Saturday, February 13, 2010

Rick Hansen Carried the Olympic Torch but the Disabled Are Still Second Class Citizens in Canada

Last night was the opening ceremonies in Vancouver for the winter Olympics.  Like many across the globe, I marvelled at the whales and the snow boarder flying through the Olympic rings, but one of the images that meant the most to me was watching Rick Hansen, Canada’s Man in Motion carry the Olympic flame.

image Hansen became a wheelchair user at the age of 15 after surviving a truck accident.  He went on to become an incredible athlete winning a series of international wheelchair marathons and six medals at the 1980 and 1984 Paralympics. Despite these wonderful accomplishments, he is probably best known for his Man in Motion Tour, in which he wheeled his way across 34 countries covering 40,000 kilometres, raising  26 million for spinal cord research in 1985.

Beginning on Mach 12th and running until March 21st, Vancouver will host The Paralympics.  Though world class athletes will be competing, they will receive far less coverage than their able bodied counterparts and this is because no matter where we  go on the globe, people who are differently abled are devalued.

Last night the opening ceremonies was about inclusiveness, which is ironic given the fact that no equivalent of the ADA exists in Canada.  When it suits the agenda of promoting Canada as good an enlightened, the media are more than willing to put differently abled bodies center stage; however, this is far from normal in Canadian society.  Differently abled Canadians are invisible in the Canadian media, and every day tasks are often complicated by the fact that much of Canada is inaccessible.

When it is time to show the world what a great man Hansen is we can cheer him in front of the world and yet when he competed for our country few watched.  Even as I watched Hansen carry the torch yesterday, I wondered how many stores he is unable to enter because there are no ramps?  How many times has he gone to a restaurant to find that the bathroom was on a different floor, only accessible by stairs? How many times has gone to the bathroom to find the only disabled bathroom to be either not functioning, in use by an able bodied person or non-existent? How many times has he gone to park his car, in one of the few disabled parking spots, only to find the space already filled, by people who don’t have a disability?  How many times has he been treated like a burden for simply existing?  How many times has he been forced to “rise above” because someone did not think that they were responsible for making a change? The aforementioned questions reflect the difficulties of being differently abled in Canada.

People like Hansen are celebrated by the media for two reasons: they enable the “super crip mythology” or an opportunity exists to make the country seem accessible when it certainly is not.  Hansen is an incredibly accomplished man who has done wonders to promote sport in Canada, as well as raise funds for medical research.  When he wheeled into that arena last night, I felt my heart burst with pride.  I would love to be able to celebrate his presence, just like I did every other participant in the opening ceremonies but because I am far to well acquainted with the high levels disableism in Canada, I could not help but wonder how many would forget about their joy of seeing Hansen at the Olympics, the next time they decided to engage in their able bodied privilege.

We can cheer and say his inclusion was one step towards a more inclusive and tolerant society; however, when the Canadian differently abled population opened their eyes today nothing had changed.  Praise is fleeting and costs the able bodied nothing, whereas; creating a truly accessible environment would mean a serious consideration of others and a reduction of able bodied privilege.  Pageantry gets us nowhere, if its purpose is only cosmetic and we certainly owe someone like Hansen more than that. 

Drop It Like It’s Hot

Thanks for another week of great conversation everyone.  This week to amuse myself, I decided to edit a few of the comments left by vile trolls on the blog by adding my own commentary to their comments.  As the owner of this blog, I reserve the right to delete your comment or alter it, if you decide to spread hatred on my blog.  I don’t care if you disagree with my thoughts or the thoughts of any other commenter, you will be respectful or you will lose your right to comment in this space.   I will not allow someone's life to be used as a negative descriptor, nor will I allow any kind of hate speech in my space.  Womanist Musings was created solely for the hope of enlarging conversations about marginalized bodies.  Sometimes this means that your privilege is going to get checked but retaliation in the form of demeaning another will not be tolerated.  If you cannot disagree respectfully, then this is not the place for you.

Below you will find links to posts that I found interesting this week.  I have not read the comments on these posts, so please read them at your own risk.  When you are done showing these bloggers some love, don’t be afraid to drop it like it’s hot and leave your link behind in the comment section.

Whose Zooming who???

The houses that slavery built

General Larry Platt’s “Pants On The Ground” And The Intersection Of Race And Comedy

Newsflash: Poverty Is Bad For Your Health

A Lesson in White Privilege: What if Sarah Palin Were Black?

Male Privilege Checklist.

I Thought I Was White

Ranting

Women of Color and the Anti-Choice Focus on Eugenics

dismiss those who point out racism as “white guilt” mongers

Just Because They’re Not Burning Crosses Doesn’t Mean Someone Isn’t Racist

I’m Sorry If You Had A Bad Experience…..

Cheated

Tina Fey

Ms. M on Living With Chronic Illness

With advocates like this, who needs hate radio?

You lost me at “ghetto slang”: A white guy explains black Twitterati

Was The Black Church’s Silence “Complicit” in Spreading HIV/AIDS?

Don’t Waste It (Oh Another Thing About Black History Month)

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Friday, February 12, 2010

A Facial For Your Vagina: Exactly What You Never Knew Your Lady Bits Needed

image Part of the reason that vaginas continue to be constructed as filthy is because there is profit to be made.   Women are now encouraged to spend money on dyeing their girls bits, and for those that can stomach the pain, you can have it nipped and tucked into perfection.  No matter what your vagina looks like, you can be certain of two things: there is something wrong with it and some company has already come up with a fix to make your vagina the desire of all heterosexual men.

In the latest onslaught of vagina merchandising, San Francisco's Stript Wax Bar is introducing the Vajacial. BellaSugar received a press release from Stript with this description of the new service:

Meant to be performed a week after waxing, the 50-minute treatment ($60) involves four steps. First, skin is cleansed with an antibacterial body wash and witch hazel. Then, a papaya-based exfoliating gel goes on before the esthetician extracts ingrown hairs. After that, an anti-freckle, anti-acne, or calming mask is applied. It finishes off with an application of lightening cream.

See how this works?  Create an insecurity and then market an over priced solution to calm fear. When you leave the salon, not only will your vagina smell like a tropical fruit, it will be lighter thanks to the cream they apply at the end.  Can you fell the yeast infection growing yet?  Sugar is not a friend to a vagina. You can never be pink enough of course and so those of us that just happen to have darker skin will continue to bear the disadvantage of having naturally darker labias.  Oh dear, however will dark skinned women survive, if we can never hope to pass the pinkness test?

In case you are still having doubts, just read the following glowing testimonial at Yelp.

DESPERATELY needed a fix for my poor vajay. It had been waxed by some random nail salon on polk street and suddenly it was filled with in-growns. It was growing these twisted weeds and was in all sorts of trouble.

The answer: I saw the sign that said "Introducing the Vajacial". Funny but clever at the same time. It is EXACTLY what I needed. I needed a full extraction, scrub and toner. For around $60, Katherine took her time to work gently and made sure to keep everything very sanitary.

The space is wonderfully decorated and Katherine is a very clever and skilled business woman. I recommend stript to anyone who has had a brazilian nightmare. Go here, your hubby will be happy.

Did you catch that last bit at the end?  Don’t have a Vajacial because it will make you happy, but because it will delight that special man in your life.  Golly gee whiz beav.  The only reason to have a vagina in the first place, is to make some man happy, so you had better do your part to make sure that the secret garden is a perfect retreat for him.  Really?  Is this really what we are going to spend our hard money on?  No wonder women continue to be so poor.  Also, don’t you love how nice and heterosexist this endorsement is?  No lesbian on the face of the planet is interested in vaginas.

Finally, we are grown women and therefore can we stop using pet names like vajayjay ? (I blame Oprah for that one)  It’s a VAGINA.  If we can’t even say it, no wonder we don’t believe that they are healthy and beautiful. Geesh.  Ladies stop obsessing over your vagina; it’s a marvel of nature.  It stretches to give birth, allows mind blowing MULTIPLE orgasms and cleans itself.  How many body parts can boast that?  In short, your vagina does not need dye, a facial or any other ridiculous product companies decide to market.

H/T Jezebel

 

Nelson Mandela: Whose Hero Is He?

image February 11th marked the twentieth anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release from Robin Island.   Twitter was filled with his quotes and praise for what a wonderful forgiving soul that he is.  In his lifetime Mandela has been transformed from a simple man, to a near God like figure who we consider to be above question.  

His fight against apartheid and wrongful imprisonment has sparked hope in millions of people.  The mythos surrounding Mandela is such that to question any of his actions is not permissible.   That he is a man, and therefore subject to the very same imperfections as every other mortal is denied in order to cement his heavenly martyr status. We are desperate to hold on to the lie that racism has been defeated and Mandela is a major key to this social myth.

Since his release from prison, South Africa has largely been governed by Blacks and a Black bourgeoisie has risen to take its place at the table.  The fact that a few have been allowed to rise is offered as proof that the evils of apartheid have been defeated and that the country has indeed begun to heal from generations of race based violence. 

Mandela preaches forgiveness and he has been praised globally for not holding onto hatred in his heart.   Turn the other cheek has always made Whiteness comfortable because it is well aware of the heinous nature of its crimes against the coloured peoples of this world.  Even those that would fight for equality fear the righteous retribution of Black rage and therefore; a figure like Mandela is comforting.

Chief among his accomplishments for many was the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. In this forum Whites told Blacks of the crimes that they had committed and in this way, husbands, wives, sons and daughters finally learned exactly how their loved ones died and in some cases where their bodies were buried.  This was truth without justice and this was highly appealing to Whiteness, which has a history of rejecting accountability.  

When it became clear that power was to change hands, White flight began and they quickly attempted to emigrate to any western country that would take them. What better way  to pacify the remaining White people than by letting them know that despite having to deal with Black faces in so-called positions of power, that they would never be forced to pay reparations or serve a day in prison for their actions.  Who wouldn’t hold onto that deal?

Thank goodness that Nelson Mandela arranged such a peaceful transition.  I am sure that the White people living in the suburbs in a near palatial existence, next to Blacks who continue to live in poverty and shanty towns are also full of relief.  They get to keep their  well paying jobs, big homes and Black maids.  The face of government has changed and there may be one or two Black bourgeoisie living in their posh neighbourhoods now, but essentially the social structure has not changed. In a country with an overwhelming Black majority, Whiteness has still managed to hold onto the real positions of power and this is what comes of turning the other cheek; this is what comes with forgiveness. 

Mandela is a hero to many not because he spent years wrongfully being imprisoned but because he enabled the hegemony of Whiteness.  You will note that every single Black leader that has called on Blacks to embrace their anger and seek justice has been vilified, while men like Mandela receive endless praise.  Equality in name only is what Whiteness wants and such a thing  would never have occurred had they embraced a Black leader that had demanded justice. 

Two hundred years from now, Whites will be telling Blacks about how apartheid was so long ago and that their failure to rise to true power is because they sabotage their community.  It will be common to hear that the systemic equality that exists is a figment of Black imagination, much like Whiteness currently preaches to the descendents of slaves in the Global North. 

As a Black woman I dare to question Nelson Mandela’s decisions in his later years.  I refuse to accept a hero that has been gift wrapped and handed to me by Whiteness for palatable consumption.  My rage and my demand for justice comes from a place of loving Black people and though we have been taught not to value each other and turn the other cheek, perhaps we would be better served by questioning who this really benefits? Whiteness is directly responsible for the deaths of millions over centuries and if that is not the face of real evil then what is?

 

It’s Friday and the Question Is….

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This week the unhusbands secret Oreo cookie stash was discovered by Destruction.   He claims he only put them aside because our snack cupboard was overfilled; however, I believe the truth of the matter is that he simply did not want to share.   It makes me wonder how long this has been going on? He has long teased me about the chocolate I keep hidden from the children.   You never know when you are going to have a chocolate emergency.  At any rate, it occurs to me that we are not the only ones who have secret junk food stashes.   The question this week is, what treat do you share grudgingly?  Whether sweet or salty, something about it makes you want to say MINE MINE MINE.

 

Thursday, February 11, 2010

“You cannot attribute nonsense to god.”

This is a guest post by the ever fabulous and forever tormented by fish tanks Sparky, of a Spark of Wisdom.

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There is an old quote, or a variation on a quote saying that we cannot attribute nonsense to god. It’s used to debunk people trying to question various attributes of god, especially omnipotence - such as “can god create square circles.” And it is very true - there is, after all, no such thing as a circle or a square, just a shape that we perceive DESCRIBE as such, so while an omnipotent being may change the shape, we will describe the shape by means we are used to.

But that’s kind of irrelevant to the true potential of this quote, I feel. We cannot attribute nonsense to god - but how many of the followers of the Christian, Muslim (and, to a lesser extent, Jewish) god(s) do just this?

Think of the linguistic descriptors that are so often used to describe these gods:
Good. Perfect. Merciful. Benevolent. Loving.

Now consider some of the other descriptors we have: Jealous. Angry. Wrathful.

Consider some of the actions and stances large numbers of these gods’ followers espouse in the name of their god. They advocate discrimination - on race, gender and sexuality. Some of them even go so far to call for and actively participate in violence. Some commit murder, some kill themselves in the process of doing so. Some torture and oppress people and groups horrendously. Many certainly speak of their pet hatred in the most hateful of terms (personally I’ve been referred to as anything from a blight to a disease to a cancer to a daemon because of my sexuality). I have seen smugness and arrogance to disdain to utter contempt to outright hatred towards other faiths.

This hatred, this violence, this inhumanity to man is done in the name of and by followers of these deities - by people who believe that those first descriptors still apply.

Well, I say to them “you cannot attribute nonsense to god.” It is  NONSENSE to believe that a god is both perfect and jealous or merciful and wrathful. It is NONSENSE to believe a loving god would condemn people to an eternity of torture because of their sex life. It is NONSENSE to believe a benevolent being would want you to oppress or abuse people for ANY reason. It is NONSENSE to believe a compassionate god would want you to insult and attack people. It is NONSENSE to believe a perfect god would be so insecure as to advocate violence against those who do not follow him or who worship him in an incorrect fashion.

These extremist, hateful and damaging members of these (and other) religions need to stop and think. Use the brains they believe their god gave them and think. If their god is loving, merciful, compassionate and benevolent then maybe they should be too. Because at the moment they are covering him with nonsense, blanketing him with it and choking him in it that many of us on the outside cannot see him at all - just the vast sheet of hateful nonsense. I don’t believe in their god, but I do believe their faith deserves better than that.

Evander Holyfield Allegedly Assaults His Wife In The Name Of God

imageDespite earning more than 200 million in prize money throughout his career, Evander Holyfield is experiencing money problems.  It was reported in the press that he was behind in his child support payments to his 11 children and his house has twice been at risk of foreclosure.   Holyfield has been attempting to re-enter the boxing ring; however, the strain of such massive debt is clearly beginning to effect the two time heavyweight champion of the world.

 Candi Holyfield has filed a protective order against Evander.  Apparently, Candi Holyfield has accused her husband of hitting her in the face, the back of her head, and on her back during the middle of the night.

"He got up and turned the light on and started looking at my face and told me he was sorry, that he knew he shouldn't have done that," Candi Holyfield stated in the petition.

The incident allegedly began because the heat was cut off in the couple's home, and Candi Holyfield attempted to discuss it with her husband.

"He told me that I was only thinking about myself," Candi Holyfield stated. "He started telling me that I needed to start putting God first in my life."

Candi Holyfield claims her husband's abuse against her began six months into the marriage, when she was pregnant with the couple's first child.

"At first it was mainly emotional," Candi Holyfield states in the petition. "There was incidents where he had pushed or grabbed me but it has escalated since 2008."

In 2008, Evander Holyfield allegedly choked his wife in front of the couple's daughter and housekeeper,  Candi Holyfield stated in the petition. Last year, Candi Holyfield said, her husband hit her in front of the couple's children.

The gossip site Mediatakeout.com, relying on reports from Radaronline suggests that the argument between the couple began when Evander demanded to see a cheque stub proving how much Candi had paid in tithing to Creflo Dollars church.

As a former heavyweight champion, any assault by Evander  against a woman would be extremely grievous because the potential for harm is escalated due to his professional training and the obvious biological differences.  It is further damaging that the assaults have allegedly repeatedly occurred in the presence of their children.  Such actions would teach his son that he had the right to react violently and his daughter that violence is a normalized punishment for disagreement. Simply because the children were not harmed, does not mean that witnessing acts of  violence does not constitute child abuse.

This is a man that has made his fortune through violence.  The fact that we have legitimized pugilism in no way changes the effect that it has on our culture.  When violence is celebrated, it supports the idea that it can be justified depending upon the circumstances.  In this instance, Evander allegedly relied upon his religious beliefs as a basis of justification.

image Creflo Dollar is the king of the megachurches and is in no way hurting for money.  Rather than counselling Evander to help him deal with his obvious rage issues, by continuing to expect  tithing, which the man could not afford, he simply added to the tensions in the Holyfield home.   Supporting Creflo’s need for thousand dollar suits and fancy shoes, is not more important than paying child support or ensuring that the home that the Holyfield children live in is equipped with heat and all other amenities.

These megachurch ministers sit like kings upon thrones and do little to help the people that they claim to be ministering to.  Christianity for profit is a perversion at best and considering the historic role that the Black church has played within the African American community, it is destroying not only a place of communion and sanctuary but its fundamental role in encouraging Blacks to speak truth to power.  There can be no truth in ignoring violence to profit financially. 

If Candi’s assertions are proven to be truthful, once again we will have witnessed the terrible intersection of sexism, religion and class.  It will be interesting to see whether or not this terrible incident will receive the discussion that it deserves in the Black community beyond the hideous gossip blogs.   We often spend time talking about the ways that racism is a terrible evil, while failing to acknowledging all of the wrongdoing that continues to happen.  Whiteness may construct all Black men as violent but that should not prevent us from attacking the Black men that perpetuate this stereotype with their behaviours.  The Chris Brown and Rihanna incident may have faded from the front pages; however, Black men continue to abuse Black women and no amount of talk about the racism that we are subjected to as a community, should be allowed to overshadow this very damaging fact.


Monstrous Musings:This is what a feminist vampire looks like (Musings on The Gilda Stories, by Jewelle Gomez)

This is a guest post from Natalie Wilson

I am a literature and women’s studies scholar and author of the blogs Professor, what if…? and Seduced by Twilight. I am currently writing a book examining the Twilight cultural phenomenon from a feminist perspective. My interest in vampires and werewolves dates back to my childhood fascination with all types of monsters.

imageIn the comment thread from my first Monstrous Musings post, one person noted the dearth of black female vampires. Most well-known vampires are indeed white and male, and thus the vampire canon is not always the most feminist friendly (as noted here). But black female vampires do exist – none, I would argue, in more feminist fashion than Gilda of The Gilda Stories, by Jewelle Gomez.

While it might seem more apt to refer to Gilda as womanist, Gomez self-identifies as a lesbian feminist, so I am sticking with her terminology. In her afterword to The Gilda Stories, Gomez notes her fondness for Dracula as a “compelling mythology…which I, as a lesbian feminist, need to excavate and reshape.”

While I am aware that the “lesbian vampire” has had some time in the spotlight – as she does here – she is not front and center near as often as white hetero male vamps. Even more sidelined are vampires of color (VOCs?).

As I am hoping everyone who reads this post will also read The Gilda Stories, I won’t give away too much of Gomez’s “reshaping.” I do want to share that her book proves in spades the political viability of the vampire canon. As Gomez makes abundantly clear, vamps can indeed be very politicized creatures.

The novel takes readers on a journey from 1850 Louisiana to a post-apocalyptic “Land of Enchantment” circa 2050, stopping in various time zones and at geographical locations along the way. Offering depictions of slavery, prostitution, interpersonal violence, capitalism, racism, and sexism in its narrative arc, it is a must read for anyone interested in how vampires reveal a great deal about culture, politics, and the privilege/oppression matrix.

Intriguingly, it is one of the few novels to emphasize that vampires need not kill. Even Twilight, with it’s “vegetarian vampires” fails to suggest that Edward et al might be able to drink without murdering. I hope readers will correct me if my memory serves me wrong, but I can’t recall many vampire tales wherein the vamps don’t either kill or ultimately turn those they sup from. There have been those who choose to kill animals rather than humans (as in Stephenie Meyer and Anne Rice) but what about those that feed without killing?  The only other example that comes to mind is another feminist vampire text, The Vampire Tapestry, where Weyland, like Gilda, drinks but does not kill.

Noting she was not “comfortable with the dead bodies that littered Dracula’s path to fulfillment,” Gomez pens what accounts to a feminist vampire manifesto (even though this post here suggests that a feminist vampire novel is somewhat of an impossibility). Explaining that her story is grounded in “the personal is political” motto, Gomez emphasizes the importance of remembering that the “little” aspects of sexism are just as important as the big ones – sexism, she argues, is sometimes “like a pebble that needs to be removed from a shoe; a tiny thing that throws off a woman’s gait, causing her to limp, sometimes unconsciously, to avoid pain every day.”

In addition to revealing the daily realities of sexism and racism, the novel also functions as an incisive critique of capitalism – a system that is ultimately depicted in the novel as destroying the earth and humanity with it. Vampires are a perfect conduit for such a critique because they have the power to be (and often are) voracious consumers. These bad vampires, as Gomez puts it, “are kind of like the multi-national corporations that we read about everyday.”

In contrast to the normal killing/taking mode, Gilda and her extended vampire family (which is a chosen family) live by the motto “We take blood, not life. Leave something in exchange.”

While vampires from Stoker to Meyer are only takers, Gilda and company approach their feeding necessity as an exchange. These words, as the author explains, “postulate that we are interconnected, that our survival is dependent on our exchanges with each other, and that our balance is kept only when we give and take as needed.” Oh, if only these wise words guided our world leaders! If only more humans lived by Gomez’s belief that “the more power we have, the more responsibility we have in our communities.”

Please, dear readers, get thee to a library or bookstore and READ THE GILDA STORIES!!!


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

John Mayer: “My dick is sort of like a white supremacist”

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If there were ever to be an award for douche of the year, I am most certain John Mayer would win hands down.  He recently did an interview with playboy that had me wanting to wash my eyeballs out and rip something.  The following is just a short snippet of the horror that is John Mayer.

MAYER: Someone asked me the other day, “What does it feel like now to have a hood pass?” And by the way, it’s sort of a contradiction in terms, because if you really had a hood pass, you could call it a nigger pass. Why are you pulling a punch and calling it a hood pass if you really have a hood pass? But I said, “I can’t really have a hood pass. I’ve never walked into a restaurant, asked for a table and been told, ‘We’re full.’"
PLAYBOY: It is true; a lot of rappers love you. You recorded with Common and Kanye West, played live with Jay-Z.
MAYER: What is being black? It’s making the most of your life, not taking a single moment for granted. Taking something that’s seen as a struggle and making it work for you, or you’ll die inside. Not to say that my struggle is like the collective struggle of black America. But maybe my struggle is similar to one black dude’s.
PLAYBOY: Do black women throw themselves at you?
MAYER: I don’t think I open myself to it. My dick is sort of like a white supremacist. I’ve got a Benetton heart and a fuckin’ David Duke cock. I’m going to start dating separately from my dick.

PLAYBOY: Let’s put some names out there. Let’s get specific.
MAYER: I always thought Holly Robinson Peete was gorgeous. Every white dude loved Hilary from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. And Kerry Washington. She’s superhot, and she’s also white-girl crazy. Kerry Washington would break your heart like a white girl. Just all of a sudden she’d be like, “Yeah, I sucked his dick. Whatever.” And you’d be like, “What? We weren’t talking about that.” That’s what “Heartbreak Warfare” is all about, when a girl uses jealousy as a tactic.

For the love of God, seriously SHUT THE FUCK UP!  This over privileged White man decides to wax prophetic about Nigger passes and then tells the world what it is like to be Black.  How is it that one being possesses so much douchbaggery? I suppose he feels that he is being down and edgy with the peeps but seriously, the man knows more about rainbow brite, than he knows about what it is to walk through the world with a real marginalization.

And why oh why does he believe the world is obsessed with his dick? Perhaps Black women aren’t interested in you because you wear the confederate flag like a badge of honour and yet knowing this, you can still lament the fact that we’re just not that into you.  Before using Benetton as an adjective, perhaps he should have given some thoughts to the objections that Blacks have raised regarding their so-called inclusive advertising.  Oh, but that would mean actually looking beyond his limited point of view and everyone knows that if it isn’t about John Mayer, then there really is no point.

Just case you thought that he made it through an interview without his usually misogyny:

MAYER: Here’s what I really want to do at 32: fuck a girl and then, as she’s sleeping in bed, make breakfast for her. So she’s like, “What? You gave me five vaginal orgasms last night, and you’re making me a spinach omelet? You are the shit!” So she says, “I love this guy.” I say, “I love this girl loving me.” And then we have a problem. Because that entails instant relationship. I’m already playing house. And when I lose interest she’s going to say, “Why would you do that if you didn’t want to stick with me?”
PLAYBOY: Why do you do it?
MAYER: Because I want to show her I’m not like every other guy. Because I hate other men. When I’m fucking you, I’m trying to fuck every man who’s ever fucked you, but in his ass, so you’ll say “No one’s ever done that to me in bed.”

What a performance artist  Sex isn’t about two people sharing an experience, nope its about Mayer doing performance art.  He doesn’t want to share with women because he wants to possess them the same way he does a car , or a tv and this is why he feels challenged by women who have had prior relationships.  His ego is so fragile, that he is literally terrified that someone could actually be a better lover than him, which btw isn’t hard to imagine because he cannot conceive of a woman getting of without his mighty dick.

Finally, is that a little homoeroticism that Mayer is coping to?  I daresay that along with Black women, gay men would be less than excited  to take him on.  So let me get this straight, he feels inferior to other men and so he fights this idea by fantasizing about anal copulation….um if you are thinking that Mayer is just plain fucked up, I would have to agree with you.   Really, Mayer would do more for the world if he would just stick to playing his guitar badly, while the adults in the room carried on a conversation.

H/T INKOGNEGRO via Twitter



Activism Round Here

Activism has weighed heavily on my mind since the earthquake in Haiti.  I have watched the celebrities come forward to attempt to raise money for the survivors of image the Haitian earthquake.  GIVE GIVE GIVE is the message, but I wonder how many of them have sat down and really made the larger connections? This Friday my son’s school is having  buy a hot chocolate for Haiti day; however, they have yet to inform the children about neocolonialsm, racism and spurious debt.  Why educate them, when they can pass on Bono style activism to soothe any kind of privilege angst before it can occur?

A few years ago, Bono held a world concert to get signatures for a petition to give to a G8 summit, to eliminate the debt of third world countries and today not only is the  debt still in existence, so is the predatory mode of exchange.  The pattern I see repeated, is that we are encouraged to just throw money at a problem through “responsible purchases” or donations, or throw a happy happy joy joy rock concert to force the solution to magically appear.  Westerners are encouraged to give  up a latte for humanity. It is almost as though it is understood that if more were asked, that people would find an excuse to abdicate their responsibilities.

Where has our fearlessness gone?  Each day rights are being eroded, education is declining and the standard of living is being reduced.  We are treated to politicians offering us solutions that really don’t differ from each other because no matter which party you turn to, they are all fed by the big machine.  Can you really make a change from within? What is the difference between the left and right in the mainstream, when the same signature is on both pay checks?

Blair first came on the scene, all shiny and new after so many years of Tory destruction and it was cool Britannia all the way image to war.  Obama had people in the streets chanting “yes we can” and while he has certainly proven to be better than his predecessor, it really is not hard to be a better commander and chief than Bush.  In Canada we have the pit bull in a sweater vest, who is more interested in holding onto power, than actually governing.  Isn’t he lucky that the Olympics showed up just in time forestall any real challenge, while he once again gets his ducks in a row? 

I suppose the word for how I feel is disillusioned.  Politicians cannot be trusted, cannot be trusted, cannot be trusted.   We cannot even count on the media to correctly search for the truth, if it becomes more advantageous to parrot the party line.  In left corners it has become quite popular to attack Fox News for its slanted position, but honestly there is no left media and if we believe otherwise, it is because we are in a state of denial.  Can anyone trumpet the name of a mainstream news outlet that dedicated itself to talking openly and honestly about the Iraq war before it started?  The media is not about informing us about world events; it’s about maintaining dominant discourse.  It teaches submission and conformity.

The co-option of activism has made us all impotent in the face of  tyranny.  Even when we can admit the faults in the system, we do no act to make a change.  There is no ground swell of disapproval because we have become complacent, content to softly whimper as yet another layer of flesh is peeled off of our backs.  The introduction of Bono Style activism is perhaps one of the most inventive tools of the bourgeoisie to calm and control the proletariat.  We are encouraged to believe that we image are creating change and that we are revolutionaries, however; all action simply supports the system.  We may wear a Che shirt as we hand over our latte money, but any real understanding of what it is to hold others accountable has long since been lost.  Buy Green, sign a petition, donate a dollar and none of it involves self denial, sacrifice or challenge; it is sanitized safe, marketed, time tested and true. 

Do we really want to give up western privilege and return to a subsistence lifestyle?   We wag our finger at India as it begins  its own industrial revolution, forgetting the ways in which the smokestacks of London were praised as progress.  Environmentalism is for other nations and if our corporations happen to locate there so that they can pollute at will, well then we can still whine about losing our jobs.  People are being OUTSOURCED! That is the real crime, not  the flouting of environmental standards for a buck.  Neo-Liberals posit that if we really wanted to protect the globe, we would support privatization, sure in the knowledge that ownership would cause better care for the earth.  We will just ignore the fact that the ecosystem is GLOBAL and what happens thousands of miles away always effects us. Should one person or a corporation, really own something that effects millions in small ways daily, when the only oversight is profit?

From the so-called activist bracelets, to the rock concerts, we have been tamed and subdued.  The co-option of activism by the ruling elite would almost be amusing, if it did not mean a image lack of progress and further impoverishment for so many. The bourgeoisie love to inform us that we have power:  yell “Yes we can”, turn your twitter icons green and pass that joint at the next rock activism concert, as long as we play by the rules like good automatons and never really do anything to change the status quo.

We want to see Anderson Cooper telling us of how revolutionary we are being.  Nothing smells more of progressiveness than a Vanderbilt actually having enough clout to comment on the poor and disenfranchised.  We will just pretend he knows what it is like to go hungry, or not have the money to see a doctor.  Anderson is our man on the ground and when disaster strikes, the comforting face of liberal angst is exactly what we need to see.

In a few weeks Oprah will follow with a show and we can let out all the pent up emotion, with a few salty tears as we worry about whose night it is to do the dishes.  Human suffering is entertainment in the twenty-four news world.  There is just enough florid language for the perception of concern and everything is broken down nicely into soundbites for immediate consumption. Not to worry though, it is all fair and unbiased; nothing will appear that will cause you to get off your couch, write a letter to your representative, or boycott any business, because the anger is beautifully canned and we can’t really have people thinking that they can force a change.

image Be passive in your aggression and remember real change comes from within, as you sign up for food stamps.  Better days are going to come and though we never had the right in the first place, you too can own your own postage stamp size plot of land, throw on a flannel suit as you put in your forty hours and at the end of it all, if you have not remortgaged your home too many times, you might actually have something to give your descendents. If the dream seems just a bit opaque, remember idealism is for the young and you have 401ks and RRSP’s to think of.


Wednesday What’s Up

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Well after today the worst of the work week is over.  Some of you who are in the midst of the snowgasm and have not been to work yet.  This week Jimi Izrael was on the Tom Joyner morning show and got his ass handed to him.  Here is a link for those of you that missed it.  Make sure to click Jaque Reid. He has written yet another misogynist screed about how we poor Black women cannot find a good Black man.  Gotta love it when an asshat gets handed his hat.  Here we have a man who is twice divorced with three different kids by three different women giving relationship advice.  For entertainment value alone check it out.

Well tell me what is going on with you and I will meet you in the comment section.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Montel Williams Endorses Money Mutual Payday Loans

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First we had Russell Simons endorsing the Rush Card and now we have Montel Williams endorsing payday loans.  Are we ever going to arrive at the day when Black celebrities decide that it is not okay to promote these predatory business models to vulnerable members of society?

According to the MoneyMutual website:

Montel Williams has endorsed MoneyMutual because it provides needed short term cash loans to people who have no other credit alternatives. Montel takes pride in being able to provide people with information which could help them to live better physically, spiritually, financially, and emotionally. When it comes to financial assistance, Montel understands that people will find unexpected and needed expenses from time to time that are difficult to pay for due to lack of funds or credit. Rather than bounce a check, or receive late payment penalties, Montel believes that a short term cash loan from MoneyMutual can provide the necessary immediate assistance and help avoid more costly fees. According to Williams, "MoneyMutual's online lending network is the only source you can trust for finding a short term cash loan quickly and easily." MoneyMutual allows people to receive instant approval on getting a cash loan of up to $1,000. Restrictions do apply. See Moneymutual.com for details.

Black blogs continually speak about the racism that we face, but what happens when the face of the oppressor is brown like yours?   Montel exists with extreme class privilege and he will never have to access the very loans that he is busy peddling to an unsuspecting public.

These companies are little more than legalized loan sharking.  They often charge an exorbitant rate of interest and get away with this because the people turning to their services have often be denied other avenues of credit.  To be clear, though we continually preach the Calvinist work ethic to the poor, the truth of the matter is that this economy runs on credit. Rather than increasing real wages to keep up with the increasing cost of living, credit has been offered to the working poor to help finance day to day expenses.  Big Business has worked in partnership with Big Banks and other financing firms to ensure that the culture of debt has become normative.  Most American Households have an average of 10 thousand dollars in credit card debt alone.

The cycle of debt with pay day loans is far more predatory than any other form of previous lending. A person will typically take on a loan due to a shortfall in funds; however, when the loan comes to term, it places them in the same situation for the following week and therefore, they are forced to take out a new loan.  As the fees escalate, it is not uncommon for people to take out various loans from multiple companies.  This places the debtor in the position of constantly juggling multiple loans for exorbitant fees, with no hope of ever paying off the original debt.

The choice of Montel Williams as a spokesperson was not accidental.  These companies are well aware of how the economy has impacted Blacks.  Even when when Blacks are employed, they are increasingly under employed, making it more difficult to get access to basic commodities.  This is why these companies largely populate urban neighbourhoods. The racialized nature of this type of lending cannot be ignored.  It is simply another peg in the purposeful impoverishment of Black peoples.

When Montel chose to align himself with these businesses, he chose to embrace the oppressor rather than supporting his own people.  While we need to focus on the ways in which Whiteness acts as a systemic force, we also need to deal with those in the community who have embraced the master’s tools for their own personal benefit.  Payday loan lending institutions are benefitting and Montel Williams is benefitting, while poor Blacks are once again footing the bill.

H/T BlackVoices


Hotter Than My Daughter

Many of the great television shows that we have enjoyed, have been directly based on sitcoms/dramas that have been successful in the U.K.  BBC has recently released a new program called “Hotter Than my Daughter”, which I desperately hope stays on their side of the pond.

Does anyone need to watch a show that is based upon setting mothers and daughters against one another in competition for men?  Could you even see this concept working if it were a father and son duo?

image Of course the more skimpy that these mothers dress, the more that their daughters express anxiety and in some cases shame.  The daughters feel that it is their time to shine and that their mothers are too old to dress sexy and go to the clubs.   Too make the dynamic even more interesting, the show seems to fixate on women that are single mothers.  This sends the message that their supposed wild ways, are what are keeping them from leading the lives that all “normal” women apparently aspire to.  Where is the picket fence, the dutiful husband and the minivan loaded with crafts? These women are wild and savage, and are therefore; counter to the image that we have constructed of the long suffering mother.

Since having a breast enlargement six years ago, Lisa has not been able to resist flashing even more flesh and asks her nan to sew her outfits smaller and smaller.

"I love bra tops, hot pants and fishnets. And of course they all have to be in neon colours."

Amber feels she is the only responsible one of the family, as her father is not around and her little sister loves her mum's look.

Amber says: "My friends get jealous that Mum is so cool, and are envious that when I am 18 she can take me clubbing. But if she carries on wearing those clothes, I wouldn't be seen dead with her."

This program is the perfect combination of slut shaming and ageism.  Mothers are not understood to be sexual beings and in fact, society expects women to give up that side of their identity the moment the umbilical cord is cut.  Good mothers do not pursue their personal desires; they exist to ferry their kids to various events, bake cookies and clean house.  If along the way they manage to teach their daughters the appropriateness of female submission, so much the better.

The media is about youth culture and because beauty as power is understood to be the sphere of women, as they age they become less and less relevant. Women are having plastic surgery at younger and younger ages to erase imaginary flaws.  When they are photographed, their images are constantly photo-shopped to remove any tell-tale signs of age.  A laugh line or a wrinkle is a sing against youth culture.  Aging gracefully is not encouraged and women are expected to fight the process every step of the way.

The daughters on the show frequently state that their mothers are too old to act like this, or too old to dress like this.  How many times have you seen women wonder if they can wear their hair long after a certain age?  What is with the policing based on age?  Ageism often gets ignored, even though it is an issue that we will all eventually face.  When these daughters request that their mothers “act their age”, what they are suggesting, is that they become as invisible as all of the other mature women in our society.

There was a time when age would stand as something important because it meant that a person had lived experience that was considered valuable.  Today we create statements like 50 is the new 30, as though being 50 is something that we should be ashamed of.  The fact that we have behaviours or clothing that are appropriate by age, only guides the process from social relevance to invisibility. 

This show is about judging women and normalizing behaviours that are ultimately “othering.”  We claim to prize individuality; however, the moment anyone decides that they are not content to be just another drone, we instantly move in to correct the assumption that that they have a right to ignore the rules of the game, which have been so carefully laid out.

No good can possibly come of this program because it once again encourages women to judge and demean one another.  Men continually point to the fact that women engage in this form of behaviour as proof that patriarchy is not the systemic force that womanists/feminists assert it to be.  Like all other social structures, patriarchy has long ago learned that the easiest way to police (read: rule), is to encourage  oppressed bodies to attack one another.  Though this program was created by a woman, its profits will go to a man because the media, like every other social organization is male run.  Just because you cannot see the strings, does not mean you are not watching a puppet show.



A Spark of Wisdom: You’re already teaching kids sexuality

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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.

Children are too young to learn about ANY kind of sexuality. It's a common refrain, when you discuss teaching children about homosexuality or homophobia. Children are too young for that. Too vulnerable. Too young to understand. They're not homophobic, they hasten to add, oh no, they don't want to teach kids about ANY sexuality! And that includes heterosexuality!

And I really want to know where the idea came from that you DIDN'T teach sexuality (and gender identity) to your 5, 8, 10, 14 (or however old you think is too frail to hear about the GBLT folk) year old?

image Do they have a mother and father? A grandmother and grandfather? Aunts and uncles? How many couples do they know, how many husbands and wives in nicely matched pairs? How many boyfriends and girlfriends?

How many times have you spoken about "when they grow up?" How many times does that involve a partner of the opposite gender? Ever spoken about future wives/husbands?

Do you tease them and make little jokes? When you see him with a female friend do you tease him "is that your girlfriend?" Do you ask the same about his male friends?

Do they watch television? Do they see an endless stream of heterosexuals and heterosexual couples? From animated movies to those dreadfully dull child-friendly fluff - how many of them have heterosexuality craftily inserted in there? Even Peanuts had (heterosexual, naturally) love interests!

image Do they read books? How many princes rescue princesses? How many children have a mummy and a daddy? How many boy friends and girl friends are there? Even Goldilocks had a mummy bear and a daddy bear. Beauty met the Beast - but Beast was always a guy and Beauty was always a girl. The kiss that woke Sleeping Beauty was never from another woman, Prince Charming never rode to Prince Even-More-Charming's rescue.

Do they go to school? Do they learn about history - with kings married to queens? With great men - and their wives? Lots of heterosexual partners presented week after week? Do they study English and literature - and again see man and woman, eternally linked and assumed again and again and again? Have they studied religion? Do they go to church?

image Have you told them there are clothes for boys and clothes for girls? Does you son wear a dress? Does he wear pink? Does your daughter play with dolls that need burping and putting to sleep, or dolls with guns? Does she get an easy bake oven or a transformer?

Were his baby blankets blue? Were hers pink?

Does mummy do the housework? Does daddy fix the car?

See, I was taught about heterosexuality and "proper" gender presentation from a very very young age. It was taught by my family, by my friends, by my teachers, by my books and by the TV. It glared out from every corner. The lessons were impossible to miss. It was impossible NOT to learn about sexuality. Only it was never my sexuality - never me. Only "appropriate" sexuality.

And do you even begin to realise how long and how hard it was to unlearn all that?

We teach sexuality from the cradle, from the very second they open their eyes we force these lessons on our children. But for some of our kids, those lessons are just plain wrong, and for the rest they just teach them that we don't exist.

You already teach kids sexuality - but you don't tell them the whole story and that ignorance can hurt all of them - and it certainly hurts us.


Tune in Tuesday: Dexy’s midnight runners come on Eileen

I was chatting with everyone’s favourite Gus last night when she mentioned how much she loves this song.  In typical Gus fashion, she confused the band that actually sang this song.   Contrary to her first suggestion, the song is BEFORE my time.  I actually first heard this song when a French male skater did a routine to it.  I immediately loved the song, at which point the unhusband informed of how old it was, thereby showing his age hahaha.  At any rate, I still think this is a good one to dance to.

Monday, February 8, 2010

The Leafs Welcome Terminally Ill Toddler

I was not planning on blogging anymore for the day but then the unhusband sent me an e-mail about three year old Tucker Patterson.  The following comes from the CBC.

Tucker Patterson, 3, suffers from Leigh's disease, a debilitating genetic disorder that has him confined to a wheelchair. He cannot walk, talk or eat, but was smiling as his father and twin sister wheeled him around the ice surface at the home rink of the Leafs on Tuesday.

Tuesday's skate came nine days after Tucker was denied access to a Hamilton rink. A rink employee told Tucker's mother Kari on Jan. 17 that the facility could not accommodate her son and his wheelchair.

"I was looking on the city of Hamilton website, and it stated in their mission values and goals statement clearly that all Ontarians with disabilities of any age are given equal opportunity to enjoy life," Kari Patterson said Tuesday.

The rink's manager promptly apologized to the family. Hamilton city manager Chris Murray told CBC News in an email the city "has a policy that is inclusive, not exclusive, and allows or makes accommodation for any and all our citizens."

He said the city will ensure there is "better communication with our employees regarding these policies."

A representative from Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment heard Tucker's story and offered to have him watch a Leafs practice and tour the ice surface.

Click the image below and you will find a video of Tucker at the Air Canada Center cheering on The Toronto Maple Leafs.  I am warning you I cried like a baby.

image Below is an excerpt from a letter that Tucker’s Mom wrote to The Leafs in thanks.

When Jason gave Tucker, Tori, Avery and our nephews the gift bags, they were so thrilled.  Then when Tucker received the warm-up suit, felt hockey helmet and then the brand new jersey – I nearly cried. I couldn’t wait to watch the practices and then see Tucker’s reaction to being on the ice for the first time (a very special father/son moment): I honestly don’t think it could get better than that.

I’m not even really a hockey fan but this story really touched me.  Thank you so much to the Toronto Maple Leafs for being a class act and asserting that everyone has a place in this world.

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Emily Blunt Makes Disability Fashionable

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In a series of photographs featured in the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Ms. Blunt can be seen posing with crutches.   Isn’t she vulnerable and sweet?  Images of differently abled people rarely appear in mainstream media and to have an able bodied woman affecting disability not only creates the differently abled as invisible, it presents an unrealistic image of what disability looks like.

Crutches are not a fashion statement; they are a mobility aid. There is nothing chic about crutches because they help to mark a persons body as faulty to the outside world, due to our understanding of disability.  Crutches mean limited access, and exposure to disableism, therefore the idea that they can enter a fashion shoot in the same way as a pretty dress or a nice pair of shoes is highly offensive.

An injury or a disability often means pain and some cases chronic pain.  While Ms. Blunt is quite happy to hold the crutches because it costs her nothing, I daresay Ms. Blunt would be far more resistant to taking on the pain that comes with this mobility aid.  An able bodied person cannot represent a disabled person because they cannot know what it feels like or have an understanding of the limitations that are imposed. 

One of the ways in which we express power over others is through appropriation.  You can see this happen time and time again when Whiteness takes on parts of a racialized identity because it appears to be cool.  The above image is of exactly the same vein.  Who is represented in the media and how they are represented, often speaks loudly as to which bodies are valued. Why show a real differently abled person when we can have an able bodied person play that role?  This image asserts that the differently abled aren’t really meant to be seen, unless it serves some larger narrative.

H/T Jezebel

 


Just Another Monday

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Well here we go, the beginning of another work.  Please use this thread to chat about your weekend or simply whine about the fact that it is Monday and that there are forty hours to go until freedom.  This weekend I finally watched “Up in the Air” and everyone’s favourite Gus, Allison McCarthy forced me to watch “Flowers in the Attic” despite the fact that she has thus far failed to yell, I love Black people in honour of Black history month.  If that isn’t going above and beyond for friendship I don’t know what is.  Let it all fly and I will meet you in the comment section.

Super Bowl Ad Fail:Dodge Charger Man’s Last Stand

Voiceover (over images of various men looking utterly morose and defeated): I will get up and walk the dog at 6:30am. I will eat some fruit as part of my breakfast. I will shave. I will clean the sink after I shave. I will be at work by 8am. I will sit through two-hour meetings. I will say yes when you want me to say yes. I will be quiet when you don't want to hear me say no. I will take your call. I will listen to your opinion of my friends. I will listen to your friends' opinions of my friends. I will be civil to your mother. I will put the seat down. I will separate the recycling. I will carry your lip balm. I will watch your vampire TV shows with you. I will take my socks off before getting into bed. I will put my underwear in the basket. And because I do this [cut to image of black Dodge Charger speeding on the open road], I will drive the car I WANT TO DRIVE. Charger: MAN'S LAST STAND. [The words appear onscreen in all caps. More images of car, set to Bond-like music.Transcript via Shakesville.

What would the Super Bowl be without ads which enforce gender normativity and a large dose of heterosexism?  His life is a complete misery because he has to participate in the world.  Were it not for the ball and chain he could be free to hunt and bang his chest at will.  Yes, a man’s life is nothing but suffering and duty.  He has no power, he is completely impotent all because of the evil matriarchy.  We’ll just ignore the reality of the double day that is a regular feature in women’s lives, the mehnz are suffering.  Quick, someone pass me an onion, I need to dredge up a tear.

Also, don’t you just love the idea presented by this commercial that all men are straight?  Real men are heterosexual beasts and therefore there is no need to even consider the fact that gay men do indeed exist.  How can we possibly talk about male oppression, if we for a moment admit to the existence of gay men? The issue here is that there is only one kind of approved masculinity and the matriarchy is stifling it. Oh Noes. Oh Noes.

Not to worry because all of that suffering will not be in vain, you can yet hold onto some of the privileges that the evil matriarchy is stripping away.  Thank God/Goddess (yeah the Goddess part was just to be PC) that the Dodge Charger exists.  You can unleash your inner heterosexual defeated caveman.  You can reclaim the freedom that you lost to support the evil ball and chain.  In that moment, when you hit the open road, you will instantly be transported back to a time when men were men. At last, an escape from the evils of female tyranny.

This was  but one of the many commercials that irritated me.  Feel free to share in comments some of your least favourites and why.

 



What Counts as a Disability?

image Just like any other identity, a disabled identity is highly disciplined. Those that are able bodied highly discipline the identity by attempting to decide who has the right to take this label, thereby justifying their disableism.  Last week I wrote a post entitled, “Disability when Accommodations are Imperfect”.  I am going to highlight a few comments on this post as an example of discipline.

There are countless millions dying of starvation around the globe.
This one American thinks she has it hard because her obesity (whilst I concede it is a disability, its a disability you gave yourself, sort of like if I were to cut of my legs little by little everyday, despite various health warning and people telling em to stop) makes it a little difficult to get on buses.
I know swearing is the sign of an inferior intellect, but seriously fuck you. Fuck you, and your bullshit.
You should be GRATEFUL that you live in a country where there is so much food, you can eat yourself to death. You should be grateful that whilst you are doing this, in the face of the dying millions, your government still has the heart to help you out as much as it can.
Again, I hate to be vulgar most of the time, but seriously, fuck you.

The above is but one of many that I received on that post.   We often look at an illness and decide whether or not we are going to have sympathy for a person based on whether or not we believe that they are responsible for their sickness, for e.g. few would have sympathy for a smoker who had lung cancer. While this position is extremely problematic, this is a subject best left for another day.

The Calvinism in our approach to health and well being is based on fear.   We believe that if we eat right, exercise, get enough sleep and somehow manage to avoid stress, that we can avoid disability.   No matter how socially accepting we claim to be towards those that are differently abled, our bodies are still understood to be irrevocably damaged and there is a real and concrete fear of a loss of able bodied privilege.  When someone is both fat and disabled, then fatness for many serves as a mitigating factor, even when the condition is not known to the person judging/disciplining.

When someone can point to fatness, suddenly it is believed that a person did not do all that they should have to avoid becoming disabled.  The fact that fatness is an indicator of illness is ignored to push a disableist Calvinist agenda.  We ignore the fact that medications like prednisone, which is a steroid can lead to massive weight gain no matter what a person eats or how much they exercise.  We don’t care that many anti-depressants will also have the same effect.  This is not a chicken and egg situation; the cure/treatment in many cases increases the likelihood that a spoiled identity will indeed attach itself to the disabled person.  Is it really better to be skinny and extremely ill than fat and healthy?

I suppose that having to exert yourself in a way besides using one of you fat fucking whale flippers to shove junk food in to your pig disgusting face is worst that the holocaust.
Eat heath you disgusting beast. You do not exercise and eat right and that is why you are a cancer to society.
I am an EMT and you fuck fat assholes break our fucking backs. Think about somebody besides yourselves for once. Plus you all have a shit-ton of medical complications which cost a shit ton.
For real, kill yourself, you're a plague on humanity.

When fatness and disability combine it is enough to make society attempt to force someone to closet themselves.  Fatness is perceived by many to be grotesque and disability reminds everyone that able bodied status is temporary for us all.   We hate because we fear.  The stark reality is that no matter how hard we work to achieve the mythical perfect body, some conditions are unavoidable. 

It is further ironic that cost is often cited as justification for hatred.  In a society that is based on consumption, it is quite ironic that when it is convenient we will discipline based on this factor.  The cost of dealing with the medical complications of obesity or even disability pale in comparison to those that we willingly burden ourselves with to support the ruling bourgeoisie.  This is not about real cost, this is about denying certain bodies the right to take up space.  If we were truly concerned with cost, our current predatory mode of exchange would long ago have been dismantled.  The fat person does not impoverish; however, the boss that daily pays you less than the value of your labour week after week most certainly does.

One of the most pervasive false rights that we daily act upon is the right to oppress another.  In so doing, we reify a hierarchy of bodies that traps us all into supporting the idea that those with privilege are necessarily valuable bodies.   If we engage in ‘othering” and false identification, it is most certain that these ideas will continue to flourish, thus ensuring that each person in time will be subject to some form of social discipline.  It is quite simple really, karma awaits for us all.  That which you send into the world will certainly be visited upon you.  



Focus on the Family Super Bowl ad: both abortion AND motherhood matter

This is my latest post for Global Comment

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CBS has traditionally maintained a ban on advocacy ads, but when the network announced their intent to relax this restriction, Focus on the Family took the opportunity to create an anti-abortion ad. Super Bowl commercials are assured to receive a high rate of viewership, not to mention the fact that football is generally a bastion of patriarchal masculinity.

The ad itself features the story of Pam Tebow, who was allegedly told by doctors during her pregnancy with Timothy Tebow that she should abort because she had a medical condition that threatened her life. Like all pro-life advertisements, this is framed as a “choice for life,” but the ad neglects to mention that Ms. Tebow made this so-called decision in the Philippines, where abortion has been illegal since 1870. Can a choice really have been made under these circumstances? And what to the meaning of the choice to become a parent in general? Could we be missing something important here?

Organizations like NOW and The Center for Reproductive Rights have been very active in challenging the position that this ad represents choice. In a letter to Matthew Margo [PDF link], the Senior Vice President of Program Practices for CBS, The Center for Reproductive services contend that considering the dire consequences for women who are found guilty of terminating a pregnancy, it is highly unlikely that Ms. Tebow was indeed advised to procure an abortion. Both NOW and the Center for Reproductive Rights assert that this is ad does not meet the standards that CBS has set regarding accuracy in advertising.

NOW and The Center for Reproductive Rights present a cogent argument to invalidate the claims made by both Ms. Tebow and her son, Timothy. Pro-life groups in the U.S. have a history of presenting the women who have chosen to keep their babies as emblematic of an anti-abortion stance without acknowledging that these women only had the ability to choose because abortion is a legal procedure in the United States. The absence of free will invalidates the argument that a conscious choice has been made.

Meanwhile, if Focus on the Family had chosen to highlight the story of a woman who had indeed chosen motherhood, would the current opposition to this advertisement still exist?

Finish reading here.