Category: feminism

#notsoblurredlines

Posted by – September 3, 2013

I admit that I think the unrated version of the original is kinda hot. There, I’ve said it. Not all of it – there is way too much objectification of women in it, of course – really, a mini stop sign on her butt? – but naked women + clothed men, in my opinion, isn’t necessarily sexist. The lyrics are problematic, too, although there are no actual threats or even suggestions of assault. Theoretically, the narrator could hate “blurred lines” exactly because he’s respecting what the woman is saying when she’s saying no. BUT: I find it sexy because all the women are gorgeous and all the men are handsome, dress well, and can dance. There are parts that are playful and almost sweet.

My finding it personally sexy, in parts, doesn’t mean it’s not sexist bullshit, too. Just that sometimes politics & sexuality create blurred lines all their own.

Anyway, I love this, too, & it’s equally hot, in my opinion:

Also, this.

Impressive.

Posted by – September 1, 2013

More Slut Shaming

Posted by – August 31, 2013

A judge said a 14 year old girl who consented to sex with a 49 year old man who was also her teacher was “older than her chronological years” and “as much in control” as the man was.

The man has to serve 30 days.

The girl took her own life. According to her mother, she committed suicide largely because of this relationship.

Moveon.org has a petition that calls for the judge to resign for his poor judgement, victim blaming, and slut shaming.

Which reminds me to define slut shaming: slut shaming is a cultural practice whereby people think a woman “deserves” whatever negative thing happens to her because she has a sexuality or even just a body that she dresses in a way that seems – to someone – as “asking for it”. Slut shaming is when a girl is raped at a party by four boys and the photo of her being raped is passed around and no one reports the boys. Slut shaming is when a journalist reports the slut shaming being done by others of a 12 year told girl who was raped by multiple men. Slut shaming is when a woman who agrees to sex with a guy at a party is mocked and made fun of and nothing happens to the guy. Slut shaming is when a girl who gives a guy a blowjob at a concert and is called a slut while the guy is applauded. Slut shaming is when a woman is considered dangerous or suspect purely because she has an apparent sexuality and is/has been known to have sex with men (or women) she is not married or committed to. Slut shaming is what bisexuals get a lot because they’re assumed to sleep with anyone, anywhere, any time.

Slut shaming is what makes that judge’s ruling possible; it plays into the myths that women are always temptresses, femme fatales, or lolitas, that their expression of their sexuality is always a conscious choice and that any disregard for traditional social morays and expectations will and should be punished.

The word “slut” doesn’t have to be used for slut shaming to occur, and a woman does not have to have had sex with a lot of men in order to be accused of being a slut. That is, slut shaming is a cultural phenomenon that attempts to define and control women’s sexualities and punish anyone whose appearance or practices are not in line with that culture’s standards.

Women & Math

Posted by – August 30, 2013

Mirror Images

Posted by – August 16, 2013

My friend Miriam Hall recently wrote about her experience seeing herself in a mirror when she wasn’t expecting to. She didn’t like what she saw:

The mirror showed me my body—stout, short and plump. But what the mirror really showed me is something far deeper. It showed me how much I try and pretend that I don’t look like I do. The mirror showed me I am not who I think I am.

The whole article she’s written for Elephant – a guide to mindful life, as it calls itself – is, to my mind, more about seeing than feeling, seeing what is and not with a critical eye, just with a seeing one.

It made me think even more about my boobs post the other day and the ways we contextualize our own naked selves in ways that make us not right, less attractive, less whole.

There is a problem here, but it’s greater than the commodification of women’s bodies, or bodies in general. It’s more than seeing skinniness as health (when it often isn’t, at all, & is so often the opposite). It’s more than equating fatness to unhealthiness.

It’s more about the way we want to see bodies as objects, as things outside ourselves, not at the vessels we carry our souls in. I saw a few naked photos of myself, taken recently, and like Miriam, actually saw something I was pretending wasn’t there – all of the sadness of the past few years, the losses you all know about, & some you don’t, reflected in my posture and my body – in my everything, in my gestalt, for lack of a better word. And like a woman who might see her post pregnancy belly and post nursing breasts as what they are – vastly perfect because of what they’ve been and done and not because of how they look – I saw a body that had eaten so much emotion I couldn’t otherwise express.

So look at yourself, at your body. Not in the mirror, to see what needs fixing. Just glance at yourself in a mirror, in a shop window’s reflection, to see what’s there that you’re pretending isn’t. We only ever distract ourselves with weight loss and gain, muscle tone and beauty. There is so much more a body is and says than the stupidly limited vocabulary we choose for it.

 

Boobs.

Posted by – August 15, 2013

The other day I was poking around the internet for the answer to a particular question: whether or not wearing a bra at night keeps boobs safe from the forces of gravity. I started doing that very thing a few years ago with my older bras that are a little stretched out & so pretty comfy to sleep in.

The answer: the jury is out. There are very strong opinions on both sides. Some say bras in general are bad for boobs & actually cause them to sag. Others that bras are vital. Breastfeeding has been viewed as a culprit. It’s not. It’s actually the thickening and then thinning of milk ducts that causes women who have been pregnant and/or nursed to have less “bouncy” breasts. Weight loss and gain isn’t good for them either, if you needed yet another reason not to yo-yo diet.

So it’s pretty much surgery if you want higher boobs post pregnancy or weight loss/gain or just because you do. Of course you can and should work out your pecs, stand up straight, get fitted for the right bra (if you don’t believe the pervy French researcher) and – get this – squeeze your own breasts to potentially prevent both sagging and breast cancer.

But in the meantime, look at these breasts of regular people. I have to say that I looked at these photos more than once while I kept thinking about the breasts I am used to seeing – say the absurdly perfect rack of the brunette in the Robin Thicke video, for instance – and wondered about how often ANY of us see regular breasts.

Nudists do. Kinky folks in play spaces. Doctors. But most of us don’t really see the breasts of regular women on a day to day basis ,& that fact blew me away. Theoretically, it’s entirely possible for young women never to see anything but (1) their own breasts and (2) “famous” breasts (of movie stars, porn stars, etc.) That’s kinda fucked up.

Moreso, read what the women themselves say about their breasts: one woman with a really lovely pair wants them to face forward more. Another wishes she didn’t have stretch marks. Women with small breasts want bigger ones; women with larger breasts worry about sag. Asymmetry seems pretty routine. I kind of love that this one young woman lists everything that is “wrong” with them but still loves her own:

“I’m eighteen and have never been pregnant, but I come fully equipped with real flesh-and-blood breasts – my right is larger than my left, I have one inverted nipple, visible veins, stretchmarks from rapid adolescent development, even light downy fuzz covering the entire breasts. Whatever. I love them. They don’t belong to men, they don’t belong to society: they belong to me.” (bold added by me)

So the next time you think yours are imperfect, go look at some real women’s breasts – these are ones of women who have been pregnant – and remind yourself once again that we are, in fact, an uptight prudish culture – which means we don’t see other people naked casually – and that commodifies women’s bodies in ways that suck – which means we only see breasts that are selling products or entertainment.

WTF? Texas Sucks (Trigger Warning)

Posted by – August 5, 2013

Two women get stopped for throwing cigarette butts out a car window while driving.

Texas cops then proceed to probe them both, both anally & vaginally. As Alternet notes, “Gloves were not changed between anal and vaginal probes, nor were they changed between women.” Yes, they used the same gloves on both women and on both cavities. Surely that is a health code violation of some kind – Daily Kos says it was illegal and points out that it happened on a public road where anyone driving by might see.

What the fuck is this?

The whole thing is on video. I didn’t think I’d even believe this happened, but there it is, clearly taking place. The video isn’t even at a distance. The cop puts on her gloves about 3 minutes in.

Can we just get rid of Texas already?

I am completely freaked out by this. Anyone else?

Dustin Hoffman: Tootsie Was Never a Comedy For Me

Posted by – July 11, 2013

If you haven’t seen this by now, you’re living under a bigger rock than I do. Still, this is astonishing. He cries. You will too. I did.

“Sorry, that’s as good as it gets. That’s as beautiful as we can get you.”

Here is an interesting response by Alexandra Petri:


I am not sure this video of Dustin Hoffman crying about female beauty standards is as good as everyone says it is. Is he crying about the fact that he’s missed out on a lot of interesting people because he had been brainwashed to not talk to them? If so, he can fix this so, so easily. All he has to do is walk over and start talking. Or is he crying because this– this brainwashing idea that the way you look determines your inherent interest, this is real, and it won’t occur to everyone to walk over?

That’s quite powerful.

But I’m not sure I understand what her point is, other than that Hoffman is right: women are judged unfairly on their looks first before anyone even wonders if they’re interesting. She doesn’t seem to disagree with Hoffman – just clarifying how we dismiss women until or unless they are attractive – which is sadly the truth.

There are times I wonder if women know that women are people. Most days I don’t even hope men know as much, to be honest.

He gives me hope that maybe, maybe occasionally, there are men who can see women’s humanity.

Class + Trans*

Posted by – June 30, 2013

Here’s a nice piece about economics and class, specifically in the US, when it comes to trans people and transition. It’s written by a woman whose sister is transitioning to female.

She ends the piece:

In a perfect world, an individual’s trans*ition would be marked by celebration, dedicated to their instinctive disconnection from their bodies and/or the societal binaries that surround us, and without cost (or, at least, fully-funded). But this isn’t a perfect world.

Ours is a species dominated by cost. And so far, I don’t see any feasible way around it. So, what does that mean? It means either biting the bullet and paying through the nose for procedures that would (hopefully) mean harmony of mind and body, or going without.

What is more difficult is that many trans people cannot get to the point they want without significant medical intervention, and if they always register as trans, will deal with untold amounts of discrimination. It’s frustrating, but true.

Moreso, even if someone can find a way to scrape up the money to have genital surgery and the like, that may mean they are sacrificing something else – going back to school, having kids, buying a home, or whatever other things most people would do with upwards of $20k. Which means that trans people, as a class, are bound to be poorer than their peers — much like women often are.

The Night a Feminist Army…

Posted by – June 27, 2013

… of loud angry bitches beat the GOP, is the full title. I absolutely love this article about what happened in Texas the night of the 25th. I stayed up and watched it as the midnight hour drew near and passed; I was watching when the time stamp was changed on the vote; I was watching when the “At what point?” question was asked – which should, imho, go down in history as AT LEAST as significant as the “Have you, at long last, no decency?” that was asked during HUAC).

It was an insane thing to see but a proud, proud thing to watch.

A feminist army of loud angry bitches. We need more of them.

Filibuster In Progress: Texas

Posted by – June 25, 2013

Ann Richards would be proud.

Evon Young’s Killers

Posted by – June 8, 2013

Trigger warning: this death was horrific and brutal and cold blooded, in my opinion. The description is journalistic and, as a result, very upsetting.

Evon Young’s killers are pleading guilty to various charges which is a good thing that will help his family and the other communities he was a part of find closure in his death.

I don’t really understand any of it. I have been reading reports of these up close and personal, brutal, immolating murders for a decade now, and no part of it ever makes any sense to me. Who are these people and why do we even consider them human, still? I really don’t know. But I’m always newly horrified at how coldly, how brutally, these things can happen.

There are days when you cry, and days when you spit nails, but none of it makes any sense of this kind of crime. I don’t think I’m ever going to understand.

But I will say: this is why the world needs to get past their fear of trans people. It’s why all of us need to stop thinking of trans people’s birth genders as their “real” gender. It’s why denying trans women as women – whether that’s coming from a fundamentalist Christian or a radical feminist – isn’t ever just theoretical or political. These are the lives that are lost when we deny the truth of trans people’s experiences and reports of their own genders.

I am losing any tolerance I once had of any kind of transphobic “theories” of gender that deny a person’s humanity and their gender and Evon Young is why.

Naked Trans Women

Posted by – June 5, 2013

It’s embarrassing to hear that my fellow feminists are shaming trans women for their bodies. It breaks my heart, really. I’ve probably seen more trans women naked than the average person, and there’s nothing scary about their bodies.

They’re beautiful bodies, like all women’s bodies are.

But when Red Durkin writes this:

Specifically speaking to the issue of sexual assault survivors: Especially in a queer/lesbian space, I find it incredibly dangerous to equate penises with sexual violence. This erases MUCH of the assault/abuse/violence that happens within lesbian communities. It also erases the women who experience that violence. As I mentioned in my initial reply, I am a sexual assault survivor myself. I feel completely ignored/unseen when trans women and sexual assault survivors are spoken of as though they’re mutually exclusive. I am the cross section of those identities. So, so, SO many trans women are. Do we not deserve healing?

How much more violence can we really do to trans women’s bodies at this point? Recognizing the deep ways we shame and blame trans women does not erase or eliminate anyone’s concern for women’s bodies.

Patrick Stewart Wins Again

Posted by – June 4, 2013

This is a pretty amazing statement on domestic violence, post traumatic stress disorder, and respect for parents.

At 2:40 & 6:20 he’s especially astonishing.

Feminist Porn?

Posted by – May 15, 2013

The Feminist Porn Book is out. Here’s one of my favorite excerpts, by none other than the amazing Nina Hartley, which I’ve gone and excerpted:

Actress Cornelia Otis Skinner said, Woman’s virtue is man’s greatest invention. That phrase is both true and telling: everyday men and women both carry the heavy load and pay the cost for this retrograde notion of virtue. Female sexual agency remains a contentious subject that sparks fierce debate and displays of moral outrage, bigotry, and murderous violence. Our culture continues to punish women for their sexuality, from woman-on-woman slut shaming, to continuing attempts by local, state, and federal government agencies to limit access to effective family planning. Our country’s honor killings–ranging from the murder of abortion providers to the killing of a partner in a fit of jealous If-I-cant-have-you-then-nobody-can-have-you! rage–are almost always connected to women’s sexual autonomy and/or health.

I love Nina Hartley.

Cool Mom

Posted by – May 12, 2013

Helen Keller, left; Jamie Moore’s daughter, right

 

Cool photographer and mom Jaime Moore wasn’t pleased with the “princess makeovers” to be found all over the internets. She wanted to do something that would give her daughter power, pride, and agency, instead of, say, transforming her daughter into a sycophantic dependent. Nutty. So here’s what she came up with instead.

There are other portaits, with her daughter as Jane Goodall, Amelia Earheart, Coco Chanel, and of course, Susan B. Anthony.

 

Suffrage & Marriage Equality

Posted by – May 1, 2013

In 1893, Colorado gave women the right to vote.

Nine years later, three states had done so.

President Wilson started supporting the right in 1918.

In 1920, the US recognized suffrage for women. At that time, 9 states & 1 territory (Utah!) had given women the right to vote.

 

In 2004, Massachusetts recognized the need for marriage equality.

Nine years later, 10 states have done so.

President Obama started openly supporting it in 2012.

 

So then — when?

MWMF etc.

Posted by – April 26, 2013

Sorry I haven’t been blogging as much as posting music, but I’ve been a little overwhelmed lately. Still, here are a few links to some stuff concerning transphobia being classified as hate speech, the London Irish Centre’s decision not to let RadFem 2013 happen in their space, the new news about MWMF’s re-instated “no trans need apply” policy, and some more commentary on said policy.

Slowly, people are starting to realize that trans people’s basic humanity is not negotiable.

More Musical Grrrl Lust…

Posted by – April 26, 2013

… to finish off the week:

(I want her jacket.)

MWMF: #wrongsideofhistory

Posted by – April 16, 2013

Or, as one Nadia from Brooklyn put it, “Do I really have to sign a petition telling women not to participate in an event that discriminates against women?”

And yes, Nadia, you do.

C’mon, MWMF. Get on the right side of history already. You’re better than this.

& thanks to the Indigo Girls and Andrea Gibson from dropping out this year.