Saturday, August 30, 2008

Buying Back My Daughter: The Global Sex Trade Must End

The above is a small trailer for the film Buying Back my Daughter.  It is disturbing as it reveals the true cost of poverty. Cambodia is an impoverished third world nation and as a result young women are being sold into sex slavery to support their families.  These women clearly do not want to sell their children but feel that they have no other choice.  As  western women our first impulse may be to judge the parents for their decisions, but to do so is to neglect our culpability in the sex trade. 

As western citizens daily we participate in trade that has a negative impact on the rest of the globe.  When we grocery shop, or make debt laden trips to Walmart, what we are doing is supporting a global economy that exists through the exploitation of cheap labour in third world countries.  When we purchase a bunch of bananas for thirty-nine cents a pound what this means is that the worker that grew and picked those bananas did not get paid. We exist with a sense of entitlement. Through an accident of birth westerners have come to see consuming as an inalienable right despite the fact that our over consumption of the worlds goods relegates the majority of humanity to poverty and suffering.

It is no accident that those largely effected by the global slave trade are girls and women.  Female bodies are deemed meant for consumption by patriarchy and since patriarchy largely controls global trade, female bodies have become just another commodity no different than a shipment of wheat, or coffee. Through the global slave trade we can see how the interaction of gender and class work together to limit the life chances of women all over the globe.  These women exist without power because they are poor and female. Patriarchy has worked to create a disconnect in our minds, and this is only proof of the validity of interconnectivity.

As we learn about the terrible crime of the global sex trade it is quite easy to dismiss it because we feel powerless to create  change.  This is an expression of western privilege. If it were our daughters that were routinely subject to this kind of treatment, we would not be able to turn such a callous eye to this situation.  Since women are sold because of poverty the best way to combat the sex trade is to combat poverty.  We know that western corporations profit from cheap third world labour and therefor it is time to start demanding that these corporations pay a living wage. We can further refuse to support unfair labour practices by not purchasing items we know to be made through labour exploitation.  Do not purchase items blindly, take the time to investigate the companies business practices.  Teach these corporations in the only language that they understand - profit margins, that human lives are worth more than capitol. Everyday acts have the potential to make a large difference if we all commit to change. As I have said before and will continue to say, all bodies matter.


Palin: Sexism Is Wrong

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I came across this image at shakesville where they are keeping a record of the sexist attacks that have been aimed at Sarah Palin since her announcement as McCains VP pick. The speed at which the patriarchal juggernaut has moved to use sexism to discredit her is astounding.  Limbaugh (my favourite ass wipe) has already referred to her as the "babe on the ticket." 

As someone who is pro woman, and pro child in all things I feel that it is necessary to say that regardless of Palins heinous politics, or standing as a colluder, the sexist attacks are patently wrong.  When one woman is devalued in this way, we all are. 

While I believe that it is wonderful that feminists have gone on the immediate defensive, as a WOC I cannot help but be reminded that it took African American women pointing out the sexism faced by Michelle Obama for it to be recognized by the feminist movement.  There was no instantaneous reaction to her being constructed as an angry black woman.  In fact many prominent feminists to this day have still not spoken publicly against the attacks that Michelle received and continues to receive.  What this tells me, is that feminism is still a movement that protects, validates, and honours white women. 

I will speak out against the sexism faced by Palin because I believe that it is the right thing to do.  I firmly believe that all bodies matter, however I cannot help but feel angst that this sentiment is not returned.  I won't play the oppression Olympics and point out that Michelle is stigmatized by both race and gender. I won't rehash the reasons why black women occupy the bottom of the race and class hierarchy, however I will say that this election continues to reveal which bodies truly matter in feminism.  If we are to achieve any kind of cohesion as a movement to advance womens rights we need to begin to acknowledge that sexism is wrong regardless of which body it is aimed at.  All women matter.


Friday, August 29, 2008

Code Pink Protestor Faces Police Brutality

H/T Feministing

No matter what you think of Code Pink and their activism, this woman did not deserve to be called a bitch and summarily thrown to the ground.  Watching the coverage of the DNC convention one would never believe that this kind of social protest occurred, and yet as this video and this story made clear, all was not peace and love. Social activism is part of a proud American tradition.  Stifling descent no matter how disagreeable is the surest path to fascism.

Colluder of The Week: Sarah Palin

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McCain made it official this morning and chose Sarah Palin as his running mate. Despite the constant republican barrage about experience, he chose a woman with zero foreign policy experience.  At the age of 44 she is also younger than Obama, who has been criticized for his youthful zeal.

So what makes Palin worthy of the colluder of the week award?  Well of course the obvious, supporting John McCain.  Here is a woman who is willing to stand side by side with a man that called his wife a cunt.  Honey, if he can call his wife that imagine what he really thinks of you.  Since you are not his sugar mama, I suspect that he will be entering you in nude mud wrestling contests to make you earn your keep.  Hey maybe you and Cindy can wrestle together and the GOP's can debate the merit of your attributes while the real men deal with the issues. 

Even without her support of the raving misogynist McCain, Palin is a problematic figure.  She is firmly anti-choice (again I won't say pro life because none of these oxygen thief fundies really are). I think I am most stunned with her reference to the 18 million cracks in the ceiling. " It turns out the women of America aren't finished yet and we can shatter that glass ceiling once and for all," she said.  Despite some of the dirty politics played by Hillary, she never once wavered on a womans right to choose.  Palin is not a crack in the ceiling, she is an express elevator ride to the basement.  What women do not need is to be made slaves to their biology.  Becoming a mother may have been a path to fulfillment for her, but not every woman is capable or wants to become a mother. I think that perhaps she has read A Handmaids Tale once to often...She smacks of Serenna Joy.

If only being anti-choice were the only negative on this colluders resume,  I could perhaps forgive her.  Sadly the woman has sipped enough kool aid to be  pro death penalty (yeah no  conflict with her "pro life" stance) and anti gay marriage. In what is perhaps the greatest of flaws, she also believes in...wait for it...drum roll....creationism....Yeah, throw out the science and rationale thought, lets just go with a faith based understanding of the universe.  Dear God, save this woman, or in biblical terms that she can understand, woman heal thyself.

I have dedicated several blog posts to colluders since starting womanist musings. I have continually referred to them as dangerous, and I believe the point is proven by Palin.  If McCain gets elected in Novemeber I am sure a good deal of his success will be due to his partnership with this colluder.  Patriarchy counts on women like Palin to internalize their values.  Just like every other movement on the planet, without the participation of women it would fall flat on its face.  It is women that perform all of the support labour that men either are unwilling to do, or have classified beneath them.  How ironic that if McCain and Walin are elected it will be a historic first...a woman VP. Too bad it will be a colluder who is willing to throw the best interest of women under the bus so that she can achieve access to power.  Hand in your vagina Palin, woman you may be,  but pro woman you are not.


Everyone Wants A Wife: Domestic Labor and Gender Division

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According to a study cited in the MailOnline "most men want a traditional wife".  When a list of priorities were listed what is obvious is that  men want a domestic servant rather than a partner.  You know after much thought, I cannot blame them.  I would love someone to do all of the cooking, cleaning and child care.  I would love for someone to cater to my every single whim simply because I was blessed to born with a vagina.  Why shouldn't I be entitled to that kind of gender worship?

Imagine a world where being born with a uterus coded the body with unearned privileges.  What would it be like to know that my sex meant that not only am I a  person of value, but that my words would hold weight when I chose to speak?  Consider for a moment what it would be like to be immediately deferred to as a rational voice of reason, based on the assumption that all women are naturally calm and thoughtful individuals.   Imagine a world wherein female is not considered a pejorative.  The fact that the number one thing a woman wanted in a mate was the ability to listen speaks volumes about how we value men and women.

The mail further states,  "figures from the Office for National Statistics bear out the claims. More than 2.1million women say they do not work because they are ‘looking after their family or home." This is offered as proof that women wish to return to the much mythologized fifties lifestyle of the stay at home wife.  What this fails to recognize is that though white middle/upper class women were stuck in the gilded cage of the household, women of colour daily reported to work.  The life of a stay at home mother  was never an option for us.  Since the days of slavery our gender has been no protection against cruelty and exploitation.  Though women were constructed as the fairer sex, the term woman was subsumed by white women. In slavery we bore the weight of the lash, and in freedom we have continued to labour never once receiving our due.

If women are returning to the household today it is due in large part to the fact that services that were once covered by the state are increasingly being downloaded to the nuclear family.  Companies are increasingly unwilling to make compromises that allow women to balance childcare and eldercare, while being gainfully employed.  Making the "choice" to stay home when all the other avenues to continue to work are closed off or are indefinitely forestalled, is not a choice.  A choice in absence of alternatives is a forced decision. 

Choosing to stay home and raise children, or care for elder parents is not only a sacrifice, it is a gamble.  Depending on a man for economic security leaves a woman in a precarious economic position.  Husbands loose jobs, and husbands die, thus leaving the sole responsibility for raising minor children and supporting the household on women.  Even staying out of the workforce for a short period of time can have a serious impact on a womans lifetime earning potential.  Often women are not able to re-enter the workforce at the same level that they left it at.  This is further compounded by the fact that absence from the workforce effects the amount of social security and old age pension that a woman receives.  Payout is based on your lifetime earnings and five years is a long time not to be contributing. 

It is quite obvious why men want a return to traditional gender roles.  Not only would they gain a domestic live in servant, their financial earning power would result in an uneven division of power within a relationship. For patriarchy to succeed women must be convinced into believing that our so-called role as natural caregivers is valued, which is clearly not the case.  In every single instance in this society, every form of labour that is valued is remunerated.  Despite the fact that the work in private sector upholds and maintains the work performed in the public sector it is not counted in the GDP or the GNP of any country. Though our work is necessary it is not valued enough to be counted much less paid.  This amounts to gender slavery based in the idea that a woman should sacrifice based in love.

Well love starts with self love.  Value yourself and don't be a dupe to patriarchy. If your man wants a live-in caregiver, let him move in with his mother who didn't have the good sense to raise a feminist son in the first place.


The Truth About Obama

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Daddy's Little Girl Issues A Beat Down

image I am normally against violence in every form but I have a confession to make, occasionally an incident happens that just plain and simple tickles me.  According to the Daily News, Arnelle Simpson became upset when she learned that O.J gave money to his new girlfriend when her mother was struggling to earn a living working at Walmart.  She was further enraged by said girlfriends drinking problem.  For probably the first time in his life O.J. caught a beating from a woman.  That's right, daddy's little girl  gave him the shove of a life time. According to the National Enquirer, (take with a grain of salt) "which first reported the row, quoted a source saying O.J. was "cut on the back of his head, blood was coming out the side of his mouth and his lip was cut."

Whether or not you believe that O.J killed his estranged wife Nicole Brown Simpson,  what cannot be denied is that he violently beat her.  I will never forget listening to the chilling 911 call she made during his trial.  I will not forget viewing the pictures of her bruised and battered body.  Those that celebrated his not guilty verdict could only do so by failing to acknowledge what this man is.   The juice, with his charming smile and football superhero status is a violent, angry man and that should never be forgotten.

Though Arnelle did call 911 to get aid for her father, there is a part of me that believes that he does deserve to suffer. He deserves even for just a moment to feel the pain, isolation, betrayal, hurt, and fear  that Nicole felt every single time he lifted his hand to her. Though I am sure that it did not teach him any lasting lessons, in what was probably the first time in his adult life  the Juice learned what it was to truly be vulnerable to one that is stronger.  That this person was a woman, and his daughter only makes it  a case of  poetic justice.

Domestic violence is something that affects women globally across race, and class divides.  According to endabuse.org, "Around the world, at least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime." Domestic violence  is the secret shame that its victims live with, often creating elaborate tales to explain away the bruises and black eyes.  We live in a society that is intent on victim blaming, and women that are assaulted or murdered by their abusers are often constructed as ball busters. Often the social refrain is why didn't she just leave him. This anti-woman hatred further enables these incidents of violence to not be taken seriously. "Approximately two-thirds of reported domestic violence incidents are classified as "simple assaults," which is a misdemeanour rather than a felony. But up to 50 percent of these "simple assaults" result in physical injuries that are as, or more, serious than 90 percent of all rapes, robberies, and aggravated assaults." (NOW Legal Defence Fund).  Yet many of these so-called simple assault regularly escalate and lead to death for the victim. According to the, Bureau of Justice Statistics Crime Data Brief: Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001, at 1 (2003) "In 2000, 1,247 women and 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. In recent years, an intimate partner killed approximately 33% of female murder victims and 4% of male murder victims."

While domestic violence affects women from all races and class backgrounds, it is occurring at alarming rates within the black community. Much of this has to do with the fact that black women occupy the bottom of the race and class hierarchy.  bell hooks theorizes that the black woman has no institutional other and this is made obvious by our continual abuse and marginalization.  According to the US Department of Justice, African-American women experience significantly more domestic violence than White women in the age group of 20-24. Generally, "Black women experience similar levels of intimate partner victimization in all other age categories as compared to White women, but experience slightly more domestic violence. (Estimates are provided from the National Crime Victimization Survey, which defines an intimate partner as a current or former spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend. Violent acts include murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault.)"  The American Bar association cites. "Black females experienced intimate partner violence at a rate 35% higher than that of white females, and about 22 times the rate of women of other races."  Domestic violence is the unspoken crime in the black community.  It is quite at odds with the medias consistent portrayal of the long suffering, tough, angry black woman.  That our blood continues to run like a river down the streets is something that is rarely discussed much less acknowledged.

Though we claim to live in an advanced and liberated society, how can this be truth when daily women are beaten and killed by those that claim to love them? Intimate partner violence is hidden from view.  Inside of our suburban Leave it to Beaver homes women are crying out in pain.  This is not an issue that we can afford to take lightly.  Though there are domestic violence shelters many are struggling to stay open in light of the recent down turn in the economy.  Where will women and children turn the next time a man decides that he has the right to violate their bodies? 

To those that are daily living this horror, know that it is not your fault.  This is an issue of power, and nothing you did or ever could do would make you deserving of having your body violated in this manner.  Please seek help.  The next time he lifts his hand to you, it could result in your death. 

National Domestic Violence Hotline

1-800-799-7233 or
1-800-787-3224 (TDD)

National Coalition Against Domestic Violence

1-303-839-1852

Resource Center on Domestic Violence, Child Protection and Custody

1-800-527-3223

Health Resource Center on Domestic Violence

1-888-792-2873

The Battered Women's Justice Project

1-800-903-0111

 


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Man, The King Of The Castle

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I simply could not resist posting this.  He might just think twice before he decides who the boss is eh?

Cops Attack Protestors At DNC

Emergency news conference exposes gov’t terror

By LeiLani Dowell
Denver

Published Aug 27, 2008 9:19 PM

Denver police have used violence and mass arrests in an attempt to silence dissent during the Democratic National Convention. However, organizers and activists have put the city and police on notice that their intimidation tactics will not work.

Larry Hales from Recreate 68 Alliance and<br>FIST tells off Denver police. To his
left is<br>John Parker from Los Angeles<br>Int’l Action Center.

Larry Hales from Recreate 68 Alliance and
FIST tells off Denver police. To his left is
John Parker from Los Angeles
Int’l Action Center.

Photos: Troops Out Now Coalition

Several hundred activists were gathered in Civic Center Park on Aug. 25, where the Recreate 68 Alliance (Recreate68.org) has a permit for a week of actions during the DNC. At about 6 p.m., Denver police began massing in groups, encircling the park. Squads then began to march through the park, pushing and kicking people as they passed. One group of heavily-armed police lined up directly across from the Troops Out Now Coalition table.

At about 7:00, a group of mostly young people responded by chanting “No justice, no peace!” The police charged the group, hitting several of them with pepper spray. Attempting to get away from the club-swinging police, the group moved onto Cleveland Street, joined by many others from the park.

Police then closed off both ends of the block, entrapping the group as well as many bystanders. They began hitting people with their nightsticks and using pepper spray and pepper balls.

Front banner at anti-war march in Denver,<br>Aug. 24.

Front banner at anti-war march in Denver,
Aug. 24.

One young protester, Martin, told the Denver Post, “We moved to the sidewalk—a few people stayed in the street—because we didn’t want a confrontation, but it didn’t matter. People started pleading: ‘Let me go. I want to go home.’ ...

“Some of the police on horses were whacking people with their batons. I was told later that the police were telling us to disperse, but I didn’t hear them say that. And where would we go? The police were all around us, not letting us leave.”

TONC organizer and Navy veteran Dustin Langley was among those trapped on the street between the police lines. He noted that spirits remained high, saying: “Street medics took care of those who had been pepper sprayed, and we shared water and made sure everyone was okay. We continued chanting and singing. At one point, we sang ‘Solidarity Forever’. One group of activists chanted at the cops: ‘Who do you protect? Who do you serve?’”

After more than an hour, the solidarity of those on the streets and negotiations by Recreate 68 organizers won the release of most of those trapped on the block.

At least 85, however, were placed in metal shackles and arrested. They were denied access to attorneys while at the detention center, and many were bullied into making a guilty plea in order to get released. Martin said, “Now, because of the plea bargain, I’m free but on probation. I can’t join any more marches, or do anything illegal in the next six months, or I’ll get five days in jail on top of the other charges.”

The next day the police continued their attempts to intimidate those protesting the DNC. Heavily-armed police continued to mass around the park, and squads of horse-mounted cops rode through the park several times.

At about 9 a.m., the right-wing bigot Fred Phelps entered the park, spewing a homophobic hate speech. A Recreate 68 organizer, Carlo Garcia, told him to leave. The Denver police responded by arresting Garcia, who has two brothers in Iraq.

When Code Pink organizer Alicia Forrest questioned Garcia’s arrest, she was knocked to the ground by police and arrested as well.

Organizers with the Recreate 68 Alliance and TONC called an emergency press conference in front of police headquarters to take a public stand against these tactics and respond to distortions in the corporate media, which portrayed the protesters as the initiators of violence.

Glenn Spagnuolo, one of the cofounders of the Recreate 68 Alliance, put the mayor, police chief and Denver Police Department on notice that he and other organizers are meeting with attorneys to move forward with legal action. He noted several major protest-related lawsuits, such as those in New York and Washington, which have cost local governments millions of dollars.

Larry Hales, a leader of the Recreate 68 Alliance and of the youth group FIST (Fight Imperialism Stand Together), noted that any violence that has occurred was initiated by the Denver police. Recreate 68 demands all police be removed from the park. Hales stated that since Recreate 68 has a permit to hold its activity in the Civic Center Park, the police have no business there.

Other speakers at the press conference included Brian Vicente of the Peoples Law Project; Ben Kaufman, who described the arrest of Carlo Garcia; Sally Newman of Code Pink; and Mark Cohen, a Recreate 68 cofounder, who questioned the role of the Democratic Party in suppressing civil liberties and attempting to silence protest.

Following the press conference, organizers returned to Civic Center Park, where they joined hundreds of activists from around the country determined to continue in the spirit of resistance and protest.

More coverage and analysis on developments at the DNC as well as the Republican National Convention will appear in upcoming WW issues.


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.

Areola Reductions, The Path To Perfect Boobies

One of the joys of being born female in this world is learning that no matter how how much you watch your diet, exercise or invest in simulacres beauty treatments your body will always be imperfect.  The medical establishment has profited from this constructed insecurity by offering several operations to correct natures flaws.  If you have enough money you can have a designer vagina.  It does not matter that it may function just as nature intends, what matters is that it could be prettier, it could be tighter.  So what if you can have an orgasm, if the dick that penetrates you isn't satisfied you cannot possibly be happy.  Real women want tight holes, even the lesbians....

Of course the medical establishment is not happy with only making you panic about image the unnatural looseness of your twat, you now have to be concerned about the size and shape of your areola.  What if they are too large?  What if they are too puffy?  All women are supposed to come out of the factory with a barbie like shape, and if you fall short of that ideal something is wrong with you. As a true woman it is your responsibility to fix these faults. It is a small price to pay to achieve perfection.

According to the website of Dr. Romano, the procedure involves the following.

    • Usually a very light general anesthesia, and the procedure takes about two hours.
    • The procedure involves an incision around the areola edge and a smaller incision with removal of the excess tissue in between, like a donut.
    • The incision is very inconspicuous and located around the final edge of the areola.
    • Dressings and a light gauze bandage are worn for several days.
    • This can be combined with other plastic surgical procedures.

Are you convinced yet?  Well perhaps the results will make you realize that you need to correct this fault.  After his handiwork these are the results that you can expect.

    • Beautiful, balanced and proportioned contour and size and shape to the nipples and areola.
    • Lasts the rest of your life and always looks better than if you didn't do it.
    • Natural and presentable appearance in the first week that just gets better over the next three to six months.

I guess the breasts that we grew when we entered puberty came with some kind of expiry date. Well if you are rapidly reaching your best before date, the medical establishment has the answer for you. Get the fat sucked out of your ass, get your vagina tightened and while you are at it don't forget to get your areola fixed. 


Matrimonial Abuse: The Child Bride

Childhood is a precious time in life.  It is a time of innocence and discovery.  Unfortunately for many young girls this is a time that is cut short as they quickly discover that unlike their brothers, their lives will not be one of adventure, freedom, or autonomy.  When one is born female in this world it becomes evident at a very early age that possessing a vagina necessarily means living a life subjugation wherein your personal desires or wishes are ignored.  Woman is often not considered the equal of man, and this devaluation has made it impossible for many girls to have the opportunity to make the simplest of decisions about what will bring them happiness.

Childhood is often cut short very early to promote heteronormativity and female image subjugation.  Young girls are routinely married off, often to men many times their age.  In Yemen an 8 year old child had to sue for a divorce from her 30 year old husband.  As horrific as this story is, it is not an isolated incident.  In an equally tragic tale reported by the Arab News,  Muhammad Ali Al-Zahrani, a death-row inmate married his 15 year old daughter off to a fellow death row inmate days before his execution.  She is now pregnant.  According to Ahmad Al-Muabi, a marriage official, "a father can marry off a one-year-old girl as long as sex is delayed until she reaches puberty." In yet another example of child marriage yet another 8 year old girl this time from Unayzah, 135 miles north of the capital Riyadh in Saudi Arabia has been married off by her father. Her mother thankfully has filed for a divorce on her behalf.

In an interview with Dr. Ahmad Al-Mu'bi, a Saudi marriage officiate, which aired on LBC TV on June 19, 2008, he defended child marriage by saying the following.

If the guardian is the father... There are two different types of guardianship. If the guardian is the father, and he marries his daughter off to a man of appropriate standing, the marriage is obviously valid.

[...]

People find themselves in all kinds of circumstances. Take, for example, a man who has two, three, or four daughters. He does not have any wives, but he needs to go on a trip. Isn't it better to marry his daughter to a man, who will protect and sustain her, and when she reaches the proper age, he will have sex with her? Who says all men are ferocious wolves?

This position is also affirmed by Dr. Abd Al-Hamid Al-'Ubeidi, an Iraqi expert on Islamic law,  in an interview which aired on Al-Rafidein TV on March 14, 2008.

Most of the time we act according to what is acceptable to most people, and indeed, most men do not marry a girl until she is of age. In some Islamic countries, the age of maturity can be 8 or 10 years. In Yemen, a girl might get her period at the age of 8. In cold countries, such as Russia, Belarus, Scandinavia, New Zealand, Canada, and so on, a girl might not reach maturity until she is 22 years old. She might not get her period until then. Therefore, the greatness of Islamic law is manifest in the fact that marriage is not just for pleasure. True, it is the basic objective for marriage, but there are some cases that require solutions.

[...]

Many criminals, the enemies of Islam, ask: "How could the Prophet Muhammad, at 52 years of age, marry 'Aisha when she was only 8 years old, and consummate the marriage when she was 9 years old?" I say to them: People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Why do you permit your young girls to fornicate? They consider it one of their liberties. Therefore, in these stupid countries, you rarely find girls aged 10 or 12 who are still virgins. They permit this. They have even legislated laws stating that if a girl is under the age of 18, and her girlfriend [sic] or whatever has had sex with her, she has the right to have an abortion. How can you permit the outcome without accepting the cause? Why do you allow your girls to have sex and say this is an individual liberty? It is okay to fornicate with girls there or force them to have sex, and so on, and they have the right to have an abortion. If you permit all this before the age [of 18], without a marriage contract and without any legal grounds – how come you forbid marriage?

Religion is being used as a justification for child abuse.  This abuse is aimed at girls because the patriarchy believes that it not only has the right to our bodies, but to our very lives.  Though both of these experts declare that these marriages are not consummated, I find it doubtful that in a culture that believes that women exist to slave for men, and fulfill their sexual needs that these young women remain unmolested.  Even if we are to take them at their word how harmful is it to these young girls to be summarily ripped away from everything that they have come to trust and love, to be thrust into an unfamiliar situation where the possibility of abuse and neglect exist?  How harmful is it to these young girls that their very humanity is negated in order that a man may assert his authority over her?  Patriarchy is what benefits from these child marriages. According to the Telegraph, "A United Nations report on child marriage in 2005 found that 100 million girls were expected to marry by the age of 18 before 2015. The worst countries for child marriage were Niger, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, India and Bangladesh." International pressure must be brought to end this terrible tradition. 

There are those that will accuse me of imposing western values upon different cultures.  My answer to those condemnations is that simply because something is culturally specific does not make it right.  This is a strict violation of human rights, and it is child abuse.  It would be one thing if adult women were wilfully participating in this, but these are children who are powerless in the face of authoritarian adult control.  All bodies matter regardless of age or gender.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wine, Dine 69 Me

There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton gave an excellent speech last night. Every single point that she was asked to make she did.  Hillary unreservedly endorsed Barack in a way that was not only inspiring but designed to bring unity to the party.  It was the speech of a lifetime. 

Unfortunately her supporters are refusing to hear her message and support Obama.  Not only am I saddened by this,  I find myself experiencing rage.  When they are not busy spreading obvious lies about his background, they are complaining about his lack of experience.  Barack it seems has to earn their votes; or wine dine 69 me as I like to put it.

Would you hire a CEO without experience?  Is anyone even aware of how big business works.  No person no matter how knowledgeable is an expert on everything, this is why they have a staff.  Barack will surround himself with knowledgeable people and make the decisions that need to be made.  He may not have the political experience of Bush or McCain, but he is much better educated.  Education counts for something, and only in a society that is intent on anti-intellectualism could this important factor be over looked.  The man was the first black president of the Harvard Law review for crying out loud.  Did he get that by being dense?

I believe these women are being purposefully obtuse.  Would Hillary have made a great candidate? Absolutely. The primaries are over and she was not chosen.  It is time to move on and think about the future.  To decide that you may not vote is an affront to every single person that was beaten and denied the right to vote.  This is especially disgusting coming from an African American woman. Even considering voting for McCain is to spit on the grave of every woman that died having a back alley abortion. 

Finally choosing McKinney as your fall back choice is disgusting.  While she may have an excellent platform the hypocrisy of this choice bridles my sensibilities.  Until your golden girl was out the running few even thought to validate that there were two women running.  Until recently few have even commented on the historic nature of her campaign...that's right, a little thing like an African American female candidate and VP choice. But hey she is woman enough now isn't she?

Barack isn't going to bend over backward to kiss your collective asses.  He realizes that this is a no win  situation for him and therefore he is going to attempt to win the votes that are truly up for grabs.  Sitting there, posturing and preening about how he has to work for your vote is ridiculous and if you gave it a moments pause you might realize that.  Hold on to your anger and resentment that Hillary was not chosen and in the process say good bye to health care, environmental protections, ending the war in Iraq, and most importantly Roe V Wade. Obama may be a centrist without the ability to make real and lasting change but when you consider the alternative is the lesser of evils really that bad?


Give Me Some Of Those Old Time Cosby Morals

image Who amongst us is not familiar with Americas favourite dad, Bill Cosby?  The award winning comedian and father has made it his mission in recent years to save the black community.  His arguments are all about blaming the poor for being poor, and forcing black women to capitulate to the black male patriarchy. The world was better when man was the head of the household and everyone knew their place.   He has been peddling his anti-woman, classist message from sea to shining sea.   That he continues to be worshipped as a beacon of truth is proof of the degree that we have internalized the false doctrine of meritocracy. That womens organizations continue to give him a platform is proof of the acceptability of slut shaming in our so called sexually liberated world.

In The Forum For Dark Secrets, Bill Cosby lectured, to every girl that there is always an alternative to what’s popular -- and that sex, the right way, is worth waiting for. Yes young girls must certainly remember that the time to have sex is when daddy has walked you down the isle; then and only then is it okay for you to be a sexual being.  Your virginity is precious and just because you may be experiencing sexual desire, having sex is simply not acceptable.  Young girls  need to understand that their bodies don't belong to them, they belong to their future husbands. 

"If you’re 13, 14, 15 and you have sex, this is not gourmet stuff," he said. "Nobody’s buying you a bottle of wine and candlelight and putting some romantic music on. No, you’re in the clothes closet or down near the dryer or dishwasher saying, ‘Hurry up before my mother comes home.’ That’s why you don’t know the boy’s name."

Young women are not participating in sex because they might desire it.  Women only submit to sex when they have been appropriately bought and paid for. Black girls need to hold out for a man with money to pay for their services, because sex is essentially women selling their bodies to the highest bidder. 

"Now let me tell you the pitiful part. The child you’re now pregnant with? Neither you nor Peewee are pleased with having this child. ... If you never dreamt of having this child, how are you going to think lovingly of raising it?"

Right, if the pregnancy is accidental you cannot possibly love this child.  A child only has a chance if they are painstakingly planned for. In other words stop producing little bastards. Submit damn it, marriage is the path to salvation.

At that point, he said, the girl is "knocked up" and her "beautiful mind is knocked off the right track" -- "and your mother wants to knock your block off."

Of course it does not occur to the man to scream just as loudly for programs that would allow young single mothers to continue their education.  How about a little socialized day care Bill?  Just because a woman has had a child out of wedlock does not mean that her life is over if she is given the appropriate support. I know that it is hard to believe but as important as motherhood can be in the life of a woman, it does not encompass the totality of her being.  I may be a mother but I also play many roles.

"In my time, it wasn’t a perfect time, but it was tough trying to get some," he said. "Women interviewed you: ‘What high school did you graduate from?’ ‘Well, right now? Uh,’ ’No, good-bye.’ "

The little sluts of today just give it away like candy.  In the good old days before reliable birth control women knew better. Now that you are free to have sex like wild animals you have lost all sense of self.  In his day women were never whores.  The world was balanced, men chased and the good girls said no. Of course there is nothing wrong with men actively seeking to have sex, hey that just comes with a penis.

Bill Cosby is a member of the Black afrostocracy. He is not interested in helping people, he is only interested in shaming people into conforming to norms that are not necessarily in their best interest.  While he unashamedly lectures women about refraining from being sexually active, he neglects to mention that he paid a woman not to reveal that he had possibly fathered a child outside of his blessed wedlock.  He recently settled a civil suit wherein a woman charged that he drugged and sexually assaulted her.  I guess she didn't understand that because he had money he was entitled to access to her body. Maybe this is why he is intent on telling young black women to hold out for a fat wallet. The more women that can be convinced that their bodies should be available to the thickest wallet, the more victims he will have.

When he speaks about the poor letting the civil rights movement down I must question where was his devotion when Dick Greggory, a fellow comedian was including race into his stand up routines and actively marching? He wasn't down with the black community then.  He was busy telling the world that he was simply a human being, denying the struggle that blacks were undergoing to have their human worth recognized.  Today in his senior years he is seeking to redeem the lack of action of his younger days.  Even if he were take every single dollar he earned peddling jello and invest it into poor communities it will not make up for his failure to answer the call to civil rights.  That you preach unity now does not erase the fact that in your youth you saw only the glint of gold and not the tears of suffering and true degradation.  And so I say to you Mr.Cosby in the words of a comedian who knew what honesty was, "Have a coke and a smile and shut the fuck up."

 


Elizabeth Acevedo, Murdered and Devalued

Elizabeth Acevedo died on August 22.  She was only 38 years old, far to young to die.  Very little is known about her, but what the New York Post wants their readers to be aware of is that she had one leg, and that she was a prostitute. Throughout the brief article they only bother to refer to her by name twice. It seems that her profession did not entitle her to even the dignity of being assigned a victim status.

Apparently she was hit over the head with a heavy object after performing a sex act. It is a well known fact that prostitutes are  particularly vulnerable members of our society.  When they are attacked, raped or beaten society has a tendency to turn a blind eye.  Only pure women are worthy of social angst, and somehow it is deemed that sex trade workers bring this kind of violence upon themselves. 

When researching to see if I could find out more information about her tragic passing, I came across a post at Bossip wherein Acevedo is further demeaned. They have a mock picture up and refer to her murder as, "some pure comedy indeed." Only in a world where women are routinely devalued could the death of a prostitute be referred to as  a joke.  Had a white male been killed it certainly would not be a laughing matter because their bodies count. 

Every time I hear someone speculate that we have reached a post feminist world, I think of women like Elizabeth Acevedo, Claudette Osborne, Emma Caldwell, Chantal Robertson and Stephine Beck.  As long as women continue to be slaughtered in cold blood, there can be no such thing as a post feminist world. Until such time as the violence against women is taken seriously, and not treated as fodder for tasteless jokes there will be a reason for feminism.

The devaluation of women is a world wide phenomenon. The patriarchy tries to assure us that we are not oppressed.  They offer the women of the middle east as examples of real oppression. The blood of Osborne, Acevedo, Caldwell, Robertson and Beck assure me that misogyny and violence against women is a real and ever present danger here in the so-called enlightened west. These women are no different than you or I, there only fault was to be born female in a world that is obsessed with phalocentric worship.

This is not a case of hysterical whining.  Yes women can vote, we even have the right to make seventy cents for every dollar a man makes, but now is not the time for complacency. Now is not the time to be lulled into the false belief that because some things have improved that we are living in a utopia of ovarian freedom.  The reality is that daily women are beaten, raped and murdered. We have not come close to dismantling male privilege.  We must stand up and demand justice.  It is not okay to slaughter us, and it is not okay to treat us as disposable bodies.  The blood of one woman is the blood of all.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Clintons 4 McCain

The message here is don't vote for a dirty Muslim, he's not like you. White people don't get educated in places like Indonesia.  He's not really an American despite being born here and living here most of his life.  What kind of message are we sending to the world if we let one of those people rule over us.  This is the land of milk, honey and white privilege. 

Just ignore that boys impressive resume. He probably got some breaks because of that reverse racist affirmative action program. Ivy league schools have to let a few of the darkies graduate to keep the liberal wingnuts off their backs.  What are you people even thinking about, not only is he  a sambo, he might even be a Muslim.  That's two strikes right there.  White entitled people of America I implore you to remember who the hard workers in this society are. By electing him president you are throwing away your hard earned privileges. Think about your ancestors.  Do you believe it was easy for them to enslave a whole race of people, damn near complete a genocide of Native Peoples while stealing land, intern Japanese in camps, perform public lynching's during picnics, beat and brutalize children protesting for civil rights with batons, water hoses, and dogs?  Think of the precious wood that was used to burn crosses on front lawns that will have gone to waste if the country decides that a boy black man is fit to be president.  This all could have been avoided if you had gotten over your sexism and chosen Hillary. 



H/T Instaputz

DNC Convention, Racism Reflections and Other Minor Irritations

Like many people, I watched the DNC convention last night.  Before Michelle's speech many pundits saw this as an opportunity for her to redeem herself from what they perceived to be her earlier political guffaws.  That their reaction to Michelle and her message could be based in racism and sexism is something that few sought to examine.  The lens of white privilege and racial construction have entwined to create Michelle as the angry, ball busting black shrew.  She is none of these things.  As her speech last night clearly showed she is a bright, loving, committed woman who has a destiny with greatness.  This life path is not due to her marriage to Barack, rather it is based in her great sense of self,  poise and  grace. 

Even as I watched her speak and thrilled at her message, I knew that race would again raise its ugly head and seek to not only diminish her, but Baracks campaign.  Unfortunately I was proven correct within a short period of time. 

Following the conventions I watched Larry King Live.  His guests were Ben Stein, Marsha Blackburn,  and Michael Reagan.  What was intended to be a GOP reaction to the convention quickly became a display of white privilege.  This included the familiar I cannot be a racist or say something racist because I have a niece that is black qualifier.  The commentary was so obviously racist that Larry King had to intervene saying, "I have never seen or heard an intelligent argument that could support racism."  He followed that up today with his Thoughts on Last Nights Show.

Dear Republicans, clearly you have conceded the black vote as you no longer pretend to be anti-racist.  You posture, and puff out your chests about the majority of the blacks supporting Barack as some kind of reverse racism.  Have you stopped and thought to yourself about what the Republican party has done for people of colour since Lincoln freed the slaves? You may have suckered a few bourgeoisie blacks to vote for you based in class, but the large majority of blacks are aware of exactly what conservatism stands for.  You are trying to conserve the status quo in a country where blacks daily meet racism both in the public and private sphere. Why should they be complicit in their own marginalization and support you?  The GOP has become synonymous with I am suffering because POC of want equality, and I don't want to give up any of my privileges white man whine.  So while you may profess to love us, even occasionally adopting one of us like we are pets that you can pick up at the SPCA, being your pet black that you can present on command to prove how enlightened you are just isn't as appealing as it used to be. 


It's All About The Booty

Recently I have taken to deconstructing ridiculous products that are aimed at women.  I see these as attempts to discipline womens bodies.  So far I have examined the faux penis, the anti rape condom and the vibrator with a razor. Continuing on in the bizarre tradition of torture through clothing, I bring you the Double-O- Push Up Thong. 

image Karen Jones, the owner and founder says, "Our ultimate goal then and now is to help women look their best...because when you look great, you feel great! We've learned that we're not just selling better booties, by boosting self-esteem, we're really helping people in their day to day lives. This has become our driving and continuing motivation." 

If only my ass were ripe and luscious then all of my problems would be solved.  I could experience the thrill of having a man drool over ass as I walk by.  Oh the angst and the emotional drama over the missed catcalls and whistles. It's just not fair to be ass challenged in a world that worships the booty.  The lack of support systems and groups to deal with this stigma makes it so much harder to deal with. Life is not easy for the narcissistic. What about me...doesn't my physical disability need to be addressed.  So what if I can walk, run, talk, dance, see and sing, my ass is flat.  Are you listening people, I said my ass is flat, and you cannot imagine the pain it brings....okay I need a moment, talk amongst yourselves.

This is the kind of ridiculousness that products like this promote.  Though Ms.Jones claims to be helping women in fact she is feeding the social monster that says that womens bodies are always imperfect.  This is the result of the happy marriage of patriarchy and capitalism. Create a fault that seems natural and then exploit it to maintain position and create profit.  Really how does creating products like these help women?

image image image

These neo-Victorian torture underwear, firm and shape making sure that the body conforms as much as possible to the "ideal female form".  The problem is that women come in all different shapes and sizes. It is impossible despite all of the riggers that we put ourselves through  to be found perfect in the patriarchal lens. This is a Quixote like quest.  Not only is the windmill forever out of reach, it is an impermanent optical illusion, as beauty standards are in a continual state of flux. Instead of chasing an impossibility it is time that we embrace the wonderful diversity that is possible in the female form.  No matter what shape a woman takes, her beauty cannot and should not be defined by others.

H/T A Little Girl Talk

 


Monday, August 25, 2008

Target Women: The Chick Flick

Okay still totally girl crushing on Sarah.

There Is More To Race Than Black and White

I know that this is a little shameless self promotion but I have a piece up at GlobalComment. This is the first time I have been paid for my writing and I am thrilled. The following is a little teaser...

In the current American presidential election, race has become a pivotal issue.  Obama is the first African American man to have a legitimate chance of becoming president of the United States.  Blacks and whites vacillate between a celebratory end of the racial divide, and the further entrenchment of racial hostilities.   The post racial world debate has gone mainstream giving rise to conversations that are long overdue. While we are continually refining the discourse surrounding race, what has become patently obvious is that the term people of colour stands for black.  The United States has a historical legacy of black disenfranchisement that clearly needs to be addressed. Slavery, Jim Crow, lynchings, and the rape and sterilization of black women have left a lasting legacy on the social psyche; however this should not erase other bodies of colour from our social conversations.  Neither of the candidates, nor mainstream media has made an attempt to specifically address the needs of Muslims, Native Americans, Asians, or Latinos. The aforementioned are the bodies that have become erased. Colour cannot and should not be solely represented by blacks. 

Read  the rest of it here.

National Pro-Life Unions, says Obama Has Betrayed The Black Community

image The infamous Day Garner has issued yet another polemical declaration, apparently Baracks position on Roe v Wade is traitorous and  constitutes the support of a racial holocaust.  She is reported to have told Lifenews.com that,“By kow-towing to the abortion industry Obama proves he is just another politician, as he purposely overlooks the fact that 63 percent of Planned Parenthood’s 860 clinics are in African-American communities.What both Planned Parenthood and Obama don’t realize is that we do not have to kill our children to have fruitful, successful lives. But it doesn't matter. Even though blacks compromise only 13% of the population, they make up over 36% of all abortions done in this country." The veracity of her statistics regarding the placement of planned parenthood clinics, as well as the number of African American women having abortions are irrefutable.  Even though black women constitute a small percentage of women we are having the most abortions.

The problem is the conclusions that Gardner draws from these statistics.  Simply because a planned parenthood centre is in a particular neighbourhood, does not make it more likely for a woman to have an abortion.  First a woman must have her birth control fail, or engage in unprotected sex to become pregnant.  She must then make the decision as to whether or not to have the baby, put the child up for adoption, or have an abortion.  What this means is that a woman is actively deciding to walk into a centre.  Those that work for planned parenthood do not troll the streets looking for pregnant women on which to perform an abortion.  They do not tie women down and force them to submit to a procedure to which they are not desirous of.  Too claim that positioning of the centres are a major factor in the decision making process, subverts the degree to which African American women are in possession of agency and autonomy. Does she believe that we are so easily swayed that merely upon seeing a clinic we would be persuaded to make a life altering decision like having an abortion?  I do believe the woman has watched to many episodes of hot ghetto mess...Black women are more than capable of deciding for themselves whether they have the desire and  the wherewithal to parent.

Gardners objective is to overturn Roe v Wade, and what she does not acknowledge is that this will not bring an end to abortion.  What will happen is that women will resort to back alley abortions to rid themselves of a child they either do not want, or unable to financially support.  In countries where abortions are illegal women have resorted to purchasing medicines to induce abortions that are potentially lethal.  While professing her love for the black community what she is not considering are the thousands of women that will die if they are forced to utilize these unsafe methods.  When you value the child that isn't born, and incapable of surviving without its maternal host over the life of the woman that is already existing and contributing to society you are essentially delivering a death sentence.  It is not a question of if women will die; if Roe V Wade is ever overturned it is simply a question of how many. 

Though Gardner identifies as someone who is pro-life, I find the same faults with her position as do with all of the other organizations that daily strive to eliminate the right of women to choose; she offers no counter solutions.

According to Andrea E Wilson and Melissa A. Hardy, "African American women have experienced higher rates of unemployment — twice the rates of white women through the 1980s and 1990s (Browne 1999). This suggests that white women have been able to find a job more quickly when they are searching for work and are less likely to lose a job once they are employed (Browne 1999). Consistent with this pattern at the individual level, African American women are most likely to have sporadic work patterns, shorter job tenure, and greater concentration in low-paying, unstable occupations (Dressel 1988; Gibson 1987; Hertz 1988). Living in areas of high unemployment or areas negatively affected by deindustrialization, having lower levels of education and skill, and having to deal with the negative effects of discrimination are among the hypothesized factors contributing to the concentration of African American women in less stable and lower-paying jobs "(Cancio, Evans & Maume 1996; England 1992; Holzer & Vroman 1992; Wilson 1987)

If a mother is poor, her child will be equally poor.  If the aim is to support life perhaps it should begin with offering concrete solutions to lift black women out of poverty.  Where are the organizing drives meant to create better labour opportunities for black women, support of black entrepreneurship, or increasing education funding?  Where is the advocacy supporting national subsidized health care, and day care?  How about paid maternity leave, or job sharing or flexible hours?  The aforementioned are positive steps that would increase the likelihood of mothers choosing to keep their children.  It is easy for a woman like Garner to suggest that abortion should be outlawed when  it will not be her vainly searching in a kitchen for food to feed a hungry child.  It will not be her that will be shamed by social services when food stamps are required.  She will not be accused of being a bad mother simply because she is poor and unable to pay for groceries, the rent, and utilities out of a meagre paycheck.  If the goal is to encourage women to have children the conditions that make that choice tenable need to be created.  We cannot simply moralize from a distance about valuing life when daily through social neglect and apathy our behaviour displays the opposite.

Sources

Hardy, Melissa A, and Andrea E. Wilson. "Racial Disparities in Income Security for a Cohort of Aging American Women." Social Forces 80.4 (2002):1288-1289. www.projectmuse.com

(accessed August 25,2008)

 


Sunday, August 24, 2008

God Bless The US and No One Else

 

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I discovered a great new site entitled The Asian Economist.  He has a post up called Ten Ways To Piss The United States Off. I highly suggest you go and check it out.   I am sure the title pretty much makes it clear that it is a satirical polemic, however I feel that there is much to be gained from reading such work.

One of the constants in the American psyche is that evil always exists outside the borders.  Not only is America the land of baseball and apple pie, it is the land where goodness and righteousness are a constant.  Americans invade countries for the sake of freedom and hey if they happen to be able to build a pipeline or have  greater access to oil, it is all just a happy accidental windfall.  Why can't the backward Iraqis, and Afghanis realize that all of the death, and destruction is for their own good.  Americans are after all sending soldiers which they recruited in impoverished neighbourhoods to secure their freedom. Aaah freedom the greater justifier of some of the worst atrocities in this Middle Eastern debacle.  As soon as these people realize what is good for them they will be swigging coca cola and gorging on Big Macs.  Who knows maybe they will even hit the trifector and Walmart will start to open big box stores so that they can be suitably civilized Westernized.  Thank God for the red, white, and blue, we might all be swinging from trees where it not for American intervention.

Another salient point that The Asian Economist makes is about  torture and human rights abuses.  These are things that happen only on the dark continent, backward sands of the middle east, or in the anathema of the western world, China.  Of course this ignores the torture of the political detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  It further means that human rights must be kept to a very narrow definition.  I happen to believe that it should be a human right that everyone should have access to health care, education, housing, food and water but that would mean a better a division of assets.  What would the Paris Hiltons of the world do if they could not live in the lap of luxury while school children go without breakfast.  Yet these facts are not ignominious, no they represent the bonuses of living in a country where supposedly the cult of meritocracy is for the good of all.  As long as the finger is pointed outward instead of inward the white hat role of the good guy will always be played by an American.


Political Fashion And The Cult Of Vanity

One of the joys of living in a capitalist system is that besides the air that we breathe, nothing exists outside of exchange.  We freely commodify to make a profit  readily obscuring need, or meaning.  This loss of substance is not only anti-intellectual, it often leads to the commodification or 'othering' of another culture. That donning certain clothing might present a message contrary to what the wearer actually believes is irrelevant, because looking good is the objective.  We are not a politicized society, we have become the culture of drive through McDonalds and decaf lattes by the litre.

The degradation of symbols by the bourgeoisie is purposeful.  Symbols can be used to increase solidarity and raise the ire of large masses of people.  To turn substantive items into everyday fashion disconnects the proletariat from their meaning.  Wearing a Che t-shirt in a capitalist society should represent a rejection of the very system under which we live, and instead it has come to have all the value of a happy face, or a crude limerick. This inversion of a revolutionary to an ordinary signification of the "coolness factor," silences his message, which is ultimately the goal of the ruling elite.  People no longer reflect on the larger connections of political messages.  Critical thought involves more than  reading the top stories at Digg, while we wait anxiously for the next meaningless text message.   The amount of communication continues to expand with the proliferation of the internet, however the substance of conversation is often reduced to meaningless banter.  Oh well, at least we "look good" while we are doing it.