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MOVING BLOGS

June 4, 2009

For anyone who follows my blog:

I AM MOVING to Collaborate with a co-worker of mine. Please, please please add us and join in the new discussion! Our new blog can be found at:

http://feministlookingglass.com/

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Wackest Search Terms Part I

May 17, 2009

For bloggers, viewing what search terms people use to find your blog can be a scary, depressing, interesting, or fun experience. I thought I’d share some of the strange things people google in order to come across my blog. 

 

1) “sex between girls at 15 age” – lets hope this person wasn’t googling underage porn. Maybe just curious about youths discovering  lesbianism? Errr…

2) “what not to say to a feminist woman” – haha! Well, I’m glad someone is taking the initiative to not offend. I could give you a few pointers. “Feminazi,” “you’re being too sensitive,” “bitch,” etc. 

3) “depictions of masturbation” –  This is not that kind of blog!

4) “what do men want out of a woman?” – hey! if you figure that out online, let me know!

5) “white women black births” – umm…hmmm..

6) “lady gaga thinks feminists are angry” – yes, she does! sometimes, we are!

7) “women can vote” – yes, they let us do that now!

8 ) “rape or sex” – um. very serious distinction.

9) “do pageants promotes racism degrade women” – answer: yes.

10) “don’t hate me cause i’m” – ….beautiful? I don’t!

WOC and The Great American Novel

February 24, 2009

Today I was browsing news sources when I came across this article on the main page of Salon.com:

Why can’t a woman write the Great American Novel? This is a book review by Laura Miller. Interestingly, my bf had shown me an article in The Economist about it too. The book is a book by Elaine Showalter which is “the first comprehensive history of American women writers from 1650 to 2000.”

It’s a great topic. It seeks to question why women are rarely respected authors, why men outnumber them 2:1 on NYT Book Reviews, why they aren’t writing “the great American novel.” Its basically a modern A Room Of One’s Own–a book I love. To be sure, there are barriers that women find difficult to break through in writing. The concept of a room of one’s own persists today, where men are granted this privilege, something that women have to fight for. Then there’s the idea that housework is a woman’s domain– which leaves no time for writing, and has for centuries .  The book seems to interestingly compare women’s writing in the UK to women’s writing in America– concluding that back in the day, the class system in the UK provided greater opportunities for wealthy women to have time to write.

The review of the book itself drifts off while Laura Miller begins considering the subject on her own. When I reach the end of the first page, I see this:

easierwocnovel2

They had to go there, didn’t they. At this point I am not optimistic for the second half of the article. When I reach the part about WOC it turns out to be just a paragraph:

The great exception to this rule [of being left out of the mainstream-my edit] is women of color — most notably Toni Morrison, but Prose also singles out the Native-American novelist Leslie Marmon Silko — whose work became mainstream in the 1980s. Apart from their own considerable talent, these writers have been politically liberated to claim a big swath of territory that white male novelists could not make a feasible bid for anyway; Don DeLillo knows better than to attempt the Great American Novel about slavery.

Okay. That’s all very well, but just because WOC have different perspectives that whites cannot know, doesn’t mean they somehow have it easier as far as writing novels and being recognized. Morrison and Walker and such are standalones in a great dearth of mainstream-media popularly recognized female authors of color. Surely Beloved and The Bluest Eye come from a place that white people cannot write from, (and are brilliant books), but there’s also the simple fact that for a lot of people, these books DO represent niches. We read Morrison in the “cultural” or “African-American Lit” sections of our high school lesson plans. And are we ignoring all the more numerous black males who write on race issues? (Hughes, Du Bois, Ellison,  Mosley, Jones etc), or white men like Faulkner who write on them as well?

The framing of the issue in a tagline that says: “Is it easier for women of color..?” is always problematic with me. I believe that for all women, recognition in writing, film directing, music, etc is much harder to achieve and sometimes comes at a higher price, than for their male counterparts. Let us not dismiss the problems of WOC simply because we see women like Morrison succeed. Just as this article started pointing out, books about “female subjects” or things largely considered female domains (domestic novels, etc)  just don’t have the legitimacy in mainstream America. The same then goes for writing about  things largely considered niche/ for the African-American communities, not for the mainstream. How can people fail to realize that?

Female Chauvinism?

February 4, 2009

Monday at the Fem2.0 panel, Sports Columnist Christine Brennan  began talking about the icky GoDaddy Danica Patrick Enhancement ad:

Then when I logged online yesterday– I saw that the ad is the #1 most watched SuperBowl ad. As Brennan talked about, it was just painful to see someone so successful and talented participate in sexist ads and marketing that make her a sexy lady first, and a legitimate competitor second. And remember: performance is different than pleasure. And it all got me thinking: As women, how responsible are we for our own participation in furthering the patriarchy? 

I typically see opposing stances on the issue:

1. Blame the woman entirely: Since the woman participating in or advertising this behavior is the VISIBLE party, its typical to blame her entirely. It takes a deeper understanding to realize the issues at play that would cause her to act in this manner. Then people start yelling/thinking “what a slut! what a whore!” (boooooooo).

2. Give the woman a free pass: I really only see this coming from fellow feminists. The idea is– with all our understanding of the patriarchy, women aren’t responsible for what they do.

I personally reject this dichotomy. The patriarchy should take the GREATEST blame because it has created the playing field, the reason that sexism and misogyny flourish in our culture. Patriarchy has existed for centuries and has created the situation. It is the force in power and therefore is the most responsible.

But I have a problem with the notion that women aren’t at all responsible for their own actions. Are we all puppets on strings who can’t think for ourselves? Affluent, educated women like Victoria Beckham and Danica Patrick are in control of their own destinies and decisions. They choose participating in sexist campaigns that propagate patriarchy. If we all acknowledge the strength and capabilities of our personal feminist idols– then can we simply ignore and excuse the behavior of women on the flip side, and say “they can’t help it?” Women CAN be in control. Women are intelligent and aware. I’m not expecting every woman to be the perfect example of progressive feminism (who even knows what that would be! feminism is fluid and multidimentional and personal)– but I do think its okay to shake your head in disappointment or anger when they choose things that are blatantly bad for the image of women as a whole.

When it comes to the Victoria Beckham Marc Jabobs ad:

 Or the sadly offensive Bride Wars movie…can we be irritated that these women said “sure, that sounds great, sign me up!” I think so:

 

It then forces you to look at yourself- for me, is wearing makeup furthering the patriarchy? How about heels? What I think is important to get out of all of this is that you have to negotiate/compromise the personal with the paradigm of feminism. There is a lot of room for expression and individuality and difference in feminism, so where I stand, provided you acknowledge sort of, well makeup has been used in a really anti-feminist way, but i really like wearing it, you should be able to look however you want. But when it comes to your actions and your words, those are the things that matter, and you should stand up and fight.

Update/Animal Abuse

September 23, 2008

Well, I haven’t written in QUITE a while.

I hope to get back into this on a regular basis in a couple of months. Right now, besides working full time, I am in the beginning process of trying to apply to grad programs. I’m interested in Public Policy programs that have strong Social advocacy backgrounds/emphases, with economic policy, as well as places that allow for certificates in women’s studies.

Anyway, enough about me. Just wanted to say that I haven’t abanonded the idea of this blog, but that I’m on hiatus while I try and get my things together.
In the meantime….I wrote this recently. It’s quite brief:

MISOGYNY AND ANIMAL CRUELTY GO HAND-IN-HAND

A week or so ago, PETA released horribly gruesome videos of farm workers beating and torturing pigs and piglets, on a farm that supplies Hormel products. The video, which I am not going to post, has circulated widely on the internet today, and can easily be found by a google search, if you can stomach it. Here are a couple links to news articles about the situation:
 
http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/09/16/abused.pigs.ap/index.html
 
http://www.bizjournals.com/twincities/stories/2008/09/15/daily18.html
 
For the record, I despise PETA. I think they exhibit racism and sexism, and their tactics tend to be more shocking and offensive than helpful. But animal abuse is NEVER okay, especially to this degree, and I think it’s important that they often bring it to light.
 
And what’s more, animal cruelty is typically tied to misogyny, whether in act or in thoughts, and it’s why feminism has a lot to do with it.
 
For example: PETA captured on tape a worker, who gets angry at sows, yelling: “I grab one of these rods and jam it in her [anus].” Sodomizing a pig, using tactics analogous to rape and torture, to exert power over another, one who is at a strength-disadvantage– sound familiar, feminists?
 
Here’s another example: a snippet from the CNN article: I hate them. These [expletives] deserve to be hurt. Hurt, I say!,” the employee yells as he hits a sow with a metal rod. “Hurt! Hurt! Hurt! Hurt! … Take out your frustrations on ’em.” He encourages the investigator to pretend that one of the pigs scared off a voluptuous and willing 17- or 18-year-old girl, and then beat the pig for it.
 
The employee who is beating the pig uses the image of a “voluptuous and willing” underaged girl as a motivation for animal abuse.
 
The cyclical culture of violence in our society undoubtedly has its roots in patriarchy and heteronormativism, and seeks to hurt and silence all those who are in perceived conflict with it.
 
It’s not new information that treatment of women and animals can often be tied together– bodies of work like Carol Adams’ Sexual Politics of Meat and Marjorie Spiegel’s Human and Animal Slavery highlight this concept, from the idea that women’s bodies have often been referred to as “meat” in the same way animal’s bodies have become, to how racism ties in with animal abuse. Still, this recent investigation by PETA shows additional ties between animal and female abuse.
 
This isn’t some plea to become a vegetarian– I am not one myself. But I do think it’s important to be vigilant about the relationship between animal and women’s rights, and to speak out against violence and cruelty in all arenas– animal or human. The PETA investigation of a Hormel farm is just one more example that cruelties are rooted in the same societal ills.

June 14, 2008

Hey, ladies (and men)!

After a few random searches related to Gloria Steinem, I came across this site:

KMStitchery

It’s ecofriendly feminist clothing designs. They offer stenciled shirts of great feminist images on recycled clothing. “I am disgruntled with how you see mostly male revolutionaries on t-shirts but not fems….I am here to focus on the great womyn of our past.”

I ordered a tshirt with the famous Gloria Steinem/Dorothy Pitman Hughes picture on it:

                                         steinem/hughes

 

Take a look!

June 14, 2008

Though I still am working on a draft of something bigger to post…I must comment on the passing of Tim Russert. Whatever feelings there may be about him from a political standpoint, he was a good man, from a lower middle class background, who worked hard and achieved great things, and I am saddened by this loss.

Something he said once stands out to me. It’s how he viewed his life and his loved ones. In a world where the rich, white, male, and upper class seem to have everything handed to them at the expense of so many others, I think we could do well to reflect on Tim’s words here:

“Remember: You are always, always loved, but you are never, never entitled.”