Saturday, July 17, 2010

Drop It Like It's Hot

Hello everyone, thanks for another great week of conversation.  Some of you may have noticed that your comments are hitting moderation, this is because I am trying to slow down the number of troll comments that are disrupting the conversation.  If you a regular commenter, please sign in with either wordpress or twitter, or your Intense Debate account to avoid this.  If I am monitoring the blog closely, your comments will be posted quickly, but if I have to be away from the computer your comments will sit in moderation until my return.  Please take the time to create an account because it will go a long way to making this space safer for everyone.  Finally, to those that feel that they have a right to disrespect any of my guest posters, your comments will remain in moderation indefinitely.  Ze is expressing their opinion on a situation in the same manner that I regularly do, and I will not have them trolled because their work is appearing at Womanist Musings.  If you cannot treat them with the same respect that you do me, then you are not welcome to comment.

As you can see, Womanist Musings has an awesome new header. It was created by my blogging partner on Women's Eye on Media Holly, for my birthday last week.  She does some really awesome work and if you are interested in having her create something new and exciting for you, she can be reached at holly [at] menstrualpoetry.com.  If you have not already done so, please check out Woman's Eye on Media.

Once again, I would like to remind everyone of Womanist Musings open guest posting policy.  The more people that contribute to the conversation, the greater depth we can explore together as a community.  You will find that I am fairly easy to work with.  Please send in either an original piece or a link from your blog via e-mail to womanistmusings [at] gmail.com.  Please include a three line bio and an image that you wish to have associated with your work.

 Below you will find a list of the posts that I found interesting this week.  Please show these bloggers some love and check them out.  When you are done, don't forget to drop it like it's hot and leave your link behind in the comment section.  Let the blogwhoring begin,!!!!

Larry Rivers’ Film…The Issue Is Cultural Restitution
New York sums up True Blood’s Lafayette as a Cross-Dressing Drug-Dealing Prostitute
Plus Sized Clothes: Translating the Baffling Euphemisms
The New York Times says Trans People are Ethically Required to Out Themselves on Dates
Frape
I’m Glad I Waited
Forget it, Jake: It’s Patriarchy
Sexual Assault and Hoping It’s Not True
Those “racism chasing” wingnuts
Jambo Nairobi
Re-Framing the Clothesline
Abortion on Television
Mad Max
Racism and the LeBron James Story
My Chocolate Flavoured Transition is STILL Not Like Yours
In The Press: When is it Okay to ID a Person as Trans?
Black African Pride

Friday, July 16, 2010

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


I think that music hold memories for us and in fact every summer I chose a song that represents to me the events of that particular summer. It's amazing the places hearing "The Boys of Summer." will take me, or even "Fly Away."   To me they all represent some sort of freedom and adventure which are exactly the things I associate with summer.  Everytime I hear them I remember some of the wild activities I got up to in my 20's. So, I am curious what song do you must associate with summer-- and what favorite memory does it remind you of?

The Wasteland Of Women Edition Of Madness


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. 

Like more than half the masses in Mumbai, I too use the trains on a more or daily basis; if I manage to drag my big small arse out of bed on time, that is. After a lot of grumbling, running around and emergency sessions of shooting coffee up my veins every freaking morning, I manage to somehow tumble into the train and join the WeAreSisterStrapHangers Association for the next forty-five minutes of the ride. 'Tis a real art  -- an extremely useful one at that -- to balance books, umbrella and yourself as the train lurches, halts and picks up speed like I do under a caffeine rush. I'm not suggesting that every traveler should get, "I survived Mumbai trains" t-shirts as awards but even a little appreciation will do. It's really not easy having women punch you in the gut just to get a seat and it's time someone recognises that, yo. And that's the as-old-as-time version of reality in the Ladies compartments,  I don't know anything but stink and sweat in the MenPeople's compartments; leaving aside the groping and touching that goes on if a Lady travels in their compartments. The WikiVersion of my whine is -- Train travel is hard and tiring; precisely why I should not be blamed for anything that transpired yesterday, dear BLOG! reader.

As usual, I had my head stuck in a book to really notice what was happening on the other side of the compartment till someone rudely shoved themselves against my thighs, asking to make more space out of thin air to accommodate her and her bag the size of a whale when I could barely sit comfortably. Being the scatterbrained idiot I can very often be, I suggested her to go to the other side of the compartment -- not as nearly fun as suggesting to go to the DarkSide -- she gave me a look and said in no uncertain words that I needed to let go of my death-grip on my book and just see what was on the Other side. By the look on her face, I expected to see a dead rat or at least an obscene drawing of the female genitalia. Instead there was just a woman mumbling something to herself and staring nowhere into space. Before I could give WhaleBagLady a piece of my mind for touching me, I remembered who was that Lady. She's MadWoman # 4 of the Trains (Jeez, I could make Bertrand Russel proud if I continue talking like this). As people keep track of exotic fruits, I too despicably remember all the six MadWomen I've seen in the trains.

The Gates

The moment I heard that a new vampire show was about to hit the air I absolutely had to watch it. A few episodes in I realize that there is a lot more going on than that.  The Gates is a closed community in which  an sucubus, werewolves, vampires, witches, and one creature which I have yet to figure out all reside.  They exist with uber class privilege and are going through the charade of having a nice but suburban life.   The sheer mix of supernatural creatures should create some very interesting interactions.

A cop from Chicago moves to "The Gates" after an involvement in a  questionable shooting.  The home that they are given is extremely lavish and it quickly becomes clear that this a town of secrets and deception. The Gates feels very much like ABC is trying to cash in on the current vampire craze that is pushing the "True Blood" and "Twilight" empire.  Considering that there is very stiff competition for viewer attention the The Gates is not working hard to grab the audiences attention.  If it were perhaps the first to the gate (yes bad pun intended), then a slow crescendo could be tolerated, but at this point it is certainly no competition for "Twilight" let alone "True Blood".   Thus far none of the acting is particularly good but then the same can be said of "Twilight" with "Eclipse" being the worst of the series thus far. At least the accents on the show are real unlike the mutilated accents on "True Blood."

The problem with "The Gates," is that it feels very much like the occult meets "Desperate Housewives".  There is a  three way teenage love triangle, which feels  like a nod to a "Twilight," even though a human and a werewolf are fighting over a succubus. The witches of course are divided into good and evil; however, interestingly enough, the so-called bad witch is the blond, and the good witch is a WOC.  Dylan Radcliff played by Luke Mably is determined to play stepford family to ensure the safety of his adopted daughter.  He is exceedingly private and thus is very controlling when it comes to his wife, Claire Radcliff played by Rhona Mitra.  I know that Claire's character is not really meant to be amusing but the very idea of a vampire trying to be Martha Stewart and failing miserably amuses me.  I think that if she goes on another mommy and me ice cream dates her head will explode.  This is not the life that she wants and  so "The Gates" traps her rather than protects her.  It seems to be an interesting play on the problem that has no name - Betty Freidan would be pleased.  If you are staying at home against your will to play the role of housewife the monotony will get to you and it is in these moments that Claire is more apt to get into trouble.

The story can be a little hard to follow sometimes because of the extremely long list of characters, however; it is my hope that at least a few of these will be weeded out so that a viewer can make a proper investment in the characters. Apparently this coming Sunday all bets are off as the secrets that residents have been trying to keep hidden are revealed. This of course will only be a surprise to the human characters on the show as the audience was made aware very early on in the first episode that not all was as it seemed.  The question is, when the scary things come crawling out of the shadows will the writers have invested this moment with enough occult drama so that we can finally move away from the night time soap opera feel of the show?  If "The Gates" seeks to become a serious contender in the vampire dramas it needs to move beyond Wistera Lane and take us to place wild abandon and mysterious coldness.

Have you been watching "The Gates" and what are your thoughts of the show so far or are you so vampired out that the thought of another blood sucking drama has you running for silver?

"Fully Funtional"

Leah Jane is an Über-liberal, nerdy, feminist, American-Canadian, secular humanist, skeptical, pansexual, overeducated, intellectual, philosophical, artistically inclined, white-tea drinking, loudmouthed, agnostic, politically correct, mordant, autistic Jewess who likes to draw, write poetry, study languages and smell flowers. She runs her blog, The Quixotic Autistic as a way to cope with a world that seems to want nothing more than for her to speak, but tells her to be quiet and let the neurotypicals talk when she tries to. 

Up until a few months ago, I used to define myself as either having Aspergers or being a "high functioning autistic". I was not familiar with any other terminology, apart from occasionally using ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) to explain the exact nature of my disability.
 
Looking back on that now, I shudder in embarrassment at my own arrogance and obliviousness to how I was reinforcing ableist, divisive thinking about people with autism, my own community! After some help from a friend who works in disability advocacy though, I started thinking more carefully about the language of "high functioning" versus "low functioning", and matching them up against my own experiences with what I thought neurotypical people associated the phrases with. When I visualized "high functioning", I recalled all the beaming praise people had for those suspected to have autism in the past, like Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein, and Glenn Gould. It was associated with creativity, eccentricity, intelligence, and ability... It was as though the word "disability" had been stripped away, because clearly, someone this smart is not in need of any assistance or acceptance. 

Comment Moderation

Hello everyone,

Some of you have probably noticed that your comments aren't showing up on the blog right away.  I have changed some of the moderation rules for the blog to see if we can cut down on some of the trolls.  If you love interacting, may I encourage you to actually sign in when you comment.  You can use your wordpress, twitter or even just create an Intense Debate account.   There are quite a few blogs that have Intense Debate and so it might be a good idea to create one.  Once you have done this your comments will appear directly on the blog and you won't have to wait for me to approve them manually.   When I am heavily monitoring the blog, you will find that your comments will appear pretty quickly; however, on a day like today when I am going out of town for the day, it will be a very long wait.  I am trying this out in the interest of having conversations that aren't interrupted by drive by trolls.  

I have a few posts set to go today, so will have new content to read.  Have a good one, be nice to each other -- and I will see you in a bit.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Abortion, Adoption When Do Women Feel Regret?

Pro birth activists go out of their way to tell women that if they have an abortion they will regret it for the rest of their lives.  They continually suggest that depression sets in the moment the abortion is over because we have not lived up to our essential purpose and in the process have committed murder, never mind that this is just a group of cells that could not live outside of its host. Let's just be clear about one thing, the potential to become a child and actually being a child are two very different things.  The idea is not to give women a choice and physical control of our reproduction.  One lucky sperm does not a life or a mother make.

When women talk about not being ready for motherhood, adoption is always the next suggestion.  Before I get into this, let me say unequivocally that I am not against adoption and do believe that it is a legitimate choice that some women chose to make.  My concern is that adoption is almost always constructed as uncomplicated and this generous loving gift to strangers.  If the child just happens to be a White baby with no disabilities, ze will be scooped up and treasured; however, the minute the baby is considered flawed, ze has a very high percentage of  finding themselves a ward of the state until ze ages out. Age will often work against a child, because perspective parents are more than aware that the older a child is, the more baggage they come with.  A child with issues is not something many people consider as completing their perfect little White picket fence home. Adoption is not always the perfect solution for the child, no matter what these pro life zealots say.

I Have Rotten Lemons, Want Lemonade? (Trigger Warning)


Kateryna Fury is a 25 year old New Mexico native that works for equality for all, with a writing focus that deals primarily with disablism. She is currently working on writing several audio plays, a book, and blogs regularly at TextualFury.

TRIGGER WARNING FOR SEXUAL ABUSE, INCEST and RAPE

I regret opening my email after my nap. I have spent the last two hours in a frenetic search to verify facts and details. I have foregone my evening blog read because I was introduced to the existence of Sharron Angle. Before I continue in my writing of this article I want to state explicitly that every link I give on this page will have something triggering on the other side.

The first thing I saw was the subject line, “Angle tells incest survivors “If you have lemons make lemonade.” I clicked the subject already confounded, but I had to know who this person was and what the lemons are. Lemons are fetuses. The Lemonade is teenage pregnancy without abortion even if your father or brother raped you. Let me be upfront, the things I read after this shocked me even further.

It seems that this woman has counseled incest survivors, she was a teacher at one point and is an elected official. This woman is now running to be Nevada’s senator. Her idea of counseling children seems to be convincing them it’s a great idea to risk their lives, when they do not want to, and that it is God’s plan to have them raped.


Just like I was told. It is clear to me at this point that this, my second actual attempt at writing this, will still contain the personal. This woman wants little girls to forgive their fathers, to love them, and accept them. She has helped one girl get adopted away from her rapist father but of course the rest of us who no one listened to? Well we have to suffer it out. This woman also thinks the ObamaCare plan is a bad idea, that ERs should be able to turn people away if they are uninsured, and with her antiabortion status being so far to the extreme that I suspect some of her conservative counterparts raise a brow I think she just wants the underprivileged to up and die.

Go Ahead and Step to Me, It's Time to Talk Sex

I have a friend that has a large dildo collection, in fact she has favorite brands (and no, that is not some euphemism for me)  At any rate, it made me think about the way that we dance around talking about sex.  She is explicit and never filled with shame for anything she says or does.  Quite often when we discuss sex, it has to do with consent and while I fully believe that this is an important conversation, I sometimes think that we are short changing ourselves.  It is very rare that we talk about it in a way that suggests we own our sexuality or about carnal desires, because as empowered as we are, there is still so much shame attached to this. 

I am usually quite frank about what I like and why.  I know what turns me on and I am absolutely done with over thinking my sexuality.  To some degree this is a luxury that comes with being a het cis woman and I completely recognize that -- but I also believe that as women, we are so often subject to slut shaming that having explicit conversations about sex is considered inappropriate. I think that this is especially true if you are a woman of colour.  The slut shaming aimed at Bey Bey is absolutely ridiculous and yet a man can get on a stage and shake his ass for the world while looking at women carnally, and this is absolutely appropriate.  If you are a woman lust is an absolute no no.  Justin Timberlake can sing that he is bringing sexy back with the refrain get your sexy going, and it is not the least bit problematic; try having these same lyrics coming from a female star without someone having something negative to say.

Things That Irritate Me

I think that I used to have a longer fuse before I started blogging, but it seems these days, fuck you, is a common answer from me.  For the longest time I blamed it on the prednisone that I take, but now I really believe that it is the medium that I work in. I know that my two day break over the weekend, does not make me any less prone to tell someone to F themselves first thing Monday morning if they irritate me. Of course, this gives rise to conversation in which it is asserted that I am bully, or my tone is off, perhaps I will be told that I am condescending and not really interested in conversation.  This of course is coupled with gee I love what Renee of Womanist Musings has to say, but I don't agree with her all the time.  Shit. Really?  You mean you don't take everything I say as the word of God, how will my ego ever survive that? Do you agree with every word your parent, boss, lover or friends say?  Of course not, but do you find yourself constantly saying that when you describe them? Oh, here is my so so, and I don't agree with everything they say.  I don't expect anyone to agree with anything I write, so don't expect me to write something that lines up with your ideological position--sometimes it is what it is.

If I tell you that you are not getting an apology, that pretty much means that pigs will fly first, because my opinion has become entrenched.  Continuing to carry on the argument with me for weeks and adding your commentary to different threads, is not going to change my mind.  In fact, it will probably result in me telling you to fuck off, giving you a warning and then eventually banning your ass -- because stress is the last thing I need from a site that does not pay a living wage.  One more thing, telling me that I am crushing dissent probably won't get you anywhere when the archives of this blog are filled with people telling me how wrong I am, how stupid I am, or that I cannot write a nuanced piece.   Finally, whining about your first amendment rights is probably going to give rise to scorn from me, considering that I am a Canadian.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Men That I Would Be Willing To Fight Sparky Over

image

And

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No surprise that they both play vampires eh?  Sparky pistols at 10 paces, I am about to open a can of whup ass.LOL  Seriously though, if you had to choose, who would be your pick? And no working out sneaky situations so you end up with both men.

Whoopi Goldberg Defends Herself

Yesterday I published a piece regarding Whoopi’s ill advised defence of none other than Mel Gibson. Whoopi has done many things that I disagree with, including the “rape rape” comment, and encouraging her then sweetie Ted Danson to wear Blackface.  At some point you have to wonder how many times a woman can put her foot in her mouth, but I guess in the case of Whoopi, if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, again.

image

Click the image to hear the video

Transcript:

Because there has been a lot of hassle and (indecipherable) in the media recently about moi. Yes a (indecipherable). Because the audacity to say that I had some personal time with Mel that goes over years and years – and said that I did not think of him as a racist.  People lost their and said oh you, you are defending him.  I do believe had you actually watched the show, all of you nice bloggers out there and all the folks that sit around at home and try to figure out stuff to do, if you had actually watched the show, you would have heard us say, and you would have heard me specifically say, I don’t condone this.  I don’t think this is right, but here is the piece of information that I have.  My experience tells me that this is not a racist.  Now being a Black woman you would think that you would give me a little bit of leeway to have some feel if I was around a racist but okay, I understand, I understand you don’t get it.  But then people called my office, called my office and went off on the young lady that works there. You’re gonna call cause you think I’m doing something wrong, and you do the same thing to this young lady that you don’t even know that Mel Gibson supposedly did, who are you? (spitting gesture).  You can kiss my behind, the last thing, the last thing, don’t be a coward.  If I can sit up here with my (bleeped out but looks like fucking ass) and say what I believe you don’t have to like it, but I do it and you see me face to face. And you call my office you cowardly piece of dog mess.  Listen no no no no stop stop (audience is applauding) the last thing I want to say, ‘cause I want to confess to you guys, is that I myself am a racist.

The woman is clue-less.  I think that the jury has come in and Whoopie is absolutely guilty as charged. Just because you are Black, does not mean you get to wave a magic wand and wipe away the actions of a racist, anti-semetic man.   Joy tried to save you yesterday, but clearly today, the ladies of “The View” decided to let you drown in your own ignorance.  Just because you may have broken bread with Mel, or even sucked on his big toe, does not mean he is not a racist.  Any man that would say that his girlfriend was going to be “raped by a pack of niggers” and let’s not forget the precious wetback statement is a racist.   Stop defending him and stop defending yourself.  Admit that you fucked up.  The denial of Mel’s nature smacks of some good ole fashioned house slave shucking and jiving.   All your commentary does is encourage Whiteness to keep that hateful slur in their vernacular, because they know that house slave like you will be ready and waiting to defend their hateful asses.

I am also sick and tired of celebrities turning their venom on bloggers because they don’t want to get called out on their ignorance -- and in the case of Whoopi, outright sell-out behaviour.  If you put yourself in a public situation, you are damn right you are going to get called out when you mess up, the same way that a blogger with even a tiny platform like womanist musings is going to take heat for their mistakes.  We have  24-7 access to media and so what makes Whoopi think for one minute, that people didn’t see the segment in question, especially when it has made the rounds across social media.  But oh no – we are just like lambs to the slaughter and regurgitate for fun.  I am sick of this shit.  Thoughtless commentary is what the MSM does, and bloggers are the last bastion against the corporatization of news and information. It is Whoopi’s class privilege that allows her to believe that she is above question.  Well guess what, not only do we all have to pay the piper -- we all have to be held accountable for our actions for society to function properly.

Her lived experience may tell her that Mel Gibson is not a racist,  but the entire history of race relations tells me that a man that uses the word nigger, and I don’t give a flying fuck if he was drunk or beyond the point of rage, is a RACIST.   What do you think they called Blacks when they were lynching us?  What do you think they called Black mothers as they were stealing our precious babies from our arms? What do you think they called Black women when they were sneaking into the slave cabins to rape us at will?  NIGGER, NIGGER, NIGGER.  That word exists for the sole purpose of creating us less than human, and I defy anyone to tell me that they actually meant something positive by it.  If I were her, I would be more shocked that I had misjudged someone to that degree, but oh no, house slave has to defend her massa. Sometimes it’s not Whiteness we have to worry about -- sometimes it’s the house slaves within our own ranks that seek to place us once again in shackles.  Fuck you Whooopi -- and for the love of God, shut your fucking mouth before you do anymore damage.

Levi and Bristol Are Engaged

I suppose we have to talk about this because it is a trending topic on twitter, and every where I turn, people are commenting about the engagement.   These two walked hand in hand during Sarah Palin's bid for the VP job.  They then separated with Levi and Sarah engaging in an all out media war.  He posed for playboy palled around with Kathy Griffin, and basically whored himself out to any media outlet that would print or say his name. Throughout this time, his sweetie became a spokesperson for abstinence -- because it clearly worked so well for her and enhanced mommy dearest political campaign.

The latest drama begins with Levi publicly apologizing to Sarah for airing the family dirty laundry publicly (Aww isn't that sweet). And then today came the announcement in US magazine, that Bristol and Levie are engaged.  Of course, the piece is filled with mushy declarations of love.  But what really caught my attention with this:

"We got engaged two weeks ago," Bristol, 19, tells Us Weekly. "It felt right, even though we don’t have the approval of our parents."
Since John McCain introduced her mother, Sarah Palin to the world (a crime for which I believe he deserves hard labour), Bristol has had very few independent words come out of her mouth.  Do you remember when she told Greta Van Sustren that she didn't believe in abstinence, and then miraculously changed her position to be re-born as the queen of waiting for marriage -- even though she was already a mother?  I have to say kudos to Sarah's marketing team on that metamorphosis, though it was probably relatively easy, because Bristol is White and oozing with class privilege.   I believe Bristol's sudden change of position, proves that  mommy dearest is very much in control. Conservative families are stepford families; independent thinking is strictly verboten. When you build your public persona on feeding fundies anti-woman initiatives, it is hardly going to help your career having your own daughter announce to the world that what you claim to believe in so strongly is bunk.  No need to worry, it seems to have been only a temporary indoctrination glitch.

You're A Homo: Closeted Politicians Beware

I came across the following video, which is a take off on Lady GaGa's  "Alejandro" by Drag queen Sherrie Vine Nails on Back2Stonewall.  As you all know, I am a het woman but as a disabled WOC, I certainly understand what it is to have sell-outs in your community, making it harder for you to get through your day-- Michael Steele anyone? It seems to me that these people put personal gain over and above community. They act as though the attacks that people in their minority group face, are not aimed directly at them as well.

Please keep in mind, that I am very aware that there is a difference between someone like Michael Steele and Ted Haggard.  Ted waged war on the GLBT community while hiding who he truly is from the world.  When I watched his infamous interview on "Oprah", it spoke to me of self hate and pain -- but it is not my place to say what to do with a man like him, or the various others who have taken actions akin to his.   Just as the Black community has a specific way of dealing with our sell outs, so to does the  GLBT community -- and it is to that end that I have decided to post this video.  In my attempt to be a good ally, I believe in letting communities not only speak for themselves, but in standing aside to allow them to  handle their internal business as they see fit.  This is one of those conversations where people on the outside should be quiet.  The damage is not ours, and the pain is not ours; however, if called to offer support we should be willing give any aid that we can. 

As a straight woman, I am not nearly qualified to talk about the closet.  In fact, it sure as hell is not my place to render even the slightest opinion on the issue, and therefore; in the tradition of letting marginalized groups speak for themselves, I present the  "You're A Homo" video, which I believe represents a great deal of queer thought on the issue of how harmful closeting can be.

"Looking for my Body" Of Bodies and Borders (Part I)

This is a guest post from Tassja

I'm a 23 year old Sinhalese woman in Minnesota by way of Dubai by way of Sri Lanka. I am a Womanist, and part of my womanism is figuring out how to be in solidarity with my transnational sisters worldwide. I'm a daughter, a sister, a partner and a writer. I'm a brown girl who knows Shakespeare by heart and devours anything Toni Morrison. I believe in radical, revolutionary living and loving.  I blog at Irresistible Revolution.


This is an excerpt from a series of short essays, mostly based on my last visit to my home-country, Sri Lanka, after 5 years away. The title is from a poem by Suheir Hammad.

"But the native intellectual who wishes to create an authentic work of art must realize that the truths of a nation are in the first place its realities."
Frantz Fanon


 Fanon’s words haunt me. Am I the native people of Sri Lanka? Young, female, foreign-educated, far more fluent in English than Sinhalese, loving and yet almost afraid of understanding the reality of my country?

Is it my country to claim?

The aboriginal Vaddas, the oldest known inhabitants of Sri Lanka, are almost extinct. No one can tell me what happened to them, only that by the time the Dutch and British came they were already greatly diminished in number. Historians speculate that when King Vijaya founded the Sinhalese empire, Veddas were the casualty. Does everything of our known world have its origins in blood and death? 

In the long aftermath of colonization, I struggle with unbelonging. You never really stop having, loving, longing for, being drawn to your country – you never stop carrying it inside you. The evil of colonization is that you must carry that with you also - a sense of violation. What the colonized know is violence of the body and soul, soil and blood – and the weight of recognizing how that violation resides in you, shapes you, pins you to a mat from which you must wrest the truth of who you are, unfettered by lies and murder.

A civil war raged in Sri Lanka for decades. A war, I was told, fought in my name. For me and mine. Against them – those bloody Tamils, that Demala jarawa, those filthy whores and toilet-workers, poisoning our pure, beautiful nation.

Us, the Sinhala people, the 'true' spirit of Sri Lanka.

But I wonder – does anyone know, really, who we are?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Whoopi Goldberg Comes to the Rescue of Mel Gibson

Whoopi Goldberg has been useless in my book since the day that she encouraged Ted Danson to wear Blackface. It only got worse when she questioned whether Roman Polanski was guilty of "rape rape". Now,  she has come to the defense of none other than Mel Gibson.

When it comes to IVF, do we ask whether we should?

I have a new post up at Global Comment

The modern world is filled with scientific innovations that have advanced the quality and longevity of life. There was a time when women who were infertile had two options: adoption or nursing an empty womb. There have certainly always been women who did not desire to mother, but for those who were involuntarily infertile, the inability to conceive created terrible pain. IVF has brought the joy of motherhood to millions of women and we have come to see this as a scientific good without questioning what — if any — limitations should be imposed on this process.

Women’s advocates argue for female autonomy and the right of women to control their own bodies; however, in the case of IVF treatment, women are not the only ones being affected. It is important to remember that a child is the result of a successful treatment and that he or she is going to be in a dependent situation for years to come. No one speaks for these potential children in fear that putting limitations on this procedure means putting restrictions on women’s reproductive choices.

The media is continually reporting on women who have long since passed menopause giving birth to children. In the U.S. 60-year-old Frieda Birnbaum gave birth to twins. Professor Severino Antinori became the U.K’s oldest mother when she became pregnant at the age of 62. When the public began to question her pregnancy, Severino responded by saying, “it’s not my physical age that’s important – it’s how I feel inside.”
At the age of 66, Maria del Carmen Bousada gave birth to twin boys and died before the children had reached their third birthday. She had assumed that because her mother had lived well into her twilight years, the same would be true of her.

In India, Mrs Bhateri Devi, at the age of 66, became the oldest woman to give birth to triplets weighing 2lb 6oz, 2lb 4oz and 1lb 7oz respectively. Mrs. Bhateri says, “I did this because people used to mock us.” One child has since died. Since the birth of Mrs. Bhateri Devi’s children, 72-year-old Raji, who is the mother of an 18-month-old child, has reported that she believes she is dying from complications due to her labour and delivery. When asked what made her want to have a child, she responded:

“I would have wanted a child even if I were a 100 years old. Seeing others with their children made me want one to.”

Finish reading here

Spark of Wisdom: I am not responsible for all GBLT people or all gay men

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

Now, I have already commented or plan to comment on every part of that sentence. On the gay part, on the man part even on the 'am' part (because it's 'am' not 'do', but that's another topic). About the only thing I haven't and don't plan to comment on is the 'a' because there's not a whole lot that can be said about 'a' even for someone as long winded as I.

Which is what I am talking about now - 'I'. 

I am a gay man. I am not all gay men. All gay men are not me. And yes, I don't mind stating the bleeding obvious at times. 

This means I am not responsible for the foolish actions or words of any gay man but myself (and possibly Beloved if I can find something sufficiently aerodynamic to throw).
It seems like an obvious concept - but it's surprising how often people do not get it - and I think it applies to all marginalised people to a degree.

The number of times I've been asked (or even had it demanded) that I denounce, criticize or speak about some item of epic fail a gay man has pulled boggles me. I've actually been criticized for not denouncing a gay man's actions and I've had to google the man because I've had no clue who he was or that he even existed, let alone what he had done. I've read  posts criticizing or commenting on the gay community referencing a man I've never even heard of - yet this man apparently speaks for me, says something about me, indicates something about me or otherwise involves me because we are both gay men.

Johan Tell Your Mom Heidi Klum To Comb Your Hair

Okay, you can say I am all kinds of mean, but there is no reason for this child to be out in public looking un-kept.  This is a trend when you have White mothers raising bi-racial babies.  If you are going to have children that are mixed, you cannot afford to remain aloof about racial differences; you need to learn to deal with their hair.  I think what pisses me off, is the knowledge that both she and Seal have the money to get the child's hair taken care of properly.  Note: I have never seen one of  Will Smith's children looking like a hot mess.  So, yes, yell all you want, but the child need an introduction to a brush or at the very least a finger comb out with a good conditioner.

Monday, July 12, 2010

My Father Does AA

The following is a guest post by MC

"Sometimes the secrets we hold for others still need to be talked
about. I can't attach my name to this, but needed to have someone hear it
anyhow."

 My Father does AA
       (I'm not supposed to tell you this but)
I don't remember much from when
       (I was a kid, it's a blur)
He was drinking. I think
       (I have destructive habits I learned from him)
I was lucky: He never hit me, He showed
       (Frustration, pain, anger...)
He cared, and that He loved me
       (Now he's distant, withdrawn)
He was a guiding voice in my darkness.

My Father does AA
       (Faithfully, every day)
I'm not supposed to tell you this, but
       (Keep it a secret, hide the shame)
I was a kid, it's a blur
       (Of mixed emotions, a sense of failure)
I have destructive habits I learned from him
       (Passive-aggressive-self-
recrimination)
Frustration, pain, anger..
       (Always striving to satisfy perfection)
Now He's distant, withdrawn
       (Twelve steps away from me)

My Father does AA
       (I don't remember much from when)
Faithfully, every day
       (he was drinking.  I think)
Keep it a secret, hide the shame
       (I was lucky: He never hit me, He showed)
Of mixed emotions, a sense of failure
       (He cared, and that He loved me)
Passive-aggressive-self-recrimination
       (He was a guiding voice in my darkness)
Always striving to satisfy perfection
       (My Father does AA)
Twelve steps away from me.

True Blood: Crimes

I normally do a synopsis of what happened in each episode, but I thought that this week we would just focus on a few highlights because of a re-occurring theme of violence against women.

What stood out in last nights episode of  "True Blood," was the violence against women and I think that this is continuing to be an issue. When Bill punches Lorena square in the face, which catapults her body out of the room, we are meant to see this as acceptable because Lorena is physically stronger than Bill and he believes that she is responsible for the demise of his relationship with Sookie.  I know that we are dealing with supernatural creatures, and that Lorena was not hurt by Bills actions --  in fact, she referred to last weeks rape seen as making love -- but I am beginning to be disturbed by the cavalier way in which Ball is directing this violence.  It seems to always be men hitting women, with the exception of when Tara punched out the men in Merlotts parking lot a few episodes ago, furthermore; there always seems to be some justification regarding why this violence is acceptable. While I believe we should always take into consideration the genre we are dealing with, one cannot simply ignore the fact that it is still product of a culture that does not find male violence to be unacceptable and inherently wrong.  Rather than speaking to vampire nature, these scenes speak to the way in which female bodies are often used as receptacles for male rage.

We also have the issue of poor Tara who is under Franklin's spell so to speak.  When he bites her viciously against her will, it  rises to the level of extreme violation.  In the books, Tara does have an extremely problematic relationship with Mott, but the visceral nature of last nights scene falls in line with Balls desire to continually highlight violence against women without consequence.  The fact that Tara is a Black woman and the body that Franklin inhabits is white and male makes this scene problematic in terms of race and gender.  Throughout his interactions with her, Franklin speaks to Tara like she is a possession of his, and when we consider that White men have always been able to assert ownership over Black female bodies, as well as the fact that Ball has not presented a positive image of people of colour, we can only infer that Tara is little more than surplus population to be used as a plot device. 

People Concerned About Medical Marijuana Need to Smoke a Joint

Pharmaceutical companies would very much like us to ignore the fact that marijuana has medicinal qualities that are beneficial to people who suffer with chronic pain, anxiety, or to deal with things like nausea and sleeplessness.  Pot is cheap to grow and can be a miracle worker to those with various health issues. Despite the fact that its medicinal properties have been proven repeatedly, people continue to be stigmatized and punished for using medicinal marijuana.

An article from the Seattle Times recently reported that parents are losing custody of their children for using medicinal marijuana.  
While those laws can protect patients from criminal charges, they typically haven't prevented judges, court commissioners or guardians ad litem from considering a parent's marijuana use in custody matters - even in states such as Washington, where complying patients "shall not be penalized in any manner, or denied any right or privilege," according to the law.

Arbiters often side with parents who try to keep their children away from pot. Medical marijuana activists in several states, including Washington, California and Colorado, say they've been getting more inquiries from patients wrapped up in custody-divorce cases in recent years as the ranks of patients who use marijuana swell.

Lauren Payne, legal services coordinator with a California marijuana law reform group called Americans for Safe Access, said that since mid-2006 her organization has received calls about 61 such cases.
It seems to me that this is yet another case of able bodied people telling individuals who are chronically ill how to handles our illnesses.   It is probably safe to assume that most people sitting in judgment consume alcohol. They refuse to acknowledge their own drug use, but then have the nerve to complain about marijuana use to manage and improve ones quality of life.   I further fail to see how a child benefits from not seeing their parent.

Ovulation: The Ultimate Insult?

Matt Kailey is a transman living in Denver, Colorado, and an author, public speaker, and trainer on transgender issues. He blogs at Tranifesto. In his ideal world, no one would be equal to anyone else – everyone would just be equal.

I've suffered my share of insults in my life. I've been called stupid, ugly, fatty, spacey, weirdo, and slut – and those were all in the first 18 years. But it seems that the supreme insult was saved for adulthood (and manhood) – being asked if I was ovulating.

A while back, on the night before Mother's Day, I apparently committed the ultimate transgression – I dared to go into a gay bar without wearing my "Just to warn you – I'm a transsexual" glow-in-the-dark T-shirt.

I actually had the nerve to enter this bar with my friend, order a drink, dance, talk to people, and do the usual things that you do in a bar without having the disc jockey announce over the loud speaker that a transsexual man had just entered the premises.

Now, I go into gay bars all the time, and nobody really seems to care one way or the other. But on this particular night, my presence so incensed a friend of my friend's (they are no longer friends) that he felt compelled to attack me with what he must have considered the most hideous, degrading, and dehumanizing concept that he could possibly come up with – ovulation.Your browser may not support display of this image.

He apparently discovered during the course of the evening that I was trans, because the conversation suddenly switched gears from boring small talk to a heinous accusation.

"Tomorrow's Mother's Day," he said. "You must be ovulating."

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Shame: Air Conditioning and The British Stiff Upper Lip Edition



As you know, I spend quite a bit of time talking with SPARKY. He seems to be under the much deluded belief that his accent somehow makes his OBVIOUS shame invisible to the world, but I am afraid I am going to have to call his sorry butt to the mat; you see he is one of those people. By those people I mean, someone who incessentanly complains about the heat, but refuses to do anything about it.  I submit the following as proof regarding his shame.

Sparky: We're British
Renee:You're silly
Sparky: That is why it's 12:40AM and Beloved has the patio doors wide open! British,silly. Largely the same thing:)
Renee: How do you even do it in that kind of heat
Sparky: we prefer eccentric. We moan about it!
Renee No thank you, and I don't care how good the sex is
Sparky: We complain over and over "wow it's hot, it's hot, it's never been this hot before!" and we do it EVERY YEAR and EVERY YEAR we are SURPRISED when it ZMOG gets HOT in SUMMER!
Renee: Well my air conditioner is going and it is quite comfortable in the house
Sparky: and next year we'll do it again:) Heh we consider air conditioning - and shops generally have it now- but it's always "why do we need AIR con for 3 days a year?"
Renee: Cause it is more than three days a year
Sparky:Yes, but that is REALITY. We're British. Reality is irrelevant
Renee: You know this is a Sunday Shame post right?
Sparky: You will never convince us we need air conditioning:) We will sit out here with all the doors and the windows open at midnight in the boiling heat and say "it's YORKSHIRE, it never gets hot here!" It's the changeable weather 3 days scalding heat - then it's like the middle of February for a wee,then scalding heat, then a spring day then cold again - it changes constantly.

Okay, since the summer started, Sparky and I have had this conversation repeatedly, and still he has NO CONDITIONER. I could understand if it were a matter of finances or even some sort of environmental principal, but this is nothing but pure stubbornness. He will tell me that he is melting, that the air is thicker than soup and then does absolutely nothing about it. Of course it is just some errant little heat wave, 'cause of course, England doesn't have seasonal changes and have summer every single year.  Why even try to be comfortable when so much can be invested into whining about how hot and sticky it is.  What kills me is that this man objects to air conditioning because it is not British, but then he turns around and boycotts tea and gives people the side eye.  Okay, I think he is messed up, and now we know why Britannia no longer rules the waves.