Saturday, March 19, 2011

Drop It Like It's Hot

Hello everyone.  Thanks again for an interesting round of conversation this week.  It inspires me to see so many adding their various points of view. 

I am currently looking for two new bloggers to join the team as a regular contributors.  This is currently not a paid position, and the bloggers must be willing to write one post weekly or bi-weekly.  I am specifically looking for someone who is  [email protected] or First Nations.  I have gone through the archives, and found that there is a distinct lack of posts that focus on the issues these women face. In the interest of making sure that all marginalized women are represented in this space, this erasure simply cannot continue.  If you fit the bill and would like to join the team, please e-mail me two samples of your work, along with a short note, as to why social justice is important to you to womanistmusings (at) gmail (dot) com.  As usual, those who wish to contribute to the open guest posting policy, can use the aforementioned e-mail address to send in their piece.  Please include a three line bio and an image that represents you.

As usual, below you will find a list of 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 you link behind in the comment section.

Misogynist at the University of Waterloo hates scientist Marie Curie and Women
Islamic children's books
Poor, Unfortunate Souls ... 42% Percent of Millionaires Surveyed Do Not Feel "Wealthy"
On Shaking it Off and Moving Forward 
Intensely Indigenous 
A Little Kyriarchy Primer
Why We Don't Need the Ten Commandments
Covering Up is a Feminist Issue
We need to dismantle the myth of 'Western Feminism'
What if instead of trying to jump on the Twilight bandwagon, Little Red Riding Hood, opted for a feminist re-visioning of the tale?
The Japan Crises, Racism and Social Networking: Two Sites take on Racist Pigs
(why) do Asians have a target on their backs?
Is Sarah Palin Becoming the new Al Sharpton?
From Haiti to Japan: Is Looting Economic or Cultural? 
Words that are transphobic and why
What is a 'feminist character'?
On Women We're Supposed to Hate
Happy 99th Birthday Bayard Rustin
Homosexuality in the Black Community


Friday, March 18, 2011

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

This morning the family and I went for our first spring walk.  As we were leaving the house I was glanced at our property, and I realized that we have a lot of spring cleaning to do, to get ready for the coming warm weather. As much as I love saying goodbye to winter, I am not a fan of spring cleaning.  What task do you have awaiting you that you, would rather avoid?

I Have Big Thighs

I am a writer, black woman, bibliophile, music lover, nappy head, geek, eccentric, Midwesterner, wife, stepmother, sister, aunt and daughter. I am a liberal progressive. I believe in equality...of gender...of race...of sexuality...and I believe in working PROACTIVELY toward same. I am anti-oppression. I believe in justice for ALL. (Knowing that, you may label me as you wish.) I am a genealogist and I believe there is strength and knowledge to be found in the lives of our ancestors. Good living, good food, good music, good books, good people and good conversation turn me on. In this space, I celebrate and discuss all that I am and all that I love. I blog at What Tami Said.

Image posted on Flickr with the following commentary: July 25, 2006 - Sorry her head is so washed out. [Tami's note: I cropped the image to remove the woman's face.] The sun was right behind her. Just wanted to point out that mini dresses really aren't flattering - especially on...larger women. The buttons were straining, and if it weren't for the size of her thighs, I could have seen her crotch! That's just WRONG. Cover your privates, people! Or at least cross your legs.

I have big thighs. I do. Big thighs, big hips and big legs, too. And it doesn't really matter what size I am. My bottom half is big when I am a size 8. It is big when I am a size 22. It is big when I run every day and the same when I am in winter couch potato mode. This is how I am made--big on bottom. And I had this "A-ha Moment" today about the bigitude of my below: I have always felt self-conscious about wearing some dresses, because my juicy thighs prevent me from pressing my knees together as is "ladylike." And I need to get over it.

Flashback: It's June 1987 and I'm graduating from high school. I'm graduating third in my class, in fact--an accomplishment that earns me a spot on the dais, where I try really hard to press my legs together tightly, uncomfortably crossing and uncrossing. After the ceremony, my mother shares that a woman (who, in hindsight must have been a raging bitch) said to her, "You must be so embarrassed." I didn't flash anyone. My drawers were well covered by dress, hosiery and gown. The dress was not a mini, but even knee-length dresses ride up when you're juicy. My sin was that my knees parted, despite all my effort, and that, apparently, at least to one woman, was of more note than a 4.0+ GPA. This has been my memory of my high school graduation day for more than 20 years.

Fast forward to yesterday. I was rocking a cute spring dress and blazer. Got lots of compliments. And then, in the afternoon, I had to attend a meeting not at the typical conference table, but "in the round" with seats in a circle facing each other and no tables. Predictably, my dress, which was a perfectly appropriate length for the workplace, rode up over my knees, accentuating my thighs. Cue tugging and twisting and standing and then sitting for two awful hours. (Thank God no one was sitting across from me with a camera and a Flickr account.)

Don't Be Like Che

I am an anarchist, atheist, adopted, jewish, bilingual, woman with a degree in Latin American Latino Studies and a head crammed full of the history of the Americas. I spent a decade working in the law in Florida and another decade working for nonprofits in California and DC.  I know more than your average person about the history, policies, and human rights violations related to the food system, drug prohibition, the prison industrial complex, immigration, and (inexplicably) cowboys.  I believe that justice, peace, and understanding are possible.  I blog at 

Che Guevara is everywhere.  He is on t-shirts, sneakers, bags, bedazzled boots, and even children’s books. The bedazzled boots don’t really bother me so much.  Not likely that the person wearing those has actually read any Che and they probably won’t be mistaken for someone who is about to go traipsing through the jungle to start a foco.

It is all the attention from the radical left that really irritates me. At first I thought, maybe they just don’t know what he was about. Maybe they’ve never read his work. Maybe they don’t know what he was doing in Bolivia. But as I watch some of the people who love Che, I am beginning to see that they probably like him for exactly the reasons that I don’t.  Because I keep seeing people in our communities emulate all of Che’s most problematic characteristics.

Guevara was a privileged, white kid from Argentina whose parents were about as close to blue blood as you could get. He eventually became politicized, hooked up with Fidel Castro in Mexico, and joined Castro’s revolutionary movement – a movement that had lots of support, even amongst many of the middle and upper classes who now claim to have always hated Fidel. It was a revolution rooted in community, history, and cultural understanding. And it was the only thing Che was involved with that wasn’t a total failure. (I’m not romanticizing the revolution here, just acknowledging that they achieved their goal.)

Octavia Butler: The Fledgling the Parts People Don't Talk About

 Trigger warning for discussion of paedophilia

Yesterday I asked what books you felt had the potential to trigger others.  This came out of my complete and utter shock and horror from reading The Fledgling by Octavia Butler.  As part of our unofficial reading group Sparky, Tami and I have all read the book.  What follows is a piece written by Sparky and I about our thoughts on the book.

So as people know, I'm on a massive Urban Fantasy kick, reading books at a great rate of knots, along with Tami and Renee linkies of course and we have our podcast on mondays (is this an excuse to link drop and pimp the show? Why yes yes it is!), where we ramble about what we've watched/read and take out our social justice lens to take them apart.

And, in our rambling, we've had several books recommended. In particular, Fledgling by Octavia Butler has been recommended - highly recommended - from several sources – so we all got our hands on it and decided to give it a go.

I have to say, I'm actually kind of irritated here. I'm irritated that several people decided to recommend this book with glowing praise, yet none felt the need to say “warning – contains explicit paedophilia.” I am shocked that people recommending this to us didn’t feel this needed to be mentioned. I think this is especially surprising, because these recommendations came from social justice forums and social justice advocates, who we would expect to be very alert to problems like racism, misogyny, homophobia et al, yet didn’t see fit to warn us about the paedophilia content.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

What Book Do you Think Need a Warning Label?

From time to time, I like to ask what everyone is reading.  As you all know, I am an avid reader, who would rather settle down to a good book than turning on the television.  At any rate, I recently read Fledgling by Octavia Butler.  Tami you are taking the full blame for this one.  I have heard many good things about the book; however, not a single person bothered to mention the constant pedophilia in the book.  If I were a survivor of child abuse, this would have been beyond triggering for me -- as it is, the only thing that stopped me from throwing the book across the room, was the fact that it was on my precious e-reader.  Sparky and I are going to have a more full review of the book for you to read tomorrow, but in the meantime, I thought I would ask, what books have you read that you think should have come with a huge trigger warning and why?  I wish someone had warned me about Fledgling. I never would have read it, had I known how prominently it would feature sex with a child, and I fail to see how ignoring something so blatant, because it is covered by magical woo woo, makes these harmful tropes acceptable.  Maybe by sharing some of the more problematic aspects we have found in books that we have read, we can spare others undo harm.  Let it roll in the comment section.

For Only $29.95 you too can have a fresh young pussy!

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

Ladies, have you ever looked at yourself and thought, “Wow. what I REALLY need out of life right now is a pinker vagina”? Well, now you can have one for the super low price of only $29.95! Yes, with My New Pink Button you can reclaim the your lost youth with a new, pretty pink pussy!
Yes, this is a real product. It is actually sold through Amazon, and is a dye kit designed to temporarily “restore” your labia to a more pink appearance. From the website:

My New Pink Button (tm) is a temporary dye to restore the youthful pink color back to your labia. There is no other product like it. This patent pending formula was designed by a female certified Paramedical Esthetician after she discovered her own genital color loss. While looking online for a solution she discovered thousands of other women asking the same questions regarding their color loss. After countless searches revealing no solution available and a discussion with her own gynecologist she decided to create her own. Now there is a solution!

When We Teach Children Racism

I guess teaching White privilege and racism has to start early.


    Mother: Go like this, what's up my nigga

    child: what's up my nigga

    Mother: say nigga nigga nigga

    child: nigga nigga nigga

    Mother: Say this is a good drink nigga

    child: this is a good drink nigga

    Mother: nigga (smiling and giggling at the camera)

Pious Sexy Hijab

WoodTurtle is a Canadian Muslim feminist currently using her extended maternity leave to explore developments of Islamic feminism in the Western and Muslim world.  As a woman who wears the hijab (owns several abayas and a niqab monogrammed with her initials in pink, sparkly sequins), she writes frequently on genderized Islamophobia. She also works toward dispelling myths and stereotypes about women in Islam for both Muslims and non. 

I have a terrible secret: I stuff my hijab.

After I gave birth to Eryn, and my luxuriously thick, hormone-infused locks gave way to clumps and clumps of shower drain clogging wisps, I decided to chop it all off. I got a delightful pixie cut to match Eryn's tiny mop.

But without the ponytail to anchor my signature hijab bun, how was I going to style my hijab? I played with different manners of tying, but couldn't settle on one that suited me. I didn't want to wear the traditional hijab. So I decided to fashion some fake hair out of an old pair of gym socks.

Talk about false advertising.

If you notice, many hijabs are filled out by some kind of tell-tale bump or ponytail. Then there are those who prefer large hair clips, giving the tops of their hijabs an alien crown -- or those who sport a large poof capable of supporting cotton-candy-like layers, typical of the Gulf hijab style. Some even wear two or three headscarves. Underscarves help support gravity defying and very stylish headwraps. Some simply use a bandana braided at the forehead to give an added hijab flaire. But you can always tell when a hijabi has short hair, or prefers to keep her hair styled with braids, or even shaved. The suggestive draping, full-body, volumizing caused by a hijab accent is missing from the woman who has short hair and who doesn't stuff her hijab. The result: flat hijab head.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Stop Trying to Figure Out Why I am Gay.

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.

Why am I gay?

This has been a question I've been asked so many times I could just record my answer and play it back. Well, along with a considerable amount of profanity.

Originally I answered this question with:

I am born this way. Nothing made me gay, this is an inherent part of who I am. This is me. You could not have a straight Sparky and it still be Sparky - a straight Sparky would be a stranger, an alien, missing a fundamental part of himself. There is no more a reason for my being gay than there is a reason for my existence at all. In fact I've spoken about that before and what it means

And while it was and is most definitely true, it lacked something.

White UCLA Student Wonders When Asians Are Going to Get Manners

Sometimes in Life you get Exactly What you are Looking For

Bullying goes on across the globe and because of its prevalence many see it as simply a part of childhood.  It can leave scars that last a lifetime.  The unhusband showed me the following video last night.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Stop Challenging My Humanity

This is a guest post from the ever fabulous Monica of TransGriot

'To deny any person their human rights is to challenge their very humanity'     Nelson Mandela

While I was watching  HB 235 hearings in Maryland online, I thought about that Mandela quote as I heard our opponents repeatedly lie about who transpeople are.    I  watched our (In) Equality Maryland 'alles'  lie twice and claim we supported a flawed bill, and claim the community was over the 2001 drama in which transpeople were cut out of a GLB bill that surprise surprise has public accommodations language in it.

I'll gripe about that later.   What I'm beyond sick and tired of is fauxgressive friends and foes challenging our humanity.

I'm tired of predominately white radical lesbian feminists continuing to pimp their disco era hate speech directed at transwomen.    I'm tired of gays and lesbians who haven't read their history books asserting we aren't part of 'their' movement.   I'm tired of gay and lesbian people being in many cases a bigger impediment to us gaining our human rights than the Religious Right and the conservafool movement.

Is the strong independent black Feminist woman, only a modern mammy-slave!

The following video has been making the rounds in the blackosphere and it really does need a wider discussion. I first saw it here.

GOP Legislator Suggests Sending The Disabled to Siberia

If you haven't hear about Barrington Republican Martin Harty, let me enlighten you with the following quote. 
Barrington Republican Martin Harty told Sharon Omand, a Strafford resident who manages a community mental health program, that "the world is too populated" and there are "too many defective people," according to an e-mail account of the conversation by Omand. Asked what he meant, she said Harty clarified, "You know the mentally ill, the retarded, people with physical disabilities and drug addictions - the defective people society would be better off without."

Harty confirmed to the Monitor that he made the comments to Omand. Harty told the Monitor the world population has increased dramatically, and "it's a very dangerous situation if it doubles again." Asked about people who are mentally ill, he asked, apparently referring to a lack of financial resources, "Can we afford to bring them through?"

Harty said nature has a way of "getting rid of stupid people," and "now we're saving everyone who gets born."

Harty's conversation with Omand became public at a hearing on the state budget yesterday when Laurie McCray, a registered nurse and board member of the Disability Rights Center, read Omand's account to the House Finance Committee. Afterward, McCray said she wanted people to know about the representative - whom she did not identify publicly - because he "didn't deserve to represent people in New Hampshire."


Omand says Harty then stated, "I wish we had a Siberia so we could ship them all off to freeze to death and die and clean up the population." 

Omand said Harty appeared to be serious. After Omand responded that his idea sounded like what Adolf Hitler did in World War II, Omand said Harty responded, "Hitler did something right, and I agree with (it)." (source)
He later claimed to be joking about the Hitler comment, but stands behind the rest of what he said.  Over the weekend on twitter, I read many shocked comments on what he had to say, but I must say that I was hardly surprised.  What exactly is shocking about what he had to say, when we consider that the treatment that he recommends for the disabled, has already happened, and continues to happen in some sectors?  I know that the TAB think that public paternalism aimed at PWD, is proof that attitudes towards PWD have changed, but really it has not.  We are still largely seen as an inconvenience.

The Sears Catalog Incident and the Significance of Clothing

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.

Clothing taught me that my family wasn't rich. Don't get me wrong - we weren't poor, and this isn't a self-pity post. Although I didn't have everything I wanted, I had everything I needed. As a way to reinforce the fact that I was not going to get everything I wanted, but that I was lucky anyway, my dad would say, “Don't have what you want - want what you have.”

But that's when I was older - when I already realized that we weren't rich. I made that discovery in junior high (what they now call middle school), an institution of cruelty and inhumanity located just this side of hell.  

When I was a kid, I didn't know the difference between a house that you rented and a house that you bought. I didn't know the difference between a “new” used car and a new car. And I especially didn't know the difference between clothes ordered from Sears catalog and clothes purchased off the rack at a trendy boutique - and that was my downfall.