Saturday, September 5, 2009

What’s A Little Nudity Between Friends: Racism In The Fashion World

The following images are from the September issue of Numéro. They were shot by Greg Kadel.

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Oddly enough, this spread is entitled Best Friends.  It would seem to be a reflection of the power differential between Black women and White women.  In each photo the Black woman's body is exposed for the consumption of the viewer whereas the White woman is covered.   When the Black female slave was introduced to the western world, much of the pathological hatred of women was specifically aimed at her, while the White woman was then constructed as virtuous, sexless, and helpless.  The recreated vision of White femininity was indeed harmful to White women, however; it did not approach the debasement that was regularly reserved for Black women.

It would seem that Black women and White women should be natural allies because we both face sexism, however; the ability to use racism to oppress Black women has been a constant wedge between us.  As is often the case, White women oppress because they have been taught within our system of hierarchy that this is the ultimate path to power.  The above photos accurately displays this dynamic and plays upon the difficult relationship that occurs between women of different races.

What does it say that Kadel, who is a White man, is the one who took these images?  How do they reinforce the negative interaction between White Women and Black women, which are largely the result of the ways in which both have been constructed by White masculinity?  A search of his work reveals that he has photographed few women of color and their invisibility is indeed problematic.  Why at this specific juncture did Kadel decide that the  submissive Black female had to reveal herself? Her mouth is bound and it is clear that she is awaiting instruction, rather than acting with a form of implicit agency.  This image is purposeful in that it is his creation and therefore, he specifically chose who would be offered for consumption and on what terms.

In each photograph the breast of the Black woman is visible.  She is not in a position to deny us access and this can be linked to the fetishization of the Black female body.  The breasts nurtures and is at the same time a place of sexual desire; it is constantly the service of others.  That Kadel would offer us her breast, speaks of the position he holds within our culture.  White men may take without asking, as the victor in the game of social hierarchy, while women are universally reduced to the spoils. 

H/T Macon via Sociological Images


The Republican Theme Song

Bet you cannot come up with a song more fitting for the Republicans.

Drop It Like It’s Hot

Hello everyone, thanks for another great week of conversations.  This week the BBR’s (Black Blog Rankings) came out and Womanist Musings hit a milestone.  For the first time ever, this blog has been rated the fifth most popular Black blog.  Thank you so much for your support.  This is an incredible accomplishment for a blog that is less than two years old.

As I am sure most of you are aware, I am having some problems with the links. If they are clicked on from the front page they seem to work just fine, otherwise they are not working.  I have tried to play around with this to no avail and so I am asking for some help.  If anyone has any experience with blogger and html, I would greatly appreciate the help, so that I can get the blog back to functioning properly.  Please e-mail me and we can take it from there.

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

you need to comb your hair

spiritual empowerment of women

Some Canadians are more Canadian Than Others

rarely notice their white moments

reproductive freedom and racial paranoia: or why Melanie McDonagh can fuck right off

Only pretty women should be murdered in a jealous rage, apparently

Spoiling Our Daughters and Raising Our Sons: How We Are Unconsciously Raising Sexist Children

Outside

Springtime for Hitler and Uncle Pat

Whose Community Is It Anyway?: White Privilege in the LGBT Community

One More Time:  Everything is Not Slavery

Why is Spelman Still in the West End

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Friday, September 4, 2009

What If You Had To Ask Permission To Marry?

I thought this ad made a great point about the ways in which heterosexuals live with unacknowledged and undeserved privilege.  No one should have to ask for permission to validate their love.

H/T O Filthy Grandeur

Child brides can’t be abandoned to their fate

I have a new post up at Global Comment

image In recent years there has been growing awareness of the ways in which early marriage can be detrimental to the lives of women. Feminists are continually derided for describing patriarchy as a system that acts in real and systemic ways, but there can be no greater proof of its catastrophic effects than underage marriage. Despite the sure knowledge that child marriage leads to early pregnancy, which often results in fistula, early death and poverty, the practice continues to occur across the globe. On the continent of Africa, for example, child marriage continues to be an issue.

In Niger, three quarters of young girls will be married before the age of eighteen. A girl is raised to understand that her destiny is to marry and produce children. Education is seen as a waste because whatever girls do in life will only profit the household of her husband’s family. Ninety percent of Niger’s women are illiterate and without education, and they have no chance to end the vicious cycle of poverty. This legacy is then passed to their children, who are married before their time, thus maintaining a continual cycle of ignorance.

The birthrate is extremely high, with the national average being eight children per woman. According to the United Nations Population Fund:

“Girls younger than 15 are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their 20s, and pregnancy is the leading cause of death worldwide for women ages 15 to 19. Adolescent childbirth is dangerous for the infant as well as the mother. The underdeveloped bodies of girls can lead to complications during childbirth and the death of the child. Infants born to adolescent mothers are much more likely to die than those born to women in their 20s”

There is an insistence that Western culture has infected the young with a rabid form of sexuality and therefore, as a way of controlling this behaviour, many believe that child marriage is unavoidable. In the past, men would wait until girls reached the age of majority before initiating sex, yet today child brides are forced into intimacy as young as twelve or thirteen, if not younger. The virginity of a woman is highly prized and it is considered shameful for a woman to be pregnant outside of wedlock. Child marriage is considered to reduce the risk of this shame and thus, family honour is placed above the best interest of girls.

Finish reading here

Multiple Sites Of Oppression: The Myopia Of The GLBT Community

image Whenever I write about the GLBT community in a way that does not speak about the oppression that it faces, the blog is immediately inundated with commentary accusing me of racism against Whites or homophobia.  Being an ally to the community, does not mean that I am not allowed to be critical of its approach to organizing or inclusion.  In fact, standing from the outside looking in, gives me a unique perspective.

I am a regular reader of GLBT blogs because I want to do my due diligence to be informed about the issues and learn.  I have made it a priority to educate myself because I realize  that often a GLBT perspective is not featured in the MSM.  That said, I cannot help but notice the lack of inclusion by GLBT writers on multiple sites of oppression.  While oppression because of sexual orientation is absolutely heinous, ignoring the fact that someone may face multiple sites of oppression, only reinforces the social hierarchy that creates transphobia, bi-phobia, lesbophobia and homophobia. 

Privileging sexual oppression in the majority of discourse means that those that are differently abled, of color, or poor, often fail to see a true reflection of their experiences.  The Dan Savage’s 0f the world, no matter how fauxgressive, cannot and should not speak for a community as diverse as the GLBT community.  When the norm of cisgendered White male representation is challenged, often the result is an aggressive defence of why it is necessary to ensure its voice, be heard over and above everyone else.  It seems that just as in the larger society, there is a desire to privilege the White male cisgendered position.

The invisibility of people of color, the differently abled, and the poor, means that their issues get ignored to privilege things like same gender marriage.   While marriage is an important step in terms of organizing and acknowledging equality of the gay and lesbian community, it does not speak to what happens when a gay youth gets kicked out of their home, after coming out to their parents and is forced to live a life of poverty on the street. 

Health care is an issue that will greatly benefit differently abled people.  A noted journalist recently pointed out that Stephen Hawkings, would not be alive today had it not been for the NHS.  How many gay and trans people are differently abled and struggling to have their needs met under a system that devalues their existence?  The answer to this question is unknown to me because once again, the GLBT community refuses to acknowledge that sexual orientation may not be the only ways in which someone faces difficulty in their life.

People of color face racism on a daily basis and yet quite often when race enters the debate, it is to point out that Blacks are uniquely homophobic.  First, it  needs to be stated that POC does not equal Black, it equals every single Non White citizen.  This is just one of the ways in which the conversation is reductive to privilege Whiteness.  What are the experiences of First Nations, Asian, or Latin@, GLBT members?  What special concerns do they have, that are not being met?  The GLBT community often wants to focus on the Black/White binary because it believes that the Black community can be constructed as an oppressor, thereby increasing the ability to push the same as you meme. 

The same as you meme, enforces Whiteness, and a cisgendered state as the norm and the in the process ignores the various experiences that the differently abled, poor, and people of color face.  It is well known that the dominate society privileges not only heterosexuality but wealth and able bodies, therefore; stating we are the same as you, effectively allows the GLBT community to gear its organizing efforts in such a way that it ignores  isms that have proven to be harmful and in some cases life threatening to its own members.   No kind of progressive organizing can be successful unless it is intersectional.  Through my reading I have learned, that just because someone identifies as GLBT, does not necessarily make them politically left or considerate of all bodies.

White South African Refugee Finds Home In Canada

image Brandon Huntley from Cape Town South Africa applied for and was given refugee status in Canada.  He reports that he was attacked seven times and stabbed three times during muggings from Black South Africans. 

 

He claimed he was called a "white dog" and a "settler" by black people in a reference to South Africa's colonial and apartheid past.

The Ottawa Sun newspaper reported that the immigration board last Thursday granted him refugee status allowing him to stay in Canada.

"I find that the claimant would stand out like a 'sore thumb' due to his colour in any part of the country," tribunal panel chair William Davis was quoted as saying.

Speaking about black on white violence in South Africa, Mr Huntley said: "There's a hatred of what we did to them and it's all about the colour of your skin."

I find Huntley’s claims of persecution to be doubtful.  It is known that some Whites in South Africa suffer persecution, however; it is in relation to their class rather than their race background.  Even though apartheid has ended in South Africa and there is a growing Black elite, the majority of people of color still live in segregated shanty houses without electricity or running water.  The end of apartheid did not automatically bring an end to racism and White privilege in South Africa. 

Of course wherever Huntley went his race would be a factor because of a Black majority and a White minority, however; this does not erase the fact that Whiteness still lives with large amounts of power relative to Blacks.   All of the major industries are still run by Whiteness. 

I don’t take issue with someone who is persecuted gaining access to this country and in fact I don’t really believe in borders.  My issue is with the fact that the Canadian government was not anxious to let Blacks into the country when the government was murdering children in Soweto.   They may have restricted trade with South Africa but its Blacks where not something that the Canadian government wanted tarnishing the great White north.  It is even more troubling to note, that even though they were not given refugee status, Canada was more than happy to welcome White South Africans who were fleeing the end of apartheid in fear of retribution. 

image The Canadian government has never been anxious to encourage anyone of color or otherwise deemed “other” due to religion, to enter the country.  In 1908 the Canadian government issued an order-in-council, which required all Indian immigrants to journey from India, to their point of entry without a stop over anywhere.  Today this would be possible but then it was extremely difficult. This was specifically designed to keep out Indian immigrants, even though they were part of the British commonwealth.  The argument was presented that the climate was too cold for Indian citizens, even though it was based in a clear desire to keep Canada White.  In 1914 a ship called the Komagata Maru, arrived from India carrying 376 passengers.  They were kept in limbo for weeks with little food and water.  When they were finally forced to return to India they were all killed.  

Canada also did not rush to allow Jewish people into the country despite the persecution of Nazi Germany.  Despite a vicious war that was fought, Canada still did not learn why devaluing people based in race was an issue.  In the post WWII era the government actively sought what it deemed would  neither “alter the fundamental character of Canadian society, nor exceed Canada’s ‘absorptive’ capacity”.  This means that even the Germans and Italians that were once considered the enemy, were quickly invited to immigrate. 

By allowing Brandon Huntley into the country, all that the government is doing is replaying a history of privileging Whiteness in our immigration endeavours.  We may hold ourselves up as the great bastion of freedom and equality, however; from previous history, it is clear that the Canadian government is only interested in promoting Whiteness.  The more that the government can keep immigration focused on promoting Whiteness, the greater chance that Canada’s population will favour Whiteness.  They don’t call Canada the Great White North for nothing.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Dan Savage: The Becks and Bachmanns Of The World Are 'Trying To Get the President Killed'

I don’t often agree with Dan Savage on much, however; in this case I must concur, that the right wing nuts are indeed trying to get President Obama killed.  They may dance about the issues but they are clearly inflaming the populace with misleading commentary on a daily basis.  They cover their actions under freedom of the press and free speech but when does their responsibility to the public good become an issue?  What they call free speech often constitutes hate speech.  They use rhetoric and racism to affirm their beliefs.

There are Americans that don’t believe that Obama is a citizen and some even demanded he reveal his penis last week.  From the supposed death panels to preachers praying for his death, at some point one has to decide that this constitutes a legitimate threat to the president. 

Who Is Chris Brown and What is a Rihanna?

Who is Chris Brown and what is a Rihanna were the words spoken by Browns attorney when he described his confusion as to the identity of the two stars.  You will note that he referred to Rihanna as an it.  Even though Rihanna was clearly the one that was injured, many have been willing to see the actions of Brown as an aberration.  Even his mother, who wept quietly by his side was quick to say that Chris was not a violent person.   His lawyer made a point of saying how much respect he had for Brown for wanting to be held accountable for his actions.

Chris knew that this was his big chance to explain to the world what happened that night.  It was meant to revive the “good guy image,” that helped to sell so many CDS.  Instead, we learned nothing because  he used privacy as a cloak to avoid taking full responsibility for what he did.  When he was asked about violently smashing a car window, it was referred to as vandalism.  It seems to me, that breaking a window in a fit of anger, would imply that he has serious anger management issues that predate the night he assaulted Rihanna.

Despite the fact that Rihanna was the one bloodied and bruised many have called for her to take responsibility for initiating her own beating.  Jimi Izreal, The Roots resident misogynist makes this point in his post Rihanna’s Turn:

What alot of people don't know is that when two parties are involved in an assault, both parties can be and often are charged separately -- the state doesn't need the cooperation of either victim. We have evidence that Rihanna was pummelled, and we also have court documents that say she assaulted Brown first ... so why hasn't the state brought a case on her?

We need to make them both an example. Unless both of them are held responsible for their actions-- given that we know that women often hit men first -- nothing is learned here.

Let me be clear and state unequivocally that violence perpetrated by either party is wrong but what Chris did and what Rihanna did, are two very different things.   Whoopie Goldberg has been quoted as saying that if a woman hits a man that  she should be prepared to be hit back.   I feel this sort of attitude shows how far we are willing to go to ignore the size difference between the average woman and the average man.  It is one thing to act in self defence and another to purposefully strike back.   There is never any reason that would make it acceptable for a man to hit, beat or otherwise assault a woman.

Chris and Rihanna are not equally guilty of a crime and to suggest that they are, is to imply that men are the ones that live lives of constant fear of female abuse.  We know for a fact that most incidents of violence between a man and woman result in injury to the woman;  in many instances it leads to death.  At no time in that car was Chris Brown in any real fear for his person, whereas; Rihanna had very real reason to believe that she might die.  What more punishment does this woman need than the bloody lip, blackened eyes, bitten ears and the post traumatic stress disorder that came with riding in a car with an abuser?

This whole like argument implies that Rihanna brought this beating upon herself.  No matter what she did, Chris should never have reacted the way that he did.  Brown makes sure to let us know that he is “irritated with the haters” and only wants fans who like his music to talk about him.  It is clear that he wishes he could just sweep this under rug and move on. This attitude reveals just how callously he sees his actions.  He is quick to remind us that he is only 20 and does not yet consider himself a man.  I guess someone should have told him that legal adulthood occurs at 18.   In the end, it is not surprising that Brown will only look upon this an inconvenience when those around him and several media commenter's are quick to either absolve his behaviour or make it the equivalent of Rihanna’s.



Stranger Slaps Crying Child In Walmart

image Sonya Matthews was shopping with her two year old daughter Paige, at a Walmart in Georgia.  Paige was crying and irritable, when 61 year old Roger Stevens approached the pair.  “If you don't shut the baby up, I will shut her up for you,” he said.  Before she could stop him, he grabbed the child and slapped her 4-5 times across the face.   Stevens then turned to the mother and said, “See, I told you I would shut her up." He has been charged with  first-degree cruelty to children.

I am sure that reading about this incident was alarming to many.  The very idea, that a stranger could so easily assault a child for crying, is absolutely horrific.  I am positive, that had this happened to one of my children, my response would have been swift and violent.

Part of the shock of this story, is that the assault was perpetrated by a stranger.  How different would the reaction to this incident have been, had it been the mother that decided to slap the girl?  Many would have seen it as a disciplinary action, rather than a case of chid abuse.   Unlike adults, children are deemed not to exist with the right to live lives free of violence.  Unless it is extreme, we don’t consider it abusive and therefore, we refuse to accept that any violence regardless of the reason is wrong.

If one adult were to slap another, we would have no problem understanding that this situation was not only inherently violent but wrong, however; when it comes to children because of their lack of social power, the situation is often read quite differently.  Children have few voices to advocate on their behalf and even those who regularly comment on family values, fail to actually put the best interest of the child first.  

No child, no matter how loved, is going to go through childhood without making a mistake.  Growing is a learning process and therefore, to resort to physical violence when we are aware of behavioural issues that come with childhood, is wrong.  Even adults make mistakes and yet we hold children to such a different standard. 

When we slap them or are emotionally abusive with them, all that we are teaching them is that might equals right.   Children that are slapped have no issue with slapping a child that is smaller than them because they have learned from adults, that if one has the size advantage, it is perfectly acceptable to lash out violently. 

Hitting a child does not teach them why the action that they took was wrong.  All that they learn is that violence is acceptable and coupled with the violent images that they regularly see on television, is it any wonder that we have the high crime rate that we do?  They don’t learn respect through violence, they learn fear.  I am not the perfect mother but I love and respect my little boys enough to know, that they deserve to live without violence and fear.  If we truly valued children as a society, we would make sure that this was the experience of all children. 



First Day Of School: Celebration

I love my little men with all my heart but I still have to celebrate the first day of school.  WOOOT. Celebrate goodtimes come on!!!.  I am sure every parent is feeling my joy today.

Snoop Dog Changes Name To Niggarachi: Yep Another Flava Fav Award

image Dear lord, two Flava Flav awards in one week.  Can you believe this fool decided to change his name to Niggarachi?  Yes, yet another edition of coonery are us.  Well Niggarachi, all I can say is negro please.  Where was your mama when you lost your ever lovin’ mind?  Don’t you pay people to think on your behalf?  This decision proves just how ignorant some Black folk can get.

I am not one of those that believes that nigger is a word that can never be reclaimed.  I firmly believe that the more that  it is used, the more it remains cemented in our everyday language.  Nigger is a word of oppression and no matter how much we may try, we can never change what it ultimately means.  Having nigger as a word that is said by Blacks colloquially, while decrying its usage by others, does not empower us.  Hello fool, Whiteness does not need our permission to say the word nigger, it can and does on its own accord. 

There are those Blacks that see the continued usage of the word nigger as a form of rebellion, however; it is actually a form of internalized racism.  When you take on the mantle of the oppressor and legitimize it, how else can it be understood?  How many times do we have to answer for fools like Snoop Dog?  The first thing racist White people will point to, is the fact that ignorant Blacks like Snoop Dog, continue to use this word daily. 

How many Black people died because the world considered them niggers?  How many were beaten and abused while someone screamed the word nigger? Now we have a fool that is not content to just say the word, he is using it as his name.  What makes this even more disgusting, is that Snoop is a Black celebrity and therefore, his social position makes this even more galling.  How can we teach our youth to respect themselves, when we have Black celebrities internalizing racism?

Well Snoop, you have certainly earned yourself a Flava Flav award and as part of your acceptance, it would do Black folk a whole lot of good if you would get on the bus and join all the other useless Black folk that we don’t need. The last thing that we need is more coonery, while we are struggling to have our humanity validated.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Me and Mrs. Palin: Levi Talks To Vanity Fair

It seems that no matter how hard Sarah Palin tries to keep her family matters a secret, Levi is going to air her dirty laundry to the world.

image Levi opens up about what life was like in the Palin household as well as comments on Sarah’s desire to hide the pregnancy of her teenage daughter.

Sarah told me she had a great idea: we would keep it a secret—nobody would know that Bristol was pregnant. She told me that once Bristol had the baby she and Todd would adopt him. That way, she said, Bristol and I didn’t have to worry about anything. Sarah kept mentioning this plan. She was nagging—she wouldn’t give up. She would say, “So, are you gonna let me adopt him?” We both kept telling her we were definitely not going to let her adopt the baby. I think Sarah wanted to make Bristol look good, and she didn’t want people to know that her 17-year-old daughter was going to have a kid.

Is anyone the least bit shocked to learn that Sarah was not initially willing to be forthcoming about the upcoming birth of her first grandchild?  Like any other politician, she knew that it was necessary to present to the public a very scripted version of her life.  Unfortunately for Sarah a teenage daughter that was expecting would serve as living proof of the ways in which the policies that she advocated didn’t work.  It seems there was not a lot of abstinence going on in the Palin household despite the promise rings galore.

It seems that since Levi and Bristol refused the adoption plan that Sarah Palin was forced to fall back on Plan B, which was to admonish everyone not to speak about the pregnancy and announce that the two were getting married.  Of course, a girl can always be redeemed for getting pregnant, if she marries the father of her child, whether or not this is in her best interest.

Honestly, I have zero sympathy for Sarah.  Despite telling everyone not to speak about her family, she has been more than willing to thrust her kids into the limelight and use them when it is politically expedient.  The day that Palin decided to run for office, she made herself a public figure and therefore her life like all others is open for examination.  I am sure that she would love to muzzle Levi but unfortunately the leftist biased media just loves him.   This blogger, who happens to be wearing pants instead of pajamas,  certainly loves the opportunity to spread the good word.


Dan Savage, Racism Has Its Rewards

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Well, it seems that HBO has decided to give Dan Savage his own show, excuse me for a moment while I am reflexively ill.  Dan is just the kind of edgy fauxgressive that the media loves to embrace.  He does after all write about the great taboo – sex.  To make matters even more appealing, he represents the type of gay White male that the media loves to portray.  He is educated and has class privilege – yup, that sums up the GLBT community and allows networks like HBO to put a checkmark beside their inclusive of all peoples box.   No need to find a person of color in the GLBT community to promote, when the media can present yet another edgy White male.

There are those that believe that any representation of the GLBT community is a good thing because let’s face it, there is a lot of invisibility in prime time, however; the stylized promotion of White male equalling the GLBT community, is problematic and racist.  Can you believe I dared to say it? Then we have Savage himself, the great champion of gay rights.  How could he possibly be deemed a problematic choice, when he dares to speak truth to power right?  Well, how about we look at this little quote:

“I do know this, though: I’m done pretending that the handful of racist gay white men out there—and they’re out there, and I think they’re scum—are a bigger problem for African Americans, gay and straight, than the huge numbers of homophobic African Americans are for gay Americans, whatever their color.

“This will get my name scratched of the invite list of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, which is famous for its anti-racist-training seminars, but whatever. Finally, I’m searching for some exit poll data from California. I’ll eat my shorts if gay and lesbian voters went for McCain at anything approaching the rate that black voters went for Prop 8.”

Anyone recall a public apology for this little racist screed?  Nope, why apologize? He is White and gay,  and his lefty credentials  means that he can say whatever the hell he wants, without apologizing to those he may have offended. What Dan really wants is equality and we uppity Negroes ruined it for him.    He is well aware that homophobia is what is stopping him from taking full advantage of his White male privilege.  I know who you want equality with Dan and it is certainly not with people who look like me.

Perhaps I should forget this little commentary, the way he forgot that Coretta Scott King said, “I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King’s dream to make room at the table of brotherhood and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.”  Is she representative of Black community for you Savage?  How about Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP who stated, “There are no ‘special rights’ in America; we are all entitled to life, liberty and happiness’ pursuit. … I see this as a civil rights issue. That means I support gay civil marriage.” Then of course there is Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) who emphatically declared, “It is time to say forthrightly that government’s exclusion of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters from civil marriage officially degrades them and their families…this discrimination is wrong.”

We however are the danger to the GLBT community.  No Black people have ever advocated for gay rights.  Why would we, we are all to busy being thugs and harassing the GLBT community.   Who would have thought that Harvey Milk, Matthew Shepard, Brandon Teena (transman),  and JR Warren were all murdered in cold blood by White people.    Wasn’t there an African American fall guy that they could have scraped together to blame for these deaths?  We are, after all, nothing but homophobic thugs right?

Savage’s commentary post prop 8 may have been forgotten by many but to those of us who are of color, who are either same gender loving or allies to the community, it is a sting that cannot be overlooked.  Savage was not openly decried by the GLBT community, in fact he was championed as a hero.  Those that are White can understand why he was upset, after all, who would want to be oppressed by Blacks, when socially it is understood that Whites are supposed to be the top of the food chain. 

Well, Dan need not worry about being oppressed by Blacks because HBO will be giving him his own platform, where he may wax poetic and take his place amongst the pantheon of White males.   For a man that is leading a life of extreme hardship, he seems to have done quite well for himself.


Malawian Child Labour and the True Cost of a Cigarette

Most third world nations are associated with one main crop that they export for profit, colloquially we refer to them as banana republics.  This means that instead of growing food to feed a nation, farmers are producing a crop for profit, which means that third world citizens are vastly undernourished in comparison to first world citizens.  We have commodified agriculture to the point where have devalued its main purpose – sustenance.

image Malawi ‘s main export product is tobacco for the US and Europe.  Children working in this industry make an average of eighteen cents US, per twelve hour day.  If they do not complete the work assigned to them for the day, their pay is deducted. Within that twelve hour period they are given one break for lunch and this often constitutes the only meal that they will eat for the day. 4.7 percent of the children that labour in the tobacco industry have never attended school.  Those that do attend school, must balance their studies with their labour.

Unlike many kids in the west, who get paper routes for pocket money, these children labour to provide food for their families, pay school fees, uniform fees, the purchase of fertilizer and seed ,as well as to insure that their homes or shelters are in a liveable condition.  These children work for the necessities of life that so many in the western world take for granted, with our sense of entitlement.

The problem I have drawn is that the work I do is beyond my size. It is
painful for me. (boy, 12, L)
We are given a heavy job that is beyond our level and when we don’t
finish the job the trouble goes over to our parents because they will be
told that their children are failing to do the job. (girl, 15, K)

My story is about going to the maize field to weed, from there I am then
told to go to fetch water using a very big can and from there they said
the water is not enough so I could continue fetching more water. So the
problem that we’re facing is that whenever I’m done with fetching water, I
must go back to weeding in the maize field. From there they tell me to
cut the trees after that I’ll go to pick the tobacco and whenever I am
feeling tired, they hit me so I must still do all the things they instructed
me to do. Sometimes I am instructed to go to pound the maize and when
I fail to do that as I have to be quick I have to stop so that I can go to the
field again. Sometimes when they fight with me about the work I need to
do I just run away. (girl, 15, K)

If this were not enough, the children also inhale the equivalent of fifty cigarettes a day during their labour. They report shortness of breath, coughing, and coughing up blood.   Some researches further believe that the intake of nicotine, is extremely damaging for a child’s brain chemistry, in that it acts very differently in them than adults.

Their problems do not stop there.  As with many other vulnerable workers world wide they are subject to sexual and physical abuse:

You may find the boss or supervisor may make a girl pregnant more
especially the teenage girls, the young ones.
Because of the difficulties at home girls can agree to sleep with the
supervisor to get some money.
Sometimes the supervisor proposes to the girl at the job and the girls
agree then their work is less but they get the same money. (girls and
boys, M)

Sometimes you do not get paid because the boss has not registered
you. Because he wants to sleep with you and then you say no. Then there is
a lot of problems. They just call your name but they don’t record it and
at the end of the month you get less pay because they did not record your name every day. They punish you like this. It happened to me. The boss asked me. I said no and he doesn’t register my name.

When you’re working and you feel like resting. They (supervisors) come
to you and shout at you. Sometimes when you are digging and you want to stretch so you stand up straight he comes to you to say, ‘don’t stretch, come on keep on working!’ something like that. Or you just want to go and drink water and they send you back. They shout.They also beat. At the back, anywhere, as long as you’re close by they hit you. You go to drink water, the minute the boss sees you he says, ‘Don’t go, go back to your work!’ and because you are thirsty you want the water, when you insist he beats you.


Tobacco is is just one of the many products that we consume that is produced by slave labour.  Each day when we make our purchases, we give little thought to where these commodities actually come from. Whether it is the cheaply produced clothing in Walmart, the sweet tasting chocolate bar, or the bitter cup of coffee, all of these items come at a cost that is much more than what we actually pay for them. 

When we read or see stories about child labour, we feel sorry for these children and yet their images rapidly leave our mind, the moment we begin to consume because our economy and indeed our very way of life is built upon consumerism rather than subsistence.  In truth, we don’t want to live to like them and firmly believe that any change that involves reducing our economic privilege would lead to a life without convenience and that is not something that we are ready to tolerate. 

There are those that would say that more development is the path to global equalization and yet we know that due to unfair trading practices, any further change is likely to favour western nations.  Though a finished product is far more likely to result in larger profit, third world nations are penalized through tariffs and are therefore forced to export raw material, thus using up their natural resources at a much higher rate to equal the same amount of profit.

This way of life that we have chosen is not only hubris, it is plain madness.  The planet cannot sustain this rate of development.  As third world countries seek to industrialize, we further deplete our natural resources and release toxins into the air and water.  In the west we judge them for this behaviour, forgetting how we marvelled over the smoke stacks in London and other urban areas during industrialization. 

We need to rethink what we think of as progress and begin to factor in the human, as well as environmental cost.  These children are beaten, sexually abused, uneducated and over worked, all for the sake of a cigarette.  It has been said repeatedly, that the love of money is the route of all evil and the testimonies of Malawian children certainly affirm this.

For more information, please contact:
Plan Malawi
2nd Floor
Off Independence Drive
Casa de Shez Building
PO Box 2053
Lilongwe
Malawi
Tel: +265 1 770 946
Fax: +265 1 774 479
Email: malawi.co@plan-international.org


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Stripper Doll

image

At Gizmodo, Jesus Diaz says: "It rotates. It has blinking lights, a disco ball, and a pole. And it's probably one of the wrongest toys you can give to any girl." He also notes that, unlike the USB pole dancer, "this one is actually for kids." Delightful!

Alright folks, this is a fail of epic proportions.  There are adult women that choose stripping from a point of agency but this doll is simply meant to sexualize girls. It reinforces that all the world will see as valuable about them, is their ability to sexually entice men. 

Any parent that purchases this little horror for their baby girl, really needs to give their head a shake.  Do we really need to be teaching children about sexuality as performance, rather than a pleasurable experience of sharing between two consenting adults?  This reaffirms the idea that women are to display their sexuality for the consumption of masculinity.  It further affirms that female bodies are always available. 

Funny how there was an uproar about the breast feeding doll and yet barely a peep about this monstrosity.  It seems that we are more concerned about disciplining young girls into sexual performance than allowing them to explore the various natural functions of their bodies.

H/T Shakesville.


Gay Youth Expelled From School For Wearing A Dress

image Last March Given Seoketsi,  a student in South Africa, was expelled from school because he wore a dress.   The principal was particularly concerned with whether or not he was a boy or a girl and demanded that he declare his gender identity.  When he responded that he was gay, the principal requested that his mother attend an interview.

Neisi Seoketsi, Given’s mother, is reported as saying that the principal demanded that her son choose whether he was a boy or a girl.  His reason was that because the school was divided into boys and girls, that there would be no place for Given.

Neisi Seoketsi, insisted that her son was born this way.  “He wanted dresses though we tried to force him to wear trousers.” she stated.  The department of education is investigating and it is hoped that the child will be able to return to school shortly.

Despite the violence and the bigotry aimed at the GLBTQI community, South Africa has a very liberal constitution, wherein gay rights are enshrined.  It is however extremely problematic, that an educational institution would perpetuate this kind of bigotry.  The only way to fight homophobia is with education. 

The principal is in charge of ensuring that these children receive a proper education and yet he could not see beyond the gender binary himself.  Given, should never have been asked to choose or to alter his appearance to make others comfortable.  Wearing a dress does not make him any less masculine, than any other male and his sexuality has nothing to do with his gender identity. 

The principals resistance to Given calls to light an essential truth about schools, as much as they are about teaching children basic lessons, they are also about ensuring that all students conform to social norms.  Given was  centered out because the school felt it was necessary to enforce a strict gender performance.  Schools are coercive, in that they stamp out individuality and teach children to submit to authority, even when it is not in their best interest to do so.  Is it any wonder, that so many are docile in the face of oppression, when they have been taught from childhood to simply accept injustice.

Teaching children that they must adhere to a strict gender codes is harmful and further reinforces modernist binary thinking.  Though conservatives would like to maintain their privileges, we do not actually live in an either or world.  There are those that choose to identify as neither male or female and they straddle the gender binary both in their presentation and performance.  We must learn to make room for all people and a desire to maintain heterosexual, and or cisgender privilege, will mean that many will be excluded. It starts with education.  It matters not if the law is open and progressive, if the agents of socialization are determined to infer that difference is problematic.

Tune in Tuesday: With Arms Wide Open Creed

After the unhusband adjusted to the idea that I was pregnant with our first child, he went into a nutty hormone phase.  Yeah, I was the pregnant one and he went emotional.  He was constantly singing She’s Having My Baby.  I simply had to be in his presence for him to break into a rendition. Around about my fifth month, I had reached the end of my endurance and had begun to threaten him.  I know it sounds sweet, to think of a man singing to his pregnant unwife and rubbing her tummy but trust me, it was irritating as all hell.

I was telling the story of my irritation at work, when someone asked me if I had heard With Arms Wide Open by Creed.   They told me to listen to the lyrics.  It spoke about a man finding out his wife was going to have a baby.   I played this song for the unhusband and he promptly switched from She’s Having My Baby to With Arms Wide Open for the rest of my pregnancy.

Do you have any Creed memories associated with either this song or any other?

Editors Note:  Allison McCarthy wanted this entry as a Sunday shame but I think it works as a Tune in Tuesday.  Yes, Creed is hyper religious but it is possible to have a positive memory associated with them

Monday, August 31, 2009

Chris Broughton Wishes Death On Obama: Time For Another Flava Flav Award

image

Yep, in another edition of coonery central, I bring you the words of Chris Broughton, the man that brought an AR-15 to an Obama healthcare town hall meeting.

Chris Broughton, the man who brought an AR-15 rifle and a handgun to an Arizona Obama rally earlier this month, says he "concurs" with his fundamentalist pastor's prayer for President Obama "to die and go to hell."

And in an interview with a local TV station, pastor Steven Anderson himself elaborated on his statement to TPMmuckraker that he would prefer Obama to die of natural causes so "he's not some martyr."

"I don't want him to be a martyr, we don't need another holiday. I'd like to see him die, like Ted Kennedy, of brain cancer," Anderson now says.

In an interview with ABC 15 outside the storefront Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Broughton said of Anderson's controversial August 16 "Why I Hate Barack Obama" sermon: "I concur, I think we'd be better off if God would send [Obama] where he's going now instead of later. [Obama] is destroying our country."

And when a reporter followed up with, "you're not advocating violence against the president?" Broughton, who has previously said his weapons are for defense, says "I'm not going to answer that question directly."

"I don't care how God does it, I'm not going into further detail than that," Broughton says. "It would be better now than later."

image Will the republican party every run out of uncle toms to sell their hateful message?  Honestly, it is one thing to disagree with the President and quite another to openly advocate for his death. 

Who the hell does this fool think he is benefitting by protesting socialized medicine to begin with?  The majority of those dying before their time are POC because of a lack of access to good, reliable healthcare.  Dear God, open your damn eyes and realize that those that are spearheading anti-health care reform are largely White men of privilege.  Hello McFly…they have healthcare.  When you are dead in your grave, after saying your millionth yes suh maasuh, they are just going to move onto the next house slave to promote their message.  These people don’t give a damn about Black people or any people of color for that matter.

This man is careful to state that he is not advocating violence against Obama to avoid legal trouble but the line is so fine, I do believe he should be investigated.  I don’t even know how he can look himself in the mirror, after praying for the death of the first African American president.  Even if you disagree with his policies, how can you possibly ignore what Obama represents to Blacks?  It was a watershed moment, that represented the hopes and dreams of so many.  Dr. King and so many others gave their lives, so that there could be a Black man elected to the highest office and this fool is sitting there wishing for his death.  I am just gonna say it plain and simple, Chris Broughton needs to get on the bus, ‘cause with Black people like him, who needs the KKK to spread the hate.

Naomi Campbell: Black Models Are Not Recession Friendly

image Last year Italian vogue issued a special edition in which only WOC models were used.  This was hailed as a wonderful move for the fashion industry, which has been reticent to move away from all White models.  At the time, I felt that this was much like Black history month; in that special editions, or events only serve to point out the lack of full inclusion on a daily basis, while doing little to bridge the gap or fully challenge White hegemony. 

It was said at the time, that by exposing more advertisers and consumers to a various array of beauty, that they would come to an understanding that beauty comes in different forms.  Well it seems that my predictions about Italian Vogue translating into more inclusion for WOC were quite correct. Naomi Campbell is quoted in the telegraph as stating:

“This year, we have gone back all the way that we had advanced," she says. "I don't see any black woman, or of any other race, in big advertising campaigns.”

Campbell, who was born in London to a mother of Caribbean descent, refers to the publication last year of a special edition of Italian Vogue dedicated to non-white models.

"That made some noise, but, unfortunately, we are the same as before," she says. "People, in the panic of the recession, don't dare to put a girl of colour in their campaign, full stop. Nor of any other race. It's a shame. It's very sad."

"You know, the American president may be black, but, as a black woman, I am still an exception in this business. I always have to work harder to be treated equally."

If one is working twice as hard, then you are not being treated equally.  Campbell and models like her, are not finding work because the image of beauty is still White women.  We may see Rhianna and Queen Latifah advertising makeup but honestly, they are the exception rather than the rule.   Flipping through a typical fashion magazine, there is a clear absence of WOC and when they are featured, the portrayal is often filled with racist stereotypes,  that often serve to perpetuate White hegemony.

We are expected to smile when we see the hot tamale Latina, the African Queen Black woman, or the wilting lotus flower Asian woman because we are supposedly being represented by the presentation of these highly offensive images.  We need more than inclusion to achieve equality; we need an end to racist portrayals that diminish us at every turn.

Advertisers are concerned that WOC models won’t sell their products.  It is assumed that all POC live in poverty and therefore, do not have the capitol to purchase their items and in this they are sorely mistaken.   Though quite a few live in poverty, there is still a thriving Black middle class that is able to put its purchasing power to use.   We need to stop spending our dollars on companies that do not represent out interests.

I squirm whenever I see a Black person wearing Ambercrombie and Fitch because it is a well known fact that they have discriminatory practices.   I no longer shop at a local mall because it has become apparent that unless it is in the food court, that they do not hire POC.  If they want my money they need to make me feel welcome by ensuring that I am represented, as well as other bodies of color.  We are not powerless even though Whiteness has done its best to ensure that relative to it, that we exist with less power to make our influence felt.

We must strive to make our presence known and demand equal and respectful representation. This is not simply about affirming the beauty of WOC, this is about demanding that we be treated equally in all social spheres.  Equality in name only is not equality.   The struggle did not end the day Barack Obama was elected to the white house, it is but one stepping stone on a long path to equality. 

Whiteness will continue to assert its power to ensure that we stand separate and divided from one another.  It will tell us that we are without power to create change and affirm this by only allowing images of those that are impoverished, criminals, or somehow assigned a spoiled identity, to assert that we exist without agency. What it does not acknowledge, is that in everything and everywhere there is power, we have only to learn to marshal it for our best interests.

True Blood: Frenzy

Rather than going through a scene by scene break down I thought that we would try something a little different this week.

Loved:

  • image Gotta say I loved the purple fur handcuffs that Lafayette used to tie Tara up with while she was pleading to go and rescue eggs.  It is amazing the way his flare just shows up in the oddest of moments. 
  • Even though seeing Skaarsgard act menacing in a dress was odd, I am now officially convinced that the man would look sexy in anything.  I have to say, I love how nice Eric was to Arlene’s kids.  Calling them “teacup humans” and baring his fangs upon request was somehow oddly endearing.
  • Also…who knew that Eric could fly? I wonder what other tricks he has up his sleeve.
  • I found the idea of vampires sunning themselves to be absolutely hilarious. It was further hilarious how up tight Bill got when one of  the male humans offered to have sex with him.  He really needs to take a page out of Eric’s book
  • It was also awesome that Eric called out Bill on his hypocrisy.  Clearly, he did not tell Sookie that part of her attraction to him was based on her drinking his blood.  I further love the fact that Eric reminded Bill that Sookie drank his blood on the first time they met. I cannot wait until Sookie starts to put two and two together on that one.

Liked:

  • Gotta say that I like the Queen.  Her informing Bill that he should just fuck Eric and get over it, that was priceless.  It was just the kind of thing to mess with his Victorian sensibilities.
  • Even though he learned about it in a truly mean way, finding out the truth about his father was truly good for Hoyt.  His mother will never again be able to use him like wedge to hurt him with after this.
  • The explanation as to how Marianne became eternal was interesting.  I further loved when the Queen had to explain to Bill about evolution.

Tolerated:

  • Please explain why Sookie would throw Tara her keys only to then endanger her self to save her….Yeah that made zero sense.
  • The phrase cock block used by Jason to Andy
  • Jason admitting that he kept having sex with a woman after she passed out and justifying it was truly disgusting.  Yeah, it’s no secret I hate this character.
  • Listening to the corner tell Sookie that it was unnatural for Bill to put his dead pecker inside her.  There always seems to be time to slut shame.
  • Andy and Jason playing white man’s burden as they were preparing to go into battle just grated on my last nerve.  Of course Jason had to suggest that Andy was jealous because of how much pussy he gets. 

WTF:

  • What the hell is up with egg in the middle of the bed?

I suspect that Marianne is going to meet her defeat in the last episode and I predict some kind of mini showdown between Eric and Bill in the plight to save Sookie.  It has not left my mind, that the judgement card that Lafyette revealed to Tara a few episodes ago when he was reading her future, has yet to manifest itself.  Finally, I am sure that the bumbling Andy and Jason will somehow manage to make themselves marginally useful while managing not to get killed. 

Can you believe we have to wait to weeks to find out what happens?  No fair, HBO…..True Blood fans of the world, rebel and unite.hahaha okay, seriously what did you think of this episode?

Eudy Simelane: Corrective Rape, Corrective Death

I have a new post up at Global Comment

Trigger Warning

image Eudy Simelane was an athlete and a lesbian. In a perfect world that validated love in all of its forms, her sexuality would be a non-issue. In South Africa, however, identifying as a lesbian (or being accused of lesbianism) all too often leads to a violent death, despite a constitution that protects the rights of its GLBT citizens. Simelane was known as a top striker and she became the captain of the nation’s soccer team. Her position would normally have placed her in high esteem.

Instead of being her country’s sports hero, however, Eudy Simelane now lays buried beneath the soil: she was brutally gang-raped and stabbed exactly twenty-five times before dying. For Eudy, the issue was not just that she was a lesbian but that her appearance and gender expression were commonly understood to be butch.

According to the Times Online, at least twenty South African women have been killed in what are known as “corrective rapes” in the last five years. Lesbianism is considered to be unnatural and therefore women are systemically raped to convince them that their “true” orientation is heterosexual. This phenomenon reflects multiple forms of oppression for lesbians, bisexuals and queers who are victimized through these “corrective rapes.”

Editors Note: Until I can find a fix all links must be clicked on from the front page.  Sorry about the inconvenience

Finish reading here

Child Slavery and Ms. Magazine

image I was flipping through the latest Ms. Magazine with my son Destruction sitting next to me, when I came across an article entitled, “Education Equals Power”.  On page twenty-three, there is  a disturbing picture of a little boy from Ghana, who has been sold into slavery, by his mother to feed her other children.

The article contains startling facts like, “sixty-eight percent of Ghanaians being unaware that having a minor as a household worker is illegal. Once a hub of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Ghana is situated on routes that ship children as servants to such locals as Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.  The boy in the article was sold by his mother for the equivalent of twenty-eight dollars. If you have not read this article, I highly suggest it.

Upon seeing the picture of the little boy, Destruction immediately started asking questions.  It is not very often that he sees images of little Black boys like himself and so he was curious as to what the child was doing.  I paused for a moment and debated about whether to make up some fairytale or tell him the horrible truth about the image that he was looking at.

Destruction realizes that his father and I work so that we can provide him and his brother with things but he had no idea about global imbalance.  He is in fact just starting to see that there are class differences within the neighbourhood that we reside in.  When it comes to my children, I am constantly weighing their right to live carefree for as long as possible and answering their questions truthfully.

In as simple of terms as I could, I explained that some people don’t get paid the value of their labour and that some people are forced to work as slaves.  I told him that often everyday products that we use and take for granted are made by children, just like the little boy in the picture.  I used chocolate as an example of something that he loves, that is routinely made by slave labour. 

More than anything, he expressed a desire to help because he really wanted the boy in the picture to have the things that he does.  Destruction may be high drama but I have never doubted his good heart.  Though I know that there are issues with fair trade, in order to leave him feeling empowered, I informed him about fair trade products, as well as discussed the fact that we as consumers, can let companies know by what we choose to purchase, that we do not approve of their tactics. 

image It has been about two weeks since we had this conversation.  In that time, he has not had any chocolate.  Each time we have been out at a restaurant or at the bakery, he has specifically asked if something is fair trade before making a decision, as to what he was going to consume.  For Destruction, it seems he would rather do without one of his favourite treats, than participate in the suffering of another.  I have promised to find him some fair trade chocolate so that he can once again indulge himself but in the meantime he seems very committed. 

When he asked at the bakery whether or not their products were fair trade, he was told he was too young to know or be concerned about such things.  Children are of this world and one day he will grow into an adult.  While I don’t wish to rob Destruction of his innocence, I believe that it is important for him to understand that he lives with a great deal of privilege.  I want him to grow up feeling empowered and firm in the belief that though he cannot change the world, through his actions he can make a difference.  This may mean returning to the soup kitchen to volunteer, recycling, composting (which our family does), or making conscious decisions about consumption because of political or moral beliefs.  The one thing that I am really starting to see is that he has begun to internalize one of our core family beliefs, everyone matters

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mary Jo Kopechne 1940-1969

This is a guest post from Daisy of Daisy’s Dead Air

image Sorry my dear liberal brothers and sisters, I respectfully sit this one out. Women first.

Further, as an alcoholic, I will not mourn a rich drunk allowed to make a deadly mistake and carry on as if nothing had happened.

I will mourn the working woman who was forgotten, as the actual circumstances of her death were covered up by a powerful family, who then arbitrarily assigned her slut status.

Imagine slowly, slowly drowning, water enveloping you inch by inch as you drown, waiting for the person to rescue you that never arrives.

Sorry, folks. Some things, I do not excuse.

Mary Jo represents all the nobody-women killed (or allowed to die, if you want to quibble over my terms) by all the powerful, rich men, because they were "evidence"--because they got in the way.

During this orgy of remembrance and sentimentality, of course, we won't be hearing about her...once again, it will be considered somehow "rude" to mention Mary Jo Kopechne's suspicious and untimely death. Well, let me be RUDE, then, and remind everyone that she existed. That she was a beautiful and lively woman, cherished by family and friends; she was a human being that was considered expendable by the Kennedy clan.

FUCK Ted Kennedy. Purgatory is hot, and he'll be there awhile.
~*~
EDIT (for the person who thinks I "exaggerate")-- Please see above Wikipedia entry, specifically THIS QUOTE (italics mine):

Earlier that morning, two amateur fishermen had seen the overturned car in the water and notified the inhabitants of the nearest cottage to the pond, who called the authorities at around 8:20 am.[14] A diver was sent down and discovered Kopechne's body at around 8:45 am.[15] The diver, John Farrar, later testified at the inquest that Kopechne's body was pressed up in the car in the spot where an air bubble would have formed. He interpreted this to mean that Kopechne had survived for a while after the initial accident in the air bubble, and concluded that

“Had I received a call within five to ten minutes of the accident occurring, and was able, as I was the following morning, to be at the victim's side within twenty-five minutes of receiving the call, in such event there is a strong possibility that she would have been alive on removal from the submerged car."[8]

INCH BY INCH she died. And imagine how horrible, the terror. It probably took several hours, according to all I have read, since the accident happened sometime after MIDNIGHT. Think about it, MIDNIGHT. No phone call to any cops or EMTs, since he was DRUNK and had to SOBER HIS ASS UP FIRST.
I repeat, with considerable emphasis: FUCK TED KENNEDY.


Sunday Shame: EBAY Frilly Shirt Edition

Since becoming disabled, I have taken to making my clothing purchases on EBAY.  The unhusband has been great picking up the slack since I have been sick.  He does the majority of the cooking (much to the children’s horror) as well as most of the household chores.  I have learned that over looking a mess can be better than hurting myself to clean it up.

At any rate, along with taking low doses of prednisone came a huge weight gain.  I simply have to purchase a new wardrobe, as not even with a pound of butter could I squeeze into my old jeans.  The unhusband has no fashion sense and so he is the last person I want to buy me any kind of clothing.  For the most part everything I wear is pretty tame but every once and a while I do reach for the ridiculous.

imageI absolutely fell in love with the above shirt.  It was a mere thirty-one dollars USD and there was no way I was not going to win this auction.   There is something about frills that make me feel soft and feminine, so straight to paypal I went.  I was completely happy with this shirt, until a certain Gus, otherwise known as Allison McCarthy, told me I would look like Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman in it.  Now is that any way to treat a friend?  I will admit that it is a wee bit frilly but isn’t it a lovely shade of blue?  Am I reaching? Come on and help a girl out.

Now I would like to know what fashion faux pas you have recently made.  That means you in back rocking the jheri curl, or the mullet fess up.  This includes wearing PJ’s out of the house or having a weak moment as I supposedly recently did with my beloved frilly shirt.