Saturday, September 11, 2010

Drop It Like It's Hot

Hello everyone, thanks for a great week of conversation.  Posting has been a little slow this week as once again my family is getting into a new groove for back to school.  We also have a new member to our happy home this week.

 Her name is Sookie and she is a ten week old Lab/ King Sheppard Cross.  Darren our family undog is of course making his displeasure known but we hope that he will come to love her as much as we already do.  Hopefully things will go back to normal this week but if not know it is because my family is keeping me on my toes.  BTW Kitty Collective, I told you I was a dog girl at heart.

If you would like to participate in the conversations that happen here please feel free to send either a link to a post or your original work via e-mail to womanistmusings [at] gmail.com

Below you will find posts that I found interesting this week.  Please show these bloggers some love and check them out.  when you are through don't forget to drop it like it's hot and leave your link behind in the comment section,

Womanist Roots: Our History with Homosexuality
Pain
Water Tower
How Civil Rights Movement Overshadowed Abuse of Women
Where are the images of black mothers? On the Nestle site
Out of site, of mind ? – Transgender People’s Experiences of Domestic Abuse
Six Degrees of Separation: True Blood
International Panhandling and Vocabularies of Motive
Celebrity Weight Loss Wars Jennifer Hudson vs. Sarah Rue
It’s time for an exciting round of fat-phobic bingo
Ignorance is Bliss
Sweep, Sweep, Sweeping


 

Friday, September 10, 2010

“It Is Wrong to Burn the Koran” By Kola Boof


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

As a Black person who comes from what I call the Satan Chair (Sudan, North Africa); a woman writer who has had Islamic Fatwa on her head and still receives death threats against my pre-teen children—I am here to remind you that after centuries of ‘an eye for an eye’—the whole world has gone blind.
 

Religious people disgust me.  It’s the reason I grew up and rejected Islam and Christianity.  Religious people think burning an inanimate object, a book, will make a worthwhile statement about love, healing and justice.  They think there’s a Man-like God figure somewhere in the clouds who shares their impotent insecurity.  Like fingers from Satan’s own hand, these ego-sniffing life-sized Chuckie Dolls believe that setting a book in flames is more powerful than simply removing it from one’s home.

 I know all about religious fanatics and boy figures who like to burn things.   I was born a Sunni Muslim in Omdurman, Sudan—orphaned at age eight due to my White Arab Muslim birth father publicly speaking out against the enslavement of ‘Charcoal Cushitic Africans’ in our country (Arabic Muslim culture in North Africa holds that ‘Allah’ despises the Blackest in color and prescribes enslavement and death for them)—then got adopted by Black Americans in Washington, D.C., United States; wonderful loving “Nana ‘nem collard greens eating Folk” who introduced me to the Holy Bible and White blue-eyed versions of Prophet Ciisa (Jesus Christ) and the naturalized White Supremacist Patriarchy that infuses the living deeds of what is called Christianity.

 As a North African woman, I weep knowing this world.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

On Occupied Bodies And UnRaveling Threads


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.
 
The only good thing that came off from last two weeks of bed rest was I got to finish a quarter of the books I put off reading. Turns out if you are pathetic enough, your friend will feel bad enough to find you a much sought after essay 'The Laughter Of Medusa' by Hélène Cixous just so you can forget about the pain you are in for about three hours. I'd only read scraps of this essay and that too online, so for a BookSnob like me, this was being as close to ecstasy as the Buddha would have, had he sought it. Ahem. Anyway, after a lot of initial squealing à la GrownUp that I am -- or am trying to be -- I actually got to reading the essay and precisely then, readers of the Olde Interwebes there was a loud popping sound. Popular belief is that it was the bubble around my head.

As much as I love feminist literary theory and Écriture Féminine (literally translates to women's writing), something didn't sit quite well with this essay for me. Aside from the essentialism that the essay and the times were stooped in, what really irked this LadyBrain is her assumption that all women should write in white ink -- that is their mother's breast milk -- and from their own bodies to really articulate the woman inside.  And this is the same way most feminist theory (literary or otherwise) situates itself, high up on the Ivory Tower, trying to dissect the micro-organisms that women are downstairs. That's not a new criticism, what really affected me is this idea of a 'possessed body' the woman is said to be.

As occupied bodies -- literally or figuratively -- we don't really have control to what happens to our bodies, right? But isn't that too gross an assumption, just like the one Cixous is making, perhaps an even bigger one?

Everywhere I see, women's bodies are not really their own; not out here anyway. It is true, patriarchy does dictate large portions of our lives, that misogyny does hound us from almost every corner -- to say otherwise would be foolish. From religion to societal structures, movies and popular literature and songs all boldly intone that our bodies are for giving and not for being. My maid's daughter is in an abusive relationship, she has to escape out she acknowledges that, though walking out is simply not an option. When survival is at stake, she prefers to give up her body to ridicule and beatings rather than die out of starvation. Placing myself in her place, if I were to go back to Cixous's assertion that I must write through my body, doing so would be an exercise in voluntarily opening spaces I'd rather not word out. Or how about my cousin who was forced to abort her child because the fetus was a girl? In her already vulnerable frame of mind, to ask her to articulate the tune of her wounded body can push her over the edge.

True Blood Sock of Destiny

When asked about the nudity on set, Stephen Moyer stated that he wears a sock to ensure the comfort of all involved.  The infamous sock has now been employed to raise funds for charity.  Nope, sorry Moyer fans you are not going to get to see pictures of Moyer in his special sock and now that this auction has closed, you have missed the opportunity to own a special piece of memorabilia.


Can you believe that the sock sold for US $1,650.00?  Someone paid that much money to own a sock that may or may not have had contact with Moyer's genitals.  That is some strong True Blood love.  Apparently, Moyer and Skaarsgard are in a competition to see who can earn the most money.  The loser has to wear a t-shirt with a saying picked by the winner.

 So, who do you think is going to win this one? And if Moyer does get lucky enough to win, do you believe that will be enough to make him stop sucking in his gut?

Babble Twitter Moms and The White Woman's Convention

I was on twitter yesterday, when I was sent a list created by Babble.com  ranking twitter moms.  I am not going to link to the site, because writing this post is already giving the site more attention than it deserves at this point.  Twitter moms were divided into: Top 50, Most Likable: Most Helpful, Funniest: Most in the Know and Most Controversial. 

When these lists come out, they usually have one thing in common, they privielge dominant bodies. In this case, this list of great twitter moms amounts to a White woman's convention.  There is a decided lack of mothers of colour.  Of course, they probably didn't mean to be racist, but then White women never do when they are busy promoting themselves.  I find it interesting that whenever men put together a list of the fifty best ___ White women are immediately on the bull horn to yell about their exclusion but somehow, when they are in the seat of power they have no problem using racism to uplift themselves.

Motherhood is something that I write quite a bit about because it is a very important facet of my identity.  Socially we have this universal myth that mothers occupy a special place; however, mothers are often treated differently based in things like race, class, sexuality, and ability.  The truth is, we value middle/upper class, heterosexual White women.  These are the women that society wants to reproduce and any protections that are available are offered to these women. 

Morrissey, Subspecies and White Vegans

Let me start off by saying that before learning of Morrissey's racist commentary, I had no idea who the hell this man is.  From the little research that I have done about him, clearly this was not a bad thing.  By now, I am sure that quite a few of you have read about his racist commentary regarding Chinese people.  For those that haven't, here is a quick look. 
"Did you see the thing on the news about their treatment of animals and animal welfare? Absolutely horrific. You can't help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies."
Morrissey has been called a racist before for lyrics in songs such as "Bengali in Platforms" and "Asian Rut," and for the anti-immigration comments he made to NME music magazine in 2007. But he's apparently standing by these comments, saying later in a statement:

"If anyone has seen the horrific and unwatchable footage of the Chinese cat and dog trade - animals skinned alive - then they could not possibly argue in favour of China as a caring nation. There are no animal protection laws in China and this results in the worst animal abuse and cruelty on the planet. It is indefensible."
More here: Washed-Up Morrissey: Still Racist, Still Worshiped. And here: Morrissey reignites racism row by calling Chinese a 'subspecies.'  [source]
Do I really need to write a paragraph explaining how racist what he said was, or can we all agree that condemning an entire group of people because he didn't like their meat practices makes him a racist mega douche? Why even bother to consider that slaughter practices in the West can at times be equally atrocious, when we know that exists to largely line the pockets of White people?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Biblical Marriage Is Not As Straight Forward as it Seems

Apparently, the following video is a bit dated, but I think that it makes a great point about the bible and marriage.  Unfortunately, even though the bible is filled with issues may people seem to take great pleasure in cherry picking passages to support their various biases.  You pick a crime and I am quite sure that you can find some biblical passage to justify it.  Though I have taken on the label of Christian, I absolutely abhor the way that the bible has been used to hurt others.  I don't believe that this is the message that we are meant to take from it, nor do I believe that a book which was written and translated several times by man to be the inerrant word of God.

In Canada, same sex marriage is legal but there are places around the globe where this freedom is just a dream.  In nations that are largely Christian the bible is routinely sited as evidence of it's supposed unnatural nature; however few give real thought to the marriages described in the bible.  Faith does not mean losing the ability to see what is right before your eyes and it should certainly not mean policing others into submission.  Faith should mean love and acceptance but since there are those that simply cannot see that, I feel whenever possible we should look at what is actually contained in the bible.

Black Gay Pride in Atlanta

So as you know, for a very long time I have been saying, that you cannot claim to love Blackness and then not love every single way in which it manifests.  There are some Black blogs that do cover Black same gender loving issues, but it is done with such homophobia that no coverage would almost be better.  I found the following series of photos over at Bossip, who once again decided that posting pictures of same gender loving people, should come with acerbic homophobic commentary for kicks.  It was a real pleasure to see these people out and proud and so I have decided to share the images with you minus the homophobic commentary.


These are people celebrating who they are, in a culture that has determined to hate them out of existence and instead of encouraging this, I think we should celebrate alongside with them.  Go on and get down with your bad self :)

The Boondocks: Grand Dad put Down the Belt


I have been aware of The Boondocks since it's first season, but was not curious enough until recently to check it out.  It was not until this season, when McGruder decided to do the infamous Tyler Perry Winston Jerome episode, that I sat down and watched an entire episode.  At the time, I noted the homophobia, but I thought that this was a device employed to attack Tyler Perry, who many in the Black community believe is firmly ensconced in the closet; however, homophobic commentary is only one of the regular features that is problematic about this show.  I intend to write a post for each character examining what tropes they reify. Much of the political commentary on The Boondocks is quite brilliant, but that does not mean we should over look the times that McGruder fails.  When we consume any kind of media, it is important that we watch critically.

The first character that I would like to focus on is Robert Freeman AKA Grand Dad.  Robert is the guardian of his two grandchildren and we have not been told why the boys parents are missing.  Most of his scenes involve lying regarding his involvement in the civil rights movement and trying desperately to find a woman for a relationship.  Each attempt at love turns out to be a disaster, but delving into Robert's love life will involve a second post because of the misogyny involved. Today I would like to look at Robert the disciplinarian.

There can be no doubt that being a single parent is difficult, but I find it interesting that in this case, Robert is clearly upper middle class, despite the fact that he sneaks into movies to save money.  He has none of the struggles that routinely face single Black mothers and is not seen as a drain on the system, despite the fact that the patriarchal racist state is designed for the failure of Black women. The parental stereotype that McGruder does choose to stick with is beating children with a belt as a form of punishment.   The belt is almost like appendage; the equivalent of a third arm.  He brings out his belt to battle against people that are trying to harm him like Stinkmeaner and he brings out his belt to whip Riley in almost every episode.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Australian Olympian Tweets Homphobic Slur and Gets Dumped

Proving that homophobia does not pay, Jaguar ended its sponsorship of 3 times Australian Olympic gold medalist Stephanie Rice. 
Rice, 22, tweeted "Suck on that f--gots" after Australia's rugby union team, the Wallabies, defeated South Africa's Springboks on Saturday.

"I made a comment on Twitter on Saturday night in the excitement of the moment. I did not mean to cause offence and I apologize," she wrote in a blog on her website.

But Jaguar Australia general manager Kevin Goult announced that his company has withdrawn its sponsorship.

"Jaguar Australia today terminated its relationship with Stephanie Rice, who has been an ambassador for the Jaguar brand in Australia since the start of 2010," he said in a statement released late Monday.

A company spokeswoman confirmed the statement but declined to give any further details on the terms of Rice's agreement. Local media reported that Rice would be losing the late-model A$100,000-plus Jaguar that she has been driving since striking the deal. [source]
So far so good right?  It is about time that people learn that there is a cost for dehumanizing people.  Reading that it make me feel as though Jaguar had given the LGBT community a small victory. Good feeling however where very short lived when I read the commentary from Gold-winning Olympic diver Matthew Mitcham:
"I know she's not homophobic because we are good friends," he said. "It was just an extremely poor choice of words.

"Some people when they use that language don't realise they are causing offence. But it is an issue for a lot of gay people, who get quite upset about it because they have spent so long trying to change people's mentality about these things.

"I don't find that term very offensive because of my generation but other people do, and you have to consider everyone."

Mitcham, 22, said he had already forgiven Rice for her faux pas. Roberts called for Rice's sponsors to dump her.
I know that I am outside of the community, but I must say that it read very much to me like sell-out behaviour.  I have always noticed when someone says something racist, you can always start your stop watch to see how long it will be before someone is defending them.  Just think Whoopie and Mel Gibson, or the supposed man of God who had no problem with Duane Chapman AKA Dog the Bounty Hunters racist tirade. Of course, these people get thanks from the dominant bodies, because they don't really want to be held accountable for their actions.

How can you not know that you are being offensive when you say a slur?  This is even worse in my opinion, because it was not an excited utterance. The woman sat down, logged onto tweeter and then typed out her homophobic message. F@aggot is not some obscure term and the LGBT community have made it more than clear that this word is considered to be a slur. The very notion that a straight person does not know they are being offensive when they use the word f@ggot is ridiculous.

Mitcham may not think that his friend is homophobic, but what she said was far more than "an unfortunate choice of words."  If he wanted to avoid calling her a homophobe outright, he could have simply stated that what she tweeted was homophobic, though I don't think that splitting hairs is necessary.  Maya Angelou once famously said, "when people show you who they are believe them the first time." 

As an outsider it was interesting but sad to see that no matter the community, someone is always interested in propping up the oppressor to the detriment of their own community. You don't elevate yourself or your cause by going into denial when someone says something hurtful, you only look like a sell-out.  The only way to fight hatred is stand up and say that it is wrong and that you deserve to be treated with basic human decency.  I suppose the potential pat on the head from the oppressor is just too much to pass up for some people.

Spark of Wisdom: I am gay, this is me. This is who I am, this is what I am

 

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.
 One of the perennial musings I have rolling around the slightly quirky organ that is my brain is thinking of labels, their need and which ones to use - and who gets to use them. There are a whole lot of people who love their labels, a whole lot more who hate all labels, and an inordinate amount of people who like some labels but not others and, sadly, rather a lot of people who do a great deal of label thrusting.

Confused? You will be.

Personally, while seeing the point of most of those groups (except the thrusters - a label I am now choosing to use because it lends itself to innuendo and it's good for the soul, it is) I generally fall into the group of loving labels - my labels anyway. But also knowing the boundaries of them.

Labels are, I think vitally important things, especially for many marginalized people. Labels can be an important part of self-definition and self-identity. They can be a powerful way of declaring yourself, who and what you are, claiming yourself and naming yourself. To many, that is important, that is powerful.

We live in a word where people will label us, negatively, insultingly and demeaningly (hmmm that sentence is a flagrant abuse of adverbs) with slurs and to dehumanize us, other us and reduce us. Many will decide they know who and what we are regardless of our own thoughts and feelings - they will define us, box us in and make judgments about us. They will decide who we are. To claim our own labels in response, to say "I'm not that - I'm this. THIS is me. This is who I am. This is what it means." is an act of empowerment.

And we live in a world where we are often rendered invisible, that denies our existence, forgets about us and generally shoves us under the rug and in the closet at every opportunity, then shouting our identity, clearly stating our identity and having a labeled identity is a great way to counter the erasure. I think this is especially important for GBLT people where our existence is not only denied, but the very possibility of our existence is often fought - with us being labeled as sick or deluded, with homosexuality being considered something we do rather than what we are and the huge denial of a trans person's gender identity.

It's Time to Stage an Axe Intervention

 If you have been following me on twitter, you are well aware of my absolute hatred of Axe.   Though I have given my otherwise bright unhusband bottles of good cologne, he insists on using Axe.  The noxious fumes he releases every time he sprays Axe is just an assault to the senses.  He believes that his "good cologne" is not for every day, whereas; I believe it is always a good day to smell nice. I have told the unhusband to stay out of the garden for fear that just being around him will cause the flowers to wilt.  Let me say for the record that there is nothing about Axe that is even remotely good, even though he is convinced that the women at work sniff him and swoon.  I know, I know.  If they are swooning, it is because the stench is so strong that they are fighting the urge to pass out.

He recently escalated what I have come to call our Axe wars by purchasing Axe shampoo.  I didn't even know they made shampoo until he brought it home.  Now every inch of the guy I love is going to stink.  Yes I said it - stink.  I have surreptitiously thrown out the occasional can, only to find it replaced two or even threefold, because apparently a man needs options for his quality of stink each day.   I think if they had Axe toothpaste he would use it.  Not only does he love their products, he loves their commercials.  For some reason they seem to bring out the juvenile side of his nature.  Keep in mind that he is older than cheese, but somehow the ridiculous college humor and or tagline sucks him in every time. I found the following video over at Danny's Corner of the Universe.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Shame: Vote me off the Island, Geek Crush Edition

The last few weeks have been very rough for me and so I have not been inspired to hold anyone up to the 18pt font of Sunday Shame but this week Holly Ord, my co blogger Women's Eye Media truly left me no choice.  You see, we were watching the Emmys (no, I don't know why we decided to torture ourselves like that) when Ms. Ord decided to make a certain comment about.


I must admit that I may have started her down the path of Sunday Shame when I announced that I would sleep with Jeff Probst but she certainly took it to another level when she declared

Haha! I would sleep with him if afterward he was all 'Holly, the tribe has spoken.'
Ummmm, that my friends is certainly Sunday Shame worthy.   She tried to obfuscate and step away but clearly there can no coming back from this.  What choice did I have but to shame her?  Who says shit like this?  Holly Ord that's who.

In the past we have admitted our childhood crush shames and I think this week we should share our geek crushes because Probst is most certainly a geek.  I think I would have been more original and made him crown me the sole survivor LOL.  So there it is fess up your geek crushes and what you would have them say or do.