Saturday, September 4, 2010
As usual, I would like to remind everyone of Womanist Musings open guest posting policy. Please send either your original work or a link to you blog. Please include a three line bio and an image you would like associated with your work to womanistmusings[at] gmail.com. The more people that participate in the conversation the broader topics we can discuss and the more issues we can challenge.
Below you will find a list of postings that I found interesting. 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.
beyond politics: disability & desire
Do “Fat” and “Crazy” go hand in hand?
JUST ANOTHER CASE OF THAT OLD DEA
Being Girlfriend Material (trigger warning for descriptions of sexual violence)
When I Learned I Was: A Woman
First Nations Confront Legacy of Violence Against Women
Party on the Food Network
Justice for Shaquan, justice for mothers
On fatphobia, thin privilege, and “eat a sandwich”
Tiger Woods Is Single Ladies
Caribbean Black Isolated in White Suburbia
The Culture of Internet Call Outs
There Are More Slaves Today Than At Any Other Time in Human History
What’s Wrong with Regular Black Girls?
The Brownest Eye
Friday, September 3, 2010
Even though the first day of fall isn't until September 22, back to school always marks the beginning of a new season to me. Last week, we went shopping for school supplies and there seems to be this sense of anticipation in the air. This week, I thought that we could share our favorite fall memories, or even our worst back to school stories. What do you think of, when you think of fall?
With this in mind, an Australian judge decided not to incarcerate a trans woman, after hir reckless driving killed hir girlfriend, because she felt that the prison system was not set up to handle bodies like hirs.
Judge Marilyn Harbison told [name redacted] she would not lock him up because she was not satisfied prison authorities could protect him from bullying from other inmates.
She said [name redacted], 21, wanted to be a woman and assumed the characteristics of people in a fantasy world and because of his unusual personality she would wholly suspend a three-year jail term.
"The prison environment would weigh very much more heavily on a person of your condition,'' the judge said.
[name redacted] was at least 30km/h over the 50km speed limit when he skidded on a dirt road at Seville East and hit a tree.What this person did was clearly illegal and yet they are not serving time, because of the way the system is organized. It is very rare that a trans person will get any form of special treatment and that point must be emphasized; however, if the law is really to mean anything, it has to apply to everyone equally. If we are going to insist on imprisoning people, we need to assure that this process is humane and applies equally to everyone.
Melissa Neylon, 18, who was in the front seat, was thrown clear from the car with the seatbelt round her neck and the car landed on top of her.
For a Lady who is sick, there aren't many options for entertainment around here. Sure there's that whole 'everyone who happens to come to my room becomes my servant' thing (which does have its advantages had I been a passive-aggressive person) or I can pretend to be less sick than I actually am so I may be allowed out; but all these tactics fall flat very soon. As soon as mum gives me that Olde Glowering Eyelid Nod that is. So, T.V. watching is the one thing that is considered appropriate on this side of the world when the said Lady is sick. This week, I've managed to watch so many soaps and movies that I may never recover. Excuse the dramatics, it's one of the long lasting effects the TV implants in your skull the moment your eyes glaze over.
These days bringing up the 'woman problem' on TV has become quite fashionable, sort of like that time talking about orphans was fashionable. Or maybe that was just Dickens. You're probably wondering at this point, "What's her problem now? Isn't she happy Indian soaps are addressing the problem?" or maybe wondering just how high my dosage is that I'm not tickled pink at the prospect of having issues like child marriage, female feticide, domestic violence etc. Be patient people of Ye Olde Interwebes as I slip into a comfier position.
The dueling demonstrations play out in central Ohio, where nine miles of cornfields and Amish-buggy crossing signs separate The Fox Hole strip club from New Beginnings Ministries.
Club owner Tommy George met with the preacher and offered to call off his not-quite-nude crew from their three-month-long protest if the church responds in kind. But pastor Bill Dunfee believes that a higher power has tasked him with shutting down the strip club.
"As a Christian community, we cannot share territory with the devil," Dunfee said. "Light and darkness cannot exist together, so The Fox Hole has got to go."
Thursday, September 2, 2010
Monstrous Musings: Become a Virtual Student in Women’s Studies 300: Twilight: The Texts and The Fandom (with further thoughts on Why “Vampires Suck” Doesn’t Totally Suck)
I am a literature and women’s studies scholar and author of the blogs Professor, what if…? and Seduced by Twilight. I am currently writing a book examining the Twilight cultural phenomenon from a feminist perspective. My interest in vampires and werewolves dates back to my childhood fascination with all types of monsters.
Before we get to Vampires Suck, a Monstrous Musings Update with information about my Twilight course:
I have been absent from the blog for awhile due to finishing up my book manuscript, Seduced by Twilight (coming out from McFarland in 2011). But, I am back and still as vampire crazy as ever. How will I survive once True Blood ends this coming Sunday? Please say it ain’t true about Eric… Alas, the teen-angsty, vampire-hotties are back in The Vampire Diaries as of September 9.
And, in other news, my Women’s Studies course, Twilight: The Texts and the Fandom, started this Monday. For those of you who want to follow along as “Virtual Students,” here is the link to the course readings and calendar of topics. I will be posting course updates, recaps of class discussions, and other Twi/vampire related posts each week. The course will focus on enacting a feminist cultural studies lens to Twilight and the surrounding cultural phenomenon. We will read two Twilight texts, two essay collections, and one other vampire novel – The Gilda Stories by Jewelle Gomez. Hope some of you will join in the fun! Twi-vi’s (Twi-virgins), Twihards, Twihaters, and everyone in between welcome!
On to my review of Vampires Suck… (cross-posted at Ms. Magazine blog)
It may not be brimming with hard-edged analysis, but the new parody of the Twilight series, Vampires Suck, is certainly more satirical than sucky. This parody, written and directed by Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer, has its share of what I would call “Twi-crit-light,” a nod towards serious social criticism that separates this film from the majority of parodies that are aimed primarily at making people laugh (and, thus, are more comedic than satiric).
Therefore, I was surprised at the almost entirely scathing reviews Vampires Suck received–considering that I, one who has been accused of being a “that’s-not-funny feminist,” actually found the film quite humorous. It’s true that it traded in the typical “violence is so funny” meme and was sprinkled liberally with visual puns and pop cultural references (for example, in Edward’s early semi-nude scene, his genitals are covered by a glittering disco ball). But I found most of these images to be humorous and satirical rather than inane and stale (as this round-up of various reviews suggests). Moreover, the film highlights the saga’s hypocritical obsession with pro-abstinence: Edward Sullen (a spoof version of Edward Cullen) appears as a sparkly chastity knight and Becca Crane (the parody of Bella Swan) is decked out in fishnets, a light-up bra and underwear with arrows pointing towards her genital area. As in the saga, one minute we viewers are told to keep the purity rings firmly in place, while the next moment we are encouraged to get all hot and bothered over extended petting.
2-3 times a day I get some comment or even an e-mail suggesting that I hate White women, because I have the temerity to call them out on their shit. I even had one jack ass suggest that my father left my mother for a White woman, which btw is absolutely laughable. The problem must certainly be my uppity Black ass and not the fact that they think they are living in the antebellum south. Missy Ann syndrome runs deep in the veins of some White women, even when they pretend that they are liberal and tolerant. Missy Ann's constantly declare their strength and independence to the world, but aren't afraid to use their White woman tears and fears to keep Blacks in line.
Unless they can place us in a position that is significantly beneath them, the Missy Ann's of this world don't feel that they are being respected and valued. They know damn well that this is a White man's world and so the only way to have a piece of that power pie, is get into cahoots with them and lord their false superiority over people of colour. This is why you will often hear White women reduce the complaints of WOC to jealousy. On some level we must all want to be them, because how could we possibly be content with who we are. Even though Whiteness has been the cause of so much evil in this world, they have internalized the false belief that Whiteness is the height of human existence.
Yesterday, I came across a very timely documentary. It is called Out in Silence. Film maker Joe Wilson set off an incredible chain of events when he placed a wedding announcement in his home town newspaper, The Derrick. Many were enraged to see a simple announcement for a wedding between two men. Growing up in Oil Town, Wilson was quite aware of exactly how homophobic this small town is, but he decided that it was time for him to live openly. He expected the hate mail, but what he did not expect was a letter from a woman named Cathy Springer, who desperately needed help dealing with the homophobia her young son, C.J. Bills was experiencing. “Out in Silence” is the story of homophobia in small town U.S.A. and what happens to the brave souls that refuse to hide who they are, because others are wrongly convinced that they have the right to belittle others.
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
There are far too many that believe that their hatred of a specific group of people is natural; however, just like many things in life, we are actively taught to hate difference. We learn to internalize the false believe that difference mean less than, with the understanding that this is the way to gain privilege and power -- but the double edged sword also means that we are contributing to our own marginalization. Children are born into a very specific discourse, but when parents either through direct or indirect action, support a hierarchy of bodies, they learn to perceive this world in very specific terms that have us continually clawing and fighting to be at the top of a socially constructed pyramid of power. And while we cannot ignore power, because it is in everything that we do and everywhere that we go, we certainly do not have to tolerate the idea that power has to be coercive to be of value.
The following video has been posted on several blogs today:
I found the following video at Sociological Images.
We’re only human, but we try to be perfect.
We pretend that high heels are comfortable, and that waxing just takes getting used to.
We pretend we can manage anything that’s thrown at us, and sometimes we can.
And other times, we just have to cut ourselves some slack, and take a moment.
Because although we’re only human, that’s more than enough.
Your moment, your Dove.
Gwen took issue with this commercial, because it uses a woman’s empowerment message to sell its product, “in a superficial way that simply suggests consumption as a solution rather than truly challenging the beauty ideals it appears to be critiquing.” I think that this is an unrealistic demand from any commercial regardless of the product. The goal is to sell an item, not restructure the world. If an advertisement can accomplish this goal without pandering to isms that we know that are harmful, has it not already exceeded reasonable expectations?
Of course we have to deal with the fact that this is a chocolate commercial aimed at women. Even though both genders use a multitude of products, certain items are invariably aimed at women. I don’t recall the last time I saw a cleaning product use a male actor in an advertisement -- and though it takes two people to make a child, a diaper commercial will invariably star a cute baby and its mother. Dove could have done something really challenging and shown a man eating a piece of chocolate as a form of escape. Even though in my household, any kind of chocolate invariably belongs to me (because I freaking said so), this does not mean that chocolate is not consumed for pleasure by both men and women.
The idea that women do perform their gender is something that is not often acknowledged for the occasionally painful and often time consuming ritual that it is. None of the messages in this commercial were inaccurate. If we are absolutely honest, not only are women spending inordinate amounts of time performing gender, they are also doing a double shift. Stopping to relax and to have moments of absolute pleasure, is not something we often give ourselves the pleasure of having, even though we live in an individualistic society rather than a communal one.
Yes, aiming chocolate specifically at women and ignoring the way that this is considered a woman’s indulgence certainly plays upon sexist ideas; however, the message that we should relax is something that needs to be reinforced. The problem is the product itself that is sending the message. In the west, chocolate is something that many consume is vast quantities because it is pleasurable and cheap. The reason it is so affordable, is because of how it is produced. Chocolate is an item that is made from highly exploited labour and sometimes even slave labour. So as I sit here, a western woman engaging with the ways in which this commercial deals with gender, in response to the work of another western woman, the perspective we have both focused on, completely reflects our western biases. What about the women workers that are producing the chocolate for little to no pay? Do we think that they are affected by this commercial? Sometimes we can become so determined to look at something to see how it impacts us, that we miss the multiple layers of oppression right in front of us. We cannot think in an intersectional fashion, unless we seek to deconstruct something from as many angles as possible. There is much more to this commercial than gender but it takes a determination to deconstruct an item to its most basic components to see this.
Quite a few years ago, I was visiting a friend of mine when her mother returned from grocery shopping and announced how many slices of raisin bread each person was allowed to have. At three dollars a loaf, raisin bread was considered a treat and therefore, the bread had to be equally divided to ensure that each person got a fair share. More recently, I went to the grocery store with an acquaintance to pick up a few items that the unhusband forgot when he went shopping. I watched with shock as he walked over and started picking out meat that had clearly turned in colour -- that the grocery store was selling cheap to get rid of. I listened as he told me how he planned to marinate this meat, to bring it back to top quality and then I stared into my cart with its fresh vegetables and good cuts of meat. I also listened to his plan to freeze the milk that he was buying because it was on sale. Never in my life have I frozen milk, I simply purchase it when we run out.
Yesterday, I went to the bank before our family went
I find myself wondering -- what if my boys were to stand in front of the Taj Mahal at sunset? Would they be so overwhelmed by its beauty, that they would weep salty tears of joy, in the simple pleasure of being alive? What if my boys were to steer a boat down the Nile River? Would they be overcome with a sense of human history unfolding slowly over a millennium? What if my boys were to walk across a stage and collect a PHd? Would they go on to enrich the world with their work? Would they share great revelations that would be remembered well into the centuries to come? To look at a child that you love, is to ask what if....
The problem with what if, is that the question may not pertain to the child hirself, but to long dormant yearnings within the parent that remain unfulfilled. This sepeation is extremely difficult, because parenting allows you to re-live moments of your childhood, that you have always wanted to change and or experience. The very first time that I went swimming, Destruction was one. I remember that summer day as one of the happiest days of my life. I don't recall it in the same manner as I do other adult memories, because I experienced it as a little girl inside a woman's body. The same can be said of our first Santa Claus Parade, and the first time we went trick or treating, because they were all actions that I longed to do as a child.
Tuesday, August 31, 2010
It has been a few weeks since I have aired the contents of the spam and delete box. There has been no shortage of hideous commentary, I simply have no had the emotional strength to go through it and pick out the worst. As usual, you will find absolute foul commentary masquerading as respectful contributions. Please vote on whom you believe has earned the title
Sean: What's wrong with the word retarded?reards do not know your making fun of them anyway dum dum.t
Posted on Finally We Hear From Kelly Dodson, Sister of Antoine Dodson
FastFacts: a slut by any other name is still a ho'...PERIOD
Posted on Laurence Fishbourne's Daughter Would be Porn Star?
Dan: Calling discrimination is just absurd. No one is saying you shouldn't be allowed in fancy restaurants, just don't take your kids with you. You signed up for parenthood, and that entails certain sacrifices, like having to find a baby sitter when you want to go somewhere nice. Know why I don't bring my dog to Wolf Gang Pucks? Because it runs around, makes noise, and poops. Your kid does the same thing, so it shouldn't be there either.
Here's a deal, if your kid has the right to be there causing a disturbance then I have the right to use language of my choice, and I'm going to make damn certain your kid goes home with "Thunder cunt" added to his vocabulary.
Posted on: Children in Public Places
Tired: Well my GF walked into a hair salon and happened to be only black stylist in there and they told her they do not do white girls hair and she just turned and found another place. Maybe we should sue oh right the american legal system is to afraid of the terrorist organizations"NAACP""ACLU" to take something like that on. Because blacks can't be racist or apparently can't be trained to work with white peoples hair. Give me a break with this money grubbing lady
Posted on: JC Penny's Doesn't Do "Black Hair"
Jennirempel: I don't think there was anything wrong with what she said. I don't think the Trannies would mind either. As Ke$ha's music tells, she is having a good time and appear to be enjoying the ride of life... and that's awesome! Every time one of her songs comes on I can laugh a little about it's subject matter and enjoy the beat. To Ke$ha I say keep on rocking.
Posted on: It Seems Ke$ha is Threatened by Trans Women
As I've said before, sometimes things happen in waves, the same topic presents itself to me from multiple sources (usually multiple sources of irritation at that) and rather than tear my hair out (or worry about the extra greys it's causing) I'm going to have me a ramble instead.
And this ramble is on instances where I've seen people rallying me - or, indeed, any marginalized person - to some cause or as a weapon against others.
When discussing various issues around the Israel and Palestine, I was told by one... acquaintance I guess - that I should definitely be 100% supporting Israel because the Palestinians and the rest of the Middle East is just so awful on gay rights. (And can I have an insert here that "hey, we're better than Saudi Arabia/Iran/etc!" when downplaying homophobia is so not a good tactic. I mean, what, you want a cookie for this?) So surely I should support Israel beyond question?
And I gave my best "WTF?" face, yes yes I did. And I had to ask "sorry, since when did you care about gay rights?" Because this was someone who had spent no small amount of time informing me of various religious objections to homosexuality (in a somewhat mistaken belief that I even slightly care) and angrily disputing against our right to marry/be discriminated against/work/exist in public/etc.
And of course, the point was that he didn't. Not really. At best the rights of gay people - indeed, all GBLT people - was a matter of supreme indifference to him (and that is generous, since "outright hostility" is probably more accurate) but he was perfectly willing to invoke them, to use them and homophobia as a tool to stop people questioning and push demonisation of non-Israeli's in the Middle East.
"I'm not saying I'm gay, bisexual, multisexual, transsexual. I'm just me. And tomorrow if I want to marry a man, I'll marry a man. If I want to marry a woman, I'll marry a woman. It's not categorizing. It's not a box. But the reason I haven't told the nitty-gritty and the dirty past and what I chose to be involved with sexually is because, first of all, it's trashy. It's not cute."I think many times labels exists to make other people comfortable. Anyone that sits outside of things or ideas that we can easily define is usually attacked. Perhaps, the idea that we have to subscribe to a certain way of being is actually the issue. Johnny seems to march to his own drum -- and it seems to me, most of the attacks against him are based solidly in the idea that be a man, one must perform in a very specific manner. There are elements of sexism, transphobia and homophobia in the backlash that he has faced.
She, she loves for real
When a woman loves
She, she, she loves for real
She took me back
After I broke her heart
About a thousand times
She gave her life to me
With no regrets, she followed me
And she, and she, the girl she raised me
And I'm forever indebted, I'm forever indebted, I'm forever indebted to her cause
When a woman loves
She, she, she loves for real
When a woman loves
She, she, she loves for real
She filled my soul
With the very touch of her hand
She really did
And she’s got more, more faith in me than a beach got sand
And I like to tell ha, I like to tell ha, that I’m forever indebted,, that I’m forever indebted, forever indebted
Cause when a woman loves
She, she, she loves for real
See a woman loves
It would never die young
Even when I’m dead and gone, I’m gonna love her from the sky
Cause she’s given me something that no other woman has given me (Whooooo)
When I think about you girl it makes me think
When, when, when, when a woman
She loves for real (oh)
When a woman loves, loves, loves
I’m tellin you when she loves
She, she loves for real
Yea, yea, yea
When she loves (When she loves) (6X)
She (When she loves) (3x)
She loves for real
Monday, August 30, 2010
The V that Lafayette and Jesus took last episode seems to have come with a consequence. When Lafayette looks at Jesus he see a face for which I have no words to describe. Jesus wants to do another hit, but Lafayette is to disturbed to even consider this and he asks Jesus to leave for the night. Later in bed, he hears his name being called repeatedly and when he enters into the living room, he sees the religious figurines talking and moving.
Poor sorry Jason is too overwhelmed to process the knowledge that Crystal is a werepanther. He begins to tell her about his worry for Sook-eh and she tells him that everything is about him. I could not help but think that this is something that Tara needs to tell Sook-eh. These two have always believed that the world revolves around them and it is beyond tiring. Jason leaves and find himself at the local football field. Proving that he is simply a dejected broken down jock, Jason attempts to intimidate Kitch Maynard, the quarterback of the Bon Temps football team, after he realizes that the kid is on V. His threat falls flat when he learns that the V is being provided by the coach and Maynard's parents. What bothers Jason the most seems to be a loss of identity.
There is always a group that sets the standard in any given situation, and there are always the “outsiders” who argue their equality to that group.
For example, the trans community, of which I am a member, argues that we are “equal to” non-trans people (or cisgender people, if you prefer).
This means, of course, that non-trans people set the standard for what and how a person should be, and trans people maintain that we can and do rise to that level and, therefore, we should be given rights equal to those who are the bearers of that standard. It is never the other way around.
I am living in the closet again. I want to burst out shouting hello world! Here I am! I am neither male or female, but I have tried to be both. When I was a teenager just on the cusp of... I don't even know what to call my gender but I tell people I am female, the cusp of quadruple closethood I guess? I tried to cut my breasts off and to cut my vagina into a proper penis. At that point I had just learned about being transsexual, which isn't the right sticky label for what closet I am in. This closet feels like a void of identity. Oh I know who I am but the lack of words for this space between male and female, when it shifts on you daily like a constant earth quake? All I know is, if I go outside and tell the world I am a dead person. That's the thing, I am a person.
I am pansexual. I am human. I am woman. I am male. I am intersexed. My gender flips about like a fish out of water, or it just feels suffocating really because the gender non normative closet is as painful as the sexuality closet. I long to feel that relief I felt the first time I told someone, my first love. I long to feel so free because I can be myself. I cannot present as either male or female, my body isn't. I am one of those "girls" that is born and looks normal at first but as they grow up you start noticing things. I am a "man" with a Christina Hendrix figure, I am built for me, but being myself is deadly. Why? It makes absolutely no sense.
I started exploring this publically once, I even started a blog just about my gender "issues". The thing is, my fear of being caught and murdered if someone looked at the way I write and then came across my speculative fiction was too high. People read what I write daily, in many forms. They hear my words sometimes on their TV, their radios, they hear my voice. My voice which is considered sultry and the ultra femme because it is a rich and rather deep voice for a woman. Of course I used to sing a perfect and clear soprano. Except that so do most boys who are on that hard line of grunting males with bulging muscles.
Usually when you watch an award show, there are a few memorable moments, but last night, I found myself thinking, please lord let it end. I promised Holly, my co blogger at Women's Eye on Media, that I would do a gchat with her for the show-- and so I could not even turn the channel. When he was not making ridiculous twitter jokes, he was strolling around with a guitar. I found that I could not even concentrate on who won, because I was desperately wishing that Fallon would just be quiet. At one point in the evening, I found myself wishing for the return of The Gong Show. Yes, I am showing my age, now be quiet. At any rate, I want to know how he thought that this was entertaining?