Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Vampire Diaries Season Three, Episode Eight: Ordinary People

This episode was all about the original vampires, and may I say that it's about time that they started building this plot and letting us know who the big bad is on this show. It all begins when Alaric and Damon show Elena some carvings on the old Lockwood property carved by Rebekah.  Apparently, the carvings have been there longer than Mystic Falls has been a town.  Apparently, the original family are Vikings who settled in North America for a better life.  Can we all agree that a Viking settlement in the middle of Georgia in the 980's, which btw is when the Vikings traveled to North America is ridiculous?  I guess we are supposed to ignore the ridiculousness of this, the same way that we were expected to ignore the way that Katherine supposedly traveled across Eastern Europe to end up in the U.K. last season.  The fact that they were all speaking English as well, I suppose is just another one of those happy occurrences.

Unable to figure out what the pictograms mean, Elena approaches Rebekah in the hope that she will explain what is going on.  It turns out that Micheal is their father and Elena threatens to wake him unless, Rebekah tells her their entire history. Michael treated Klaus like crap and was emotionally abusive to him, because he is not his son, but the son of the nearby werewolves.  Elena is certain that Rebekah will tell her the truth, because she is a 1000 year old vampire who has joined the cheer leading squad.  I am going to take this as the writers acknowledging that they know that Rebekah concerning herself with petty things like cheer leading and trying to become popular is ludicrous.

Damon decides to free Stephan and take him out drinking because he has sensed that Stefan has actually given up.

When Elena arrives at Rebekah's, she asks Elena to choose which homecoming dress is the nicest. Again, why is a 1000 year old vampire concerned about how she looks at homecoming?  When Elena threatens her, Rebekah attacks one of the models she has selected and tells her, "You do not threaten me, you will learn what I want you to learn." Finally, Rebekah is acting like the thousand year old vampire that she is, it's just too bad that it will be short lived.

Alaric and Bonnie have a heart to heart when she brings him the necklace that she was unable to destroy.  Alaric tells her that things will get better, and that he has been a Jeremy before.  I suppose Bonnie was expected to feel comfort from the whole boys will be boys speech. From looking at the necklace, Alaric learns that one of the symbols on the wall means witch. This is the last we see of Bonnie for the episode because having fulfilled her work as the resident magical negro on call, she goes back into the plot box.

Back at Rebekah's, they engage in more bullshit history, when Elena points out that "this area of the world hadn't even been discovered yet." (note:  this sentence excludes the fact that Natives had been living there for a good longtime. But hey, what's a little thing like erasure on The Vampire Diaries?) But hey, problem solved because Rebekah's mother knew a witch named Ayana, "who had heard of a mystical land where everyone was healthy, blessed by the gift of speed and strength".  I wonder how Ayana managed to contact Esther to tell her about the prosperous land considering there was no mail or telephone service at this time.

We learn that the feud between vampires and werewolves began when Klaus and his younger brother Henric snuck out to watch the werewolves turn, though it was forbidden, and Henric was killed for his troubles. Esther begged Ayana to save her son, but she told Esther that there is no way, and that they must say goodbye to him.  Alright, so not only do we have a community of Vikings who don't belong there, but they decide to include a token Black  woman out of nowhere. Yep, when they need woo woo, it's absolutely necessary to include token Black characters. Also why bother with including any kind of historical accuracy when it comes to this story.  No need to mention that Blacks first came to North America as slaves, because that would call into question all of the ugly founders day celebrations that occur in Mystic Falls.

Their conversation is interrupted however, when Damon calls Elena to inform her that he has taken Stefan out of his captivity.  The first thing that Damon does is offer Stefan a pretty young blonde woman to drink from.  Damon tells Stefan that he likes the edge, but that his problem is his inability to resist falling over it. For his part, Stefan is convinced that like Elena, Damon has not given up hope on him.  We know that Stefan and Damon are brothers, but I fail to understand why they have to keep referring to each other as such throughout the scene.Ooops, I know, family drama is the theme of this episode and to ensure that the viewer gets this, the writers intend to used it like a battering ram on us. 
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Friday, November 4, 2011

When I Stop Asking for my Rights

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.

**To those who think international students of color have no business demanding rights in the US**

I'll stop demanding my rights,

When I can open the history books and see my people's faces

When I can turn on the TV and see them as humans, not caricatures

When you stop complimenting me on my English like you're doing me a goddamn favor
(Who the hell are you to ascribe yourself the importance of evaluating my language skills?
I've been reading Shakespeare on my own since I was 14 and I can out-write you and yours
any damn day of the week).

I'll "stop complaining"

When international students are treated as human beings

When we can work to support ourselves through college

When we can speak our languages without you complaining

A Kiss Isn't Always A Kiss

One of the privileges that I can easily take for granted is my ability to hold the unhusbands hand and kiss him at will.  It's something that I rarely have to think about.  The few times that I have had to consider what we were doing, are directly related to race.  I remember early in our relationship when I was still just the GF a White woman asking the unhusband if he needed help to find a nice White girlfriend, because apparently my race implied that I would cheat on him one day because all Black women are sluts.  Outside of race, I never have to worry that our affection in public will disturb people or that we will be deemed an undue influence on any children that happen to be present.

Recently we have seen an uptick in same gender loving people being asked to leave locations for the crime of kissing in public.  As Sparky wrote in an earlier post, this turns the act of a simple kiss into a sex act.
A Chicago Transit Authority bus driver reportedly "yelled homophobic slurs [and] called the police" after a passenger complained about a kiss between a  young gay couple, reports the Windy City Times.

Race in the Walking Dead

'365-026' photo (c) 2010, miss_millions - license:

It is hardly surprising that the AMC series The Walking Dead is so incredibly popular given that comic series itself is popular. Going into this series the one thing this show had going for it was an absolutely solid fan base. Part of the problem with developing a television show from an already popular text is that you are given two choices, stick to the script with limited changes a la Harry Potter style, or slightly alter the script adding new elements, while enlarging, or eliminating characters altogether, which is the path chosen by Alan Ball on his work on True Blood. The Walking Dead has chosen to go with the latter which raises the question about whether or not the changes have been positive or negative.

One of the most glaring issues with race we see is the contrast between the original comics and the show. In the comics there were several characters of colour who were active members of the group and in fact, at times, were put into leadership positions. The same cannot be said of the television show, however, and this is evidenced by the absence of Tyreese.

In the comic series Tyreese is a co-leader with Rick. He’s one of the main fighters of the group, he’s one of the people the rest of the group look up to. He is respected, he is honoured, he is a valued and highly contributing member of the group. In many ways he fulfills the role that Shane fulfills in the television series - only without the arseholery that makes us wish for Shane to become a chew toy every episode. Most importantly, Tyreese could be counted upon to share the burden of leadership with Rick, matching him walker kill for walker kill. Tyreese is so skilled that upon being locked in a gym with walkers, her emerges unscathed with scores of kills to his name.

So where is Tyreese? Well, he is very conspicuous by his absence. But we do have T-Dog who doesn’t exist in the comics. If we contrast these two characters we see a marked difference.

What has T-Dog done? Actually done the whole series? In season one, his single action was to be attacked by Merle, and then drop the key that would open Merle’s handcuffs. His one action the whole series was to be abused by a racist and then fumble. In season two? He has cut his arm, was saved by Darryl three times (twice physically and with medicine) and otherwise hung around doing nothing. His injury even rendered him unable to look for Sophia.

Contrast that with Tyreese, the character he replaced. Tyreese was awesome. When Rick needed someone to confide in - his worries, when he was upset, when he needed support, when he needed a second, it was Tyreese he turned to. When there were Walkers to kill, Tyreese was there, with his hammer. When people were upset, Tyreese was who they could always rely on and lean on. He was the backbone of the group - he could literally go into a small room crowded with Walkers and bring them down. Tyreese kicked arse and was an amazing character.

But also contrast T-Dog with the other characters in the series. None of the men are close to as useless as T-Dog. Shane and Rick are leaders and crusaders who protect the group, advise, reassure, plan, save people etc - these two are the glue and hub of the group. They are soul and centre. Darryl is a fighter with impressive survival skills and a silenced ranged weapon. Glenn was useful in the first season for his considerable knowledge of Atlanta (though in season 2, again we see Glenn reduced to a hanger on). Even Dale knows how to use a gun, and is often left on watch, as well as having some maintenance skills to keep the cars going. The only people still alive who contribute as little to the group’s survival are Carol, Andrea (and even then she can fish), Lori and the children (and it’s another trope about sexism that needs addressing there).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Poking again at the aftermath of the YA drama

This is a mid-week guest post by our beloved Sparky. It was originally guest posted on Ars Marginal.

There have been a lot of rumblings after the well publicised YA drama of (OH-SO-SHOCKING! Except, y’know, not) GBLT protagonists being rejected. And one I have seen a lot of are people flocking forward to post book lists. Books with GBLTQ protagonists – come read ‘em. Which I was fairly glad to see – I dropped in, had a look… and sighed. I sighed because, of the books I’d read, I would most certainly not recommend them or their portrayals. Here are just some I saw being recommended

Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments. Aside from the fact I found these books extremely homophobic, I boggle at the idea that you can consider Alec to be a main character of the books. He barely even qualifies as a side-kick.

Ann McCaffrey’s Dragonflight Series. Seriously – Ann “Tent peg” McCaffrey is presented as a RECOMMENED GBLT YA. The gross stereotypes, the demeaning, insulting portrayals, the condescension – and even then out of the whole series, the gay characters cannot be more than the smallest, most minor of bit characters.

Terry Pratchett’s Monstrous Regiment? Don’t get me wrong, I love that book – but there were 2 lesbians and a portential for trans characters (albeit a bit of a stretch and arguable) and none of them could be called the protagonists.

Even George RR Martin’s Game of Thrones. How any of the GBL characters in that series can be remotely considered protagonists is beyond me.

Mercedes Lackey was mentioned – now I only read a few of her books but there was a whole lot of abuse and rape going on.

And it frustrates me, actually I have a full blown tantrum. Because even when confronted with the blatant lack of decent GBLT characters out there we respond by putting together lists of stereotypes, tokens and sidekicks? Or even utter side or bit characters. Is this the best we can do – or is this the best we can expect? Well, I know that the answer to both those questions is “no” but I do fear the answer to the third – is this what we’re willing to settle for?

Thandie Newton Takes 'Vogue' to Task for Lack of Black Women on the Cover

There is no doubt that actress Thandie Newton is not only incredibly beautiful, but accomplished; however, like many other women of colour, she finds herself unable to grace the cover of 'Vogue' magazine.  In an interview with Pride Magazine, she had the following to say according to Huffpo:
"Don't get me started on black people being on the cover of big magazines. It's so preposterous. I mean, I've been on the cover of Harper's Bazaar four times; I've been on the cover of InStyle four times, but Vogue, not once."

"And people say to me, I mean literally, people have said to me, 'What have you got against Vogue that you don't want to be on their cover?' And I just laugh."

"They [Vogue] don't feel the need to represent because it doesn't make any sense to them. It's just baffling to me, but as usual America will dictate the ways things go and a magazine like Vogue will just follow America," she said. "But it's like, don't you want to trail blaze?"
Vogue does not feel any pressure to have equal representation for women of colour because the media, just like every other social institution, aids in the maintenance of White supremacy.  We have seen time and time again that women of colour are denied coverage that White women so easily get, and when they do finally make the cover of a magazine, they have to worry that the image will be so lightened that they will be unrecognizable.  Women of colour are also repeatedly denied the opportunity for meaningful acting parts, but they sure are deemed desirable when the part of a maid is available. Even Thandie once played the role of a maid, in Interview with the Vampire, starring Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise.

hijab is not a Halloween costume, even if you're Muslim?

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. 

Two princesses, a killer clown, Avatar, a scary magician, three zombie cheerleaders and a baby bumblebee later, Eryn finally stopped fearfully burrowing into my cloak and finally got into the Halloween spirit. This year because of a rotten cold we're all generously sharing, the family decided to stay home to hand out candy. Eryn was a pumpkin with a purple witch's hat -- and for my costume, I just wore hijab.

This week for Halloween the HuffPo ran an article discussing why hijab is a terrible idea for anyone planning to dress up as a Muslim. It argues that in this anti-Muslim climate of hijab-bans and anti-shari'a legislation, it's wrong to appropriate a religious symbol that's also often used an excuse to incite hatred against Muslims. It's an interesting article (though I have to disagree with the author's statement that hijab is only a religious requirement. We wear it for cultural, personal and political reasons too – and those who don't wear it are just as pious as those who do), but I totally agree with the article's intent – that like any negative appropriation of religious or ethnic culture, it's just wrong to commodify a religious symbol.

But that got me thinking of all the times I incorporate my hijab into my Halloween costume. Whether I'm Princess Leia, a Ringwraith, witch, sorcerer or vampire, it's hard for me not to use my own clothes for Halloween because they lend themselves so nicely to some pretty awesome costumes. An abaya makes an excellent black cloak. And I'm going to be covering my hair and dressing modestly regardless, so why not use what's on hand?

Judge Beats Disabled Daughter With a Belt

This post comes with a huge trigger warning for violence against a child.

Every time I write a post of this nature, someone come along to defend violence against children.  I will not tolerate it.  This space needs to be as safe as possible for survivors.

Judge William Adams decided to beat his daughter with a belt, for the crime of downloading video games on her computer.  The video was taken in 2004 when she was 16 years old.  She recently released the video online saying that her father needs help.  Apparently, she set up or camera on the her computer to record because 'It had happened before, and had been escalating. I set up a camera, and I caught it.'

 Again this video comes with a trigger warning as Williams whips is daughter 20 times

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Love of a Single Mother is Enough

'Zombie mother' photo (c) 2010, Quinn Dombrowski - license:

I recently came across a piece about single motherhood on Clutch magazine that I thought would lead to an interesting conversation.
Nobody wants to grow up without a father. No matter what Oprah Winfrey suggests.

After viewers turned off their televisions from Oprah’s Lifeclass last Friday, the cameras kept rolling and captured a scene where Oprah comforts an audience member who was balling in tears over feeling inadequate as a single mom.

“You’ve got to know that you are enough for your children,” said the media mogul, entrepreneur and philanthropist. “You are doing what so many women have done. You are living in the expectation and the dream that you had,” Oprah continued referring to the woman’s wish to raise her children in a dual-parent home.

Taken back by her kind words of encouragement, I started to think about Winfrey’s family history (or what we know). Oprah is a product of a single parent household and experienced much hardship during her childhood. She has built an entire business around her trials and tribulations. She is also not a mother. Not that this negates her ability to offer parenting advice, but her support does not go far when it comes to dictating what someone so far removed could suggest. Frankly other than business, Oprah is the last person I would take childcare or relationship advice from.

It is no secret that in recent years the decline of households headed by married couples and the increase in households headed by single parents has been disproportionate. With the increasing trend of people having children outside of marriage— among other circumstances– more and more guilt surrounds women and their womb. I have experienced the struggles a single mother faces first hand. This observable fact challenges women to ask… are they enough for their children? Empowerment is one thing, Winfrey is great at, but it can be misleading at times. When it comes to placing the blame, I would advise to Oprah and others that we have to recognize the truth hurts. After listening to her sanguine advice, I can only give Oprah kudos for motivating the distraught mother. However, pending the circumstance, it can be very difficult and frustrating, being a single mother is not enough. (source)
I was raised in a two parent household, and I raise my children in a two parent household.  I cannot begin to speak to the challenges that are specific to single mother because that is outside of my experience, but I can speak about what it is to parent. Sometimes I think that children exist to make us age before our time.  Whether it is homework and bedtime battles, or the constant worry, parenting is hard work.  I know that I am fortunate to have someone to share the experience with and spar me when I reach the point where running away to join the circus seems like a much easier thing to do.

What Are You The Reading?

'What book clubs are reading in Seattle' photo (c) 2006, brewbooks - license:

We have not done one of these in awhile so I thought that it was time.  I love the fact that the community here are huge readers.  I just got F'em by Jennifer Baumgardner in the mail today and I will be tucking into that.  I also recently picked up Rise of the Governor which is the first in a series from the creators of The Walking Dead.  You know me, I have to mix up my theory with a little bit of fantasy.

Have you read any new books recently and what did you like or dislike about them?  What books would recommend.  As always, my eyes are open for any urban fantasy novels to review on my sister blog Fangs for the Fantasy, which I write with the occasionally cute, but always wrong Sparky.

Lesbophobia Does Not Make You Like Rosa Parks

I debated writing about this issue, because every time some sort of racism or appropriation happens by someone who happens to be GLBT occurs, the backlash in the comment thread here is disgusting.  I am going to say right up front that homophobia, no matter how it manifests is wrong and intolerable.  People should have the right to live their lives free of hate and harassment.  That said, being actively oppressed, does not give anyone the right to willfully appropriate from other marginalized groups.

Christel Conklin and Aimee Whitchurch came home to find the following painted on their garage door.

Lesbian partners in Parker say they're the victims of a frightening hate crime. Someone painted an anti-gay message on their garage and left a noose on their doorstep.

“You get words like ‘homos’ or ‘you’re going to burn in hell’ and things of that nature, but ‘kill the gay?’ That’s a threat against our lives so it was overwhelming,” says Aimee Whitchurch.

It’s the message she and her partner, Christel Conklin found on their garage door Friday. One day later, someone left a noose at their doorstep.

“The noose is where it really became shocking and scary,” Whitchurch says.

As a gay couple, Aimee and Christel knew their lives wouldn’t be easy, but they never thought their lives would be threatened.

“Usually in public it’s fine,” Conklin says. “We can go places and be accepted, but living is a different thing. People don’t want you to be living near them.” (source)
Aimee and Christel are extremely brave women.  I don't think that I could stay in a home once my life had been threatened.  I should be writing a post about their bravery in the face of such naked hate, but I simply cannot.  In response to the threat, Conklins said “We’re the white Rosa Parks. We’re not getting off the bus.” That my friends is appropriation.

Rosa Parks as you know became famous when she refused to give up her seat for a White person and move to the back of the bus.  Her action launched the Montgomery bus boycott.  Blacks walked and car pooled for over a year to get the bus company to end its segregation policy.  I can see why Conklin believed that the analogy was justified, after all, Conklin and Parker are refusing to move though being threatened.  The two situations amount to active oppression, but while all oppression is equally bad, that does not make them the same. 

The Occupy Movement is NOT as Progressive as it Seems

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

I am so damn sick and tired of Occupy Wall Street. Every so called “progressive” I know of is riding the #OWS dick like it is going out of style. Me? I can’t stand the shit. For the most part, I see most of the protests that have been inspired by Occupy Wall Street to be strictly the work of some spoiled little (previously) rich brats who can’t handle the fact that the college education that mommy and daddy paid for did not get them the high paid cushy job that they truly believe they deserve. I would be willing to bet that almost all of those who are running around with signs about being the 99% would not give a FUCK about economic injustice if they were not directly impacted by it in the present moment. And I bet in five years, most of them will be sitting in some multinational corporation’s headquarters shaking their heads and chuckling about the days when they were “radicals”.

Can someone explain to me where the hell theses little towheaded recent college graduates were for all those years when there WAS no recession and it was only Black and Brown people who were getting the booty end of the stick when it came to economic justice? Oh, yeah…. they were wasting thousands of their parents dollars on a college education while spending their weekends getting drunk at the frat house and never even giving a second thought to how the folks who were not born into a upper middle class suburban white bred world were busy struggling to get by. Now all of a sudden, they want to play the victims and cry about how we are ALL the 99%….

Sorry folks, but I cannot see a protest movement that is composed of the top 10% OF the bottom 99% as having much legitimacy at all. Take for example, Hartford. I have been living here for 6 months now. Hartford is one of the poorest cities in the nation, with a poverty rate of well over 30%. Hartford is full of Black and Brown people whose resumes do not even get a second glance when they apply for jobs in their very own city. The same companies that refuse to hire Hartford residents run out to the suburbs to hire people who in turn run as quickly as they can out of the city when their work hours are over. I see it every day. I live in a neighborhood that is 90% POC. Each evening at 5pm, I see all of the white folks from the suburbs rushing to their cars, clutching their purses and nervously glancing around them like they are expecting an ambush.

The mayor of Hartford is constantly holding these meetings where he discusses “revitalizing” the city, and attracting new people to the downtown area. Of course, in a city that is only 17% white, guess where most of those white folks live??? If you guessed downtown, you get a cookie. Every time I hear some government official talk about downtown Hartford, and of the need to attract new residents and businesses to the area, it is obvious that they are using a really weak code to say… “We want more white folks!”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Enter To Win Blood Work: An Original Hollows Graphic Novel

The Fangs for the Fantasy crew are huge fans of Kim Harrison, and that is why this month we are delighted to give away one hardcover copy of:

Hot-as-hell, tough-as-nails detective Ivy Tamwood has been demoted from homicide down to lowly street-crime detail.  As if rousting trolls and policing pixies instead of catching killers wasn't baed enough, she's also been saddled with a newbie partner who's an earth witch.  It's enough to make any living vampire bare her fangs.  But when a coven of murderous witches begins preying on werewolves, Rachel Morgan quickly proves she's a good witch who knows how to be a badass.

Together, Ivy and Rachel hit the mean streets to deal swift justice to the evil element among Cincinnati's super-natural set.  But there's more to their partnership than they realize - and more blood and black magic in their future than they bargained for. 

Kim Harrison, author of the New York Times bestselling Hollows urban fantasy series, was born and raised in Michigan. 

We Are Here, We Are Here: Autistics Speaking Day

"Leah Jane is an Über-liberal, nerdy, feminist, landed immigrant, secular humanist, skeptical, pansexual, overeducated, intellectual, philosophical, artistically inclined, white-tea drinking, loudmouthed, agnostic, politically correct, mordant, autistic American-Canadian Jewess who likes to draw, write poetry, study languages and smell flowers. If there's one thing you can say about her, it's that she loves the world too much to ever be happy in it."

The greatest thrill for me in participating again in Autistics Speaking Day is seeing what power there is in the voices of many autistic bloggers coming together to show that they are far from silent, and not at all cut off from the world, as the event which kickstarted the creation of Autistics Speaking Day implied.

It’s been a year since the first Autistics Speaking Day occurred. Back then, I was still using Blogger, was still in Montana, and was somewhat oblivious to what a vast and awesome network of autistic bloggers were out there. Autistics Speaking Day opened me up to a new network of bloggers and activists on the spectrum who believed, as I do, that the internet was the ultimate tool in dismantling parent/doctor supremacy in the national conversation about autism and the medical/tragedy model of looking at autism.

Coulter On African American Republicans: "Our Blacks Are So Much Better Than Their Blacks"

I suppose now that Coulter is getting her swirl on, she believes that she is an expert on what a good Black is.

The perennial problem with well meaning straight, cis people

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.

It's like good advice....

You really didn't want.

This is a perennial problem with well meaning straight, cis people and, I rather think, privileged people over all marginalised people. Advice.

I often wonder why privileged people decide to give advice about being marginalised to marginalised people. It's kind of like watching a high school maths teacher correct Stephen Hawkings on his sums.

One of the recent crops of unsolicited advice we've been seeing is various people, especially in professional sports, encouraging their closeted GBLT teammates, colleagues et al to come out. And I sigh, I really do. We really really do not need advice on whether to come out or not, at least not from straight, cis people who really cannot understand what that means and the depth of the implications.

Lives are lost coming out. Literally. Families are lost. Friends are lost, careers are lost. And we can all say that those that matter will stand by you, and it's true, but reality is often harsher than such ideals and platitudes won't solve isolation, loneliness, betrayal – or protect you from violence and abandonment – or being fired for that matter. To say nothing of the very personal struggles that often precede coming out (and follow after it for that matter).

Don't get me wrong, coming out was one of the best things I ever did – but it was also one of the hardest things I ever did – and it still isn't easy and it never will be.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Abercrombie & Fitch Can Never be Cute Enough

Now that the weather has started to change, my fibro has been flaring on a semi regular basis.  My family doesn't stop needing me and everyday items because I am hurting.  To the best of my ability, I have to find a way to service their needs while taking care of myself.  One of the first compromises I made is to start online shopping. Once it gets cold, when they need anything, I hop on ebay to see what I can find, if it is a need that can wait a week or two to be fulfilled.

Destruction is growing like a weed yet again, and has managed to outgrow last years winter coat.  It is useable for now but he certainly cannot wear it for the entire winter.  I took his measurements and we hit ebay to find him a new winter coat.  There was plenty to choose from, but he really fell in love with a coat from Abercrombie & Fitch. The first thing that I noticed was the size and the price and so I initially said yes, I will buy you that coat, but then after looking at it for a while, I discovered that it was an Abercrombie & Fitch coat, and I couldn't in good conscience spend a single cent of my hard earned money to support a company that has so little respect for marginalized bodies.  Even when I considered the fact that buying from ebay means that an individual, rather than the corporation reaps the profits, the fact still remains that the AF logo was on the side of the coat, thus turning the wearer into a billboard to advertise the company.

Leave the Kids Out of It

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.

The religious right, the political right, and the religiously and politically righteous (all pretty much the same thing) can waste hours every day harping on the sins of “gender confusion” (I’m not sure what they mean by this, because trans people aren’t “confused” about our gender – we know what gender we are). But they need to leave the kids out of it.

The latest debacle is a Halloween party in Utah put on by the Mormon Church that specifies “no cross-gender costumes.” Now, I don’t have a particular problem with a private party organized by a private entity making rules for attendance. If I organize a private party, I have every right to decide the parameters of my event, and if folks don’t like it, they don’t have to come.

But I’m an adult and the guests at my party would likely be adults, as well. I don’t throw parties for kids – but churches do. And the problem with organizing a party for children, to be held on a day that children enjoy, and to offer trick-or-treating, with candy and other fun stuff that children like, is that exclusionary rules can spoil the fun for a lot of would-be participants – most of which are not trans.

Not All Beauty is Natural

'Sleeping Beauty' photo (c) 2009, vikk007 - license:

Womanist Musings has been up and running since April 2008, and that means that there are a lot of archives.  There are some posts that continue to bring in hits and comments, but because they are buried in the archives, most miss what's happening on them.  One of the most popular posts, is a piece I wrote about a poll which sought to question which race has the most beautiful women.

Since the original onslaught of comments, most people that arrive on this post stop by to tell me that it is only natural that White women be understood to be the most beautiful women on the planet.  For the most part, I tuck these comments into the delete folder and move on, but I would be lying if I said that it does not bother me.

I know that despite the post racial nonsense, and the yaya sisterhood in the feminist movement, that women are not perceived of as equal.  When I look in the mirror I see a beautiful woman, and this is largely because I have let go of Eurocentric beauty ideals.  The standard of beauty in the western world has always been White, and the closer someone is able to conform to this, the greater the chance that they will be perceived of as attractive. This is why colorism continues to be such an issue within communities of colour. This is why surgeries exist for Asian women to make their eyes rounder.  This is why skin bleaching companies are making a substantial profit across the globe, despite the fact that their products are far from healthy and in fact are downright dangerous.

The Walking Dead Season Two Episode Three: Save the Last One

This episodes with Shane and Otis running from the walkers and Rick and Lori sitting vigil over Carl's sick bed.

In the trailer Carol is crying, as Andrea sits at a table trying to assemble a weapon.  Darryl clearly cannot sleep with the noise and so he gets up taking his clip from Andrea, saying that he is going to walk the road to look for Sophia.  Dale questions whether or not this is a good idea, because it is still dark but Andrea quickly cuts him off.  I thought this was a nasty thing for Andrea to do and Dale did have a point about safety issues.

When Andrea questions whether or not Sophia is alive, Darryl tells her that when he got lost as a child while his father was in prison, and his brother Meryl didn't even know he was gone.  He believes that Sophia has an advantage, because she has people looking for her.  When they run across a man who tried to hang himself to escape, but became a walker because he didn't know enough to shoot himself, Darryl asks her if she wants to live, Andrea answers that she does not know.  To keep his promise he shoots the walker with an arrow, and then complains about it being a waste of an arrow.  Is it me, or does Darryl not have a history of taking back his arrows after he uses them?  How is it a waste when he could have removed it from the walkers body?

It looks to me like they are setting up Andrea and Darryl for a romance, which is actually quite sad.  If you have read the comics, you know that Andrea and Dale really loved each other.  Their relationship was good even though Dale had insecurities regarding the large age difference between them.  Does anyone prefer Andrea with Darryl over Dale?

Back at the school, Shane crawls through a window and falls from about two stories to the ground hurting his leg. Even though IMBD says that Shane is going to be in all of the episodes this season, I kept hoping that he would fall on his head. No such luck, and Shane lives on.
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