Guiliani absent at former roommates’ wedding

Posted May 4, 2009 by aintiawoman
Categories: Politics, Queer

THIS is truly an example of politics at its worst.

Rudy Giuliani’s refusal to attend the same-sex wedding of his former roommates shows both his commitment to the stagnant Republican party, and the decline of his personal, independent choices.

I realize that in politics anything goes, and all politicians compromise something at one time or another. But I think that forsaking personal relationships and close friends represents the saddest form of all.

Thank You For Being A Friend

Posted May 3, 2009 by aintiawoman
Categories: Personal, Pop Culture

Today is dark and rainy in DC, and its the perfect time for Hallmark channel’s Golden Girls marathon, in honor of Bea Arthur. I’ve been curled up on the couch glued to the TV. There has been so much already said by people more eloquent than I, but Bea Arthur was a wonderful comedian, personality, and somewhat reluctant feminist.

The Golden Girls is one of my very favorite TV shows, and its only been recently that I’ve realized amidst the puns, outrageous scenarios, and gaudy 80s dresses, there’s a whole lot of substance and progressive politics in that show.

Sure, many of the episodes can be awfully simplistic, but for a 30 minute sitcom from the 80s, most of it was seriously progressive for its time, and even today. The show dealt intelligently with homosexuality, racism, disabilities, sexual harassment, ageism, and even an AIDS scare, at a time when most Americans did not have any understanding of AIDS.

But perhaps the most influential of all is the fact that the Golden Girls completely normalized sexuality in older women. Sex is never shied away from; in fact it is a central part of the show. Blanche Deveraux’s escapades with men are the most standout, but each of the characters has her own plotlines involving being 50+, single, and dating. The show makes no excuses for this and allows these women to have relationships and flings. It realistically depicted widows and divorcees, who realized that after marriage and raising children, life and sex are not over. Few other movies or television shows even today can claim to do the same. We have the Golden Girls to thank for this. 

 

For more, check out The Kitchen Table’s Golden Girls Tribute, and Rebecca Traister’s for Salon.com.

Hipster Misogyny

Posted April 15, 2009 by aintiawoman
Categories: Pop Culture, Violence

I read Racialicious all the time, and they often talk about Hipster Racism– racist statements/acts/songs/movies that ‘hipsters’ do, and it passes in the mainstream, because they call it ‘ironic.’

Well, I was looking up bands today, and found an awful instance of Hipster Misogyny. For those who don’t know, I’m pretty into music– of all kinds. I’ve heard Crystal Castles’ songs a couple of times and I dug a few so I checked them out on myspace. Well, they are selling THESE t-shirts. This picture is all over their website:

 

Wow! Violence against women is so hilarious and hip! Awesome.

Not. This is disgusting.

Same old Stereotypes about Feminism

Posted March 21, 2009 by aintiawoman
Categories: Pop Culture

I was reading Entertainment Weekly when I came across this quote from Lady GaGa

”I think it’s great to be a sexy, beautiful woman who can f— her man after she makes him dinner,” she says. ”There’s a stigma around feminism that’s a little bit man-hating. And I don’t promote hatred, ever. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate women who feel that way. I’ve got a lot of gay women friends that are like, ‘Put your clothes on.’ People just have different views about it. I’m not wrong. I’m free. And if it’s wrong to be free, then I don’t want to be right. Things are changing. We’ve got a black president, people.”

Not that I expected much from this random pop artist, but really? Feminism is about hate? That’s the oldest lie in the book. I really wish people wouldn’t make comments about feminism when they don’t know anything about it, and when they can’t open up their minds a little more. 

Not to mention the rest of the tangent she goes on. Feminism is about hate, and she doesn’t promote hate, but its cool if you do. Like gay women. They hate men and want her to keep her close on. You know, like a regular ol’ man-hating frigid feminazi. Oh, and she’s right because we have a black president. Whaaaaat? I have no idea where she was trying to go with this but it just reinforces all the negative FALSE stereotypes about what feminism is and who feminists are. So all these little girls looking up to her are going to think feminism is stupid. Siiiigh.

Feminist Movies: Water Lilies

Posted March 15, 2009 by aintiawoman
Categories: Pop Culture, Queer

I just finished watching a French film that was selected at the Cannes in 2007. It’s called Water Lilies, and its a sort of coming-of-age film, as told through the eyes of three 15 year old girls. The main story line deals with homosexuality and discovering that as a young girl. Its really one of the most honest depictions I’ve seen– and what else is great is that there is really no male perspective here. There’s pretty much only one male character and he has virtually no lines, and is really just a side story, a catalyst for interactions between the 2 main girls.

I’d recommend it to anyone, its poignant and honest.

Three updates

Posted March 15, 2009 by aintiawoman
Categories: Choice/Sex, POC, Politics, Queer

I haven’t written in a few weeks. Between things heating up at my job, and getting into a few different grad programs, I’ve been quite busy…but enough about me. I’ve got a few updates on a few things:

1. Three cheers for Obama for Lifting the Ban on Stem Cell Research, and for signing a bill that will help lower and control the cost of birth control. That being said, I still want to know what he is doing about Abstinence Only Education Funding…because to me, thats one of the most dangerous things still going on. So many unnecessary pregnancies and STIs, leading to financial and personal crises, simply for the fact that conservative America is embarrassed to talk about sex and thinks if they just ignore it, one of our greatest human instincts will somehow just..go away. 

2. March 10th was National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. This is important to me, because I work with a lot of HIV-positive clients on Medicaid. With Obama’s new Council on Women and Girls, I hope one of the top policy focuses if HIV/AIDS for women, particularly of color. As listed on HHS, AIDS is now the leading cause of death for Black women ages 25 to 34. That’s a scary statistic, particularly when its a disease that’s preventible with proper education, access, and policy/financial support. 

3. Kai Wright has a really great piece up at The Root about ‘Raisin In The Sun’ playwright Lorraine Hansberry, and how her homosexuality has been effectively erased from history. Wright compares the erasure of gay Americans, in this case a black playwright,  to the erasure of blacks from history (though one can make the comparison with SO many groups in American history).  There’s a great quote from Hansberry at the end:

 I have suspected for a good time that the homosexual in America would ultimately pay a price for the intellectual impoverishment of women. Men continue to misinterpret the second-rate status of women as implying a privileged status for themselves; heterosexuals think the same way about homosexuals; gentiles about Jews; whites about blacks; haves about have-nots.

WOC and The Great American Novel

Posted February 24, 2009 by aintiawoman
Categories: POC, silence, Uncategorized

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?