Saturday, July 10, 2010

Drop It Like It's Hot

Hello everyone, thanks for a great week of conversation.  At this time I am going to ask once again that guest posters receive the respect that they are due.  Even if you disagree with what they have to say, attacking them instead of engaging with the ideas that they brought up will not be tolerated. There is a comment policy at the top of the blog and I will not hesitate to enforce it by deleting comments and banning people if necessary.  There is a lot of love that goes into the work performed here and I will not have that disrupted by narrow minded people who feel threatened.

This is your weekly reminder regarding guest posting here at Womanist Musings.   An open guest policy exists so that we can broaden the conversations that occur here, and so if you have a topic that you believe we should be discussing please send me either a link to your blog or an original piece via e-mail to womanistmusings[at]  Please include a small three line bio and an image that you would like associated with your work.

For those of you that missed the announcement, I would like share with you my latest endeavor.  Holly Ord of Menstrual Poetry and I, have started a blog called Women's Eye on Media.   The goal of the blog is take a womanist/feminist lens to examine the media.  We will look at television shows, movies, books, music and anything that catches our fancy. It has a slightly different tone than either of our own home blogs, but it has quickly become a place where we are free to release some tension and have a few laughs.  Please stop by and check it out. You can follow us on twitter or check out our facebook page.   If you are a lover of pop culture, this is the place for you.

I didn't get as much reading done this week, but I still happen to think I came across a few very interesting posts. Please show these bloggers some love and check them out.  When you are done, don't forget to drop it like it's hot and leave your link behind in the comment section.

Interview with an activist: the fight to make widow agenda a priority
Thriving in Hostile Territory: Black Feminism in the College Classroom
Pray Away the Gays
Living with the Enemy  
Place Marker
The Media Thinks Single Black Women Have All the Problems
What Non-Trans People Think We Do (and What We Really Do)
Queering Sexuality in Colour: Dharshi
Race and Recession: Foreclosure Losses Still Mounting
How Does Fighting For Oscar Grant Help Black Women?
No Safe Space
Fat Art and Fetish Objects
The Wrong People Are In Control
Kat Stacks and Violence Against Black Women
Life After Sex 

Friday, July 9, 2010

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS - Occupied Bodies: Women of Color Speak on Self-Image - Deadline October 15, 2010

Tasha Fierce is putting together an anthology folks, if you have something to say about WOC and body image sit up and pay attention.

I am soliciting essays for an anthology on women of color’s self-image/body image as shaped by family, friends, media, society, history, lived experiences, etc. I’m looking for smart, accessible, and snappy personal narratives that also offer nuanced analysis of the underlying constructs that affect how we perceive ourselves. Exploring intersectionality of identities is extremely important. I particularly want the voices of women of color that are not often heard to be represented, such as trans* WOC, disabled WOC, queer WOC, WOC outside the U.S., WOC with eating disorders, working class/poor WOC and fat WOC. Of course, all the varied perspectives any woman of color can offer are welcome.
This is an exciting project, as this topic has not been explored in depth and including such a diverse collection of viewpoints before. The final manuscript will be submitted to relevant independent publishers.
Some possible jumping off points include, but are not limited to:
  • What images of yourself were instilled in you by your parents/guardians/other family members when you were a young child? What positive or negative encounters with adults as a child helped shape that image?
  • If you were born in a country other than the U.S. and then immigrated to the U.S., how did the society in which you were born play a role in your developing self-image, and what contrasts did you find difficult to navigate between the two societies?
  • How did the media you consumed as a child/teen shape your body/self image today? How does it complicate it? How does the media you consume NOW affect your body/self image?
  • How did pressure from family and friends affect the way you perceived yourself after you were old enough to take care of yourself?
  • How did you feel about societal beauty and body standards as a teen? Did you rebel, or conform by any means necessary to avoid confrontation?
  • How has the globalization and dissemination of the Western beauty ideal affected you and women of color worldwide?
  • Debunk this: “in some cultures they ______”, – deconstructing a commonly held belief about an ethnic group’s relation to body (such as the black community supposedly being OK with fat).
  • If you’re queer, how has being a queer woman of color affected your self-image and how you desire your partner to look? If you’ve had partners who were also women of color, did/do you gaze upon them with the same critical eye you reserve for yourself? Why or why not?
  • If you’re a trans* WOC, how was your perception of your gender identity shaped? How has your self/body image changed over the years and have there been any other shifts in your thinking about your self/body image? How does being a WOC interact with your trans* identity? How does it affect how other people perceive you and your gender?
  • How has being a disabled WOC affected your body/self image? Do you feel it’s a detriment or a positive part of your person? How did you come to terms with your disability, or has it never been problematic for you?
  • As a fat WOC, has weight shaped your self/body image your whole life? Have you developed an eating disorder? Was it exacerbated by there being virtually no resources for women of color, especially for fat WOC?
  • Are you a sexual assault/rape survivor? How did that trauma affect your view of yourself?
If your experiences overlap on any of the suggested jumping off points, PLEASE feel free to explore that.
  • Deadline for submissions is October 15, 2010;
  • Submissions should be saved in Word format or Rich Text, double spaced, size 12 Arial or Times New Roman;
  • 500 to 5,000 words;
  • Include RELIABLE contact information and a brief biography;
  • Only e-mail submissions will be accepted, however, if you can’t arrange that please contact me and we’ll work something out.
  • Send submissions to: [email protected];
  • Again, the deadline for submissions is October 15, 2010.
Who I Am:
The woman spearheading this project is Tasha Fierce, a freelance writer who also happens to be a fat, queer, disabled woman of color. I’ve written about race politics, fat acceptance, disability and feminism in several zines, including Evolution of a Race Riot and the zine I edited from 1998-2001, Bitchcore. I have contributed to Jezebel several times, the fat acceptance blog Shapely Prose, the race & pop culture blog Racialicious, and the feminist disability activism blog FWD/Forward. My work has also been featured in The Huffington Post. I live, love and write in Los Angeles, California. You can regularly read me at my own blog, Red Vinyl Shoes ( and on Twitter as @redvinylshoes.
[This will also be linked up at the top of my blog under "Occupied Bodies".]

It's Friday and the Question Is......

As you know, Womanist Musings is quite often targeted by trolls.  They seem to just love to jump in and ruin a perfect conversation.  I believe that we should not engage them, because it only encourages them to believe that they have a valuable point to make. This week's question is actually in a two parts. What typical troll tactic i.e. silencing, mansplanning, tone etc gets on your nerves so much that you feel compelled to respond, and why?  Also, if you have a blog, what successful strategies have you used to reduce the number of trolls?

Why Placing Land Mines In Your Own Country is a Mistake

This is a guest post by the ever amazing and terminally wrong about hockey Monica of TransGriot

The 'Hate on Latinos' GOP have recently begun spouting as part of their extremist 'secure the borders' immigration rhetoric suggestions of putting minefields along the Mexican border.

In a May 18 radio interview with KNMX in Las Vegas, NM, GOP congressional candidate Tom Mullins said the US could mine the border, install barbed wire and post multilingual signs directing would-be border jumpers to legally cross at designated checkpoints.

Mullins won the June 1 New Mexico GOP primary and will carry the party's banner into the 3rd Congressional District race against incumbent Democrat Rep. Ben Lujan.

If you astute TransGriot readers are wondering where the 3rd Congressional District is located, it's is the northern half of New Mexico. It shares borders with the states of Arizona, Colorado, Oklahoma, Utah and Texas and doesn't include any part of the 180 mile border the state shares with Mexico.

Reverse Racism Apparently Still needs an Explanation

Jessica Valenti shared the following article by
The term "reverse racism" has always bothered me, but until recently I never realized why. I suppose there are some people in academia who still think that "black people can't be racist," because black people don't have the political or social power to implement their prejudice as policy, but these people are obviously a minority.
As I've been thinking about the New Black Panther Party voter-intimidation case, and reading through the conservative complaints, it occurred to me why so many people use the term "reverse racism" rather than "racism" to refer to racial prejudice expressed by blacks toward whites. It's because "reverse racism" offers a clear distinction between racial prejudice against nonwhites, which doesn't matter, and racial prejudice against whites, which does.

I'm sure I'm not the first person to figure this out, but I just thought it was worth mentioning.
So few words and yet so many of them are absolutely wrong. Let's start from the very beginning, racism equal prejudice plus power because a distinction needs to be made between people of colour and Whiteness. People of colour cannot act systemically and I don't care that you have a Black dude living in the house that slaves built. Whiteness has never wanted to accept this definition, because it has never wanted to own the crimes against humanity that it not only has historically engaged in, but continues to participate in with willful malice.

How Long Will You Be My Baby?

Everyday I hold Mayhem in my arms and I ask who loves you and he smiles and says mommy does -- and I say that's right baby, I love you.  In fact, we probably have the same conversation a few times a day, because I cannot stop telling my son how much he means to me. His laughter brings me the purest joy, and there are no words for the beauty of his smile.  This is not to say that his pet name isn't Mayhem for a reason -- because when this child decides to go off, it is positively nuclear. He has always had a mind of his own and I sensed his strong will early on, when he refused to let me cuddle him and give him a bottle at a very early age. Anything that he is capable of doing for himself he will. There are days when he insists on telling us that he is a man Already my baby is almost five, and though I love the little boy he has become, I miss the baby he used to be.

Sometimes I will tease him and ask him if he wants a dewie (note: family word for pacifier), and he will roll his eyes and laugh at me.  "Mommy, you are way to silly," he will tell me.  Still, there is a part of me that would freeze this time in my life forever.  Never did  I imagine another being could come to mean to me what my children do.  Never did I think that a smile from another would warm my heart until I felt like it would burst.  Mommy, mom and mother when they are irritated, are the most precious words in the world to me, because they define the relationships of my life.  There are those that would run forever to avoid such association -- and yet I am drunk with the love of it.

“Detrás de la copa mundial,” or, “Behind the World Cup”

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.
For the past few weeks, I have been an avid follower of the World Cup.  Having lived in Latin America for much of the last ten years, I have always enjoyed watching soccer, but the World Cup is a different experience altogether.  I get up at ungodly hours and stake out tables at local bars to find the best seat to watch the game.  With a new friend from Holland, I have celebrated Dutch victories.  Since many of my friends are Argentine, I cried at their team’s devastating 4-0 loss to Germany.  And for the final on Sunday, my loyalties are evenly split—it would be equally exciting to see Spain or Holland take the Cup, since neither team has ever taken it all.

Despite the hours I have spent staring at South African soccer fields and listening to the bee-like vuvuzelas, however, I know very little about South Africa.  So, imagine my surprise and horror when I saw this.  Sickened by her experiences treating rape victims, South African doctor Sonnet Ehlers has invented a device that she hopes will lead to more arrests and convictions of rapists.  The device, which a woman inserts like a tampon, consists of a latex sheath with “jagged rows of teeth-like hooks” on the inside that “attach on a man’s penis during penetration.”  Since only a doctor can remove the “Rape-aXe,” the hope is that authorities will arrest a rapist when he shows up at a hospital to have the device removed.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Perhaps We Should Just Be Quiet And Listen To Trans People

I am a member of a yahoo group that sends me daily e-mail about the trans community.  I asked to be allowed to follow this group because I felt that I needed more information to help me unpack my cis privilege.  Today they sent me an article from The Daily Fail otherwise known as "The Daily Mail," regarding Warren Beatty's disappointment with his daughters decision to change her gender.

The article really seemed geared towards presenting the idea that Beatty should accept his child as he his. The author even correctly gendered Stephen throughout the article.  I thought for once the Daily Fail had published a success, that is until I read the following:
Psychotherapist Elizabeth McKane says: 'This is an extremely complicated issue and there is not one obvious answer as to why people feel the need to change gender.

'Sometimes it has what you might call a genetic component, which is when people say that they have been born in the wrong body.

'In other cases, it is more psychologically complex. It may be that, if she wants to live as a gay man, she is seeking to write women out of the equation because of what she feels relationships are like between men and women.'
They found an "expert" who decided that it was okay to misgender Stephen -- and then had the nerve to suggest that the reason he chose to transition is because he has an issue with heterosexual relationships.  Could this woman be anymore condescending?

Now Mel Gibson Admits to Hitting Oksana, How Long Until We Forgive Him?

When it was revealed last week that Mel Gibson went off on another racist tirade, I didn't blog about it because it got extensive media coverage.  Even Jessie Jackson got on his bullhorn to call the Brave heart star out. Even a celebrity of Mel Gibsons calibre cannot get away with saying:

"You look like a fucking pig in heat, and if you get raped by a pack of niggers, it will be your fault."

He stated that after threatening to burn her house down and demanding that she suck his dick before he did it. Sounds charming doesn't it?  Mel Gibson had no problem saying any of this because his entire life has been about privilege.  With the star clout and money that he has now, few will openly oppose him.  I wondered at the time this tape was released, what had prompted Oksana to record him in the first place.  No one walks around with a device to record someone, without being inspired to do so by previous behaviour. 

Life On The Inside: An Omar Broadway film

On July 14th HBO will premier the documentary An Omar Broadway Film.  The following is from Omar’s myspace page:
Within New Jersey’s Department of Corrections also known as the Department of Corruption, there is a housing unit within Northern State Prison known as the Security Threat Group Management Unit. It is a housing unit that was created both as a result of New Jersey’s growing gang epidemic, and its presence within the Department of Corrections. Its purpose is for alleged gang members within New Jersey’s prisons to attend a program within it called the Security Threat Group Unit Program where the alleged members of whichever Security Threat Group that they’re suspected of being affiliated with is to denounce their affiliation, and be taught about the many reasons why they should steer clear of today’s popular gang culture. Unfortunately, as a result of the prison Administration and the supervising officers on down to their subordinates’ counterproductive behavior, not only is the intended effect of the Program not being produced, but the exact opposite is occurring. Gang affiliations are being reinforced as a result of the alleged gang members getting to the S.T.G.M.U, and being ganged up on by officers that behave just as the alleged gang members are to not to, as the officers display total disregard for the law, policy and procedure by taking it into their own hands when dealing with them, which you will be able to see for yourself. One of the officers within the prison got so tired of what his fellow officers were doing to the prisoners that he decided to break the wall of silence by going so far as to give an inmate a camcorder to actually record what transpires as opposed to just merely speaking out, which would have only resulted in him being ostracized while all of the participants, cover remains. We’ve reached out to many people and entities regarding the cruel and excessive force used by these guards to everyone ranging from the President, US Senators, talk show personalities , journalists, all four major news organizations and more to expose this cover up that reached as high up as the “then” Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections, all to no avail. Now this information has found its rightful home on the world wide web for the world to see, so without further delay, here’s the 8th Amendment, let alone the entire Constitution being trampled on. Here’s a glimpse into the “Trauma Unit” that is sending suspected gang members back out into society far worst than when they left it. WWW.TRAUMAUNIT.NET THE OMAR BROADWAY STORY "EXPOSING A HIDDEN REALITY"

Miss A Parent Teacher Conference and Go To Jail

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is working on a proposal that would see parents who fail to show up for parent teacher conferences spend up the three days in jail.   This is her attempt to deal with truancy, a high drop-out rate and teen violence. 
Worthy first considered her proposal after a spate of shootings involving students that culminated in the June 2009 wounding of seven teens at a city bus stop. The Demarco Harris' trial convinced her she was on the right track.

He had been in and out of school a lot and his parents rarely met with his teachers. Then came Aug. 1 2009 when authorities were investigating a killing.

"When police went to his parents, his parents were not able to account for his whereabouts and it was about 2 in the morning," Worthy said.

Harris, who is now 13, was convicted in May of killing 24-year-old Trisha Babcock. He was sentenced to a high-security juvenile lockup.

"We're trying to prevent any more Demarco Harrises from going down that road," Worthy said.
Criminalizing this situation is not going to make any improvement. It did not occur to Worthy that perhaps the reason why parents are not able to attend conferences is due to an inability to get time off work.  There are people that cannot even afford a sick day, much less taking time off to meet with a teacher. There are also parents that are disabled that may not be able to attend these conferences. I have not gone to a teacher conference in years, but that does not mean I am a disengaged parent; it means the difficulty of traveling to the school during the winter months presents a real barrier for me.   My conferences happen over the phone and this an option that schools could offer. A parent my not be able to attend a meeting, but a fifteen minute phone conversation during a break could be a different story altogether. We live in the age of communication and we should use these tools to reach out to families, rather than insisting on formats that may exclude many.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Flower Girl #2: Are You Moved?

I was chatting with Jaded16 yesterday, when she asked me if I was familiar with the work of Margaret Bowland. She sent me a link to the following image and I was immediately captivated by it.

The pain and the sadness of this little girl reminded me of all the ways that our daughters are told that they are not worthy from birth.  The white paint speaks to me of the way that Black children learn to internalize Whiteness as good, and therefore perceive themselves to be defective and unworthy. 

I am very interested to know how or if this image touches you and why.  Art often makes us confront that which we would happily ignore and therefore, I think this work is a great conversation piece.

Instead of "Violet Tendencies", Mindy Cohen Should Go Back To The Facts of Life

You ever come across a movie trailer that just makes you go WTF?  When I saw  the trailer for "Violet Tendencies,"  the new flick starring Mindy Cohen from "The Facts of Life", I just sat there with my mouth hanging open, feeling like I had been hit by a mack truck. It takes a lot of effort to get that many harmful tropes in one movie, let alone a two minute preview.   I think what bothers me the most about this movie is that some fool will think that it is progressive because it has gay characters -- and there is even sexual contact between gay men.  "Violet Tendencies" is an example of how to get it wrong -- not right.

The Things We Always Remember Edition Of Selective Memories

Jaded16 is a Radical Feminist from India. She writes a humour blog Oi With The Poodles Already’, attempting to make her world a little woman-friendly using healthy doses of irony and sarcasm to de-condition the Indian masses. It is at times like these when she loses all her sense of humour and starts looking for a rock big enough to live under. 

I saw Before Sunset about two years ago and this one line has still stuck around in my head -- "Memories are wonderful things, if you don't have to deal with the past". Contrary to popular belief I don't quote  such lines quite ritually. Because that would be embarrassing; not that I know anything about it(ish). But this week as I was teaching Jhumpa Lahiri's "The Third and The Last Continent" to my students, the question of 'Indian-ness' came up throughout the text. We started off with describing all things Indian -- Gandhi, sarees, removing shoes at the doorstep, Malgudi Days (this was mine. My students have no clue of R.K.Narayan) and cricket. Cricket in India is what God is to the Pope; maybe Indians are more loyal to cricket, I'd say.

Suddenly, one of them said, "Indian-ness is hating Pakistan"; a sentence that still chills my bones.  A class of 13-year old children (emphasis on CHILDREN) have such strong views on a community they have never actually interacted with, backing their views with various cultural stereotypes all aimed at objectifying and dehumanising a specific people, I stood rooted to the spot, unable to speak for a while. Sentences like, "Muslims are like that. They are a hateful, violent community", "They SMELL!", "Why do you think no Muslim is ever on the 'Most Successful People' page?" and the old obvious standby "Most of them are terrorists anyway" started swirling around before I could stop them. They even made distinctions between certain sects, making sure to highlight the Gujarati heritage of Khoja Muslims, as if that's the reason they are 'different' and 'better' Muslims. Then the Saudi Arabian Muslims are 'more sophisticated' than the rest and "the US Muslims are the best, because they aren't really Muslims at all" concluded the class with a laugh.

Bill Cosby Tells Black People Off Again

Do you remember the good ole days when Bill Cosby was too busy selling Jello Pudding Pops to open his mouth about race, drugs and poverty? Just because he was America's favorite dad during the eighties, does not mean that we have forgotten that he was too busy "being human" to get involved in the civil rights movement of the 60's.  When comedians like Dick Greggory were giving it all for the cause and risking their careers, Cosby took the safe route.  In fact, safe is about all he has ever been good at, and now he has the nerve to repeatedly stand on a podium and lecture people.

According to Bossip (even a broken clock is relevant twice a day)  Last Saturday at the 2010 Essence Festival, Cosby used his position as a keynote speaker to display his special brand of father knows nothing:
“We’ve got to lay it out for them,” Cosby said when asked about how to help cut the rate of teen pregnancies in America. “Let’s tell them about life. You’re 14 and having sex. OK. So, what kind of job do you have?”
Cosby, who received a standing ovation when he walked on stage, said the African-American community must get involved if change is going to occur in any area.
“Apathy is strangling you to death,” he said, to rousing applause and a few ‘Amens’ from the crowd.
"Get up. Stay on the scene. Be a studying machine,” he said, drawing from soul singer James Brown’s lyrics.
"We need to start getting into people’s business. We need to say, ‘Hey, I’m your cousin man, I’m your brother, I’m your sister and I don’t care if you don’t talk to me anymore but your teenage daughter ain’t got no business dressing like that!’ Tell them.”
So, through all of that blather, I took away a good dose of  sex and slut shaming, as well as ageism. Who is he to decide how a young girl should dress and what does that have to do with how successful she is in life?  Is prohibition on sex only for young unemployed teenagers, or does it apply to adults who are currently out of work?  With a vicious recession going on, and the fact that it has impacted large sections of the Black community, very few people will be getting their grove on. Heaven forbid the man offer real soultions that don't shame people like free birth control, STD testing and EDUCATION -- you know that thing he is always touting.  For a man that didn't exactly keep it in his pants during his lifetime, he has a lot of nerve to get up on a stage and lecture anyone about sex.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Now It's A Slogan:"Yep I'm A Racist"

When I first saw the headline for the following video: "Yep I'm A Racist," I assumed that this was some sort of ironic sort of fauxgressive nonsense that supposedly liberal people spout, but instead it turned out to be good ole fashioned God fearing racism. Who knows, at this rate, the KKK might be fashionable again.  I am once again going to put this nonsense below the fold for those of you that are at work.

Spark of Wisdom: The Importance of Safe Spaces

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.

Having just come back from Pride (and still not slept the clock round, which is what I really need to recover from the last 4 days of wonder without sleep) I am going to natter on about the wonder that are safe spaces. 

I am a great fan of safe spaces. Because the heteronormative world is not a pleasant place. It just isn't.  

It has constant little pricks always poking you over and over again. You open a book and there's straight people, you look out the window and there's lots of straight families, you turn on the television and lo, straight folks abound. Adverts are 99.9% straight, television is awash with straightness, the radio's playing yet another boy loves girl song. It's everywhere - and of course, the accompanying little whisper "you're not normal, not normal, not normal, not normal. You don't belong here." Which is damned irritating at times. 

It has a lot of little stabs as well. Those girls there discussing, well, something, which is apparently "so gay." Those kids over there are having an argument, apparently one of them is a "fag". We turn on the television to see a loving homosexual couple! Who have died. Again. But don't worry, straight female lead has a sassy gay friend to make it all better. 

Then of course there are the great big hammers. The fear, the running, the hiding, the hospital visits. We know the badness, I don't need to mention it. 

Living in heteronormative society can be a little like constantly having your eyes poked with sporks. It's irritating, it's painful and can lead to severe injury. 

Then we come to Safe Spaces. In a safe space, the sporks are absent (or at least massively blunted). Safe spaces are places where we do belong, places where we can relax. Places where we don't need to be on guard or afraid or constantly having our eyes sporked. For me, walking into a place I consider a safe Space is like 10 hours of therapy and a very large Bacardi (mock not my drinking habits). It's like taking off your tight shoes and tie after a very long day - except it's a day that has lasted months and the shoes are so tight you can hardly walk and the tie is stopping you from breathing properly. 

Happy Birthday Frida, I See Your Pain

When I first discovered Frida Khalo many years ago, something about her work called to me. During her lifetime her politics were decidedly leftist and revolutionary. She engaged in affairs with both men and women at will and her paintings centered women, or more specifically herself.  What's not to like about this incredible woman?  But there was something more to my love of her work that I could not articulate-- that is-- until like her, my body betrayed me.
 The Broke Column (1944)

Frida had health problems most of her life.  She was a polio survivor and a tragic bus accident would leave her with chronic pain for the rest of her life.  The above painting was completed during a time when her health had taken a turn for the worst, and she had to wear a metal corset for five months. She called this contraption "punishment" because she hated it so much.

Same Sex Domestic Violence on "Police Women of Memphis"

Trigger warning for graphic descriptions of domestic violence.  The video also contains disableist language.

Let me start out by saying unequivocally, that no one deserves to live in a violent situation. No one, no matter what the relationship, has the right to put their hands on you and cause you physical pain. 

Like many straight cisgender women writing about social justice, I often fall into a very predictable pattern, because I view the world through my specific lens of privilege.   This means that when I think about domestic violence, I picture the image of a man battering his defenseless wife; I immediately think of two cisgender people that are heterosexual.  I know and have known for a long time that violence does exist in same-sex relationships, and yet It never comes to mind unless it is  directly in front of me as it was in the following video.
(note I am placing this below the fold because of descriptions of violence).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Kate Perry Should Go Back to Kissing Girls in California

Kate Perry already owes the world for singing, “I kissed A Girl”  Yeah, if it’s a girl it’s not really cheating, because that isn’t really sex right.   I had sincerely hoped that when the song faded into oblivion that this would be the last I would hear of Kate Perry, but apparently, the woman is determined to share what looks like a drug fueled fantasy with the world.

So I just have to ask what the hell is this?:

And what pray tell is this?
Is she trying to make some playful point about breastfeeding that I am missing?

Singing Children

Itoro Udofia is an artist and writer living in Amherst, MA. Currently, she is attending graduate school to study social justice and education. Her work focuses primarily on the African Diaspora, black womanhood, identity, solidarity, and love. She hopes to continue using art as a tool for social justice.

I hear the children singing against the mourning dove’s cry
They tread red earth and praise a blue sky
They eat the raw cocoa
They tell me it’s sweet
I’ve tasted it too
I say,
“Too bitter to eat.”
I hear them humming
I’ll try to hum too
I’m no longer a child
But I can still stay in tune
My notes scurry to run with these children of the sun
They sing to me that I cry too much
“Mother! Give us your teardrops. We’ll drop some in our eyes
We’ll cry into the soil and help you sprout more life
When you can cry no longer
We’ll cry the final batch out
If we do things this way
There’ll be enough crying to go around
One day we’ll cry less. Laugh more
One day we’ll cry less. Laugh more.”
Sing the children against the mourning dove’s cry
They tread red earth and praise a blue sky
They eat raw cocoa
They tell me it’s sweet
I’ve tasted it too
I say,
“Too bitter to eat.”
I say,
“Soon. Too bitter for you to eat.”

Children Make A House A Home

This weekend for the first time since my children were born, we spent four consecutive days apart. They went out of town to go to a wedding --and as they hopped in the car and waved goodbye I felt my chest tighten and I struggled against the urge to pull them out of the car. To be honest, they are perfectly safe and are with family; they just aren't with me, their mother.
A few of my friends made jokes about how quiet the house is.  You see, when Mayhem gets going, you can literally hear that boy across the street.  The boy was born with lungs for telling people about themselves. The house has been clean since the day they left, and there is nary a stray sock out of place.  Even the family un-dog Darren, who I thought would be relieved at their absence, has taken to checking their rooms every few minutes and meowing copiously while lying by the front door.

The children are what make my house a home, and without them it just feels empty and lonely. No one woke me up this morning asking, "mommy did I have breakfast last night, I'm hungry?" No one came to me to rat a sibling out, while complaining of a barely visible injury -- and most importantly, no little arms embraced me and said I love you.  Since my boys could talk, there has never been a day without an exchange of our love and there has never been a day without smiles and laughter.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunday Shame: Feminist Cat Betrayal

You may remember that awhile back I was engaged in a blog war with the excellent Cara of The Curvature and Feministe, regarding a little collective that I revealed to the world - The Feminist Kitty Collective.  At the time, few were openly talking about their love of dogs, and instead, many were privileging cats, thus ignoring the oppression faced by dogs. This is a very serious matter, because in the process, the terrible conditions that some female dogs must endure is ignored, due to the fact that women have been seduced by nefarious felines. I watched in horror as feminists doled out cat nip, desperate to receive even the smallest return of their love and affection to cats. Not only are women working a double day, hitting the glass ceiling, and doing the majority of housework, cats have now lowered them to kitty litter duty; a task whispered in small circles to be noxious to the nose. Right in front of their so-called feminist companions, cats do their business and meow for their female owners servants to clean their mess.  How can this clear indoctrination and enslavement of women serve to benefit women's social status?   I announced that for the sake of every bitch in need of a healthy game of fetch:
Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Feminist Cat Lovers Have Got To Go

I spoke of the terrible pet performance that dogs are forced into: sitting, coming (no that is not as good as it sounds) and staying on command no less, while these so called feminst cats cruel overloads roam around freely.   I thought I was beginning to see an end to the stranglehold of cat hegemony, but then, the Kitty Colllective declared all out war.  They meowed foul and circled the wagons determined to maintain the oppressive cat supremacy that seems to have taken hold of so many feminists.  These women claimed to care about intersectionality and yet day after day they betrayed these principles to post pictures of cats, thus leaving dogs to the mercy of patriarchy who have declared them mans best friend.  So much for equality and women's liberation, because  Felis catus is quick to declare
when their feminist companions slaves are slow with an ear scratch or dare to use the lint brush without thanking these stuck up kitties for sharing their hair.