Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kiss Rick Rolled

Since the unhusband decided to share this horror with me, I decided to pass it on. Hold onto your lunch.

Drop It Like It’s Hot

Hello everyone, there were some really charged conversations on the blog this week.  We cannot always agree but we should always try to keep the conversations respectful of each  other.  Feeding the trolls is easy to do because they have a tendency to pull triggers but we should try whenever possible to ignore them.  They are only there to derail conversations.  I would also like to thank those of you that send me alerts when someone makes an abusive comment. I try to read all of the comments but sometimes a few get past me.

Below you will find links to some great posts that I found this week.  Please show these bloggers some love and check them out. When you are done, don’t forget to drop it like it’s hot and leave your link behind in your comment section.

Alexander Cockburn: fetus fetishist

Cracking Myself Open

Life Is Bare Bones On The Lakota Reservation

The Problem With Politeness

15 Horrifying Reasons to Never Let Anyone You Love Near a McDonald's

Is the Plight of Women or the Plight of the Black Race Greater?

Fear of a Black America

Black Children/White World: How Do I Make The Journey Easier

A Crime Of Opportunity

“First, Last, Security Deposit”: Women’s savings, feminism, and the steps to getting a room of one’s own


Friday, August 21, 2009

Black Female Athlete Dominates Competition-Gets Gender Identity Questioned

This is a guest post by the ever brilliant Monica Roberts of TransGriot.  Enjoy, though you might be waiting forever if you want corn bread.

image One of the depressingly tired memes of elite level athletic competition is that almost every time a Black woman rises to become the best at her sport, she is either dissed, suspected of cheating or has her gender identity questioned.

The latest episode of this sorry meme is evolving right now in the wake of Caster Semenya winning the 800m world championship in Berlin with the fifth fastest run of all time.

Since she doesn't look stereotypically female, has short cropped hair and a deep, raspy voice, that's enough 'evidence' for the IAAF gender police to haul her in for gender testing.

Wonder if Caster had been a blonde haired blue eyed European runner who ran that same time? Would the IAAF react the same way?

Probably not.

Semenya's best revenge should she pass the gender test will be to keep kicking their asses until she's standing on the top step of the 800m run victory platform at the 2012 London Games. She and her family can smile while they're putting a gold medal around her neck and playing the South African national anthem.

But this crap has played itself out over and over again throughout my lifetime. The Williams sisters have battled that BS in addition to being insultingly called transwomen as they spent the 2K's merrily dominating the women's professional tennis tour.

WNBA and college basketball players constantly battle this meme as well.
Ice skater Debi Thomas was described by commentators during her competitive rivalry with Germany's Katarina Witt in the 80's as 'athletic and powerful'. Conversely, Witt was described as 'artistic and graceful'.

The same crap was said about France's Surya Bonaly a few short years later. She was a world champion gymnast who was the only figure skater in the world who could perform a back flip and land on one skate. But that athletic ability probably cost her a world figure skating championships as well in 1994.

Even Florence Griffith-Joyner, the woman who brought fashion and glamour to the track world had her problems with that meme.
Flo Jo ran world record times in the 100m and 200m meters that haven't been matched by any current female runner enroute to her four medal winning performance at the 1988 Seoul Games.

Because of Flo Jo's slightly muscular frame and her running style, she dealt with rumors throughout her career that followed her to the grave she was on steroids. This despite the fact she never failed a post race drug test.

After Brazilian runner Joaquim Cruz held a press conference accusing her of precisely that, a reporter famously remarked, "If Flo Jo's on steroids I'm buying some for my girlfriend."

As the Nigerian Super Falcon womens soccer team proved last year, women will even cattily throw the 'that's a man' shade at each other to cover up their own lousy performance.

In the 2008 African Women's Cup Tournament they spent more time complaining and questioning the gender of two of Equatorial Guinea's players than handling their own business. The Super Falcons eventually lost to Equatorial Guinea 1-0 in the semifinals and finished third in a tournament they up until that point had never lost.

But this plays into a larger meme of ignorance and preconceived notions about what is and isn't feminine. The fact that Black women have historically been saddled with the baggage of being considered less than female vis a vis the vanilla flavored beauty standard only adds to this drama.

Add archaic and stereotypical notions about what athletic feats a woman is capable of producing, throw in a little borderline racism and you have a recipe for negative behavior and judgmental commentary to come out of people's mouths.

If it coincides with what the 'experts' consider as 'too rapid' athletic performance for a woman, she may find herself being subjected to a battery of embarrassing and invasive tests just to prove to cynical skeptics that she's 'woman enough' to compete in elite sports with other women.

Back To School: Corporal Punishment For Students

Like any parent, now that the summer is winding down, I am excited to get my boys back to school.  As much as I love the time that we have spent together, they need to get back to a routine.   They are whining like any other young kid would, about the loss of freedom and the late nights but what they do not feel is fear.  My children are well aware of the behaviour standards for both home and school. They know that if at anytime they should decide not to adhere to the rules that they will receive discipline, however; for them discipline does not involve any form of physical violence. 

In Canada, corporal punishment has long since been outlawed but this is not the case in the United States.  As millions of children return to school they do so with the knowledge that along with new friends and lessons,that the paddle is also awaiting them.  Despite much documented evidence that spanking is bad, adults continue to be violent with children, in the false belief that it encourages them to image alter behaviour that we have deemed unpleasant or dangerous.  I have spoken at length about my own dances with the belt and the trauma that is caused but many today feel that because they were spanked and turned out fine, that violence against children is acceptable.

The state of Tennessee allows schools districts and in some cases individual schools to set their own standards for corporal punishment. For decades, Memphis City Schools (MCS) were criticized for allowing spanking to continue in its schools. The MCS school board reviewed the policy several times over many years before deciding in 2004 to stop corporal punishment. However, paddling is still an accepted practice in the Shelby County Schools and some local charter schools.

The Shelby County Schools 2008-2009 Handbooks states, “As part of a progressive discipline plan, corporal punishment is permissible in Shelby County Schools. Corporal punishment may be administered by the principal or principal's designee in the presence of another professional employee. Corporal punishment shall not be used as the disciplinary action on a first offense, shall not be used as a choice in lieu of other disciplinary action, and shall only be used after other corrective measures have been attempted. The parent(s) or guardian(s) shall be notified when a student has been paddled.”  The handbook is available here.

The fact that this policy is being defended by none other James C. Dobson, founder of focus on the family, should be reason enough for a logical person to have a moments pause, about the legitimacy of this as a good approach to raising and disciplining children.  This is a man that clearly believes in authoritarianism based in male headship.  He is also well known for his attacks on the GLBT community under the guise of family values.  Is this really a man that any school policy should align itself with?

This policy is presented as though spanking and or paddling can be administered without emotion, as just another form of discipline.  Clearly the goal is not only to punish but to shame.  Students are paddled at assemblies so that their peers may witness.  Not only does this further shame the child, it serves to terrorize those that must witness this physical abuse. How can this possibly be a healthy environment for children to grow and learn in? 

Even parents who have opted out of this form of discipline, have learned that their children have been paddled by mistake.  This means that a child can never really be secure that they will be free of violence.  We also know that race plays a part in who gets spanked, as Black girls are more like than anyone else to be forced to endure corporal punishment in schools.  

The punishment is disproportionately applied to black students, according to the organizations. During the 2006-07 school year, for instance, black students made up 17.1 percent of the nationwide student population but 35.6 percent of those paddled at schools.

Black girls were paddled at twice the rate of their white counterparts in the 13 states using corporal punishment most frequently. And although boys are punished more often than girls, the report found that African-American students in general are 1.4 times more likely to receive corporal punishment.

With stressors like larger class sizes and economic pressures, how much more likely is spanking to be administered?   If we know that race is a factor on who gets abused, it is not a leap to assume that class could also factor into the equation.  We have a tendency to devalue bodies based in social construction and therefore at some point the class of the child in question must factor into the equation.

Children feel stress just like adults do and a change in family circumstances can lead to a change in behaviour for the negative.  Instead of dealing with the reason that a child may be acting out, violence is being offered as a solution.  Beating a child leads to fear and resentment and little understanding of why the behaviour must change, other than the threat of physical violence.

I wish that all children could return to school with the safety that mine will.  They will learn new lessons, meet new friends and have experiences that will guide them on the path to adulthood.  No child should ever associate learning with fear.  If we love children as we claim to, how can we continue to abuse them?

Yep, You’re A Racist

At the time that Jay Smooth posted the above video I was in complete agreement with him.  In fact, I thought it about it as new and revolutionary but times have changed.  After a lot of thought I have come to see this as a tone argument.  POC must constantly consider how we speak to Whiteness about race because they have a tendency to make it all about them. 

This is in part a reflection on how little our lived experience continues to be valued.  The fact that we must constantly soften our words to appeal to White sensibilities, despite the pain we may be feeling because of racist actions and or behaviour speaks of the power imbalance that continues to be a factor in our everyday social interactions.  Whiteness has the ability to shut down our cries of racism because ultimately it is not concerned with how it is perceived. 

We have seen the same actions time and time again, only to be offered bogus apologies or a denial of knowledge regarding exactly how racialized said behaviour and or commentary was.  We are expected to believe that the speaker was not aware of how their behaviour would be interpreted and yet the originator of  the negative social stereotypes associated with Blackness is Whiteness. 

Blacks spend their entire lives negotiating Whiteness and yet the charge of racist or racism is too difficult for them to deal with.  Why is it that the conversation must constantly circle back to Whiteness and its needs or its desire to be heard, when it is clear that it is bodies of color that are crying out with pain?   When will our day to be heard to arrive?   Whiteness does not want to be charged because it knows that it is guilty of many crimes against humanity.  It fears the cold hard glare of judgement and or retribution.  It can only pray that we will be more generous in our victory, than it has been in its moments of power.

Now is not the time for POC to soften ours words to appeal to White sympathies.  We have spent generations shucking and jiving.  We have been told to be patient and that our time is coming repeatedly.   Whiteness continually reminds us of how far we have come while ignoring how long the journey to equality has been and continues to be.

If someone is racist they should be forced into recognizing their behaviour.  It is time that we be honest and simply admit that when someone does something racist it is intentional.  Ignorance is no excuse when we live in a world with 24 hour access to information and have libraries filled with books.  All racist behaviour is purposeful, in that the speaker either knew what they were doing or they purposefully chose to remain ignorant of the lives of POC.

I no longer wish to spend my life concerned about White sensibilities when it has so little regard for mine.  Even when they seek knowledge they demand that it be spoon fed to them, as though learning about race and diversity did not come at a cost to people of color.  There are no simple answers on how to deal with racism but being anything but direct hardly seems to be be the correct idea to me.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dog Squats

Yeah we all need a laugh for the day.

I was not inspired to get off the couch but it did give me a good laugh.

H/T Dog Health and Nutrition

More to Love, Episode 4: Wifey FAIL

This is a guest post by everyone’s favourite Gus, Allison McCarthy.

Hi, everyone.  I know some folks on Twitter were wondering what happened to my recap of episode 3.  Well, as it turns out, I had to finish a 12-page paper for a course on Technical Writing.  I skipped the first half of episode 3 so that I could finish my second draft.  I meant to do the write-up, but then I was editing and working on graphs.  Then I turned in the final draft on Sunday and got an A- in the course.  I hope no one’s too broken up by my absence, but now I’m back and fueled with two weeks of burning desire for More to Love.

image Now, normally I don’t anticipate the drama starting until at least 10-15 minutes into the episode.  But this week, the producers wanted to get an early crack at misogyny: at the episode’s opening, the group gets together to vote on “wife credentials.” 

That’s right: each contestant’s personality – chiefly, their confidence, life experience and future potential to not kill Luke in his sleep –  are evaluated and judged as either “Good Wife” or “Bad Wife” material.  Because, you know, every woman’s most cherished and anticipated title is Wife.  If only we’d all banded together and created a formalized critique sooner!  I do get that they’re all competing with the eventual goal of keeping their prized diamond rings at the end and ultimately “winning” the show by accepting their beloved bachelor’s proposal to be Mrs. Luke Conley.  But come on.  Wife potential?  And when is there going to be a vote on Luke’s “Good Husband/Bad Husband” potential, anyway?  Something tells me that if the roles were reversed -- a group of plus-sized men were competing for the heart of a plus-sized woman – male contestants probably wouldn’t be subjected to a “Good Husband” or “Bad Husband” vote. 

The outcome of the votes gives the contestants with the most “Good Wife” votes (Heather) and the contestant with the most “Bad Wife” votes (Mel B.) a one-on-one date with Luke, while the rest of the ladies will meet with Luke later on in the week for a group date at the spa.

Mel B, the group’s youngest and self-proclaimed “heaviest” member, gets just one vote for “Good Wife,” since the rest of the group claims she’s too inexperienced to make a good life partner to their precious Luke.  Now, on any other show, Mel might have the advantages of youth and naïveté (she’s never had a date, let alone a boyfriend, so Luke stands in as her benchmark for these experiences) working for her.  But I found it particularly interesting, if not surprising, that Mel B. continued to call attention to her weight throughout the episode, as if her size detracted from the possibility of “winning” Luke’s interest.  The theme of this show isn’t for contestants to lose weight in order to get their man, but all of the women, whether at one point or several, express deep-seated shame over their appearances.

It’s clear that Mel’s confidence with men is minimal at best – at a Moroccan restaurant, she expresses shock and dismay when two dancers approach their table and seductively beckon the couple with scarves for a lesson in belly dancing.  By the end of the date, Mel has started to open up to Luke and she comes across as a flushed, nervous young woman hoping to make a good impression.  Their good-bye kiss is brief and chaste.  Her youth and innocence in romance are certainly charming, but Luke clearly sees that she won’t be hopping into the hot tub for a make-out session anytime soon.  And since that’s the point of the show for this cad-on-the-make, I probably won’t be spoiling it too much by saying that poor Mel doesn’t make the episode’s final cut into the next round. 

On the second solo date with Heather, the producers leave an array of formal evening dresses for her to choose from, each looking as if they’ve been selected from the plus-sized remainder racks of last summer’s prom season.   Still, Heather gushes at Luke’s supposed thoughtful gesture.  Umm, I’m pretty sure Luke’s not the one who’s ordering ball gowns for you, but go ahead and give him the credit.  His stunning personality sure isn’t going to be the element that wins her over.  This segues into a sentimental evening spent in a castle (yes, a castle), complete with kissing on the terrace and a moonlit dinner for two. 

Luke pries into Heather’s motivations and asks her plans for future work.  When Heather reveals that she hasn’t thought about having children, Luke pranks her by claiming he has three children.  Heather swallows hard and looks frantically around the set.  But good old Luke’s only kidding.  This might be funny if it were coming from any other person.  Only, Heather wasn’t kidding when she said she hadn’t done much in the way of future family planning.  Luke insists that his mother was around during his formative years and that his future wife should take that into consideration.  Talks about moving fast – these two have only had two private conversations and it’s their second date without the group.  Way to keep the mood light and easy, Luke!  Does the third date involve writing your wedding vows?

The group date at the spa is mostly uneventful.  One of the women jumps into the hot tub.  Lauren expresses jealousy over Luke’s diverted attention during their alone time.  Later, she tells him that she will be “more competitive than the other girls” in getting his time.  Except she’s voted off at the end, along with Mel B, then pouts that none of the other women are “as right for Luke” as she is.  She tells the camera that she’ll be laughing outside the gate at whoever Luke’s final choice turns out to be.  Her determination to keep the show competitive until the bitter end leaves me doubting that Luke is worth such adamant declarations of loyalty.  After all, she’s living with the other women day in and day out, while Luke only flutters in long enough to have some cocktails and flirt his way into kissing the group.

Next week, the sexual stakes are raised.  Previews indicate high tension and jealousies within the group.  I’m bracing myself for the nausea of Luke’s anted-up sexual prowess.  If he calls any of these adult women “girls” one more time, I just might throw the remote out the window.

Thomas Jefferson: The Face of a Rapist

image Americans look at Thomas Jefferson and see the one of the authors of the Declaration of Independence,  a statesman, a former president and one of the founding fathers,’ however; when I look at him, I see the face of a rapist. When Jefferson first met Sally Hemings, his slave through inheritance, she would have been no more than 15 or 16 years old.  It is rumoured that when she returned from France with him, that she was already pregnant with his child.

It was widely suggested within his own life time that he kept a light skinned negro concubine.  You see, Sally was 3/4 white and was described as a handsome light skinned woman with long dark hair in one of the few known descriptions of her.   Jefferson’s children through his wife Martha Wayles Skelton Jefferson, denied the relationship, however; Jefferson himself did not publicly answer the rumours.  The only slaves that Jefferson freed were the children of Hemings and he petitioned the government for two of her sons to stay in Virginia after emancipation. At the time, a slave had to leave the state within one year of manumission.

There are those that to this day vehemently deny that Jefferson fathered Sally’s six children despite the DNA evidence.  It is my belief that such denial is not based in the simple fact that it would prove that he was a lecher but that he chose a woman of color. 

On the other side of the coin are those that believe the oral, written, and DNA evidence.   They often refer to the relationship as an illicit love affair, citing that Sally had the opportunity to stay in France where slavery was outlawed, rather than returning to the United States with Jefferson.  Assuming that Sally had chosen to stay in Paris, what would an uneducated 1/4 negresss do with no money to support herself and her unborn child?  She chose to return because Jefferson gave his word that he would free her children and offer her a life of comfort relative to the other slaves at Monticello.

Jefferson may have felt love for Sally but how can we possibly term this relationship a love affair?  Once they returned to the US, he had the power to have her flogged, or even put to death.  At anytime he could have sold her children away from her.  For a relationship based in love to exist, both parties must be equal and due to the power differential between Jefferson and Hemings what occurred cannot be described as anything other than rape.  Some have even had the nerve to refer to Hemings as the first Black first lady of the United States as a way of further legitimizing the relationship between the two, however; to sanitize it and call it anything other than rape, is to once again violate her spirit. 

Jefferson was not the first or last White man to sneak into the slave cabins.  One of the reasons White women argued so vehemently for the abolition of slavery, was to save the poor overwhelmed White man from the negro temptress.  It was not uncommon to see near white or light skinned children resembling the master working on the plantation.  The Black woman was and still is blamed for her own rape.  Victim blaming began with women of color and continues to this day.

No matter how many times Black women have angrily contested the use of the term love affair between Hemings and Jefferson, it continues to be the most common descriptor by those who believe the DNA evidence.  This assumes that Hemings actually had the power to deny Jefferson sexual access, or that Jefferson had a right to Sally’s body for the purposes of sexual gratification.  Both suppositions are erroneous.  Due to the patriarchal nature of gender relations, many men believe that they exist with the right to access  women's bodies and that is specifically grounded in the power imbalance between the genders.  If we can acknowledge in a modern context that a power imbalance exists between men and women, how much more likely is it that this same imbalance existed between Jefferson and Hemings?

Some may look back at Jefferson and simply claim that he was a man of his time and that he should not be judged outside of historical context, however; in my mind a rapist is a rapist.   What he did at the time may not have been considered a violation due to current race and gender relations, however; today we can correctly name his actions.  Sally did not have the power to consent to his advances even if she was so inclined; this simple fact must be affirmed not only to honour the memory of Hemings but to change the social understanding that Black women's bodies are unrapeable.  We are not naturally licentious whores who exist to fulfill the sexual fantasies of depraved racist men.  We are women that must be accorded the right to control over our bodies without punishment for any decisions we make in that regard.

What those guns signify

Published Aug 19, 2009 3:13 PM

When a man dropped his gun at a town hall forum in Arizona, it was a sign that the town hall disruptions around the country were about much more than health care reform.

Just a few days after the Arizona incident, a man bearing a sidearm appeared outside President Barack Obama’s Aug. 11 town hall meeting in Portsmouth, N.H. He was holding a sign stating, “It is time to water the tree of liberty.” It was a reference to Thomas Jefferson’s famous statement, “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” It represented a clear threat to the life of President Obama.

Most recently about a dozen armed right-wingers were seen carrying guns outside the Phoenix Convention Center, where Obama spoke to veterans on Aug. 17.

It is now safe to say what most observers already know in their heart—the town hall disruptions have little to do with health reform.

Yes, the topic of discussion at many of these forums is health care. And yes, there is a severe health care crisis in the United States that the Democratic health care plan does far too little to address.

That, however, is not why right-wingers are bringing their guns to town.

Health care is not the reason conservative radio host Mike Levin stated that Obama is “literally at war with the American people.” Anger over health care does not explain Fox News host Glenn Beck’s comment that Obama “has a deep-seated hatred for white people.” It is insufficient to explain former Republican vice presidential candidate Sara Palin’s lie that Obama was planning “death panels” for the elderly and the disabled.

No, what these words and actions expose is an orchestrated campaign by the extreme right to whip up the most backward whites into a racist frenzy by using President Obama as a fall guy for the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

It is an attempt to channel the legitimate anger over joblessness and lack of health care into a racist backlash that divides the multinational working class, separates white workers from their Black and Latino/a brothers and sisters, and prevents a unified class struggle capable of taking on the ruling class, from Washington to Wall Street.

In this respect health care is being used as a wedge issue much the same as abortion, same-sex marriage and immigration are used by the ruling class to divide workers.

Why aren’t the leaders of organized labor mobilizing the rank and file against racism and for jobs as well as health care?

Where are the mass marches of workers demanding a jobs program at a living wage? Where are the caravans of uninsured and unemployed workers traveling the country in a dramatic call for jobs and health care for all?

With more than 16 million workers organized at the points of production and service delivery and hundreds of millions of dollars in union dues at their disposal, the only thing stopping the labor unions from mobilizing a mass movement around these issues is the will to do so.

In the absence of a sizeable left movement in this country, the most reactionary elements of the right wing have been emboldened.

A highly significant step in building a working-class response to the economic crisis is the September 20 National March for Jobs in Pittsburgh. The jobs march is scheduled just days before government leaders and finance ministers from some of the world’s richest countries meet there as part of the G-20 Summit to figure out how to save themselves in the midst of the global economic crisis.

Some brave local union leaders, including the San Francisco Labor Council, the International Longshore and Warehouse Local 10 and the Letter Carriers Local 214, have endorsed the call for a jobs march. Where will you be on Sept. 20?

For information on the National March for Jobs, see

Articles copyright 1995-2009 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution of this entire article is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Racism and Power

We are raised in a society that teaches us to devalue others based in constructed differences.  We glance at each other in suspicion and fear.  We speak of brotherhood and mankind and yet we grasp tightly to our possessions caring not about the depravity that such selfishness results in.  Some of us are considered so irrelevant and puerile,  that despite the meanness of our actions we are unable to cause a change or rift in our social standing.   A person of colour who holds bias against another because of race, creed or religion is prejudiced.

On the other side of the scale exists Whiteness.  This is not a simple case of ying and yang.  While prejudice is deplorable, racism is a disease.  Whiteness exists with the power to realize its hatred.  Power is what turns prejudice into racism and it is power that ultimately separates the races and keeps us divided from one another.

Unlike people of color, Whiteness has no foundation for its hatred other than the perpetuation of hegemony.  Its land has not been colonized, its people have not been murdered and enslaved.  Whiteness has never known the sting of existing as a second class citizen, silencing, or being marginalized into obscurity.  In any all discussions, Whiteness wants the proviso of the word some, as though all do not equally benefit from the most vile actions.   When James Byrd was viciously murdered and a cry of alarm rang throughout the diaspora, all White people benefitted.

We are encouraged not to speak about race or racism.  We are specifically taught to look at acts as individual instances, as though they do not amount to a society dedicated to a hierarchy of bodies, that relegate some to lives of obscurity and marginalization.  Refusing to connect these actions with the power of Whiteness to act systemically, means that its actions remain neutral in the public consciousness.  It is this very neutrality that forms the basis of Whiteness being considered the norm and therefore omnipresent, while maintaining a near invisible presence.

The insistence on  using  terms like post racial, race card, and reverse racist, stem from the desire to not only present racism in a past tense but to infer that only Whiteness should exist with the power to realize its prejudice.    What is most interesting about these occurrences, is that when racism is justifiably charged at Whiteness, the most common rebuttals are over sensitivity, reading the situation incorrectly, or a desire to use racial discord for personal gain.  We, the oppressed, who arguably have the most experience with racism, are never accorded the ability to decide what is racist and therefore, harmful to our well being, whereas; Whiteness has the ability to not only refute charges of discriminatory behaviour but engage in racism at will.   White supremacy is maintained because of the ability to act and the power to negotiate how said behaviour is socially understood. Racism is the realization of social power.

Barney Frank Speaks Truth To Idiocy On Healthcare

Wingnut:  Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy, as Obama has expressly supported this policy, why are you supporting it?

The Honorable Barney Frank:  When you ask me that question, I am gonna revert to my ethnic heritage, and answer your question with a question.  On what planet do you spend most of your time?...You want me to answer the question?  As you stand there with a picture of the president defaced to look like Hitler, and compare the effort to increase health care to the Nazis, my answer to you is as I said before, it is a tribute to the 1st Amendment that this kind of vile, contemptible nonsense is so freely propagated. Ma’am, trying to have a conversation with you would be like trying to argue with a dining room table - I have no interest in doing it.

It’s about time politicians stop pretending that these people make any sense whatsoever.  Good for Frank for telling this woman in no short order how ridiculous she truly is.

H/T Pandagon

When sexism really hits home

This a guest post from Sheri of  O Filthy Grandeur

As some of you may already know, the past week has been a rough one for me. An unfortunate mistake on my part led my fiancé's parents to the discovery of my blog "o filthy grandeur!" and since then I've endured their attempts to silence me, and to (apparently) expose my "toxic" personality to my fiancé.

I should note that I'm a feminist who writes about feminist issues. I also write about homosexuality and homophobia, sexism, transgender issues and transphobia, racism, etc. I started my blog to analyze literature, and am pleased that I can do that as well as post about current issues.

Now, I'm not secretive about my blog. I'm always careful about what I post (within reason). I do not post names of relatives, and even when I discuss things about work I'm careful to keep it ambiguous. Many of my own family members are readers, my mother included, and I'm sure there are times when I post something which they disagree with.

That said, I've always been careful not to mention my blogging in front of my fiancé's family. I knew that if they ever should read it they would certainly find something disagreeable, given that their political leanings are exactly the things I'm often blogging against (see above).

This assumption didn't prove false, because the day they found my site, my fiancé got a phone call, and when he refused to play their game he got emails (thankfully we live in a different state than they do, which discourages "popping in"). And I got emails. Not emails directed at me, even, but exact copies of the emails sent to my fiancé with no introduction. It was simply a "Hey, this is what we sent to our son, and without actually communicating with you, we thought we'd send this--just so you know what we really think of you." The fact that they sent me copies is insulting enough, since it assumes that my fiancé and I do not communicate. Of course, I saw every email prior to it reaching my own inbox.

I won't bother reproducing the emails, but I'll give you the gist. The first one my fiancé received was a sort of "omg guess what that bitch you're planning on marrying has been doing behind your back!" They were kind enough to include a link, as if they'd stumbled upon some dark secret, despite that I share every post with my fiancé, not to mention that my blog is almost always pulled up on our shared computer, and I welcome him to read it any time he likes.

They also told him that I said negative things about him and his family (I challenged them to cite specific examples, which of course, they could not). Then they pointed out my use of "vulgar links, vulgar / disturbing videos, and vulgar / disturbing pictures," which I admit did make me laugh. But then there's this: "The books, poetry, and movie comments are chocked full of sexual perverse analysis." Huh. That's funny, since many of my book analyses describe homosexuality. And I'm assuming the poem which they're referring to is the lovely sonnet addressed to my vagina. Apparently there's something "perverse" in my being unapologetically open about all sexualities, and loving my own body.

They closed this email urging my fiancé to cut me out of his life. I particularly liked the question they posed: "This is the world of the mother of our future grandchildren?" And here I was thinking that they would be my children.

But, it gets worse.

They revoked their offer to pay for our wedding (which is just fine by me because now the only people I have to make happy are me and my fiancé). When that didn't make my fiancé kick me out like they'd hoped, they told him they weren't paying for his car or health insurance any more, as well as a few other things they'd agreed to take care of while he was still in med school.
Their email states (while to me, was still not to me--another copy):

Stop blogging and start working more……..THE REAL WORLD! [...]Two jobs and 60+ hour work weeks are not uncommon at all, especially for a young person. Necessity builds character and we feel she will be much more fulfilled knowing she is self sufficient and not waiting to be the doctor’s wife. Time to let her words of liking to do the hard thing take root. We guarantee you she will be proud of herself once she knows she doesn’t have to be homeless and can control her own destiny.

First off, if I was really waiting to be a doctor's wife, I would have gone and found myself a doctor instead of waiting for my fiancé to get through med school. Second, pretty judgmental words coming from a man who works, and a woman who stays at home to raise his kids (not that that doesn't count as work, but you can't condemn someone for doing the very thing you're engaging in). And third, last I checked I was an adult and didn't need someone to parent me (much less people who are not my parents). And I should note that my fiancé and I do not get money from his parents. I acknowledged that I appreciated the help my fiancé gave me so I may be privileged to have a roof over my head. The only things they used to pay for were things for him, such as his health insurance.

But now they've realized they've nothing left to take, and I'm not going anywhere. My fiancé and I have been together more than five years, and the fact that their revelation of who I am is just now occurring to them speaks volumes of their attempts to get to know me over the years.

At any rate, they sent an email directly to me, with a sort of apology in which they said they wished to open up a dialogue and get to know me. They asked that I answer every question, as if I were writing on my blog (hmm...okay...).

Every question cited an example from my blog. For instance, they mention my profile description (which, I might point out is a bit tongue-in-cheek, since I don't actually sit in the dark writing--I was going for typical poetic effect, but I guess I can't assume everyone will get that). Then they ask how this will affect how I will raise my children.

Then they reference this post, which was entirely a joke. Their question? Will this be my mindset when I'm at home raising my children?

In my blog I mention I'm not good at / don't like math, science, or sports. They wanted to know if I would accept a child who is good at or interested in these things.

I think you get the pattern by now.

So basically, what they sent to me was an application to marry their son, and produce their grandchildren under the pretence that they desired to (finally) get to know me. However, that desire only existed within the parameters of my future motherhood (I would like to also point out that none of this is their business--how my fiancé and I will parent our children is between the two of us).

It's certainly interesting that after a cursory glance at my blog they were offended. And it's interesting that they kept returning, sometimes several times per day (thank you site tracker). And it's interesting that they scoured the posts in quest of something that would shock my fiancé and make him dump me.

They read my posts and immediately deemed me unworthy to be their son's wife, and made assumptions about my potential motherhood--in short: I'm a bad, bad girl.

Now, I'm not perfect. I have been corrected in my posts a number of times, and I welcome that. However, I do not believe that I should have to tolerate obvious sexism (and that is exactly what this is) on my blog or in my personal life. I am extremely insulted and hurt that people who will soon be part of my family can only value me for my reproductive capabilities.

Needless to say, I have not yet responded to them. Nor do I even intend to. I also have no intention of removing the blog, or changing how I post (I will get back on track, eventually. For now I feel like my supposedly safe space has been invaded--I won't give in to their attempt to silence me, but I do need to take a step back). That they see me as an embodiment of a gendered identity rather than a person is insulting and hurtful. That they saw my blog and passive-aggressively attacked me, insulted me, called me awful and vile things in response, is unforgivable. They cannot unsay any of those things, and therefore I will tolerate them because they are my fiancé's parents, but I will not ever trust them again.

Each time I got another email regarding their being offended / pissed off / uncomfortable, caused by something they read on my blog (reportedly, they were unable to sleep after reading it) I thought of something which Renee often posts: "If this post isn’t about you there is no need to make it about you, however if it makes you uncomfortable I suggest you stop and think about why."

I'm just saying...

Conan O’Brien Attacks Trans Women


The above image is from Conan’s Tabloid Moment.  In last Thursday's segment, he sat at a strip bar wondering how to make the moment more embarrassing, then the sign flashed “Trannie’s” and two female strippers arrive and slapped moustaches on their faces.  GLAAD has already reached out to NBC on this issue, however; in a case of transmisogny this vicious we should all be enraged.

Having two cisgendered women slap moustaches on themselves and pretend to be trans women, posits that trans women are not really women.  No trans woman would present themselves post transition this way and this little snippet makes a mockery of their existence.  It is further disgusting that not only did he find it appropriate to use a hateful slur, he displayed it in neon lights. 

It is troubling that a cisgendered man with a trans woman is understood as something embarrassing. Conan made a point of suggesting that the supposed embarrassment was escalated after the trans women arrive on the scene.  Earlier, I referred to this as transmisogny and that is because not only is this attack based in transphobia, it is specifically aimed at  trans women.  Much of the hatred that is openly projected at the trans community, is aimed specifically at trans women.  Socially we can understand why a woman would want to be a man because of male privilege but it is inconceivable to many, that a person would choose to give up male privilege to live life as a woman.  These attacks are a form of discipline and punishment.

Many trans women find that after transition they are unable to function in the job market akin to their previous identities.  So terrible is the loss of privilege, many forgo transition until later in life.  Trans women are hated not just because they are trans but because of a culture of misogyny.  

When feminists or womanists refuse to take up the struggle and fight for the right of trans women, they are actively supporting misogyny.  Many of the taunts that are aimed at cisgendered women, are also aimed at trans women.  We are one in the battle against patriarchy and by seeking to institute some sort of artificial division, we perpetuate the idea of womanhood as less than and somehow deficient.

Conan uses comedy as a vehicle of “othering”.  Only over sensitive PC police, or trans women that can’t take a joke are understood to find this type diminishment  alarming. Privilege allows Conan to tell this kind of “joke” because it is not about men like him being reduced and it further reaffirms the social power structure. How many people sat in the audience and laughed at this debasement, while not consciously acknowledging the fact that it was an expression of coercive power?  Very few would agree to be the equal of trans woman because socially they are understood to be pariahs and yet their humanity is no less valid than anyone else.

Conan may find it funny to demean others for a laugh because he loses nothing from his behaviour.  At the end of the day he will remain an over privileged heterosexual, able bodied, white male, of class privilege.  The world was designed just for people like him.  Those of you who don’t fit into that small category, should give a moments pause before railing about over sensitivity or the unnaturalness of transgendered bodies to consider that most of us will negotiate one or possibly multiple forms of oppression.  The person that you laugh at today, could be giggling at your expense tomorrow because all isms are interrelated.  If for no other reason than believing that everyone exists with some form of human dignity,  this kind of behaviour must end.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

PETA: Fat Shaming and Consequences

As most regular readers know, I have serious issues with the way PeTA advocates for animal rights.   Their common approach is to take bodies that have been socially marginalized and attack.  They have sexualized women, dressed as KKK members and openly mocked the GLBT community.  One of my personal favourite excuses was, we employ teh minorities so we cannot be racist. Because their cause is certainly a worthy one, they believe they have the right to “other” at will.   Other than being highly offensive, what PeTA does not realize is that their actions have life and death consequences in the real world.

image From PETA's press release on the billboard:

A new PETA billboard campaign that was just launched in Jacksonville reminds people who are struggling to lose weight -- and who want to have enough energy to chase a beach ball -- that going vegetarian can be an effective way to shed those extra pounds that keep them from looking good in a bikini. The ad shows a woman whose "blubber" is spilling over the sides of her swimsuit bottom...

Anyone wishing to achieve a hot "beach bod" is reminded that studies show that vegetarians are, on average, about 10 to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters...

Calling people that are fat whales and inferring that their bodies are like blubber, is fat hatred.  There is no other way to spin this.  You will note that once again PeTA’s attack is aimed at women.  Shame and discipline, discipline and shame; this is what PeTA traffics in.  

Fat bodies could not be the size that they are because this is what is proper or normal for them …nope, it is because fatties are forever stuffing their mouths with food.  Gluttony is the overwhelming drive.  There is certainly no such thing as a medical condition, like thyroid disease or medications like prednisone, that cause weight gain either right? The issue is that fat people don’t belong and that they should be ashamed to even exist.

image A woman in the UK recently died from having lap band surgery.  She didn’t go under the knife because her life was at risk, or because she felt unhealthy.  She decided to have the surgery because she was worried that her daughter would be teased for having a fat mother.   Then there are men like Robert Blue, who chained his teenage daughter to a bed because he thought that she was too fat. There is a cost to that fat shaming that we publicly engage in and yet PeTA did not think of this when they launched their latest hateful attack.  Their message only reinforced the social stigma that sent 30 year old Kerry Greaves and Robert Blue on their disastrous path.

Those that walk through the world with thin privilege,  assume that they have the moral right to publicly convict those that are fat because it is supposedly a “health concern”.  I wonder if they gave a moments pause to what stress does to the body?  The stress from the harassment has far more negative effects than walking through this world as a fat person.  What is normal for one person is not necessarily normal for another.  We are not all cardboard cut outs of each other. 

I no longer believe that it is the goal of PeTA to advocate for animal rights.  It would seem that their sole purpose is to use animal rights as a shield, so that they can wield power over marginalized bodies.  Playing upon institutionalized isms only asserts the very hierarchies of power that PeTA claims to be fighting against.   I would say shame on you PeTA but clearly this organization lost the ability to feel shame long ago.

H/T Feministing

Monday, August 17, 2009

Costco and The Lil’ Monkey Doll


Who wouldn’t want to buy a Black doll named little monkey for their little girl?  What better way to reinforce the idea that people of colour are less than, than  by giving a child a toy that plays upon the racialized meme that we are animals. 

If this doll in and of itself, does not read as racist, perhaps placed alongside the White doll pretty baby, it will become obvious.

image Of course Costco did not realize that these dolls were racist, until it began to receive complaints from customers.  They have removed the dolls from the shelves and issued an apology.  A link to a video regarding this story can be found here.

How many times have we seen Whiteness act in racist ways only to offer a ridiculous apology? The damage has already done and no words will soothe the pain that has been inflicted.  Whether it is watermelons on the white house lawn, or the above dolls, apologizing after committing what is clearly a purposeful ,racist act is meaningless. Ignorance is no defence when a child of color must learn from birth to negotiate Whiteness.  Ignorance is purposeful and is a result of unacknowledged, undeserved privilege. Simply learning 101 facts, in anti-racist theory, is not difficult if one chooses to learn.

Black women in particular are constructed as the ultimate anti-woman.  Young girls often face troubling self esteem issues, as they confront the idea that White womanhood, is understood as the only legitimate form of femininity.  As they struggle to find their identity and deal with racism, dolls like this can be particularly damaging.   Isn’t it enough that our daughters don’t see themselves reflected in children's programming, movies, or books, without placing more negative images in front of them to internalize?

Whiteness is purposeful and each day it acts in its own defence. Despite the great gap in power, Whiteness seeks to ensure not only the maintenance of the divide but that it increases with each passing day.  I am not comforted by shrill denials, or fauxgressive thought;  the reality of living as a racialized body in a White world means a life of continual “othering”.

There are those that feel that we should not speak about race.  They are content to let objects like this doll exist without commentary because race is too difficult, personal, political, or controversial.  That is an easy assertion coming from a body that will never be compared to an animal or called nigger.  Avoiding the issue or declaring the world post racial, will not erase the bifurcation between White and Black, it will only cement Whiteness as the norm and therefore good.

This doll hurts my heart because it stands not only as a reminder of the racist state in which we live but the ways in which children of color must sacrifice their childhood by learning all to quickly how little they are valued.  Our children have been ripped from our arms, systemically undereducated, raped and murder.  In every possible way, they have been and continue to be violated.  To Costco I say thanks but no thanks, your apology is of little comfort.

(Editors Note: I incorrectly named the White doll pretty baby when it is in fact pretty panda)

True Blood: I Will Rise Up

Spoilers Ahead, You have been warned

 image Last nights episode opens with Bill once again rushing to save Sookie after the bomb explodes.  She is lying beneath Eric, who shielded her from the blast.  We all knew she was never in any real danger of dying.  What would the writers do without their damsel in distress/ occasionally empowered woman?  Eric being the sly vampire that he is, convinces Sookie to drink his blood.  This means that there will always be a connection between the two of them.  This does not make Bill in the least bit pleased and Sookie is horrified by the prospect.  She learns that not only will he be aware of her emotions but that she will experience sexual desire for him.  To me, this plays as an extreme violation and so much more than artful trickery.

Like many of you, I was very disturbed by the way the writers treated Jessica’s eternal “virginity” in the show.  This week, I was much relieved to see Hoyt redeem himself, by pointing out that there are various kinds of sex, that they can engage in. He further improved my view of him by stating, “that thing that grows back is just a thing. I ain’t perfect either .  I’m the guy that everyone laugh at even my friends.” There is far too much concentration in our culture on the hymen as a symbol of purity.  Virginity is often constructed in an heterosexist anti woman fashion.  The point of sex is not the insertion of a penis in a vagina but in both partners being sexually satisfied.

image Marianne continues to be simply evil.  As Tara remarks on the bruises that are result of Marianne using her and Eggs as play things, she remarks, “I have a little theory about blacking out maybe you rose to a higher plane? Look at you, a few bumps and bruises; that's a small price to pay for bliss.”  Tara is clearly troubled by her explanation but has yet to put two and two together.

Sookie and Jason have a heartfelt chat in which he explains that people don’t really like him. “They like my athletics my good looks and sex abilities but they don’t like me for me.”  He goes on to wish that Sookie had a “normal boyfriend” and that ‘she would cook for him more often”. Nothing like a nicely domesticated sister, to make a southern man happy. Sookie and Jason promise to be good to each other and thankfully, that is the last we see of Jason for this episode.  It seems that I did not get my wish of him dying in the bomb but perhaps, they can find another way to get rid of this irritating character.

image Tara and Eggs show up to the bar at which time Lafayette notices the bruises on his cousin and immediately accuses Eggs of beating Tara.  I really liked this scene because it affirmed that violence against women is wrong.  Eggs tells Lafayette to take the eyelashes out of his eyes and throws the first punch.  This is meant to suggest that because of his appearance, that Lafayette is not suitably masculine.  Though there are issues with Lafayette’s character, I love the fact that he is a confident gay man, that displays multiple emotions and is not stereotypically effeminate.

image Just as Bill predicted, Sookie has a dream of her and Eric in bed together. (editors drool: I always though Eric had a nice body, but hot damn). As they kiss, a spectre appears to question Sookies devotion to Bill. Eric tells her,  “You have the right temperament for a vampire..blood thirsty. You are ruthless when it comes to the people you love your brother, friends, me.”  She awakes suddenly and reaches for Bill.  Though Sookie has always been disgusted by Eric, I believe that there has always been an undercurrent between them of sexual tension.

Marianne is frustrated in her attempts to ensnare Sam.  When she goes to the prison believing that she has finally got him trapped, he turns himself into a fly and escapes.  Stymied in her wishes, she releases the town citizens that she has turned into mindless zombies. 

image Just as I was getting into the above scene we are taken to the faithful meeting between Hoyt’s mother and Jessica.  It is clear from the very beginning that she has no intention of accepting Jessica into her family.  To her credit, Jessica defends herself saying, "I can give him everything that a human could,” to which Hoyt’s mother responds, “Not hardly. You can’t give him babies.”  This scene in particular, was very problematic.  The value of a woman should never be determined by her ability to procreate.  This turns us into nothing but walking wombs and subjects us to our biology.  There are plenty of women that are infertile and that does not mean that they do not have purpose and add wonderful things to this world.  Jessica leaves crying and Hoyt follows vowing not to return home.

Tara, Marianne, and Eggs, are playing cards when Lafayette and Tara’s mother break in.  After a brawl in which Tara savagely beats her mother, they escape and stuff her into the back of a car.  Marianne calls back Eggs, with the words, “Don’t worry she’ll be be back and she’ll bring them with her.”

image In what proves to be some of the most moving scenes to date, Godric resigns his territory and prepares to great the sun.  Eric valiantly tries to stop him and even vows to die by his side but is ordered back inside by Godric.  Though I love the character of Eric, crying is something that Alexander Skarsgård should just avoid, he is absolutely terrible at it. 

In the end Sookie and Godric are left alone on the roof.  When she questions him about fear and pain he responds, “I am full of joy, I want to burn.  A human with me at the end and human tears. Two thousand years and I can still be surprised. In this I see God”.  Godric walks into the sun and we are left with a tearful Sookie.

Will Tara come to her senses now that she has escaped Marianne's diabolical clutches?  Will  Hoyt and Jessica continue to  work together and profess their love?  Will Sam be able to continue to avoid Marianne?  Finally, how will the new connection between Sookie and Eric affect her relationship with the brooding vampire Bill?   I guess we will just have to wait for next week…..

Girl Clothes

Many years ago, I learned that certain clothing i.e anything white and children are a very bad idea.  I have yet to make it through the day without them touching me with something sticky and weird.  If there is mess, one can be certain that my boys will find it.  I have a hard enough time keeping them out of my dreadlocks, without tempting fate with white jeans.

image Now that I am at home with them, my style has relaxed quite a bit.  I spend most days in shorts and a t-shirt because it is comfortable and suits my lifestyle.  I recently ordered a summer skirt from e-bay.  I love long flowing skirts but have not actually bought one in a long time.  Each time they see me wearing it, their eyes get as big as saucers and they are both quick to tell me how pretty I look. The baby in particular loves it when I wear anything pink.

Though we have tried to raise the boys in a gender neutral manner, they have still internalized many ideas about what it means to be male or female.  This can materialize in their chants of penis power, or telling me how much they love it when I wear “girl clothes”.  We have tried to impart the idea that there is nothing inherently female about a beautiful blouse or a skirt but it’s not like the unhusband is going to put one on to reiterate the point.

Clothing often marks gender, even when the behaviour of the individual in question is neutral.  Think about the fact that newborn baby girls are placed in image pink and boys in blue.  When Destruction was a baby,  we had professional photos done and I wanted a picture with him in angel wings. The photographer informed me that the wings were for girls and that I should pick something else. Why would any mother think that a male child was not an angel?  I further find it ironic because the angels in the bible are masculine and yet we have feminized the term in our common everyday discourse.

As we parent, even in the most aware households, we actively teach gender.  For my boys, pink and long flowing skirts represent femininity.  As their mother and female role model, it is comforting to them, to see me perform womanhood as they have seen in the media and their interactions with the outside world. 

No matter how we try to disturb gender roles in our home, they have been indoctrinated like everyone else.  I have come to understand that one cannot completely erase the concept of gender because we all perform it in various ways.  Perhaps, what is more important is thinking critically about the limitations we impose because of our understanding of gender. Realizing that though we are trained to believe that some acts are inherently female may not necessarily be bad as long as we understand that these are equally important to that which we consider inherently male.  This does to some degree mean embracing an essentialist view of gender, however; I am not sure at this point, that there is any other way to negotiate it differently for young children.

How have you disturbed gender models in your home and what issues have you faced?  When it comes to gender, what are the most important lessons that you seek to impart?

“Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane outs Stewie

I have a new post up at Global Comment

image “Family Guy” is approaching ten years on television. The show uses ironic humour to discuss race, gender, and sexuality. Quite often, it crosses the line of what is considered to be in good taste. Its regular characters include the neighbour Quagmire, who has committed rape on more than one occasion, and an elderly paedophile. Lois, the mother, is routinely sexualized and cast in opposition to her daughter Meg, who only manages to get the family dog Brian to kiss her when he is drunk. The patriarch Peter is meant to be a neo-Ralph Kramden, and his only talent seems to be in making gross jokes and out-running Death.

“Family Guy” is not about complexity; it is about taking the -isms that people normally confront while using ironic fauxgressive humour to challenge stereotypes. It specifically posits a challenge of so-called “PC” speech terms, without considering that the reason such language exists in the first place is because racism, homophobia etc., are not laughing matters to the people that must live with them.

In a recent interview with Playboy, creator and writer Seth MacFarlane announced that Stewie Griffin, the one year old baby, is gay:

“We had an episode that went all the way to the script phase in which Stewie does come out … But we decided it’s better to keep it vague, which makes more sense because he’s a one-year-old. Ultimately, Stewie will be gay or a very unhappy repressed heterosexual. It also explains why he’s so hellbent on killing [his mother, Lois] and taking over the world: He has a lot of aggression, which comes from confusion and uncertainty about his orientation.”

The above statement stands as evidence of how little time MacFarlene has spent immersing himself in queer theory. Explaining Stewie’s matricidal tendencies as a result of repressed sexuality frames members of the GLBT community as perverse and violent. This plays into the binary construction of heterosexuality being depicted as both good and normal; conversely, homosexuality is then seen as deviant and “other.”

Stewie’s contempt for his mother seems to be more of a reflection on how little we value women. Violence against women has become a social norm and using Stewie’s so-called repressed sexuality as justification only cements the idea that issues of “othering” in an adult life can be traced back to the mother, rather than to a culture of homophobia. Freud would be proud of MacFarlane.

(Editors Note: Due to issues with the website, the link to the rest of story must be clicked on from the front page.)

Finish Reading Here

Fat Hatred Is Not Cool

Last night Monica of TransGriot, Allison McCarthy (everyone’s favourite Gus) and I. interviewed Kate Harding, of The Shapley Prose.

image We covered some basic 101 terminology and issues in the fat acceptance movement, as well as fashion challenges, media representation, and even the nomination of Dr. Regina Benjamin and the fat hatred thrown at her.  You may either click on the above image or follow this link to get to the show page.  Please remember to favourite and bookmark us for updates on the exciting shows that we have planned.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Naomi Campbell Plays Exotic African Queen

How do you make a Black woman appear attractive when the world privileges Eurocentric beauty?






You turn her into the exotic wild African “other”.  The black woman as savage and untameable has been a comfortable trope for the fashion industry to play upon.  

Supermodel Naomi Campbell, was shot by world-renowned photographer Jean-Paul Goude for the September issue of Harper's Bazaar.  Clearly, this “gifted” photographer, could not see beyond Naomi’s race long enough to push the envelope and perhaps, present her in a more normalized setting.  Black woman automatically equals Africa; this is a classic case of art imitating life.  Perhaps, he was expecting Naomi to channel her inner Josephine Baker, cause lord knows all women of color are just dying to dance around in a banana skirt, playing Negro Queen, for the consumption of White audiences. 

These images will applauded as a signal of diversity because they include a Black model, in a mainstream magazine and little to no thought will be given to the messages that these images impart.  They are not only reductive but incredibly racist.  They scream of the fauxgressive liberalism that has become enfranchised in leftist discourse.  Of course they’re not racist, they’re ironic right?

Sunday Shame: What’s Growing In Your Fridge?

image I would rather buy a new fridge than clean my current one.  Right now when I open the door it is shock full of stuff that is unidentifiable.   I am pretty sure that the stuff on the bottom is pasta salad but the green mush at the back is begging to be identified under a microscope.  Having two children in the house it is not uncommon to find a juice stain somewhere in there as well.

In my defence, this is not my fault alone.  I have serious issues about food waste and invariably everything goes into the fridge, on the slim chance that someone might have the good sense to eat a left over from time to time.  Destruction in particular has been known to comment that he expects fresh food on a daily basis. I am sorry for his future partner, unless of course he learns to be good  a cook.

The unhusband and I have been looking at new fridges in what I am sure is the false belief that if we only had a bigger one, it would not look like a food explosion.  I know that when we do finally settle on our new fridge, it will look wonderful for a few weeks until the food storage starts all over again and it begins to look like some school experiment run amok.

When I have company, they are welcome to roam around my house freely but the fridge is off limits.  I know that most people have a junk drawer but how many people have a junk fridge?  Even the freezer is an issue as some food looks like its been there since the ice age and how did we deal with this issue ?…by getting a big chest freezer so that we can expand upon our frozen disaster.

I need a personal organizer for my fridge.  He or she could come in with some great storage ideas maybe and whip my family into shape.  I have checked out ikea and it seems like they don’t make anything to deal with our particular issue. I guess when we hit the weird button, we hit it hard.

Your turn to share, what weirdness do you have growing or fermenting at the back of your fridge?  If you don’t share our (let’s just call it odd) food collecting dilemmas, what areas of your home have you let go absolutely to pot that you need to be rescued from?