty enough to give you a lift.  Unless someone is really studying you, with long jeans, they will never know.   I wore them several times while out west in a semi-androgynous mode.    


Friday, September 25, 2015

Trying The Door - Conclusion

The Next Day

To this day, I still do not know why he did what he did, but I will be ever appreciative to DELTA Airlines for having such a sensitivity employee at that gate, that evening.  More than once I have asked myself, "Did this really happened?"  Yes, and in this case, fact is probably better than fiction could ever be.

After I had slowly spelled my male name he stopped everything he was doing, looked me straight in the eyes and said without hesitation said , "Follow me".  We walked to the Jet Way, and he told the flight attendant standing and taking tickets, "She is OK.  I have her ticket and her boarding pass."  He then walked me half the distance down to the plane, smiled, put his hand on my shoulder and told me, "Take any of the remaining seats.  You will be fine."

"Thank you!" did not seem like enough.  But it was the only thing I could think of to say.

Two others got on and we were on our way to LA.  When we arrived all of the San Diego passengers were put on a bus for a two hour ride to what was our final destination.  We were only nine hours late and by then I am sure that I looked a mess.  My pristine female image from only yesterday I am sure had de-evolved.

On the bus next to me was a very nice young mother who had a six-month-old baby.  I could see the hours and the delays had both taken their toll on mother and baby.  I asked if she would like for me to hold the baby and at that point I think she would have given it to me raise.  The baby fell sound asleep in my arms and I too went to sleep shortly thereafter.  We all woke up just as the bus was pulling into the San Diego Airport Terminal.

I was very pleased to see my checked bags knowing that it was my connection back to a male appearance.  When I got to my apartment, the makeup came off and I had to admit to myself that it did feel good to be back to the reality and safety of the male world.  I had just enough time to make coffee and get dressed for work.  This time the cloths would not be a dress.

The excitement of what I had done was with me all the next day.  At work, everyone asked about my weekend and trip back.  My response; "The weekend as great, but the trip back with all the delays was an adventure."


All of us need to have the courage to venture out and safely live our lives without self-imposed limits and fears.  There is a fable that describes this much better than I can.

 There was a man locked deep in a dungeon for half his lifetime.  He finally decided to free himself or be killed in the process.  He made plans to jump his jailer when he brought his food the next day.  While laying out his plans he turned the handle of his cell door only to find it was not locked. 

Upon making this discovery he fled the unguarded prison, returned to his home and lived happily ever after.

The message is that we all tend to lock ourselves up with exaggerated anxiety.  If we do not have the courage to try the door, we will remain forever in our own personal prisons. That is why this BLOG is called "Rhonda's Escape".


I hope you have enjoyed all four parts.   Sorry it was so long.  Please comment.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Trying The Door - Part 3

Cancelled Connection

As we were landing in Dallas the flight attendants called my flight number and requested that I report to a Los Angeles gate rather than my San Diego gate.  Seeing that the new gate was quite a hike, I could at least be pleased that I had chosen a reasonable heel as opposed to the ones I could have worn.  Other than being very rushed, the walk was uneventful and I felt like I was passing well as a woman.  I also could see that everyone there that evening was having a problem in getting to their destination, and very little people watching was going on.

When I got to the gate, it did not look good.  With all of the delays several southern California flights were canceled and then combined into one flight to LA.  This was not a situation I had planned.  If I did not go on that flight, I knew that the airline would put me in a hotel in Dallas and then fly me to San Diego in the morning.  The choice would be mine, but I did not have a razor to shave, or enough makeup to get a female image together again for the next day.  Also I would not have my checked bags to get back into male cloths, and I knew that checking in a hotel with only my male ID and credit cards could be tricky.  So my only option was try to get to LA, and see what was next.

The gate agent, a man, did not even look up when I handed him my ticket.  He told me I was on stand-by and he would call me for boarding.

I looked around and there must have been fifteen or twenty others waiting; all men.  The posted departure had already past and I knew from experience the flight must be over booked, and not all of us were going to fly that evening.

What was I going to do if he called "Tom"?  If I wanted to start a riot, all that was needed, would be to walk in front of all those men, take Tom's ticket and board.  My best bet was not to move.  I just stood at the counter and very quietly in my best feminine soft voice ask, "How does it look?"

It took several seconds (seemed like hours) for him to respond, and not realizing that he had just taken my ticket, ask me for my name, and said he would check the computer for me.  

"We are over booked by twenty and would you be willing to fly tomorrow?" he asked.

In a firm and soft voice I said "No". 

He again asked for my name and said he would check my status for the flight.

I gave him my last name and I could see him looking on the screen for a female of match up to the last name I had given.  He then asked "What is your first name, please?"

By that time several others, that were waiting, had started moving closer to see what was going on, and to see if I was going to get on.

"T....O....M", I spelled slowly and softly.

He now looked up for the first time and I had his attention.  

Part 4 Tomorrow – The Next Day

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Trying The Door - Part 2

The Delay

After clearing the metal detectors without the need of a strip search, I regained some of my composure.  As I headed for the gate, a magazine caught my attention in the gift shop.  "New Woman" seemed appropriate to my condition and maybe it would contain some helpful hints.

"You look great and there is no need to change the ticket."  the female gate agent said.  "I would not have known, if you had not told me."  Life is great.  I was floating on air and had not left the gate yet.  

After boarding, I settled into my window seat, checked my makeup, and began reading my "New Woman" instruction manual.  A thirty-something man sat in my row of seats on the isle, and we exchanged smiles.  I knew that this was all that would be required and he would not expect conversation unless I initiated it.  It is interesting how women do have control from this standpoint.

"This is your Captain.  There are thunderstorms in the Dallas area and we are going to delay our departure until can get a landing time there.  Our delay should not be more than twenty minutes."  After forty-five minutes the captain said that anyone who wanted could go back into the terminal and wait there.

I choose to stay on board along with several other women and did enjoy reading, "Woman's Day" and "COSMO".  I was just about to start on "Mechanics Illustrated" when the captain called re-boarding.  The gentleman, who was setting next to me, had taken full advantage of the boarding area bar, and without hesitation started giving me his life's story.  I knew that next, he might want my life's history and in his condition I knew he could not handle that.  Also I knew that once we got above ten thousand feet he would be sound asleep and would leave me alone. So I kept the conversation to a minimum.

It was just about that time that I started to be concerned about what the delay had done to my connection in Dallas.  I guessed that all flights had been delayed including my connecting flight and I probably was safe.  On the other hand, I also knew that landing in San Diego were limited after 11:00 PM and we would be very close on making that arrival time.  Much was going to depend on just how smooth everything would go in Dallas if I could get in before the airport closing.

I relaxed, checked my makeup to make sure no beard was coming through, and enjoyed my dinner when served.  Everything seemed different.  Traveling as my male self, I always felt rushed and pushed.  During the delay, I would have been making business phone calls, trying to make other travel arrangement and would have been generally fluster by the way things were going.  Type "A" behavior. But that day I felt at ease, as if there really was nothing I could do to change things, and I was certainly more willing to subscribe to the situation.  

For me, that was a pleasant change.  

Trying The Door - Part 1

Written 1989
You need Help!

"You are out of control and need help!"  This was my friends comment as I explained my scheme, and I had to agree.  My friend is also transgender and I knew he would come up with just the words to inspire me.

My plan was to fly from the east coast to the west coast as a female.  Not an involved task for over fifty percent of the US population (female), but for me, this could be an adventure.

Previously I have written about the phenomenon “transgender” and made an effort to explain that I feel as rational as the next person does.  That within itself is probably not any great feat, but was this plan the thinking of someone whose wig was fitting too tight? 

I had been traveling every week from Florida to California to work on a consulting contract, and maybe the six hours in the air had just become to routine.  So why not add a little adventure to the trip and see what happens.  I have been cross-dressing and passing as a woman in malls, restaurants and theaters for about five years and think, this could be as uneventful as every other flight.  With the right outfit (executive business woman), the right confident attitude, and a good close shave, it could work?  

The outfit was going to be a navy blue silk dress, a white jacket and navy blue two and one half inch pumps.  A dark shoulder bag would carry the tickets, touch-up makeup and male ID. 

The flight would depart Florida at 4:00 PM and was going to make a connection in Dallas Texas, arriving in San Diego about 9:30 PM.  This was a good schedule and I would be traveling Monday afternoon - a time when the planes were not usually full.  (Another difference today).  

Everything was set.  Well almost.  I had traveled from California to Florida on a ticket the client’s corporate travel agent had written for Tom.  There was no way that this consultant could ask that two tickets be issued.  If I asked for a ticket to travel back to California as a woman this would open too many questions and make too much office gossip.  If I had done more planning, the tickets could have been issued only by my first initial, but it was too late for that now.  I would just get the ticket rewritten at the gate as I departed, and hope the gate agent would not make a problem. 

I had my friend, the "You need Help" friend, take me to the airport and assist me checking my bags.  As I watched, my male cloths go out of sight, mild panic set in, and more than a few what-if questions came to mind. 

    What it the plane goes down? 
    What it they do not let me board?
    What it they let me board here, but not in at my connection in Texas? 
    What if???????

"Your bags are checked.  See you later Tom, I mean Rhonda.", brought be back to the real world; well as close as I was going to get for the next six hours.

"Walk me to the gate?" I pleaded. "No, you are on your own.", and I was.

Part 2 Tomorrow – The Delay

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Sunday Funnies - A Happy Day

Growing up my favorite section of the Sunday paper was the funnies. I will make an effort to make this a regular Sunday feature. 
I hope you are having a happy Sunday!


I found this recently and just love the message.   After a little research on Dita von Tesse I became infatuated by her feminine style.   You do not have to go far on your Google search to find a treasure trove of beautiful images.  No surprise here - She has own line of Lingerie at Secrets in Lace.  

There is great fashion advice at All Woman’s Talk with eight tips on how to dress like Dita von Tesse - we all wish.  In addition, do not forget Pinterest.  Even Polyvore has pages of style lay outs on what they call Vintage Pin up featuring guess who?

So enjoy exploring.

Alternative Fashions

 I had a comment last week from Brenn.  She has put together a Polyvor site that focuses on alternative fashions for men.  Very enjoyable. Follow and enjoy.  Thanks Brenn for commenting and the link.  

Brenn, please comment anytime and let us know how you came by your wonderful fashion sense.  


The depth of insight and intelligence within our transgender community amazes me.  Therefore, I would like to dedicate Fridays to you and your post. 

It is not that I have run out of things to write about, but I want to make this "our place". Please feel free to comment on something I said - did not say at any time.  But, if you e-mail me your post I will queue then up and post on Fridays.  

Rant about something I said.   Something you want said or just tell us about a fun experience you had.  Photos please.  (The “G” and “PG” versions). 

I look forward to hearing from you and posting "your stuff"…….


Rhonda  - RhondaWilliams at Bellsouth.net

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Old Story - New Portrait

London art sleuth and specialist art dealer Philip Mould dropped across a portrait of the legendary spy, diplomat and transvestite, Chevalier D’Eon, in a New York auction house. He is now displaying it in his gallery in London’s Dover Street.

Mould, who is also an art expert on the BBC’s Antiques Raodshow, believes the painting of a “rather masculine looking woman” to be the earliest surviving formal portrait of a male transvestite.
“The 18th century portrait appeared to be of a somewhat manly middle-aged lady,” he says. “Research before the sale suggested otherwise, and upon cleaning, the face revealed a distinctive 5: 0’clock shadow.”

Further investigation resulted in the identification of the sitter as Chevalier D’Eon, popularly known as “the Patron Saint of Transvestites".

“The painting is now under serious consideration by the National Portrait Gallery,” adds Mould, whose company financially supports the venue. “Should it be purchased it will represent the gallery’s first oil painting of a cross-dresser in guise.”

Eon’s life represents one of the more colourful 18th century picaresques and takes in everything from a French aristocratic background and service in the Dragoons to a career as a spy and a spell on the London stage as a cross dressing fencing master.

He is thought to have spied for Louis XV, undertaking espionage missions to Russia beneath the nose of the Tsar dressed as a maid, before becoming French Ambassador to England.

A falling out with the French King led to him scandalously publishing some of his covert diplomatic escapades and a period openly dressing as a woman on the streets of London.

His fame and notoriety in the capital was such that the gentlemen of the London Stock Exchange opened a betting pool about his true sex.

The portrait, which was discovered in a collection formerly owned by Ruth Stone - daughter of Samuel Klein of Klein’s Department Stores in the US - is now thought to have been painted by Thomas Stewart, who painted actors and theatrical scenes in London during the 1790s.

A fencing accident on the stage lead to Eon’s slow decline. Seriously wounded during a performance, he eventually ended up in a debtor's prison.

After being released in 1805, he died in 1810 - having unabashedly spent the final 30 years of his life as a woman


One cannot wonder:
Why has there not been a movie made on this character from history?
Many times fact is better than fiction.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015


1981 Movie Tootsie - In the Crowd.

The third definition of invisible is today topic.   It reads "not perceptible or discernible by the mind".

I had lunch with a girlfriend a few day ago and we discussed being of that inevitable age when we are not noticed.  She is still a very attractive lady having a great figure but we both lamented about being invisible.  Invisibility is different from the feeling that you are just getting older.  It’s the feeling you are no longer vital or important or noticeable to others, a constant nagging pain you can neither avoid nor forget.  

The effect of becoming invisible often takes place along gendered lines. Women are often defined and judged more harshly by their appearance and attractiveness, a feeling reinforced by a society in which magazine covers celebrate youthful feminine good looks and taut bodies often photoshopped to an unnatural degree.  A good example is Donald Trump's exceedingly offensive comment about Carly Fiorina.  

Bestselling author Kate Braestrup described it this way:
 "For the first time since puberty, what I am on the outside is less of a distraction from who I am on the inside."

I am a late comer to being feminine but in a darkened restaurant, or concert a few years back, I could detect being noticed. Yes, mostly a great confidence builder that had both positive and negative implications.  Was I being noticed because I was attractive or had something been noticed?  Most of the time I became very self-conscious.     

So, I have come to accept my invisible status.  As long as I blend in (no mini-skirt and 4 heels at the mall) I can go about doing what every woman does, unnoticed.  With that comes an extra shot of confidence.  But just because we are invisible it does not preclude us from being interesting, powerful, dynamic, and vital.  

Do enjoy and take advantage of your invisible status - You have earned it.      

Tuesday, September 15, 2015


I am member of several "Meetup" groups.  This one "Amazing Women", I joined several months ago but due to travel and circumstances had put off going to any of the meetups.  This lunch just came up several days ago so I signed up.  What a lovely interesting group of women.  I am so happy I made the time and we literally laughed, joked and had fun for well over an hour and a half.  Maybe the fact it was on a relaxed weekend day, or just having a beautiful view of the inlet with the lighthouse in the background - for what ever reason, it was fun and worth it.  This was my first meeting of this Meetup group so knew no one and yes a little trepidation - but very happy I made the effort.  

Most areas have Meetup Groups.  Check out you town/city, pick an area of interest and get out and meet new people.  Nothing lost if the group is not interesting or judgmental - everything to gain in being out, plus having fun.      

Monday, September 14, 2015

High School Reunion

"Bob Johnson" - Holiday Inn's Super Bowl Ad

I want to thank Vickie Davis for posting this on YouTube.  This is just to good to ever not have around to watch and enjoy.  Interesting also in that the actor is a real trans-woman.  Although Holiday Inn attempted to distance itself from it shortly after the Super Bowl it is still, in my opinion, one of the best ads ever.

My reason for bringing this up is that my High School 50th reunion is coming up next year.  I know - how could I be that old?  It happens and beats the alternative. 

I need advice - Did you go? Do I go as Rhonda and come out? Do I really want to redefine myself and elicit small town stares and laughs?  Do you prepare people ahead or just go for the shock?  Facebook takes much of the surprise out of the event but still.....

The class is large (over 250) and I was well known to most everyone.  I have not lived in the in the area for over 40 years, and have not been back in over 10 years.  I have no living relatives there and few acquaintances, other than through this high school. I was the JV football co-captain and very active in many school activities, so just hiding in the crowd is not going be an option.    

This will not be my last post on this subject and this will be a project in progress.   I hope to have interesting stories from the event, so stay tuned.  By now, you readers know how comfortable I am as Rhonda, but this takes being "out" to a new level.  I have some time to think this through and really do need your advice. 


Sunday, September 13, 2015

Sunday Funnies - Tough Choices

Growing up my favorite section of the Sunday paper was the funnies. I will make an effort to make this a regular Sunday feature. 

From one spork to another: 

I am going to be in Los Angeles for the next 7 days - Sept. 14-20.  Anyone interested in causal lunches or elegant dinners this week let me know.  Just use the "Contact" tab or e-mail.  E-mail address is on the "Friend's Friday" post.    

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Gender Neutrality

How do you feel about gender neutrality?  Wikipedia describes gender neutrality as the idea that policies, language, and other social institutions should avoid distinguishing roles according to people's sex or gender, in order to avoid discrimination arising from the impression that there are social roles for which one gender is more suited than the other is.

Could there ever be time when there is no gender difference to transcend.  I agree one hundred percent that gender discrimination has no place in our modern society.  The same-sex marriage decision is one-step.  Equal pay/promotion is another that's time has come.   But, just how would we feel if all gender differentiation was not there?   This is not likely to happen in our lifetime but a very interesting academic question.

Think it could never happen - Take a look at an August 7, 2015 press release for Target.  “What’s in Store: Moving Away from Gender-based Signs”.


Shop a Target store and chances are you’ll discover something exciting…..

But we never want guests or their families to feel frustrated or limited by the way things are presented. Over the past year, guests have raised important questions about a handful of signs in our stores that offer product suggestions based on gender. In some cases, like apparel, where there are fit and sizing differences, it makes sense. In others, it may not. Historically, guests have told us that sometimes—for example, when shopping for someone they don’t know well—signs that sort by brand, age or gender help them get ideas and find things faster. But we know that shopping preferences and needs change and, as guests have pointed out, in some departments like Toys, Home or Entertainment, suggesting products by gender is unnecessary.

We heard you, and we agree. Right now, our teams are working across the store to identify areas where we can phase out gender-based signage to help strike a better balance. For example, in the kids’ Bedding area, signs will no longer feature suggestions for boys or girls, just kids. In the Toys aisles, we’ll also remove reference to gender, including the use of pink, blue, yellow or green paper on the back walls of our shelves.  You’ll see these changes start to happen over the next few months.

We thank guests all the time for challenging us to get better at what we do and take the shopping trip to new levels. We’re always listening, and your thoughts and ideas help us make Target, your Target, a better place.