Thursday, March 28, 2013

Homophobia on 'Shameless'

No matter how progressive or liberal minded someone is, the one thing you can count on, is that they watch at least one show which they know to be problematic as hell. Media like all social organizations is problematic because it has been created by a world which privileged certain bodies. The only way to avoid this is to stop consuming media altogether, which as we know, is not really possible in our modern world.  Shameless has filled this role for me for quite sometime.  If you haven't seen it, Shameless is about a poor dysfunctional Boston neighbouhood and family.  The Gallagher kids will do anything to survive, including sell drugs, take tests for others, run an illegal daycare, scam the system for money by collecting a dead relatives SSI, and work the shittiest jobs you can think of.  With a father who is capable for disappearing for months at a time on drunken binges, when he is not busy scamming people to stay at their homes, and a mother who is mentally unstable, they barely manage to make it through the week.Through it all, the one thing that has been certain is that they care about each other.

One of the surprising things about Shameless is how inclusive it is.  There are several Black characters, a few disabled characters, and of course a few gay characters.  These portrayals are always far from perfect but sometimes within the hot mess that is Shameless, there are moments which are extremely poignant.  Each week, I tune in with one eye closed fearing how far they will take it this time, hoping that that there are lines which they will not cross. It's always sort of been my agreement with Shameless that as long as certain things didn't happen, I would continue to watch and deny to the world what I was doing. In the last two weeks, Shameless finally went too far.

Though it has been rocky, I have liked watching the growing relationship between Ian Gallagher and Mickey Milkovich.  When Ian's brother Lip, found his porn stash, Ian was forced to admit that he is gay.  From that moment on, he remained out of the closet.  Mickey is the local tough guy and is extremely concerned about how his sexuality will be viewed in the neighbourhood.  The only one who knows he is gay is Ian.  Mickey does everything to deny it but finally begins to admit that there is more between him and Ian than just sex.  Their relationship progresses until Mickey's father finds them together and after beating the both of them, orders Mickey to have sex with a prostitute in front of Ian to make him straight. This is rape and Ian can do nothing to help the young man he loves.  It was extremely hard to watch, but I am not naive enough to think that this sort of thing does not happen and Shameless actually went to great lengths to show how much this hurts. Cameron Monaghan's (Ian) acting in this scene was phenomenal because he portrayed so much with just a simple look.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Medical People Have an Overwhelming Obsession With AIDs

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.   

Dear readers, I come to you with wonderful news! It seems I am immortal!

Yes, I have found the key to eternal life, I am immune to 99% of everything, so long as I protect my one Achilles heel, there is no health complaint I can face, no injury I can suffer, nothing can strike me down!

And even my Achilles heel is pretty easy to avoid – see the only thing that can kill me is an illness I can catch with my penis. That’s a pretty damn specific weakness.

I know this is so because I have been repeatedly assured so by various doctors and recently had it confirmed by Beloved.

See, he has an ear infection (which he blamed on me) so painfully made his way down to the doctor who decided to do the directed medicine thing and asked him… about AIDS.

Beloved thanked him for his concern but his ear was really hurting and he didn’t actually have AIDS so can we deal with the actual medical condition he was suffering from, thank you so much. No, really he was polite. The third time the nice doctor man mentioned AIDS Beloved’s ear inflamed temper became much less…  flexible and he came home in a towering rage.

And I’ve been there. In my ongoing battle to try and stop my horrible chronically dry skin from peeling off in huge chunks and leaving me looking like an extra on the Walking Dead, I’ve ambled down to the doc and tried to discover if I have eczema, dermatitis or leprosy or something aaand… AIDS.

Is AIDS causing me to look like I need to carry a bell around with me? No. I’m not there to talk about AIDS. Fix my skin! I dodged his question about when was the last time I took a HIV test so many times he started to get accusatory. Personally I didn’t want to be told that my last check – years ago – made me a terribad gay and instead wanted him to address the fact my skin was falling off in nasty, dry, flaky chunks.

Monday, March 25, 2013

'The Face' Model Devyn, Is Apparently So Light Skinned, She's International and Not Black

Women of colour have always had a hard time in the modelling industry.  There have always been a few who have managed to have a successful career like Alec Wek, Naomi Campbell and Iman but by enlarge, despite their obvious beauty, their race has been a stumbling block rather than an asset.  The fact that population demographics are clearly changing, has not effected the fashion industries commitment to ensuring that White women, continue to be representative of womanhood.  This is not only racist but damaging to young women of colour.  Some cope with this racist treatment by internalizing negative concepts about their race.  The following is a clip from The Face, a reality show which appears on Oxygen.

transcript is below the fold