Saturday, January 9, 2010

Drop It Like It’s Hot

Hey everyone, thanks for another great week of conversation.  This week we dealt with some very difficult subjects, which of course lead to strong emotions. I would like to take the time to remind everyone that we cannot always agree, however; we should attempt to be  civil with one another. 

I would also like to remind everyone that Womanist Musings has an open guest posting policy.  If you are interested in participating, please send your original piece or a cross post to me via e-mail.  An issue was raised regarding Monica’s use of the word lame as a negative descriptor  in her guest post this week.  I have never and will never edit someone else’s work.  If there is something in the post that I disagree with, I exercise my right to put an editor’s note at the bottom. This has always been my policy and it is not subject to change no matter who the guest poster is.

Finally, below you will find links to some great posts that I came across 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 the comment section.

Bitch Is Not The New Black and Steve Harvey Needs To Stick To Comedy

I Am For Sale, Who Will Buy Me?

How To Get Black Women    How To Get A White Man

Are Canadians joyriding the ultrasound machine?

Backscatter X-ray scanners, security theatre, and marginalized bodies

Yes, There Is a G-Spot

BeautifulPeople.com: this isn’t a witch hunt for fat people”

Touch And Go: How Groping Happens

The Fading Food of Indigenous People

Systemic Racism & the “Race to Execution”

Global Mama: The Mommy Myth That Will Not Die

I am thinking big thoughts

In The Name of Awareness (the fb colour meme)

The 11th Carnival of Feminists – Global Edition

The Space Between

Justice for Ruchika

What I learned from blogging this year a cautionary tale

Can you really return a child?

Sexist Beatdown: Let Us Now Praise Famous Men’s Boners Edition

 image

Friday, January 8, 2010

Daytime Televisions First Same Sex Love Scene

It seems that the daytime soap One Live To Live aired the first same sex love scene last week.  I actually used to watch this soap until it decided to reform a rapist and make him a “good guy”.   It seems that the soap has finally done something progressive. I think I might have to tune in, even though it competes with Judge Alex (yeah and don’t bother me about it).  Soaps are normally filled with ridiculous plots but if they have finally gotten to the point in at least attempting inclusivity, I have to say that this is a step forward.

Enjoy, and warning it’s a bit steamy…YUMMY.

H/T Feministing.

Happy Friday:Open Thread

image

It’s Friday and the countdown has begun to the weekend.  Please use this thread to chat about your upcoming plans for the weekend or to simply celebrate that the work week is over.  This weekend I have to take the boys for haircuts, as they are starting to look like human chia pets and I am hoping to see a movie with my BFF.  See you in comments everyone.

Being Transgender In Prison Should Not Equal Torture

image Maria Benita Santamaria was sentenced to prison after she was arrested with ten pounds of meth.  Clearly, this is against the law, however; she did not deserve to be tortured, sentenced to a men's prison and denied medical care.  Her story is not unique, in fact the prison industrial complex is not equipped properly to house transgender criminals.

Maria had been on hormones for two years at the time of the arrest and therefore placing her in a male prison qualifies as cruel and unusual punishment.  The state has a responsibility to protect inmates from violence and a trans woman in a male prison faces an increased risk of violence and therefore they are often placed in solitary confinement.

Maria was placed in solitary confinement where she was denied hormone treatments and thus began to grow facial hair.  According to the Washington Examiner she was even referred to as “it”. She was treated no differently than any other person in solitary confinement, despite doing nothing to earn this treatment other than being a trans woman.  She was placed on lockdown 23 hours a day and allowed a shower once every three days.

The following is an excerpt from an interview with CSC's Craig Haney, a psychologist who's an expert on long-term solitary confinement.

First let me note that solitary confinement has historically been a part of torture protocols. It was well-documented in South Africa. It's been used to torture prisoners of war.

There are a couple reasons why solitary confinement is typically used. One is that it's a very painful experience. People experience isolation panic. They have a difficult time psychologically coping with the experience of being completely alone.

In addition, solitary confinement imposes conditions of social and perceptual stimulus deprivation. Often it's the deprivation of activity, the deprivation of cognitive stimulation, that some people find to be painful and frightening.

Some of them lose their grasp of their identity. Who we are, and how we function in the world around us, is very much nested in our relation to other people. Over a long period of time, solitary confinement undermines one's sense of self. It undermines your ability to register and regulate emotion. The appropriateness of what you're thinking and feeling is difficult to index, because we're so dependent on contact with others for that feedback. And for some people, it becomes a struggle to maintain sanity.

That leads to the other reason why solitary is so often a part of torture protocols. When people's sense of themselves is placed in jeopardy, they are more malleable and easily manipulated. In a certain sense, solitary confinement is thought to enhance the effectiveness of other torture techniques.

The prison industrial complex is overburdened and the US has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world.  Once someone is imprisoned, often the larger society fails to recognize their humanity and they are subject to treatment that is abominable. If the person in question is part of an already socially marginalized group, the negligence and cruelty often escalates.  After six months in solitary, daily being misgendered, and denied medical treatment, is it any wonder that Maria Benita Santamaria contemplated suicide?

Maria has since been ordered to a facility equipped to handle trans inmates. Transgender and intersex inmates have repeatedly had this experience upon incarceration.   Hormones which are absolutely necessary are denied and often viewed as cosmetic, despite the clear medical evidence to the opposite.  Many social justice workers, who claim to be interested in the plight of  prisoners, do not advocate on the behalf of trans prisoners, though they constitute a vulnerable and marginalized group within the penal population. If we are going to remove their civil liberties due to offense, we have the responsibility to not commit an offense by torturing them.

H/T The Bilerico Project.


KFC- Black Folk Love The Chicken

[Video description courtesy of Feministe: The video opens with a logo reading "KFC's Cricket Survival Guide." A white guy sits in what appear to be sports arena bleachers, surrounded by cricket fans, all of whom appear to be non-white. They are dancing, playing instruments and singing. He looks annoyed, rubbing his face and looking around like he's confused. He says, "Need a tip when you're stuck in an awkward situation?" Then he hands out a bucket of fried chicken and everyone goes silent and you can hear the game in the background. He says, "Too easy," which is followed by the formal KFC pitch.]

The commercial originally aired in Australia and has since been pulled from the air.  KFC released the following defence of this commercial:

It is a light-hearted reference to the West Indian cricket team. The ad was reproduced online in the US without KFC’s permission, where we are told a culturally-based stereotype exists, leading to the incorrect assertion of racism. We unequivocally condemn discrimination of any type and have a proud history as one of the world’s leading employers for diversity.

So here we go with the whole we hire teh minorities so we can’t be racist; it’s just like the racist who’s best friend as a child is always Black.  I think one of the things I find most upsetting about this commercial is the obvious lie that they had to be told a racial stereotype exists regarding Blacks and chicken.  I am sick and tired of White people pulling out tired racist tropes and claiming they didn’t know they were racist.  If this were true, why weren’t various races soothed by the chicken?   Anyone remember watermelons on the White House lawn?  He didn’t know it was racist either.  Not only is the initial characterization racist the denial is even further demeaning.  Blacks are not stupid and we are well aware of when we are being targeted.

Finally, the assertion that Australia is not a racist country is ridiculous.  Hey Hey It’s Saturday Night proved that with it’s racist blackface.  Australians may have different different social tropes than North Americans, however it is not a racial utopia in which all people are created equal.  Australia in fact has a long history of violence and abuse of its Aboriginal citizens.  This kind of race based hatred does not simply disappear.  It cannot be wished away.  It is no more post racial than any other place on the planet and airing this commercial there only serves to solidify the lie that race is not an issue.


Thursday, January 7, 2010

For Some, Every Muslim is a Guilty Muslim

Islamic terrorist has become a catch phrase to justify the loss of rights and freedoms while engaging in racism.   I remember thinking just after 9/11 that this event would trigger  attacks against Muslims of color because of their visibility.  History has certainly proven me to be correct on this point.  Mosques have been fire bombed and now people are openly advocating for racial profiling of Muslims.  Some are more than willing to forget that Muslims have lived peacefully beside us, as a part of our society for a long time.

Muslim women are particularly vulnerable because their bodies reveal an intersection between religion and Islamophobia.  Those who may avoid openly attacking or being hostile to a Muslim male, may have no problem attacking a woman because sexism has become an ingrained aspect of our society.

Amal Abusumayah was grocery shopping when Valerie Kenney began to loudly complain  “about the Muslim  Army major who allegedly killed 13 people and injured 29 others during a shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, two days earlier”.  According to the Chicago Breaking News Center,  Kenney then approached Abusmayah and pulled her headscarf.  She has since plead guilty to a misdemeanour and has apologized to Abusumayah.

Some will read this post and dismiss it as an isolated incident but in truth, violence against Muslims is on the rise.  We are far to ready to convict all for the actions of a few, forgetting that in each group of people there are good and bad.  We are far to ready to perceive a threat, forgetting that the actions of western governments played a large role in creating the McWorld vs Jihad situation that we are currently in.

There can be no doubt that the terrorist actions engaged in by some Muslims is certainly wrong but we have not even in our supposed fear, really listened to what is behind the violence in the first place.   We seek to meet violence with violence, convincing ourselves that we are acting out of some moral imperative, when our own governments have committed atrocities in our name.

We lay hands upon those we do not respect.  Valerie Kenney committed a hate crime when she assaulted Amal Abusumayah because she is Muslim.  The fact that she only got probation and was forced to issue an apology, reveals that even our institutions are dedicated to protecting the rights of the oppressor.  Can you even imagine for one moment a Muslim woman slapping or otherwise assaulting a White woman or man and receiving such a mild penalty?

Amal Abusumayah did not receive justice and Valerie Kenney learned that there will be very little punishment for acting in ways in which we find socially acceptable, even if they are morally reprehensible. Each and every time we do not abide by our stated laws to support an ism, we reveal that the true objective is not peace, or democracy but the right to oppress at will.  This verdict will send this very message to the Muslim world.  Our institutions may be secular but they are not without many of the same issues that we regularly attack other  countries for. 


GLAAD Ain't Happy About Letterman's Amanda Simpson Skit...And Neither Am I

This is a guest post from the ever fabulous Monica of TransGriot

image Damn, can a transwoman, or transpeople in general get through the first full week of the New Year and new decade without being disrespected?

Sadly, the answer is no.

We have a moment in which the entire trans community is bursting with pride at one of our own getting an historic federal appointment by the president, only to have tabloid newspapers and comedians turn it into a fracking joke.

GLAAD has already highlighted some problematic coverage of the news by the reliably transphobic New York Post, and now David Letterman piles on with this skit from last night's show.

The 'cis man gets physically ill at presence of transwoman' is unfortunately a lame and depressingly far too common meme in the entertainment world.

It has manifested itself in films such as Bachelor Party, The Crying Game and Ace Ventura Pet Detective.

Guess I should be counting my blessings that Late Night bandleader Paul Shaffer didn't fire up the band and play 'The Crying Game' song to go with it.

And before y'all start typing the 'damn it's just a joke, lighten up' BS in the comments, I have a sense of humor as people who know me will tell you. I know the difference between a good joke and one that goes a bit too far and is hurtful to the persons and the community that was the punchline of said joke.

The Letterman Amanda Simpson skit crossed that line last night. It mined a tired meme for the sake of a laugh.

And the 'cis man gets ill at sight of transwoman' sight gag needs to die.

Editors Note:  I obviously do not agree with the word lame as a negative descriptor but I believe that this post makes some very important points.

NAACP Image Awards Are Missing Some Black People

image Now that the holidays are over we have officially entered award season.  What sets the NAACP Image awards apart is that its express purpose is to celebrate the work of bodies of color.  While there have been POC to win Emmy’s and Grammys, these events have historically recognized the achievement of White artists. 

Hattie McDaniel won for best supporting actress of the roll of Mammy in 1939’s Gone With the Wind.  A Black woman would not win again until 2001 until Halle Berry  picked up an Oscar for best actress for her role in Monsters Ball.  I’ll do the math for you…62 years in between Black women being recognized.

Black men have fared a little better than Black women.  In 1963 Sidney Poitier became the first African-American male to win an Oscar. He won Best Actor for Lilies of the Field.  Louis Gossett, Jr. was the first African-American male to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. He won for An Officer and a Gentleman in 1982.   There was only a nineteen year gap between Poitier and Louis Gosset, Jr.  The first awards were given out in 1927 and that means it took 36 years for the first Black man to get an award.  It took another seven years for another Black man to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor; it would be Denzel Washington winning that honour.  Finally, in 2001 Washington would become the second Black man to ever win an Oscar for best actor for his work in Training day.  It only only took thirty-eight years between Poitier and Washington for the academy to decide to award another Black man in the category of best actor. Isn’t Hollywood liberal?

There have been other award shows that have been a little more friendly to African Americans, however; in general, the awards are few and far between.  This is why the NAACP awards are of particular importance.  If we do not support each other and celebrate our hard work, Whiteness has made it more than clear that is is quite willing to not only deny is the opportunity to shine but it will fail to acknowledge when we turn these small roles into something spectacular.

The homepage for the NAACP Awards states:

The NAACP Image Awards is the nation's premier event celebrating the outstanding achievements and performances of people of color in the arts (motion picture, television, recording, and literature), as well as those individuals or groups who promote social justice through their creative endeavours.

If it is the goal of the NAACP Awards to acknowledge the work of people of color, could someone please explain the following?

image Anderson Cooper was not the only White person nominated for an award but how can it possibly be explained when on CNN alone there is Solidad O’Brien, Donna Brazile, Roland Martin, Don Lemon and T.J. Holmes?  Really, Anderson freaking Cooper?  Now don’t get me wrong, I have love for Anderson but if we are talking about fighting privilege, how in the world does it make sense to nominate Anderson?  The man was born into the Vanderbilt family. 

I understood when I saw the reality television category:

image

Clearly, there were not many people of color to nominate but there is simply no excuse in the category of Outstanding News/Information to overlook the hard work that news casters of color are doing.  Anderson Coopers’ nomination is a slap in the face to all of the POC who work in the news industry that don’t get recognized.  If the producers of this award wish to open it up to all races, I have no problem with it, however it is unconscionable to claim that this award is to help challenge racism and then nominate one of the most privileged people on television today.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

LA Gang Tours: zoofication or a new beginning?

I have a new post up at Global Comment

image There is more to L.A than bright lights, wealth and fame. The dark side of the city includes a gang culture with a rich history of violence, drugs, and other forms of criminal behaviour. The continued existence of the gangs is a reflection of our apathy towards impoverished people of color. For many, the only escape involves an undertaker.

With the appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, people are quick to point out that those of Latino heritage have made great strides to demand their share of the American dream, but tokenism does not help the teeming masses at the bottom. The Sotomayors of this world provide inspiration for what is possible, but the pathway must be determined from inside a community if a true and lasting change is to occur.

It is with that end in mind that Alfred Lomas has organized LA Gang Tours. Tour buses will take participants through historic sites that symbolize the birth of L.A. gang culture. For sixty-five dollars they will visit:

* The Los Angeles County Jail
* The Los Angeles River Bed
* The Metropolitan Detention Center
* Skid Row
* The Symbionese Liberation Army Shoot Out
* Florencia 13
* Birthplace of Black Panther Party
* Florence District
* Florence Avenue
* Firestone Sheriff Station
* Hall of Justice Jail
* Pico Union Graff Lab (Graffiti Lab)

To ensure the safety of the tours, a ceasefire has been arranged between rival gangs. On each bus, a member of a local gang will act as a tour guide. Having seen firsthand what gangs and violence can do to a community, Lomas has determined that “public safety is paramount; without freedom from violence, no other freedom can exist.”

Finish reading here

The End of The State of the Black Union

image Each year in February, Tavis Smiley produced the negro super bowl State of the Black Union.  Its express purpose was to garner mainstream attention to Black issues that normally get ignored by politicians and in the mainstream press.   Each year it was broadcast on C-Span for free and many tuned in to watch the Black intelligentsia attempt to out do each other with witty repartee.

Despite being concerned with the issues of Blacks, the exclusion of the common person means that ideas presented were certainly class based.   I would also like to point out that more often than not, our member of the GLBT community were excluded from participation, leading one to believe that they had cashed in their Black like me card because of their sexuality or gender identity.  The panels were also unevenly divided by gender, with men openly engaging in sexism, to blame Black women for many of the current issues in the Black community.

Last year, Smiley faced much criticism because the negro super bowl State of the Black Union was sponsored by none other than Wells Fargo.  Yes, the same Wells Fargo that the NAACP filed a lawsuit  against accusing them of pushing blacks into high-interest mortgage loans, while whites with the same qualifications got lower rates.  Certainly there was no conflict of interest there right?  Not to worry Tavis, we will hold you accountable. While you were raging about Obama’s inability to attend, he was busy attempting to become the first African American president thereby; raising the hopes and dreams of ALL of the peoples of the African Diaspora.  Smiley’s angst at this event reveals a man who is mostly interested promoting himself and elevating his stature within the Black community. Oh, jealousy thy name is Tavis.

The major outcome of these symposiums were the best selling books that they spawned.  Tavis was never shy to hold a book in his hand while he talked about the issues.  Yes a Covenant for Black America and complete accountability are the cause of the day.  With his above board presentation is it any wonder that one of his next projects involves publishing the memories of R. Kelly.  Way to support the Black community Tavis.

I’ll just be plain spoken, a bunch of privileged professors sitting in a room talking about the issues does not bring about lasting and critical change.  Poor Blacks that are struggling know damn well why they cannot get a job, or why the lack of education is hurting them.  They are also well aware of the issue of recidivism and violence in their communities. To speak down to them and lecture them about their experiences, for the sake of promoting a Smiley book only further serves to trivialize them.  Don’t we have to struggle enough with the false impressions and negative stereotypes created by Whiteness, without our Black elite participating as well?

Good bye Negro Super Bowl, State of the Black Union and may you be replaced by something that is far more representative of the needs of ALL of the members of the community.

Either Stand Up For Yourself Or Keep Getting Discriminated Against

This is a guest post from the ever fabulous Monica of TransGriot

image

Find out just what the people will submit to and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.


Frederick Douglass was dead on target when he uttered these words over a century ago.

What triggered this post was me recalling this Douglass quote while reading Leona Lo's blog.

In the post I was reading she discussed an incident which happened a few months ago in which a Singaporean transwoman was denied entry to a popular local club.

That transwoman asked Leona for help and she obliged. The Singaporean media was contacted, and was ready and willing to publicize the story by interviewing the transperson in question. But because she feared public exposure more than she wanted justice for what had been done to her, she backed out of the interview.

And as Leona pointed out, that's exactly what the oppressor was counting on.
Activists don't mind helping a trans brother or trans sister out when they ask for it. But when you do, bear in mind you can't just drop the problem in our laps, walk away and think you're gonna sit on the sidelines as we pick up the sword and shield and begin to do the fighting on your behalf. We expect you when we do so to be an active and engaged participant in your own liberation.

As Frederick Douglass stated in the last sentence of the quote that graces the beginning of this post, the limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.

Translation: you are a participant in your own oppression. How long and how far it goes is determined by how much injustice and discriminatory treatment you are willing to stomach.

If you're tired of being disrespected and denigrated, you have the choice of loving yourself enough to stand up and fight for your rights, or meekly submit and continue to get dissed and discriminated against.

We know from world history which strategy has worked best for marginalized people.

A woman is sterilized against her will

image Reproductive freedom is often understood as the ability to abort a fetus, however; it really refers to the right of the individual to make reproductive decisions.  To be female, is to live in a world in which our bodies are constantly under review and discipline, with each decision made based on what best serves patriarchal and bourgeoisie interests rather than the individual.

According to the Boston Herald:

A 35-year-old mother of nine is suing a Springfield hospital, three doctors and two nurses, claiming they permanently sterilized her against her will, violating her reproductive rights, according to a lawsuit filed in Superior Court.

Tessa Savicki, who has nine children aged 3 to 21, claims doctors were supposed to implant an intrauterine device, which is a type of reversible birth control, after she delivered a son, Manuel Flores, on Dec. 19, 2006, at Baystate Medical Center.

Instead, she said, a type of permanent sterilization known as a tubal ligation was performed, leaving her mentally distraught and incapable of bearing more children.

This should have been the end of the story however the article went on to mention that she dropped out of school in the ninth grade and had her first child at the age of thirteen.  It also mentioned that the children have several different fathers and that her mother has custody of three of them.  It was further noted that supplemental security income, or SSI, for a disability, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is her source of income.  This information was given specifically to set the groundwork for shaming and justification.

How are any of the above factors relevant to the fact that this woman was sterilized against her will?  It seems that despite the rhetoric of valuing children that is often parroted when women want to abort, mothers who are not gainfully employed are still seen as leeches intent on sucking the life blood out of the economy with their sexual antics.  If we truly believe that all women should have control over their bodies, we would not have a history of forced sterilization.  This incident follows the pattern of so many before it.  It is always the poor women or women of color who have been treated in such a manner.  It is because they lack institutional power to demand that their bodies be valued that they are so easily attacked.

This is one of the grossest personal violations that can occur and yet so many justify it based in economics.  Below you will find commentary from the social network Reddit, regarding this story.

  • Simply put, ALL Adults who apply for aid should be sterilized as a condition of their acceptance. And for those of you who disagree, remember they DO NOT have to accept the aid. I'm sick of people taking advantage of a system that was designed to help intelligent people.
  • No matter how many times I read the article, I can't see how what happened was a bad thing. I wish i could give the doctors involved a medal for bravery.
  • It seems to me that in this case, the tubal ligation was absolutely the right thing to do. To let this leech produce any more welfare-spawn would be irresponsible.
  • The world's over-populated. Somebody stupid enough to have already brought nine resource consuming parasites to life should have been sterilized seven or eight children ago.

The above arguments are common whenever we discuss women that are poor having children.  It’s always about the tax dollars and the drain, yet the rich cause a far greater burden by not paying their fair share of the taxes.  It is far easier to attack women like Tessa because she has no power.  It further evidences how little we value the work of the private sphere, even though without it, the public sphere would be unable to function.  By continuing to demonize and punish this woman, they are only ensuring the children that she raises becomes victims of the same institutional biases that lead to poverty and in some cases prison.

What about the children has become a common social refrain and yet we care nothing really for them.   To call an innocent child a leech or a parasite simply for existing is disgusting and yet this is often the conservative approach to our youth.  They don’t care about family or family values or the fact that this woman has produced so many children would be something to celebrate.  Ultimately, they seek a pathway to control female bodies.  From forced pregnancy to forced sterilization, women are simply a mechanism for them to assert their power and press their warped sense of values. 

 

     

     
     

What’s Up Wednesday?

image

It’s officially hump day.  After today the worst of the work week is hopefully over.   Please consider this your open thread to chat about whatever you would like.  Are you reading anything interesting?  I’m reading the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter  novels ( yes I have sick, sick addiction but I blame Sparky this time).  Have you seen a good movie or play?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Tune in Tuesday: I Just Haven’t Met You Yet- Michael Bublé

This is Michael’s latest hit.  I just love his voice and his quirky sense of humour.  I also want to take the time to point out that he was born in British Columbia, Canada.  That’s right folks, he is a genuine Cannuck.   I know that a lot of Americans think that Canadian music is limited to Ann Murray and Rita McNeal and so I thought I would take the time to highlight some of the good that comes from the frozen north when we aren’t busy doing it in our igloos.  So, today I offer you a challenge: name your favourite Canadian musician and no cheating by hitting teh google.

P.S The baby still prefers the hot dog song to this

What Does Virgin Mean?

Because I am easily amused I simply had to share this with you.  Being honest with kids is great however it is really important to find out what they are actually asking otherwise incidents like this happen.  I am sure that this has happened to more than a few parents.

Updated to include a transcript:

Little girl looks up and asks, “mommy, what’s virgin mean?

The mother turns and responds, “sorry darling.”

Little girl: What does virgin mean

Mother: ( sighs) Girls and boys, I mean grown ups bodies are different but they are made to fit together in a very clever way.  Like a jigsaw

Little Girl: Like the jigsaws grandpa does

Mother: Yes. I mean no no, you see, Daddy has a special thing and when mommy and daddy love each other a lot then daddy takes his special thing and puts it in mommy’s special place.

Little Girl: Winchester

Mother: No darling. A special place on mommy’s body and uh that makes mommy feel very happy. (note the mother is now stirring a bowl of something white and creamy) It makes daddy feel happy as well. And eventually after awhile, sometimes quite quickly Daddy gets so happy there’s a sort of woosh and all of daddy’s little seeds race out and rush to get to mommy’s egg. And that is called making love.  Anyway until you do it for the first time, you’re well a virgin.  I think that just about covers it.

Little girl: So what’s extra virgin mean?

Scene flashes to a bottle of extra virgin olive oil.

If Warren Beatty Were A Woman, Would We Celebrate 12,775 Sexual Partners?

image Biographer Peter Biskind recently wrote an unauthorized biography regarding actor Warren Beatty entitled “Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America."  In the celebrity tell all, he alleges that Beatty had sex with "12,775 women, give or take, a figure that does not include daytime quickies, drive-bys, casual gropings, stolen kisses and so on."  It’s steamy pages includes commentary on the women that have been involved with Beatty, including supposed commentary from Joan Collins regarding Beatty’s alleged desire to have sex seven times a day.

Over the years there have been numerous male celebrities who have admitted to sex with large amounts of women.  Their careers have not been in the least bit stymied by this admission and in fact, it has helped to assure and cement their status as an icon.   The more women a man sleeps with, the more successful he is considered.

Shall we take a little trip and imagine instead that Warren Beatty is a woman.   Let’s assume for the record that she has the same sort of professional success, race and wealth (though of course this would be an impossibility, as a woman with that many lovers would not be allowed to be this successful), how long do you believe it would take for people to start slut shaming her?  Even without proof of sexual activity, women are routinely shamed for being in bars/clubs at certain hours, dancing to suggestively and the clothing that we choose to wear.  

There is a reason why male slut requires a prefix; promiscuity is understood to be centrally a female phenomenon.  When we use words like slut or whore, unless we specifically refer to a man, it is assumed that the subject is female.  Our own language reveals how naturally we slut shame women.   If Warren Beatty were female and the situation was exactly the same, it would be two seconds before he was referred to as a disease spreading whore.

The genders aren’t just naturally different; we construct the difference and then discipline based on it. If this were not the case, we would not be so obsessed with creating everything that is supposedly feminine in pink.  The feminine is one of our oldest pejoratives and it continues to be a negative because of patriarchal privilege. 

If you want to make a young girls life miserable, start a rumour that she has had sex with several guys.  If you want to make a guy popular, start a rumour that he has had sex with several girls.  Everyone loves a playa playa, ‘cause he’s just a squirrel trying to get his nut. Boys will be boys continues to be one of our most popular sayings and it serves to give a pass to atrocious behaviour that we would shame a girl to the end of time for.

I suppose in the end, I cannot image a woman proudly announcing having a lot of lovers.  Even a friends with benefits situation, is enough to get her slut shamed, never mind having anonymous sex at will.  Good girls have to wait for love and never admit to having a libido unless it suits the male that she is currently involved with.  When I see the female equivalent of Will Chamberlain being celebrated without any hint of slut shaming, then and only then, can we claim to have had a sexual revolution.



Help A White Guy: We want a piece of that pie that we paid for

One of the great things about trackbacks is that it allows you to see who is linking to you.   Womanist Musings is a blog that attempts to focus on marginalized bodies and therefore I get my fair share of trolls linking and commenting.  I usually ignore them but the name and tag line of this blog was really irresistible.

Help a White Guy?  Haven’t they had enough help to last them a lifetime?  They have had affirmative action in their favour since before the US was even an independent nation, yet we still have people invested in spreading the lie that White men are discriminated against.  In a word, DELUSIONAL. This is not about being discriminated against, this is a fear of a loss of undeserved privilege.

image

These are the same White men who argue and rail about affirmative action, thus ignoring the reason that a company is all White to begin with is because its hiring practices are racist.  How can you get the best person for the job, when you purposefully under educate and impoverish a large section of the population? It’s all about fairness right?  I suppose it is not at all suspicious that many policeman have an Irish Catholic background.  They just all happen to be the best people for the job and if a few Black heads get bashed in who cares.

White men aren’t just born with a silver spoon in their mouths, their entire body is silver coated.  Somehow, with all of this magical good luck, they are the ones being oppressed.   The newspeak in their arguments is astonishing.  Whiteness loves to point to the special treatment that POC of receive, without ever once acknowledging the ways in which the world has been tailored to serve their needs.

It is too much to ask that they avoid saying the N word or using racist terms like “race card” but let a POC be in the least bit critical of the White supremacist state and the world has to immediately halt.  Freedom of speech only applies to their ability to denigrate and marginalize; it was certainly never meant to allow the darkies to speak our truth.  You see, when we speak we are always working an agenda and heaven knows all White people are pure of heart and deed.

image I would like to know what exactly the White man has bought and paid for? I think it is a fair question when you consider the theft of land, slavery, rape, murder etc.,  What has your hard work really won you besides the ability to stand on the shoulders of others and whine about your oppression? Despite all the bravado White men did not build North America.  There was a full and functioning society even before you set foot on the continent and nearly every achievement that has occurred since that date, has come at the pain of MILLIONS of POC and therefore; while you are promoting the mendacity of White oppression, may I humbly suggest you consider the cost of the society that you wish to maintain.  For every luxury there is a payment and this is even more true of White privilege.


Charlie Sheen, “lovable bad boy”

I have a new post up at Global Comment

image Charlie Sheen is currently the highest paid actor on television. With performances in movies like “Platoon”, “Wall Street” and “Cadence”, Sheen has long since established himself as an A-list actor. His role as a so-called loveable bad boy on “Two and a half Men,” apparently largely based on his persona, has garnered him several award nominations. Audiences adore Sheen’s work as a fictional scoundrel, but the mirror image in real life is hardly entertaining.

On Christmas day, Sheen was arrested in his Colorado home after a 911 call from his wife, Brooke Mueller Sheen. According to MSNBC the police document accused Charlie Sheen of stating:

“You better be in fear. If you tell anybody, I’ll kill you.”

“I have ex-police I can hire who know how to get the job done and they won’t leave any trace.”

This was apparently said while he was allegedly straddling his wife and choking her on a bed, all while holding a knife to her throat.

If Mrs. Sheen’s allegations are correct, Charlie may be a bad boy but he is far from loveable. This incident is only one of many that involve the mistreatment of women by Charlie Sheen.

* In 1990 Sheen accidentally shot his then fiancée Kelly Preston in the arm.
* In 1995 he was sued by a UCLA student who claimed he struck her in the head back in 1994 after she refused him sex. The case was settled out of court.
* In 1995 Sheen admitted to utilizing the services of the famed madam Heidi Fleiss, for the purposes of procuring call girls.
* In 1997 Sheen plead no contest to battery charges brought by former girlfriend, model-actress Brittany Ashland, who claimed that Sheen threw her onto his kitchen floor and split her lip.

Sheen is a man with a history of violence and drug abuse, yet he has not suffered any noticeable setbacks professionally. It is interesting to note that recently, Tiger Woods admitted to engaging in extra marital affairs which involved no violence, and yet he was dropped by sponsors and became the standing punchline of comedy routines. The fact that Tiger Woods is seen as Black, while Sheen as White (Sheen has Latino heritage, of course, but he is mostly understood as being just one of the white guys), might have a little something to do with the disparity with which these two men have been treated.

Finish reading here.

A Spark of Wisdom: Where does hate come from?

image This is a guest post from Sparky, of Spark in Darkness.  Many of you are  familiar with him from Livejournal, as well as from his insightful and often hilarious commentary here. Each Tuesday, Womanist Musings will be featuring a post from Sparky.

I've recently read the  New York Times article where the NYT has finally caught on to the Uganda kill-gays law and the involvement of several American religious hate mongers involved in this particularly toxic piece of hatred. And, as we've seen before with Rick Warren, the Family and others who are up to their evil eyes in this particular vileness, they are now all shocked, SHOCKED, that their hate filled words could have encouraged such an awful awful thing.

Even accepting their protests as sincere (and I really really don't, because it's beyond belief that someone can espouse such hatred and then be shocked at the result), even accepting that they never ever imagined this could happen - well, what did they expect? How can they be shocked that constantly attacking gays, accusing us of preying on children, of trying to destroy society, leads to persecution?

This is something I've discussed before in passing in many ways, but it's something I want to make clear.

Where does hate come from?

Where did the hate come from, that causes parents to turn their own flesh and blood from their homes when they learn their beloved children are gay?

Where did the hate come from, that causes gangs of youths to hunt down a gay man and put him in hospital with multiple head fractures?

Where did the hate come from, that caused the first person I ever came out to, a boy I had known since we were both babes in arm, to put his fist to my jaw and his boot to my ribs?

Where does the hate come from, that people will spend literally millions upon millions of pounds fighting against every single right we try to hold, even though the result couldn't possible affect them even slightly?

Where does the hate come from, that charities will withdraw their aid (or refuse the aid of homosexuals) where homosexuals are treated like equal people?

Where does the hate come from, that even the most basic public display of homosexuality or homosexual affection is a daring act that requires considerable courage?

Where does the hate come from, that complete strangers will attack me, condemn me, hurl abuse and missiles at me and even physically assault me?

Where does the hate come from that I, and many homosexuals, have our lives shaped by fear of that hate?

Where does it come from? Does it just appear? No. There is no random bigotry radiation zapping in from outer space, there are no hate waves emanating from the Earth's core, there's no random hate contaminants from our food or drink or mobile phone radiation.

No. Hatred does not spontaneously appear. Hatred does not occur in a vacuum. Hatred and prejudice happen because we have a society that says, yes, it's ok to treat these people as "other" as less, as subhuman, as less worthy of respect or regard.  Hatred and prejudice happen because we have a society that nurtures them.

We nurture it by having loud, virulent bigots spewing their hatred and polluting the air with hate speech. We nurture it by having large, powerful organisations and churches preaching hate and prejudice and providing "moral" justifications for bigotry. We nurture it by having preachers calling hatred laudable and good. We have even those essential organs of justice - courts, tribunals et al - utterly failing to protect or provide justice when people are oppressed or targeted. We have (and this is perhaps the most toxic) the government itself allowing hatred to be written into law, into the state's most fundamental legal foundations, denying rights and privileges due to all citizens. All of these together provide a powerful message of support for hatred - all of these together provide extremely fertile soil for bigotry.

Can you turn to someone and say "gay people have value, it's wrong to hurt them!" while at the same time you're saying that gay people are not deserving of equality? You cannot say "violence against gay people is wrong!" while at the same time saying we are depraved sinners, preying on children? You can't say "gay people are due respect" then turn round and call us diseased or disease carriers, broken, immoral, bent and corrupt. You cannot say "beating and killing gays is utterly unjustified!" when you have written anti-gay initiatives into your laws - into your very constitutions! When you have spent hours in the pulpit, before the microphone or political floor creating just those justifications.

And then there's the myriad little things. How many times a week - a day! - do we allow some devaluing comment or action pass our lips or pass our ears? Not just for gay people, but for any marginalised body.

Sometimes it's as simple as silence. We're silent, when our leader, religious group, spokesperson says or does something to nurture hatred - in doing so we add our consent, or at least the sense that it doesn't bother us, and in doing add yet more fertile soil for hatred.

And sometimes it's just the daily little grinds that we either tolerate in silence or, worse, actively contribute to. It's every pejorative word we say or allow to be said without protest. It's every sexist joke we tell. Every PoC stereotype we believe. Every  horrendous media portrayal we ignore or gleefully consume. It's every time we repeat stories or anecdotes of crimes committed by people of colour, or parenting/relationship disasters from homosexuals or even car accidents involving women when we'd never mention them if it was a white, straight man involved.

All of this is not just damaging for the oppressed groups to hear and endure (and believe me, it is definitely that) but it is destructive for us as a society - a society that is stained by thousands upon millions upon billions of minor (and major) acts of prejudice. A society that will continue to produce hatred and bigotry so long as we keep providing the foundation for it.

This is where the hatred comes from. This is where the violence comes from. Because every day, with every hate speech, with every prejudiced law, with every frothing bigot  - be they in the pulpit,  in parliament,  on television, on a  street corner or even ranting in our own living room - every day with every excuse we make, with every joke we laugh at, with every stereotype we indulge in - we say it's ok

In a thousand ways every day we act as cheerleaders for the hate. We provide the soil in which the violence grows. We provide the excuses, the motivation, the acceptability for all those broken lives.

THIS is why hate speech is important.

THIS is why prejudice jokes aren't funny.

THIS is why stereotypes are wrong.

THIS is why media portrayal is so damaging.

THIS is why speaking out and shouting down the haters is necessary

THIS is why every act of prejudice, no matter how minor, should not be tolerated.

THIS is why every right, whether we exercise it or not, matters

THIS is why a slur should NEVER pass our lips.

Hatred does not come from a vacuum. The violent do not appear out of thin air. There is no mystery behind those that attack and hurt and kill us.

It comes from us, our society, our leaders, our culture, our language and our very selves. We have value - but that will never be acknowledged - that will never be truly BELIEVED -  while there are so many voices that devalue us.

Hate will never stop until we stop saying, in a hundred ways, every day that hate is ok.

And so long as we keep saying hate is ok, we are responsible when that hatred leads to ruined lives.


Monday, January 4, 2010

Vanity Fair: Tiger Woods The Thug

imageSince Tiger crashed his car and women started coming out of the woodworks about his sexual exploits, Tigers image has been irrevocably changed.  Gone is the family friendly nice guy; now we have Tiger Woods the sex addicted thug.  Unfortunately, Tigers activities fall directly in line with many of the racist understandings of Black male sexuality.  Not only did he have sex with numerous women, they all have one thing in common; they are white.

Mr Calablasian, signed a contract with White America and became an honorary White man. He agreed not to go chasing down the sacred flesh of White femininity.   No matter how much Whiteness may love their Black or in the case of Tiger, Calablasian sports stars, having sex with White women is still a no no.

This picture sends the message to White women that Tiger is indeed a member of the scary Black man crowd, whether or not he identifies as Calablasian.  He is shirtless with an expression that is decidedly threatening and therefore there can be no doubt that the express purpose of this image is to intimidate.  I guess Nike will not be creating anymore I am Tiger Woods commercials anytime soon. 

As angry as I am at Vanity Fair for publishing this image, I am even more incensed at Tiger for posing for it.   When you were winning a green jacket and were the darling of the golf world, you were quick to tell the world that you were Calablasian and now that your dirty deeds have come to light, you are embracing the most negative constructions of Black masculinity.  Let’s be honest shall we, no one will ever look at this photo and comment about Calablasians, NO they will talk about the perversion and sexual aggressiveness of Black men.  Considering he didn’t want to be part of the Black community, it is ironic that Mr. Woods seems to have no problem making it that much harder for a Black man to make it in this life.

Tiger, do us all a favour and put your shirt on; we don’t need anymore reminders of just how scary Black men apparently are.

Just Another Monday

image

Hey everyone, how many of you have already broken your New Years resolutions?  Well, it is the first official work day of the new decade.  Today, Destruction returned to school and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that this event was greeted with much joy. Please use this thread to natter on about your weekend or simply whine about the fact that it is Monday. I will meet you in the comment section.

It’s Elementary A Gay Sherlock Holmes Is A No No

imageSherlock Homes was recently released. It stars Robert Downey Jr as the famous detective and Jude Law as his sidekick, Dr Watson. In the interest of full disclosure, I will admit that though I am anxious to see this movie, I have not had a chance to do so yet. 

Apparently, in promotion for the film, Downey appeared on Letterman, where he dared to question the sexuality of Holmes….lions and tiger and bears oh my! Now gasp everyone. What if the famous Sherlock Holmes “was a very butch homosexual”?  It seems the wrestling, sexual tension and sharing of the same bed does lead one to a certain shall we say speculation.

According to Pink News the copyright owner was shall we say not impressed:

She told Total Film: “I hope this is just an example of Mr Downey's black sense of humour. It would be drastic, but I would withdraw permission for more films to be made if they feel that is a theme they wish to bring out in the future.

"I am not hostile to homosexuals, but I am to anyone who is not true to the spirit of the books.”

Of course she isn’t hostile to homosexuals but heterosexual privilege must be maintained at all costs. Really, what is the world coming to, that one of the greatest literary icons could be portrayed as gay?  There must be some sort of evil gay agenda at work here.  Will no one stop to think about the children that may be subjected to this harmful image.  They need to grow in a world in which they see heterosexuality privileged at all times, lest they decide to turn gay.  But hey, everything is equal isn’t it?   Gay men and women aren’t continually erased by the popular media unless they are intent in affirming vile social constructions right?  If this is allowed to pass, we could end up with a gay superman. 

When we watch a Sherlock Holmes movie, is it really that disturbing to have the character portrayed as gay?  He is not going to whip out his penis instead of a magnify glass to solve crime.   It is just a facet of his life, in the same way that it would be a part of heterosexual mans life.  Honestly, the hand wringing and whining over teh gay really needs to end.  We need to acknowledge that gay men and women are a part of every single society and as such, portrayals of them should be considered acceptable.

Former New York Post critic Michael Medved, who is a self-proclaimed conservative and famous for adding a family suitability rating to his film reviews, said: "They know that making Holmes and Watson homosexual will take away two-thirds of their box office.

"Who is going to want to see Downey Jr and Law make out? I don't think it would be appealing to women. Straight men don't want to see it."

Don’t you love the fact that a man just knows what is appealing to women? While neither of the two men are necessarily my type, a little man on man action may be refreshing for a change, in a world in which sex is presented in a one dimensional manner.   The whole eww factor is predicated on the fact that homosexuality has been created as a deviant.   There is no act which constitutes a specifically homosexual sex act and while the puritans are wagging the finger about anal sex, they need to remember that plenty of straight people do it and love it. Furthermore, there is much more to a gay man than what he chooses to get up to (yes pun intended) between the sheets.

If we continue to eliminate gay men and women from our media constructions, they can never hope to have their identity normalized and this is the real agenda behind the hand wringing that is going on.   This is about maintaining undeserved heterosexual privilege, while promoting a culture of homophobia.  You cannot claim to be accepting or even tolerant of gay people, if you get upset by their portrayal in the mainstream.



Obama Effigy Hung In Jimmy Carter’s Hometown

In yet another dispatch from our post racial world, someone decided that it was okay to hang a doll with Obama’s name on it.

The world is so over race that Obama has received more death threats than any other president.  His administration has not been perfect but he certainly did not lie the country into a war, while building up a crippling debt.  This hanging was not a political protest, it was an act of racist hatred.

Of course there are those that still refuse to acknowledge this:

I don’t think the President should be hung in effigy no matter who he is, I don’t think the President should be besmirched or ridiculed in a public way at all. Criticize his policies? Sure, but ridicule the man himself, no.

It seems that only applies to this president though. Unlike many instances of Bush bashing and public ridicule that went down in the annals of free speech or art or something like that. Double standard? Of course.

image There is a world of difference between people throwing shoes at an effigy of Bush and hanging a doll labelled Obama.    We do not live outside of history, we are a direct result of it.   Hanging a doll that represents a Black man is problematic because for generations Black men and women were lynched.  The white sheets blew in the breeze, as White families planned picnics and revelry around murdered POC in cold blood.  Lynching has always been a threat to any POC who dared to step outside the confines of the menial roles that Whiteness has assigned us.  Whiteness is well aware of this fact and this is why the noose has continually been used as a threat against POC.

Even if there were dolls hung of former White presidents, the threat would mean drastically different things because lynching has never been used as a mechanism of terror within White communities.   An effigy of Obama treated in this manner does not just harm the  president, it harms every single Black person who is a member of the African Diaspora.  It reminds us that despite our achievements, that our bodies are still devalued.   It sends the message that we are to remain docile, even as it enforces the hegemony of Whiteness.

So many continue to believe that they do not benefit from racism.  They are proud to tell Blacks that they never owned slaves or that their White sheets only go on beds but in truth, each time an act of racial terror is committed, every single White person benefits because it serves to ensconce Whiteness as the ultimate form of power.   It is the legitimization of Whiteness that gives people the ability to act with impunity.  Even the lowest amongst us benefits from Whiteness.   All these years later, Emmitt Till still haunts our social imagination and therefore; despite the social lie of the Black threat, Whiteness can point to no such occurrence to validate their fear. 

We are not and never have been post racial.  No matter how many Obama’s or Oprah’s that White society points to validate this lie, a real and present threat is still in existence.  The Oscar Grants still call to us, reminding us of just how tenuous our existence is.  Until the day when our sons and daughters have an equal opportunity to succeed and our lives are not daily threatened, we cannot claim to live in a time when race is no longer a social construct.  Whiteness claims persecution to validate its power and we cannot afford to see this as laughable because their fear means our death. 


Sunday, January 3, 2010

Sunday Shame: Thong Thong Thong Thong Thong

image

Here’s the deal, after almost twenty years together the unhusband knows that there are certain requests that I will never fulfill.  No amount of puppy dog eyes could force me into wearing underwear that comes with anal floss. The thong is a NO.  I am even more against it because of the knowledge that there is no male equivalent.

At any rate, in conversation with my girlfriend, she mentioned that she bought a thong after her boyfriend repeatedly stated how much he would like to see her in it.  It seems that Victoria Secret holds some real appeal.

So…it is a well known fact that women make less money than men.  This is compounded when you figure that women have to spend more for things like haircuts.  In fact, women pay more for all basic grooming than men, and we pay more for clothing.  When we consider that this is all coming out of a smaller pay check, it amounts to the impoverishment of women.

Here it is.  If a man wants you to wear butt floss a thong and you agree to be his model, I believe the money for said garment of torture should be coming out of his wallet.  He is the one that is going to get the visual jollies from the butt floss thong.  In fact, all lingerie that is desired should be purchased by the partner that is requesting it to keep things even.  They should not be seen as gifts and should most definitely never be given for birthdays or Christmas.

Okay, maybe part of my disgust is that anal dental floss thongs are decidedly unappealing to me but I do believe that my original objection should stand.  Normally, I would shame this person publicly in huge eighteen point font but because we are talking about butt floss thongs, I will hold back her name (the guilty party may now take a deep breathe) 

So, there it is dear readers, are you with me on this one?  Should the person requesting the butt floss lingerie be forced to cough up the money for it?  Weigh in, in the comment section.  While you are at it, feel free to throw in some commentary about ridiculous garments you have either been asked to wear or have worn yourself in a moment of weakness.   Just so you know,  I have had my own moments of silliness in an attempt to look sexy, mine includes a ridiculous feather thing that ended up being so itchy, that it was irritating long before I could even feel like the hottie that I am.