Friday, July 6, 2012

For Machine Gun Kelly, Apparently Black Girls Give the Best Head

Okay, I'm going to need White men to stop being racist and misogynistic when they talk Black women as a monolith in an attempt to justify their attraction to us. You would think that the red carpet at the BET awards would be a safe place for Black women, but you would be wrong on that account.

 Transcript below the fold 

Women in Teen Wolf - The Menfolk Say it's a Matriarchy

Teen Wolf is far removed from the original Teen Wolf movie starring Michael J Fox.  We have gone from camp to a story involving menacing werewolves, and werewolf hunters.  Since the show is still largely aimed at a young audience, we are subjected to copious amounts of angst and the usual social justice fails.  We have decided to focus on gender this time because after a season a half, the women of Teen Wolf are treated quite differently than the males.

When we were first introduced to Erica she was a young teen suffering from epilepsy.  She was sweet and kind but, because she never knew when she was going to have an attack, Erica was quite removed from her contemporaries. When she meets Derek and is turned into a werewolf everything changes for Erica. Suddenly she is turned into a complete sex vixen who draws the attention of others the minute she walks into the room. Erica suddenly goes from weak and forgettable to powerful and desirable; however, her power is limited because as a beta, she spends most of her time doing Derek’s bidding. Erica has the distinction of being the only female werewolf and most of her power is based in her ability to beguile whereas Derek intimidates and did so from the time he was a beta.

Teen Wolf could reasonably get away with having Erica do Derek’s bidding because she is his beta but the fact that they have turned her into a vapid, jealous, angry person is incredibly sexist. Other than doing Derek’s bidding her only other purpose is to drive a wedge between Allison and Scott. This of course serves the purpose of giving the characterless Allison something to fight for. Erica’s sudden obsession with Scott is never explained.

Then we have Lydia, who is actually very smart, but pretends not to be intelligent in the hopes of keeping Jackson’s interest. In fact, Lydia does not show her intelligence until she is asked to translate ancient Latin after Jackson has left her for greener pastures.  Much of Lydia’s life involves putting on a show in the hopes of either achieving or maintaining the acceptance of others. Though she is supposedly best friends with Allison, Lydia is often left to her own devices to deal with her issues and only draws the attention of the group when she is need of saving. Stiles has had a long obsession with her and see her as a prospect for a girlfriend but beyond being physically attracted to her, he makes no real effort to get to know he as a person. In Abomination, (season 2, episode 4)  Lydia clearly needs to talk but Stiles says he will be right back and leaves her sitting in the car for a night. For all of the ridiculous antics that antis Stiles pulls to get her attention, when she really needs him, he is nowhere to be found. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

People With Disabilites Speak Their Truth

Though I am a disabled person, this does not mean that I intimately understand someone whose disability is different than mine.  Because ableism is so ingrained in our culture that means I still have to retrain my mind to weed out much of what I have internalized.  From my research, I have come to realise that far too often, those who act as carers are given more accord than us, and are treated as experts - for example, look at the conversations surrounding parents who are raising a child with disabilities.

In the more recent posts I have written about disability, I have asked for comments directly from people living with disability, firm in the belief that no one can tell our stories better than us and that in doing so, we are fighting for the basic human respect, accommodation and rights that are being denied us.  It also serves as an opportunity for us to learn about people living with disabilities that are different than ours.

I recently came across two movies that I would like to share with you.

The first movie that I would like to share with you are called The Kids Are Alright. [note: video comes with transcript]  This video is about people living with MDS protesting the annual Jerry Lewis Telethon. They argue that rather than helping people with disabilities that the telethon is harmful because it creates an environment of pity, turns pwd into a minstrel show to raise money, and it's figurehead Jerry Lewis, is out and out ableist.  I think this video is important because it really highlights why PWD are the ones best able to advocate on our own behalf and why leadership for rights must be lead by us. Pity is not help.

I Am Fat

Generally speaking I am fairly positive about my body but like everyone else, there are days when all the shame and negativity of being fat, really and truly gets to me. If you are woman with even a minimal internet presence, chances are you have been subject to fat shaming.  It suggests that being fat means that you don't have the right to take up space or to an opinion. People don't want to engage with ideas because they would rather engage in conversation about teh death fatz. It's frustrating and meant to silence.  I came across a great video of a woman who fought back against online fat hating trolls and I thought I would share it with you.

Transcript for I AM FAT! (Veda 22) below the fold

Even When A Study Talks About the Harm of Spanking Many Adults Still in Denial

Trigger warning for discussions of anti-child violence. 

'Belt' photo (c) 2010, Aurimas - license:

I have written repeatedly about spanking because it is an ongoing abuse in the Black community.  There has been a new study released which suggests that spanking can lead to Adult Mental Illness.
Harsh physical punishment in the absence of child maltreatmentis associated with mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance abuse/dependence, and personality disorders in a general population sample. These findings inform the ongoing debate around the use of physical punishment and provide evidence that harsh physical punishment independent of child maltreatment is related to mental disorders.
In addition, perhaps the experience of physical punishment, even if not “physically abusive,” may generate acute or chronic stress through experiences of anxiety, fear, and shame, among others, that are associated with physiologic and emotional dysregulation21 and characteristic of a range of Axis I and II psychopathologic conditions. As with maltreatment, genetic variability may account for some of the differences in specific impairment associated with exposure.22–24

Reviews of the literature have indicated that physical punishment is related to higher levels of aggression, delinquency, and internalizing conditions in addition to lower levels of internalizing morals and overall mental health.25,26 There is some evidence that physical punishment is also associated with immediate compliance.24,25 Many studies have found a link between physical punishment and poor child and adolescent social, emotional, cognitive, developmental, and behavioral problems or impairment.27–33 There is also evidence for an association between physical punishment and poor adult mental health outcomes. For example, physical punishment has been associated with depressive symptoms in US college samples.34–36 Results from a US community survey indicated that physical punishment in the teenage years significantly increased the likelihood of depression, suicidal thoughts, and alcohol abuse in adulthood.2 
You would think that with all of the evidence that has been produced about spanking that reasonable people would agree that in the long term it is not a positive form of discipline.  I think that part of the problem is that the definition varies.  For some, spanking is a single slap on the behind, for others, it's over the knee with no more than six slaps.  Some believe that spanking must be done on the bear buttocks to add an extra level of shame.  Then there are those who will use implements like brushes, shoes, switches and belts.  Even the use of an object for many does not rise to the level of abuse.

The results of this study did not surprise me because as an adult I had to deal with anger issues and violence fantasies for years as a result of so-called spankings.  To this day I still have not forgiven the acts of violence against my person and I highly suspect that this will always be the case.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Independence Day

'Fireworks' photo (c) 2008, bayasaa - license:

Hey everyone, I just wanted to take the time to wish all my American readers a Happy Independence Day.  May your low alcohol content beer be cold and your bbq be finger lickin' good.  Once again a certain American decided to throw some shade this morning, and so I thought I would remind her that without the French, y'all wouldn't be celebrating anything today - but you can keep munching on your freedom fries. LOL

Have a good day, and I will see y'all tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Today in Racist Advertising

Right, so one must squint to read the fucked up text to decipher: See Asia Like Asians Do.  This is not the first, nor will it be the last time that racism has found its way into advertising but that doesn't mean that this isn't disgusting.  The worst part is that until you actually squint, you don't have any idea what the text itself says, thus forcing you to participate in an abhorrent action. 

I expect it is only a matter of time until multipasstravel releases some sort of faux apology about how they didn't mean to be racist and are sorry if anyone was offended.  That is usually how these things go.  This kind of advertising is absolutely intentional and I don't believe for one moment that the intent was benign. 

This kind of racist advertising gets attention and has the possibility of going viral.  The problem is that too many believe that attention is always positive, even when it is gained from negative behaviour, so in a sense, by writing about this ad, I am giving the creators exactly what they want. This is completely a no win situation for people of colour.  Our silence would read as acceptance of this vile racist ad and writing, or speaking about it gives attention.  I wish there were some sort of middle ground here.

A mission statement of sorts

Biyuti is a bakla Filipina living on stolen Algonquin land. He works to sustain and increase the biyuti of the world through decolonization and through her explorations of the intersections of race with queerness/gender. She also blogs at The Biyuti Collective and you can find her on Twitter: @JustBiyuti 

I mentioned a few posts back that I’d tried engaging the (white) trans* community and that just one week of this utterly exhausted me. The flip side of this are the wonderful TPoC I’ve been interacting with, learning from, and having some great conversations about gender.

These interactions give me so much life because they, unlike the white trans* conversations/interactions I’ve had, make me feel less alone in my struggle to understand and articulate my gender identity.

But it also so aptly demonstrates why the discourse on gender, especially the trans* discourse, so desperately needs to be decolonized. Because too many people of colour are trying to hard to fit into white Euro-American gender roles and identities.

And this failure to fit in and see narratives that we can identify with is so incredibly damaging, because we will never be as authentic as the people for whom the identities and discourse were constructed to represent. We will never find a place in a community that has defined itself and structured itself on the very basic premise of our exclusion and invisibility.

Lessons I Teach my Children

Every summer I take the time to teach my children lessons.  I don't believe that summer vacation should be nothing more than a drain on the brain. As I write this, my oldest son is watching Schindler's List. I know that he has vague ideas about what happened in the Holocaust but this movie will show him in detail what happened.

'Holocaust (p7160654)' photo (c) 2006, Vards Uzvards - license:
Much of what he knows about Black history he has learned directly from me and this is because the education system has completely erased us.  Though he is still a child, he has already had to carry the burden of what it is to be Black and male in White supremacist state and he has seen the disableism that I face. This summer my goal is to teach him about the nature of oppression and privilege and to do this, I think it's important to focus on all the ways that privilege and oppression manifest.

When you face a marginalization, it's far too easy to get caught up in the uniqueness of what you face because no two marginalizations are exactly the same.  The truth of the matter is that as much as we may be marginalized by our race, gender, or sexuality, the majority of us still have some form of privilege. 

My son has learned about racism through his lived experience.  I have taught him about slavery, jim crow and the civil rights movement.  What I don't want him to believe is that this is the worst evil ever perpetuated by humanity.  I want him to understand that the true evil is "othering".  People have a tendency to engage in oppression olympics as though there is ever such a thing as a good oppression.  The truth of the matter is that anytime someone's humanity is denied it is an injustice.

Destruction is a sensitive child and I have to stop the movie every few minutes to answer questions and with each new thing that he learns, I can tell that he is becoming more and more horrified.  He wants to know why people just can't live together in peace.  He wants to know where this hatred for Jewish people came from.  Most of all, he is angry and I don't blame him.

Reactions to Anderson Cooper Coming Out

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.

Anderson Cooper has recently come out of the closet and, like many people, I’m extremely happy for him –  it is always wonderful to hear of another GBLT person coming out and being free to be open to be who they are (insofar as that is possible and within the unfortunate limits many of us live within even when Out). There have been a lot of posts celebrating, supporting and otherwise Doing It Right in response to this – which makes me deliriously happy. It’s actually a lot better than I’ve seen in the past when Mat Bomer, Don Lemon and Zachery Quinto came out.

But there were problemsboth then and now and there are some comments that make me cringe for various reasons – so, as I often do when cringing, I’m going to poke them. I’ve spoken before about the closet and the misconceptions people have, but this is extra on top of that.

Is Anyone Surprised by This?”

Or similar expressions that “everyone knew”  so why bother, right? Wrong, on many levels. First, and not least, because “everyone knew” is so very often wrong. As far as information sources go “everyone” just plain fails far too often. Quite aside from anything else “everyone knew” is often based on stereotypes, on assumptions or just on the back of someone daring to keep their life secret and not public fodder. It also encourages our culture of assuming you have a right to know, when you want to know, on your schedule – with all the intrusive questions and snooping that comes with it.

It also is probably not about you or your surprise, oh headline reader. Maybe it’s about the GBLT community and how it’s always good to find another fellow traveller, especially someone in a public position that has been so long denied. Maybe it’s about self-empowerment, about proudly and publicly declaring something that, for so long, has been considered shameful. Maybe it’s about taking ownership of one’s own sexuality without everyone dissecting it.

Monday, July 2, 2012

True Blood, Season 5, Episode 4: We'll Meet Again

When we left Tara last episode she was cooking under the lights of a sunbed – thankfully, the extremely not amused Pam rushes in to save her vampire child. After some argument (and disgust on Pam’s part) Pam invokes maker command with her usual, awesome bored mien.
Bill and Eric’s excellent adventure continues, with them being rescued by the Authority, charged with hunting down Russell – and Eric is back at Fangtasia in time for Pam coming home with Tara. Pam actually credits Sookie for this (oh no, Pam, her promise to you was forgotten 5 seconds after it came out of her mouth).
Eric manhandles Pam to demand if she let Russell go – which, obviously she didn’t, and also outrages her that he’d suggest that. After a century together, he has so little trust in her – she demands he release her if she means so little to her so she can leave.
Bill, being the Angstiest Vampire of them All, is probably a good one to comfort Tara about becoming a vampire – and Tara  throws in her best line of the night when asked whether Sookie knows:
“How many of us have nearly died to save her sorry ass? Well I did them all one better”
Bill keeps asking if Sookie’s safe, but Tara keeps hitting the best lines – Sookie is always safe, because there’s always someone there to help her, always someone there to take a bullet for her and he, Bill, needs to stop spending all his time worrying about Sookie before it gets him killed. Tara, have a standing ovation.
Eric and Bill are left wondering who could have possibly known, if they didn’t tell anyone and if Pam didn’t tell anyone.

Later, Pam wakes from her coffin and watches Tara sleep; and she talks to Eric. Eric explains that they’re on a suicide mission – the Authority and Russell are too dangerous. He doesn’t want to catch her in the cross fire of the hole he’s dug – he has to release Pam, not because he doesn’t trust her but because he doesn’t want her to die with him. Pam accepts and understand – and Eric releases her. It’s powerful and touching and long overdue to see these 2 together again.
Speaking of touching scenes; Bill and Jessica are searching for bugs in his office during which he makes it clear he accepts her as an adult and capable of looking after herself. Jessica also makes a plea for him to help and comfort Sookie (Jessica as well? When did she enter the Sookie orbit?) but Bill says Jessica needs to look after herself first (yes yes yes).
Tara wakes to find Pam and Melanie (dinner). Tara doesn’t want to feed on a person – but Pam invokes Makerdom to force her and tell her what it is to be a vampire, to be no-one’s victim, to drink blood etc etc. I’m not happy with Pam overusing her maker authority to control Tara, but I am happy to see a possibility of Tara finding happiness and fulfilment as a vampire.
Lafayette is now realising the horrible truth – without Tara he is now reduced to the one friend who has to tolerate Sookie and clear up her bullshit. See, Tara, you thought being a vampire was bad? This is a fate worse than death. Sookie has told Alcide about Debbie’s death – despite Lafayette already intervening once like that. She just can’t keep lying – y’know, she could have tried! One day does not constitute being driven up the wall by the lies! Lafayette is not pleased and gives her a very nice slap down – he’s not selling her out, but she can’t just keep quiet? Sookie has to do the right thing, she just has to (well, the last 4 seasons she hasn’t, as I’m sure Tara can attest. In fact, how often has Sookie “done the right thing” rather than “done whatever Sookie wants”?) to which we get the best line of the night – let’s have a direct quote here:

“You survive, you always do. But goddamn do you leave a trail of bodies behind. Y’know what, you the fucking angel of death.”

Sunday, July 1, 2012

It's Canada Day and of Course You're Jealous

'Canadian flag (Halifax NS, May 20 2008)' photo (c) 2008, RicLaf - license:
Yep, it's our birthday and this year we get to celebrate the 200th anniversary of us kicking some yankee ass; it's good to be a Cannuck.  I know that certain Americans, namely Allison McCarthy still struggle with insecurity over this matter by her constant threat to launch a bald eagle attack.  To this I say, we shall overwhelm you with numbers because the beavers are already sleeper agents in your country. Your eagles are so few in number that they shall be unable to compete.  The ever vigilant Canada geese have made large inroads as well, and we know that you live in fear of the fly by poopies.  Go ahead, wash your car and see what happens. Our complete and utter awesomeness shall never be denied.

Throughout the year, as a Cannuck, I have to put up with a lot of trash talk from Sparky and malt liquor swilling Monica of Transgriot (and it's particularly bad because the American alcohol content is crap).  What they don't realize is that this constant fixation on Canadiana does not reveal a deficiency on our part, but ENVY on theirs.  Yes, green, green envy, but I can't blame them, of course they envy us.  We have REAL bacon, maple syrup, poutine, ketchup chips, and Tim Hortons. We make lumberjacks sexy, have a national anthem that everyone can sing without cats screeching in pain and red and white looks good on everyone.  We also have a wonderful talent for unloading our undesirables on the world - Justin Beiber anyone?  No, you cannot give him back.  The British are attempting to fight back with One Direction, but no one can possibly be more annoying than Beiber. I fear that once again they have been outdone by the colonials. Hah!

We can proudly say that we don't have to disown the likes of E.L. James because no Canadian would ever stoop that low. We respect natural resources too much to have trees die for that horror. With her strong accent, the poor Brits can't even hope to deny that she is one of theirs.  At this point, the Americans may be giggling but I have two words for you - Stephanie Meyer, the woman who started the entire mess.

As I mentioned last year, being a Canadian takes plenty of patience.  There are constantly snide remarks about our weather.  At border crossings, we have actually had Americans show up in July with ski gear and tukes (note: it's tukes not hats)  and ask where the snow is.  Below you will see the temperature today.

Clearly this means it's hot as hell and perfect beer and bbq weather.  Even as I am sweltering and melting, sure enough, Sparky or Tami of the infamous fly over states will make some comment about igloos and ice skating.  I used to be annoyed by this, until I realised that surely the problem is their education system - and this is especially the case for the ugly Merican Tami (Bob Jones University anyone?) Math and science should not be optional subjects.  Is it any wonder that the nation which is busy trying to convince the world that creationsim counts as real science, would have such difficulty with temperature?

Well, I would stay and throw some more salt in your wounds but Canadian beer calls. Before I leave, I thought we should have a little chat about gifts.  It wouldn't be a true party without gifts and I know that some of you (and rightly so) are dying to show tribute to your betters.

Since we already have so much, it wouldn't be fair to take, and so we would like to give instead.  We offer the world the following:

Sorry Alberta but you have to go.

The right dishonourable Stephen Harper who comes with one pint of Alexander Keiths.

And no, we don't want Ryan Seacrest in exchange, but thanks for trying though

Finally, because we know that you're dying to taste it despite all of the protestations to the contrary,  One steaming bowl of.......

Don't say that we never do anything nice for you.

Happy Canada Day eh!