Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why GLBT People Cannot Rely on the Police or the Media

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.    

One thing GBLT people are often told when we face discrimination or violence or hate is that we should have gone to the police. This is often closely followed by urging us to go to the media.

Sadly, this advice is both na├»ve and privileged (and kind of assumes we’re not all that bright as well). I have gone to the police on numerous occasions when facing violence, harassment and that damn car-keying note leaver (I have a near book of these snide little things, I may bind it and sell it as an ode to pettiness. If nothing else, them suing me for the royalties might actually reveal their sorry selves). It has not been helpful. The amount of studied indifference is pretty stunning. I always have the nagging feeling I’m going to be charged with wasting police time for breathing the same air as them.

From domestic violence, to street harassment to being put in the hospital to having my big box full of nasty little notes the general response has been a strong sense of “is there a reason you’re telling me this? Here’s a crime number, go away annoying person”. I’ve met the same when accompanying those of my friends who have bothered to report to the police – all of them have had reason to, very few of them have bothered to do so. And the victim blaming is strong. “Did you touch him?” (no, of course not, in a crowded club I activate my 5 feet emergency gay space to ensure I never afflict the straighties with my touch) “Did you wink at him?” (seriously, do people still wink at people?) “Did you make eye contact?” (No sir, I know my place, I keep my eyes on the floor when around my straight betters) “What were you wearing?” (Why, being gay I was clad in rainbows, body glitter and stiletto heels of course! It’s our uniform). The gay panic defence is still a nasty ugly stain on our law and, even outside the court room, it oozes all over any interaction with law enforcement. When we’re the victims we’re still assumed to have instigated. And, of course “existence” is considered instigating.

Monday, November 19, 2012

For Cameron Diaz A Little Bit of Objectification is Good

'cameron-diaz-before' photo (c) 2008, zanaceabuna75 - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

I first became aware of Diaz when Something About Mary hit the screen.  It's a story about a group of inept men, who have latched onto Diaz's character Mary.  I have yet to see Diaz take on anything that is even remotely powerful, let alone empowering to women.  Some of this could certainly be because like many actresses in Hollywood, she has been slotted into a certain category, from which there is no escape.  To get an idea of what I mean, try and see if you can think of a Jennifer Aniston film, which is not a romantic comedy.  This is why it is really important to dissociate actors from the roles they play.  Regardless of the various privileges we know that Diaz possess, the fact that she is a woman in Hollywood means that there is a good chance that she may not have been offered better roles.

What we cannot afford to ignore are the words that Diaz says herself because they are not filtered through a Hollywood lens, which tends to devalue women.
She told The Sunday Times newspaper: "It's empowering. I'm not some young girl with the photographer going, 'Will you take your clothes off?' I'm like [mimes stripping], 'How does this look?'

"They're like, 'Today we're not going to put anything other than bras and heels on you,' and I'm like, 'These heels are not high enough.'

"I'm a woman, I know how to handle myself. I know what I feel comfortable doing and I know my sexuality."

The Bad Teacher star also thinks its "healthy" for women to want to be objectified.

She added: "I think every woman does want to be objectified. There's a little part of you at all times that hopes to be somewhat objectified, and I think its healthy." (source)