Saturday, September 22, 2012

Drop It Like It's Hot

 Hello everyone.  It's been awhile since I have done one of these.  After my summer break, I'm trying to get back into the groove of things once again. Below you will find links to pieces that I came across this week.  A link is not an endorsement, it simply means something about the piece caught my attention.  I didn't read the comment section, so please read that at your own risk.

Now that Womanist Musings is up and running again, I am once again in pursuit of new contributors.  If you would like to be a part of the Womanist Musings team, or simply cross post something you have already written, please feel free to send me an email at womanistmusings (at) gmail (dot) com.

Alright everyone, this is your big chance.  Please use the comment section of this post to give a shout out to your work, or anything else that you have found interesting.  That's right, it's time to drop it like it's hot.

On Motherhood and Surviving Sexual Violence
when mansplaining goes too far: buck angel on trans women
I Was Raised By Welfare: A Defense of Social Safety Programs
How Racism Works In the Comic Industry
Born From Two Worlds But Welcomed In None? The Dichotomy of Homosexuality & Race
To Everyone Who Isn’t American Indian
Drug War History – And So It Begins
We Ain't Got Nothing For You Here: Political Race and the Paradox of a Black President
on the “disclosure” myth and the cissexist imagination
A trans man on feminism and bodily autonomy
I’m a Welfare Mom
73-Year-Old Woman Raped and Beaten for Daring to Photograph Public Masturbator
Racism: It’s Elementary!
Black Trans History-Jim McHarris
The myth of how the hijab protects women against sexual assault
Vaginas Are Sperm Depositories and Other Scary Things About the State of New York's Sex Ed Curricula
Chris Brown albums vandalized with ‘this man beats women’ sticker
Victims, Villains, and Heroes
How Sons Of Anarchy blew a chance to say something meaningful about race 
Diversity Is More Than A Bra Size: What It’s Like To Be A Woman Of Color In The Lingerie Industry
The fallacy of the phrase, 'the Muslim world' 
The Innocence of White People

Friday, September 21, 2012

Is It Okay To Beat Up Your Child's Bully?

Despite all of the PSA's about bullying, it still goes on.  Parents are increasingly discouraged by the lack of school intervention.  We are told that school's supposedly have a zero tolerance policy and yet children still get brutalized on a daily basis.  In some cases it happens in the school yard, or the school bus.  Some bullies because they live in the neighbourhood, can make even going to the park a dangerous proposition for the child that has been selected as the target for bullying.  What is a parent or child supposed to do in those situations?  How much is a family, or a person supposed to take before they snap?


Felecia Phillips, of Bunnell, Florida was arrested and charged with child abuse and trespassing on school property after she followed her sons bully onto the bus and continued a physical altercation with him. Apparently, Felecia’s 15-year-old son, Terez, was being tormented by his 17-year-old bully, Justin and so she walked him to the school bus to protect him.  A verbal argument quickly ensued and escalated when Felecia allegedly smooshed his face, which led to Justin body slamming her onto the ground.  Felecia was not going to take this lying down and so she followed Justin onto the bus where a brawl ensued as students tried to pull her off of him.  Terez says that he is proud of his mother for standing him to him and pointed out that plenty of kids who are bullied have parents who tell them to handle the issue themselves.

A Romantic Weekend in Paris

'Paris' photo (c) 2010, Moyan Brenn - license:
I must admit that Sparky works very hard and very rarely takes the downtime that he deserves, so I was really happy for him when he announced that his much beleaguered honey had planned a romantic weekend getaway. Apparently, his honey had chosen the location and made all the plans and did not tell him where they were going, which of course got a huge round of awwww from me.  How sweet and romantic is that?  I would have just been overcome but Sparky, Sparky was busy scheming about taking his kindle along on the trip to be able to read.

Thus began the twisting to try to justify bringing along his kindle.   I of course told him that what he should be doing on a romantic weekend is getting his groove on as much and as often as he could and re-connecting with his husband.  After all, if you are spending a lot of time in bed and doing it right, you shouldn't have the energy or time to read.  Am I right?

It turns out that his husband took him to Paris.  Let me say that again, PARIS!  Yeah, I know that the fact that he lives in England means that he is in close proximity to France, but come on, it was Paris. Just think of the cafes, bistros, romance - romance everywhere you look, and Sparky, the romantic dud that he is brought his kindle and then actually read not one, but a few books on the trip.  His first excuse was wanting something to read on the short two hour flight. Ummm hello, two hours, you couldn't sit next to him and chat on and off for a few hours?  That was a weak excuse to bring his kindle. Yes, I said it.

I informed the romantic dud that he was lucky his husband was so patient, because I think he deserves couch duty for this.  I would so have sent him to a dog house to languish, and hopefully languish painfully.  I would ignore his pathetic whines and big puppy eyes because yeah, Paris and he brought his kindle with him to read.  When we chatted last night he was still justifying what he did.  This is normally something I would save for a Sunday shame but the level of faulty logic and justification for being a dud reached such a level that I have been forced to publicly shame him today.  If your Beloved takes you to Paris for a mini break, you don't bring a book for distraction.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

PSY - Gangnam style

So, if you don't like the following please feel free to blame Ellen and SNL for introducing me to PSY.  I can't tell you why I like it, all that I can say is that I do.

Denzel Washington and Disagreeing on Same Sex Marriage

When most people think of blockbuster Black male actors, there can be no doubt that two time Oscar winner Denzel Washington would not only make most people's list, he would be high on the list.  Washington who has been married for many yeas, and leads an extremely private life, is the consummate professional and holds a lot of sway in the Black community when he does speak. At 57, Washington is at the top of his game. It is hardly surprising that he was featured in next month's GQ. Like many, I was very excited to read the interview until I came across the following:
'Denzel Washington' photo (c) 2008, Cliff - license:
How did you feel about Obama endorsing same-sex marriage?
What did he say about it?

He said he was in favor of it. That he didn't oppose it.
What does that mean? [laughs]

It's the political way of saying, "I support it."
You know, I think people have the right to believe what they want to believe. And people have the right to disagree with it.
There are some who would say that Washington's response was neutral and an attempt to avoid controversy; however, when you are talking about the civil rights of a historically marginalized group, there is no such thing as neutrality.  One either unequivocally supports equality for all people under the law, or one is fine with oppression.  It's very simple folks, and there is absolutely no room for grey.

Romney and the Five Sharped -Tounged Women of 'The View'

After a tape was released revealing Romney's absolute disrespect of 47% of the American populace, he had to go on damage control.  To be honest, I really don't understand how what he said could possibly come as a surprise to anyone; however, being the flipper that he is, Romney needs face time in front the cameras to explain why he spoke in such an "inelegant manner".   So now, Romney has to find a show that will be welcoming to him and allow him to tell yet another round of lies.

First, Romney nixed Letterman believing that Dave was not a fan of his, due to the fact that he been on Leno more than Letterman's show. He then cast his eye towards SNL and quickly dismissed that as an option, believing that slapstick and presidential do not go together.  I think that as far as SNL goes, Romney is far too stiff to even remotely pull of a good show and because the format is scripted, it would not leave room for him to creatively tell his tall tales.   Romney then settled on ABC's The View and will appear some time in October.  Even this choice, which should have been easy, largely because Barbara Walters reigns in any potential misstep by making potentially controversial interviews all about her,  and cutting off comments from Whoopi and Joy repeatedly, made Romney feel secure but he still felt threatened.
He said “The View,” ABC’s daytime talker, “is fine.” But then, appearing to think better of that, Romney said “The View” is “high-risk, because, of the five women on it, only one is conservative, and four are sharp-tongued and not conservative.”  [source]
Thankfully Sherri spoke up:
“This is the preseason,” Sherri Shepherd, one of the Sharp-Tongued Ones, said, making a football analogy.

“If you can’t handle four sharp-tongued women, how are you going to handle the country?”
Sherri is absolutely right, if he cannot have a conversation with five women and keep cool under questioning, he's not qualified to be president. There isn't a president who didn't very visibly age while in office and though the president is often called the most powerful man in the free world, such a label comes with constant scrutiny and stress. If being on The View is too hard for Mittens, how is he going to handle trade negotiations, or deal with hostile regimes?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Being a Good Man

 Mike is an 19 year female to male transman. He is currently studying psychology at The Evergreen State College between making quilts. He someday aspires to be a social worker, and in the mean time, he wants to fix the fact that not everyone is born with an inherent right to be themselves.

Ever since I have started the coming out and transition process, I have spent a lot of time wondering about how to be a good man, and how being a good man is different somehow from being a good woman. Throughout my life, I’ve known good men and bad men, plenty of good women. I’ve spend a lot of time thinking about the way that they both act, how all of those behaviors differ from one another, and what that means for me. I’ve managed come up with a few different lists, each with their own flaws, about ways that a good man behaves.

The first list is the old fashioned list. This is the way that men have been told for the few decades previously how they needed to behave in order to be good men. Good men provide for their families through their work. A good man doesn’t necessarily need to be rich, but he needs to do what he can in order to make sure that his family never goes hungry. A good man doesn’t cry and hides his emotions from his family. He doesn’t need help or ask for help. A good man is polite, kind, and respectful to his wife and his mother. He disciplines his children and makes sure that they are well behaved. He loves them, even though he keeps a firm hand over them. He is honest in dealings and keeps his word. If he drinks, he drinks in moderation. He lifts heavy things, holds open doors, and is a gentleman. The first problem with this list is that some of these things are inherently negative. For instance, men should be allowed to have emotions and they should be allowed to cry.  The other problem is that these things aren’t limited to men and really only apply in a world with very rigid gender roles. Women can protect themselves, they can lift heavy things, they can provide for their families. Nothing on this list really distinguishes a good man from a good woman.

the Unwritten Rules: Ep. 7 "Let's Do Lunch"

I loved this episode because of course it once again tackles race and class.  If you're out to lunch with someone, splitting the bill is only cool if you have a history, or the bill is relatively equal. Also, there is a conversation about Black people and music which I found interesting.  Once again, the colour of our skin indicates what our tastes are supposed to be. For those interested, Racialicous has an excerpt for the book “Why You Listening To That White Sh-t?," that discusses this issue.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Who You Find Attractive is Not Neutral

'Yin Yang: Femininity/Masculinity, Black/White - Illustration' photo (c) 2011, DonkeyHotey - license:

Every once and a while I like to go back through the archives of the blog to see if my writing has improved and how the way I think has evolved.  I came across a post I wrote in 2010 entitled, John Mayer: “My dick is sort of like a white supremacist” I read through the comments again and one in particular really stood out to me.  Essentially, it supports the idea that it is not racist for a White person to declare that they are only attracted to other White people.
Being honest about personal taste is not racism. Saying out loud what most people accept as a given is not racism. I don't like his music, but it's not like he said anything that I haven't heard expressed by people of many ethnicities. I've personally heard "sorry, you're cute and sexy, but I only date black guys" from black girls more than once.

If you think Mayer's a racist, then you must think Sir Mix-A-Lot is racist and/or sexist as well. Get over yourselves. 
One of the most popular posts on this blog of all time is entitled, Which Race Has the Most Beautiful Women. I wrote it in 2009 and it still get hits daily and the occasional comment from White people, asserting that it is only natural that they are considered the most beautiful. In fact, just last week it received the following comment, which is currently languishing in the spam section.

This is so cheap, picking on women's skin quality. This is the cheapest argument I see in Asian and Black women that like to use against White women. You know what? We may develop wrinkles easier than you do, but at the end of the day, guess who gets most of the dates. Hmmm? I guess your ''ageless'' skin doesn't help much, doesn't it?
As long as we live in a White supremacist state, White women will be held up as the epitome of beauty and positive characteristics that come with being considered of colour, will be denied and seen as an attack upon White women. Like it or not, Black women tend to age more slowly, don't wrinkle as early and generally speaking have clearer complexions.  If you don't like it, then complain to the deity you worship, but denying the truth of it only makes you look silly.  There's a reason the saying, "Black don't crack," is so damn popular.

The Things They Hate Us and Blame Us For

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.   

I want to say how much I admire the courage of homophobes.

I mean, every day these evil, nasty bigots say and do things that enrage me. Me, a gay man. They are making a gay man angry. The sheer courage that takes is astonishing.

After all, according to them as a gay man I caused hurricane Katrina, hurricane Rita, hurricane Isaac, hurricane Irene, in fact just about every hurricane ever (and you thought hurricanes were a natural disaster! No, totally us guys) The 2001 Tsunami? That’s us again. That Earthquake in Virgina? Us again. And in Israel. And in Haiti. And in Christchurch. In fact, just about every Earthquake, ever.

The Rwandan genocide? That’s blamed on us as well. The massacre of Bosnian Serbs in Srebrenica? Gay people’s fault. September 11th? Definitely caused by gay people. The holocaust? Also blamed on us, which, considering gay people were some of the victims of the holocaust, is really revoltingly offensive. Poverty in general – not specifically but the very existence of poverty? Our fault.  Riots in Malawi? Gay people again! The massacre of miners in South Africa? That would be the gay folk again. We’re even behind the current global economic depression – and you thought it was the banks!

The violence in Chicago is totally being caused by the dreaded gay. The tragic shooting at the Dark Knight showing in Colorado? Gay people did it! That scandal where those straight secret service men who had sex with female prostitutes? Gay people’s fault! The murder rates in large cities? Apparently half of them are committed by gay people including all the violence in Jamaica.

Auto Tuning Julia Child Equals Some Good Food Porn

Even if you're full when you watch this video, I promise you will be filled with an overwhelming desire to head into the kitchen.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Breaking News Kate Middleton Has Breasts

Kate Middleton's breasts are in the news again today. Chi, which is the Italian sister magazine to the French magazine Closer which published photos last week of Middleton topless, today released a large spread of photos.  Interestingly enough, both magazines are owned by former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.  There is a part of me that wants to scream, really people, they're breasts and these cannot be the first pair you have seen, get over it. 

According to The New York Times:

The British royal family, incensed by what it calls an invasion of its privacy, was preparing to pursue legal action in France later on Monday against the unidentified person who took the photographs.

A spokesman for the couple said, “The complaint concerns the taking of photographs of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge whilst on holiday and the publication of those photographs in breach of their privacy.”

The royal household has compared the clandestine photography of the duchess with the paparazzi pursuit of Prince William’s mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car crash in Paris in August 1997.

Talking To Your Kids About Teachers and Unions

'Back to School' photo (c) 2011, Phil Roeder - license:

I know that in the U.S., people are a flutter about the continued teachers strike in Chicago and here in Ontario, we are also having our own issues.  Our liberal provincial government has gotten into bed with conservatives to pass terrible legislation for teachers.  Though we got the song and dance about how the government and the populace are concerned about the education of children, as well as dealing with a rather large deficit, the truth of the matter is that striking teachers means a daycare issue for parents, which results in a loss of productivity for businesses.  Most people don't have someone they can rely on in a pinch when schools are suddenly shut down, and so parents are forced to call in sick.  This was about keeping things convenient for adults and businesses and not about advancing education in Ontario.

My conversation with my kids about this began last Wednesday, when they noticed all of the teachers wearing black.  Since my kids go to a French core school, much of this will not effect them directly because the Francophone board has already agreed to the premier's plan and so I can only assume that the choice to wear black was in support of the other boards who continue to fight.  All of the black clothing seemed very odd to Destruction, and he actually wondered if someone had died.  I am a little disappointed that the teachers didn't explain what was going on to the kids, but it did give us an opportunity to talk about the role of workers rights and unions.  As you might have guessed, the unhusband and I support the teachers. 

The government is dealing with a 15 billion dollar deficit and for teachers it means having sick days reduced from 21 to ten, a wage freeze for two years, no longer being allowed to carry over sick days or cashing them out at retirement and my personal favorite, being forced to work three days a year for free.  The bill does not effect young teachers who will move up the pay scale as a result of time on the job, or increased education.  I don't know about you, but I wouldn't work for anyone for even an hour for free, let alone twenty-four hours.

The unions asked teachers to work to rule for one day, but in some cases, some teachers have cancelled clubs, sports, bands etc,. for the entire year.  The conversation has now shifted to how mean teachers are and of course the suggestion that they are taking out their frustration with the government on the kids.  This argument absolutely infuriates me.  Teaching is hard work, it's underpaid and does not get the respect that it deserves.  Work to rule probably won't effect my kids but if it does, I know it will be a huge disappointment for Destruction because he is heavily involved in the choir and the volleyball team.  Given the tenseness of the situation, I told Destruction that should this happen, any ire he would feel should be directed at the government. 

Is Copyright Really Benefiting Us?

Last week, I posted a short piece about E.L. James complaining that people are writing fanfic based on her novel 50 Shades of Grey.  It's quite ironic considering her own work is based upon Twilight.  The truth of the matter is that building upon past work is how society advances and this is something James herself did.  In the comment section, a reader left a link to the following video.

This really got me thinking about piracy.  Most people who have internet today are guilty of downloading what they know damn well is copyrighted.  As an avid reader, I have read complaint after complaint from authors who I really respect about e-book piracy.  As someone who also sells my writing, there is a part of me that completely understand why this is a problem.  If someone asks me if they can reprint my work, unless it's for an organization that is extremely offensive, my standard answer is yes.  To some degree, the original artist needs to retain some kind of control to make money and to ensure that their work is not misrepresented, but where is the line between being able to earn a living from your work and stalling the advancement of society?