Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Working at 84 Isn’t She Lucky

Mildred Copeland is 84 and is still waiting tables after 34 years.

Copeland: You get to that time in your life when you think I can just sit back and relax a little bit and not have to worry but it’s not like that.  I thank God everyday for a job, for my home, it’s paid for.  That’s one thing I don’t have to worry about. 

Ali Velshi:  That woman that you had in your story, the woman that had been a waitress.  I almost wonder whether people who live close to the edge but don’t carry a lot of debt are not as affected by this recession.  They have sort of been living in that state for awhile, there’s not a lot of room that they have to fall. 

Thelma Gutierrez: Ali you’re absolutely right.  I think that’s the lesson here.  You look at somebody like Mildred she’s 84 years old.  She’s still waiting tables but she’s doing it top supplement her social security income.  The most important thing here is that she has no mortgage.  She doesn’t have the monkey on her back that we all have and so she doesn’t have to worry.  She feels that she is going to be able to move through this crises because she lives simply.  She was able to pay off her house and she doesn’t have the big worry that so many people out there have which is mortgage. 

Gotta love it when the media stunningly misses the point.   Mildred is 84 years old and should not have to work another day to supplement her income and yet they portray her as “lucky” to just be able to survive.  It’s like they’re saying, look she can eat and has a warm bed therefore, she has no reason to complain.

Many senior women are living in poverty.  Often times their retirement benefits are based on their husbands pensions because women of Mildred’s age stayed home to raise their children or spent a significant amount of time out of the workforce.  This is particularly problematic as women typically out live their spouses, which leaves them with a reduction of income and or benefits as many plans do not include a survivor clause. In a study of poverty on women that examined the years 1984-2003 between 41%-67& of single women over the age of 65 lived in poverty. The widest gender gap in poverty levels is between senior men and women, with 21% of senior women living in poverty as opposed to 11% of senior men.

Clearly there is a genderized aspect to poverty and old age.  The fact that women spend their golden years struggling to survive after dedicating a lifetime to their families speaks to the fact that we routinely devalue women’s labour based in the idea that we do so out of an innate desire to nurture.  From the moment our mothers place that first baby doll into our hands, we learn that our role in life is to care for others first and it is not until the end of our lives that we realize the terrible cost that we have paid for our self-sacrificing behaviour.

When we factor in that seniors often have the added expenses that arise out of healthcare concerns, poverty can be the difference between life and death.  Clearly, working as a waitress there is high possibility that Mildred is not receiving health insurance and while she is able to supplement her old age pension by working, what will become of her when her body inevitably begins to fail? 

Much of the social programs that used to be covered by the state have either been reduced or cancelled out right.  It is assumed that a senior will have a child that will assume the burden of their care.  Not all senior people had children and not all relationships with adult children are positive.  

An estimated 550,000 people of age 65 or older were abused in 1996 across the country, according to the first National Elder Abuse Incidence Study. The exact rates are unclear because many victims don't seek help and there is no mandatory reporting of elder abuse, as there is with spousal or child abuse. This has become a growing problem. Reported cases are likely a fraction of the actual incidence of abuse. Elder abuse shortens the life of the elderly! According to Dr. Mark S. Lachs, the professor at Weill Cornell Medical College and co-author Dr. Karl Pillemer, the professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology at Cornell University in Ithaca, between 2 and 10 percent of the elderly are physically or mentally abused. They also figured out that mistreated seniors are three times more likely to die within three years than those who are not abused. Elder abuse is often not recognized, particularly those abused in the home. If only family members care for the frail elderly, how can violence be detected?

The state of senior citizens is precarious in the best of economic times.  During the course of a recession depression when more stress than ever is experienced, it is quite easy to take out frustrations on those that are most vulnerable within a household.  The system is already overloaded and the first round of the baby boomers are just beginning to attempt to retire.   Unless we take concrete measures to ensure a decent standard of living and care I fear that the state of elderly women will reach a terrible state.

H/T The Zoo


The Sad State Of 5%

5%

Regular readers often take the time in e-mail to tell me what I am doing right and what I am doing wrong.  I recently received two very conflicting e-mails.  One was to thank me for all of the posts that I have written in support of trans rights and the other was to accuse me of devoting to much attention to trans rights.  Gee, what’s a girl to do?

image I decided to actually count the posts written in support of trans rights and it turns out they amount to approximately 5% of the total posts.   I was shocked when I came up with this figure as I assumed that I had dedicated more attention to transgender issues and yet when I look around the blogosphere, except for blogs specifically dedicated to trans rights, I doubt there are many blogs higher than this figure. What does this say about the importance of trans rights in a community that claims to value intersectionality?

There are often times that I will come across a story or an issue and not cover it because I am still very much in the learning phase of my activism. There are occasions that due to the high level of violence faced by the trans community, I feel compelled to speak out as forcefully as my limited knowledge will allow.  I found myself wondering are people not speaking because they have not done their due diligence in terms of trans rights and they are afraid of offending a community that they are trying to advocate on behalf of, or has trans rights  just become  another trendy thing to advocate occasionally because it is PC to do so? 

Part of being an ally is making a conscious decision to learn about the issues of the community that you are trying to advocate on behalf of.  This takes a conscious effort, as society will continue to affirm various isms thus ensuring that those of us that have undeserved privilege seldom consider the true cost of the social hierarchy that we have naturalized. 

While there are those that feel that 5% is a good effort, I suggest that it only appears so because we have so erased trans people from our everyday discourse that any mention in a positive light seems like a good act.  What this tells me is that though I have made a conscious effort to challenge my privilege, I must continue to be steadfast in my effort to learn because 5% means that cisgender issues continue to be over represented on this blog. How can 5% be understood as too much coverage, or even sufficient coverage with the life and death issues that trans people face everyday?  

When legislation is suggested to codify the rights of transpeople is  met with campaigns to demonize them as child abusers, there is an issue with inequality.  When ENDA has yet to be introduced in this years congress and HRC had no issue dropping transpeople from the suggested legislation, clearly their murders, assaults and indignities have become socially acceptable.  When radfems publicly declare them mentally ill and close spaces like Michfest under the guise of so called “transexual terrorists,”  and the need to protect “womyn born womyn”, clearly recognition of our shared humanity continues to evade us. 

I know that I still have a lot of learning to do but if you can forgive the occasional mistake on my part, I am committed to trying harder.  I know that there is far too much at stake to allow the silence to continue.  I can never walk in your shoes or truly understand all of the issues that you face but my firm and abiding belief in the equality of all people, means that I am committed to doing the work necessary to become a good ally.  All people matter and these are the words that I live by.


Can A White Woman Be A Womanist?

 

image I was asked recently in an e-mail whether or not I believed that a white woman could take on the label of womanist.  I will openly admit that I found this question deeply troubling.   I understand why womanism seems attractive from the outside.  It truly advocates for the equality of all beings however, it is a movement spawned by the rejection of WOC; more specifically black women by mainstream feminism

When we look at social justice movements across the western world they all have one thing in common, they are lead by whiteness.   Despite a claim that said movements are about equality, the racial dynamics are positioned in such a way as to reaffirm our dissonance in worth and value.   This purposeful erasure,  or more specifically absence of power is a result of the social belief that whiteness is not only naturally fit to lead but ordained to do so. 

How many times have blacks and whites worked together in various organizations only to find that our voices are silenced?  We continually make  suggestions for activism only to have it denied and then later accepted when it is rephrased by a white member of the organization.  The racism in this activity is never acknowledged and the white person is given the credit for the idea.   When we make a comment as to how race interacts with an issue, we are again silenced and told that we “are imagining racism”, as though whiteness is any position to decide what is and isn’t racist.

In a recent post Monica of TransGriot suggested that feminism needs to work on its own issues first and I must say that I highly concur with this point.  There are so many divisions in feminism that we cannot even begin from the basic idea that all women are equal and face multiple forms of oppression.   What we find is that different offshoots tend to privilege their experience over that of another and then declare themselves fit to judge how other women live their lives. We have radfems slut shaming sex workers,  third wave feminists stumbling on their privilege while ignoring critical anti-racist work, eco-feminists who promote  environmentalism based in an essentialist understanding of gender, Marxist feminists  that are blind to anything that is not related to finance and liberal feminists who only want to be the “equal to a man”, never thinking about what constitutes “woman”. While there can never be a monolithic woman, the lie that sisterhood will save us all continues to be repeated.  Privilege has always been and always will be the Achilles heel of women's organizing;  though feminists couch it  in a “fear of watering down feminism,” to me it smacks of reaffirming hierarchies and the ideology of difference as inherently unequal. 

image Womanism seeks to place women of color in the center of all debate and all activism.    To advocate with proficiency one should at least possess basic knowledge and yet daily across the blogosphere womanist and radical woman of color blogs are assaulted by commenters who have not even bothered to learn 101 basics.   When I have to  continually define racism as prejudice + power, clearly there is a lack of effort to learn about issues that are critical to improving the social understanding of not only what constitutes racism but how it functions to marginalize bodies of color. 

There is also the issue of family business.  Whiteness is intrusive, and unless you are sitting at home with the television, radio, and computer turned off, a person of color will be assaulted repeatedly by images that seek to promote whiteness as a universal good.   This meant to appear passive however, in actuality it is quite aggressive and meant to reaffirm the racial power structure.  Spaces that are inhabited solely by POC are very few and it is only in these gaps that we are able to engage in conversations free of the performance expected by many whites. 

When one dares to question whiteness, it is quite typical to be accused of racism, or to be told that one has a chip your shoulder,because whiteness is understood to be naturally paternalistic and therefore daring to suggest that it can act systemically as a coercive force is being unnecessarily divisive and rebellious.  Whiteness doesn’t necessarily want to eradicate  us but it certainly wants a submissive class that it can exploit at will and will therefore perform whatever disciplinary action that is necessary to reduce, or end any action on the part of POC to be autonomous beings.

To suggest that white women could enter into a womanist forum or space and not engage in activities to promote racial privilege is ridiculous when most people cannot even make it through the day without performing , thinking, or expressing, some form of racism.   Often it happens on an unconscious level because we have been steeped in a racist culture from birth.  Ideas must be actively unlearned one concept at a time and to be honest with all of the issues currently facing black women today, to expect that we devote large sections of our time to educate whiteness about its short comings is to once again make whiteness the center of the debate.

POC need a space solely devoted to our issues and this is not a selfish act when we consider that much of our social energy is spent promoting whiteness.  How many times must we hear the backlash about BET, Black History Month, Jet, or Ebony? We must continually point out that most forms of media actively promote whiteness?  It seems that every time POC organize something to promote our interests whiteness either rises to condemn it or attempts to interject itself and  this is one of the purest expressions of white privilege. 

While I cannot say that someone cannot and should not identify as a womanist, I would ask that they consider why such an action is necessary.   Why is it so hard to allow people of color a space to speak candidly about issues that affect us and why is it so important that whiteness be included in every conversation?


Canadian F Word Blog

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I was over at Shakesville today when I learned about The Canadian F-Word Blog Awards.  When I went over to check it out, I discovered that two people had nominated Womanist Musings in the Canadian Feminist category.  I just wanted to say thank you so very much, it is great to know that what I do here is appreciated.  Not wanting to keep all the glory to myself, I suggest you run on over to A Creative Revolution and submit your favourite blogs, there are tons of categories to choose from.

Best Feminist Blog - Oh!Canada! English

Le meilleur blogue feministe canadien
- en francais

Best Feminist Blog-International

All from a feminist perspective:

Best Political blog

Best Personal blog

Best Media blog

Best Reproductive liberties blog-english

Le meilleur blogue canadien sur
les libertes *** - en francais

Most Regressive Progressive

Support Bro

Why the f&ck didn't I say that? award.

The Rabid Fox Award, In Honour Of Heather Mallick, this years
recipient

MSM-Most Sanctimonious Misogynist in the media

Monday, April 6, 2009

Bristol Has Returned To Promoting Abstinence

Despite becoming the poster child for exactly why abstinence education does not work, Bristol Palin has decided to return to promoting this failed initiative.  This is a complete reversal from the position she cited in an interview with Greta Van Susteren.

VAN SUSTEREN: I don’t want to pry to personally, but I mean, actually, contraception is an issue here. Is that something that you were just lazy about or not interested, or do you have a philosophical or religious opposition to it or…

BRISTOL: No. I don’t want to get into detail about that. But I think abstinence is, like — like, the — I don’t know how to put it — like, the main — everyone should be abstinent or whatever, but it’s not realistic at all.

Clearly Mama Palin still very much desires to push her conservative values on her daughter, in an attempt to promote her political agenda.  This is not about supporting children, or making sure that they have the correct information to make the right decisions; this is about control. 

When it became public knowledge that Levi was planning on going on the Tyra Show, Sarah Palin issued the following statement:

"Bristol did not even know Levi was going on the show. We're disappointed that Levi and his family, in a quest for fame, attention, and fortune, are engaging in flat-out lies, gross exaggeration, and even distortion of their relationship," says the statement from the Palin family rep.

"Bristol's focus will remain on raising Tripp, completing her education, and advocating abstinence," the statement continues. "It is unfortunate that Levi finds it more appealing to exploit his previous relationship with Bristol than to contribute to the well being of the child."

The statement ends, saying, "Bristol realizes now that she made a mistake in her relationship and is the one taking responsibility for their actions."

Though both parties are definitely working an agenda, I certainly find Levi to the more credible of the two.

And of course he admits to something we already suspected, they did not engage in protected sex every time.  A failure to consistently use protection is something that has become quite common with children and teenagers that are taught abstinence only education.  Since they function under the misconception that they are not going to engage in sex, they often fail to take the proper precautions which leads to STD’s and in the case of Bristol and Levi, unplanned pregnancy. Sarah Palin is more interested in retaining her conservative credentials than speaking honestly about teenage sex and sexuality. 

Am I the only one that thinks that Levi dodged a bullet when this relationship failed?   Despite being recast as the “good girl” that made one mistake, clearly this relationship had an ongoing  sexual side that Sarah Palin sees necessary to deny.   Though I do not wish a separation between mother and daughter, Bristol is clearly is very much still under her mothers control,and this means that what ever decisions she  makes cannot be autonomous.

If Levi had married into that family, he would have been expected to preach the party line whether or not he agreed with it.  Speaking the truth about what occurred is not showing a lack of concern for his son.  He simply had the courage  courage to inform others that even one time without appropriate precautions, is one time to many.  No doubt there will be repercussions for his candid statements as Sarah Palin has  been known to never forget a slight but then what do I know, I’m just a blogger sitting at home in pyjamas and and apparently I am incapable of having a legitimate opinion according to Sarah Palin, queen of the tundra.

H/T Aunt Jemima’s Revenge


Open Forum: Battling Against Words to Define Our Cause

This is a guest post from Queers United. The activist blog uniting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersexual, asexual community & straight allies in the fight for equality!

image Gay marriage, same-sex marriage, homosexual marriage, marriage equality, civil marriage rights, same-gender marriage... The list goes on, and we have heard all of these terms and many more to describe the ultimate goal of many in the LGBT community which is to achieve the ability to attain a marriage license regardless of your identity.

But which term really best fits our cause, most represents what we are fighting for and is likely to get the most people on our side? In a battle of politics, heated issues and close votes, terminology and phraseology is critical in the battle for full equality.

Pros & Cons of the most widely used terms:

Gay Marriage - Everyone has heard of it, everyone knows what it is referring to, but it is not inclusive of those who are not gay. Lesbian women who eschew the term gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex people all face legal challenges when it comes to the institution of marriage, so can "gay marriage" truly be an inclusive term?

Same-Sex Marriage - Widely used by the mainstream media in referring to the marriage civil rights movement. It is seen as a more inclusive way of countering the "gay marriage" term but has its pitfalls. What about trans people who transitioned but are not regarded as the opposite sex, they want the right to marry and they are not same-sex couples. The other downside is that "same-sex" has the word "sex" in it, bringing people back to focusing on the sexual aspect of queer couples and not the emotional, spiritual, and financial aspects that come with marriage.

Homosexual Marriage - This term is used most widely by opponents of equal marriage, and rightfully so, poll after poll shows that the term homosexual is viewed as negative and clinical by the public at large. While everyone knows what a homosexual is, the word often conjures up very negative stereotypes that are hurtful to the cause for equal rights.

Marriage Equality - The term is seen as a progressive one, those who use it support the LGBT movements efforts to attain marriage rights. The term will not likely be picked up by the media in an effort not to appear biased in one direction or another. The term also is not specific in defining who seeks the rights of marriage, while academics and those informed may know, the majority of Americans may not.

Civil Marriage Rights - The benefit to the term is that it is clearly indicating that the right is civil one and has zero to do with religion. The downside is that it doesn't specify which group is trying to achieve these rights. Is it just heterosexuals who want government controlling the institution of marriage and not church?

Same Gender Marriage - This eliminates the sex part of the equation, but provides for a new dilemma. Is the marriage fight about gender or sex? Can a couple who is not the same gender (one transitioned) be married if the birth certificate still declares them their birth sex?

The language in the debate about marriage rights is critical. What do you make of the above terms. What do you feel the pros and cons are and which word would you use to describe our fight for equality?


Being Gay In Iraq Can Be A Death Sentence

It is terrifying to learn that no one even knows how many have been killed for being gay and that even an allegation of homosexuality can lead to death.  One man reportedly said that “he would rather kill himself than have his family learn that he is gay”.

A stranger on street said, “I consider gays to be criminals and terrorists, we as an Islamic society consider it to be against the law and so they should be punished by the law.” 

The invasion of Iraq was justified as bringing freedom to  people and what is clear is that the GLBT community has experienced even more repression since the fall of Saddam.  Instead of the supposed secularism leading to autonomy for all peoples, it has become a death sentenced to the most marginalized groups.

This is not an issue of Islam being highly intolerant as much as it is about fundamentalists using religion to spread their hatred. Just as there are fundamentalist Christians that use the bible to press for heterosexist privilege, there are some Muslims using the Qu’ran to oppress the GLBT community. 

Since the US invasion lead to even more oppression, what is clear is that the only solution to bigotry and hatred is education.   Guns cannot force a change of heart, people must be taught proactively about equality and they must learn through experience by positive interaction with the GLBT community that they pose no threat.  Laws must be enacted to punish hate crimes. 

Obama has been very vocal about pointing out that the real threat to the US is Al-Qaeda, while I believe the real threat is ignorance, and poverty.   In learning to value others freedom will come as a natural result.  Not only do we hate what we do not understand; we do so to express power because we feel powerless.  If we empower the citizenship through education that centers human rights  as a basic fundamental concept, the quality of life will improve for all. 

It has already been proven that when women are  given access to education, the standard of life improves and the same concept can apply to all other marginalized groups.  It is time we start to counter hate with education and opportunity.  There can be no quick fixes to inequality, after all we have spent generations pushing the idea that difference equals inferior and therefore the path to change to will arduous but it is certainly worth the attempt.


Of Course Canada Isn’t Racist To White People

Well the great white north otherwise known as Canada functions under the misguided belief that we are not a racist country.   We have never even elected a Prime Minister of color and yet we point southward shaking our head pronouncing ourselves evolved.  Seriously, could it get any whiter than Stephen Harper?    To the world we portray a country that is only divided by language i.e. French and English speakers.   We point to the fact that a Canadian wrote the United Nations Declaration for Human Rights and proudly swig our Tim Hortons; too bad that we don’t live by the rules we profess.

Krishna Pendakur, an economics professor at Simon Fraser University and his brother Ravi Pendakur, a sociologist at the University of Ottawa, recently completed the largest study of its kind quantifying the exact size of the income gap between aboriginals and other Canadians.

Total income (includes wages, investment income and government benefits) compared to non-aboriginal Canadians:

  • Registered Indian living on a reserve: 50 per cent lower for men, 21 per cent lower for women
  • Registered Indian living off-reserve: 38 per cent lower for men, 23 per cent lower for women
  • Not registered, identify as a North American Indian (First Nations): 33 per cent lower for men, 19 per cent lower for women
  • Aboriginal ancestry: 18 per cent lower for men, 12 per cent lower for women

Earnings for registered Indians living off-reserve in Canadian cities compared to non-aboriginals:

  • Halifax: 38 per cent lower for men, 19 per cent lower for women
  • Montreal: 23 per cent lower for men, 20 per cent lower for women
  • Ottawa-Hull: 25 per cent lower for men, 4 per cent higher for women
  • Toronto: 18 per cent lower for men, 23 per cent lower for women
  • Winnipeg: 47 per cent lower for men, 38 per cent lower for women
  • Regina: 53 per cent lower for men, 44 per cent lower for women
  • Saskatoon: 63 per cent lower for men, 44 per cent lower for women
  • Calgary: 35 per cent lower for men, 33 per cent lower for women
  • Edmonton: 38 per cent lower for men, 26 per cent lower for women
  • Vancouver: 40 per cent lower for men, 40 per cent lower for women
  • Victoria: 35 per cent lower for men, 32 per cent lower for women

Of course we have social lies to cover for what is clearly racism.  Often you will hear how we “saved” Native Canadians because they were doing nothing with the land anyway, or that aboriginals are drunks and naturally lazy.   We do not want to take responsibility for the near genocide of a people for the sake of conquest, or the fact that to this day they have not recovered from this brutal cultural assault.  Almost every single gain that Canada has made, has been achieved on the backs of its native population.

From reading the results of this study is it really any wonder that Native Canadians are over represented in the prison population, acquire less formal education, and overwhelmingly live in poverty?  Unless we acknowledge the disparity and make changes at a systemic level this condition will persist and continue to be a blight upon our so called equal society. 

Whiteness has a tendency to claim that problems resulting from racism are over and present failings as the result of the individual.   We have a vested interest in keeping Natives weak and poor.  This divide allows us to continue to steal their land, illegally mine their property, and of course have a sub section of lowly paid workers that we can exploit for economic gain.  Yet we continually hear the complaint about taxation and Aboriginals…It makes me want to scream.  How much do you expect a group of people to pay for your comfort.  Have the Native population not given enough to the Maple Leaf? 

We have a choice, we can continue to exploit and abuse our Native citizens, or we can decide to live by the social ideology that we present to the world and attempt to make changes on a systemic level.  We can never return to our aboriginal citizens the culture that we destroyed but we can assure that their descendants are counted as equal citizens.  The task ahead is not easy but we owe a debt that must be repaid.

H/T Ojibway Migisi Bineshii


White Woman’s Burden: Madonna and the Malawian Adoption

I have a new post up at Global Comment.

image

Madonna is continuing on a tradition of celebrities adopting foreign children. Though she has not reached the level of Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, her recent attempt to adopt Mercy from Malawi would have made her the single mother to four children. The fact that she is unmarried with three children already at home and is still considered a potential adoptive mother speaks to the race and class privilege that Madonna possesses.

Madonna has constructed herself as the loving earth mother gone abroad to save the African children from a life despair. Though she has invested in orphanages and has started a few programs, her desire to adopt children despite the express wishes of their famillies, evidences her colonialist positioning. In this second attempt to adopt a child, the family has also expressed a desire to block the adoption.

According to The Sun, “the girl’s gran Lucy Chekechiwa, 60, said she has been asked repeatedly by officials if Mercy could be adopted by an “unidentified foreign family” — but was firmly against it. Speaking from her village in Zomba District, Lucy said: “Twice I have told the adoption people that I do not want Mercy to go outside the country. But they keep on at us. Now they say that Mercy will be leaving us, but can return at age 18.”

Even with the express refusal of the families in question, Madonna continued with her adoption plans firm in the belief that her class privilege would offer David and now Mercy a better life. Though a life with Madonna would provide opportunities that would otherwise be denied to Mercy because of her poverty and our decided commitment to maintaining a hierarchy of bodies, these children will lose their cultural links by not being reared within their country. It will not suffice to surround the children with Western blacks as they will not be able to pass on the traditions that are unique to Malawian culture.

Finish Reading Here

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Black People Are Uniquely Homophobic Eh?

There has been much vitriol and race based attacks thrown at blacks since the failure of Prop 8.  I have since committed to proving through various examples that the black community is no more homophobic than other community.  Rather than seeking to work with those that have proven through thought and deed that we are strong allies to the LGBT community, we have been wrongly attacked.  As Julian Bond the chair of the NAACP speaks at the HRC dinner, it is important to note that he is simply one amongst many black leaders who have spoken strongly in favour of gay rights.

"When someone asks me, "are gay rights civil rights?" my answer is always, "Of course, they are." Civil rights are positive legal prerogatives: the right to equal treatment before the law. These are the rights shared by everyone.  There is no one in the United States who does not, or should not, enjoy or share in enjoying these rights.  Gay and lesbian rights are not special rights in any way. It isn't "special" to be free from discrimination. It is an ordinary, universal entitlement of citizenship."

Though she is no longer with us, Coretta Scott King had some words to say about gay rights that I think continue to be relevant to this day. 

 image "Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group. || We have a lot more work to do in our common struggle against bigotry and discrimination. I say "common struggle" because I believe very strongly that all forms of bigotry and discrimination are equally wrong and should be opposed by right-thinking Americans everywhere. Freedom from discrimination based on sexual orientation is surely a fundamental human right in any great democracy, as much as freedom from racial, religious, gender, or ethnic discrimination."

It is impossible to follow the words of Coretta Scott King and so I shall only say that her  impassioned speech still  resonates to this day.  We are a people who have known slavery, brutality and violence and we do not seek to oppress others in the same fashion.  There are those amongst us who refuse to acknowledge their heterosexual privilege however, just as you assert that racist gays do not represent the TLBG community in its entirety, homophobic blacks do not represent the vast majority of our community either.


Milk Skimmed: Dr. Tomás Almaguer Speaks About The Roles Of Men Of Color In The Biopic Milk

Watching the movie Milk it is important to recognize that though this is presented as history it is actually an attempt to normalize white gay male sexuality.  Since much of how we understand power is based on our ability to oppress others, it becomes necessary to have a binary opposite that can be presented as somehow weak.  In this case, men of color fulfill the role of the eternal “other” thereby, normalizing the experiences of the white gay male.  When the rallying cry of just like you is shouted, it is therefore easier to associate a gay identity as necessarily white.  The white face of GLBT community can then claim that discrimination is intolerable because they are being treated like lesser beings – people of color.

Transcript is below the fold.

Now when friends confronted Harvey about his questionable choice of lovers, Harvey would sketchily outline Liras troubled past.  The youngest child of a poor Mexican American family, Jack had little education and no useful skills.  The way Harvey told it, Jack’s dad had declared that he no longer had a son when he learned of Jack’s homosexuality, so like many others Jack tracked from Fresno to the gay Mecca like many others.  Harvey insisted that he was “just trying to help a troubled kid”, besides he add with a wink “Jack was dynamite sex”.  Harvey's friends took to calling Jack the mistake or derisively as the first lady.  Harvey himself according to Shultz, quickly began to referring to Lira as Taco Bell .  Now this might have been a reference to Jack as little more than the spicy Mexican food that Harvey routinely devoured or perhaps, it was a campy reference to Jacks effeminate manner, his being a Mexican tinker bell if you will.

But Jack was not the only man of color that was troubling swept with a brush of effeminacy in the movie Milk.  It seems to me, if I can be quite honest with you, that all of the men of color captured on the film were represented as completely emasculated men.  Sylvester the fierce black dancer and diva is a rather clear example of this representation. He only performs for the enjoyment of white gay men and is not given a speaking role in the film.  The other black gay man is given one speaking line as he coquettishly sashays past Milks Castro street camera store front. 

Also the only Asian character in the film Michael Wong, one of Harvey’s key political associates is also swept by this emasculating movie.  According to Shultz, Wong was also referred to by Milk as my little yellow lotus blossom, my fortune cookie, or simply our house boy.  In the film at one point, Wong is cattishly dished when he is told, shouldn’t you be working in a laundry? A rather unambiguous reference to his being painted in a classic Chinese stereotype   of a laundry worker performing women's work.

Now this emasculation and disparagement of men of color is only countered once in the film; in one of the more disturbing moments, Jack is cattily referred to by Milks former partner Scott Smith as Cesar Chavez with the added comment you can do better than that.  Now I would have thought that Scott would have dished Jack by referring to him as Delores ___ But that golden moment eluded him and I suspect it is because he had no idea who she was, apparently when one thought of anything Latino at the time it was Cesar Chavez and Taco Bell. 

From all accounts it would seem that Jack was not well suited to play the role of first lady in Harvey’s life, according to Shultz he was ill prepared for the social and political skills such a role demanded.  Harvey offered to send Jack back to school but Jack didn’t want to go back to school.  Harvey found there were many jobs doing everything from Mexican restaurant work to bottling  ___ nitrate in the downtown popper factory.  Jacks jobs usually ended with his being fired for unauthorized absences.  According to Shultz, every personal and political friend that Harvey had now prodded him to drop Jack.  “But I’m out to help people like Jack, Harvey explained to his political associates, I’ve got to help him”.  But to his closer friend Tom Randal Harvey, he gave a more candid explanation, “Jack is truly good sex he said.  When I come home to him I don’t have to talk politics.  I don’t have to talk intelligently. I don’t have to think. I can relax, besides he added pragmatically where is a 48 year old man like me gonna get such a hot young guy?”

Now, Jack did appear to be a very simple, uncomplicated but also tragic figure.  There was clearly no haven or safe space in the Castro for someone like Jack.  He was not well educated.  He was not middle class He was not a professional gay man like Harvey and consequently was not empowered with his racial and class prerogatives.  Jacks apparently effeminate demeanour undoubtedly compromised any quest for respectability.

According to Gus Van Sant in the Los Angeles Times, (quoting here) “The apolitical highly strung Lira and Milk became a odd couple.  Milk didn’t necessarily choose boyfriends because they could help him write speeches.  I think that Lira was just not into politics, not into Harvey running, not into him being in city hall.  He wanted to go on a game show with Harvey because Harvey could answer all of the questions on Jeopardy.” 

While this may be true, it does seem to me that the representation of Latinos in film could be a little more complex than how it is represented.  Not all Latino men stumble into the Castro wearing fake bell bottoms looking for white sugar daddies. Where undoubtedly there were also a few more macho Latino gay men who were also invested in colonial desire to turn the tables and make a sport of having white men service them.  This is clearly another story and one story line  that didn’t make it into the film Milk.  

Instead like the film Brokeback Mountain, Van Sant’s film Milk renders Latino men as little more than vulnerable, exploitable sexual objects who yearn for the kindness of strangers and gay white men.  There is one scene in Brokeback Mountain  for example were the character played by Jake Gyllenhaal enters into a seedy Mexican border town and enters into an ally looking for sex with a young Mexican trick.  Now whether he paid for that sex is left unclear.  I guess my point is that the typecasting of Latino men as little more than objects of colonial desire is troublingly repeated in Milk,  the most recent attempt by Hollywood to humanize and normalize white gay man.  That normalization I want to suggest doesn’t necessarily have to be undertaken at the expense of marginalizing and pathologizing other gay men.  My point is that there is much more to what one critic refers to as the dark side of same sex coupling than what was captured in Van Sant powerful film. 

What was left out of the film however, was not lost on everyone involved in that production.  The gay Mexican actor Diego Luna, who played Jack Lira in Milk offered one of the most sensitive assessments of the character that he portrayed. According to  Luna, “Jack was a guy that had a big struggle in life.  He had a lot of loneliness and the fact of not being accepted in your family must be enough to get you lost. Running away from your family must have been the worst thing and then not just being gay but Mexican in this country, Jack had a great struggle that a young Mexican gay man would not have today”, said Luna.  “Imagine being gay and telling your father when you are 17 or something like that, saying I like men and then your father hates you and you get out of your house and you happen to go to a place and people happen to ask you where you are from and you say I am from Mexico, and they treat you exactly the same way.   So you are out there wondering around and obviously Lira found in alcohol the great way to get to who he was.  What was boring to the world of movements and politics.  He would like Harvey to just be a guy who cares about eating sharing stupid things, talking about soap operas.  Jack wanted Harvey to just be there to see him dancing, to cook for him, to observe the simple things.  All the other stuff Luna said simply got in the way.”  Thank you very much.

Editors Note:  Though Dr. Almaguer referred to Diego Luna as the “Mexican gay actor”, he is indeed a heterosexual man.

H/T The Jaded Hippy ( you can find part I of the documentary there as well)


Too Hard On The White Folk

Once again I am going to address the issue presented by a commenter that I participate in “reverse racism”.  The following commentary is from Sam.

Sometimes womanist musings I feel you are portraying reverse racism towards white women and I am not even white. Do you honestly think white women are in a position or are more responsible for the racism and sexism that WOC face than white and even MOC.

image Let’s begin with the term reverse racist for those who continue to fail to do their due diligence and get their 101 on.  The term reverse racism necessarily implies that racism is something that should only be geared towards people of color.  Another 101 fact, racism equals privilege and power therefore, it is not possible for a person of color to be racist.  We may have individual prejudices but racism is an impossibility.  I would furthermore point out to you that calling someone a “reverse racist” is nothing more than a silencing technique.

WOC must not only deal with sexism that is aimed at them from men of color  and white men, we must deal with racism from white men and women.  It is not a matter which group participates in the most oppression, simply because the smallest amount of oppression is unacceptable.   White women cannot be given a pass on their racism  because we share a gender.  They have proven more than adept in the past of using our shared gender as an excuse to perpetuate a racist agenda.  Like wolves in sheep's clothing, they have extended hands in friendship and then accused us of focusing on race too much, or defending black men to often, as though these issues have no relevance to the state of the world and our lives.

image Simply because white women exist with less social power than white men, does not mean that are unable to wield white privilege to their advantage.  Why is it  that NOW has never had an African American woman leader? With more and more WOC achieving higher education, do you really believe it is because there were no qualified candidates?  Look at the blogosphere, why are there no major feminist blogs written or maintained by WOC?   Daily we provide excellent critiques on everything from sexuality, race, class, politics, and gender, yet the majority of the traffic ends up at blogs written and maintained by white women.  It is purposeful to choose not to read or engage with women of color on the internet.

image By not dealing critically with race and focusing solely on gender as the center of oppression, white women are able to present their issues as monolithic thereby guaranteeing that women of color fail to make substantial progress.  Though affirmative action was mainly created to help people of color, white women have managed to make the greatest gains.   In every social area in which white women and black women compete, you will find that white women are better off.  Of course this is a function of our racist society.  When white women fail to own their undeserved privileges they are just as culpable as white men of maintaining our dissonance in worth and value. They shall not be receiving a free pass on my watch.

image Men of color have also played a very distinct role in oppressing WOC.  They come to us citing our shared issues of race and yet continually fail to acknowledge that they are able to use gender to oppress us.   We are not blind to this and WOC have been very vocal about calling MOC to task for their sexist behaviour.   It is particularly harmful in that MOC are our husbands, fathers, brothers and sons.  We have stood by your side when the KKK came marching in the night, we have given our very lives in your name and to this day we still have not received the respect that we are due. 

The history with white men is obvious.  They continue to be the most over privileged group of people of all time.   Though they complain about reverse racism citing a perceived loss of privilege, it is clear that they still run the world. Like marionettes we dance to their tune, while they sell the lie that they have the moral right and superiority to lead.

image There has never been a day that WOC have not had to fight for recognition of our worth and our humanity.  When we speak out against the exploitation, marginalization, and oppression that we face, we are called angry and summarily silenced.  No matter how many polemic blog posts I author regarding the systemic inequality in which we live, the hierarchy of beings will not change unless those who exist with undeserved privilege make a commitment to change.  To be silent is to accept that I deserve to be understood as a second class citizen.  My value shall not be determined by others so that they can benefit from my debasement based in race and gender; it shall be decided by me because I am an autonomous being who is worthy of being counted.  If you cannot accept a WOC who speaks her truth, then this blog is not for you.  I shall not be silenced in the space that I have constructed.

image


Saturday, April 4, 2009

Legendary Latinas Wings To Fly

This is a guest post from Frau Sally of Jump off the Bridge.

Frau Sally Benz lives, works, and blogs in NY. She fights oppression, promotes activism and spreads political awareness at Jump off the Bridge. You can also follow her on twitter (@frausallybenz) if you need a stronger fix.

I've never been the biggest fan of visual art, being more musically-inclined, but Frida Kahlo is an exception to that. Her paintings are raw and real, and there is an honesty and vulnerability in them that I have always been drawn to. She was self-taught and perhaps that's why she wasn't afraid to pour her heart out on the canvas in a very special way. I remember being in awe of several paintings when seeing them for the first (and second, and third) time, and her depictions of reproduction, sexuality, and personal struggles are among my favourite paintings by any artist.

But I'm getting a little bit ahead of myself if you don't know who she is or don't know very much about her. Here's a cliff notes version of her bio:

"The only thing I know is that I paint because I need to, and I paint whatever passes through my head without any other consideration."

Frida was born in Mexico in 1907 to a father of Hungarian/German descent, and a mother of Mexican, indigenous and Spanish descent. When she was 18, she was in an accident that left her with a number of serious injuries. She was bedridden and her father got her paints and brushes to occupy her time. She never fully recovered from the accident and had several other health problems throughout her life, but this is when she started painting seriously.

Frida married Mexican artist (and fellow Communist) Diego Rivera a few years after her accident, when he was 42 and she was 22. To say they had a tumultuous relationship would be an understatement. Diego was never faithful (even sleeping with Frida's sister), and after putting up with that for a while, Frida started having her own affairs with men and women (including Leon Trotsky). They were on again, off again, divorced and remarried, and spent a great deal of time living together, but under separate roofs.

And that's as good an intro as any because, really, her paintings are a much better biography than any words in print will ever be.

"I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality."

Her relationship with Diego was one that I don't think anybody will ever really understand. But, for all of their problems, they certainly couldn't seem to let each other go. Diego was the subject of many of Frida's paintings, directly or indirectly. Her ambivalence about their relationship is depicted in The Two Fridas. She painted a Frida in a Mexican dress, holding a picture of Diego that's meant to symbolize the woman he loved. The other Frida is in a European dress with her heart bleeding out, meant to represent the Frida that Diego didn't want.

Image of Frida Kahlo's painting, Flower of Life But Diego was hardly her only inspiration. Reproduction and fertility, including her own troubles in these areas, made its way to the canvas a number of times. One of my favorite paintings, Flower of Life, uses a flower to symbolize sexuality and fertility. I've always loved that imagery and the power that seems to emanate from the painting. Another favorite of mine, My Birth, was Frida's attempt at illustrating her feelings on childbirth, motherhood, and her own reproductive failures. Her own miscarriage in Detroit was the subject of the graphic painting Henry Ford Hospital, which included symbols of her difficult pregnancy and miscarriage.

As I mentioned earlier, Frida's work around the themes of reproduction and sexuality are among my favorites. She is not the only artist to ever paint about these themes, but her work continues to speak to me in ways no other artist can. They're deeply personal, and obviously come from her own experiences. Yet, they're also universal, in ways a lot of her other personal works are not. You might not be able to relate to the image of her broken body, but childbirth, fertility, sexuality -- these are things that affect all of us in some way. But whether we succeed or fail in our attempts, the emotional, physical and psychological affects are certainly no less complicated. She owns this reality and her own experience, and in doing so, she pushes our buttons and makes us consider that there is beauty and tragedy in the balance of life and death.

"I hope the end is joyful - and I hope never to come back."

Image of Frida Kahlo's painting, The Dream
This is all just a sliver of her life and work. I could go on about her accomplishments and other paintings for days, but I'll leave it to the biographers. What I really want to do is show why it was so easy for me to love a woman who lived with such pain (physically and emotionally), but who was still able to produce work that spoke truth to that pain and to live her life without apologies. Her status as a feminist icon should be honoured for that alone.

"Feet… what do I need them for if I have wings to fly."

For more about Frida's life, love, and art, you should check out:
FridaKahlo.com
Frida Kahlo Fans
The Life and Times of Frida Kahlo
Frida Kahlo Quotes


Michelle Obama Reborn

image I have made no secret of the fact that I am huge Michelle Obama fan.  There are precious few examples of black women leading public lives that have the grace, strength and beauty of Michelle Obama.   I watched with rising anger as she was attacked continually throughout the campaign and those that claimed to be feminist in the mainstream media had precious little to say in her defence.   They were quicker to defend that colluding betrayer Sarah Palin than Michelle Obama. Not only is Michelle better educated than Palin, I am quite sure if you asked her, she could list the magazines or books that she reads. 

She has been called an angry, unpatriotic, and even uppity, yet there has been a wall of silence instead of a rousing defence.  When she announced that she was going to be “mom in chief”, the wolves howled at the moon questioning what kind of modern example she represented by “standing behind her man”.  What people forget is that Michelle’s labour supported the Obama family while Barack pursued his dreams.  Without her income, he never would have been able to  work as a community organizer and in fact this is the first time in their marriage that he has earned more than her.  When we consider that many women continue to be economically dependent on men, Michelle stands as an example of a woman that is not only capable of having a successful career, but managing a family as well.  Barack was absent quite often for the last two years and it was Michelle who took on the burden of raising their daughters. 

Yes ,Michelle left paid employment when her husband became president of the United States but she is still working.   There is no possible way that she could fulfill the duties foisted upon her as first lady and maintain paid employment.  We simply choose to purposefully not view what she does as work because we believe that  the support staff work that women engage in is a function of our so -called desire to nurture.   It is this attitude that helps to maintain the economic divide between men and women. 

Michelle Obama is a remarkable woman.   She has stood bravely in the face of her critics and continued to be a wonderful example to not only WOC but all women.  As the media that once denigrated her begins to gush as her approval ratings rise, I cannot help but think about what fickle friends they have been throughout this journey.  The same people that refused to stand in her defence now rush to claim her, comparing her to Jackie O and Princess Diana. Somehow this is perceived as showing deference, or even a form of appreciation for the woman that she is.   It is enough to make me ill.  Michelle is not uplifted because the media has chosen to wrongly compare her to two white women born into privilege.  Her style and her grace are her own and she does not need to be legitimated by white femininity. 

Even in their comparisons to Jackie O and Princess Diana, they cannot see their racism.   White women have always been held up as the standard of femininity and to pronounce Michelle a success in this vein means that they are still not recognizing her as a successful black woman.  As long as white women continue to be standard that all women are judged by, WOC will continue to play secondary roles no matter what our achievements may be.  It’s like saying that she is worthy because she embodies qualities that have typically been associated with white womanhood and  not because of being authentically and wonderfully a black woman.  You cannot claim her in times of convenience. She never has been, or ever will be yours to own.


Drop It Like It’s Hot

Thanks everyone for all of the great participation this week.  Once again we did not agree on much but as long as we keep speaking about the difficult subjects that very few want to engage with some progress will be made.  I would like to say thanks to all of those who guest posted this week.   If you are interested in cross posting or guest posting feel free to e-mail me or you can find me on twitter.

I would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone to submit their posts to the WOC and Ally Blog carnival.  If I can get enough submissions it will once again be posted at Tell It WOC Speak on the 15th of April. Please enter your submissions here.

As usual I have a great list of links for you to check out,please show these bloggers some love.  When you are done, don’t forget to drop it like it’s hot and leave your link behind in the comment section.

Taking Up Space

Apache Girls Sunrise Ceremony

What if you lose weight the “easy way”? (Reflections on Weight Loss and Weight Loss Surgery, Part 1)

Intersex Separatists, Transpeople Aren’t Your Enemy

Henry VIII “subjugated” by female historians paying attention to wives

we don’t need another anti-racism 101

My Thoughts Always: Let The Beatings Begin  (Extreme trigger warning)

you don’t speak the dunn language (properly)

The Intellectual Space to Be Anti-Male Is Necessary and Desirable

 The Myth Of The Strong Black Woman (This is a must read)

Pulling The Plug On Rape Culture One Word At A Time

“There never was a member so defined…”

Derailing For Dummies

Parental Alienation Tactic: Punishing Parents, Punishing Children

a girl like me

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Book Review: If Women Ran the World Sh*t Would Get Done by Shelly Rachanow

This is a book review by Holly of Menstrual Poetry.

 image As soon as I read the title of this book, the first thing I thought of was 'Damn straight!' and I am sure many, many other women thought that to themselves upon first glance, but If Women Ran the World Sh*t Would Get Done is a great deal more than just a completely spot on, oh-so-true title; it is a collection of wonderful, amazing, stupendous, inspiring, butt-kicking things that women have done, continue to do, and your motivation and inspiration to do all of the butt-kicking things you want to do.

Women have done a great deal of amazing, awe-inspiring, and out of this world things to improve the quality of people's lives everywhere simply by imagining the world as they would like to see it and creating it.  But despite all that women have and continue to do to change the world, we are still often denied the respect that we have worked for and undoubtedly deserve.  Most often, we are not taken seriously and even degraded and ridiculed for the work that we do because of society that has yet to overcome the patriarchy.

Even if we're not making international headlines, in Rachanow's mind (as well as in all women's minds!) we should be given Nobel Prizes for friendship.  We should be celebrated for what we do for our friends, for our families, for our jobs, for the world, and yes, even for ourselves.  Self love and self care are what a lot of women have trouble doing because naturally, we are nurturers; we take care of our friends and our families and we stand up for and battle for the civil liberties and rights that we should undoubtedly possess for our determination and hard work at our jobs but when it comes to doing for ourselves, we tend to make excuses and we tend to think that we have not done enough yet in order to simply celebrate how much we have kicked butt that day.  Rachanow gives us all that kick in the pants we need to celebrate who we are and what we do every single day of our lives and gives us the permission we so often deny ourselves to celebrate what we do as well as who we do it for.

Every page of this book is full of inspiration and motivation to celebrate what we do all the time and highlights the courageous, mind-blowing things women have done.  Women created The American Legacy Foundation in efforts to build a world where young people can reject tobacco and help your friends quit smoking for good.  Trickle Up is another organization that was created by the minds and hands of a woman sick of hearing about eradicating poverty and who actually did something about it.  As we continue to learn more about exactly what women have done throughout the years to change the world, Rachanow tenderly reminds us at the end of every section that we too have the power to do wonderful, amazing, stupendous, inspiring, butt-kicking things equipped with lined pages to remind ourselves what we do for our families, how we've kicked butt that day when we don't feel as if we have done quite enough, what we would do if we ran the world, what we will demand in our lives that we are not currently receiving and refuse to accept anything less, and of course, what we will get done for ourselves--Because we deserve it for all we do!

If Women Ran the World Sh*t Would Get Done is a no-bullshit book that will jump start your mind to begin thinking about the world you would like to see and the steps you can take to create it.


A Royal Hug Or Royal Racism?

image For the last few days the media has been obsessed with the question as to whether or not Michelle Obama broke royal protocol by daring to return an embrace initiated by the Queen.   Let’s be clear, despite the nonsense about the divine right to rule, the Queen puts her panties on one leg at a time just like every other woman.  While I respect British traditions the idea that someone is magically elevated by an accident of birth to me seems not only highly archaic but somewhat ridiculous. 

From watching Michelle interact with dignitaries what is clear is that artifice and falseness are not natural to her.   This was simply a moment shared by two women that the media and certain members of the aristocracy have managed to fixate on to the negation of what I feel to be a far more grievous action by Prince Philip.

The following is from Sky News:

It had to happen. When President Obama and wife Michelle met the Queen at Buckingham Palace, a Prince Philip gaffe was inevitable.

In the small talk when they first met, the Queen and the Prince were sympathising with the President and his wife about their gruelling schedule since arriving late on Tuesday evening.

"The time lag," said the Queen, ever the diplomat.

"You're just trying to stay awake!" said Philip, ever the foot-in-mouth blunderer.

Then the President told the Royals: "I had breakfast with the Prime Minister, I had meetings with the Chinese, the Russians, David Cameron...

"And I'm proud to say I did not nod off in one of the meetings."

A guffawing Prince Philip then blurted out: "Can you tell the difference between them?"

Now at first I thought that was an insult to David Cameron. But perhaps not. I may be wrong. Perhaps it was a compliment for the Tory leader to be compared to two powerful world leaders.

Either way, it was vintage Prince Philip!

It would seem to me that  considering his position, the statements of Prince Philip were far more egregious then any breach in royal protocol that occurred when Michelle Obama hugged the Queen.  He was clearly continuing on with  the tradition of royal racism that they have shamelessly displayed to the world.  It is particularly telling that the media felt no need to create a sensation over this event.  Philip is deemed “old world” and therefore, his racism is continually excused.  Regardless of how old this man is, if he is going to represent a country such behaviour is unacceptable.

This is not just some sort of verbal blunder.  The royal family have continually made racist statements publicly.   When we consider the fact that their positions are based in an accident of birth wherein a society has falsely chosen to privilege certain bodies,   it reveals exactly how far we are willing to extend white privilege and hierarchy.   Philip is not some sweet doting old man, he had to know that his commentary to the first African American president and first lady were completely unacceptable; the point was that he did not care. 

Elites like Philip can afford not to care about the damage that their actions or statements cause.  At worst they will receive a small slap on the wrist, while the POC is left to deal with the shame and humiliation of being reduced to an “other” .   We are told that we are “too sensitive” when we complain about racist statements and yet it is our lives that are negatively impacted.  Each time a stereotype is allowed to pass unchallenged, it further cements the idea that whiteness necessarily belongs at the top of our chain of hierarchy.  Not only do we pay a cost for being assaulted by such vicious  racist constructions, we pay a cost to fight for our rights as human beings.  Conservatives continually call the media liberally biased, but when an issue of white racism is allowed to pass with virtually no comment how can the media possibly be understood as fair or equal? 

I personally see nothing special about Philip that should allow him to denigrate another in  this manner.   If we are going to allow these people to supposedly represent the goodness that we have to offer, then they should be held to a higher standard.  As a Canadian and a commonwealth citizen, they embarrass me with their insistence on reducing others to support their supposed superiority.  Instead of God Save the Queen , it should be God Save Us All from the proliferation of such ignorance and privilege. 

H/T Jack and Jill Politics


Dickist Of The World Unite

Fair warning: this post is not rated G.  If you are going to get yourself tied into a knot stop reading this instant.

I have done some thinking since I learned that I am dickist.  What does it mean to elevate the dick?   Is it having relationships with men?  Is it taking pride in giving a good blow job or simply enjoying a good lay from time to time?  Not only do I refuse to feel shame for loving the men in my life, I positively refuse to feel shame for engaging in sex.

The idea that choosing to be intimate with a man is somehow shameful or a denial of feminist principles is ridiculous.;  it necessarily precludes any concept of an active female sexuality.  In fact such clear negations of womens sexual choices are far more harmful than any blow job I’ve ever given. 

So what is with the association of the dick with ultimate in female shame?   We slut shame sex workers, we slut shame women who have sex outside of marriage, and we slut shame women who engage in sexual acts that we deem somehow anti-woman.   Unless you are lying on your back as frigid as an iceberg somehow you are behaving inappropriately.   It seems me that lying on your back with your legs spread, acting like a human pin cushion turns sex into something that men do to women.  It’s the passive pussy complex.

While I have no problem with lesbian sex, it is just not for me.  I don’t get turned on by breasts and shapely curves, I want a big thick piece of man meat.  I love everything about masculine bodies, from the broad shoulders to the hard muscles; men are where it is at for me.   Not only do I consent to sex, I do so enthusiastically and eagerly await each opportunity.

While there are women who identify as political lesbians or abstain from heterosexual sex because of our sexist patriarchal society, it is patently unfair to hold us all to the same standard.  This policing of behaviour is no different than that which patriarchy does to control female bodies.  Don’t give me the monolithic woman bullshit when it favours your interests and your desires.  I understand the desire to elevate vaginas, hell I have one, but this one knows exactly what makes her little heart happy.

If the dick makes you happy celebrate it.  We have to deal with enough bullshit to get through a single day without worrying about whether consenting sex between two adults is appropriately feminist.  We are doing the work of patriarchy every time we attempt to slut shame women for seeking to satisfy our natural desires and if that isn’t counter to feminist values, I don’t what is.