Friday, December 26, 2008

Time Begs For An Obama Boy

What better way to celebrate the holidays than to announce to the world that girls just aren't good enough for the west wing playroom.  It seems no matter how bright, outgoing, or charming, the first daughters have been, Time magazine will not be satisfied until the walls are painted in a triumphant blue, and testosterone reigns supreme. Yep, Time wants to deck the halls with balls.

How can the US compete on the global stage if the men that they  elects do not produce male heirs?  Can we say overvaluation of masculinity? The American people, supposedly exist with a unique state of evolvement  because unlike other nation states they have the courage to elect leaders who have not produced male progeny. 

Time however, does not hesitate to suggest that Michelle should throw out her birth control and take one for the team.  Since she has already given up a high powered career, why wouldn't she want to get pregnant; God did after all give her the ovaries.  Why else do women exist if not to take one for the team. 

This suggestion is further problematic, as it is occurring in a country in which the breeding of black women was once common place.  From forced pregnancy to forced sterilization, the reproduction of black women is something whiteness has always sought to control. It seems no matter how great the achievement, blacks are still little more than farm animals that can be forced to mate, to benefit another.  Time of course didn't see the correlation.  They were just wishing for boys; but in the process they turned the president into a stud and the first lady into a brood mare.  Isn't it ironic that the Obamas are the first black family in the white house and yet they are being treated as though they belong to another century. 

Though this article did discuss the history of first children; one cannot help but notice that when the incoming first children are little black girls, suddenly the call is to produce a male heir.  Black women occupy the bottom of the race and gender hierarchy, and this innocuous little piece by Time, affirms that black women are less than.  Little black girls have little to no value socially, and we have seen this time and time again.  From the Obama gals, to "sassy" Sasha, to Michelle as baby mama, the female members of the first family are continually disciplined and constructed to maintain white privilege.  Few even realize that Michelle graduated with higher honours than her husband, yet somehow being born black with a vagina, gives people license to dismiss their worth and intelligence.

To assure us that this gender division is such a noble thing, Belinda Luscombe, quotes Meg Meeker,  to add authority to her  essentialist list of gender traits to explain the gender disparity in the white house children.  "Boys are generally more competitive, risk-taking and defiant, which makes them less manageable." Potential candidates with male heirs don't get elected because of the distraction that their sons cause on the campaign trail.   Boys are incorrigible; and therefore present an overwhelming challenge to their politician fathers. 

Pretty, pink, and submissive, daughters can supposedly be counted on to lead their dads right to the white house. Is there anything more darling than a princess looking up adoringly at her father. "Girls want to please their mothers and particularly their fathers. Their dads can take their daughters places and do things with them and the girls won't act out." Little girls apparently intuitively know when it is time to stand there and smile.  This is bred right into our ovaries.

After reading this piece of crap, I could not help but hope that Luscombe and Meeker ended up with a lump of coal; until I realized that with the current price of coal that would be to valuable of a gift to give for this crap.  Gender cannot be broken down into simple little categories that we act out.  There is some degree of performativity due to the indoctrination of gender specific behaviour from birth; however gender is a spectrum.  It is not the neat little binary that  Luscombe and Meeker would have us believe. 

This kind of gender binary promotion is harmful to everyone.  It encourages women to be docile and obedient creatures, while dismissing negative actions of the part of males because "boys will be boys."  With all of the inventiveness of the human mind to reduce us to these neat little categories is ridiculous.  Though we repeatedly attempt to discipline behaviour throughout childhood, so many "fall of the wagon", that it is clear these characterizations are not naturally occurring. 

I understand that during the holiday season that there are precious few big and entertaining news stories, but is it really necessary to descend to this bunk?  Light and fluffy filler is one thing, but nonsense masquerading as quasi intelligent thought is another. 

H/T iluvblackwomen via twitter

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