Saturday, August 16, 2008

Hairless Muff, Every Girls Dream

I have written before about the  different ways in which we police the muff.  Many different magazine articles are dedicated to questioning whether hair is appropriate on a vagina.  The question as to whether male pubic hair is appropriate is always posed as an aside because the real issue, that's right the real issue, is making sure the pussy is pleasantly pleasing. Women are expected to continually contort their bodies to whatever society deems to be feminine, having the right parts is not enough for you to classify as 'woman'.

From a very early age we are taught that our bodies are what matter.  Any thoughts we might have to the contrary are quickly silenced.  Real girls just go along with the status quo.  If you make waves boys aren't going to like that, and then you may never be able to participate in your slave auction, otherwise known as a wedding.  Think of everything you would be giving up if you dared to do something as radical as let hair grow under your arms, on your legs, and on daddy's well disciplined closed for business twat.

It seems it is never to early to teach young girls about the appropriate shape that their bodies should be in.

One New York City salon, Wanda’s European Skin Care Center, boasts on its Web site that children 8 years and older can get discounted waxing for “virgin” hair. “Virgin hair can be waxed so successfully that growth can be permanently stopped in just 2 to 6 sessions. Save your child a lifetime of waxing ... and put the money in the bank for her college education instead!” the salon proclaims.

Right, cause the norm is that we retain our pre pubescent bodies for life.  That this concept of the anti-aging woman is fundamentally anti-woman seems unimportant.  Of course if we didn't pay for waxing and just embraced ourselves as nature intended there would be no expense in the first place.  Ads like this create a fault in women and then exploit if for financial gain.   Of course the colluding mothers that are dragging their daughters to the salon to achieve the much desired model look cannot see the exploitation and anti-woman propaganda that is at work there.  Really would the world come to an end if women en masse stopped shaving and waxing? Would men suddenly say no, I'm not going to fuck you?  Somehow I doubt it. 

There is not a single inch of the female body that society has deemed beyond the need of repair.  For every implied fault someone has created a service to "fix it".  Now 10 year olds are getting microdermabrasion, which is a treatment that removes dead skin cells.  "Lauren Albert, spa director at Rescue Rittenhouse Spa, says mothers frequently bring in their daughters between the ages of 10 and 14 for various waxes, nail services and facials." All this in the quest to have the perfect pretty baby. Who defines perfect?  How is it that women have been duped into believing that our bodies are fundamentally damaged?

Two factors combine together to create woman as other; capitalism and patriarchy.  When a fault is created it means a business opportunity is created. Even though women earn 70 cents for every dollar a man makes, threatening our femininity is usually enough to get us to part with our hard earned dollars. Big business gains nothing by reinforcing a positive femininity.  A woman that loves herself as she is created will not feel the need to succumb to things like waxing, makeup, surgeries etc and this ultimately means that the beauty industry as we understand it would not exist.  That it is a predatory industry is largely ignored in the desire to make sure that we are deemed socially acceptable.  The male gaze is equally problematic.  It creates woman as not only 'other' in comparison to man but 'other' to women. The goal of perfection can never be achieved and that is the point. It keeps women constantly seeking  elusive male approval. It creates a sexuality that is not woman centred but man centred and  therefore we are meant to feel grateful that a man would think us worthy of a fuck.

It is time that women begin to examine these so called services critically. Who do they really benefit, and what messages are we internalizing. It is harmful to our daughters to teach them at a young age they are unacceptable for something that is beyond their control. It is further harmful that the message we are teaching is that femininity is ultimately a foul thing in need of continual grooming to escape being labelled less than.  It is time to stop enriching these corporations that prey upon womens fears.  A woman is so much more than her physical appearance and it is time to move beyond this standard as the value of worth.


Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Gymnast Alica Sacramone: Only Your Sex Appeal Counts

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Believe it or not the woman is a talented silver medalist at this years Olympics but what are people talking about...you guessed it her sex appeal.  Can we have a collective BLECH.  According to FOX news her profile has garnered a whopping 1.4 million views.  The Los Angeles Times claims that, "immediately after the women's gymnastics competition, the phrase "Alicia Sacramone is hot" shot to No. 1 on Google's hot trends list. Hordes of web surfers scoured the depths of Google for information on and photos of the athlete." Not to be left out, there have been several Facebook pages dedicated to her.

Facebook groups sprang up overnight for fans ogling the Olympian. One was created Wednesday morning around 10 a.m. and has already netted 400 members. Group creator Tyler Herrick, a student at the University of Maryland, wrote on the message board: "Dont worry fellas ill put some pictures of her up when i get home from work. So you can imagine whatever dream youve got going there." Later, he made good on his promise.

A clear competitor to Herrick's Facebook group, reads: "SHE'S 20, so she's not jailbait!"

image Combine this with the gratuitous ass shots that have become popular of the womens volleyball teams and what becomes obvious is that womens sports isn't viewed as legitimate competition, no it is an opportunity oogle and sexualize the female form.  That these women train for years for the opportunity to represent their countries is overlooked because of course everything women do is about selling sex to every ready males. 

Am I just being to sensitive?  Should I just accept this as the cost of having international exposure for womens sports?  UUUUM No!  The exploitation of the female form is rampant in our society.  It is not as simple as sex sells because the flesh that is usually for sale is female.  Womens bodies are deemed to be consumable while men are on some kind of lofty endeavour to increase global unity through sport.  The sexism that the media has displayed throughout this years Olympics is disgusting and no self respecting woman could possibly see it any other way. In most photographs they don't even bother to include the head of the athlete ,just a sexy ass shot of a woman is enough to sum up her Olympic experience. I say Fuck that, we are more than parts for the pleasure of the male gaze.  The trend of showing disembodied women, or ignoring our achievements by discussing our fuckability rating reduces women to glory holes. Instead of sitting alone in your dark rooms boys vigourously masturbating to these images mentally cataloguing which athlete you would like to fuck, why don't you consider for one moment in your sex crazed desire that she might think that you are not worthy of a fuck.


Women for Women International's "2008 Run for Congo Women"

image The Run for Congo women is a series of run/walks across the country that is dedicated to generating awareness and support for the dire situation of women survivors of war in DR Congo. It has proven to be tremendously successful in the past and we would love for you to be able to feature this great event in your blog so it can be even more successful this year!  Please let me know if this is something you would be interested in sharing and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Here is a brief description and list of the cities Run for Congo Women is coming to:

Today in the Democratic Republic of Congo, people are still struggling after one of the deadliest wars in all history. Millions have died and new conflicts continue to threaten peace every day. Women of the Congo are targeted daily for sexual slavery, torture, and brutal gang rape. But despite this horrific violence, the situation in the Congo receives almost no media coverage and many are not even aware that this conflict is even happening.

Run for Congo Women is a grassroots run/walk that has grown into a global movement and is dedicated to raising awareness about this issue and supporting Women for Women Internationalʼs Congo Program.When you Run for Congo Women, you are sending a simple message of hope: that Congolese women are significant, that their lives are precious, and that you are running to help. Because of your efforts, you will be able to provide women with the chance to recover hope and rebuild their families after their lives have been torn apart by war.

Run for Congo Women will be coming to following cities!
Morrison, CO - September 13, 2008
Portland, OR - September 14, 2008
New York, NY - October 4, 2008
Phoenix/Tempe, AZ- October 5, 2008
Chicago, IL - October 11, 2008
St. Louis, MO - October 18, 2008
To register today and for more information, visit
www.runforcongowomen.org. You have the opportunity to change the life of a Congolese woman today.


Pssst Let's Play Dress up

 In our binary divided world the one thing that I am sure of is that little girls are made of sugar and spice and all that is nice ( you know the rest of the hideous poem)  Of course being born with a vagina these traits are immutable.  The minute they rubber stamp you in the hospitable and declare you an ovary bearing being the gender disciplining begins.  Little girls sit pretty, never getting  rambunctious because adventure and daring are for boys. Little girls don't climb trees, make mud pies, or play fort.  Little girls play hop scotch, tea party, dress up, and nurse their dolls.  What these little games do is reinforce gender performativity from a very young age.  Even with all of the amazing changes that technology has brought to this world we have simply reworked old games to make them appear fresh and new.

Can you smell a rant coming? Well your senses are bang on. I had the misfortune of running into a site called, Dress Me.  Now you don't need a collection of dress up clothes or a doll with multiple outfits, you only need to get online to access a virtual world of never ending costumes. The site sells itself as, "The largest dressing up site for girls. We have [the] coolest online fashion and dress up games. You can create a perfect girl in teen dressing for girls or dress up doll in fashion week game. Play with our wonderful dress up games and create your own online style. "  Suppress the bile, it gets even better!

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Yes these are but a few of the images that young girls have to choose from. The avatars are either overly sexualized, or they are fairy tale princesses...Madonna/Whore dichotomy anyone?  What better way to teach young girls their two options in life than to naturalize it through play.  They will learn to dress their pretend dolls appropriately so that when a woman is assaulted the question of what she did to deserve it, will seem natural and proper to them.

Heaven forbid little girls be offered more ways to increase the skills that will benefit them in life.  You know games that encourage things like toughness, assertiveness, determination, oh but wait that would make it a boy game wouldn't it, and we simply cannot have that.  If you have a vagina you have two options, sweet virginal princess, or vampy whore, but in the end both lead to submissive cum receptacle.

In the beautiful photo montage I included one WOC which as you can see is problematic as she is clearly posing as beauty queen, thus promoting theimage commodification of culture.  The horror show does not stop there.  You can dress up your own African doll as well.  The African doll is sexualized but for her it is hidden behind a veil.  Yes, the black doll gets to wear lipstick, have Eurocentric straightened hair but it must all be hidden.  How can I argue with this as everyone knows that black women are all Jezebels.  Our desire for a deep dick is so overwhelming and so compelling to males that unless we are fully covered from head to toe we succumb to our baser urges.  The lesson here is that white pussy can be redeemed but the black one is a born whore.

I know that it is only August but please keep this site in mind when you are going Christmas shopping for the little girl that has won your heart.  You will save time in line ups and reduce stress if you buy her credits to play dress up here.  You can show your love for her by teaching her at a very early age where her true value lies - between her legs.  With any luck she will internalize the appropriate messages and in a few years you can smile proudly as she attends her purity ball, all thanks to the generosity of your loving gift.


Capitalism The Cult of I

We live in a false middle class world. Many wrongly position themselves in the class bracket that they feel to be socially acceptable rather than where they actually belong.  This is the result of having  a society based in consumerism.  Human worth is not dictated by moral fortitude, educational accomplishment, or even the ability to empathize with the struggles of our neighbours, it based in having more commodities than anyone else.  The shiny new car, the blood diamond ring, the house that is twice as large as needed all outweigh the person who sleeps on the streets, or the young families that nightly must visit soup kitchens for supper.  Capitalism is the cult of I instead of the grace and equality of we.

We have become indoctrinated with a false sense of entitlement as a way of justifying this soulless system.  I worked hard to get where I am, why should I be penalized for this. It's not my fault third world nations are so poor they should do something about their government. I don't give money to the homeless because they will probably spend it on booze. It's not my child why should my tax dollars go to support her or him? There are jobs out there, people just don't want to work. 

Value judgements and justifications are the rule of the day. To face the ugly truth of the system that we are forced to endure would mean realizing its predatory nature. The cult of I envisions the world through rose coloured glasses never recognizing that someone elses tragedy could befall us tomorrow. This blind faith in a system that has repeatedly proven that each and every single person is disposable, is the height of human avarice. It is a disgrace to the potential of humanity.

We can build pyramids, and send women and men to the moon. We are capable of the most fantastic dreams, and the most destructive nightmares.  We posture and preen with the greatest of arrogance, ignoring our dependence upon each other.  The cult of I teaches that achievement is an individual accomplishment whereas nothing could be further from the truth.  We speak about globalization and an ever shrinking world without seeing that our wealth is dependent on the neo-colonies that we have turned the so-called third world into. Still yet the falsehood of I reigns supreme, and is more fervently worshipped than any God, or idle we have ever chosen to sanctify.

The only allegiance the cult of I demands is to the self.  We have naturalized this and created this as normal though for the larger part of human history, existence depended on our ability to compromise, and work together for the common good. Today the idea of communalism is as fantastic as Moores Utopia, possible only as a work of fiction.  It is simply not deemed rationale to see beyond profit. Horde, horde, horde because the logic of worth and value preaches scarcity even in a time of prosperity.  This way of living is harmful to us as a species and to our planet, yet daily the captains of industry disregard this as they seek to increase their strangle hold on resources that belong to everyone.

This is not a time of peace and tranquility, we are at war with ourselves, it is only the declaration that is missing.  The top 1% daily marshals its forces and forever regroups and attacks leaving the global proletariat beaten but not demolished. Your empty bellies are your cry to battle, heed and follow your instinct to be validated. It is time to speak truth to power.  It cannot be natural to commodify food, water, clothing, education and medicine.  Despite the common rhetoric of the survival of the fittest, due to the interdependent nature of humankind this mode of living will eventually be our downfall.  Prosperity for the few, means impoverishment and loss for the masses.  I will not embrace the cult of I to profit from pain and invisibility, will you?

 

 


Thursday, August 14, 2008

If You're Hungry Eat A Rat

image The solution to the global food crises according to an Indian official is to eat rats. It is projected that the consumption of rats would lead to a  reduction in  grain loss, "50 percent of which are lost in the northeastern state of Bihar every year to the animals, said Vijay Prakash, secretary of the state's welfare department."

Call it western privilege, but I for one would never consume a rat.  I find it telling that this is a solution aimed at the poor.  India has a history of discarding people when it is convenient.  The presidency of Indira Ghandi spoke volumes about the degree of care certain castes received.  The latest suggestion that they eat rats, only serves to highlight that India is just as class divided as western states.  Of course if the poor consume the rats more grain will be available for the worthy people.  The fact that rats carry disease and were single handedly responsible for a little thing called the bubonic plague is just a pesky little deterrent. 

As prices continue to rise more and more people are going hungry globally.  In Haiti people are living on fried mud and butter.  We are told to tighten our belts, eat less, or in the case of India consume rodents.  As I think about the well stocked shelves in western supermarkets I must question terming this  crises a "food shortage". It seems to me to be economically based rather than there actually not being enough food to feed people.  We are allowing a social construction (money) to come before people.   Pundits tell us that the world is becoming smaller and more connected - the better to exploit and marginalize the poor bodies of this world.  Globally the proletariat has become feminized and they are more and more viewed as disposable bodies.  Of course it is radical thinking to believe that we should put aside our desire to assign monetary value to basic essential needs like food, shelter, clothing, education and health care.  The bourgeoisie has convinced us that there is nothing that should not be considered a commodity.  It has become natural for us to believe that profit should be the goal of each individual, and this has created a competition to secure subsistence needs.  People no longer work at subsistence and we actually create very little as a society that is essential to our basic needs. 

As I think about the museums dedicated to consumerism (read:malls), I cannot help but wonder how many redundant products do we need that are ultimately destined for landfill?  Most products are designed to break down through normal wear and tear thus forcing us to repurchase the same item repeatedly.  I wonder about the constant changing in fashions to reinforce status and wealth, though the primary function of clothing is to protect the body from the elements.  Consume, consume, from cradle to grave, leave no lasting testimony to the greater good is what we are taught. It is an insidious indoctrination supported by the agents of socialization that often leaves those most in need devalued and forgotten.  But hey, as long as there are rats to eat at least they won't starve.

We will just forget about the countless homes and disgusting riches of the top 1% because they earned that privilege.  We will ignore the fact that capitalism is based on exploiting the most marginalized bodies and pretend that this system is the most natural way of existing.  Change would mean valuing people and social anomie has become normalized therefore communal thought is something to be suppressed rather than lauded.  We should not care that rats are being offered as a solution to poverty and hungry when money is at stake.  So what if you cannot eat money, it is only important that you have more than your neighbour and if a few million people die from starvation so much the better it means more for you. This world is about I and not we and ultimately that will be our undoing.


Madonna Adopting Another African Child

image Yes that's right Madonna is in the process of stealing adopting another child From Malawi. This time  she is taking welcoming a little girl into her home.  Madonna has claimed a great connection to the people of Malawi, and what better way to express her colonialist privilege earth mother like love, than to welcome a new child into her home.  In her quest to save the children of Malawi, Madonna seems to give little credence to their families wishes for their children. Isn't it obvious that they would be better off under her guidance? According to the Sun Mercy's (potential adopted daughter) family has some objection to the adoption. Gee imagine that.

Malawian adoption minister Penstone Kilembe said: “Madonna’s representatives have been visiting the girl. The adoption is now advanced — all the government is waiting for is Madonna to forward the petition of adoption formalities.
“Then Mercy will be able to leave the country for a new life.”
However, the girl’s gran Lucy Chekechiwa, 60, said she has been asked repeatedly by officials if Mercy could be adopted by an “unidentified foreign family” — but was firmly against it.
Speaking from her village in Zomba District, Lucy said: “Twice I have told the adoption people that I do not want Mercy to go outside the country.  But they keep on at us. Now they say that Mercy will be leaving us, but can return at age 18.”

Don't worry that you will miss the next 16 years of her life, a rich white western woman wants her, and you should be thankful.  Don't think about the fact that your arms will ache to hold her, or that she will undoubtedly become disconnected from her culture, and people. Madonna's Kiplingest desires must be fulfilled, after all Africans exist to plundered.  A little thing like the slave trade backs this up and we simply cannot flout history. Don't think of it as stealing foreign adoption, think of it as the opportunity of a lifetime.

Surely there must exist a child whose family would embrace an adoption, or does Madonna just seem to have bad luck continually picking children whose families would prefer them to stay in Africa.   Well no matter, her money and whiteness has the ability to assure that her desires will be fulfilled. What I cannot grasp is that someone who claims to care so much for children would express that love by taking them away from what is familiar to them.  It would seem to me that the best way to help children would be to build schools, and libraries, train teachers, improve access to medical, food and clean drinking water, but hey who needs those things when you can be raised by Madonna.

 


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Caylee Anthony Is Not The Only Missing Child

image I have been following the story of missing Caylee Anthony.  Her mother was arrested on charges of child neglect, failing to report her daughter’s disappearance right away, and for lying to the police when questioned about the case. There has been a lot of media speculation regarding Caylee's disappearance and the degree of her mothers involvement.  CNN has been offering daily updates on little Kaylee and continues to speculate that her mother has been silent because she fears that speaking out may bring harm to her daughter. 

Without going any further about the specifics of  this case I feel that it is important to note that during this time period also missing are Tomisha Ross, Camille Johnson, and Jasmine Kasner.  Are these names unfamiliar to you?  If so it is quite understandable as their disappearance has not received the same kind of attention as that of Caylee.  These young women of colour have been ignored by the mainstream media, while the disappearance of Caylee continues to dominate headlines.   By pointing out the invisibility of these young black women I am not stating that Caylee does not deserve attention, I am only seeking the same kind of attention for POC.

We do not love our children any less than white families.  Yet when one of our children disappears resources are not devoted to finding them and this often leads to tragic results. The media has no issue in reporting on crimes that are committed by POC, however when a crime is committed against us the silence can be deafening.  1 out 3 Native American women are victims of rape and yet their assaults are not reported in the nightly news.  The face of victimhood is resoundingly white.

Crime is perceived as something that POC do, and not something that happens to us, and this is largely due to the racist society in which we live. Bodies of colour are deemed to exist for the purposes of violation and exploitation, and therefore when a crime is committed against us it is deemed unimportant.  There is a history of POC being violated in North America, and being the subject of violence, yet the media would have us believe that it is whites who must fear the violent and aggressive dark hordes by their one sided reporting.  A recent study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that the rate of violent victimization for Native Americans was more than twice the rate for the Nation (124 versus 50 per 1,000 persons age 12 and older). At least 86 percent of reported rapes or other sexual assaults against Indigenous women are committed by non-Indian men who are rarely prosecuted or punished, according to the report, “Maze of Injustice: The Failure to Protect Indigenous Women from Sexual Violence in the USA.”  Black women who make up 7% of the population constitute 18%-28% of rape victims. If a person must negotiate two areas of stigmatization like disability or gender identity it is even less likely to be covered with the degree of seriousness or respect that it deserves.  The media consistently refuses to use the correct pronoun when dealing with transwomen, and engages in victim blaming.

This is basically about what bodies matter in this society.  Daily WOC are assaulted and murdered yet the consensual sexual relationship of John Edwards is deemed more worthy of a twenty four hour media blitz.  Pundits raged on and on about his "betrayal" blithely ignoring their own complicity in the invisibility of the crimes committed against us.  We are to be satisfied with the two hour Black in America special that was not all relevant to our lived experience.  The media claims to be racially sensitive, yet it often uses racist imagery and or language.  When we complain we are accused of being overly sensitive.  How is it possible to be to sensitive to the clear lack of reporting of our rapes and our incidents of violence.  Yes Caylee is missing but so are countless other children of colour...where is their front page story?


Rielle Hunter, Big Bad Whore?

image Unless you are living in an isolated cabin in the woods without internet and cable, you know that Rielle Hunter is the woman that John Edwards had a clandestine affair with.  The revelation of this fact became a 24 hour news storm that drowned out coverage of Russia invading Georgia, and the opening of the Olympic games.  Sex sells and no one is more aware of that than the smut peddling media. The situation provided the perfect backdrop to position those involved in opposition to one another.  Elizabeth Edwards was cast as the poor suffering victim, John Edwards as the sex obsessed lecher, and Rielle as the  conniving man thieving whore.

Slut shaming women is something that the media excels at, and instead of calling them out for this behaviour the blogosphere joined the chorus.  The following commentary is from the comment section of Black Political Thought.

This ho’s face is shaped like a football. A skank with an 80’s do that got lucky. She looks like a Studio 54 reject on a bad acid trip. Ho wanted one in the oven before the last egg went bad.
Edwards must have a horrific case of blue balls to bang this facially challenged space cadet. Or, maybe he was wacked on very bad weed. Phony fucker could have done better at local whore house.

She's a little rough on the eyes. What is with these politicians. Look at the lookers Bill Clinton picked up! (emphasis mine)

And From Jack and Jill Politics

John Edwards is a self centred ass. An entitled disrespectful punk. He committed one of the worst acts of distrust imaginable under the worst circumstances. He does not get a pass from me. And just because I do not know the standard terms to put him down does not mean I am not upset and judgemental of his actions, even more so then the "slut, skank, whore" that thought it was a good idea to get involved with a married political figure. If she didn't know it would not be her fault and she would just be a woman who got played. But she knew so she should be open to criticism which is going to be bad.
Just because you don't have your own happy home doesn't mean it's okay to try to take someone else's.

"Slut shaming". That statement implies it is okay to be a slut and sleep with other peoples husbands. He was wrong, no question, but she knew who he was, who knew he was married to and still thought it was okay to get involved. In that case she is a slut and should be ashamed. (emphasis mine)

The "other woman" is always constructed as the licentious whore despite the fact that she did not in any way force the man to have sex with her.  Her motives are questioned and her past history is laid bare for the world to see as a testimony to the degree of her whorish nature.  Rielle is not responsible for Edwards behaviour, she is only responsible for herself.  Edwards is presented as helpless in the presence of  free pussy.  What man can resist when a whore throws herself at him?

Merriam Webster dictionary defines whore as a woman who engages in sexual acts for money; a promiscuous or immoral woman; a venal or unscrupulous person.  From the simple act of sex Rielle is reduced to a person without morals. We do not stop to question who crafted these "morals" and who these supposed "morals" benefit.  The dictionary further defines slut, as a promiscuous woman.  When Rielle is referred to as a slut it is really a message to all women, that good girls keep their legs closed unless and until they have been sanctified by marriage.  Rielles real crime is having sex.  As much we live in a time of raunch culture, women who decide to engage in sex freely face public scrutiny and shaming. The freedom to peregrinate is solely a male prerogative and this is reified by the fact that we have no colloquial terms that are understood as descriptive of male promiscuity. Rielle is particularly constructed as deviant as much for her actions as for her gender. Before we jump on the hate wagon and assign blame we need to think about Rielle within a larger social context.  When we rail against her, expressing our puritanical desire to punish sexuality we are in fact setting rules and limitations on all female sexual behaviour. 


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Claudette Osborne: More Than A Sex Trade Worker

image Claudette has been missing for two weeks and the police have no leads.  According to the CBC she is 21 years old and  is the mother of four children.  To find out those pertinent details you have to read through the entire article because the title of the news story is "Family pleads for help finding missing Winnipeg sex trade worker." I suppose that the CBC feels progressive for even devoting time to this story because the media routinely ignores crimes against sex trade workers, however this report can hardly challenge the media's construction of these women as spoiled identities when the title signifies that her main identity is that of a sex trade worker.

Claudette is a mother, sister and daughter but the CBC wants to make sure that you remember that she is a sex trade worker. The title of this piece is not at all accidental. By identifying Claudette as a sex trade worker instead of one of the various roles in which she participates the CBC is in effect slut shaming.  Somehow if you work in the sex trade nothing else about you matters. This approach is constantly taken whenever the mainstream media deigns to report on women like Claudette.

The reduction of women to sexual objects  is part of our social discourse.  Daily we reduce women through the patriarchal lens to less than.  When we moralize sex and legitimate some acts as good, and some acts as deviant the taint very rarely attach's itself to men.  It's always the dirty whore, the dirty slut or the dirty prostitute, while very little is said about those who procure their services. When we speak of prostitutes it is always assumed that we are speaking of a woman even though males engage in this behaviour.  Social discipline of sex, and sex acts is something that is specifically geared towards woman.  This is why the CBC can let the world know that a sex trade worker is missing  and then add in a by the way commentary that she just happened to be a mother of four as well. Claudette Osborne is missing and she is a person, she matters.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Jamie Foxx Swims With A Swastika

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H/t Black Political Thought 

Yeah your eyes are not deceiving you, that is Jamie Foxx holding a surf board with the swastika on it.  Even though his face is turned away from it, I find it hard to believe that he was unaware of what was on his board.  This is simply not acceptable.  Jamie I am disappointed in you.  The swastika is a symbol that has been perverted by the Nazis and is globally recognized as a hate symbol. If someone were to have an image of a black man hanging from a noose you would loose your ever loving mind. If you expect decency towards blacks you need to be decent towards other groups.  I won't go into the obvious fact that 6 million people died in the holocaust, I won't go into the fact that those that survived were traumatized for life, and I certainly won't go into the fact that this was a hate based genocide because you should know all of that.  The aforementioned are all of the reasons that it will never again be okay to display the swastika, it stands for hatred of the worst kind Jamie and there is no excusing that.

Amanda Beard: PETA and Olympic Pussy Pimping

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The new slogan is "Be Comfortable In Your Own Skin".  Why is it that for PETA the body on display is always female?  I am very sure that very few would dispute the worthiness of their cause, or question their dedication, but I fail to see how pandering to the lowest common denominator achieves the goal of preventing animal cruelty.  Pimps benefit from womens bodies and sexuality and that is exactly what PETA has become....a social justice PIMP.

I fully support the choice of women to actively participate in this campaign, in fact here is a video with Amanda Beard.

What I cannot support is  an organization that claims to be against exploitation routinely promoting the patriarchal construction of overtly sexualized female bodies to raise awareness.  It seems that they respect the rights of animals far more than they respect women.  Consider that they don't  use images of male nudes, nor do they use images of women with varying body sizes...You can love your body only if you look like an Olympic swimmer or Jena Jameson.  Not only is this pimping pussy, this is social discipline of the female form.  So, PETA I do believe you have earned a gold medal image in pussy pimping.  It is simply repeating a pattern of injustice to exploit one body to uplift another.  Just another Olympic moment.


Racism Is A Matter Of Perspective

This is a commercial that aired in South Africa.  I decided to put it up to continue the conversation on the ways in which bodies become and are seen as racialized.

Does Dating Interracially Make Someone A Race Traitor?

I have been thinking a great deal about the following commentary by one of my regular readers.

Then it shouldn't matter if a person chooses to dye their hair a colour that isn't attached to people of European decent, or if they want to have a slimmer nose, or if they want to have lighter skin. Why is that self hatred and not having children who will come out looking less black with all these features that will be altered by changing the genetic makeup of someone's offspring not considered the same thing. It is the same thing regardless of why someone got into the relationship in the first place.

As many of you know I have been happily unmarried to the same man for over 18 years now. I am a WOC, and he is white.  We have two boys, "Mayhem" who is two and a half, and "Destruction" who is seven.  According to the comment that I posted, that would make me a person who suffers from self hatred. 

At issue is what constitutes blackness; is it the body that I inhabit, the behaviours that I perform or the relationships that I am in? Who gets to decide what is and isn't authentically black?  These questions are problematic on their very basis as there is no such thing as a black identity beyond a shared darker pigmentation, and even that is often contested with a debate regarding hueism. The you're not black enough charge, or the you're acting white is a way of socially disciplining behaviour.   It is a threat of ostracism very similar to the shunning used in Amish communities.

When we consider that the concept of race was designed to justify the exploitation of bodies of colour, is it possible to claim that someone is being disloyal to a social construct?  The black identity that is being claimed is one that was enforced by our oppressors to create a difference where none exists.  To Claim solidarity with my ancestors struggle it  is necessary to recognize the pain of their journey, and  the lasting effects of racism. To uphold the false dichotomy of racial difference reifies the black/white binary wherein one body is of value and the other existing as insignificant.

To say that one covets whiteness infers that a POC hates black identity. Let us consider that the black identity in the western world is an extremely difficult one in that the body is constantly assaulted by forces that seek to marginalize and exploit.  When someone hates being black it is not the colour of the skin but the treatment that they receive from others that is detested.  It is believed that whiteness is the passport to equality in a society that is racist. Upholding whiteness as the ideal ignores the ways in which even this privilege can be mitigated by sexuality, age, gender, class etc.  Whites exist with a degree of privilege but the privilege is not universally experienced.

A relationship between a black man and a black woman does not necessarily guarantee a shared experience vis a vis race and or exposure to racism.  Yes they will share the same invisibility in the education system, and experience the same negative representation within the media, however the male will exist with unearned male privilege.  The relationship can further be problematized by class location which will of course lead to difference in access.  When we consider that each person enters into a relationship with varying frames of reference, the idea that maintaining "blackness" through appropriate mating is problematic.

Finally there is the argument that blackness constitutes a biological identity and that by choosing to inter-marry one is diluting the gene pool.  Again the difference between blacks and whites genetically is marginal at best. To claim that it is possible to dilute blackness in one generation of "interbreeding" denies the science of  human physiology.

I did not answer the comment from a personal stand point as I do believe that I need to justify any aspect of my life. No one sleeps in my bed but me. Instead I chose to look at the larger implications of blacks dating whites as it is the social reaction and not my personal lived experience that needs to be deconstructed.  Black identity is not a monolithic identity and therefore a recognition of the various nuances means a more inclusive blackness, a blackness that is boastful and self declared.  By body presents as black and I identify as black, and that is my right. My children who are biracial will probably identify as black mainly because their bodies overwhelming present as black, but they will be aware of their "white heritage". It is not for another to say who and what is legitimately black, it is for the individual to accept or deny on their own terms. Just as it would not be appropriate to say to a heterosexual that they cannot declare themselves straight because they perform so-called non conforming gender behaviour, it is not appropriate to delegitimize blackness for a failure to conform to social constructed ideals of blackness. I am black, I am woman and I am whole, not because someone has said this to me, but because it is my truth.

 


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Colluder Of The Week: Noelle McCathy

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Regular readers know that I am dedicated to calling out what I term the colluders.  These are women that act against the interest of women and by so doing support our continued oppression and marginalization. Once a week womanist musings bestows a colluder of the week award to the woman that I feel has acted against the interest of women.  In my weekly news reading I came across an article penned by Ms.McCathy entitled "Noelle McCarthy: Press your shirt dear? Pass me the irony ..."  wherein she asserts that feminism is an outdated term.

How many women of my generation would consider themselves feminists? Very few, I'd wager. It's a hopelessly dated term, and also, really, a given. Most of the women I know work, talk, and live in a state of equality with men.

They're paid as much, or more, and are just as ambitious, if not more. If single, they're likely to pursue exactly the sorts of sexual relationships that suit them, and ensure their own financial independence, rather than bet on Prince Charming ponying up when the time comes.

Most women she knows would be the proviso in her assertions. It is of course not at all arrogant to assume that her acquaintances represent the women of the world.  We are also supposed to accept that she has such intimate knowledge of the women around her that can testify to a certainty that they are not doing more domestic labour, senior care, or childcare ...hmmm sorry I'm not buying it.  We are so equal that women aren't largely employed in low paying service sector work are we? No, our overwhelming representation in pink ghetto labour is just coincidental. We are all choosing part time work, or contract labour because it benefits us to be exploited in this manner.

That's not to say women aren't still struggling. The statistics don't lie; the lowest-paid workers in the world are women, the mothers and the daughters and the sisters who are still bearing the brunt of subsistence-level agriculture all over the world.

It is the women who work in sweatshops and the women who harvest the crops and the women who are trying to feed families in Sierra Leone.

But improving the lot of women like that is a question of global economics, rather than feminist dogma in action. Raising their consciousness and imbuing them with ideas of sisterhood are not the answer to the question of whether the developing world is owed a fair price for its labour.

Right, because the women of Sierra Leone don't count as real women so why should feminism concern itself with helping to improve their lot in life. As western women we should only concern ourselves with our global positions. It is also not at all problematic to argue that so-called third world women are uniquely oppressed in comparison to western women. The argument of we are not oppressed in comparison to denies the fact that there is no such thing as a good oppression. 

Not only is McCathy a colluder, she is a narcissistic colluder.  Her socio-economic position is not representative of the majority of women but when you are a classist elitist, it is quite easy to ignore the plight of the under/working class as you rush by to get your next hit of starbucks.  These invisible women are living proof that feminism has much work to do to achieve equality but why pay attention to them, living on the streets or subsisting below, or at the poverty level cannot really be that bad can it?  Gotta love living a life of privilege don't you? WOC are also not all oppressed in western society are we? In our post racial, post feminist world life is good for us.  What about women with disabilities are they living on easy street?  I am sure women like Angie Zapata who was recently murdered due to trans hate aren't routinely subject to violence either?  Unfortunately I am unable to view the world with the same kind of rose coloured glasses as Ms. McCathy.  Every where I look I see the difficulties that women live with everyday, but then I concern myself with bodies that matter.   Well MRA's McCathy is the woman for you, start salivating now, you have convinced yet another dim witted colluder to help you in your efforts to oppress women.


Josh Blue: Cerebral Palsy Is Not Holding You Back

H/t WildClips

I love this comic because he takes the everyday events from his life that would bring others down and finds reason to laugh. 

If You Are Disabled No Canadian Citizenship For You

image According to the Mail Online, the Chapans were forced to return to Wokingham, Berkshire, Britain after spending just 18 days in the land of maple syrup, the maple leaf and lacrosse. It seems that immigration Canada took issue with their daughter Lucy, who has Angelman syndrome.

It seems that the Canadian government is concerned that she will be a burden upon our medical system, however after some research on Angelman which I had never heard of before, it seems that these individuals  function well within society.  The following is from the Aneglman Syndrome Foundation.

Young adults with AS are usually socially adept and respond to most personal cues and interactions.  Because of their interest in people, they establish rewarding friendships and communicate a broad repertoire of feelings and sentiments, enriching their relationship to families and friends. They participate in group activities, household chores and in the activities and responsibilities of daily living.  Like others, they enjoy most recreational activities such as TV, sports, going to the beach, etc.  There is a wide range however in the developmental outcome so that not all individuals with AS attain the above noted skills.  A few will be more impaired in terms of their mental retardation and lack of attention, and this seems especially the case in those with difficult to control seizures or those with extremely pronounced ataxia and movement problems.

Fortunately, most children with AS do not have these severe problems, but even for the less impaired child, inattentiveness and hyperactivity during early childhood often give the impression that profound functional impairment is the only outcome possible.  However, with a secure home and consistent behavioural intervention and stimulation, the AS child begins to overcome these problems and developmental progress occurs.

Even if at this time she were to need access to healthcare which the family denies, her ability to participate in Canadian society does not seem to be an issue for the future.  I think that the problem is that Canada wants bodies that will either add wealth to the country, or are bodies that can be exploited for cheap labour, with minimal investment. Lucy fits none of the aforementioned categories.

She is not a doctor that will be forced to drive a cab because her education is not recognized.  She is not an engineer who will labor as a dishwasher because of prejudice...Yes, most employers want Canadian experience but if you are a new immigrant getting into the field that you have been trained in can be extremely difficult.

It is further problematic to assume that a disabled body does not contribute to society.  Simply because they may not work in fields that we recognize as socially valuable does not mean that the people that they interact with daily are not improved from the association. To limit entrance into Canada in this way is discrimination against people that negotiate disabilities.  We claim to care about the disabled in this country and yet the monthly disability stipend is 900 dollars a month, as I have mentioned in previous posts the average rent in Ontario for a one bedroom apartment in Ontario is 800 dollars per month. This means that if you happen to have a disability in this country unless you can find a way to augment the meagre monthly stipend you are destined for a life of poverty. Yes all of this bounty in Canada the good.  This is yet another example of the ways in which we privilege a social construction (money) over what is truly valuable humanity.