Saturday, January 15, 2011

Drop It Like It`s Hot

Hello everyone and thanks for another great week of conversation.  Posting continues to be a little light because I am working in pain due to the weather.  Thanks for your continued patience. If you would like to participate more fully in the goings on here, please take advantage of the open guest posting policy.  Simply send in a link to your blog or your original work via e-mail to womanistmusings (at) gmail (dot) com.  Please include a three line bio and an image that represents either you or your work.

March 8th is International Woman's day and to celebrate, I would like to do a series of post on women heroes.  If you are interested in participating, please send me a small e-mail naming the woman you intend to write about so that I can ensure that there are no duplicates.  Ideally, the finished piece will be about a prominent woman that you admire.  Final submissions are due February 15th.

Below you will find links to 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.

Free Xone: How Tyler Perry Made Janet A Homophobe
The Wall Street Journal Explains Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior.
Running Toward the Gunshot: A Few Words About Joan of Arc
#56 Ten Reasons Why Steampunks (and everyone else) Should Watch: Avatar The Last Airbender
Writing and Mortality 
Death of the Myth
For minorities, new digital divide seen
10 Days In The Breakneck Rise & Fall Of "Golden Voice" Ted Williams
Great, Dan, But I Think You Missed The Point
Single-Minded: On Being the Invisible Woman
There's an old adage that
Africans in Ancient China & Vice Versa, Part 2: The Kunlun Servants & African Merchants 
Gender Bender: Abdulaziz's Al Qahtani's Lahd exhibition
Martin Luther King, Jr's Call for Peace as Racial Justice Still Rings
When Fat Acceptance is not Enough
The Ex-Gay Jesus Fix It Perpetual Emotion Machine

Friday, January 14, 2011

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

Winter is the toughest time of the year for me because the cold leaves me in pain and traps me in the house.  I find that year after year I have to battle depression and find ways to take my mind to places that my body can't go.  I have used music to help me cope with the confines of the season.  This week's question is: what artist do you listen to when you just need to get lost or to help you when you are feeling blue?

The Ted Williams Honeymoon Is Over

Perhaps the man with the golden voice was destined to crash and burn the moment he became a viral sensation.  Celebrity brings you to the peak of the mountain and the media then dedicates its time to making sure that every skeleton  in your closet is available for public view.  In the age of the internet this creates a 24 hour storm in which people rip apart your life with glee.  Is it really surprising that a man with history alcoholism who was homeless for years would have issues?  Is it really surprising to learn that he would have difficulties dealing with the media circus that descended upon him?

Jezebel recently published a post entitled Ten Days in the Breakneck Rise and Fall of Ted Williams in which they document the media circus that ended with him admitting that he is drinking again.  Jezebel is not the only news outlet that has noticed the sudden rise and decline.  Colorline also has an emotionless, fact laden account of Williams' media journey. From the moment this Cinderella story started, even as he was being given a helping hand, there were those that were determined to make sure that his rise was temporary.  The truth is, no one really wants the underclass to rise above and this is especially true when one is a person of colour, or an otherwise marginalized body.

Gwyneth Paltrow: A Day In The Life

There are some websites I should avoid simply because they give me massive headaches - GOOP is one of them.  Could there be a more elitist, irritating piece of nonsense on the web? I fully admit women like me are not the target audience, but the sheer obliviousness of the blather really must be seen to be believed. I appreciate the fact that Paltrow has to be who she is - an over privileged White woman with more money than she deserves, but the least that she could do is acknowledge that her life is far from typical.  In the latest attempt to share her mystifyingly shallow existence, Paltrow, along with venture capitalist Juliet de Baubigny, and fashion designer Stella McCartney, responded to a readers letter regarding “finding a good balance between having a career and being a mom.”

 The following are a few of the tips that I learned:

  • make sure that you have a great personal assistant
  • have your personal trainer come to your home every Monday morning to help you start your week out right.
  • feel free to depend on multiple expensive personal electronic gadgets to help you follow your passions and interests
  • decorate the shoe boxes with toys, toothbrushes, hats, scarves, books, etc, for the school Christmas toy drive and don't feel guilty about not doing more cause you are too important
  • make sure to have a weekly blow out so that you don't have to wash your hair everyday
  • get tips on applying makeup quickly from Wallet Lubrich (yes that's a real name)
  • Get together with your girlfriends once a quarter
  • Be sure to spend time with your kids in the morning before the nanny arrives
  • Be sure to have all of the ingredients for your meals delivered because it saves time and in London Paltrow recommends Ocado and James Knight
  • It's okay to be late for you 9AM work out if your little one is having a touch of separation anxiety

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What's Become of This World?

Victor is an undergrad linguistics major who is trying to love himself and everyone else in the world. He chose his pseudonym to remind himself that he can emerge victorious over ignorance, oppression, and privilege.

I was born and raised in New England. I am now going to university here. I have spent three semesters here, but I have a semester’s worth of extra credits due to AP credits and a class I took over the summer. I try to keep up with social justice in the world, as that is one of my passions. I try to vote for everyone’s rights. But I’m mostly interested in my studies. I have a goal of becoming a professor in linguistics and then continuing to study different fields. On my current list: History, Physics, Psychology, and Math. I really, really love learning. So I have always intended to strive for a full, four-year undergraduateship if I can manage the cost. I have confidence that I can manage the cost.

But recently I’ve had an odd feeling about staying for 4 years. I wasn’t quite sure why. But last week, when class registration was happening, I became super-insistent that I arrange my schedule to get the most in in the fastest time possible without overstressing myself. I suddenly needed to be able to graduate in December 2012. And I realized why. I was feeling unsafe in this country.

In order to let y’all know exactly where I stand, I’ll give a comprehensive list of my various identity bits. I am male, socialized female, transsexual, white, temporarily able-bodied, heavily reliant on contacts and sunglasses, ambisexualish, dignosed with anxiety, OCD, and depression, universist, American by birth, Anglophile by persuasion, French-Canadien by ethnicity, raised middle class, family-less, poor by circumstance, fat, pro-life, pro-choice, womanist, ally, contrary, pacifist, and, above all, a linguist.

You Can Never Be Light Enough For Elle Magazine

Aishwarya Rai is a former Miss World, classically trained dancer, and the current queen of Indian cinema.  She graces the cover of this month's Elle India.

The image on the right is what Ms. Rai really looks like.  When I first saw the contrast, it reminded me of last year's controversial cover of Gabourey Sidibe. 

When controversy arose, they claimed that the image was not photoshoped to make her look lighter, but an issue of lighting.  I wonder what their excuse will be this time? Are we to believe that Elle does not have a single photographer capable of take a photo of a woman of colour without her looking several shades lighter than she actually does?  

Disability, Dependence and Belonging

One of the things I find most difficult to deal with when it comes to my disability is exhaustion.  This morning I sat on my couch and debated whether or not to have my normal green tea -- you see, first there is the long walk into the kitchen, with the option of either standing and waiting in pain while the water boils, or sitting down again and going through the agony of standing again.  Then there is the pain of grasping the kettle, because even the smallest weight in my hands just make me ache. 

Everyday actions hurt and there isn't a single movement that I can take for granted.  When we move the brain sends signals to our body parts faster that we are able to comprehend, but before I move, I have to consciously think about how much pain will result and whether or not said movement is worth the cost.  Movement for me is not something I can take for granted, because it always comes with a penalty.  There are days when I will spend the day not eating because the effort that it takes to prepare even a simple meal is more than I can handle.  I have learned to ignore hunger, because the rumbling of my stomach, is far less painful than the stabbing ache it would create to do something as simple as fry an egg.  My children have noticed my eating patterns and have commented that I need to eat more.  My oldest has made me peanut butter sandwhiches unasked, because he senses my hunger, but knows that my pride will not allow me to ask more of him than I already do.

During snowstorms like we are currently undergoing, I can feel the eyes of my family upon me.  They try to anticipate my needs knowing that taking care of myself is difficult for me. Even the baby offered to attempt to bathe himself this morning, because he knows that bending over to help him wash is agony for me. I know that I am extremely lucky to be surrounded by such love and care, but the emotional heartache of dependency matches the physical pain that I feel.

Ignorance DOES NOT Equal Hatred!

I am a 36 year old disabled woman who has been variously labeled "fat", "crazy", and "a hippie weirdo." I now try to embrace labels that others use in an attempt to "shame" me into being someone more "acceptable". I am passionate about issues of race/racism, criminal (in)justice, fat acceptance, and mental health advocacy. I blog at My Name Is JuJuBe and I am on the team at The Intersection of Madness and Reality
How many times have you heard someone say something really hurtful and hateful and thought to yourself “What an ignorant ass!”?? I know that for many years, when I would hear someone spew racist or homophobic vitriol, I would call them an “ignorant ass MF” It was not until recently that I realized the inaccuracy of my condemnation. See, by calling a bigoted person “ignorant” I was assigning moral value to a word that is really, in its truest essence, neutral.

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary:

Ignorance: :  the state or fact of being ignorant : lack of knowledge, education, or awareness 

Many of us associate the word “ignorance” with bigotry. But ignorance is REALLY only a state of NOT KNOWING. It is when a person declines to explore the truth, and refuses to change their attitudes and opinions because they want to stick to some preconceived notion of what the truth is that their “ignorance” is transformed into hatred.

I remember when I went away to college. I saw a poster on a woman’s door that stated “Free the Palestinians!” I remember thinking to myself “Well, I thought the Palestinians were the ‘bad guys’. Why would she be on THEIR side?” I decided to find out more about the situation between the Israelis and the Palestinians so that I could understand her stance. I made a conscious effort to dispel my ignorance by doing the research it took to discover the truth. I did not tell this woman that she was wrong for displaying this poster. I did not use the paltry information I had heard in the past about the situation in Israel in order to justify hatred towards anyone. I had been told by teachers and people in the media that the Palestinians were the “bad guys”, so I believed it. But when confronted with an opposing view, I DID THE RESEARCH. I decided to no longer remain blissfully unaware. I decided that I would not adopt an attitude of blind hatred in a situation that I knew ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Snowmagedon and Fibromyalgia

Hello everyone.  We are snowed in here, in the arm pit of Canada, otherwise known as Niagara Falls.  Unfortunately, weather like this tends to cause my fibro to flare.  I am taking a sick day, as I need all of the energy I have left to deal with my boys, who are now enjoying a snow day from school.  If the weather takes a turn for the better and my hands stop throbbing like they are on fire, I will return tomorrow.  Till then cause some trouble for me ;)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Was the Standoff on Yonge Street, an Exercise in Racial Profiling?

A two hour standoff on Yonge street ended today with two men in custody.  The pair were pulled over by police officers.  Apparently, the police were acting on the belief that the pair were in possession of a fire arm. One man immediately left the vehicle and was arrested, while the other refused to get out of the car.  This began a two hour stand off, in which a negotiator and a swat team were called out.  The man apparently asked repeatedly why he was being pulled over and was not given an answer. He eventually exited the vehicle and was promptly arrested and taken to 51 division. The vehicle was searched and for all of their efforts, the police were rewarded with a bag of chips.

I originally saw this story on CTV during the lunch hour, but none of the written accounts that I found online mentioned one very critical fact, the man that was pulled over was definitely of colour. According to The Star: 
Black people across Toronto are three times more likely to be stopped and documented by police than white people".Blacks are documented more than whites in almost every part of Toronto, with the highest disproportionate rate of "carding" for blacks in areas that are predominantly white, like pockets of North Toronto. 

A criminologist calls this the "out of place" factor – people being questioned because they do not fit in The Toronto Police have a history of racial profiling and I find it highly unlikely that this did not come into play when the officer decided to pull these men over.

Ted Williams Isn't The Only Homeless Man

I have been following the drama with Ted Williams and his rag to riches story.  This morning, CNN featured a commercial in which Williams did voice over work for Kraft.  I must admit that his voice is smooth, I am talking Billy Dee Williams Smooth.  The offers have flooded in for him and he was recently reunited with his mother.  Ted Williams achieving gainful employment, is just the kind of heartwarming story that people love to read about, because it cements the false belief that one can always pull oneself up by the bootstraps and get out from under.

From living on the streets, Williams now has a plethora of offers to choose from.  Companies are scrambling to create opportunities for him, so that they can benefit from the rags to riches story.  The very idea that this is some sort of outpouring of good faith among corporations is ridiculous to say the least.  While I am truly happy that Williams is receiving the opportunity to completely change his life, I cannot help but wonder about the other homeless people.  Why is this one man so deserving of a second chance when others are not?

Spark of Widsom: "Family" and "traditional values" are often buzz words for "burn the gays!"

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. 

Over in the US a little while ago now, the Southern Poverty Law Centre declared a number of the anti-gay groups over there (look out for the words "family" and "traditional values" which seem now to be buzz words for "burn the gays!" *sigh*) to be hate groups.

And I did my happy dance for this is a good thing. And not just because those hate groups lost their shit in a most dramatic, hair-on-fire, screaming-meemy fashion (though it was great great great fun to watch. I have to admit, the sight of Tony Perkins spitting his dummie out is something I never get tired of).

No, I praise this because it is vitally important for the hate groups to be recognised as what they are.

Because when a hate group is recognised as a hate group then maybe, just maybe, mainstream media and the powers that be would realise what people they are holding up as experts. When a hate group is recognised as a hate group, we can stop treating them as reasonable, as sensible as someone we need to speak to for the sake of "balance" or "fairness."

Uncle Takes Belt to Nephew To Stop Gang Affiliation

Trigger warning for violence.

A young man posted false information on his facebook page regarding gang affiliation and this is how his uncle dealt with it.


Monday, January 10, 2011

What Does It Mean To Take A Walk?

The following is a video Judith Butler and Sunaura Taylor going for a walk, while talking about disability and space. How do you perceive space?  What body parts are allowable for certain tasks?  Is someone going for a walk when they are a wheelchair user?  How do we normalize bodies and what leads to acceptance of disabled people?  There are but some of the topics that they highlight and I really believe this is something we can all gain from watching.

Can People of Colour Expect Inclusion in Feminist Spaces?

So I am just going to keep it real and then y'all can twist and turn and poke at me.  Chally has been writing at Feministe for awhile now, and she recently wrote a post about not being understood as a person of colour in that space.
At Feministe, it’s been a real struggle to get my identity as non-white recognised because readers will insist on speaking of Feministe as “one of the big white blogs”. If you’re more invested in a big monolith to shake your head at than anything else, that’s fine, but don’t go erasing and marginalising non-white people because you can’t be bothered to acknowledge our existence or ridiculously hard work. There is a real difference between pointing out the site as one that has a lot of white perspectives, or has reached a level of prominence in part because of its racial make-up in a way other blogs have not, and calling it plain old white.
Who is she fucking kidding?  Look, I have read Feministe on and off for awhile now and no matter how many POC become regular contributors, the point of fact is that Feminist is a White feminist blog.  A few people of colour added to the mix afterwords, does not dilute the Whiteness of that space. People don't enter into a multicultural nirvana simply because after years of criticism, Feministe has decided that a little integration might be a good thing.

Sri Lankans Don't Conform to White, Western, Individualism

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.

 The new year is barely underway and already there’s tons to rage about. This Chicano studies program in Arizona is under threat because as usual white people are threatened by the thought of empowered brown folks.

At the university I attend, the Multicultural Studies program is under attack by numerous white professors claiming that our knowledge is not as ‘real’ or ‘rigorous’ as theirs. Translate: only white people are allowed to teach about ‘other cultures’ because that way, supremacy remains unchallenged.

I was tempted to have my first post of the year be about calling out, yet again, the continued colonization of our minds, our bodies, our intimate spaces, our sense of self. But then I thought, hey, we have survived and are surviving despite the colonialities we must struggle through, and in that survival lies power and wisdom and beauty beyond anything whiteness can ever conceive, imitate or destroy. I write this post, my first post in the year 2011, in the spirit of acknowledging all the brown cultures that thrive and flourish and enrich the lives of their people. I write this post to unequivocally declare: Sri Lankans know how to PARTY!

Who Will Feed The Starving Black Babies

I am often asked why I have so much animosity towards vegan activism, even though there is post after post about the isms some of these groups have engaged in on the blog.  I quite often offered some nonsense about the greater good and to that I say fuck off.  The only reason that one can claim the greater good when marginalized people are being attacked, is because they have unacknowledged privilege.  Tell me what greater good does this serve?

 or this?