Saturday, October 18, 2008

Using Proposition 8 To Teach Children Hate

When I came across this video at The Bilerico Project, I was horrified.  Teaching children to discriminate is exactly how we perpetuate bigotry and hatred in our society.  When a child is born they don't care what their guardian does sexually, they only wanted to be loved unconditionally.  It is adults that teach children that homosexuality is wrong.

Let's stop and think about what this message is.  Each day children see countless acts of violence and sexual imagery but somehow two people loving each other, building a life together is supposedly perverse. I'll tell you what is obscene, teaching children that love is wrong.  This no different than teaching children that someone is inferior because of their race, class, ability or gender. In my mind it is a form of child abuse.  A child comes into this world an empty vessel, and to fill that little person with hate shows not only a lack of respect for them as little people, but a lack of respect for humanity as a whole.

The parents that decided to create this video did not stop to think for one minute about how their children would feel if they grew up and were gay.  How will these children feel when they find out that they were used to promote a law that seeks to restrict their rights?  I am sure that having bigoted parents  is going to make it hard enough to make it though this world; without being saddled with the knowledge that they played a role in reducing the humanity of others.

I am not a perfect parent, no one is, but I am dedicated to expressing the value of humanity to my children.  The very first time my son "Destruction" used the word fag as a pejorative, his father and I sat him down and explained that 1) that language is not welcome in this house and 2) love is the most beautiful emotion that someone can feel.  It does not matter what form that love comes in, all that matters is that we can feel that way about another person.  As a parent it sickens me beyond words that children were used in this way. As parents we have a responsibility to do our very best by our children, and this includes not filling their head with blatant falsehood, negative social constructions, and outright lies.  Whatever lessons that we choose to pass on to the next generation should be based in love.


Proposition 4, Vote No

image Thousands of miles separate me from California, yet when I heard about Proposition 4, a cold shudder went through me.  It is a potential law that will be on the ballot, and it requires parents, or a family member  to be notified 48 hours before a teenager has an  abortion.  The law does not require parental consent, but honestly if a teenager decides to have an abortion and the parent is pro choice, they have it within their power to deny access to a clinic.

This law further does not consider what this means in the case of abusive families.  When I was 16, my bf was spotted kissing her boyfriend by her father.  He completely lost his mind and viciously beat her with a belt, I shudder to think what he would have done had he known that she was sexually active.  To this day I can still picture the ugly bruises that covered her tiny body. 

This law assumes that all families are loving and accepting, and this is simply not the case.  Many teenagers live in homes in which they endure abuse both emotional and physical.  Couching this law as a parental rights issue does not recognize the many dysfunctional families that are in existence.  This will not increase communication in any way shape or form, and furthermore communication may not be in the best interest of the young woman.

image What I cannot understand is why it is so hard to understand that every time there is a restriction to abortion access women die.  When young girls learn that  parents are going to be notified about their intent to have an abortion some will resort to taking drugs, or worse yet use a  coat hanger to force a miscarriage.

There is already an issue with teenagers not seeking medical attention when it comes to issues of sexuality, and if they are informed in advance that their parents will be notified of their decision to have an abortion, they will be even less likely to seek the help that they need. 

At almost every turn, teens are continually being denied access to the information that they need to make decision about their bodies and sexuality.    It seems to me, that rather than risking their lives with this ridiculous  notification law, society should be focusing on education, which will reduce theimage incidents of unplanned pregnancy.  We need to be providing condoms free of charge at every single high school.  We cannot control whether or not our children are having sex, but we can certainly make it easier for them to make the right decisions about sexual activity. 

The time to act is before a pregnancy occurs.  I have no doubt in my mind that the same people that are advocating this law, are the same ones that are fighting having real sex education in schools.  We need to stop the moralizing when it comes to our children and provide them with real solutions.  No one should have to pay with their life for engaging in a natural act.  When you think about which way to vote, keep in mind that the following organizations are against Proposition 4.

  • California Nurses Association
  • California Medical Association
  • California Association of School Counsellors
  • California Teachers Association
  • Planned Parenthood

There are real lives at stake here.  This is not about building happy families, but about controlling the lives and bodies of young girls. 

H/T Alas A Blog

 


Friday, October 17, 2008

Pepsi For A Rape Opportunity

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Well there it is, Pepsi's latest ad campaign.  What exec looked at this and thought gee what a great idea, trading a Pepsi for the opportunity to rape an unconscious woman.

When I first came across this via the F WORD, something in me felt so incredibly sad.  It is not because I have a connection to Pepsi, in fact I don't even drink the stuff.  The daily ugliness that women are subjected to is beyond appalling.  It's bad enough that in real life women are beaten, raped, verbally abused and murdered without seeing advertising like this that normalizes this behaviour.

I am constantly reading descriptions of feminists as angry women, but when daily things like this are seen as just the cost of doing business, how can anger not be a legitimate result?  This woman is as psychically different from me as night and day and yet due to patriarchy we are subject to the same fate; a life concerned about the impacts of male violence and aggression.

Ads like this say that women's lives aren't worth anything.  Clearly she is need of aid and yet the men are so busy negotiating an opportunity to abuse her, this is over looked.  This is not some cheap fantasy, it happens everyday and to use the pain that this kind of abuse causes as a marketing tactic signals that Pepsi is a company without any compassion.

Clearly they never thought of the effect that this would have on innocent women who have been victims of sexual assault coming across this advertisement.  Obviously the execs believe that to women, rape and violence are part of our lives; and therefore we should embrace it.  We may all be under the threat of rape, but that does not mean that we support patriarchy in perpetuating what it believes is its right to women's bodies. This kind of campaigning needs to stop. 

I am sickened and heartbroken to see this today.  If anyone has any contact information for Pepsi please leave it in the comment section.  They need to be made aware that a woman's life is worth something.  Violence against us is not a laughing matter, it is painful and real.

H/T Feminist Law Professors


McCain and His Slave Roots

image Well, well, well, it seems senator McCain has some black roots.  According the  South Florida Times, the black members of the McCain family do not accept the blood is thicker than water adage and will be voting for Obama this election. What's this you say black relatives?

That's right, just like many American families, the McCains owned slaves.   His black relatives are either the result of the illicit union of the McCains and the slaves that they owned, or descendants of the McCain family slaves.  John McCain's very blood is a legacy of the cruel institution that to this day continues to play a role in the disenfranchisement of African Americans.  

Though this is an ugly legacy for anyone to face, many families that have both a black and white branch have come together to try and heal the wounds of the past.   The McCain family reunites every two years at the Teoc community of Carroll County, Miss., with one notable absence.  Any guesses as to who cannot be bothered to show his face?  John McCain even went as far as to claim in 2000, that he had no black relatives.

“Why he hasn’t come is anybody’s guess,” said Charles McCain Jr., 60, a distant cousin of John McCain who is black. “I think the best I can come up with, is that he doesn’t have time, or he has just distanced himself, or it doesn’t mean that much to him.”

If this man cannot acknowledge his links with his African American ancestry, is it any wonder that he seems to have no problem participating in race baiting in his bid to be elected president? 

Since many of his supporters are determined to cast Obama as an 'other' because of his mixed raced heritage, perhaps there is a fear of rejection on the part of McCain.  What would happen to the support he receives from his neo-white sheet wearing clan if they found out that their great white hope was not as white as they thought?  They are after all counting on John McCain to defend their whiteness.   

John McCain would have us believe that he is not a racist because of his adopted Bangledeshi daughter; however loving one individual who has brown skin does not stop an individual from hating the rest of brown peoples.  His daughter cannot function as his anti-racist I.D card, and in fact using her body in this way only serves to highlight his degree of contempt for the non white peoples of this world. 

This election is not a simple contest between to adversaries professing opposing viewpoints.  Though Obama is a centrist with a platform that could hardly be called transformative, the degree of the vituperative commentary is directly a result of white fear. For John McCain a black man is not welcome to run his country, nor is he welcome in his family. 

Photo: Lillie McCain, left, and her husband, Jack Dickers, right, pose with Joe McCain, center, during this year’s family reunion. The Photo was taken by ELGIN JONES 

H/T Black Political Thought.

 



Editors Note: The birth place of McCains daughter was erroneous in the original post and this has been changed to reflect the truth.

Sarah Palin: The Queen Bee

I try to never disappoint the people that take their precious time to read my little blog.  This week in the comment section I was asked to respond to an article entitled, "Spittin' sisters show true colours", that appeared in the  Sydney Morning Herald.

The "jist" of this little piece of anti-feminist hyperbole, is that we hate Palin because she is attractive, successful, and pro-life.  Shall we rip this bullshit apart piece by piece?

But the intemperate reaction by women to Palin flags something beside ideological differences - a weird, visceral rage, with its roots in some entrenched psychic pain. There is an echo of bitchy high-school jealousy of the popular queen bee from the snarling, self-mutilating nerd and goths who vainly lusted after the cute boys she snared.

Yeah that is a feminist concern, who has the good fortune to fuck all of the popular boys.  Clearly this idiot has no idea that feminism is about redirecting the lens to focus on women's issues.  This means that something like sex, which has been historically the preserve of men to talk about, and engage in freely, is being claimed by women.  Oh btw don't you love the erasure of lesbians, asexuals and bisexual women from her little rant.  In more ways than one, it's not about who gets the dick. 

If she made any sacrifices or compromises they were not apparent. And she had won the marriage jackpot: a hunky house-husband who is able to take a back seat without losing his cojones. She juggled home and family, even breast-feeding in the office, without any angst, middle-class welfare, or even bags under her eyes. How did that work?

Instead of lauding the aspirational quality of Palin's achievements, establishment feminists despised her for showing up their inadequacies.

We love the idea that Palin seems to have a marriage that is based in shared respect and responsibility, but that does not mean we should ignore her obvious flaws.  Having a vagina does not buy anyone solidarity.  If that were the case feminism would not mean anything.   No matter how many colloquial phrases, winks, and stunning smiles that Palin delivers it cannot hide the fact that she did not know what the Bush Doctrine is, nor the fact that at times her speech is completely incoherent.  It is also very telling that these kinds of vitriolic ad homenin attacks were not aimed at men when they openly criticized Bush for his lack of shall we say eloquence.

Abortion is the emotional peg on which Palin-haters hang their hatreds and justify their intemperance. The touchstone issue which makes both sides hyperventilate has become such a bedrock article of faith for establishment feminists that they question it as little as their born-again Christian nemeses question the existence of God.

While I will admit one of my issues with Palin, is her aggressive pro life stance, it is not because she believes that this is the right decision for her, it is because she believes that this is the right decision for every single woman walking the planet.  Palin is free to do whatever she chooses with her body; however believing that someone has the right to control the body of another is completely wrong.  This is why feminists have a problem with Palin.

The author of this little piece also forgot to point out things like Palins poor record on hiring Indigenous Americans, though they are a significant part of the population in Alaska.  Her lie about the state jet, and lets not forget the ever so brilliant decision to charge women for rape kits. There are plenty of reasons to dislike Palin, and choosing to do so is not based in bitter jealousy or hatred, but in simple common sense. 

I find this particular commentary to be disgusting because once again it reduces feminists to angry shrews without any basis for their disagreement.  The author is so busy painting Palin as a saint, I am surprised that she did not become blinded by the halo she created for her. True feminism is not the reductive movement that this author has described.  Feminists are more than happy to allow the kool aid sipping Palin supporters to have their say, but don't expect us to inhale the fumes.  I have a vagina and a brain.

Editors Note: In the original post I called Palin Pro Choice, which is not what I meant to write. Palin is Pro Life and the article has been edited to reflect that mistake.

 


Obama Bucks And White Pride

During the final debate McCain made quite the point of expressing his pride in his supporters.

Let me just say categorically I'm proud of the people that come to our rallies. Whenever you get a large rally of 10,000, 15,000, 20,000 people, you're going to have some fringe peoples. You know that. And I've -- and we've always said that that's not appropriate.

I'm not going to stand for people saying that the people that come to my rallies are anything but the most dedicated, patriotic men and women that are in this nation and they're great citizens.

And I'm not going to stand for somebody saying that because someone yelled something at a rally -- there's a lot of things that have been yelled at your rallies, Senator Obama, that I'm not happy about either.

All along the way he just happened to have fringe groups pushing a racist message.  Let's just examine a few of the things that these wonderful supporters have done in your name senator,  Obama Waffles, Obama Effigy hanging at  George Fox University, John McLaughlin referring to Obama as an oreo, terrorist fist jab, and Snohomish County's "3$ billThese are the supporters that John McCain declared pride in at the last and final debate. 

Somehow quite fantastically he expressed surprise at being compared to George Wallace.  If you can see obvious acts of racism and say nothing to deter these actions, why should it come as a surprise to be labelled a bigot?

We are expected to ignore the obvious and pretend that the racism and hate is not being actively stoked by the GOP.  We are all just suffering some sort of group hallucination.  We just seem to keep seeing things that either aren't there are misinterpreting the intent of the message.

So today when I read that The October newsletter by the Chaffey Community Republican Women, Federated says if Obama is elected his image will appear on food stamps -- instead of dollar bills like other presidents, I simply assumed that I was yet another participant in the social delusion that is sweeping across North America.

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Somehow we are all expected to believe that they did not know that this image would offend anyone.  How could  a black man turned into a donkey with a big bucket of chicken, and a huge slice of watermelon ever be construed as racist.  Black people are just to sensitive.   What is this world coming too when playing on belittling stereotypes causes offence? 

When did it suddenly become so wrong to employ white privilege to define difference? Aren't people aware that America was constructed to benefit whites and therefore any other race should just accept their inferior status as part of residing in the God Fear US of A.  Isn't it enough that Barack was "given" all his privilege due to reverse discrimination? Now people are being asked to accept him as a legitimate leader...what is this world coming too?  There was a time when the negro knew his place. If he and his guilt ridden white liberal buddies are going to say that joe six pack should just accept this, well the GOP is going to be their haven of white pride and purity...Someone has got to think about the message that this is sending the children.  What else will they have to hold on to when they lose their jobs, and see their houses foreclosed on if whiteness has no value relative to the black man?

Well all POC can just take comfort in the fact that John McCain isn't like the long list of white men that have ruled this country.  He and his supporters are as anti racist as it gets.   It makes me feel so much better that after each racist assault there is an apology that is so full of bullshit heartfelt.  I just can feel the love and warmth of multicultural unity.  In fact the inclusivity of the GOP fully explains why their convention looked like this.

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I guess all of the black supporters were busy in back cooking and shining shoes.

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But hey, at least they have a role for us to play in the grand design of things. I am just grateful to know that despite all of things I thought I saw, and somehow misinterpreted, that John McCain has set the record straight.  There is room for blacks in the GOP, it just happens to be playing the role of slave to the white mans master. 

H/T The Sauada Voice

 


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tanglad On Microcredit

Tanglad has an amazing post up on mircrocredit. 

It’s easy to understand the appeal of microcredit. Poor women from the Global South use loans as small as $20 to start businesses and lift themselves from poverty. The creditors make a profit when the loans are repaid. Win-win.

What do they say about things that look too good to be true?

A whopping 90 to 99 percent of these loans are paid back with interest, another shining indicator of microcredit’s success. But there is an ugly side to ensuring repayment, where poor women are made to police one another and punish defaulters with collective acts of aggression.

In her study of Grameen Bank microcredit programs in rural Bangladesh,* Leila Karim finds that the focus on the 98 percent loan recovery rate hides how beneficiaries are co-opted into “a political economy of shame.”

Microcredit works by appropriating the only social capital poor women possess — their virtue and family honor. Among the Ifugao women in the northern Philippines,** microcredit beneficiaries are grouped into cohorts of five to fifteen members. They are given clear instructions: “You are all responsible for the loan and have to make sure that no one defaults.”

This lays the foundation of a very effective surveillance system, wherein poor women monitor other poor women. And the poorest women, the ones who need loans the most, are evicted from the group to minimize the risk of default.

Given the surprising lack of entrepreneurial or job skills training in microcredit schemes, it’s not unusual for a member to default on her loan. This is when things get even uglier, as the other women in the cohort are forced to extract payment.

Finish reading this amazing post here.

Flies, Honey, And Bullshit

I have made my fair share of sarcastic commentary regarding "tone," but I feel that it is important to seriously address it. On more than one occasion in the comment section some privilege denying overly concerned reader has felt that it is necessary to remind me that it is possible to catch more flies with honey than vinegar.   Of course this advice is offered with the best of intentions (vicious eye roll)

This quaint little phrase is an exercise in discipline.  It tells the speaker that they do no have the right to raise an issue, and that they do not have the right to their anger.  Is it really possible to see an injustice or a systemic inequality without feeling some kind of anger, especially if you are the person who is existing as the marginalized body?

This stay sweet language, reminds  blacks of the time when all of our language had to be deferential to our white masters.  It only serves to inform us that despite all of our so-called advances, we still do not live in a world where our expression can be validated.

To challenge white hegemony is a threat to ruling forces and this why we are continually reminded about our tone.  In truth, no matter how the message is conveyed it will be subject to discipline; while the rantings and ravings of racists are considered completely acceptable. 

The reminders to watch our tone tells people of colour that we do not have a right to our expression.  It also reminds us that we are not equal beings; and therefore should not challenge whiteness or its right to rule.  It says that we must beg for the recognition that white bodies are encoded with from birth. 

Black anger is threatening because it seeks to upset the racial hierarchy that has been in place since the first slave stepped foot on this continent.  We are constructed as savages, or as beasts without rationale thought to maintain the idea that our subjugation is natural. 

The high levels of poverty, the lack of access to good education, the violent assaults of black women, the invisibility in the media and our over representation in the prison population are not social phenomenon that could inspire anything but misery and contempt, yet we are still expected to shuck and jive to make whites comfortable with their actions.  Some people simply do not want to know the truth.  Acknowledging the second class citizenship of blacks would mean acknowledging the current power differential. It would mean owning white privilege.

There is a power differential in western society and that cannot be denied by any thinking person.  When someone feels that they have a right to tell a person of colour that they should watch their tone, what they are doing is exercising that power.  Discourse is part of the way we understand and order our world; therefore when one can control how an idea is expressed, one can control the idea. 

We are not taught to see white rage in its various forms as threatening.  White rage is always deemed an expression of justice despite the fact that for people of colour it has meant slavery, beatings, murder and lynchings.  Whites claim that their rage is an expression of fear of the darker, menacing aspects of society, but this is ridiculous when we consider who has historically had the ability to inflict harm.   It is only black rage that has no place because it seeks to redress past wrongs. 

The fear of the dark invading hordes is a fallacy that has been perpetuated to reinforce the idea that white rule is not only natural but good for all. This is in part why black liberation speech is so threatening. On some level it is understood that we have a right to our anger.  On some level there is a distinct fear of retribution and reprisal.  

Imagine if justice meant not only making things equal today, but redressing past wrongs.  Imagine if blacks suddenly became entitled to all of the results of their labour.... reparations.  Imagine if blacks decided on payment in kind for all of the blood that has been shed in the name of white hegemony.  Imagine if black women suddenly became entitled to inflict the same kind of pain that has come with our rapes and forced sterilization.  This is at the heart of white fear; not that we should achieve equality, but that we would seek retribution.  It is seen as better to quash any kind of liberation philosophy than to admit the barbarity that POC have been subjected too in fear that these same sins would be visited upon whites.  Black anger is threatening because white people do not want to be subject to the same kind of hatred and marginalization that POC have withstood for generations. 

Though I understand this fear, I will not sweeten my words or pretend that my indignation is not justified.  The racist, patriarchal, white supremacist state needs to be brought to its knees.  Though whiteness fears the consequences of its decline, my ability to be recognized as human depends on it.  No amount of honey or sweet talk can cover the ugliness that racism leads to in society.  White rule is ugly and it is time that this is recognized.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Financial Crises: Why Is It All About The Middle Class

I have a new article up at Global Comment, thanks Natalia.  As always I will get you started and you can finish reading it there.

I have been following the American election keenly and what has most drawn my attention is what has not been said.

Obama and McCain are clearly pandering to the middle class in their election bids, which is based on the assumption that the largest percentage of the population fits within that class designation. While the middle class constitutes the largest voting bloc, this targeted approach ignores the working and underclass.

The working and underclass are invisible bodies in a society that bases value on the ability to consume. If wealth equals power, both groups make up the most economically marginalized group in American society.

This is evidenced by the fact that neither candidate deems it important to address any of their specific needs.

There has been little to no mention about job training, subsidized housing, homeless shelters, drug rehabilitation, subsidized daycare, or access to food. These are issues that are extremely important to those living on the margins.

Finish reading here.

Want Too Feel Empowered Buy A Suit

image Thank goodness for the progressive fashion industry.  Women would just be wandering around aimlessly without any direction or inner fortitude, if we did not have fashion designers to empower us through clothing styles. According to the Sydney Morning Herald the runways of Paris are featuring man style dress for women.  Women are finding strength by wearing tomboy chic - boyfriend blazers, wide-legged trousers, peg-leg pants, power suits, stiff white shirts, suspenders, fedoras and stetsons.

What they would like us to forget about or the sweatshops that are in operation to make this beautiful suit.  They would like us to forget about the women that are virtual slave labourers to produce many of the garments that we wear. 

Why is it that women are meant to find empowerment through consumption?  It is not at all accidental that consumption keeps our capitalist market running.  It keeps us slaves and beholden to the ruling bourgeoisie.  Shopping is not freedom, especially when it is at the behest of those that already exploit large sections of the global population. 

The fashion industry would have you believe each season that the serviceable clothing which you own is no longer fit to wear.  Only someone ridiculously backward would be seen in last years fashions even though it has no holes in it, and looks practically brand new.  They create a purposeful obsolescence to enrich themselves. 

Not only do we collectively own a ridiculous amount of clothing, but we continually replace it with little or no regard to the cost of the environment.  If you have two legs why do you "need" 20 pairs of pants.  We have one torso, why do we "need "20 shirts?  The answer is we don't, but we have been so conditioned to consume that we give little thought to the excess of our consumption. 

Should someone decided not to partake in our western display of opulence we socially stigmatize them.  How many times have you heard the whisper, can you believe what she was wearing?  Weekly we have shows on television like what not to wear emphasizing the fact that our self worth can be measured by our clothing.  Suddenly with the right jacket, or the right pair of jeans a woman is transformed into a worthy and loveable being. 

It is time for women to start to think about why we continue to internalize the message of acceptability though appearance.  It further suggests that 'woman' is always in need of improvement.  We need not perform for anyone, we simply need to accept and love ourselves as we are. The seasonal parade of fashionable consumption is not liberating, and it encourages us to participate in the exploitation of poor women.

 


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bones: He In The She

I intended to post about this episode of Bones when I first saw it, but held out in hopes of finding a clip from the scene that I wanted to discuss.  I still have not found  it, but feel that I cannot wait any longer to address this issue.

Currently there is a lot of right wing bullshit being floated about how accepted the GLBTQI community has become by its appearance in prime time television.  Not only is this a blatant untruth, it ignores is the degree to which the media perpetuates the negative social construction of the community. 

Last week on Bones there was an episode about a  trans woman that had been murdered.  While I agree that there is much violence aimed at trans women, it pisses me off that they are never shown as leading happy successful lives.  Why is it necessary to always turn her into a tragic victim that we must all have pity for?  It seems unless the trans woman is under some form of attack, she cannot be recognized as legitimately existing.  Using the murders of trans women for the purposes of entertainment is disgusting and does not address the degree of  violence with which they live.  Time after time when trans women appear in prime time sitcoms it is either for the purposes of comic relief, or as some tragic victim who was sadly misunderstood.

The other thing that was truly disturbing about this episode, was its continual insistence in using pronouns that were disrespectful while claiming to have "tolerance" and "understanding" for trans women.  As I watched them refer to the character in question as" he/she" and "it," and then claim that she had a right to be validated as a person, I became more and more ill.  If you truly believe in the personal autonomy and agency of a person, how hard is it to use the correct pronoun?  There is no such person as a he/she or an it.  It is insulting and reduces trans women to the level of sub human.  If someone identifies as female then the correct pronoun to use at all times is she.  The idea that someone is confused, is simply an expression of cis privilege. 

Just the title of the episode alone, "The He In The She" makes it clear that they had no intention from the start of treating this issue with the respect that it deserves. This was not about someone who identifies as gender queer or gender butch, this is about someone who clearly identified as female.  "The He In the She" makes it clear that despite the fact that trans people assert a gender in opposition of what their physical sex represents, cis people still feel that they have the right to assert the opposite.  The woman that was murdered could have had a ten foot penis and that still would not have made her a man.  It is the sheer of audacity of cis privilege to believe that we have the right to tell another what their gender is. 

If the media is going to continue to have trans characters it has a responsibility to portray them with the same sort of humanity that it would give a cis character.  It would be nice to see a trans woman play the part of a trans woman, or at the very least have them consulted before endeavouring to portray their experiences.  As much as I am a trans ally, I would never claim to understand the totality of their experience, or dream that I could speak for them.  This is a right that the media has taken and it has lead to the continued 'othering' of trans people. 


Take The Time To Vote

Okay fellow Timmy drinking Cannucks, today is our day.  This is just a reminder to take the time and vote.  There are some very important issues at stake and if you want to bitch later you have to vote.   We cannot let that pitbull in a sweater vest destroy our country.   At this point I am actually still undecided, but I do know who I do not want. 

At any rate if like me you are still undecided, take the time to read over the platform of ALL of the parties.  Don't fall for the rhetoric and just vote the facts. 

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Most importantly think about what kind of Canada you want to live in. 

Carrie Ann Inaba and Tamara Ecclestone Pose Nude For PETA

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Yes once again I am calling PETA out for sexism.  I am going to continue to call them out as long as they insist on pimping pussy for a cause.  We all know that sex is used to sell various products in our society but that does not mean that we need to support it.

As I have said on many occasions what PETA is attempting to do in regards to animal cruelty is indeed admirable, but that does not give them the right to continually exploit women in this way.  Pussy for PETA is degrading as it reduces women to fuckable objects. 

Objectifying women in this way does not raise awareness, it only turns them into fodder for masturbation purposes. How many litres of gizz does it take to save an animal anyway?  In the meantime women's bodies and sexualities are being used as commodities. 

Now I now there will be a bunch of militant vegan commentary about how I don't write about animal cruelty on this blog and that it is unfair to attack PETA. Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, heard it, dismissed it, and don't give a shit. I have heard all about the links between animal cruelty in the home and domestic violence.  My thought on that is this, how does reducing women in this way counteract domestic violence?  Does it not simply play into the hands of patriarchy by portraying women as objects?  No matter how much pussy pandering PETA does, this approach will not help one dog get neutered, stop a cat from being abandoned or turn people into vegetarians.  I believe in social activism, and fighting the good fight but that should not mean supporting limiting social constructions that are harmful. 

Well pimin ain't easy as the song goes, but PETA seems to have no problem profiting.  If this continues they are going to have to hire a professional gizz collector because other than disgust, this is about the only social reaction that they are creating.  PETA you give animal rights a bad name with your antics and as long as this behaviour continues people will continue to tune out your message.  Always remember the medium is the message and if the medium is sexism and exploitation, that is all people will internalize. 


15 Year Old Arrested For Taking Nude Photos Of Herself.

image An unidentified 15 year old used her cell phone to take nude photos of herself. She then proceed to distribute them to a few of her friends.  Well this young girl has learned that "good girls" don't participate in exhibitionism.  She has been arrested and charged with: illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material, a second degree felony; and possession of criminal tools, a fifth degree felony.

It is up to the judge whether or not the girl is charged as a sex offender.  If it is decided that she is indeed a sex offender she will have to register as such for the next twenty years.

How is it possible to commit a sexual offence against yourself?  This is nothing more than slut shaming and social discipline.  This is her body and she made an independent decision to display it.   In a world where girls are pledging their virginity to their fathers and people are attempting to have birth control outlawed, can it really come as a surprise that it is now illegal to take nude photos of yourself?

Patriarchy will not be happy until women have returned en masse to the household; serving all the needs and desires of men.  Slut shaming, physical violence, murder and rape are the tactics of the never ending war against women that is taking place.  Disciplining our sexuality is a way of controlling our bodies and removing agency and free will from women. We cannot afford to look at these incidences as individual occurrences because nothing happens outside of social construction. Should she be found guilty of exploiting and abusing herself, it will reinforce the idea that our bodies do not truly belong to us. 

Using this as a slut shaming tactic further diminishes the children that are actually subject to sexual abuse by predators.  How can taking a picture of yourself equate to being raped or forced to perform sexual acts?  The global assault against children should never be reduced in this way.  It makes a mockery of their pain and suffering.

 


Monday, October 13, 2008

Día de la Resistencia Indígena

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Today is Columbus Day, otherwise known as Thanksgiving Day in Canada.  All over the nation ovens are stuffed with Turkeys in celebration.  Families are eagerly anticipating sitting down and gorging themselves as they celebrate unity and our way of life.  Many will fill up on wine hoping to survive an evening with the outlaws.  I thought that I would take this time to point out that though many view this as a day of celebration, what it should actually be is a day of remembrance and solemnity.

On Oct, 12 1492 Columbus landed on San Salvador which is a day that should live in infamy, as it set off the genocide of aboriginal peoples on two continents.  Columbus is also considered the father of the modern day slave trade.  Many people have reason to weep to this day  that such an evil man ever stepped foot on the Americas. 

This historic "discovery" was not undertaken in the name of science or improving the lot of humanity, but to discover a shortcut to Asia and the  accumulation of wealth.  Though the land clearly had inhabitants, the Spanish considered the natives to be a heathen group of sub-humans, and did not in any way validate their thriving and robust culture.  In a bid to bring civilization the Spanish forced baptism, burned villages, raped women, dashed babies against rocks, disembowelled people, and burned people alive.  So devastating was his arrival that within 60 years only a few hundred of what may have been 250,000 Taino were left on their island.

According to the History Channel, As governor and viceroy of the Indies, Columbus imposed iron discipline on what is now the Caribbean country of Dominican Republic, according to documents discovered by Spanish historians in 2005. In response to native unrest and revolt, Columbus ordered the a brutal crackdown in which many natives were killed; in an attempt to deter further rebellion, Columbus ordered their dismembered bodies to be paraded through the streets.

The list of horrors that he personally visited upon the New World goes on and on.  The Spanish also introduced new diseases for which the Natives had no immunities and millions perished.  Columbus day can only be viewed as a day of celebration if one believes that genocide is worthy of being considered a wonderful thing.

As I said at the beginning of this post, it is also Thanksgiving day in Canada.  Today we should be taking the time to remember the terrible atrocities that the Canadian government committed against our Native Peoples.  Our residential school system was so disgusting that it was the model that the Germans used  for their concentration camps.  The government has broken various treaties in the cause of land theft, murdered, slaughtered, raped and systematically brought an end to a way of life that had existed in Canada for centuries.    To this day Natives are over represented in the prison population, largely live in poverty, and Native women are subject to the highest rate of sexual assault.  This is also a legacy of Columbus's historic discovery.

Today as we sit down with our families, we should all have a moment of silence to remember that our bounty has come at a terrible cost.  The very land that our homes are built upon is stolen land, drenched in the blood of aboriginal peoples.  The way of life that we celebrate today is built on the destruction and perversion of indigenous cultures.  Yes it is Thanksgiving Day and Columbus day, but it is not cause for celebration.  Today is a day that should be dedicated to somber recognition at the terrible price that was paid so that we could all live in such comfort. Before you feast in celebration have a moment of silence for those that have paid and continue to pay so dearly. 

 

 

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Practicing Sexism Leads To Bad Sex

In a post I wrote regarding black males that use sexism to supposedly uplift black women an anonymous commenter had this to say.

What you say above kinda hits home for me. I think most of the women you posted pictures of are extremely attractive. Does that make me a bad person.
If so, then what do I do once I've established my attraction to women is wrong?

 

I have been thinking about this comment from the moment that I read it.  what really triggered a response in me was the fact that calling out sexism was equated with denying our sexual nature.  Even though this commentary was benign, sexism is quite often justified as part of the natural discourse that occurs between heterosexual beings.

I am a heterosexual woman that is quite in touch with my sexuality.  Not only do I enjoy having sex as regularly as possible (quite the task with two kids), but I also am very physically attracted to men.  Just like everyone else I have my "type".  For me it is the tall dark tortured artist look.  Yeah, that works for me and then some.  There is a difference between being sexually attracted to someone and objectifying them. 

image I may look at someone like Wentworth Miller, Sendhil Ramamurthy, Naveen Andrews or Antonio Banderas, and think to myself yeah, I'd hand him the crackers to eat in my bed.  What I will not do is reduce any of these men to fuckable body parts.  I will not envision them as beings without feeling that I can exploit for my sexual pleasure. 

The fault is not in being sexually attracted to another person, the fault lies in how we allow social discourse to effect our understandings of these sexual leanings.  If I as a woman take a sexually aggressive approach and think to myself yeah, I'd go there, I am envisioning myself as the active body.  This is a transgressive sexual thought as female sexuality much like the female body is constructed as passive and closed.  Women are expected to respond sexually in response to male action and not of our own volition.  When we orgasm it is because a man bestowed it upon us and not because we actively sought one.

When a man sees a woman that he finds sexually attractive, he has a choice.  He can look at her breasts, ass, legs or whatever his thing may be and see her as a being there to perform for his sexual pleasure.  He can picture all of the things he would do to her, often reflected in comments like, "I'd hit that" or he can envision are more equal kind of sexuality.  He can envision a sexuality that is based upon reciprocity and respect.  A sexuality where the man is not always the dominant or active body because he is male, a sexuality where the goal is the pleasure of both or all parties involved. A sexuality that is based in mutuality is a more progressive sexuality because it understands that as humans we have desires and needs but those sexual desires need not fall prey to sexism or gender essentialism. 

Just like every other aspect of our lives the ways in which we have sex is highly gendered.  We perform certain activities because that is what good women or sexually confident men do.  Each time we engage though we believe that we are wild with abandon, in actuality we are not free and continue to perform our gender.  Sex needs to be rescued from gender essentialism to truly be experienced as autonomous beings.  We are more than disembodied genitals, we are passionate yet intelligent beings capable of rethinking how we understand all of our drives.  In answer to the question, being sexual is not wrong, but understanding it as a jigsaw puzzle of genitals reduces sex to a performance rather than an act of intimacy.  So go on, get your groove, drop it like it's hot and it will be if you open yourself to all of the possibilities. 


Alex Sanchez: Not Allowed To Address Gay Adolescence in New Brunswick High Schools

Canadians love to believe that we are tolerant.  We particularly pride ourselves in comparing our policies with American policies.  In Canada gay marriage has been legal for sometime now; whereas in the US it is still an issue of serious contention.  It has always been my contention that allowing gay marriage is a progressive move however; it does not and cannot solve the problem of homophobia in western society. 

According to the CBC, the Charlotte County Rainbow Support Group sponsored award winning author, Alex Sanchez to speak at New Brunswick area high schools to discuss the homophobia and isolation that many gay youths face.  Adolescence is a particularly difficult time in life.  Teenagers are beginning to figure out who they are and what they stand for.  As adults we continually send them conflicting messages about what is morally appropriate.  On one hand we preach abstinence and yet every where they look sex is used to sell a myriad of products.  Our culture is awash in look but don't touch.  For teenagers that are gay, bi-curious, trans or intersex their sexuality and their very bodies are constructed as 'other'. 

Considering the myriad of challenges faced by GLBTIQ youth, having someone to normalize the experience would be a positive step, that is unless you are an intolerant homophobe.  When parents learned of the presentation they petitioned the school board, citing "concern with the direction that the schools were taking."  What I found astounding is that in their desire to "protect" their children they were discriminating against them.  It is ludicrous to believe that hearing about the experiences of  a gay man would cause someone to "turn gay" and therefore what ever damages they were hoping to avoid were and are non existent.

If by the age of 13 we feel it is important that children know about the changes that are happening to their bodies and how to protect themselves should they choose to engage in sex, why is it problematic that those that identify as GLBTIQ teens learn that what they are feeling is also normal? Many teens already harbour feelings of shame regarding their bodies and natural sexual feelings, reinforcing these ideas only causes more anxiety in a young mind.  Why should they not be given a primer on how to protect themselves sexually?

By pressuring the school board to cancel the assemblies the message that these parents sent their kids is that their love comes with conditions.  It reinforces the idea that "homosexuality is a deviant lifestyle" and that being heterosexual is the only acceptable way of life.  Now teenagers that already questioning their sexual identity will not feel comfortable turning to their clearly homophobic parents for guidance and may choose to make the wrong decisions simply because they are ill informed. 

When I held Destruction and Mayhem, I was overwhelmed with love for them. Today as they are growing into independent beings who they fall in love with or how they express their sexuality is not a concern of mine.  The only proviso I have is that the person that they love treats them well and that they are happy.  As parents, the happiness of a child should be our only concern and if that is not your main goal for them, perhaps you need to rethink what being a parent really means. 

 


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Dirty, Sexy Cancer

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I am officially ill.  Of all things to use sex to sell, raising awareness about breast cancer in this way is completely off the radar on the disgusting level.  Gee save the boobies, remember how nice they are to suckle.  This fails on an epic level.  How about donating to cancer research because it is a terrible disease that many have lost their lives to?  Naaah to much work, it is much easier to reduce women to their breasts and scare men into thinking that they might loose their favourite play things. This doesn't make me want to buy water, it makes me want to run holding on to my generous double D's screaming mine, mine, mine. I've got a mouthful for them, but unfortunately it is all filled with bile.

H/T Hoyden About Town

The Post Racial, Multi Cultural World: Get Your Avoid My Privilege Card Here

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So clearly this is a racist image.  According to Springfield, Missouri's News-Leader.com, this sign is located south of West Plains on U.S. 63. 

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According to ALLVOICES this sign is located in North Carolina.

Well these are only visual representations of hate, why not hear it directly from the people promoting it.   Via Menstrual Poetry comes a video of McCain supporters in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Her commentary on the video is a good read.

This is just a small collection of some the hate speech that has been protected under the guise of free speech in the last few days.  We are all expected to show shock and awe at the virulence of these actions. Only whiteness would have the audacity to be shocked by this behaviour.

Let's see..hmm.. Every inch of North America is Aboriginal land which was stolen at the point of a gun, starvation, and the intentional introduction of disease.  Africans, or who we now refer to as African Americans were brought here in slave ships.  Even before arriving in North America so many died on the middle passage that it cannot be described as anything other than a genocide.  From 1607 to 1865 blacks suffered in the institution of slavery. They were beaten, raped and murdered.  They were forced to stand by helpless as their children were sold away from them at the whim of a white slave master.

image When finally white people decided to bring slavery to an end they simply instituted an informal brand of slavery with Jim Crow laws.  The KKK ran amok on the countryside ensuring that blacks lived in fear for their lives. This was the time when a family afternoon was having a picnic while watching black men get lynched.

Oh but that is all in the past isn't it? No one living now owned slaves.  Just like no one now benefits from making sure that blacks don't receive good educations and no one benefits from creating a prison industrial complex in which blacks are over represented that supports the economy of small towns while it exploits prison labour.  No one benefits from the continued destruction of the black family by the high rate of removal of black children from their mothers.  This must explain why in areas where corporal punishment is still practiced in schools black children are most often on the receiving end of the belt or rod.  If their own parents cannot handle them the school system must take extreme measures to deal with "uncontrollable behaviour", it certainly is not because of a legacy of the floggings that occurred during slavery.

A white man announces that he is going to kill two black men and society applauds, while no one bothers to question who or what created the conditions that turned these men into thieves in the first place.   But we have got to have a society of law and order, and so when police just happen to taser a black person person to death we need to recognize that it is all for the greater good. When they accidentally kill an innocent person, run one over, or pull one over for either driving a car that just looks to nice, or happens to be located in an upscale neighbourhood we should all take a sigh of relief that police are so proactive.  If you  watch television or movies, you should recognize that the black person is always the criminal, or is deserving in someway of social discipline.

image Oooops I better watch my tone, someone might think that I am angry.  Now where did I leave that honey jar I am supposed to use to catch flies with?  Only white liberals could have the audacity to express shock and awe at the racial attacks used by McCain and his good ole boy, white sheet wearing fraternity of supporters.  Really, racism still exists?? Yeah, no shit Sherlock, and every single black person can tell you a story of how it has negatively impacted their lives. Wake the FUCK UP, this isn't new, it isn't even original. 

From the very beginning of western society the major goal was to privilege whiteness.  Have you witnessed a coup of the government?   Did the aboriginals suddenly get their land back?  Did I sleep through the social revolution? Since none of the aforementioned occurred, how could anyone possibly express shock that racism is still an issue Newsflash, until white people start owning their privilege and questioning their right to rule racism will continue to be a disgusting virus running rampant in society.  Stop playing lip service to equality and claiming that you are shocked.  If you are "surprised" by what is occurring right now, it is only evidence of the degree  to which you have tuned out the systemic inequalities that blacks live with everyday; being intentionally obtuse is a sign of privilege.

It must be nice to be able to turn your back on the ugliness in the world because you were born white.  You can be angry and not "appear" threatening. You can say racial commentary and then apologize, cause hey you didn't really mean it. You can even justify threatening physical violence because you have a black friend. Right about here I was planning on doing a list of white privileges but you know what google unpacking the invisible knapsack your own damn self.  I'm tired of doing all of the work.  Whiteness exists with such extreme arrogance that not only does it expect complete servitude, it expects POC to pretend that we are not being used. 

OOOOPS did it again didn't I.  I had better remember to ask the unhusband to pick up honey when he goes grocery shopping again.  I simply cannot be naturally sweet enough when it comes to racism.  I think it is because unlike white people who get to intellectualize about it, every day of my life I have to negotiate it.  Every day of my life I have to worry about what effect it is having on my children who are biracial but look black.  It is the sickness that keeps me up at night and it is a fear that I have to live with, in a way that those who have never had to deal with it will never understand. The least that you could do is just acknowledge racism for the soul crushing thing that it is.  The least you that could do is stop pretending that it is getting better, or that it is non existent, because it is an insult to my very existence and a denial of my humanity.

OH BTW, voting for Obama doesn't make you a liberal anti-racist, there is no get out of jail free card for owning privilege.  Sorry to burst your bubble about the post racial, multicultural world.