Friday, June 11, 2010

“Women Cursing Women: The Coming Storm”

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Egyptian-Sudanese-American novelist and poet Kola Boof has been an agent for Sudan’s SPLA and was the National Chairwoman of the U.S. Branch of the Sudanese Sensitization Peace Project.  She has written for television and her many books include, “Flesh and the Devil,” “Long Train to the Redeeming Sin,” “Nile River Woman” and “Virgins In the Beehive.”  She blogs at Kola Boof. com






The moment I submitted my piece entitled “The Rap About Gold diggers” to WOMANISTMUSINGS—I knew that a bevy of mostly Non-Black feminists would rise up to protest the foul and fiery Anti-Woman language I used in describing several women of other races in my article.

I wanted you to do that; rise up…so that I could follow up today and expose another double standard.

Erykah Badu Keeps It Real

I have a  new piece up at Global Comment
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Erykah Badu lives her life without apologies. In a White supremacist patriarchal society, such an approach to life immediately comes under scrutiny, because it threatens the hierarchical order that we have created.

When I first became aware of Badu, it was not because of her music, but rather the public furor that erupted when she announced that she was pregnant for the third time. Badu now has three children, and each has a different father. She was forced to respond to the slut shaming that followed the announcement of her pregnancy with the following public statement:

“Un bebé no se hace solita, or, You can’t make a baby by yourself”

image Eugenia de Altura is a female graduate student conducting research on issues of women and gender in the cities of La Paz and El Alto, Bolivia. Bolivia is the poorest country in Latin America with the exception of Haiti, and over 60% of the country’s population is of indigenous descent. Eugenia’s postings explore women’s rights, sexuality, and reproductive health in Bolivia and in Latin America as a whole.

 

This week, I am concerned with a number of interrelated issues that are shaping women’s lives in Andean Bolivia: the ways in which society—and in particular, men—manipulate women’s experiences of motherhood; how the local and international press report on some crimes, and ignore others, and how those that commit these more “mundane” crimes enjoy almost complete impunity.

In the last several days, the BBC and La Paz’s daily newspaper La Razón each brought us a story of thwarted motherhood. First, on June 4, the BBC reported on a mother who attempted to sell her newborn child for US$140 to a woman unable to have children of her own. Then, yesterday, La Razón covered the story of an adolescent girl who was arrested after stealing an infant from a hospital in the city of Trinidad. Both of these stories make good news—they are flashy, they have clear victims and villains, and their resolution makes the Bolivian police look—for once—effective. But there is something else going on here, something perhaps far less newsworthy, but all the more important because of its prevalence: men’s abandonment and abuse of women.

First, let me say that I am not defending these women’s actions. Selling a person—especially one that you have recently given birth to—and stealing someone else’s child are both reprehensible crimes. That is, in part, why they are so newsworthy. However, it is important to recognize all factors to a crime, and place blame where blame is due. And in these cases, the blame falls partially on these women’s male partners.

First, consider the case of the woman who attempted to sell her baby. Although the price of US$140 that the woman and her “customer” fixed for the child represents much more money in Bolivia than it does in the U.S. or Canada, it still signals the acute desperation that this reluctant mother must have been experiencing. When asked why she was selling her child, the BBC reports that, “she agreed to sell her child because she had been abandoned by her husband and could not afford to support the child.”

Due to her folly, this woman will be charged with child trafficking and will likely face years in prison. And her husband? The man whose actions may have contributed to this act of desperation will likely remain free. Few know that Bolivia’s penal code stipulates a prison sentence of 6 months to 2 years (or a hefty fine) for men who abandon their families. If the wife or girlfriend is pregnant at the time of the abandonment—and if she sells her child as a result—the man faces one to five years in jail. And yet, few men are ever punished for abandoning their partners and children. In Bolivia, the impunity that these men enjoy is so common that the BBC reporter did not even find it relevant to mention that the woman’s abandonment also constituted a crime. And, I mean, why would you mention it? In addition to being common, the abandonment of women and children is also simply not as flashy as baby selling.

And the adolescent girl who stole a newborn from a Trinidad maternity ward? Her reasons for kidnapping the infant are even more heartbreaking, and highlight the sticky web of social problems surrounding women and couples in Bolivia. The 17-year-old girl, labeled M.C.T. by the press, reported that she stole the infant because she had recently suffered a miscarriage, and that “her partner had told her that if she did not have another baby, he would leave her” (translation mine).

Just pause for a moment and consider this—that, there is so much pressure for Bolivian women to be mothers—that there is so much wrapped up in that identity—that even at age 17, M.C.T. had already lost a child and felt desperate to have another. That her partner, instead of seeing her through the difficulty of the miscarriage and patiently awaiting the next pregnancy, demanded another child—as if it were something she could produce alone. And let’s not forget the woman who attempted to buy that infant for US$140—that she, too, must have felt such desperation to be a mother that, rather than pursuing adoption to bring home one of the 17,000 children that are abandoned in Bolivia each year, she decided to buy a kid.

As I said before, these crimes are terrible. But after living in Bolivia, and seeing and experiencing both the pressure to be a mother, and the unreliability of your average man, I am reluctant to place the blame solely on these women. Because after all, those babies didn’t get here alone—despite what these men’s actions would seem to imply.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Grio.com's Trans Free 15 LGBT Leaders List Fail

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

I'm usually paying attention when Black LGBT leaders lists are put together by media outlets geared toward people of color.

I've found these lists are heavy on the gay and lesbian side of the community, forget the bi part or add them as an afterthought, and either forget the trans part altogether or mistakenly believe that drag queens are acceptable substitutes for actual trans people.

Not surprisingly, I get to tell y'all about another African descended media outlet that fails in that regard.

The Grio.com recently put together a list of 15 LGBT Leaders of the Future.

While there are some wonderful and well deserving people on the list Talia Whyte compiled such as Keith Boykin, Pam Spaulding, Jane Velez-Mitchell, Anthony Woods, Staceyann Chin, Lee Daniels and Wanda Sykes, I'll give you one guess who she chose as what she thought was a representative of the trans community.

Nope, wasn't the TransGriot. Wasn't Miss Major, Kylar Broadus, Earline Budd or even Isis King. The person she chose was RuPaul's Drag Race Season One winner Bebe Zahara Benet.

Excuse me?

Okay, how many times do I have to say this Black GL community and African descended cis allies? This next paragraph also applies to elements of the vanilla flavoured GL community and our cis allies, too as well, so pay attention.

Drag queen, unless said drag queen is living 24/7/365 (366 in a leap year) as a woman, DOES NOT equal trans.


Yes, there are and have been drag artists that not only have done high quality work in terms of entertaining the community, but stepped up offstage to fulfill leadership roles for the TBLG community.

But I'm beyond sick and tired of being sick and tired of Black peeps putting lists together advertised as LGBT community ones and being too fracking lazy to do the work to find actual trans leaders to profile on these lists.

And don't give me or the African descended trans community the weak azz excuse about you don't know or can't find any trans leaders or accuse me of sour grapes for calling y'all out on the oversight.

This isn't even about me, so don't go there. It's about the erasure of African descended transpeople.

My point is that if our own people don't or won't show us some love when you compile these leadership lists, and you write for one of our leading blogosphere sites directed at the African-American community gay and straight, how in the hell can we Black trans leaders who are doing the work expect the predominately white TBLG community to respect us as well?

 


My Disabled Body

As I wrote yesterday, Womanist Musings, is a womanist blog, and therefore; the subjects that appear here are generally speaking from a womanist perspective.  What I have noticed is that despite my attempt to cover a broad range of subjects to make the blog as intersectional as possible, the posts written about disability routinely receive the least comments.  My writing style does not change from post to post and each piece that I dedicate myself to writing, is filled with the same passion.  The issue cannot be with me, but with the readers of this blog.

I know that many people come to Womanist Musings expecting a critique involving race.  In fact, when I am not being mislabelled a Black feminist, this blog is also routinely called an anti-racist blog.   I am a Black woman and therefore, race will always play a significant role in my life, but my disability also impacts how others view me and the treatment that I receive.

Disableism is not viewed by many as seriously as racism, though its effects can be just as devastating.  When you have disabled women being raped and impregnated by their caregivers, employment discrimination, housing discrimination, an inability to enter a store to buy a fucking stick of gum, I fail to see how this cannot be taken as a serious issue.  Perhaps people don’t think it is sexay enough to make headline news, but for those of us on the receiving end of diseablism, it is painful in ways that I cannot even describe to you.

As much as I love the spring because it means an end to my winter hibernation, I simply loathe the next round of articles regarding the threat that scooter users are to pedestrians. Apparently, we are all hopped up on drugs, using our mobility devices unsafely, or we take up way too much space and people have places to go. There is always a reason why the differently abled are seen as an inconvenience.

I get angry when I try to enter a store, only to find out that the automatic doors don’t work, or that the aisle way is so narrow that I cannot navigate well enough to shop.

I get angry when people think that they have the right to touch me, because clearly my scooter indicates to the world that I don’t have the right to bodily integrity.

I get angry when I see that disabled characters are most often played by able bodied people.  Of course there aren’t any disabled actors looking to make a living right.

I get angry when disability is always famed as dark or evil (think Darth Vader).  I have special hate for the fact that a miracle cure or revolutionary surgery is always found so that the differently bodied character can be whole and happy again.

I get angry when I say something is disableist, and an able bodied person says we will just have to agree to disagree.  No we won’t agree to disagree, you are being an ableist jerk and what you said was offensive.  Simply because it is common practice to use someone’s body as a descriptor, does not make it right.  Why is it that a marginalized group’s right to decide what is and is not offensive, ends when you want to use words like lame, or refer to right wing talking heads like Limbaugh as crazy?

My disabled body took me a very long time to own.  For the longest time I pretended that nothing had changed.  I avoided buying a mobility scooter because I knew that it would mark me as “other”.  I didn’t want to take on yet another identity that is socially marginalized.  Even now I push myself when I should not: writing when I am in pain or depressed, standing when I need to sit, and forcing wakefulness when my body needs rest.  I know how the super crip mythology works, and I know that my body is a target because of the way the world is organized and not because of a personal failing -- and yet, the desire to be invisible haunts me, because invisible means that I belong; that I am just like everyone else.

I don’t think people realize the energy and strength of will that it takes to get through the average day.  I am routinely exhausted and running on fumes, and yet when I write about disability, the number of comments seem to infer that it is better that I keep this struggle to myself. The few that do comment always say I am sorry that you are going through this Renee, but the last thing I want or need is your pity.  Pity is something that is often thrown at differently abled bodies, and while some mean it with a good heart, to often it stands as yet another example of how unworthy we are.  What I want is not your pity, but your commitment to change.  I want the same level of commitment that every other post on this blog gets.

I am just going to flat out ask, why is it that the posts on disability are not getting the recognition that they deserve?  The posts on disability are treated as hands off and the majority of the comments are written by people who are themselves differently abled.  I find this interesting because people don’t seem to need a specific social marginalization to comment on posts about racism, sexuality, gender or class -- but when it comes to disability there is a resounding silence.  If you think that this is not another form of “othering,” you are sadly mistaken.  Refusing to engage with an ism, because you don’t know much about it is just another sign of your privilege.  If you are routinely leaving the go to comments that requires little to no thought, that is again another sign of your privilege.  Not commenting, not interacting says to me that this issue, which has completely changed my life is not considered worth the bandwidth and the time it took me to write it.  Let’s see what you have to say this time.

 


“The Rap about Gold diggers” By Kola Boof

image Egyptian-Sudanese-American novelist and poet Kola Boof has been an agent for Sudan’s SPLA and was the National Chairwoman of the U.S. Branch of the Sudanese Sensitization Peace Project.  She has written for television and her many books include, “Flesh and the Devil,” “Long Train to the Redeeming Sin,” “Nile River Woman” and “Virgins In the Beehive.”  She blogs at Kola Boof. com
As the wife of a Black millionaire, bestselling author and mom Kola Boof lets it rip about gold diggers and the Hip Hop community’s double standards on denoting who is and is not one. 
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Everybody’s been in Kim Kardashian’s mouth.  Just as Ray J. stated in a recent television interview, that’s her claim to fame.  And Kim Kardashian’s men, Black as they want to be, have to be rich enough to afford her—yet there’s no song on Black American radio that disses and degrades her.  To the contrary, she’s written about as though we’ve been descended upon by Elizabeth Taylor.

O.J. Simpson’s famously dead wife, Nicole, was an uneducated “waitress” that he purchased Breast Implants for—then married and put in a five million dollar mansion. But there was never any song castigating her for being a skank and gold digger. Jennifer Lopez rose from a Solid Gold dancer and got all her breaks in life by sleeping with successful Black men who could further her career (Keenan Ivory Wayans, Sean Puffy Combs)…at which point…she took her “stardom created by the Black Community” over to White man Ben Affleck, then to her Puerto Rican husband’s bed; mission accomplished! Kimmora Lee Simmons, a rather pretentious phoney that I “viciously” slapped in the mouth several years ago—supposedly because I’m jealous and bitter about her Cabbage-Patch Face; Bread Box Shaped Body and don’t forget—her spectacularly flat ass, girdle-controlled tummy and butt pad supported photo shopped Ebony magazine layouts—started her gold digging in the African-American community, where she knew her failed Chinese model status would command top dollar.  No Black officials greeted her with the words “skank” and no rappers berated her skin complexion or accused her of being a gold digger—as they did the singer Usher’s dark skinned self-employed Black millionaire wife. 
Kimmora married Black hip hop Tycoon Russell Simmons, declared herself a “black woman” (as anyone in America can do at will; the Black Americans are ex-slaves and have no standards) and eventually launched a clothing line using Russell’s money he made off the Black Community (purporting this to be a “talent” in Essence Magazine); then after being dumped by Simmons for a more exotic even less Black-looking bombshell; tacked herself onto Djimon Hounsou (who, of course, I’m jealous that she stole from me; sarcasm intended).  For this new gig, Kimmora had a baby despite the fact he wasn’t about to marry her—and, in my opinion anyway, dutifully produced the “lighter baby with good hair” as a holiday mascot for his skin-bleaching minions back in Benin, West Africa.
Fuck Kola Boof! (Oh he will sugar, he will).
Of course—nobody in the “Hip Hop Culture” refers to women like Gary Coleman’s White wife or Kobe Bryant’s video hoochie turned wife—or Kobe Bryant’s “rape accusing” Blond in Colorado with the SPERM of three men on her panties—as “bitches, Ho’s or gold diggers.”  Black men just don’t disrespect the White Man’s Mother like that.  
A few years ago, Kanye West and Jamie Foxx had a huge hit with a song about Gold diggers. This caused, at last, a music video that focused on beautiful child-bearing age Black women—the Black Man’s mother. At the end of the song Kanye announced, “I’m going to leave you for a White Woman!” And all of Black America and the White Pop music world laughed, applauded, cheered and drove the song to #1 on the charts—despite the fact that almost none of today’s rich and famous Black men being exploited for their money are getting bilked by Black women.
It was a totally different reaction than Marilyn Monroe, Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall got for starring in the 1950’s gold digging blockbuster “HOW TO MARRY A MILLIONAIRE”—an all blond Hollywood celebration of beautiful women’s right to be paid “at the altar” just for being bombshells.  And there’s tons of other films that cheer and celebrate the entitled White gold digger from “GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES” to Sigourney Weaver and Jennifer Love Hewitt’s affectionate comedy “GOLD DIGGERS”—to all those celebrated Larry King Live and Anna Nicole Smith tabloid weddings. Amazingly, no one ever writes songs berating these types of women for marrying ugly rich men old enough to be their ancestor.
For beautiful Black women who want to be the rich man’s bombshell wife, however, it’s a whole multitude of double and triple standards.
Thirty years of rap stars, Black, White and Latino have singled out the Black man’s mother as “an innately born gold digger” and “nagging shrew” unworthy of love or respect as a woman.  The message on nearly every single CD is that Bitches and Ho’s (which is how the Black Man’s mother is openly referenced on the public radio or at cookouts in the back yards of Black households in the United States) are to be used as sex mules; suitable for freaky sex, preferably discarded afterward and routinely impregnated.
You’re just a punk (according to many in Hip Hop culture) if you even think about taking her to a candle lit dinner or reading poems about her majestic dark shimmering face. 
If you study songs recorded over the years by T.I., Polow da Don, Young Berg, Dr. Dre and even Jay Z…the lightness or darkness of said Black female’s skin is what these men encourage young boys to use for measuring how soon said Black Woman is to be discarded after receiving her 2-Live-Crew inspired beast fucking.  On those same CDs by artists like Polow da Don, T.I., Young Berg and even early Jay Z, you’ll find songs celebrating Mixed-race Brazilian girls; the prized “Biracial” beauty; the European Hottie—but the slutty things these women do in the lyric are related with affection and not rapped about in a contemptuous hateful manner as when the subject is a “brown girl” or “Sista girl.”  Even the “Red Bone” songs are no longer complimentary.  High Yellow-skinned Negro women who once denied Colorism, benefitted from it and looked their noses down at Real Black Women are now beginning to get the Dark girl treatment in lieu of the White or Mexican fantasy she was always the “stand in” for in the first place.  But skanky whorish gold diggers or not, the White and White-like colored women are promoted by Black men as “wife” material.
Whatever you think about me writing this commentary; I’ve already heard it. I’ve heard it all my life. Dark skinned women like me deserve to be on the bottom of the food chain and we’re just “bitter and jealous” if we dare raise issue with the double and triple standards.
It simply isn’t true.
I’ve had the most wonderful Black Man on earth love me, marry me and give me two beautiful sons (granted, he’s not American, but he’s still a Black Man).  My ex-husband became a millionaire five years after we married, and we were together for ten, so no one can claim that I was a gold digger. Additionally, I’ve dated my own share of rich and famous Black Men.  So I know that beneath the veneer of California’s Colorstruck sun-brine, the phenomenon of Black on Black love defiantly exists.  I’ve had a plethora of interracial relationships as well. Yet still, most often in my life in America, I experienced what the majority of Black women experience; a kind of “color coded target practice”—Black men asking me if I’m dark skinned or light skinned over the telephone…Black men hyping me up to think I have a chance with them; taking advantage of our eagerness to love them, which many times includes food and living space by way of working class and inner city Black girls who often financially support and harbor unemployed Black men for years.  And of course the endless Camel Shit about how being enslaved and raped hundreds of years ago by White invaders was in fact a “love affair” that Black (slave) women enjoyed and not the result of a brutal slave culture.  Therefore, the attitude goes that modern Black women don’t deserve to heal and be happy and that they owe Black men a supernatural loyalty based on all that power and freedom these nappy Cotton patch goddesses wielded and shared with the White man back in the Black Queen’s good old slavery days.
A friend of mine on Twitter named Shine (@nativenotes) claims that it’s not fair to make this case regarding “Black men’s tolerance of Non-Black Gold diggers” using high profile Black men—“they’re not us” he claims. But I know multitudes of Black male Waiters, Lawyers, bookstore owners, Professors, Afrocentric gurus, traffic cops, bus drivers, security guards, bankers and dentists—and it’s the same story on every class level—they break their backs to wine and dine anything that’s lighter than Tapioca while disparaging, exploiting and publicly condemning any woman who looks like their Mother, or symbolically, the Black man’s mother. We won’t even get on the African-looking woman; our real true blood berry and original Mother.  The hatred turned on her “deep dark skin, thick features and nappy hair” is proof positive that more than half of Africans worldwide has a grave waiting for them in hell.  There’s no way that God created a whole race of women to be scorned, hated and lied on like this. There’s also no way that Black people can rationally “explain away” or “look the other way” any longer.
White women think that I hate them. But I honestly don’t.  I idolize and love dozens of White women. I have love and support from many of them in my real every day life. There are several that I call family and am grateful for.
But in a general, National sense—there is also enormous justified resentment on my part. And I have the right to that resentment; to honor and respect it.  Anyone who disagrees can get on their knees and ask God if I give a damn (there’s a good chance you might not get back up).  Because I do not ask permission to feel what I know is true.  Unlike the majority of Black American women I know, I feel enormous “entitlement”—the same sense of entitlement that White, Other and Biracial women seem to naturally exhibit. I am beautiful, brilliant and powerful.  I expect to have the best and to be treated equally.
So when White women make the claim that we are “Sisters”—then deny that Colorism exists or that they benefit from White Supremacy often more than White males do; or that Black men have a specialized historical contempt for their Blackness which translates to an epidemic rejection of his own seed—that’s when I know that we’re not sisters. When White women, Latino Women, Asian women and all other “light brite flowing haired” so called Women of Color join in applauding National images of Black men spitting on the image of their own mothers—then I know that we are not sisters.  When White Women say that it’s not important that Black children be born, that mixed babies are prettier and more valuable than Black babies and that “any child” can be Black—that’s when I damned sure know that we’re not sisters.
When all you can do in the face of my degradation is “feel sorry for me”—then I know that we’re not sisters.  That is no part close to God—feeling sorry for someone. Either you believe in justice and equality or you don’t.  And the fact is most females are selfish and just as greedy and self-serving as men are; so in the midst of the White Feminist “sisterhood” speeches, the Black women’s sassy cum intelligent Oprah-like passivity and the White and “Other” women’s soothing “sympathetic” blank stares—nothing ever changes; the hierarchy stays the same.  The biracial woman is sent forth to act as a kind of “less threatening” Black image, but in reality, regardless of what she wishes to exhibit, her light image ends up reiterating that Whiteness is superior by virtue of her being something other than Black.  In other words, no matter what the society says, she’s not really Black.  She’s an “extraction” of Blackness (like Vanilla extract or Rum extract)—an extraction that Whites/Others can claim credit for whenever it’s convenient for them.
Biracial American women take this as a rejection, but it’s not a rejection of them.  It’s just the truth about Post-Colonial/Post-Slavery society and how, ultimately, their lightness is used against authentic Black women. 
Worse than all that—Black American women mistakenly think they have a stake in the establishment here.  Though they have nothing to lose by completely rebelling against the social boxes (Christianity; our sons; her slave history; sexism’s male privilege; Islam)—they actually lose more and more of their genetic authenticity with each passing decade, because they’re still serving the larger plantation. As much as the Black woman is hated, she’s the one upholding and passing on the stereotypes about her inferiority and lack of human reproductive value.  She doesn’t know how to fight back, and despite being famous for a “smart mouth,” she’s too intimidated to rock the boat…or compete. Her main obstacle is the Black man, because in general, he doesn’t give a shit what happens to her and she doesn’t have the courage to kill him off and giving birth to him over again—she’s no longer the Tulat Queen.  And since she’s never cultivated and demanded her own unique physical “right to be” (a completely Black; un-mixed aesthetic)—she is unable to assert or have anyone (including Black men) back her image as a viable competitive brand amongst the rest of America’s garden.  She only challenges the gaping lie that she is inferior via “sound bites” and “rants”—rarely significant tangible action.
What would be “significant tangible action”? Ten thousand Black women throwing “saved bloody tampons” at BET headquarters and chanting “Kill BET!” would be tangible action.  Ceasing to purchase hip hop music that even suggests you aren’t being affirmed and celebrated would be tangible action.  Ceasing to support videos and films that don’t perpetuate and flatter our public image would be tangible action.
The Black American woman is big and bad enough to shank me, her adopted African daughter, but not brave enough to SHANK the Black Man and White America.  She makes excuses “Well it’s not all of them”…”I don’t want to be seen as bitter and evil”…she can fight for the Black Man to be respected as a man…or fight for her “son” against racist police…but it’s too painful for her to fight only for herself or her daughter’s image when those same sons casually spit back in her face or dismiss her valid complaints as bitterness.  
Many Black American Female Scholars, Writers, Feminists and Public figures have a serious problem with Kola Boof. They feel that I’m obnoxious, out of control and that I exhibit a threatening attitude. To them, I’m an Uppity African woman—a flamboyant attention seeker.  And I say Camel shit!  What I speak…is pure fucking truth.  And I speak my truth for the love of these Black American women (symbolically, daughters of my womb, Africa); I speak it on behalf of my own womb; my people’s authentic African beauty and my children’s right to exist and exist as themselves—Black children. I speak my truth because….I am not a Nigger.  White America and Black America can take that however they want—but truly; you cannot dismiss truthful people as merely “bad attitudes,” “Angry,” “frauds” and “jealous nutcases” just because the breath of God is upon you.
And though quite a few Black American Scholars, Writers and Feminists will not be able to accept the following admonition…I say it anyway and I say it loud…I don’t have to be nice!
That’s a huge part of the problem, the silencing of the rage in Black girls by elder Black women who basically instruct us to stay in our places as we wait for change to come…and from where, I don’t know.  It damned sure isn’t coming from Oprah Winfrey, the Church or nice, safe apologetic India.Arie.  “You don’t want to be seen as angry”…”you can’t act ugly and expect people to care about you” (we won’t be cared about anyway, so where is the loss?)…but we never told Martin Luther King or Malcolm X that shit.  Men have a right to rebel against their oppression and mistreatment.  The room gets silent with respect when males refuse to be demeaned and hated on.
Somehow, I don’t believe that Harriet Tubman or Joan of Arc would tell me that I have to be nice about the color-based double and triple standards that pervade American culture.  Standards that are now, slowly but surely, are infecting African culture.   Just this week, we’ve got Gary Coleman’s White Wife (who looks like a life sized Chuckie Doll; not an angelic White savior) pimping his death by selling hospital photos and pitching a T.V. movie before there’s even been a funeral. Let’s see if the Hip Hop community will produce a rap song about that typical trick-ass White bitch!  And let’s see how many White women purporting to be our “sisters” will cheerfully dance to it.
Yes, America. My Egyptian Sudanese-American ass is out here in sunny California producing Black babies and teaching them all kinds of “Kola” nut wisdom.  You have to admit, I’m as hard as any rapper you’ve got—so how come you don’t like bopping your head to my profane Kola messages?  Well, as we say in Sudan….bana/banu! (I came to stay).  And whenever you feel like you want to kick Kola Boof’s ass—just get in line, take a fucking number and wait your turn.

Claudia Schiffer Makes Blackface Fashionable

image 

Yes, that is the blonde haired Claudia Schiffer getting her Black on for an ad campaign.  The photos were taken two years ago by Karl Lagerfeld.  Of course they didn’t mean to offensive, they were attempting to be “edgy”. 

A reader sent me a link to a story about this last week, and I had to really think about whether or not to write about this story.  Obviously what Schiffer did was offensive, but then POC have been saying that about blackface for a very long time. 

When “Hey Hey It’s Saturday Night” did it, they defended their actions by saying that Australia is culturally different.  When Chuck Knipp decided to dress in drag and perform the Shirley Q Liquor show, he claimed to be celebrating Black women.  It was such a celebration that he named Shirley’s nineteen  children after venereal diseases and discount stores.  Not to worry, Knipp is a gay White male and as such could not possibly have any kind of bias or privilege.   There is also the infamous example of Blackface spearheaded by negro sell out Tyra Banks on “America’s Next Top Model”.  And every Halloween, some jerk decides that Blackface constitutes a costume.

Each incident is followed with a faux apology and the statement that the guilty party either did not know that Blackface is offensive, or that they didn’t mean to be offensive. Sometimes it is claimed that this art, and therefore; falls outside of the normal bounds of human decency.  While I agree that good art challenges boundaries, when it reaches the point of reducing the humanity of another, it is no longer art; it is a defacto statement of White supremacy.

I could argue against this by discussing the fact that Black women have an extremely difficult time getting jobs in the fashion industry, Italian Vogue notwithstanding-- but I won’t, because it should simply be enough to hear that a group of people find a particular behaviour offensive to cause a cessation.  Black face continues because despite the post racial bullshit lie we are told, White supremacy is far from a thing of the past. 

No matter what the situation is, Whiteness will always defend its right to oppress as evidenced by the comments on this story:

Oh diddims... so people like Beyonce and Rihanna can get lightened, wear fake hair and air brushed to the max no one flutters an eyelid but when it's the other way round there is an up roar.
PC gone mad.. get lives people!

its not racist then when a black women straightens her hair and dyes it blonde,is it racist when whites go on the beach to get a tan,for Gods sake get a life

This is so stupid. If a melanin rich model or normal person on the street wears a fairness cream ( common in India) or tries to lighten her complexion , no one gives a hoot...but THIS causes a furore...

There is a continual refusal to put actions like Blackface into historical context because to do so, Whiteness would have to own its crimes against people of color. Skin lightening creams are extremely toxic and yet people use them because they have internalized a White standard of beauty.  It is an act of self hatred, whereas; Blackface is designed to specifically humiliate people of colour.  The two actions do not have the same goal, and yet they are placed side by side to justify racism.

So here I am writing yet another piece about Blackface, and I am sure someone will tell me to just relax or get a life.  Perhaps they might even suggest that I have no sense of humour, or that I really just don’t get the nature of so-called art; however, protestations and excuses aside, Blackface has always been offensive and will continue to remain that way.  When you ignore the anger of a group of people to their obvious marginalization, it is because you have already decided that your privilege is worth more than their sense of self and humanity.

H/T Russ via e-mail


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday What’s Up?

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It’s been awhile since we had an open thread, and since it is rainy and sucky here today, I thought why not.  Please use this thread to chat about whatever is on your mind.  No topic is too taboo or too pedestrian.  Have you seen a good movie, or read a good book?  Is there a subject that I have not gotten around to covering that you think that we should chat about?  Here is your chance, let it fly and I will see you in the comment section.

Samantha Bee: Vaginas Don’t Look Nice

I have to confess that I have never heard of Samantha Bee before today.  The first thing I did was hit Wikipedia to find out who the hell this woman is.

Bee was born in Toronto, Ontario. She studied theatre at the University of Ottawa, also studied at McGill University in Montreal and studied acting at George Brown Theatre School in Toronto. She was one of the four founding members of Toronto-based sketch comedy troupe The Atomic Fireballs, with whom she performed before being hired by the Daily Show in 2003.

On The Daily Show, Bee has demonstrated an ability to coax people into caricaturing themselves — particularly in segments like "Kill Drill", on hunters and fossil fuel executives claiming to be environmentalists; "They So Horny" on the dearth of Asian men in U.S. pornography; "Tropical Repression," on Ed Heeney, a Florida politician running his campaign based on opposition to gay rights; "The Undecided", an over-the-top look at the infamous undecided voters leading up to the 2004 U.S. presidential elections; and "Samantha Bee's So You Want To Bee A..." report series, which humorously caricatures the way in which one can easily obtain a certain job, like becoming a 527 group. Her segment on "NILFs" ("News I'd Like to F#@k"), discussing the sexiness of news anchors is one of her most memorable: "CNN has the wholesome girl-next-door NILFs, the kind you can bring home to meet your mother. MSNBC has the dirty-over-30 NILFs. Fox has the filthy NILFs who will report anything. They're the Hustler of NILFs."

Okay, now that we have established her identity, let’s look at a conversation she had with Jessica Wakeman of Frisky:

(laughs) Is this part of the interview?

It can be. I like pubic hair! Our body looks weird without it. Vaginas don’t look that nice to me without it.

(Awkward silence)

I mean, vaginas don’t look that nice. Like, little girls have cute vaginas. But lady vaginas, you need a little hair. It makes it look better.

I just resent being told I’m supposed to do something with my pubic hair.

Me too! F**k off! It’s my thing. If you don’t like it, let’s move on. I don’t like you. If you don’t like my vagina, I have moved on. Ten minutes ago! To someone else!

Is that a problem you’ve had?

I have never had that problem and I’ve never given it more than two minutes worth of thought. Like, I just don’t care if a man didn’t like my vagina. I would just hate him instantly.

So, let’s see if I can get this straight.  A man cannot comment on whether or not he would like her vagina to be bald or not, but she can tell other women that they have to grow hair or their ladybits won’t look nice.  For heaven’s sake.

It is not pro woman to be anti-bald vaginas as much as you may think it is empowering.  What is empowering is understanding that how women chose to groom their vaginas is their business. Really, why is this such a hard thing to understand?

The moment you get into the realm where you are judging other women based on their physical appearance, you are doing patriarchy’s work.  A pro woman centered conversation acknowledges that women’s bodies are shaped differently, and are beautiful in all of their manifestations.  Supporting women also means acknowledging personal bodily integrity, and the right to make decisions about what one does with ones body without judgement or interference from others.

Whether or not my vagina has hair on it does not reflect its beauty.  My vagina gives me pleasure; it was the canal through which I birthed my children, and it signifies in my case a female cis gendered body  (note: I acknowledge that not all women have vaginas).  My vagina is beautiful, because it is a part of my body, and that is all that should be necessary to consider it such.


'Tis the season

image RavenScholar from ravenscholar.blogspot.com is a fairly new blogger on the Internet. She (re-)discovered feminism and comics at about the same time she started blogging, and has great fun writing about both. She has lots to say, lots of artwork to show, and likes hearing other's opinions.

It’s that time of year again. The National American Miss people are sending out flyers. Last year's I really didn't like, and this year's I found more issues with, after a year of paying attention to feminist blogs. Lets examine this:
First, the cover


Typical Euro-centric ideal of beauty? Check. Airbrushing? Check. "Fashionable"? Check. Vaguely pained look? Check. "Sexy" Posing? Check. Looks old enough to be the mother of the audience targeted? Why is she even on this thing?
The inside


EVEN MORE European girls? Check. Posing? Check. Now onto the highlighted stuff. That's were it gets really insidious.

  • "Makeup is not allowed on our participants ages 4-12 during the event." Well, that sure didn't stop you from airbrushing their pictures, did it?
  • "The National American Miss pageants are dedicated to celebrating America's greatness and encouraging its future leaders." Apparently "America's greatness" is little pretty white girls. Also: to be a leader and a girl, you must be pretty. No two ways about it.
  • "You'll gain... self-confidence...You'll feel good about yourself." Yes, I'm sure it will help boost the Hispanic girl from my old hometown who also received this flyer's self-confidence that the only girls pictured on the sides are clearly European and the overweight girl down the street will feel better about herself when all the girls there are thin.
  • "If not accepted into the pageant..." Way to judge a girl on her looks when she's supposed to be a "future leader".
  • "The total fee for the pageant is $440." Well, my goodness, that sure explains why there's pretty much just white girls on this! You only want people with half a thousand dollars lying around! Poor people, obviously, are ugly; and unfit to associate with you until they can cut food or utilities bills to pay for this.


And the back


Finally, some token racial diversity! Posing? Check. Airbrushing? Check. Ridiculously happy smiles? Check. People who are clearly models with their perfectly white teeth and shaped eyebrows who are surely not the sort of people who would actually be at this? Check.
One last highlighted thing:
"All you'll need is:

  • A prom dress or evening gown
  • A suit or dress for interview
  • Official production number t-shirt outfit (available on pageant weekend for a nominal charge)"

Say it with me people: Hidden Costs! So lets say you manage to scrape up half a thousand dollars to go to this thing. Now they want you to buy a prom dress! And a suit! And a t-shirt for "a nominal charge"! Turns out you need more like another $430 there!

Total cost: $870. Way to raise the bar. Now they only want you if you've got about a thousand dollars lying around! Now I know why the popular pretty girls on TV are always rich whites! They're the only ones with enough money to be official.

Congratulations, National American Miss pageants. You have now officially sent the most racist and classist bit of mail I have ever seen.


Dear White Feminists Stop Erasing my Womanism

image It seems that I once again I have to write a post about womanism, because I have been getting e-mails and comments  referring to me as a “Black feminist”.  When White feminists are not ignoring my womanism, they are calling it divisive, or a separatist movement, in the hopes of delegitimizing it.  Of course, all this does is increase my commitment to womanism.

Feminism has long claimed to be a movement to advance women’s rights, and yet it’s history is filled with incidents in which marginalized women are soundly rejected or ignored.  Womanism is not a separatist movement.  Just as feminism speaks to your experiences, Africanna Womanism speaks to mine.  It allows me to articulate my spirituality, my connection and love of Black men, a genuine sisterhood with other Black women, a connection to family with a special emphasis on motherhood, a self-defined identity, unconventional gender roles, collective outcomes, group achievement, self love, nurturing, and a recognition that all isms effect women.  I have found that none of these things consistently appear in feminism, but they are central tenets of womanism.

Womanism is not just Black feminism, and when you create it as such, you deny our identity and erase the women who do identify as Black feminists. At the heart of this erasure is a desire to oppress.  White women have for generations articulated a theory that centers their concerns and their needs, and the existence of womanism is seen as a threat to this hegemony.  If White feminists are so committed to agency, why is my desire to self-identify  so alarming?

This is about colonialism.  Our desire to nurture, to embrace women’s spaces, to embrace our families, is perceived as a threat because Whiteness is continually attempting to break the bonds of people of colour in order to control every facet of our existence.  This is why when White feminists  participate in conversations about reproduction, they are specifically centered  on the right to have an abortion, and womanists ask the question what about motherhood? This is why White feminists can create all men as equal, and womanists acknowledge our blood bond with Black men, and the ways in which racism unites us in a fight for justice.  This is why White feminists  belittle children and womanists fight for their value because we know that the fruit of our wombs are always considered the surplus population.

Womanism is more than a political label to me; it encompasses that which I love the most.  And when you tell me that this is divisive, what you are saying is that I don’t belong unless I am obedient and subservient to your needs.  This is why White feminists can come into this space and ignore that it is not run or maintained for them, while lecturing me on how I let feminism down.  I am constantly asked to provide resources explaining my beliefs, to justify the existence of my label, and yet feminism apparently needs no defence despite its clearly racist, transphobic, homophobic, disabelist history.  Only my body and my beliefs require explanation, because it is still considered the eternal “other.”

What I see is a continuous oppositional approach to women’s organizing that leaves many women on the margins.  You cannot theorize a meal, or fucking indoor plumbing okay.  There are real world problems that no amount of theory can explain, and yet when womanists say this is my life, my knowledge, my history, it is soundly rejected to instead preference some esoteric feminist who has no knowledge of our experiences.  There is a place for theory and there is a place for communal solutions. It is time for White feminists to seriously be quiet and just listen. Your voices will not be missed because we have had our fill of your misinterpretations. 

This is a womanist space, and that means it will be filled with ideas that are central to womanism.  It is just as much a space for women and women’s organizing as any conventional feminist space, with the difference being separate organizing principles.  I will not allow this space to be colonized for the purposes of further silencing marginalized women.  This means that here there shall be no consuming the “other”.  Here, the subaltern shall not only speak, but be heard.

Honestly, I hope this is the last such post I shall have to write.  I am tired of having to defend my identify because others seek to colonize by existence for their benefit.  I have taken the time to learn your beliefs for the sake of my survival -- and if White feminists  are truly interested in equality, it is more than time for you to make a legitimate effort to consciously murder the monolithic woman -- because she exists only to  erase my rightful place in women’s organising.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

What Tami Said and I Get Our “True Blood” On

As regular readers realize, I am a huge True Blood fan.  In fact, I pretty much am interested in anything regarding vampires.  This Sunday, after a very long wait, “True Blood” will be returning to HBO.  On Monday I will once again be posting a synopsis of the episode, so that we can discuss it down to the minute detail. And to those that are wondering I am still staunchly team Eric. image That would be your cue to back off Sparky. I saw him first and I am screaming DIBS.

At any rate, after chatting with Tami, of What Tami Said,  about how excited we are for the new episode, we decided to host a podcast every Monday night at 9pm EST to take our special brand of womanist anti-racist analysis to the show.  Now this does not mean Tami and I  aren’t going to get silly and giddy sometimes, it’s just that as much as we love True Blood, there are still issues that require attention. Tami and I have both read the books and so a little book/episode comparison might happen from time to time as well.

We have yet to pick a name for our new podcast.  We are actively looking for suggestions.  Think of something cool and leave it in the comment section.  Yes, to those that are wondering, that is a True Blood countdown at the end of the blog, and yes, I am a little obsessed.

Helen Thomas Retires

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One cannot possibly deny that Helen Thomas is a remarkable woman.  She has had the courage to speak for decades while other White House reporters sat quietly waiting for crumbs.  Far to many today are celebrating her retirement, having long wanted to see her chair vacant and filled with a supplicant. It is not an accident that Ari Fleisher, former White House press secretary for George Bush, sent e-mails spreading the word about Thomas’ ill advised comments regarding Israel, while calling for her to be fired.

"Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine," the doyenne of the Washington press corps said, and laughed. "Remember, these people are occupied, and it's their land."

Nesenoff asked where she thought they should go.

"Go home," she responded.

Asked to elaborate, Thomas said, "Poland, Germany and America, everywhere else." (source)

The existence of Israel is not something anyone, regardless of their credentials can ever be flippant about.  Israel was created after millions of Jews were slaughtered  due to Anti-Semitism and the appeasement strategy of western governments.  They knew very well what Hitler was doing to Jewish people, and quite simply did not give a damn.  Western governments turned away Jewish refugees, and had a safe harbour like Israel existed at the time, Jewish people would have had a place to go.

We cannot deny that there are certainly problems with the way the Israeli government is treating the Palestinians. In fact, I would argue that with their denial of vital resources, as well as untold murders, they represent a hostile regime that has in the past engaged in what can and should be deemed terrorist activity.  It is however a far cry from denouncing the policies of the Israeli government, to announcing that Jews should just go back home.  Back home to where exactly?  It did not occur to Thomas that there are Jewish families that have been living in Israel for centuries, furthermore not all Jews residing in Israel are of European heritage.

With her comments, Thomas privileged one group of people over another and that is in large part what continues to fuel much of the anger and aggression that plagues the Middle East.  Palestinians and Jews BOTH have a right to independence, and they BOTH have a right to exist free of the threat of violence. I certainly believe that we have a responsibility to be critical of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians as social justice advocates, but we must be wary of using that same anger toward the injustice to engage in “othering.”

When I first heard this story on CNN this morning there were those that were defending Thomas based in her age.  In three months she will be 90 years old, and it was suggested that perhaps she is not functioning with the same capabilities as a forty year old.  Using ageism as a defence for her statements is unacceptable because it  reduces a group of people. You cannot use an ism to defend obvious bigotry. The “othering”of seniors as a defence falls into the same category as Thomas dismissing history to preface her own political position.  People matter and that is what is at the heart of this controversy.  You cannot and should not defend the indefensible simply because it was an action taken by someone that you respect.

On “The View” this morning, Whoopie Goldberg suggested that this falls under the category of free speech and therefore, she believes that Helen Thomas should not have lost her job.  It is not clear at this time if Thomas decided to retire of her own accord, or was pushed out, but the fact remains that speech comes at a cost. And whether it is Thomas or Don Imus, people should bare the responsibility for their language.  The notion that people should be able to speak without consequence means that marginalized bodies end up carrying the weight of the stigma that is created when speech is used for the sole purpose of attacking someone’s right to exist. 

You don’t have to agree with the creation of Israel, or Israeli policies, but I do think announcing cavalierly that people should just go home, or that they don’t belong sets up a dangerous hierarchy that Jewish people have seen only too personally leads to death. Announcing that Jews should return to a country that slaughtered them in cold blood says to me that Helen Thomas decided that the lives of Palestinians are worth more than Jewish lives.  The moment we decide that some people are naturally more deserving, is the moment we create the circumstances for  margianlization and as we have seen, the consequences can range from small discrimination to death.

It is terrible that Thomas’s distinguished career is ending in this manner.  When people look back at her legacy they will mention this incident and it will forever tarnish her reputation.  What this incident teaches us is that no one is above accountability.  It is however sad it was Thomas who taught us this lesson, when so many others remain unpunished for language and or behaviour that is equally if not more heinous. 

 

Too Disabled To See Your Children

According to her mother, Abbie Dorn had dreamed of being a parent for a very long time before she became the mother of triplets via invitro-fertilization.  Unfortunately for Abbie,  during the delivery she began to bleed and went into cardiac arrest, which deprived her brain of oxygen for twenty minutes. When her children turned one year old, her husband divorced her and ended visitation.  At this time he feels that it would be too damaging for the kids to see their mother.

Today, Abbie communicates with one long blink for yes and no response for no.  She is completely dependent upon her parents for care.

In the 19th century women were often housed in state facilities for their natural lives receiving little to no contact with the outside world.  They had no legal right to marry or reproduce.  In the 2oth century they were routinely sterilized, without either being informed or actively consenting to the procedure. The right of disabled women to reproduce and parent their offspring is something that society has historically seen to be problematic, because their bodies are viewed as flawed. Geneticist feared of passing so-called defective genes, or it was assumed that a disability meant that one was not fit to parent.

Abbie Dorn’s parents are currently attempting to sue for visitation rights on her behalf.  According to Holmstrom, Sissung, Marks & Anderson, APLC:

The California Family Code says that it is the public policy of the state to ensure that children have frequent and continuing contact with both parents. The rare exception would be if the courts deemed not seeing one parent in the child's best interest. This case will force the court to make difficult, unprecedented decisions.

In 1979, the California Supreme Court said that disabled parents can't be denied custody just because they are disabled, saying that parenting is as much about emotion as it is about physical ability. That case involved a father who had sole custody of his kids at the time of an accident that left him a quadriplegic. He retained the ability to speak and drive.

Dorn’s case differs because her parents are seeking visitation on her behalf rather than custody, and should she win this suit, it will establish new rights for disabled parents throughout the U.S.

Once again the argument of what is in the best interest of the child is being used to deny a marginalized woman her right to motherhood.  Children are incredibly resilient, and if their mother were introduced to them from the very beginning, I fail to see what kind of damage this would cause them.

Whether or not they see her, at some point they are going to learn that it was her sacrifice that lead directly to her disability. They may or may not feel responsible; however, at the very least visitation would allow them to form a bond with their mother. Growing up with a disabled parent will teach them about their able-bodied privilege, as well as encourage them to show empathy towards others -- but since these characteristics are not highly valued, they can soundly be ignored to trumpet the so-called best interest of the child.

Abbie may not be able to communicate conventionally, but she feels.  To separate her from her children after all that she has gone through is not only cruel, it is inhumane. It further suggests that there is no value to her being.  This is the social understanding of disabled bodies. They are expected to disappear from sight and are understood to be an inconvenience simply for existing.  It further follows the historic pattern of disallowing disabled women to mother because of their status as members of the so-called surplus population. If we can separate a mother from her children, how can we possibly claim to have the belief that all people are equal, or that we live in a society that cares about those whose bodies are constructed differently?

 


Spark of Wisdom: Gay Love for Straight Titillation

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.

Much of this post deals with how lesbians and bisexual women are represented in the media, though it certainly applies to gay men when it occurs as well, it occurs far less often and certainly much more rarely than in mainstream media. I am not a lesbian nor do I think merely being GBLT makes you any particular authority on the other letters under the umbrella (something I've argued before). It gives you an insight, but it's still an outsider's view. As such, I give my impressions and how I feel but I cannot speak for Lesbians and bisexual women, do not wish to do so and make no guarantees I am getting it right.

I watch representations of GBLT people in the media with a great deal of cynicism. Most of the time it's not there at all, when it is there it is often highly problematic and even when well portrayed it often focuses so much on the negative (homophobia, AIDS, family rejection, internalised hatred, etc) that it's not just depressing but damn near triggering to watch. So when I see GBLTs in media or literature I tend to approach cautiously and not exactly in an open and fluffy mood.

Miley Cyrus has simulated a lesbian kiss in her latest performance on Britain's Got talent, part of her ongoing campaign to ditch the 'nice girl' image.

Not too long ago Madonna and Brittany had their oh-so-dramatic lip lock on stage.

As far as I'm aware, none of these women are Lesbians or Bisexual or anything but straight (despite much gossip in each case), yet they all engaged in on-stage woman on woman kissing.

t.A.T.u  is another rather infamous example. 2 female singers from Russia that became popular across much of Europe - who pretended to be lesbians both in their music and their performances. They're not, they're straight.

And I look at these and find them more than a little off. Not because there shouldn't be portrayals of lesbian and bisexual women being loving, sexual and sensual on television and in music - most certainly we need more - but because I don't think that's what we're seeing here. Is this done to show lesbian sexuality? To celebrate it? To protest that it should be acceptable and wonderful and respected?

Or is it done to titillate? Is it done so straight men can speculate and drool? Is it done to shock? To prove to a heterosexist world how edgy and cool they are? Is it done so people can gawk and chatter and gossip? Is it done to hit the headlines and draw attention because it's so *gasp* outrageous?

See this is something that preys on my mind when I watch portrayals of gay people in the media and certainly when I read books in the m/m genre and slash fiction (neither of which are particularly my habit any more). I look at the portrayal and ESPECIALLY if there is sexiness going on and I ask - what is this for?

Because owning our own sexuality, being proud of it, wearing it, being open with it and being fierce with it is a whole world of difference from our sexuality being paraded so straight folks can drool or stare.

Because portraying a gay or lesbian person or a gay or lesbian couple to show their lives, their families, them as real people due respect, love and happiness is a world of difference from portraying them so they can be viewed or read with one hand, or for shock value or as a publicity stunt.

Because there's a difference between Adam Lambert and Lady Gaga on the one side, and t.A.T.u. and Miley Cyrus on the other.

Because there's a difference between lesbians living as themselves and 2 women getting it on for the joys of straight male viewing.

Because there's a difference between a book that tells the story of gay men in love, and a book that treats gay men as pose-able mannequins  to drool over.

And I'm not saying that from any kind of anti-porn/erotica standpoint - I'm generally pro-porn. But recognise that not all portrayals of us are about us and most certainly are not for us. Some of them are appropriating us with varying degrees of respect - and a fair few of them are downright using us and not holding in to a great deal of respect or concern in the process.


Monday, June 7, 2010

Dear Readers

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I have a doctor’s appointment out of town today, and so there will not be any posts today.  Thanks for popping by, and I will be back to work tomorrow.