April 10, 2012
Just wanted to use my tiny platform to point toward a few things I thought worth reading. Enjoy!
As feminist and fat acceptance movements evolved from second-wave protests to contemporary digital activism, Fat Is a Feminist Issue connected the dots between two parallel causes for human rights while championing the individual’s right to be healthy and happy at every size. Orbach’s pioneer insistence that feminists needed to talk about body image and compulsive eating, while fat activists had to acknowledge issues of gender and difference, united two notorious social-activist movements that made progress possible across a dual spectrum of civil rights.
Why “I prefer small boobs” isn’t helping (Alternate title, from comments: Female Body Image and Male Perception in the Context of Feminist Discussion: When Women Talk About Body Image on a Feminist Blog, We’re Not Actually Worried That Men Don’t Think We’re Pretty):
“Don’t worry, insecure girl, there are people out there who think you’re hot” isn’t a revolutionary perspective, and thinking it’s a necessary contribution to a thread about female objectification and body image demonstrates a lack of understanding of the subject.
We all secretly went back in time, right?
That’s the only way I can get my head around Wisconsin’s repeal of their Equal Pay Act on the argument that “Money is more important to men”, piled on top of the birth control “debate” and Georgia passing legislation based on the idea that women are anatomically and ethically identical to pigs and cows. We fell through a time vortex and it’s 1959 and half of the twentieth century didn’t happen.
March 8, 2011
Visionary feminism is a wise and loving politics. It is rooted in the love of male and female being, refusing to privilege one over the other. The soul of feminist politics is the commitment to ending patriarchal domination of women and men, girls and boys. Love cannot exist in any relationship that is based on domination and coercion. Males cannot love themselves in patriarchal culture if their very self-definition relies on submission to patriarchal rules. When men embrace feminist thinking and practice, which emphasizes the value of mutual growth and self-actualization in all relationships, their emotional well-being will be enhanced. A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving.
January 21, 2010
I am a crier. I cry when I’m sad; I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m angry, or frustrated, or feeling shame, or just plain overwhelmed. Movies make me cry. Books make me cry. I cry at things that are touching; I have to leave the room when those freaking ASPCA commercials come on TV. I cry when someone I care about cries. Catch me on the right day and I might cry if I’m good and startled, the way an infant will. It’s what I do.
I have also been accused on numerous occasions, primarily by men, that my tears are manipulative, like I’m crying in front of them just to get my way, or to make them feel bad, to get attention, or… I don’t even know, really. At any rate, I’ve been accused of being manipulative for crying. Which, honestly, is almost funny to me—or would be if it weren’t so bloody irritating, if it didn’t reflect such an apparent profound misunderstanding of who I am and what I do—because believe you me, if I could make it so that I only cried in private, by myself, I would make that change in a heartbeat. In addition to the accusations of manipulation, there’s the social narrative that tears = weakness, so apparently these folks are willing to believe that I (and other criers) are thinking, “Hey, so I get to appear manipulative and weak and puffy-faced? Awesome! Sign me up!”
All that said, then, I really, really appreciated Amanda’s take-down of this article by Spencer Morgan in the New York Observer. A sampling:
Of course, one thing that makes the whole “crying is nothing but manipulation” nonsense have even more traction is that women undeniably cry a lot more than men. That makes it easier for ungenerous men, and some women, to chalk crying up to female inferiority—either women are manipulative bitches who are only pretending to be that sad, or they’re hormonal messes who can’t be trusted to handle the grown-up world. That a lot more men are likely to blow up in rage and scream and yell to the point where everyone’s uncomfortable isn’t taken as evidence that men are inferior or overly emotional, I’ll note. But I have special hate for the notion that crying is something that women can and should have more control over. When people take nasty swipes like Morgan’s, I want to ask them if they can drop and start crying right now, to prove to me how much it’s a matter of will and not reflex.
The whole thing is very much worth the read. And furthermore, I think the comments thread is well worth reading, as well, especially if your reaction to what I am or Amanda is saying here is something along the lines of, “But, but—bitchez be crazy!” (Though you can maybe stop after the first hundred or so; somewhere around 125 a dude—apparently a relatively regular commenter, from what I gathered—comes in to try to mansplain things in earnest with the argument that crying is basically just not something Grown Ups do unless they have a properly Grown Up reason for doing so, and it’s pretty painful to watch.)
September 25, 2009
Given how many people refuse to self-identify as feminists for a variety of reasons ranging from entirely valid (e.g. the feminist movement’s exclusion of women of color) to… questionable, let’s say… (e.g. “aren’t all feminists hairy-legged Birkenstock-wearing man-hating Lesbians?”), it pleases me to no end to hear the Dalai Lama put things so succinctly:
“I call myself a feminist,” said the Dalai Lama. “Isn’t that what you call someone who fights for women’s rights?”
He goes on to engage in what sounds, at least out of context, like gender essentialism — “The Dalai Lama went to on say that women are more prone to compassion, since they have the responsibility of bearing children” — which y’all know I’m not terribly keen on, but hey, it’s a start, no?
August 24, 2009
Perhaps my favorite discussion of the current debacle that is the health care debate is Michael Bérubé’s Chávezian Airspace exclusive interview with “the whole entire American mass media!” It’s mostly my favorite because it made me laugh as I beat my head against the desk, as opposed to other discussions, which just made me beat my head against the desk.
TransGriot discusses the sexism and racism inherent in the discussion of whether or not Caster Semenya is “really” a woman, and Cara takes Germaine Greer to task for the transphobia in her discussion of Semenya and gender.
And speaking of transphobia, I was jazzed to see that city leaders in Lawrence, KS are debating “whether to approve a new city ordinance that would make it illegal to discriminate against someone on the basis of gender identity.” The comments on the article are, sadly, full of fail, and I was ready to write them off entirely after skimming the first few, until I came to this gem:
I hope they pass this so women have to pay as much as men do for car insurance.
Women only get 70 cents for every dollar a man gets which is unfair because now the man only has 30 cents.
My train of thought went something like this: Oh jeez, another “what about the menz” guy who… wait, what? No, dude, see, the 70 cents is… you can’t be seriously saying… spluh? I mean, surely this is a disingenuous argument, not someone genuinely misunderstanding the “women make 70 cents for every dollar men make” talking point, right?
On a cheerier note, for those who may be looking at attending a college or university in the near future, Campus Pride has put together an LGBT-friendly campus climate index. I haven’t yet checked to see how my alma maters scored, but I’m definitely curious.
Hope everyone’s week is off to a good start!
April 19, 2009
Just a brief heads-up that the third installment of the WOC and Ally Blog Carnival, put together by Renee of Womanist Musings, is up, and it is — of course — chock full of good reading. Go check it out!
November 20, 2008
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved. …
The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.
Jack at Feministe points out that “Remembrance is important and necessary, but we cannot stop at remembrance. If we want this violence against trans people to stop, we must move beyond mourning our dead and take up the fight for the rights of our living,” then goes on to list a number of ways to do so.
Some facts compiled by the Remembering Our Dead Project:
- As of November 11, 2008, 16 transpeople [the site says 30 elsewhere] have died as a result of transphobic violence. This is already double last year’s number. These numbers include not only those who were murdered for being trans, but also those whose deaths were caused by transphobia in other ways. One example is Tyra Hunter, who in 1995 “died from non-life-threatening injuries received in an auto accident because EM workers stopped treating her when they discovered she was Transgender.”
- Twelve states, along with the District of Columbia, have hate crime laws that include gender identity. Is your state one of them? If not, what can you do to change that? If so, are those laws being enforced?
- Transpeople themselves aren’t the only victims of transphobic violence. Being in a relationship with a transperson can put someone at risk, too. Indeed, even just the slightest sign of gender non-conformity can be an excuse for the transphobic to act out: “Willie Houston was not a transgender person, but faced anti-transgender and (and anti-gay) violence because he was carrying his wife’s purse, and assisting a blind male.”
Also, Little Light expresses frustration at the HRC trying to get involved in Portland’s Trans Day of Remembrance (and trying to shift the focus “to ‘Trans Awareness Day,’ something much more upbeat, much more focused on feel-good celebration of the community, something much more acceptable to upper-class, culturally-normative assimilationists you can put in the newspaper without making anyone feel threatened”):
The Day of Remembrance is ours, and it is sacred. It is the one day we set aside to honor those in our community, overwhelmingly poor trans women of color, who were killed due to bigotry and hatred. It is a single day in the year where we make certain that the names of the murdered are heard and held up, so we can all remember that these people mattered, were real, were loved, and are missed. It’s a day to gather the community together and call attention to the violence directed against us and the caring we have for each other. It came from us. It was built by us. It was never supposed to be flashy or glitzy. It is a solemn mourning for the dead, a place to hold hands, and a promise to those who violence took away from us that we who are still living will hold together, take care of each other, and push forward together into a world where that violence is only a painful memory.
Other posts worth reading: queenemily at Questioning Transphobia: How to Mourn, Cara at the Curvature: Transgender Day of Remembrance 2008, Autumn at Pam’s House Blend: Today is the Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.
Remember. Mourn. Act. Speak out.
September 12, 2008
The 64th Carnival of Feminists is up! As ever, there’s plenty of good reading listed there. I wanted to take a moment to highlight the posts by a couple of recent additions to my blogroll: Radical Feminists and Cis Privilege by Renee at Womanist Musings, and Uterus Art by Debs at Don’t Stray from the Path. And as much as I appreciated the latter of the two posts for giving me a perspective I’d never considered before — for, quite simply, making me think — the post of hers that I really want to share is Across the Porn Divide:
…the stalemate we are currently in will only continue as long as we persist in talking about rather than to women we disagree with, and continue to make generalisations, or untrue statements about those women. Something needs to happen to break the deadlock, or this movement we call feminism will cease to move at all, and will die from stagnation before achieving all, or even any, of its goals. Women on both ‘sides’, and from all ‘feminisms’ need to start listening to other women, women who do not agree with them, women who’s life experience is vastly different to theirs, women who have made choices they feel are wrong, or that they would never make themselves. If we are all talking at once, we cannot hear what anyone is saying, and listening is the key to communication and learning.
It’s a superb post, and well worth the read for those interested in feminist movement.
July 2, 2008
What the hell is with the obsession those who insist on gender conformity and/or those who oppose gender identity and expression inclusive legislation seem to have with bathrooms? It seems to apply to conservatives in general (“the ERA will lead to unisex bathrooms!!”), but I continue to be kind of amazed that the biggest pushback against equal rights for trans people tends to focus on public restrooms. Autumn Sandeen posted last week (emphasis in the original):
Bathrooms are the opposition issue with gender identity and expression inclusive, federal employment legislation. I expected that to be an issue, but it’s really clear from the two opposition witnesses it’s going to be the main opposition point regarding any employment legislation that addresses gender identity and expression. Basically, I’m anticipating that there is going to come some standard response messaging to be generated by the non-profits addressing the issue, and/or changing the subject back to addressing the real issue of blatent discrimination against LGB & T people.
Personally, I’m not squicked out by the idea of unisex bathrooms, so these sorts of arguments tend to lose me immediately. I’ve never been shy about ducking into the men’s room if the line for the ladies’ is ridiculous and things are getting urgent, and I’m absentminded enough that I’ve come thisclose to walking into the men’s room (perhaps even to the point of opening the door, seeing urinals, going “oops” and turning around), so, unisex bathrooms? Wev.
It seems like the most compelling aspect of the bathroom argument is the idea that allowing people to go into the bathroom that fits their gender identity could lead to predators having easier access to their potential victims. However, that doesn’t really fly for me. Is the idea that only women who were born with women’s genitals belong in the ladies’ room really the only thing keeping predators out of the ladies’ room in most places?
Furthermore, as Autumn points out in this post, trans women are potential victims just as much as other women – if not more so, given the fact that they’re trans people.
Also, it seems to me that unisex bathrooms would actually benefit a good number of people, such as parents with kids of the opposite sex (when is the official cut off date for when a woman ought to stop bringing her son into the ladies’ room with her?) or people with disabilities who have caregivers of the opposite sex. And goodness knows that if I broke both my arms (dog forbid!), I’d rather have Evil Bender helping me out in a public bathroom than a stranger.
Much of what this boils down to is the fact that I believe trans people are real, complete human beings who are deserving of the same rights as anyone else, along with protections because they’re a frequently-abused minority. I’d wager a guess that the people who are doing the pearl-clutching over the issue of bathrooms believe that trans people are sick people with crazy ideas that they need to be talked or medicated out of (and if that doesn’t work, maybe the ideas can be beaten out of them…). And I’m willing to bet that at least part of our respective viewpoints have been shaped by whether or not we’ve actually met and gotten to know any trans people. So it seems like in spite of the fact that bathrooms are the opposition issue, it’s really just a red herring (though I suppose that was perhaps a given, hmm?).
February 6, 2008
Written by quixote in a post at Shakesville yesterday:
We’re not supposed to get into an Olympics of -isms. Nobody’s suffering trumps someone else’s.
That’s true. Totally, entirely, completely true.
It’s true all ways. You have to care as much about my suffering as I do about yours.
If my suffering doesn’t matter to you, you’re just fighting for privilege.
Something worth thinking about, at least.