Saturday, July 30, 2011

Drop It Like It's Hot

 Thanks again for a marvelous week of conversations everyone. I am so sorry about the light posting on the blog the last few weeks.  The boys are off school for the summer and I am trying to adjust to the new schedule while blogging.  Please be patient and hopefully things will be back to normal soon.

It has long been a goal of mine to make Womanist Musings a truly inclusive and intersectional site and I believe we are finally well on the road to that.  It is my hope that at least once a week all readers will see an issue that directly effects them discussed on the blog. I really want this to be a space for marginalized people to gather and discuss issues safely. We may not always get things right, but please trust that a good faith effort exists.

I am currently seeking someone to join the team to talk about issues related to fat activism.  I would like someone who feels comfortable talking about their own experiences, as well as taking an FA perspective to conversations around body image.  If you are interested in becoming part of the team, please send an email to womanistmusings (at) gmail (dot) com with two samples of writing and an explanation as why it is important for you to explore this issue. Please note, this is a non paid writing assignment.

As always, Womanist Musings retains its open guest posting policy.  If you are interested in sharing an original piece or work that you have previously published on your blog, please use the above email.  Please include a small three line bio, and an image that you feel best represents you.

As usual, below you will find links to stories that I found interesting this week.  A link does not necessarily mean endorsement, it simply means that something about the piece caught my attention.  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. 

We Should Know Better
PEW Research Study offers more proof that when America catches a cold, non-whites catch pneumonia 
Eric Holder Calls Suspensions of Black Students A "Wake Up Calls"
Mother Jones Falls Short With "My Summer at an Indian Call Center"
Plantation weddings, and ignoring the past
Gay Marriage in New York: A Wedding Album
Take Responsibility For What People Say On Your Website
Same ableist shit, different day
Reprint: Why the world needs fat acceptance
Tavis Smiley and Cornell West Go on an Obama Accountability "Poverty Tour"
Queer Youth of Colour Beyond Faith
an intermission! Anglophonic privileges and first-world Minority Warriors 
Living With A Mental Illness Isn't A Death Sentence
Thor, X-Men, Capt. America and Black Characters in the Margins

 Editors Note:  A link on this page is not necessarily a sign of agreement with the post and as always, the comment section is read at your own risk.  Sometimes links are to problematic pieces that I did not have time to blog about, and sometimes it's because I found something interesting in the position but in either case, a link is not necessarily a sign of support. 

Fangs For The Fantasy First Give Away: A Signed Copy of Kevin Hearne's Hammered

Hello everyone, I am very excited to announce the very first giveaway on Fangs for the Fantasy.  Regular readers know that the crew here are Kevin Hearne fan poodles.  I can tell you that once you get lost in this series, you will fight the urge to fly to Arizona and ensure that Kevin is seated at his computer writing.  The following is a brief look at the Fangs for Fantasy review of the series.

Hammered is the third book in The Iron Druid chronicles. You can find the review for book one here and book two here.  Paul, Tami and I have officially declared ourselves fan poodles of The Hearne (as my children have come to call him) with good reason.  The Iron Druid Chronicles are the kind of books that you stay up late to finish, and mourn sadly when you reach the last page.  I waited anxiously to get my hands on Hammered, and even stalked Kevin on twitter begging for some sort of spoiler. Yes, I am one of those fans.

Hammered once again centers on Hearne's protagonist Atticus, a 2000+ year old druid and his interactions with various creatures from mythology, Jesus, vampires and werewolves.  In Hexed Atticus met with the Virgin Mary and asked her to tell Jesus that they should get together for a beer and in Hounded that is exactly what they do.  Jesus appears wearing a tie dyed T-shirt in predominately reds, yellows, and greens, with a white peace sign screen-printed on the front of it.  He also wore a pair of relaxed fit blue jeans and classically black Chuck Taylors. Hearne even went as far as to suggest that "Jesus looked like the guy from the Old Spice bodywash commercials".  I dare you to tell me one single place that you can find Jesus described in this way?  What ensues is an irreverent exchange, with Jesus providing fish and chips to a crowded bar, explaining that "miracles are so much more fun when people are expecting them of you," while pounding back 60 year old whiskey. I laughed until my tears poured from my eyes.  

As usual, Atticus' forever naked druid behind is in deep trouble.  To keep a promise he made to Lakasha, he has to go to Asgard to steal an apple.  If that were not enough trouble, he has to return to help Leif and Gunnar kill Thor, who seems universally to be thought of as an asshole of epic proportions.  Despite a warning from the Morrigan and Jesus, that this is a path destined to result in  tragedy, and most likely end of his life, being of the iron age, Atticus finds it impossible not to keep his word.  If I tell you any more than this, I risk ruining the story for you, and The Hearne is far too good to receive that kind of treatment.

Read the rest of the review here

Are you excited?  I am very excited.  I bet you are wondering what you have to do to win this signed copy of Kevin Hearne's Hammered. 

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Friday, July 29, 2011

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

'What is this all about?' photo (c) 2010, Roger Price - license:

Hello everyone, every once in awhile I like to do a well being check on the blog.  So this week's question is:  What would you like to see improved on Womanist Musings?  Whose voices and or experiences do you feel do not get enough attention?  Also, because I could use a bit of good news, what do you like about the blog?

A Look At the Documentary Dear Daddy: The Voices of Children Without Fathers

My father and I are not close to each other today, but there was a time when I was the apple of his eye and knew what it was to be daddy's little girl.  Watching my unhusband with our boys, I once again learned the importance of a man in the life of a child.  I have watched him go to work, when he should be home resting, allowed his body to be turned into a human jungle gym, engage in the most childish and sometimes irritating games just to get a giggle, change diapers, scare away monsters from closets, read bed time stories, clap proudly at school recitals, help with homework, give out endless hugs and kisses, and most importantly be there for all things big and small.  Yes, it is possible for a woman to raise her children by herself, but the task is infinitely easier with a loving and engaged partner. Fathers are not disposable; they have an extremely important role to play in the life of any child.

In the following video, a young girls reads a letter to the camera talking about her feelings regarding her absentee father.  This is based on a project in which Janks Morton approaches several children with the same task.  After recording these videos, he plays them for the men who have chosen to place their children last on their priority list. How will these fathers react to what their children have to say?

Warning: You will cry

How Genocide Portrayal is Still Racist

Dan Waters is a snarky 22 year old queer biracial wonderment who is part White, Portuguese, and Native American (Wampanoag-Kiowa). He currently lives in Massachusetts, and plans to become a Lawyer. That is, if he can survive Algonquin language classes and polyamorous dating right now! He also identifies as Two Spirit, and prefers male pronouns, but cherishes his female body that he was given graciously by the Creator. He blogs at Identity Exposure.

Maybe it’s because of my lack of activity on this blog, or perhaps my sick fascination with Magneto, but I have been trying to find any books, dvds, documentaries, films, etc. about genocide. Startling, there is very little beyond the scope of The Holocaust, and even fewer about the targets outside of the Jewish peoples. I had old resources about the deaf population being targeted by SS Gestapo, and for experimentation, specifically two books. They are Crying Hands, and Deaf People in Hitler’s Europe. So I tried peeking at their footnotes, end notes, and other references for more. Amusingly enough, it was all direct resources from Hitler and Gestapo officials records. When trying to find a book just of compiled copies of Hitler’s and SS official correspondences, there were little to none, and again, vast majority were Jewish-specific.

There were some books about Romani, LGBQ, and mentally ill killings during the Holocaust, but they still were few and only found from some digging and Google expertise. Also, very little is discussed about the American internment camps for the Japanese-Americans. The documentaries are also quite puzzling, with their grand statements. What stuck out most was a PBS documentary on Aushwitz saying it was the largest mass murder site in the world. This made me do a double take, mostly in part that I knew mass murder is defined as a one event that kills many. Such as the case of Jones’ cult, and the mass poisoning and murder of many of its’ members. Holocaust was a slow, and most likely excruciating, process of elimination. Secondly, if one compared numbers of Indigenous populations killed (and subsequently effected from disease) solely from De Soto’s journey in America, the numbers outweigh just the Jewish population’s death tolls. Which, I might add, are often lumped with the total killings done by camps, and not to mention intersectionality (i.e: a gay Jewish individual).
Many of the books are also published by the Holocaust Remembrance groups, museums, and other centers. I find it peculiar that there are really no museums dedicated to Washington’s burning of Iroquois Nation lands, no centers for Wounded Knee I and II that have scholarships for Indigenous youth. There isn’t a pair of hands statue in any city for the Darfur genocide, nor any plaques for the Bosnian and Armenian genocides. I don’t see pink triangle arm bands on display at Holocaust museums, nor do I see pictures of Romani camp raids. Spielberg isn’t making movies about little Indian kids watching their families be killed.

Belly Dancing Fat and Proud

I came across this the following great video of a plus size belly dancer and I simply had to share it with you.  I loved the fact that she was sexy and shaking her body.  There was no shame or call for her to cover her body, as often happens when fat women show so much as an inch of skin.  I hope that you enjoy it as much as I did.

H/T Radical Hott Off Notes

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dollhouse Season 1 EP. 3 Stage Fright

I was actually relieved to finally see an episode of Dollhouse which did not involve Echo having sex with someone.  Each time this occurs, the lack of consent means that she is being raped.  The casualness in which each rape has thus far been presented is really starting to  get to me, and so this break was much appreciated.  I wonder how many viewed this as rape when the show originally aired?

In this episode, Echo is tasked to prevent the murder of a pop star by a crazed fan.  Raina, the pop star in question is clearly suffering from depression, and is actually encouraging the fan to murder her.   Whedon has been playing with depression and disability since Buffy, and I am still not certain that he got it right.  To have Raina saved by a hyper able being, who is unable to consent is problematic. It tells us that even when women are perceived as strong, they are still weak and those who are further marginalized by an ism other than sexism, are doubly in need of saving.

The two women of colour in this episode are Sierra, who is imprinted to think of herself as a huge fan and Raina herself.  While I am happy to finally really see more people of colour on the show, their characters leave a lot to be desired.  Honestly, after watching seven seasons of Buffy, I don't believe that Whedon is capable of  writing good characters of colour.  In the last episode, Boyd, Echo's handler was shot with an arrow and this leaves me wondering if he is going to last the entire two seasons?  Whedon has a habit of seeing characters of colour as highly disposable.

In this episode we see Sierra on her first mission. In this episode, Sierra is viturally mindless because she is programmed to be a simple minded fan and to save Raina, at any cost.  This is further problematic when one considers that Echo, the White doll, seems to be able to maintain some form of memory and is able to supersede her programming to solve the crux of the problem.  At the end of the episode, it is Echo who indicates to Sierra that they should not stop to speak, and Sierra mindlessly obeys. Juxtaposed to the already disempowered Echo, Sierra is decidedly less than, and functions as a simple side kick. This sets up a clear hierarchy in which it can be understood that what little value their exists in womanhood, belongs solely to White women.

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PeTA and Racial Appropriation

PeTA has a terrible record when it comes to marginalized bodies.  From dressing up as the KKK, to employing the slogan "Are animals the new slaves," whenever possible, they have appropriated freely from Blacks. PeTA currently has a new exhibit across from the Museum of Natural History in Washington D.C.
The six double-sided panel display exhibits images of animal cruelty next to images of human cruelty. One panel includes Dr. Martin Luther King’s quote, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere” and some images show elephants in shackles and overcrowded conditions for pigs and animals next to images of Blacks in similar conditions.
A PETA spokeswoman told "that the goal of the exhibit is not to equate nonhuman animals with African-Americans" but "to compare the oppression of certain groups of people in the past to the continued oppression of animals today. It points to the terrible level of suffering that has been inflicted upon various individuals throughout our history and points out some of the cruelty that still goes on in society today. PETA's message is that oppression is wrong, regardless of the race, gender, age, nationality or species of the victims," wrote PETA's communications director in an email. (source)
Uh huh, they didn't mean to refer to African Americans, and they just accidentally chose a quote from an African American civil rights leader.  How can anyone possibly give PeTA the benefit of the doubt given their history of racist actions?  They were absolutely making an analogy to the African American history of slavery and the struggle for civil rights. When Dr. King said those words, he was not speaking animals, he was speaking about the historical state of inequality between Blacks and Whites.

Why is Ramadan important to me?

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.

In the late 1800s a woman named Nazla took a long ocean voyage from Beirut to America. Legend has it that she was from a moderately well-off family – that her father was a favourite of the Ottoman governor and raised camels as a livelihood.

She lost her voice due to some virus or trauma and had not spoken for months. When medical advice suggested that the climate in America would encourage her voice to return, it was decided that she would live with an uncle who had recently immigrated and settled somewhere in the mid-West. The voyage to America was a last resort. Doctors and specialists had already tried everything to cure her: from medications to burning her back with hot metal rods – trying to force her voice out with her screams.

Years later, her first-born daughter spent many nights rubbing the deep and painful scars with a soothing balm and listened intently as her mother spoke to her, trying to pass on a lesson she held tight to her breast: Take control of your own destiny.

Nazla was trapped the moment she arrived in America. Her uncle restricted her movements, withheld whatever money her father sent from abroad and never left her alone in the house. She soon made plans to escape. One afternoon after her uncle had gone to work, by chance his wife ran out for a quick errand. Nazla tore around the house looking for whatever cash she could find, grabbed her papers and left on the first train to Canada.

She settled in Indianhead, Saskatchewan.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Color me stupid but I thought I was getting the hang of this parenting thing.

Rachel Broadwater is a freelance writer who lives in New Jersey.  Her work focuses on how gender, race, sexuality, spirituality and privilege intersect and complicate parenthood.  Her work has been featured on such blogs as thefeministwire and loveisn'tenough.  This essay was originally posted at cocoamamas where she contributes regularly.

I have managed, despite a notorious reputation of killing all living things (a cactus died on my watch) to raise my daughter and niece, ages 8 and 9, who not only managed to become potty trained – see Mom I told you – but can also put their own clothes on, use their manners, do well in school and are just magic on a stick.  I don’t want to leave you with the impression that I have it all figured it out or that there have not been really crappy days when I think I should have stuck with dogs.  I know that soon I will be entering tween territory and then into the abyss that is full blown adolescence.  As a mixed race woman who culturally identifies herself as African American and a womanist, I have to prepare the girls to deal with the confusing and painful intersections of race, gender, and class among other things.  The Steve Harvey’s, T.D. Jakes, Satoshi Kanazawa’s and their ilk who want to constrict, control and/or coerce my girls to accept an image that is not of their choosing will be coming on strong.  I have at my disposal Audre Lorde, bell hooks, Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Toni Cade Bambara, Paule Marshall, Delores Williams, and Jacquelyn Grant.  I have mamas, mamis, muthas, aunties, mothers of the church, nanas, and grandmas to pray them up, plead the blood, light incense, to dance and shout, and shield them from my own temper if needed.  I am also blessed to have awesome menfolk on my team starting with my husband who mended the eldest’s broken heart when she came home crying one day and ran into his arms telling him ,between snot and tears, that someone called her ugly.  The girls have their Uncle Moses, an openly gay man who deeply spiritual and a singer, who always has a joke and tickle for them.  Bringing up the rear is my brother James, Pa, Pop Pop, Poppy, and the men at the church.  So what, dear reader, has me lying awake at night, brow furrowed and a desire to drink in the daytime?  

An avatar.

Like many parents, we monitor the quality and quantity of the media the girls consume.  After trial and error, we found three that were appropriate.  One came out a clear favorite between the girls.  Fantage is a website that allows children to make their own avatars, play games for coins that they can then use to buy various houses, pets and other accessories.  They also are able to chat safely with other players online.   The girls are always showing me some new pet, new hairstyle, or house that they purchased and I would faithfully come over, look and make the appropriate noises.  Despite all of the (safe) fun the girls were having, something kept bugging me and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was.  Then it hit me:  Both of the girls avatars were white girls with bright blue eyes and neon hair color.  

A Series of Questions

A Series of Questions is basically a photo montage detailing typical questions that are trans people are asked by L.Weingarten.  The images are both stunning and stark even as they challenge cis privilege and display the hurt and pain that is caused by the inappropriate, invasive questions. Below you will find a few that spoke to me the most but you really should check out the site.  

 What did you think of the images in which one struck you the most and why?

Thoughts on Season Seven of Buffy the Vampire Slayer

'Buffy on the Wall' photo (c) 2007, Bart Naus - license:

It was a long journey, but I have finally come to the end of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  I am going to miss sharing this experience with my twitter family and your often challenging remarks.  Out of all seven seasons, I would have to say that this was among my least favourite.  I believe that the show peaked between seasons  4-6.  I loved the character development of Willow and Spike, but as for Buffy herself, her selfish irritating ways, were only surpassed by Dawn.

Okay, I was not enthused with Spike having cognitive difficulties throughout most of the season.  I know that Whedon thought he was covering his ass blaming it on the woo woo, but really enough already.  When we consider that almost every second word coming out of Buffy's mouth is the word lame, it was just another sign of the disableism that has plagued the show from the very beginning. Also, can we possibly be more trope filled than neurologically atypical equals violent?

This episode also brought us the dueling mothers.  Spike was triggered by a song his mother sang to him and Principal Wood, was desperate to get revenge for the murder of his mother.  They ended squaring off in a battle and Spike declared that his mother loved him, and that Wood's mother chose the job over him.  So much for the supposed feminist slant of Buffy.  The treatment of Wood's mother suggests that one cannot possibly be a good mother and have a job. It is further problematic that the White mother was cast as ultimately loving, though she is the one who said hateful things to Spike after he changed her.

On the heels of killing off Tara, Whedon decided to give Willow a new interest named Kennedy from the potential slayers.  Unlike the relationship with Tara, Willow and Kennedy were not chaste.  With the exception of Willow turning into Warren on the first kiss, I was pleased with their physical closeness. There was even an episode with the two in bed clearly in the beginning of sex.  

“Fellowship” comes with a cost....

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

When I was in college, I noticed how many "Christian" organizations would attempt to recruit students into the fold. The Mormons, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Evangelicals, even to a lesser extent, the Catholics would all choose the students who were furthest from home, those who missed their families the most, and those who were having trouble adjusting to college life. Then, they would kill them with kindness. Invite them to parties. Hold ice cream socials. Offer to buy them lunch. And, what would seem like an innocuous meeting would turn into a day of prosthelytizing, culminating in attempts to "convert" the non-believing student. And, on many occasions, it worked, although usually only temporarily.
My friend Zheng was from China. She had never been to the United States before. She missed her family so badly that she would cry herself to sleep many nights. She was a perfect target for the "Campus Crusade for Christ". First, she was approached by a few Mormon students, who tried to "show her the light". I remember her telling me about her "friends" who would take her out to lunch every week, and who made her feel less lonely. And all she had to do in return was listen to their speeches about the Book of Mormon, and how wonderful their religion was.
The Jehovah's Witnesses also tried their darndest to get at Zheng. They would give her reading material aimed at "proving" that the Mormons did not have her best interests at heart, that they were a "cult" that was trying to "brainwash" her. Of course, the Jehovah's Witnesses then went on to tell her that the TRUE path to happiness was through THEIR religion.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

What Are You Reading?

'Wall of Books' photo (c) 2011, Ted - license:

We haven't done one of these in awhile and I could use some lightness today.  Before we get going, a quick reminder to those who want to participate in our first official book group.  Please make sure you read the first three chapters of The Kid by August 15th for our first discussion. 

Right now I am reading Kelly Armstrong's Otherworld series as well as Vicki Pettersson's Zodiac series. For those who are interested, you can find my review of The First Sign of the Zodiac here. Let it fly in comments folks. What are you reading and what do you like or dislike about it.  Also, please share any urban fantasy recommendations that you have for myself, Sparky and Tami

Is Touching Black Women's Hair Racist?

'CNN' photo (c) 2007, Josh Hallett - license:

Many of you already know that yesterday I was quoted in an article at CNN about the phenomenon of White people touching our natural hair.  CNN linked to a post I wrote in 2008 entitled Can I Touch Your Hair? Black Women and The Petting Zoo. On top of sending me some of the most vitriolic racist hate mail that I have ever received, many decided to spread their filth in the comment section on my blog. Below you will find some of the comments that were so clearly racist that I decided not to publish them.  I do so now because I think that they will make great fodder for discussion. 

bjmacay:WOW! No wonder black women are so angry!

I thought it was because lives wasted dedicated to chronic church-going and piety wherein God never really gets around answers her prayers, sleeping with deadbeats, unemployment, single-motherhood and the like.

No, it is because of your hair? Crazy!

People want to touch your hair out of kindness. As long as you perpetuate the slave/master model you will be trapped by it. Hair on women (and some men) is a universal source of sex appeal and advertising of youth or fertility. This is why so many women cut their shorter after getting married or having children. Yes, it is easier and more "manageable" but it is moreover a way to tell the world that you are not interested in sending out sexual signals. This is true universally in the caucasoid community and I suspect that black women also are prone to this hence a young womens' obsession with her hair.

If there is any ill will towards touching your hair it is likely an outlier.

Sometimes being noticed is not what sets you apart but makes you the same and includes you. Notice the distinction in that statement. No middle-aged white woman likely meant you any harm or ill will, if anything it is the opposite and is meant love and kindness.

@AC_Rebecca: I read about this post on and wanted to respond directly to you. I am a white woman who, as a teen, was often asked about my racial heritage by both black and white classmates. My hair was very much like yours. It was not unusual for other teens to ask to touch my hair or just reach out for a feel. It didn't bug me so much when I was asked, though I thought it was weird. I also don't have the awareness you have of black culture and history.

I just ask you to consider that people are innately curious. There is no excuse for rude behaviour, but there is no need to condemn a person who asks to touch your hair as racist.  

Being a White Female Rapper Does Not Give You Permission to use the N Word

Alright, I am sure some of you have been following the mess that Kreayshawn and her crew, White Girl Mobs have created since their first single.  There are many reasons why I find these women distasteful (note that's me being nice) and chief amongst their justification of their continual usage of the N word.  Little Miss Gucci Gucci had no problem say the word nigga on twitter.

 I don't care if change nigger to nigga, it still amounts to the same thing coming out of the mouth of a White person.  I don't give a damn how down you think you are, you will never be down enough to say that word without the history of oppression and colonization perpetrated by Whiteness coming into play.

Not to be out done, V Nasty seems to feel that her use of the N word is absolutely justified because of her lived experience.

True Blood - and why I can't get behind all this pro-GBL praise

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.
Ok, I love True Blood. No, really. I watch it every week as soon as I can and never regret doing so (well hardly ever).

But I see so much jumping and squeeing about it being the bestest thing ever for all its GBL portrayals and I have to hmmm... because I'm not going there.

Oh, don't get me wrong, it's better than most. Where most programmes rarely have any of us portrayed at all – and if we do we have maybe 1 token, stereotyped insert. True Blood with Lafayette, Jesus, Pam, Tara, Naomi, Nan Flannigan, Russel Edgington, Talbot, Sophie-Ann and even Eddie had a whole stable full of GBL people. It's immense and really really rare outside of niche shows that are meant to distinctly target us.

So, why aren't I leaping for joy and back flipping over True Blood's GBL representations? Because quantity does not equal quality. Just having a GBL character – or having a gazillion GBL characters – doesn't make a show a wonderful font of equality. The quality of those portrayals matter – the stereotypes, the tropes upheld also matter. And there's such a lot problems with the portrayals that many of them annoy me, frustrate me and generally do not get shiny gold stars.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dollhouse: Season 1 Ep 2. - The Target

In this episode, once again Echo is chosen to be the perfect woman.  For the client in question, the perfect woman, is one who can white water raft, climb mountains, make love without tiring and prove that she deserves to live.  After taking her into a remote area, he stalks her with a bow and arrow intent on killing her.  Unfortunately for him, Echo kills him first and the process saves her handler who has been injured.

This episode, the viewer is also treated to a little back story.  We learn that another "doll," code named Alpha -- went on a killing spree, exterminating other dolls and security at the house.  One man he managed to kill in 8 secs with very precise cuts.  Despite all of the violence he engaged in, for some reason he did not kill Echo. The dolls were unable to defend themselves because without the appropriate training, they are as innocent and helpless as children.

I am truly disturbed by this episode because not only was Echo forced into sex she was treated as little better than an animal by the man that decided to hunt her. Though she has been programmed to trust her handler he views her as nothing but an empty receptacle, and he barely listens to her when she speaks. By the end of the episode she has saved his life despite not having the right programming and it is clear that he has formed a new respect for her.  Shoulder to the wheel I suppose, however this just affirms once again that respect is something Echo has to learn rather than something that should be granted to ever single human being.  Because Echo is a woman this greatly plays into the way that patriarchy systemically denies women agency and value to privilege men. 

Finish reading here

Mommy is lipstick for girls?

'Lipstick and mirror' photo (c) 2003, Shawn Rossi - license:

Yesterday I had a mini makeup shop fest because Shoppers Drug Mart had great sales on eyeshadow.  While I was there, I picked up a few new bottles of nail polish and a new lipstick. I love to play with makeup, so as soon as I got home I did my nails.  Mayhem loving to play right alongside me came running with his hands out to get his own nails done.  "I can keep them on for a long time mommy," he said. "I don't have to worry about being laughed at because I am not going to school".  He then proceeded to sit down and choose what colour he wanted his nails painted.

When he saw the new tube of lipstick he asked me what it was.  I told him it was lipstick and put it on for him to see.  "Ooooh mommy it's so pretty", he said. He then looked at me with sad brown eyes and asked, "mommy is lipstick only for girls?"  I felt my heart break a little with the question, because what he really wanted to know was if he could wear it without being laughed at, and I knew the answer to that was resoundingly no.  I told him that, "nothing is strictly for boy or girls, but because there are mean silly people, who aren't sure about themselves, they will pick on people who do certain things that make them happy."    

It saddens me to know that already at the tender age of five, my boy is worried about people policing his presentation of masculinity.  For him, makeup is about play and enhancing what he deems his "natural good looks." When summer started, Mayhem told me "Mommy, I need a new look for the summer," as his way of pointing out that he had outgrown some of his shorts and wanted new clothing.  The day after we took him shopping, he put on one of his new outfits and modeled it for my friends.  When they confirmed how handsome he looked, he preened and smiled.  He just loves to play, and whether it comes to clothing or makeup, Mayhem always wants to look nice.  He is also always the first one to ask, "are you really going to go out wearing that?"

True Blood: Me And The Devil

Am I the only who thought that True Blood was absolutely awesome last night?  Okay, first let's start with Tommy committing parenticide.  I know that it was violent but honestly it really gave me a sense of relief.  I really, really, really, did not want to see Joe-Lee in those yellow drawers again.  The story line with Sam's parents was irrelevant last season, and I am so glad that it was nipped in the bud early in this season.  From this event, we also learned that Sam is a murderer twice over.  I am unsure of where this dark side is leading to, because Ball created a back story for Sam, that is completely the opposite of the books.

Arlene and Terry decide to have their home blessed to scare away the evil. I for one am sick of the sins of the father routine that they have been using with the baby.  I was also upset to see that the house was blessed with sage, because this is a direct appropriation from First Nations culture. When we consider the harm that Christianity has done to Native Americans, this appropriation was absolutely horrible.  If that were not enough, Arlene called Lettie Mae and her new husband, "you people."  When they asked what she meant, she answered that she was referring to their religion.  Their easy acceptance of Arlene's response made them look ridiculous.  I really think that Ball could have taken this scene so much further, but maybe this is a sign that at least in the case of Arlene, he intends to follow the books and have her involved in a religious anti-vampire cult he decided to let it go.  

There Tara sat on the couch pouring her heart out to Sookie, and yet in Sookie's basement Eric was asleep for the day.  I am so glad that Tara told Sookie off. With the exception of organizing Egg's funeral, what has Sookie ever done for Tara?  This is a one sided relationship if ever I saw one.  Instead of going after Tara, Sookie stayed to soothe Eric.  As much as I love my kick ass Nordic vampire, the truth of the matter is that he has done terrible things to Sookie and her friends.  When she said to him that she always saw good in Eric, I have to admit that I gagged.  It's amazing what one can convince oneself of when hormones are involved.  I will say that I appreciated the kiss between Sookie and Eric, as well as Eric's low hanging shorts.  You're a tease Allan Ball, a super tease.

Finish reading here

Amy Winehouse and Céline Dion: The Real Tragedy

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

I’m getting old, so most of the music on my iPod (yes, I ditched my Victrola a while back) is from the ’60s, ’70s, and even the ’80s – “back in my day.” But once in a while, a new talent comes along that catches my attention, and Amy Winehouse was one of those people

She was a talented singer/songwriter, had a fascinatingly dark, bluesy bent to her voice and her music, and was infinitely troubled, which is what appears often to drive great artists of any kind.
I was a fan, but I wasn’t obsessed, so I missed or ignored a lot of the paparazzi-type headlines about her antics, although I did catch the video of her pulling a vial of cocaine from her beehive during a performance and taking a couple of bumps as the crowd roared its approval (I have to admit that I thought it was kinda cool at the time, as well). I also ran into a story about her stumbling in the streets after dark in her underwear, and read a magazine interview during which she was not able to stay awake.