UPDATE: Planned return date: undetermined.
I'll be back, at some point. But not right now. No cause for alarm, just not writing publicly at the moment.
In the meantime, enjoy the kitties and the scenery.
What Does Transgender Day of Remembrance Mean to You? by Monica at Transgriot
International Transgender Day of Remembrance 2009 by kaninchenzero at FWD/Forward
International Transgender Day of Remembrance, 20th November 2009 by Helen G at bird of paradox
the drowned and the saved by Queen Emily at Questioning Transphobia
TDOR 2009 by Chally at Zero at the Bone
I Will Not Forget Them – TDOR by Recursive Paradox at GenderbitchInternational Transgender Day of Remembrance 2009
(first five links via the Curvature)
On a more adminny note, I wanted to say that it feels somewhat strange to see captions for images that don't specify who the person is, when their identity is relevant. I know that you did it for the Mad Men post a few days back, but I'll admit that it caught my attention more with this post. (I'm thinking it's because she's a woman of color and a real person, as opposed to fictional characters who are white - dehumanizing characters is less weird than dehumanizing someone real.)This is an excellent point. Inspired by FWD, I've been captioning photos and illustrations in order to be more accessible to visually impaired readers. When I began this effort, I didn't name characters and actors, though Ouyang Dan's post that specifically spurred me to do it did indeed identify the actor and character. I also forgot to caption my Wednesday cat picture post. The latter post has been rectified, and I will begin identifying people in captions and keep a closer eye on how I describe persons of color. I apologize for these oversights.
When I was in a mostly-lesbian social circle in college, I claimed the label of ally to support my friends.* The term ally was fashionable - enough to be honored in the already-problematic acronym LBGTQ in most of our GSA’s publications.In the comments, Lottie responded:
This is completely tangential, probably, but I always thought the A was for asexual. It's definitely problematic that allies are included in the acronym, I would say.And Faye said:
Hi Willow - I agree with everything you've said, but I thought I'd let you know re: I cannot stand it when the A is tagged onto LGBT (or however you choose to expand the acronym) that the "A" is usually meant to include those who identify as asexual, not allies.Of course, the folks in the comments are right. The "A" in that problematic acronym rainbow usually refers to "asexual". I should have clarified or noted that, and I apologize.
Not that I haven't seen it applied that way (often when GSA/LGBTQ organizations on high school and college campuses are trying to emphasize that they would welcome het members ;D), but in my experience that's not the way it's usually used.
Traditional sexism functions to make femaleness and femininity appear subordinate to maleness and masculinity... [F]emale and feminine attributes are regularly assigned negative connotations and meanings in our society. An example of this is the way that being in touch with and expressing one's emotions is regularly derided in our society...Sometimes, the article hits on those points:
[T]raditional sexism also creates the impression that certain aspects of feminity exist for the pleasure or benefit of men ... After all, feminine self-presentation tends to highly correlate with a more general desire to surround oneself with beautiful or aesthetically pleasing objects and materials - whether in decorating one's home or adorning one's body. (Whipping Girl, 326-328)
As a card-carrying "feminine-ist," I am here to tell you that feeling sexy is what helps me to be my most powerful and successful self, and being powerful and successful also helps me feel damn sexy! As "feminine-ists," we definitely don't need to make the choice between feminine or powerful and successful. We should and must try to embrace both choices simultaneously.But then it shames women who aren't feminine:
I see too many women these days rushing around trying to do it all, but meanwhile they're not being it all! They're not being their fullest, best feminine selves. Instead, they're being tougher than they'd like to be as well as more exhausted, strident and irritable, thereby feeling unattractive inside and out. All while suffering from guilt over the stuff they did not manage to squeeze into their over-booked schedules.And tries to center the women's movement around men:
With the word "feminism," it might have been embarrassing for a man to say he was a supporter because it might sound like he was admitting to supporting of a group of controlling, bitchy women. But with new pro-sexiness, pro-sweetness, pro-balance words like "feminine-ist" and "feminine-ism," what's not for a man to love?So, to re-cap: feminine is "best". Feminism is about "controlling, bitchy women" who are not sexy, sweet, or balanced. Advocacy for women's rights is only significant when it reinforces norms and caters to men.
True story: My friend David got mugged at a bank machine by a beautiful, leggy, sexy woman.So, the writer devalues and dismisses and others folks on the trans feminine spectrum, and implicitly essentializes femininity as the sole domain of cis women. Oh, and some ungendering thrown in there for kicks. Awesome.
"Actually, it might have been a transvestite," David corrected himself.
"It's okay if you were mugged by a woman," I told him, smiling.
Now embarrassed, David said, "The more I think about it, the more I'm sure he was a transvestite."
I laughed but was also intrigued by why David would be so embarrassed to be mugged by a beautiful, leggy, sexy woman, but not a man.
"To be thus is nothing,Right now, I'm reading Macbeth. Though it's bloody and not particularly feminist, the quote above struck me as quite relevant to progressive conversation - particularly the idea of "safe spaces".
But to be safely thus."
"When the judge gave him standing to sue for custody, I thought, 'What's happening? She voided the marriage, she knows he is a woman.' It's ludicrous," the boy's mother told the Daily News...
Melanie says she is straight and didn't even know Sam was a woman until the relationship got serious.
Citing the "strong emotional and psychological bond" between Sam and Sam Jr., Morgenstern noted that Sam "is the only father that the child has known."
Her latest novel, "Trois femmes puissantes," is the story of characters Norah, Fanta and Khadi's fight to "preserve their dignity in the face of humiliations that life has inflicted," according to her publisher Gallimard.I've heard of NDiaye before, though not by name. She wrote a 200-page novel made up of a single sentence, Comédie Classique, and I'm pretty sure it was bandied about as an example of successful experimental writing in writer's workshops I was in back in the day.
Norah is a French lawyer with roots in West Africa; Fanta is a Senegalese woman living in France; and Khadi is a young Senegalese woman who tries to immigrate illegally to Europe.
"They are in very difficult situations," NDiaye said in an interview with Mediapart news Web site. "(But) they have a hard inner core that is absolutely unbreakable."
My wife has MS and is in a wheelchair full time...You seem to think that my wife should be offended that Jenna danced for the Prince in the wheelchair, that is how I dance with my wife! If there is a better, more non-offensive way please tell me.
Since wheelchair users clearly cannot enjoy their own body, he live vicariously through Jenna. Jenna’s dancing, while physically funny, is at the cost of the prince’s bodily agency.J makes a good point: people in partnerships with wheelchair users have a number of different ways of being physical with their partners. My analysis of that scene constituted policing said relationships, and I apologize.
When Joan hits Greg on the head, not only is she pissed: She is trying to knock some sense into him, and rejecting his notion that she doesn't know what it's like to work towards something all your life. from JezebelDouble X has a similar "you go girl" take:
Sure, her swing had about all the staying power of Jai Alai (she was back to being the dutiful wife by the next scene), but at least it came out, if only for a moment.The Feministing crew also gave it an okay, even calling it "awesome" and Joan "badass". Seriously, domestic violence is not cool, or awesome, or badass - and particularly not in the feminist contexts of these shows. "Knock[ing] some sense" into another human is not doing them a favor. Nor is it an effective way to assert yourself in a relationship. It's enacting violence against them, and it's domestic abuse.
I’ve gone from conceptualizing her as a dumb bimbo colluder profiting solely from her body and oppressing less beautiful women to liking her music and finding great sympathy for her.
The final debate of the campaign for attorney general took on racial overtones today.
Democrat Steve Shannon said Republican Ken Cuccinelli favors states' rights, likening it to the agenda that resulted in Virginia's fight for segregated schools. Cuccinelli accused Shannon of "race-baiting."
Shannon, a delegate from Fairfax County, said after the hourlong debate that he does not think Cuccinelli is a racist. But he said Cuccinelli, a state senator from Fairfax, is "an ideological crusader" whose agenda reflects some of the worst aspects of Virginia's past.
Cuccinelli described Shannon as "a backbencher" who is disinclined to pick fights.
The two lawyers debated before a luncheon meeting of the Richmond Bar Association at the Richmond Omni Hotel. It was their fourth debate. [Emphasis mine]
Shannon was making a valid comparison between present and past political strategies - something that people do all the time. Folks are constantly looking to past happenings to explain our political future - politics and the country are changing all the time, and the past is something stable we can look to. Comparing Cuccinelli to Civil War-era supremacist is a strong comparison, but that's the language of politics. Calling Shannon a race-baiter is hurling a special, racialized rebuke for doing exactly what a politician is supposed to do in a campaign: raising issues.
After making said strong comparison, why is Shannon obligated to absolve Cuccinelli of any personal responsibility by saying that he's "not a racist"? Whether or not one white man labels another white man a racist is not relevant. Focusing on the label of racism makes fighting racism a pantomime - it makes actions and contributions superficial, solely focused on titles applied externally. That is what politics is, though, isn't it?
It's not about whether someone is "a racist" or not (though if they've got race privilege, they probably are - myself included) - it's about whether they're anti-racist. In fighting racism, actions and not intentions are what matters. Politicians like Cuccinelli who make noise about race-baiting when a hint of race enters the discussion are concentrating on evading the responsibility of our country's history of racism. This evasion creates an opportunity for them to avoid any discussions of racism, and thus save themselves the trouble of doing anti-racist work while they rest on their privileged laurels.
Our conception of our society as post-racial discourages discussion of race rather than encouraging learning and growth. Post-racial discourse pretends that we don't have issues with race now, and we never did. Because our president is black, see? So obviously none of us have an issue with it now, and there's no use talking about what our ancestors did since they're all dead. Right? Totally!
There's no use talking about slavery - no one has slaves, silly, and no one has for years! There's no purpose to bringing it up. It just stirs up bad memories that no one wants to think about anymore. It's so long ago - it couldn't impact our interactions and society today.
Except that it does exist, and it didn't happen, past tense - it's happening, present tense, an we need to talk about it, today. When a junior high football coach encourages his team to use racial slurs, racism is real and happening. When elected officials brag about belonging to the KKK, racism is real and happening. That's just a fraction, and that's just today.
Anti-racist work is silenced by calls of race-baiting, of insisting that we absolve those who ignore racism of responsibility. As a politician trying to win a race, Shannon couldn't do a lot more. But at least he is raising issues that Cuccinelli insists on pretending aren't an issue. Racism isn't going to stop by ignoring it - such actions only breed ignorance and amplify the issues that plague our laws, our government, and our country.
Last year, Amber Duick received a series of nine e-mails from a fictitious character dreamed up by the campaign (complete with a MySpace page). The character told Amber he was coming to stay at her house to avoid the cops, and even sent her a motel bill for $78.92. According to AdAge, Duick was so frightened that she slept with a machete and mace near her bed.As an anxious woman, this isn’t funny. My partner leaves town sometimes, and I often go to bed terrified on even the safest of nights. Were I the subject of this? I would call the cops and take my butt and my cats to someone else’s house. I would FLIP. I would also sue.
The last email Duick received included a video that notified her how she had been fooled, and explained that this was an effort to market the Matrix. The campaign, which targeted thousands of consumers, invited people to nominate their friends to be victims of the prank, which is how consumers' personal information was acquired.
What would make Toyota, or anyone else, think this would appeal more to actual friends than to people who want to harass the targets of the campaign? Toyota essentially offered to be the middle-man for stalkers, bullies, and other assorted assholes. There's no reason to believe that no one took them up on such a generous offer. (from Shakesville)The site for this seems to show more men than women being targeted. But looking at it comprehensively, I just bet that women were disproportionately the target of these attacks.
Revolutions can be and usually are initiated by violent overthrow of an existing political structure. In the United States, women and men committed to feminist struggle know that we are far outpowered by our opponents, that they not only have access to every type of weaponry known to humankind, but they have both the learned consciousness to do and accept violence as well as the skill to perpetuate it. Therefore, this cannot be the basis for feminist revolution in this society. Our emphasis must be on cultural transformation: destroying dualism, eradicating systems of domination. Our struggle will be gradual and protracted. Any effort to make feminist revolution here can be aided by the example of liberation struggles led by oppressed people globally who resist formidable powers.Our society is as fragmented, competitive, and unable to meet human needs as ever. When we look around us in 2009, we see a variation on the same post-WW II, post-Vietnam theme that plagued us when hooks first published this book in 1984. An overwhelming crunch of information, entertainment, and compulsive consumerism perpetuates the atomization of the individual and works to keep us alienated and isolated from any meaningful sense of community; moreover, it holds us as slaves of a kind to an unjust economic order. hooks wrote the book on countering our alienation, beginning to struggle against that atomization, and working together towards an emancipation of ourselves along with all people–and this is that book. Reading it is not enough. We must act to bring about social change, and before we can act intelligently and strategically, we must communicate meaningfully with each other. To do that, we could take our cues from early feminist consciousness-raising groups.
Many parents teach children that violence is the easiest way (if not the most acceptable way) to end a conflict and assert power. By saying things like “I’m only doing this because I love you” while they are using physical abuse to control children, parents are not only equating violence with love, they are also offering a notion of love synonymous with passive acceptance, the absence of explanation, and discussions. In many homes small children and teenagers find their desire to discuss issues with parents sometimes viewed as a challenge to parental authority or power, as an act of “unlove.” Force is used by the parent to meet the perceived challenge or threat. Again, it needs to be emphasized that the idea that is is correct to use abuse to maintain authority is taught to individuals by church, school, and other institutions.”The expectation of “passive acceptance, the absence of explanation, and discussions” is on full display in the corporate capitalist culture of America, and it is even further displayed outward through the imposition of that model across the globe as international corporations continue to “develop” the world, profiting as they do so. But I digress.
Rachel McCarthy James, also known as RMJ, writes and edits Deeply Problematic. Interested parties can read more of her writing, get her email, or find information on hiring her here.