Saturday, August 2, 2008

Anthony Bourdain And Fat Hate

image Ok asshole, apparently you need to be told that fat hate simply isn't appropriate.  I know that you are trying to uphold an aging rock star ultra laid back image, but expressing bigotry against people doesn't give you automatic entry into the "cool kids club". It makes you an ignorant, insensitive, loud mouth, ass. Looking down at the rest of us "little people" from your skinny, white male, economically privileged position, just makes you a person that ultimately no descent individual wants to associate themselves with.  It is easy to pick on vulnerable people when you are sitting on a mountain of privilege, but it requires far more class (something you clearly lack) and human decency (another trait you don't possess), to treat people with the same kind of respect that you believe that you are entitled to.

I just realized I jumped into my rant without telling you why all of this vitriol is aimed at FOODTV's former most arrogant chef.  On his latest show for the travel network, Mr. Bourdain engaged in a conversation with Ted Nuggent in which he repeatedly insulted fat people.  In fact it seems that they were both vying to see who could be the most intolerant, and cruel throughout the entire exchange.

Nugent: I really am angry at obese people. Obesity is a manifestation of a cultural depravation. It is vulgar and displeasing to look at. It is suicide as a lifestyle.

Bourdain: My argument is that it is unpatriotic. It is not a personal lifestyle choice if you can't wash yourself and you stink. .. I am not asking people to become a victoria secret model although it would be nice. The more the merrier. How do we smoke Osama out of a hole if we cannot fit our fat ass in after him?

Nugent: How dare a nation that clearly doesn't care about their health, dare ask for healthcare. Obesity is the most vile and cultural abuse of (sic)personal responsibility.  I know that there are people that are mentally deranged that just don't know better and they do need help but, 99% of the sperm whales walking the streets in this country got up in the morning and go I am fatter than a fucking pig, and here is a list of things I should not do, and should not eat, and I am doing all of it today.

Bourdain: When I grew up it was okay to pick on the fat kid in class. You are an undesirable blobaloid. Get with the plan, the presidents of physical fitness. Now that would be unthinkable, you have chosen an alternative lifestyle.

That Ted Nugent,  of all people would have the nerve to call someone else a fucking pig...does he not own any mirrors? His less than wise sage compatriot is no better.  When I see people spreading this kind of hate I am well aware that they are expressing a desire to maintain their social privileges.  Nugent and Bourdain may think that they are quite the catch because they are white, male and economically privileged, but I don't think my vagina would ever forgive the betrayal if I ever mistakenly confused them with men worthy of a fuck.  They are living examples of everything money cannot buy you. Spend wisely boys and take yourself to an etiquette class, maybe they can teach you the manners that you clearly did not learn in childhood.

H/T to Misfitina


YouTube And Racist Videos

I came across this video at a social media site.  As I watched the video I got angrier and angrier.  It is patently racist and beyond offensive.  I understand that YouTube gives power to the masses because it allows society to freely express itself, but there should be some sort of limit in place. I find it beyond hypocritical of YouTube to take down videos for copyright infringement and allow this kind of shit to remain up for public view.  What they are essentially saying is that a video is only problematic when it interferes with someone's ability to make a profit, however if a video demeans a race of people, or creates them as other it is just fine.

This video cannot even be justified by saying that it is an example of "historical racism" like the racist cartons that were created by Warner Brothers (BTW removed for copyright infringement) How is it that a whole race of people are entitled to less respect than a social construction like money? Can we not recognize the social imbalance in this? 

Now I know that some people will say that this is freedom of speech, but should hate speech really be given the same kind of freedom that we apply to everything else?  This video is not something that can be considered debatably racist, it is patently racist. Referring to blacks as nigger can be understood in no other light.  Making reference to niggers dying in this manner is at the very least genocidal. At a time when the US is actively engaged in conversation about racial inequality and white privilege, how do these videos broaden the social conversation, or lead to any kind cohesion?

Normally I would firmly speak against censorship, but if you cannot yell fire in a building that is not burning, you should not be able to incite racial hatred to this degree.  Clearly YouTube only cares about being sued, and not about the damage to the psyche of the black population that videos like this cause.  As long as money continues to be valued over people, we will continue to have such negative racial imagery and ideology promoted.  The only way to stop things like this, is to stand firmly and say this is not acceptable. Giving these racists a platform to push their agenda only supports their drive to maintain white supremacy through the marginalization of bodies of colour.


Her Name Was Angie Zapata

image I first heard about her horrible demise at transgriot (which if you are not already reading, you should be) From what I am able to gather from the few blog entries that have been dedicated to it, Angie Zapata was a victim of trans hate. On the faithful day of her death, she was on a date with Alan Ray Andrade. When he discovered that she had a penis, he hit her repeatedly over the head with a fire extinguisher until she died. He then proceeded to steal her car to evade capture.

Considering the barbarity of this murder there have not been many blog posts dedicated to seeking justice for Angie.  It seems is as though the blogosphere has decided that she is not worthy of justice.  When we fail to speak out against the murder of women like Angie, we are supporting the trans hate that caused her death.

I am well aware that there are those within the feminist movement who refuse to acknowledge trans women as "authentic women". This is nothing more than unacknowledged CIS privilege.   I find it particularly disgusting when a group that claims to be socially marginalized, and exploited, cannot speak up for what is clearly a vulnerable class of society.  Even if you are unable to acknowledge her as the woman that she was, plain and simple human decency should at least encourage you to speak out about such violence.  Angie had just as much right to share our space as any other living being.  If we truly believe in honouring humanity, it is important to acknowledge the most vulnerable amongst us. We cannot rail against the tyranny of the majority and then claim privilege to perform the same sort of intolerance when it is convenient to 'other' segments of society.

When I look at her picture, I see a life that was cut short due to ignorance. I see a woman that could have contributed so much to society but for our tendency to not only believe, but uphold gender binaries.  This flawed modernist thinking is the basis of much pain in our society. We are not two dimensional figures leading scripted lives.  Angie deserved much better than to die alone on a floor, the victim of hate and fear.  Perhaps someday we can actually live up to some of the progressive principles we as feminists and liberals claim to believe in and pursue justice for women like Angie. No one deserves to die the way she did, and no one deserves to have such a tragedy barely remarked upon.

 


Framing the Problem

Sandalstraps (Chris) is a former minister, a stay-at-home Dad, a freelance writer, an armchair philosopher and amateur theologian turned graduate student in religion (who wears sandals in all kinds of weather). You can read his irregular musings at Sandalstrap's Sanctuary.

In ethics as in public discourse, the way that a problem is framed goes a long way toward determining how that problem will be defined, and eventually "solved." I thought of that simple truth reading two earth-shattering sentences by Marquette ethics professor Daniel C. Maguire.

As a lay theologian, a blogger, and a student of religion and ethics, I've written a great deal on sexual ethics, especially as relates to homosexuality (most notably here and here. But in my writing, and in my teaching, I haven't paid sufficient attention to how I've framed the "problem." That's a sin that, after reading these two sentences, I vow to never commit again:

Homosexuality is not a problem: heterosexism is a problem, and not just for sexual minorities. To think of homosexuality as "problem" - which even persons of liberal bent can do - is a distraction and a surrender to the unjust and poisonous prejudice of heterosexism

With those two sentences, which open his introduction to the book Heterosexism in Contemporary World Religion: Problem and Prospect, Maguire not only helps supply those of us who wish to be allies of the marginalized and oppressed with a proper frame for a serious moral problem, he also, to put it bluntly, calls me and other well-intentioned but clumsy liberals out for not paying sufficient attention to our privilege.

Homosexuality is not a "problem." Heterosexism is a problem. Homophobia is a problem. This is no less true than any other situation of oppressive fear and hatred. Nazi Germany, despite the best efforts of theologians and politicians alike to frame it as such, did not have "Jewish problem." Jews weren't the problem, anti-Semitism was. Antebellum and Jim Crow America, as well as apartheid South Africa, did not have a "race" problem. Race (the audacity of black- and brown-skinned people to continue to exist and to continue to affirm their own innate value) was not the problem, racism was. Similarly, for the bulk of world-history, despite the persistent oppression of women characteristic of hegemonic patriarchy, gender is not a problem; sexism  is.

Yet in public discourse, in both religious and political settings, the problem of heterosexism is framed as a problem of homosexuality, as though the problem began with the existence of people who are naturally attracted to members of the same gender, instead of with the violent hatred directed at them by heterosexists and homophobes. We who would be allies, then, must follow Daniel C. Maguire's lead here, and help change the frame. The problem is not that GLBT community exists. The problem is that members of that community are subject to fear, hatred, and oppression, to social, systemic, and physical violence.

Heterosexism, not homosexuality, is the problem.


Guest Bloggers

Hello everyone, over the next couple of weeks we are going to have the honour of some guest posts from very fabulous bloggers. Some you will recognize as they are regular commenter's on the blog.  Each one of these people writes a blog that I read regularly.  I am not always in agreement with all of their positions, but I think that each has something unique and exciting to add to our conversations here at womanist musings.... so enjoy! I  will allow them to introduce themselves to you individually.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Target Women: Birth Control

I simply love this woman...huge, huge girl crush.

Link Love Friday

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Well it's Friday, time to get ready to relax, and throw off the stress of the week.  I am going to share with you some of the great links that I found this week.  Please take the time to check them out, and if you wrote something spectacular yourself that I missed, don't be afraid to drop your link in the comment section.

Random Babble: But, seriously, I keep seeing all of this mud slinging among feminists, or refusals of conversation b/t feminists, all based on the “my feminism is better than your feminism” and “that makes you a bad feminist” argument.  Seriously, people, knock it the fuck off.  We have enough dividing us, stop pissing in your sandbox.  Labels suck, especially when it prevents us from being productive.  It feels as though too many of us are doing our damnedest to silence each other for not adhering to their labels.  When we silence each other we lose.  When we turn on ourselves the patriarchy/kyriarchy (thanks, whatshername!) wins.

Oh, You're A Feminist Punk: Much like white-privilege, male-privilege, hetero-privilege, and cis-privilege, there is an absolute amount of privilege that goes along with being conventionally attractive. This may be why there is such a divide within this conversation. Without putting words to it, are we all talking about the "what is beautiful is good" phenomenon?

The Feminist Texican: A undocumented, pregnant Mexican woman was detained after a traffic stop in a Nashville suburb.  She had been pulled over for “reckless driving,” and rather than issue a ticket upon discovering she did not have a license, the officer arrested her.  Within the next 6 days, she would be forced to give birth while her foot was cuffed to the bed as a sheriff stood guard, be refused the right to see her newborn son during the two days she had to stay at the hospital, be refused the right to see or speak to her husband, and then was not allowed to take a breast pump back to jail with her.  The result?  Her son quickly developed jaundice, and her breasts quickly became swollen with milk and infected.

The Root: Given the staggeringly high incidence of sexual violence in black communities it is fair to ask why this problem has not risen to the level of a crisis in the public consciousness

thisisby.us: They do it to turn on men.  Now there's nothing wrong with turning on men, it's one of of my favourite pastimes.  It's the effects of this action which are objectionable. I'm specifically talking about the practice of heterosexual women kissing each other, usually in public places, expressly to attract and arouse men.

Argentina's Illegal Abortions: (youtube) The abortion debate in Argentina is what this video is about. It claims 400 women die yearly from botched abortions. The catholic church is applying great pressure to keep abortion illegal.

Sandalstraps: It is, for instance, almost impossible and almost certainly unhealthy, to share a table with someone who denies your basic humanity, your fundamental right to exist. To ask gays and lesbians to come to the proverbial table with homophobes is a mark of the privilege of one who is not hated for having the audacity to exist. To ask racial and ethnic minorities to come to that same proverbial table with racists and white supremacists is a mark of that same privilege. In fact, to ask any victim of hate to sit at the table with their potential and actual abusers carries with it the real possibility of the perpetuation of abuse.

About.com: One argument in defence of abortion which does not dispute the pro-life position that the foetus might have a right to live is the idea that such a right to life does not include a right to use the mother’s womb. Even if the foetus is accorded the same moral and legal status as a fully grown adult, that can't alter a woman's rights to decide what happens to her own body and the organs of her body. So if a woman can't be forced to provide her body or organs for another to use, abortion has to remain legal.

Three Rivers Fog: I think we all know that POC are subject to a higher rate of violence and harassment than the population as a whole; for every minority status added, that figure rockets higher and higher. how many trans people of colour have been shunned, beaten, raped, killed? how many disabled lesbians? how many poor gay men? how many sex workers of any orientation?

the less a person conforms to the default normality, the less human they become, and thus the more subject to brutality, in an attempt by society to assert dominion.

Shihtzustaffs Blog: So, Scott Young, Mayor of Port Coquitlam was convicted for harrasing and stalking his former girlfriend. He pled guilty to two charges of assault and one charge of breaching an undertaking. He was arrested after assaulting his former girlfriend and her new partner at her home over the Easter weekend in 2007. He also breached an undertaking he had signed to stay away from her. And what did he get for his crimes? A 12 month conditional sentence and an 8 pm curfew which he does not have to obey if he has a council meeting!

Suzy Feldman: The Fluffer

 I am an 80's child and as such watched my fair share of Corey Feldman and Corey Haim movies. Last year A&E brought The Two Coreys to the air.  It is supposed to be a show about their relationship, and their struggling careers.   The pseudo reality show is now in its second season.  Much of the drama is dedicated to a supposed relationship break down between the two Coreys.  This is what is presented as the angst that is meant to keep viewers tuning in week after week.  Can the two Coreys heal their relationship?

Of course even as I am watching this I realize that I am consuming "junk food" for the brain.  This past week the show hit a new low for me.  It showed Suzy Feldmans photo shoot in which she posed naked for the first time. She declared it a milestone in her life... Yes marrying your 80's crush, giving birth and showing your tits..all great milestones. 

I am seriously becoming sick of Corey Feldman..on and on he goes in his righteousness about child actors and animal rights but pimping your wife on an almost weekly basis, no problem.  We are constantly shown Suzy's photoshoots with Corey standing close by with a camera of his own.  If this show is about male bonding why is it week after week we get the pleasure of Suzy Feldman splayed half naked across the television screen? Could it simply be that the producers of this show don't trust the concept enough to run with it 100%, or have they just succumbed to the idea that anything worth watching involves female sexual objectification in some way.

Conversations With Johns

I occasionally like to use reddit to surf the net because I find it leads me to sites I otherwise would not have come across.  Yesterday I stumbled upon, Letters From Johns.  Just as the title suggests, it is a blog dedicated to collecting the experiences of men who frequent prostitutes. Most of the men are married (big fucking surprise) with wives that  don't understand them, or fulfill their sexual needs.  The rest claim to have become so crushed by women that they can only relate to females when they pay for their services.  The posts are written in a whoa is me, no one will suck my dick tone. 

I'm happily married, but my wife and I don't have sex nearly as often as we used to before our daughter was born, and unfortunately, it's starting to wear on me. Not only that, but when we do end up having sex, I have to do all the work, get her all worked up and then get to humpin' at her command. It's fine and everything, but sometimes it's nice to have someone focus on me, and my sexual needs and wants, for a change.
It's not emotional betrayal but rather a physical one, but I strangely don't feel guilty after, probably because I'm faithful in every other sense of the word. I always, always, always wear a condom so I don't bring anything home, but I think I'm getting more turned on by the random nature of the hooker-john relationship and the sexual freedom prostitutes engender.

He is exposing his wife to all manner of STD's, but he is faithful in every "other sense".  Is there another definition of cheating that I am unaware of? When he was saying his wedding vows,  the part where the minister said, "and keep thyself only onto her" certainly didn't mean that he should keep his greedy little dick in his pants. My God the burden of being born with a penis and needing to cum.  I feel so much pity for this poor man. Imagine being stuck married to a demanding bitch who wants her own satisfaction in bed.  Why can't she realize that all that matters is his orgasm.

Since then, I’ve dated one other provider, and a part of me wants very badly to ask out another who I’ve been seeing recently. It’s sad, because the sex is at the level I desire, and, like so many working girls I’ve met, she’s incredibly witty, big-hearted, and intelligent. But there’s no good end. It would break the hearts of so many people in my life if they knew the truth about a relationship that started that way, and I couldn’t live with myself lying about it. I have a suspicion that I will always harbor crushes and strong

Right, they are the ones trying to earn a living and survive but the shame is theirs not yours.  Purchasing womens bodies for your own personal satisfaction is something that every self respecting man should participate in. Being born with a dick does endow certain privileges after all.

I like Asian girls (have since I was a teen). I like their skin, their soft features, their hair. I ordered one over in the middle of the day a month ago. I was very horny, and only wanted a little talk before sex, but after fucking her, cumming on her face and helping her clean up, it's always a good time to get to know someone with the remaining part of the hour. She was straight off the boat. With Human Trafficking being the boogie man of the 21st century, I wanted to find out how she came to NYC and this line of work.

Yeah, now that he has used her body and cum on her face, its time to pretend that he is capable of viewing her like a human being.  That men like him are the reason women are trafficked in the first place is a connection this predator cannot seem to make.  Isn't it sweet though that he helped her clean the cum off of her face. In the face of such gallantry and obvious consideration, how could his concern be perceived as anything but legitimate?

The more that I read through this site, the sicker I became.  I fully support sex trade workers and the decisions that they make, however their customers are the vilest pieces of trash to walk the earth.  For their own satisfaction they reduce women to detached bodies and fuckable holes. These men are so caught up in their economic, and male privilege that they cannot see beyond the next opportunity to blow their loads.  Daily they walk side by side with us, blending into society, their perversions hidden from view and now with the anonymity of the internet they have a place to gather and promote this activity as some kind of perverse right. Well you sick fucks, I am calling you out for what you are, and if your balls happen to twist a little with the shame you should be feeling, I hope it hurts just a little.


Imagine That: Calling Someone A Spic While You're Murdering Them Is A Hate Crime

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Football players Brandon Piekarsy, Colin Walsh and Derrick Donchak are charged with ethnic intimidation. ( photo cnn.com)

It started with way too much alcohol and ended up with the beating death of Luis Ramirez.   He was walking  his sister in-laws home when he was allegedly verbally assaulted by Brandon, Colin and Derrick. 

"Isn't it a little late for you guys to be out?" the boys said, according to court documents. "Get your Mexican boyfriend out of here." According to the affidavit one of the youths called Ramirez a spic.

Just as his fiance feared already there is a drive to paint the victim as the guilty party. His status as a so-called illegal alien is being used to buttress the whiteness and purity of his murderers.

Attorneys for two of the alleged murderers are claiming that this is a street fight that just went a little to far. 

"Let's call it what it was it was: a street fight, a chance encounter with a tragic outcome," said Frederick Fanelli, who represents Piekarsky.

Fanelli said he plans to investigate whether Ramirez has a criminal background. He also questions why the engaged father of three was walking on the street with the girl, and the nature of their relationship. Ramirez's fiancee says he was walking her younger sister home.

Of course a man of colour walking with a young white girl after dark could not possibly have a pure motive. Everyone knows the darker your skin, the more likely you are to be a predator...How dare he have the nerve to stand near the white mans pride, his woman.

Just in case you have any doubt about the accused, Michael Walsh  one of the parents of the accused is more than willing to tell you what a good kid his son is. "Colin was a great kid and fell into a bad situation. He never really gave me any trouble," he added. "I feel sorry for the families and anyone who cares about Mr. Ramirez. Don't you get it?? He is a white male, who plays football for crying out loud. How can that be a bad kid, just ignore the dead Mexican and move on.

You don't accidentally kick someone to death.  You don't accidentally have racial slurs fall out of your mouth. Those are intentional acts. I realize as a parent it may not be pleasant to admit that you raised a racist murderer (oh excuse me alleged) but constructing your precious little baby as a sweet innocent in the face of such tremendous violence just upholds his behaviour as legitimate.  Had the "dirty spic" killed your son, would you give a shit if played football?  Bet you would be screaming for blood, and talking about increasing border patrols.  Who really is the threat to peace?  Is it the hard working so-called "illegal alien" who is trying to build a better life for his family, or the racist nativist population who have declared war on the brown peoples of this earth? 

Quick lock your door the brown people are coming, armed with a desire to live beyond a subsistence level. Lock up the women in case they try to breed their way into social acceptability.  They want your low paying, no benefit jobs.  How dare they desire to work for below minimum wage, with no labour protections. How dare they not know enough to disappear into the background so that their existence does not have to be acknowledged.  What is the point of having such social power if the brown people think that they just might have the same right to share space with white men...is that the earth trembling...oh dear, white male hegemony must be maintained at all cost, nothing good could possibly come of social equality and the right to a violence free life.  Imagine the chaos paying for the true value of things would cause?  Imagine having to go through the trauma of validating the personhood of each individual. It is all just to damaging to the psyche to consider such radical ideas.

 


Thursday, July 31, 2008

Why I Am An Abortion Doctor

Garson Romalis, © Garson Romalis  Published: Monday, February 04, 2008

What follows are remarks delivered by Canadian abortion doctor Garson Romalis on Jan. 25, at the University of Toronto Law School's Symposium to Mark the 20th Anniversary of R. vs. Morgentaler.

I am honoured to be speaking today, and honoured to call Henry Morgentaler my friend.

I have been an abortion provider since 1972. Why do I do abortions, and why do I continue to do abortions, despite two murder attempts?

The first time I started to think about abortion was in 1960, when I was in second year medical school. I was assigned the case of a young woman who had died of a septic abortion. She had aborted herself using slippery elm bark.

I had never heard of slippery elm. A buddy and I went down to skid row, and without too much difficulty, purchased some slippery elm bark to use as a visual aid in our presentation. Slippery elm is not sterile, and frequently contains spores of the bacteria that cause gas gangrene. It is called slippery elm because, when it gets wet, it feels slippery. This makes it easier to slide slender pieces through the cervix where they absorb water, expand, dilate the cervix, produce infection and induce abortion. The young woman in our case developed an overwhelming infection. At autopsy she had multiple abscesses throughout her body, in her brain, lungs, liver and abdomen.

I have never forgotten that case.

After I graduated from University of British Columbia medical school in 1962, I went to Chicago, where I served my internship and Ob/Gyn residency at Cook County Hospital. At that time, Cook County had about 3,000 beds, and served a mainly indigent population. If you were really sick, or really poor, or both, Cook County was where you went.

The first month of my internship was spent on Ward 41, the septic obstetrics ward. Yes, it's hard to believe now, but in those days, they had one ward dedicated exclusively to septic complications of pregnancy.

About 90% of the patients were there with complications of septic abortion. The ward had about 40 beds, in addition to extra beds which lined the halls. Each day we admitted between 10-30 septic abortion patients. We had about one death a month, usually from septic shock associated with hemorrhage.

I will never forget the 17-year-old girl lying on a stretcher with 6 feet of small bowel protruding from her vagina. She survived.

I will never forget the jaundiced woman in liver and kidney failure, in septic shock, with very severe anemia, whose life we were unable to save.

Today, in Canada and the U.S., septic shock from illegal abortion is virtually never seen. Like smallpox, it is a "disappeared disease."

Finish reading the rest of this moving piece here.


Tarika Wilson and A Mothers Rage

image Once again another black life is brought tragically to an end by the racist police force. The NAACP is demanding answers to how it is possible that Tarika Wilson could end up dead and her infant child Sincere wounded. `

According to the New York Times, "A SWAT team arrived at Ms. Wilson’s rented house in the Southside neighborhood early in the evening of Jan. 4 to arrest her companion, Anthony Terry, on suspicion of drug dealing, said Greg Garlock, Lima’s police chief. Officers bashed in the front door and entered with guns drawn, said neighbours who saw the raid.

Moments later, the police opened fire, killing Ms. Wilson, 26, and wounding her 14-month-old son, Sincere, Chief Garlock said. One officer involved in the raid, Sgt. Joseph Chavalia, a 31-year veteran, has been placed on paid administrative leave."

Chavalia has pleaded not guilty to misdemeanour counts of negligent homicide and negligent assault. He faces up to eight months in jail if convicted of both counts. An all-white jury was selected Monday with a black woman and a white woman as alternates.  He is certainly getting a jury of his peers while once again the fate of violence against a black woman is being determined by whites. How in good conscience can we trust them to give us justice in a system that is so racially imbalanced as to constitute a farce? Considering the level of the charges stemming from the death of a woman and the injury of her child I feel that it is fair to say that regardless of the outcome Tarika will not receive justice. Is it any wonder that her mother is filled with rage?

73 Year Old Porn Star

Similarly to the disabled seniors are considered to be asexual beings. Sex can and does occur at all stages of adult life.  This new movement in Japan allows seniors to express their sexuality in a way that previously has not been viewed as socially acceptable.  To see oneself reflected in various ways affirms personhood.  Yes seniors have sex...it ain't over 'till the wet spot dries up!

Pussy The Energy Drink

image Pussy made its premiere as an energy drink on The F Word.  Apparently Gordon Ramsey found it hilarious to teach sales by using a product whose very name is demeaning to women. 

After catching the clip I assumed that this was just one of his ridiculous jokes until I investigated the web site and found that pussy is indeed for sale. Isn't it fucking thrilling that we can be reduced in this manner. 

According to its creator Jonnie Shearer, "Pussy is spontaneous, entertaining, optimistic and fun. It’s a starting point. A moment when something happens and when things begin – Pussy starts conversations. It believes in having a good time as often as possible."

Did you know that your genitalia contained all of those values?  Did you ever even for a minute envision that it had a distinct personality from you? Most of all did you know that it was always available for a good time?  How do we manage with these crazy vaginas between our legs that are always seeking a good time or to engage others?

Turning pussy into a consumable product only highlights the degree to which womens bodies are commodified for the sake of profit. Of course no one wants a drink named penis, cock, or dick those are active body parts. No we want something bubbly and pleasing, exactly the way that womens bodies are constructed to be. While the creator may see this as a unique sales ploy, to me it just another example of the way in which women are continually demeaned and disembodied of agency to uphold male hegemony.


Sexism Is Worse Than Racism

image I was inspired to write this post after reading about this incident at the Field Negro.  Read the following commentary by Ms.Couric and see if you have any difficulty understanding why WOC have trouble trusting white women as allies.

"The corporate pressure and the ratings terror are intensifying all the time, and the situation is not simple. I find myself in the last bastion of male dominance, and realizing what Hillary Clinton might have realized not long ago: that sexism in the American society is more common than racism, and certainly more acceptable or forgivable. In any case, I think my post and Hillary's race are important steps in the right direction."

This clearly smacks of oppression Olympics. How exactly would she know how difficult it is to live the life of a racialized body, to be able to determine whether or not sexism is worse than racism?  I do believe that even if such a judgement were to be made, she certainly would not be in any position to make it as a white woman. The daily slights and false characterizations experienced by WOC stem for our role at the bottom of the racial and sex hierarchy. To claim that sexism is our primary source of oppression is to  marginalize our daily lived experience.  Our bodies are considered consumable simply because we do not qualify as women in the same sense that white women do.  We are overly eroticized and created as exotic based in colour and thereby assumed to classify a perverse sexuality. This stems from a legacy of slavery wherein black women were routinely raped by their owners and forced to breed at the will of others. Diversely, legitimate white womanhood was, and still is considered pure and chaste. Our social positions are oppositional to each other and it is directly based in race.

How many times does it need to be said that there is no such thing as a good oppression.  Her interest in privileging one "ism" over another is based solely on her desire to promote white supremacy.  One of the issues that modern day feminism continues to suffer from is blatant racism.  Often when white women speak of equality what they mean is equality with white males. When we consider that white males have historically been in a position to assert power over bodies of colour, their desire to associate themselves with this is problematic. Having the ability to oppress is not the same thing as being desirous of equality. Placing white women in the same categorical position as white men systematically institutionalizes bodies of colour as other.

When WOC are told that sexism is worse than racism it necessarily seeks to minimize our experience and demands that we choose between feminism and and anti-racist work.  These two duel oppressions equally affect our lives and if we privilege gender over race, we are only empowering white women with the ability to oppress us in the same manner that white males already do.  The whole drive towards vagina solidarity instead of intersectionalism is meant to reduce us to invisibility in a movement that is supposedly dedicated to improving the lives of all women.  Shouldn't a movement specifically designed to end female oppression be open to considering the concerns of all, instead of privileging the desire of a small minority? We may all be women, but our concerns are simply not the same.

 


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Earn Your Right To Wear White

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 This lovely thong comes courtesy of The Daily Christian.  For a mere $8.99 you can have a daily reminder on your crotch about the importance of being virginal. Better keep it pure because Mr.Perfect doesn't want used goods. Hey do you think that if you happen to be a lesbian the message would be the same? I'm thinking nope cause these fundies don't recognize that as real sex anyway.  Will these idiots never run out of ways to police female sexuality?

The other troubling aspect of this insulting little advertisement is whiteness as the personification of goodness and purity. I suppose if it had been printed on a black thong women would have just lost all control and had sex willy nilly all over the place.  We're all just striving to achieve whiteness and goodness...

Tim Hortons

Only Canada.....What is our national obsessions with Tim Hortons All About???

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The American Dream Shouldn't Mean Rape and Death

Many living in states that share a border with Mexico actively "defend" the United States daily from the "threat" of so-called "illegal aliens".  They are erroneously convinced that these people are stealing good jobs from hard working Americans.  A lot of their propaganda is based solely in racism. You see an American is conceived of as white...a true American is certainly not brown, and certainly does not speak Spanish fluently. They conveniently forget that America is sup0p0sed to be the land of opportunity and freedom for all.  In truth opportunity, and freedom are only a real possibility of you are born rich and white.

Many living south of the border are unable to achieve subsistence due to global capitalism, and its unfair trade treaties.  Bodies of colour are globally impoverished so that Americans can consume at an unprecedented rate.  Over consumption includes but is not limited to portion size of meals, number of vehicles owned, size of homes etc and etc.  What bothers me is the sense of entitlement that comes with this lifestyle.  This ridiculous belief that an accident of birth entitles you to the right to exploit third world bodies of colour for the sake of personal comfort and profit. 

In a desire to escape the role of neo-colonial citizen daily people attempt to sneak across the US/Mexican border.  This is a very dangerous journey to undertake. Many lives have been lost, and the desert has become a cemetery without markers.  For those that make the journey alive there is often a cost that is not talked about.  The wind hears the screams of pain and anguish but the shame buries the truth of the atrocity.  The cost of entering the land of freedom for women is paid with their bodies.  Women are being raped.

"I thought the wailings we heard at night were the coyotes barking at the moon," one volunteer told The Washington Times. "I didn't know until later that those sounds were the cries of women being raped in the Mexican desert, some less than 100 yards away from the border. There was absolutely nothing anyone could do about it."

    The rapists are known to hang women's bras and panties from tree limbs as trophies.

Imagine in a bid to escape poverty and marginalization you again become a victim...a victim of rape. It is a crime that is meant to reduce your very being to a tool, and ia a testament to male supremacy.  Rape is already a crime that is extremely under reported (60% under reported according to RAINN),  and these women that are in an extremely vulnerable position are even less likely to report it to the authorities.  "According to the United Nations, up to 70 percent of women crossing the border without husbands or families are abused in some way." How can they seek justice when they themselves are deemed criminals because of their citizenship? What do they do when they are raped by the very men that are supposed to be enforcing the law?  Men rape with impunity because they know that the chance for repercussions for this heinous violation will most likely go unpunished.  Constantly in the media we hear about the need to secure the borders, but there is no discussion about the violation of women that occurs at the border.

In a world where women are undervalued and exploited, brown women are even more likely to be considered consumable bodies.  It is theorized that these incidents would not happen if they would just stay home.  It seems as if this is just some penalty that they are expected to pay for being born brown and poor on the wrong side of the border; conveniently it is forgotten that much of the land that is now considered American was once a legitimate part of Mexico.  Constantly there is an attempt to remove basic human rights accorded to American citizens simply because these people do not hold green cards. What is ignored is that they have a membership that is far more relevant than a green card, they are human beings, no different and no less than anyone born under the stars and stripes. 

The brown people of this world do no exist to live a life of servitude, poverty and violence.  It is this frame of thought that must be broken, this sense of entitlement that must come to an end. Whether it is rape at the border or death due to dehydration picking vegetables, POC matter.  Your sense of comfort is based upon eating the other in a very literal sense.  For each item that you take for granted someone has more thank likely paid the price in blood.  I submit that we don't think about the cost because it is being paid by bodies of colour.  When we devalue people we cannot possibly legitimate the true value of every day items that we take for granted.  Is a shirt still beautiful if it means that the woman, that made it was raped for the "honour" of residing in the US?  Is a tomato still fresh and inviting if the person that picked it is now lying in nameless grave?

 


Noam Chomsky On Pornography

H/T Lenins Tomb

Normally I am in agreement with most things that Noam Chomsky has theorized but in this case I must respectfully disagree.  The idea that the decision to work in the porn industry is simply a result of womens exploitation ignores the degree to which womens agency can make this an active choice.  While all paid labour in a capitalist economy is defiantly exploitation, working in the porn industry is not more exploitative because what is being produced is sex, or rather the imitation of  reciprocal sex.

Why is sex work necessarily more degrading than working at McDonalds, or a  Dunkin Donuts for that matter? Both involve the sale of ones body, and labour power to a certain degree. Both involve not being adequately compensated vis a vis profits versus wage, yet pornography is deemed horribly degrading. I submit that this because womens sexuality is only culturally acceptable when it is virginal in nature.  Good girls, or authentic women don't actually enjoy performing sex acts, or participating in any form of voyeurism.  Certainly there are women working in the porn industry that are not happy about that choice but not all women feel that way.  If you ask Walmart workers, I  some will tell you that they are not happy working there either.

For us to accept this as completely degrading to women, we must ignore those in the sex trade industry who unequivocally state that they perform this labour because they enjoy it, and therefore if we truly feel that it is necessary to respect women, we should validate their experiences and accept their explanations about their labour.   Is it still demeaning if the one performing does not feel demeaned? By telling sex trade workers that they are uniquely oppressed are we not guilty of seeking to discipline their bodies in the same manner that we accuse others of doing?  Are we not creating them as other? It is simply not progressive to tell someone that they are oppressed when they themselves feel no unusual exploitation.  Validating agency means respecting  choices even in cases where we are in disagreement with them.


Lavena Johnson A Mothers Grief

Thutmose sent me an e-mail and asked me to write about Lavena Johnson.  In truth I have known about what happened to this young woman for awhile and have purposefully not posted about this issue.  It is not because I do not acknowledge that what happened to her is horrendous, or that I do not believe that justice needs to be sought in her name.  There are certain events when they occur that hurt me so deeply, I am unable to find the words.  As a WOC and a mother I cannot imagine the pain of her parents.  Every time I think of her my soul screams with such a rage, that I lose the ability to be coherent.   I look at my children and gather them close to me awash with a feeling of fear.  I think of the bodies of color that have been subject to violence at the whims of men in power, and something inside me snaps.

I am so very angry, and at the same time so very terrified.  When you send your children out into the world you worry for their safety knowing that others will seek to take advantage of them. You stay awake nights hoping not only for their success and happiness, but for their safety.  I cannot conceive of my child being violated in the manner that this promising young woman was.  I cannot conceive of looking at the lifeless body of my child, knowing that their very last moments on this planet were filled with pain, knowing that I could not have prevented it.  Though Lavena was not my child, it is with a mothers anguish that I think about her.  It is with a mothers love that I mourn her passing

When I think of her, I think of how many black mothers have had the same experience.  I think of the mothers weeping who watched their children sold away from them.  I think of the mothers, powerless to stop the rape of their daughters, and the mothers that  cut down their sons bodies after being lynched by hate mobs. Pain and suffering is often synonymous with  black motherhood.  We spend endless days teaching our children how to negotiate the system to stay safe, knowing even as we do this, racism and sexism work against our most valiant efforts.  What happened to Laveena is my nightmare. Though I regularly state that motherhood is not the totality of my existence, my love for my children over rides any other emotion that I could possibly feel.  They have made me the woman that I am.  So when I read Lavena's story I wondered was her last word mommy, did she seek salvation from the one that undoubtedly loved her the most?

I know that for the rest of her life Mrs.Johnsons her arms will ache to hold her daughter. I know that she will strain to hear echoes  her laughter in windchimes, and that a picture that is lovingly placed in remembrance, can never capture the true essence of the person that has been lost.  Motherhood is filled with many challenges but it should not be filled with this kind of sorrow, and this kind of soul breaking pain. And so I weep, not only for Lavena Johnson, but every mother who has ever had the pain of losing a child to violence, racism and sexism.  Sleep peacefully princess and may dreams of angels wings guide you in your slumber.

 


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

U.S. quality of life ranks low, going lower

Study of health care, education, employment, housing and oppression of Black communities

By Jaimeson Champion

Published Jul 27, 2008 8:09 PM

U.S. imperialism’s proponents are fond of characterizing the U.S. as a land of “freedom and opportunity.” This myth is shattered by the findings in a recently published study that uses U.N. research methodology to analyze socioeconomic conditions in the U.S.

The study, published July 16, is titled, “The Measure of America: American Human Development Report 2008-2009.” In it, researchers analyze the comparative ability of U.S. residents to access healthcare, education, employment and housing.

Of the 30 richest countries comprising the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. has the greatest proportion of children living in poverty. Despite spending more money per capita on health care than any other country on the planet, the U.S. ranks 42nd globally in life expectancy.

U.S. infant mortality ranks 34th globally, according to the OECD report. If the U.S. were able to achieve an infant mortality rate as low as top-ranked Sweden, 20,000 more babies would survive here each year.

The Measure of America study also breaks down the analysis by state and congressional districts and, in so doing, paints a stark portrait of vast wealth and opulence amassed in close geographic proximity to deep poverty and suffering.

For example, the 14th Congressional District on Manhattan’s Upper East Side ranks as the richest of the 436 U.S. congressional districts. Nearby, the 16th Congressional District in the Bronx ranks number 431.

California’s 20th Congressional District, which covers parts of Fresno, Kings and Kerns Counties, is ranked the 436th district, making it the worst off. Median household income there is $16,765, which is below the federal poverty line. California as a whole is home to 10 of the top 20 ranked congressional districts, many of them in the suburbs of Los Angeles near the 20th.

The study’s findings provide further evidence of institutionalized racism in the country’s health and education systems. African Americans in the U.S. today have a life expectancy as low as that of the average U.S. resident in 1970. The results show that access to health care, education and housing is markedly lower in congressional districts that are predominately African American and Latin@.

From Bad to Worse

The findings in this study are bleak indeed, but perhaps most troubling is the fact that the report is based on statistics from 2005. All the dismal statistics are drawn from the time before the mortgage crisis struck and the ensuing economic meltdown began.

The subprime mortgage crisis has resulted in foreclosure and eviction rates soaring to levels not experienced since the Great Depression. A disproportionate number of foreclosure and eviction victims are African American and Latin@, as institutionalized racism in the lending industry resulted in the most predatory loans being given to the most oppressed segments of the population.

As Amaad Rivera, co-author of “Foreclosed: State of the Dream 2008,”  a recent study conducted by the group United for a Fair Economy, concludes that “the subprime lending debacle has caused the greatest loss of wealth to people of color in modern U.S. history.”

The data in the Measure of America study also show how deep was the oppression suffered by the predominately Black communities in the Gulf Region prior to Hurricane Katrina.

Raymond C. Offenheiser, president of Oxfam, one of the funders of the study, said in a July 16 statement, “The American Human Development Index is unique because it reveals the interlocking factors that create or deny opportunity and determine life chances. The analysis is particularly revealing in places like the Gulf Coast region.... The report clearly illustrates the conditions residents were struggling with even prior to the hurricanes of 2005—limited access to education, lower incomes, and shorter lives—and argues for a comprehensive solution for recovery.”

The deepening economic crisis in the U.S. has resulted in drastic budget cuts in exactly the same areas that the Measure of America study analyzed using 2005 data. To say that the ability of the working class to access healthcare, education, housing and employment has decreased drastically since 2005 is an understatement.

In impoverished neighborhoods across the country, public schools are deteriorating, school programs are being cut, healthcare clinics are being shuttered, affordable housing is disappearing, and social services for the most vulnerable segments of society are being slashed with greater intensity. The capitalist class and its state are systematically transferring the pain and suffering wrought by the crisis of capital onto the backs of the workers and oppressed people.

The Measure of America highlights a trend that most workers in the U.S. are already painfully well aware of: the standard of living of U.S. working class is deteriorating rapidly. It is statistical confirmation of the fact that the large multinational working class is continually falling deeper into poverty, debt and despair, while a small group of super rich individuals amass unimaginable wealth.

Capitalism as a system has failed miserably for the workers and oppressed in the U.S., while U.S. imperialism has caused unimaginable suffering for billions of people around the globe. The so-called “American Dream” is becoming a nightmare for workers. The picturesque house with the white picket fence has a giant foreclosed sign in the front yard.

What is needed is a way out. More people will be looking for the possibility of a struggle to bring about a socialist solution.


Articles copyright 1995-2008 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

The Colour Of Fear

Hat tip: Stuff White People Do

Recently I have posted quite a bit on my thoughts on what it is like to be a POC. I have not heavily engaged on the subject of whiteness, and what it means to be white.  To exist as a white person in this world is to live a life of privilege.  As I have repeatedly said privilege can be mitigated by certain factors but this in no way eliminates it.

Whiteness is normalized as good but what is insidious about this construction is the invisibility of the mechanization.  Whiteness is not seen as a race or a culture it just occurs.  POC are constructed as different, or even exotic, but this can only be presented in this manner because of the normalization of whiteness.  For all of the agents of socialization, whiteness is continually reified as not only acceptable, but ultimately desirable.  Even as whiteness consumes bodies of colour we are meant to desire it, and embrace it. 

I am amused that being considered a racist has recently been construed as undesirable amongst whites, and yet they continually benefit from the exploitation of bodies of colour.  I'm no racist but, I wear on my body clothing made in sweatshops by people of colour. I'm no racist but, I continue to purchase products produced by Del Monte and Dole despite its exploitation of workers of colour.  I'm no racist but, "illegal immigration" has to stop despite the fact that the reason for the desire to immigrate is my white led governments hegemonic place globally.  These forces are not divorced from race even though conceptually we are told that it is about economics.  Consider that the the so-called third world is constructed from bodies of colour, and white western governments feel entitled to use these countries resources, and their populace as neo-colonies.  There is a claim that this is about having a better life for westerners, but in actuality this is about consuming bodies of colour. Yes eating the other occurs daily, with malice and forethought.

No one wants to be considered a racist and yet daily each person contributes to the continuation of racism, whether it is in the sphere of economics or passively sitting and watching television.  If we are watching a show and a white person calls a black man a boy, instantly we can identify that as a racist act but what about not noting in an evening of television watching that Asians, or Latinos are rarely seen in mainstream programming.  Where is the outcry for even representation?...It is just one continual echo chamber because whiteness, the bodies that matter are represented. You are not meant to notice that this over representation means the exclusion of certain bodies.  Each act daily reinforces whiteness, and yet to be considered a racist is a terrible thing. I submit that when you don't acknowledge that the failure to act is just as racist as performing racism you are indeed maintaining whiteness as not only good, but natural and above question. 


Vagina Solidarity Is No Way Forward

I must admit to being a lurker at Having Read The Fine PrintI am often so impressed with Black Amazons ability to convey messages of empowerment that I can seldom add to anything that she posts.  While doing my usual lurking I read a post she had written in response to this blogger.  Though her take down is awesome as usual, it got me thinking a great deal about intersectionality.  Regular readers of this blog are aware that this is the approach that I attempt to take on many issues.  It is particularly the reason why posts here deal with as many issues they do.  In my attempt to give voice to those that society has marginalized, (a pretty large group) I have come to the realization that there are several issues at play.

Hedi Schnakenberg first claims ally status to due her relationship with WOC. Don't you love how white people cannot seem to stop using the convenient "but I have black friends excuse" to try and hide their privilege and racist ideas.  Yeah well I have white friends, does this mean I get to re-write history and construct your body as the one that is double stigmatized by having to deal with race and gender? Can I make up theories about your body that create you as other because it makes me feel good about myself? Empowerment for "women" (read:white women) at any cost.

Ms.Schnakenberg uses the most common excuse to deny intersectionality, and that is the dilution of the feminist movement.  If we focus on too many things at once how will we recognize feminism? How about a little fact that women are the ones running it on a daily basis?  I know that it is comforting to sit back and watch WOC in support roles, making coffee and filing papers while you (read:white women) work diligently towards advancing the rights of all women. When you come in from a rough day of protesting and consciousness raising mammy will be there to stroke your brow and give you a breast to nourish your depleted soul...Don't you worry now missus I's sho nuff goin member my place...Which is to tell you to kiss my black ass.

When white able bodied, CIS, middle class/rich feminists fail to acknowledge the value of intersectionality what they are doing is reifying the uneven power distribution in feminism.  When you claim the right to set the agenda of an entire movement you are expressing your unearned privileges in this life. Now I understand that race may not have any significance in your life but when I walk out my front door I am confronted by  both racism and sexism.  When a WOC who is a lesbian walks out her front door she must in turn must deal with race, gender, and lesbophobia. Each one of the negotiations that we must make with oppression comes at a cost.

Finally you can suggest all that you want that we cast aside intersectionality but as long as I own a vagina, and exist in body that society chooses to devalue based on the colour of my skin I will never concede that one aspect of my identity is more important than another.  I am very much aware of exactly who vagina solidarity privileges and why.  Not only is it ignorant and racist for you to even attempt to tell a WOC what part of their identity is relevant, it is completely self-serving. So thanks for the offer of admission to the vagina club, but I think I will hold out for a more inclusive offer. 

 


Monday, July 28, 2008

Rocky Horror Picture Show

image Rocky Horror Picture Show is one of my favourite all time movies. This morning I learned that they are re-making this cult classic.  I certainly believe that they cannot improve upon the original but they will introduce a whole new generation to an interesting cast of characters.  So the honey and I were debating about who should play Frankenfurter....He picked Ewan McGregor and I chose Johnny Depp...weigh and and let me know who you think would be best, and if you have any suggestions for the other roles throw those in as well.

 

Kobra Najjar Faces Imminent Execution by Stoning for Prostitution

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Equality Now is urgently concerned about Kobra Najjar, an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning for adultery who lost her final appeal for amnesty. Iranian women’s rights activists working on her case report that Kobra has exhausted all domestic legal remedies and that her execution by stoning could happen any time.

Kobra is a victim of domestic violence who was forced into prostitution by her abusive husband in order to support his heroine addiction. He was murdered by one of Kobra’s “clients” who sympathized with her plight. Kobra has already served 8 years in prison as an accessory to her husband’s murder. The man who murdered her husband also served 8 years in prison and is now free after paying blood money and undergoing 100 lashes, while Kobra faces imminent stoning to death for adultery - the prostitution her husband forced upon her.

Equality Now is also concerned about recent reports of seven other women and one man, all accused of adultery sentenced to death by stoning, whose executions are also reported to be possible at any time. In Iran, adultery is the only crime punishable by stoning.

Stoning violates the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Iran is a state party. The ICCPR clearly prohibits torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and punishment. It also limits the imposition of the death penalty “only for the most serious crimes.” No criminal or other act warrants violent and inhumane punishments such as flogging and stoning. Moreover, adultery is a private act and should not incur criminal punishment. Protection from arbitrary or unlawful interference under the ICCPR has been found by the United Nations Human Rights Committee to include consensual sexual activity between adults in private.

Please write to the Iranian officials below, calling for Kobra’s immediate release, the commutation of all sentences of death by stoning and the prohibition by law of all cruel, inhuman and degrading punishments in accordance with Iran’s obligations under the ICCPR. Urge the officials also to initiate a comprehensive review of the Civil and Penal Codes of Iran to remove all provisions that discriminate and perpetuate discrimination against women, including those regarding adultery and fornication, in accordance with Iran’s own constitutional provision for equality before the law.

His Excellency Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi
Head of the Judiciary
c/o Ministry of Justice          
Park-e Shahr
Teheran
Islamic Republic of Iran
Email:
iripr@iranjudiciary.org, irjpr@iranjudiciary.com and info@dadgostary-tehran.ir
Phone: +98 21 22741002, +98 21 22741003, +98 21 22741004, +98 21 22741005

Note: The contact information above may encounter delivery problems so please keep trying to send your message. Thank you for taking action!

Please also contact the Iranian embassy in your country. The following link may help you find the contact information: http://www.embassyworld.com/embassy/Iran/Iran.html

Bahrain: Embassy of Iran in Manama
Tel: 722400, 722660
Fax: 722101

Canada: Embassy of Iran in Ottawa http://www.salamiran.org/
Tel: 613 2354726 Ext 225
Fax: 613 2325712

Denmark: Embassy of Iran in Copenhagen http://www.iran-embassy.dk
Tel: 39160071
Fax: 39160075

Finland: Embassy of Iran in Helsinki
Tel: (9) 6869240
Fax: (9) 6869241

Germany: Embassy of Iran in Frankfurt
Tel: (0) 695600070, (0) 695600730
Fax: (0) 6956000728

India: Embassy of Iran in New Delhi
Tel: (011) 3329600, (011) 3329601, (011) 3329602, (011) 3320491
Fax: (011) 3325493

Jordan: Embassy of Iran in Amman
Tel: (6) 4641281, (6) 4641282
Fax: (6) 4641383

Kenya: Embassy of Iran in Nairobi
Tel: (2) 720343, (2) 720796
Fax: (2) 713966

Lebanon: Embassy of Iran in Beirut
Tel: (1) 821224

Malaysia: Embassy of Iran in Kuala Lumpur
Tel: (3) 4514830, (3) 4514824
Fax: (3) 4562904

Norway: Embassy of Iran in Oslo http://home.eunet.no/%7Eiranamb/
Tel: 23 27 29 60
Fax: 22 55 49 19

Russia: Embassy of Iran in Moscow
Tel: (95) 9177282, (95) 9170039, (95) 9178440
Fax: (95) 2302897

Sweden: Embassy of Iran in Stockholm
Tel: (80) 7650829, (80) 7653174
Fax: (80) 7653119

Switzerland: Embassy of Iran in Berne
Tel: (31) 3510801, (31) 3510802
Fax: (31) 3515652

United Arab Emirates: Embassy of Iran in Abu Dhabi http://www.iranembassy.org.ae
Tel: (12) 4447618
Fax: (12) 4448714

United Kingdom: Embassy of Iran in London http://www.iran-embassy.org.uk/
Tel: 02072253000
Fax: 02075894440

United States: Interests Section of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Washington, D.C. http://www.daftar.org/
Tel: 202 9654990
Fax: 202 9651073

Please keep Equality Now updated on your efforts and send copies of any replies you receive to:

Equality Now P.O. Box 20646, Columbus Circle Station, New York NY 10023, USA
Equality Now Africa Regional Office, P.O. Box 2018, KNH 00202, Nairobi, KENYA
Equality Now P.O. Box 48822, London WC2N 6ZW, UNITED KINGDOM
info@equalitynow.org


Hooters Girls Can't Jump

 image Hooters is an international restaurant food chain that is not famous for its food, it is famous for its waitresses who wear short shorts, and low cut, tight fitting t-shirts.

Of course the owners of Hooters are actually selling  sex, under the cover of functioning as a restaurant.  Really what man actually goes to Hooters to eat because he needs nourishment. He could eat cheaper, and just as unhealthy at McDonalds.  Imagine how much Ronald Mcdonald could increase sales if he would only consent to a breast enhancement surgery. Oh but wait, tits are only valued when they appear on women right??? Silly me, sexual objectification for profit is something men do to women what was I thinking.

According to CTV, Hooters employees in Dartmouth, N.S. engage in outdoor calisthenics prior to the commencement of their shifts. This must just be great for morale, standing on the sidewalk together jumping up and down to make your tits bounce to attract customers.  Can you imagine the female bonding this must cause. This marketing ploy has been so successful that a man drove directly into the back of a bus because he was busy watching the women and not the road. Theresa Brien, Halifax Regional Police spokesperson is reported to have said to CTV, "We attended Hooters and we had asked them to move their staff away from the roadway to another parking lot where they wouldn't be distracting drivers."

In a confirmation of his male right to exploit for profit the female form, Scott Samways responded, "I can understand safety but we're not doing anything wrong. It's a huge marketing ploy, pretty women can sell pretty much anything they want." This statement was further backed up by their in house colluder waitress Amy Randell, "I think we should be out here promoting ourselves. It gets people in the restaurant and a lot of people enjoy it." 

Right, you're shaking your tits to promote yourself...okay, self promotion is when you keep the entirety of the profits generated from your tits labour. The minute the profit goes to a pimp company you are being exploited. The value of your labour is not what the pimp lets you keep,  company pays you, but the profit minus all expenses.  If you are going to be in the business of profiting from your body, you should be realistic, and honest about the work that you do. 

The exercise routine encouraged by Hooters gave the community the perfect opportunity to discuss female sexual objectification, but of course "safety" was the issue that was focused on.  It would seem to me that if men would simply respect the bodies of women in the first place, there would not be an issue of safety. Daily when women walk down the street we receive cat calls and rude stares from men who feel that they have the right to dehumanize us for their pleasure. I recently wrote about an experience I had wherein a man stared at my breasts for five minutes in the presence of my children. My experience is not unique by any stretch of the imagination and the traffic incidents around Hooters reifies what has become patently obvious to most women...men see us as consumable sex objects.  As much as I disagree with what the waitress are doing, they should be able to jump up and down to their hearts content without being forced inside. It is the male drivers who do not pay attention to the road that need to dealt with. We need to stop policing women because men have difficulty with self control. The boys will be boys alleviates men of their responsibility to be respectful human beings, and  it makes women vulnerable to attack.

 


Homless, Disabled and Female Equals Less Than

image I followed a link from Finally A Feminism 101 which led to this disgraceful cartoon. I am not going to link to the original site to prevent the creator of this trash from receiving any traffic from me.

This cartoon is problematic for a myriad of reasons.  Note that the female starts the conversation by citing a hatred of homeless people.  Why is it as a society we feel it is okay to devalue people based on their ability to consume?  Daily we walk by homeless people on the street, failing to make eye contact, or acknowledge them in any real, and meaningful manner.  We rush by them in large urban centres to return to our little cubicles of safety that we call homes.  The only reason she does not hate this woman is because she has a disability.  What we can see from this commentary is that unless one has a disability, homelessness is the fault of the individual and therefore, they are worthy of our derision.

The desire to blame the individual totally negates the exploitative capitalist economy that we are all slaving under. It is further an internalization of false class allegiance. The very concept of owning property is meant to keep a division between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie.  When at the beginning of the month your landlord comes to collect her/his rent money recognize it for the predatory act that it is.  Shelter is a basic human need and the landlord capitalizes upon this need to enrich her/himself.  Despite the memories and or connections that may have been made in an abode, the inability to pay will quickly lead to an eviction, despite having paid years of rent. Over the course of a lifetime a renter will have paid the value of the property but because of a financial system wherein they are either disqualified from getting a mortgage, or having been offered a rate of interest that is nothing less than legal loan sharking, at the end of the day renters end up with zero value for their investment. The solution to this obvious inequality  is certainly not to blame those that are victimized by a system of exchange that is designed to exploit.

Upon hearing the life situation of this disabled woman the man refers to her as a slut...nice discipline word. imageHe has no  idea whether or not she had  children in a "legitimate" long term relationship.  The simple act of engaging in sex is enough for her to be characterized as a slut. Socially men may have sex freely with little fear of repercussions while virginity and chastity are promoted as the norm for the female.   Even when we are in relationships that have been sanctified by religion or the state (read:marriage) our ability to respond sexually is directly related to the ideas that we have been taught about sex.  To be sexually aggressive or act in pursuit of an orgasm is not feminine, good girl behaviour.

How does this female "ally" respond to the slut shaming stated by the man.."It's a little hard to close your legs if you don't have any"...Right because if the whore had legs to begin with she would know enough to follow the script and be sexually passive like the rest of the women on the planet.  Of course if you are disabled you are not sexual being. Nope..sex can only occur for you if you are being raped, it certainly isn't something that you would actively seek out.  These ideas are certainly hegemonic in our society.  We constantly frame a disabled individual as asexual as a way of dealing with out discomfort about their bodies and their needs.  We believe in a way that it elevates them because they are assumed not to need to participate in the "dirty act" for fulfillment.  Why should they want to have sex anyway it is not as if they are the equal of an able bodied person right?

In the final act of able bodied privilege the man realizes that he has the opportunity to violate her because she has no legs.  Here we can see an intersection between disability and gender.  Of course her body is available to be raped she does after all have a little thing called a vagina.  The idea that she is entitled to bodily integrity is something that he simply cannot grasp.  In fact her disability makes her even less entitled to live a life free of violence.

This cartoon is the perfect example of the ways in which class, ability and gender intersect in our society.  The more invisible a marginalized body becomes the greater the possibility that they will be subject to violence.  The current high level of anomie encourages us to minimize not only their lives but their essential human worth.  When I see images like this, I cannot stop myself from asking why certain bodies do no seem to matter...in the end I realize that a great deal has to do with fear.  Most realize exactly how precarious their living situation is and there is a fear of ending up on the streets, or in the case of disability, "catching" the disability.  We other what we do not want to become because to empathize would be to recognize our own vulnerability in this culture of injustice.  When we express our cultural power by exploiting or marginalizing others not only are we saying that they don't matter we are expressing a deep seated fear that we don't matter either.