Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
not around my kids.
The Pink & Blue Project by JeongMee Yoon, by Sarahh, Apartment Therapy.
. . . The Korean artist's ongoing photographic series explores the links between cultural preferences, gender socialization, and identity through the bedrooms and belongings of various little boys and girls.
The "Pink & Blue Project" overwhelmingly reminds us of how socially ingrained the two colors are with set genders. Looking at Yoon's photos makes us want to send something blue to our friend and family's little daughters and something pink to their sons . . .
This is why I give my nieces and nephews non-gender-specific gifts. This is also why I won't be telling my family and friends the genders of my future babies until they pop out, or arrive, in the case of the acquired ones. I will be raising my kids in the manner of the Fabulous Child named X. My children are going to love their socially-nonconformist mother. And by "love", I mean "be thoroughly embarrassed by".
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Saturday, December 13, 2008
On Race and YA Lit, by Neesha Meminger, Racialicious.
. . . years ago when I was submitting my first (admittedly awful) manuscript to agents, some of the nicest rejections I received were accompanied with, “Your novel has much to love, but regrettably, we already have an Asian author for our list.”
Now I understand The Brushoff – I’ve provided plenty of those in my life and do not resent or judge other providers of same. But to be satisfied with ONE author representing an entire continent that consists of countries as varied as Korea, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan, and Nepal? Seriously?
All you have to do is stroll through the aisles of a bookstore to see that the fantasy, mystery, romance genres are stocked full. And not with fantasy, mystery, or romance by authors of Color. Those, if and when they exist, often get stocked in the African-American, Native-American, Asian-American, Latin-American, or Multicultural sections.
Given the choices that agents, publishers, and major bookstores make about what they acquire and how they promote it, does the market inform what gets published?
Or does what gets published actually inform the market?
It's the latter.
This week I had a related discussion with one of my male colleagues [Hello, and please leave a comment!] about women in television. It is the same argument I have with many male people about the representation of women in American media. Their side usually goes like this:
"I see women in television all the time. There's Lifetime, WE, Oxygen. Men only have Spike. Even though men comprise the leads on almost every scripted and nonscripted series on television, along with almost all the substantial secondary roles, that reflects the demand of the audience. If women demanded more TV shows about women, then networks would produce them. Studios and networks don't want to lose money. You shouldn't blame them for producing programming for men, by men and about men (specifically white, ostensibly heterosexual and Christian men) because that's what audiences want. Why do you hate capitalism?"
That was a compilation of sentiments, not direct quotes. During my last conversation like this, I wanted to start screaming and throwing things. It usually takes my Dirty Girls story to get the other person to accept that I have a valid, informed position about media representation, despite the fact that I've been writing about this for over two years and I have a degree in film production . But by that point in the discussion, the other person is irritated by a multitude of issues, mainly the fact that I won't back down because I know what I'm talking about.
Each time I have this conversation, I try to get better at it. Yet it still amazes me when people are oblivious to their own privilege and the effects that it has on everyone else. Which leads to the screaming inside my head.
Lack of demand does lead to certain shows getting canceled and certain books not flying off the shelves. However, if the people who control the supply of media don't believe that certain demographics exist (or would prefer that certain demographics didn't exist at all), the audience can never demand what they don't know about.
How does Anne Hathaway go from helping break barriers in Brokeback Mountain, to reinforcing stereotypes in Bride Wars?
bt-dubs, I started reading Twilight, and the experience has not been a good one. The pattern of physical and psychological abuse starts early for Bella and Edward.
"What if I'm not a superhero? What if I'm the bad guy?" [Edward] smiled playfully, but his eyes were impenetrable.
"Oh," I said, as several things he'd hinted fell suddenly into place. "I see."
"Do you?" His face was abruptly severe, as if he were afraid that he'd accidentally said too much.
"You're dangerous?" I guessed, my pulse quickening as I intuitively realized the truth of my own words. He was dangerous. He'd been trying to tell me that all along.
He just looked at me, eyes full of some emotion I couldn't comprehend.
"But not bad," I whispered, shaking my head. "No, I don't believe that you're bad."
"You're wrong." [. . .]
Umm . . .
[. . .] We were near the parking lot now. I veered left, toward my truck. Something caught my jacket, yanking me back.
"Where do you think you're going?" [Edward] asked, outraged. He was griping a fistful of my jacket in one hand.
I was confused. "I'm going home."
"Didn't you hear me promise to take you safely home? Do you think I'm going to let you drive in your condition?" His voice was still indignant.
"What condition? And what about my truck?" I complained.
"I'll have Alice drop it off after school." He was towing me toward his car now, pulling me by my jacket. It was all I could do to keep form falling backward. He'd probably just drag me along anyway if I did.
Oh, it continues.
"Let go!" I insisted. He ignored me. I staggered along sideway across the wet sidewalk until we reached the Volvo. Then he finally freed me -- I stumbled against the pasenger door.
"You are so pushy!" I grumbled.
"It's open," was all he responded. He got in the driver's side.
"I am perfectly capable of driving myself home!" I stood by the car, fuming. It was raining harder now, and I'd never put my hood up, so my hair was dripping down my back.
He lowered the automatic window and leaned toward me across the seat. "Get in, Bella."
I didn't answer. I was mentally calculating my chances of reaching the truck before he could catch me. I had to admit, they weren't good.
"I'll just drag you back," he threatened, guessing my plan.
I tried to maintain what dignity I could as I got into his car. I wasn't very successful -- I looked like a half-drowned cat and my boots squeaked.
This is in Chapter 5. I haven't gotten halfway through the book yet, and already the main character is being dragged across a parking lot by the twisted, emotionally-manipulative vampire that she is inexplicably in love with.
Readers, if your love interest tells you that he is "the bad guy", believe him. Then run as fast as you can in the opposite direction.
Saturday, December 06, 2008
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Seriously funny, by Jessica Valenti, The Irish Times.
. . . What's particularly radical about this humour isn't just that feminists aren't expected to be funny, but that women in general are so often accused of being humourless. Christopher Hitchens' 2007 Vanity Fair article "Why Women Aren't Funny" [referenced by me here] caused a storm of both approval and opprobrium, and was just the latest in a long line of male swipes at women's comedic ability - there are dozens of websites dedicated to just how unfunny women supposedly are.
And these attitudes can be a big problem for women entering the industry.
Comedian Kathy Griffin, star of the reality show My Life on the D-List, has said that "the level of profound sexism in stand-up is so extreme and so high; not only is [the male-to-female ratio] not 50/50 in the comedy world . . . it's like 90/10." At the root of this culture seems to be the fact that, as Joan Rivers once noted, "men find funny women threatening". Any woman who wields her wit is refusing to be put in her place. . . .
I need my own show.
I was watching The Suze Orman Show a few weeks ago, as I am prone to do, and I just don't know what is wrong with some people. Most of the guests that talk to Suze in the first segment usually want help and are eager to take Suze's sound advice. However, last night's guest was living in a fantasy world inspired by The Real Housewives of Orange County. She and her husband were emerged in a lifestyle that cost them twice what they earned per month. They also had over $230,000 of credit card debt. Yet this woman, who was physically on the show asking Suze, wanted to ignore Suze's advice. Instead of selling everything and moving into a small apartment that her family could afford, she wanted to keep the overstuffed, overblown mansion and the belongings that she didn't actually own.
This week, a woman called in to the "Can I Afford It?" segment and wanted to spend $1200 on a professional resume writer. $1200? Ummm . . .
People need to call into my imaginary show so I can give them advice. Here are the exclamations that you will hear from me every Saturday night from 6:00 to 7:00 pm:
- Preach the word, Suze!
- That's what I'm saying!
- Don't get a second mortgage to lease a second car!
- Sign the prenup!
- Get your own retirement account!
- You can't live in your vintage sports car/Chanel bag/used speedboat/Christian Louboutin shoes!
- Move your money out of the stock market if you are ready to retire!
- How are you calling into The Suze Orman Show with credit card debt? Pay off your credit cards!
Unfortunately the people who call Suze can't hear me through the TV.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
hanging out with people who know why it is bizarre to only have friends who look exactly like you.
Seriously. It has been difficult to find someone who doesn't think it is normal and natural to primarily associate with people who look like you, regardless of whether those people have anything else in common with you.
Here is a story to illustrate my situation and my point. Let's say I moved to a new neighborhood named Sesame Street. Who are the people in your neighborhood? There are Big Birds and Snuffleupaguses and Counts and various monsters and domestic partners and grouches. Let's say I'm a frog. I could hang out with Kermit and his nephew Robin, but they are often busy with The Muppet Show on another set. I could hang out with the other characters in my neighborhood, who seem nice overall. The problem is, those characters tend to segregate themselves by gender or by category: the boys, the monsters, the birds, the grouches. It's hard enough to break into a clique. It's even harder when many of these characters have never before met--much less befriended--any frogs before; and previously, their closest encounter was with those burping Budweiser frogs from the TV.
So, if 1) the other frogs are rarely in my neighborhood, and 2) the people in my neighborhood are confuzzled by frogs in general, then who am I supposed to hang out with? :(
I encourage you readers to take an honest look at the people in your lives. If you look to your left, then you look to your right, and your closest friends are near carbon copies of you--down to the highlights in your hair, or the lack of hair all together--you should think about that. Just like the employees at Enron failed to diversify their 401K portfolios, your homogeneous friend investment could lead to high vulnerability. But most importantly, frogs are super nice and sometimes shy, so you should try to include them, i.e., me. :)
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
'Twilight' redefines the meaning of 'chick flick', AP via Yahoo! News.
Someone needs to remind me of the original meaning, because I thought this movie was about some dude agonizing over being a vampire. Does "chick flick" [that phrase makes me want to vomit] now mean "any movie featuring a woman in a speaking role"?
Merriam-Webster's online dictionary defines chick flick as "a motion picture intended to appeal especially to women." But "Twilight" is no lightweight date movie — instead, it's a real-girl's chick flick, where a normal-looking teenager finds romance with a modern (if undead) Prince Charming.
"It's the most insanely romantic film since ' The Notebook ,'" said Harry Medved, a spokesman for Fandango.com, who described Pattinson's Edward Cullen as "the ideal boyfriend. ... He's incredibly strong, superfast, impossibly handsome, he plays the piano and all he cares about is what's on her mind."
So much to unpack, so little time. Main point: I am tired of so-called journalists expressing shock at the fact that women go to movies, and subsequently categorizing any movie that women watch with a condescending label. Also, regarding "some of the top-grossing chick flicks in recent years", what part of High School Musical 3 translated to any definition of "chick flick" [retching]? It was a movie with actors in their 20s playing kids in high school, that was watched by kids in elementary school.
Monday, November 24, 2008
It was awesome for many reasons. Here are the top two:
1. Kevin came back! He made a surprise appearance during the last song, "Shape of My Heart."
2. Going to this concert with my friends helped me feel better about who I am and what I am about. Apparently I'm all about Backstreet Boys. I will have to add that to my value proposition, because it needs some padding right about now.
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Will Michelle Obama Spark the Next 'Mommy Wars' Skirmish?, by PunditMom, BlogHer.
The momification of Michelle Obama, by Rebecca Traister, Salon.
The Associated Press wondered what kind of first lady Michelle will be, and concludes, "the kind of first lady this country has not seen in decades." You mean, the kind with a high-powered job? No, "the mother of young children." True enough, and the AP story did include the fact that Michelle is known to be her husband's closest advisor. But it made sure to emphasize the campaign's assertions that "she is not interested in shaping policy or reserving a seat for herself at her husband's decision-making table. She prefers, at least for now, to focus on easing the transition for Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7 -- getting them in new schools, settled and comfortable with a new way of life." Indeed, Michelle herself has been flogging the term "mom-in-chief" as the cheerily unthreatening title she'll assume when she gets to the White House . . .
. . . Prior to Hillary Clinton, we'd never had a first lady who had a post-graduate degree. Michelle Obama went to college at Princeton and law school at Harvard. She was a practicing lawyer at the Chicago firm Sidley Austin when she was assigned to mentor the summer associate who would become her husband. She was his mentor . . .
In one of the smartest pieces that has been written about the next first lady, Geraldine Brooks' profile of her in the October issue of More magazine, Brooks writes that while you can see Michelle's life as the quintessential modern woman's success story, the trajectory can also be read as a "depressingly retrograde narrative of stifling gender roles and frustrating trade-offs." In serious ways, Brooks writes, "it is her husband's career, his choices -- choices she has not always applauded -- that have shaped her life in the last decade."
I am so tired. I'm tired of women in my media regressing to roles befitting Leave it to Beaver or The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet or even I Dream of Jeannie. These women have powers far beyond those of their male partners. Yet these women choose to play down their powers as much as they can so as not to overshadow their men.
I didn't look hard enough to find similar articles about Pam on The Office, so I'll summarize the situation. (You can watch the latest episode, "Frame Toby", on the NBC website, until it is taken away.) Pam leaves her receptionist job in Scranton, PA, (yes, that Scranton) to attend art school in New York City for three months, where she can exercise her notable talent. At the end of three months, Pam fails a class and must decide whether to stay in New York to retake it. Instead of continuing to follow her dream, she returns to Scranton, to her receptionist job at a failing company, so that she can be with her fiancé Jim, who is stuck in a dead-end career at the same company. Jim then buys his parents' crumbling house--thereby acquiring major debt in a depreciating investment vehicle during a recession [look at my fancy book-learning!]--and "surprises" Pam with it. And Pam . . . loves it? Her exact words are, "You bought me a house!"
Yeah, no. I understand that the writers of The Office had to lock down Jim and Pam in Scranton so that the series could continue. However, the series has now passed the point of plausibility in many regards, including the Jim and Pam story. The writers have given no explanation for why Jim couldn't move to New York and accelerate his career at the corporate office; the corporate executives already want him to work there. That way Jim could be with Pam, and support Pam's dreams to work as a skilled artist in New York. But no, they are both back in Scranton. Why? So that they can be Ozzie and Harriet.
It leads me back to the First Lady and President-elect, and to what I was talking about in August, when the John Edwards scandal was a-buzzing. At the moment, I am working so hard in so many ways to make my career and my life successful. Yet the most prominently featured woman in the United States media has traded in her higher education to become Donna Reed. I hadn't thought about this before, but there is going to be someone in the White House who looks like me. That should be cause for celebration. I'm sure people think I'm jazzed about First Lady Michelle Obama. But I'm not. Because I see exactly what's going on. Michelle Obama is being painted as someone's wife/mom/decorator. Or, as in the case of The Stephanie Miller Show yesterday morning, she is categorized as a black woman with a large behind. And in many ways, Michelle Obama isn't challenging that characterization.
"The primary focus for the first year will be making sure that the kids make it through the transition," [Michelle Obama] said, sitting alongside her husband [on 60 Minutes]. "But there are many issues that I care deeply about." She cited two that she focused on during the campaign: Military families, and the work-family balance.
One part of these situations that irks me greatly is the complicity of the men involved. Rebecca Traister calls it "crucial (and heartening)". However, silence is acceptance, no matter how much Barack Obama acknowledges "that Michelle's challenges in these coming years may not be much fun for her." Don't sit there watching your wife's career and individual identity slip away from her; do something about it.
. . . In "The Audacity of Hope," he describes the gradual tipping of the professional scales in his relationship with Michelle, as she allows him to become a distraction, and then a date, and then a husband and a father, at the same time that he is becoming a politician. At first, he writes, they were both "working hard," he as a civil rights lawyer and a professor, she for the city and at Public Allies. Then they had Malia, and "the strains in our relationship began to show."
When he launched his congressional run, Barack writes, "Michelle put up no pretense of being happy with the decision. My failure to clean up the kitchen suddenly became less endearing. Leaning down to kiss Michelle good-bye in the morning, all I would get was a peck on the cheek. By the time Sasha was born ... my wife's anger toward me seemed barely contained."
Barack continues, "No matter how liberated I liked to see myself as -- no matter how much I told myself that Michelle and I were equal partners, and that her dreams and ambitions were as important as my own -- the fact was that when children showed up, it was Michelle and not I who was expected to make the necessary adjustments. Sure, I helped, but it was always on my terms, on my schedule. Meanwhile, she was the one who had to put her career on hold." Barack considers his dawning realization that in his wife, as in so many working women, there was a battle raging. "In her own mind, two visions of herself were at war with each other," he writes. "The desire to be the woman her mother had been, solid, dependable, making a home and always there for her kids, and the desire to excel in her profession, to make her mark on the world and realize all those plans she'd had on the very first day that we met."
What a touching story. He tried to help. It's so sad that Barack Obama hands were tied by his own naked ambition. I must dab the tears from my eyes.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Stevens loses Alaska Senate race, by Michael R. Blood, AP via Yahoo! News.
Sen. Ted Stevens, the longest serving Republican in Senate history, narrowly lost his re-election bid Tuesday, marking the downfall of a Washington political power and Alaska icon who couldn't survive a conviction on federal corruption charges. His defeat by Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich moves Senate Democrats within two seats of a filibuster-proof 60-vote majority.
Stevens' ouster on his 85th birthday marks an abrupt realignment in Alaska politics and will alter the power structure in the Senate, where he has served since the days of the Johnson administration while holding seats on some of the most influential committees in Congress.
This is the same Senator Ted Stevens who fought for the Bridges to Nowhere and against using that money to help repair bridge damage from Hurricane Katrina.
The crotchety octogenarian [There's no need for editorializing, Mr. Blood, regardless of how accurate.] built like a birch sapling likes to encourage comparisons with the Incredible Hulk, but he occupies an outsized place in Alaska history. His involvement in politics dates to the days before Alaska statehood, and he is esteemed for his ability to secure billions of dollars in federal aid for transportation and military projects. The Anchorage airport bears his name; in Alaska, it's simply "Uncle Ted."
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Showdown looming in Congress of automaker rescue, by Stephen Ohlemacher, AP via Google News. Emphases mine.
Hardline opponents of an auto industry bailout branded the industry a "dinosaur" whose "day of reckoning" is near, while Democrats pledged Sunday to do their best to get Detroit a slice of the $700 billion Wall Street rescue in this week's lame-duck session of Congress.
The companies are seeking $25 billion from the financial industry bailout for emergency loans, though supporters of the aid for General Motors Corp., Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC have offered to reduce the size of the rescue to win backing in Congress . . .
. . . Sens. Richard Shelby of Alabama and Jon Kyl of Arizona said it would be a mistake to use any of the Wall Street rescue money to prop up the automakers because a bailout would only postpone the industry's demise.
"Companies fail everyday and others take their place. I think this is a road we should not go down," said Shelby, the senior Republican on the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee. "They're not building the right products," he said. "They've got good workers but I don't believe they've got good management. They don't innovate. They're a dinosaur in a sense."
Added Kyl, the Senate's second-ranking Republican: "Just giving them $25 billion doesn't change anything. It just puts off for six months or so the day of reckoning."
If you do agree with bailing out General Motors, I suggest you watch Who Killed the Electric Car?, and then reevaluate your opinion.
There is no need to give corrupt millionaires and billionaires even more taxpayer money.
Sunday, November 09, 2008
Because they are women and comedians. Not because half of them are British.
So many insights. If only more people had told me that I was funny when I was growing up. Now I get to be a later-in-life funny lady.
Yesterday I was greeted with this questionable, newsy article on the Yahoo! front page: Obama victory opens door to new black identity, by Jesse Washington, AP via Yahoo! News.
Before Tuesday, black identity and community were largely rooted in the shared experience of the struggle — real or perceived — [Apparently my struggle is now perceived] against a hostile white majority. Even as late as Election Day, many blacks still harbored deep doubts about whether whites would vote for Obama.
Obama's overwhelming triumph cast America in a different light. There was no sign of the "Bradley Effect," when whites mislead pollsters about their intent to vote for black candidates. Nationwide, Obama collected 44 percent of the white vote, more than John Kerry, Al Gore or even Bill Clinton, exit polls show . . .
. . . Certainly racism did not disappear after Obama's white votes were counted. No one is claiming that black culture and pride and community are no longer valuable. Many also dismiss the idea of a "post-racial" America as long as blacks and other minorities are still disproportionately afflicted by disparities in income, education, health, incarceration and single parenthood.
But white groups that once faced discrimination, such as the Italians, Jews and Irish, have moved from the margins to the mainstream. America debated whether John F. Kennedy could become the first Catholic president; now that's a historical footnote.
If I ever again have to hear someone mention groups of white people who had been discriminated against in the past, and then equate them with black people who continue to be discriminated against in the present, it will be too soon. There are historical differences amongst various oppressed ethnic groups, and it is unwise to ignore those differences. For instance, the ancestors of Italian Americans, Jewish Americans, Irish Americans and Catholic Americans (some of whom are all the same people) came to the United States relatively voluntarily. Whereas the ancestors of many (though not all) black Americans did not come to the United States voluntarily; they just happened to survive the Middle Passage.
This seemingly endless election and the final results have reminded me of something Wanda Sykes said in her Comedy Central Presents special. She repeated in her book, Yeah, I Said It:
I'm not politically correct. I still say black. I say it because with African American, there's no bonus. It doesn't make your life any easier. You don't see black people standing around, saying, "Oh yeah, African American. Man, I'll tell ya, this beats the hell outta being black. We should've made the switch years ago. Oh, this is nice."
You don't see any of us going into Bank of America, "Excuse me, I'm here to pick up my loan."
"Uh, Ms. Sykes, you were rejected for that loan last week."
"Oh, that was last week. I was black then. See, I'm African American now. I'll just go in the vault and take what I need. I'll sign on my way out."
African American ain't helping nobody. You think Rodney King's black ass is sitting somewhere, saying, "Damn, if I just would have waited two years before I acted a fool, they wouldn't have been beating my black ass. I would have been African American." . . .
According to CNN's exit polls, 10% of the 2,240 respondents who voted on Proposition 8 were "African-American". 70% of those people voted yes on Proposition 8. Which means that 7% of the respondents who voted yes on Proposition 8 were black. Conversely, 93% of the respondents who voted yes on Proposition 8 were not black. 93%. And yet, black people are getting most of the blame.
Using the same data and method of calculation, here are some more statistics: Of the respondents who voted Yes on Proposition 8,
- 19% were white Republicans
- 25% were conservatives
- 25% approved of the war in Iraq
- 27% attended church weekly
- 30% voted for Bush in 2004
- 32% voted for McCain in 2008
- 37% were married
But it's still the black people's fault because . . . ?
Here's what Renee has to say about the situation: Black Friendly When We Need You, Womanist Musings via Feministe.
When other so-called justice programs needs us, they remind us of the ways in which we are marginalized and attempt to point out that their exclusion is the same. You know what I'm talking about, the "it's just like Rosa Parks line." This often makes me want to ask, really are you sure? It seems that white people have a history of knowing what blacks go thorough on a daily basis when it is convenient for them to admit the ways in which they discriminate against POC. When they want something from us, like a vote on a bill, organizing help, or even a gopher to make coffee they suddenly are so understanding of what blacks are dealing with.
The rest of the time we get told about how equal the world is; yes the wonderful post racial world that we have been informed that we are all living in. With the election of Obama we have even been flatly told that we have no excuses left for being at the bottom of the race and class hierarchy. White people have been decent enough to put aside their racial hatred and therefore blacks should just buck up and deal with the high level of incarceration, bad schools, inequity in employment, etc and etc., It's socially unacceptable to say nigger today, as that is the mark of a bigot; however the other ways in which blacks are disenfranchised are socially deemed a figment of our collective imaginations.
It seems it does not matter what the social movement is, as long as it is represented by white people, POC are ignored until needed. If you look at the advertising campaigns, or organizing patterns for gay rights, fat phobia, animal rights, and feminism, all have a tendency to ignore POC. Our specific interests within the movements are ignored in order to present a white image to the world. Somehow the idea that whites are facing discrimination is supposed to make the world stand up and take notice, yet the idea that blacks may be dealing with multiple areas of stigmatizations at the same time is unimportant . . .
. . . As I am watching the backlash from the GLBT community regarding PROP 8, I am filled with so much anger and sadness. Where is the angst for the white voters who supported PROP 8? The GLBT community spent no time in black churches, community centres or neighbourhoods and yet they expected to be supported. You cannot call upon us for convenience sake, and then shove us back into the closet (yes intentional choice of words) when we are no longer needed.
A gay black man or woman irregardless of race is still gay and some white members have turned this into a hostile movement for them. Where is the sense of community in this? What these organizers fail to realize is that they have precious little connection with POC [People of Color] to begin with, and if they begin with the racist taunts they will alienate the few supporters that they already have. This is a time when they need to be reaching out to POC to make a bridge that they never attempted to build in the first place, and yet descending into racial politics is the route that has been chosen. This is a myopic policy that will only serve to push gay rights even further back . . .
I hear that, dude.
Saturday, November 08, 2008
I learn so much from 30 Rock. Apparently it's illegal to be black in Arizona. Good to know.
I could totally be a 12-year old Oprah, bringing black men and white women together. Wait a minute . . .
Thursday, November 06, 2008
Why Gay Marriage Was Defeated in California, by John Cloud, Time magazine via Yahoo! News.
. . . Gays came back in some polls, but they couldn't pull out a win. Part of the reason is that Obama inspired unprecedented numbers of African Americans to vote. Polls show that black voters are more likely to attend church than whites and less likely to be comfortable with equality for gay people. According to CNN, African Americans voted against marriage equality by a wide margin, 69% to 31%. High turnout of African Americans in Florida probably help explain that state's lopsided vote to ban same-sex weddings . . .
Let's take this one section at a time.
". . . Gays came back in some polls, but they couldn't pull out a win. Part of the reason is that Obama inspired unprecedented numbers of African Americans to vote."
So Obama inspired black people to vote against gays? What about the gay people he inspired to vote for him? What about the black gay people he inspired to vote for him? And what about the nongay, nonblack people who voted for Obama but also voted for Proposition 8? Why is there consistently this overblown, overrated tension created by the media pitting groups against each other. It's getting as bad as the fabricated Mommy Wars stories that pop up every year.
"Polls show that black voters are more likely to attend church than whites and less likely to be comfortable with equality for gay people."
Did someone miss the past eight years with groups like Focus on the Family and the the Christian Coalition practically running the US political agenda? I don't think most of those people are black, but I do think many of them are uncomfortable about equality for gay people.
"According to CNN, African Americans voted against marriage equality by a wide margin, 69% to 31%."
What the linked CNN article actually says is, "African-Americans voted for Proposition 8 by a 69 percent to 31 percent margin." Meaning, 69% of African-American California voters supported Proposition 8; not African-Americans in general voted against marriage equality. There is a difference. One sentence is a statistic, while the other is a misleading generalization.
"High turnout of African Americans in Florida probably help explain that state's lopsided vote to ban same-sex weddings."
That's not what the linked Boston Globe article said. Here is what was actually stated:
". . . They were the kind of voters who gave Obama victories in key battleground states nationwide. In Florida, as elsewhere, turnout was especially strong in many African-American precincts yesterday. Tamika Ruffin, 29, a third grade teacher, said she was thinking of her brother as she cast her vote for Obama at the Blessed Trinity Catholic Church in a middle-class section of St. Petersburg. "He's going to give young black men and boys some self-esteem and hope," she said . . . "
The article mentioned nothing about the ban on same-sex weddings, nor did it attempt to put the blame on black people. Yet Mr. Cloud jumped to that conclusion all on his own and had the backing of both Time magazine and Yahoo!. Lovely.
Here is one more selection from Mr. Cloud:
"The entire New York legislature is now in Democratic hands, and New York's governor, David Paterson, is one of the nation's most eloquent pro-marriage-equality representatives. He is also, by the way, African American. Perhaps he can help bridge the gap between gays and blacks that widened on Nov. 4."
bt-dubs, y'all, there's a black guy in the Governor's Mansion. In New York. Even though I thought we were talking about propositions in California and Florida. Apparently black people will listen to any leader from any state, just as long as that leader is black.
I will say this again, Mr. Cloud: There are people who are both gay and black. Just like there are people who are both black and female. People can be more than one thing at the same time. Stop feeding into the myth that the black people are keeping the gay people down. There are some issues to be resolved, but we didn't start the fire. DOMA was signed into law back in 1996 by one of your pale brethren. And P.S.: Your gay brethren have some strong words for you, too.
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Last night Senator Barack Obama got elected President of the United States. As of this morning, Californians have voted 52% to 48% to ban gay marriage. Here is what commenter Erik had to say on Feministe about these two situations:
At least some commentators are suggesting that what pushed Prop 8 over the top was African-American voters coming out to vote for Obama. I think we need more analysis to really say this, but there’s no question that there’s a lot of work to be done in the African-American community on LGBT issues.
Really, idiot? We black people don't have a monopoly on hate. Although, that is the impression one would get from reading articles in the mainstream media.
From Yahoo! News:
Exit polls for The Associated Press found that Proposition 8 received critical support from black voters who flocked to the polls to support Barack Obama for president. About seven in 10 blacks voted in favor of the ban, while Latinos also supported it and whites were split.
From The Christian Science Monitor:
Supporters of same-sex marriage may have been hurt by the enthusiastic turnout among African-Americans for president-elect Barack Obama. CNN exit polls found black voters affirming Proposition 8 by a 70-to-30 margin. Whites and Latinos, however, were nearly evenly split.
"African-Americans are less supportive of same-sex marriage and more uncomfortable with the whole idea of gay rights than are whites," says Patrick Egan, a New York University professor of politics who has studied the issue. However, in previous years, exit polling found blacks no more likely than whites to vote for same-sex marriage bans, suggesting a reticence to take away rights.
From U.S. News & World Report:
The first results showing Proposition 8 leading were posted while Obama took the stage in Chicago to give his acceptance speech. Many same-sex-marriage supporters here were struck by the irony of the moment: While Obama represented a symbolic victory over historic discrimination, gay couples in California appeared to be losing the same battle. According to exit polls, in addition to widespread support among conservatives in the state, huge turnout among African-Americans may have played a role in the defeat of same-sex marriage. Seventy percent of blacks told pollsters they voted for the ban.
One of the many things that has been scarcely reported is where the monetary support for Proposition 8 is coming from.
From The Christian Science Monitor:
. . . one prominent organization that had entered the fray in support of Proposition 8 hasn’t escaped unscathed either. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (LDS) agreed to join a coalition that included other religious groups to advocate for the ban. Mormon leaders in Salt Lake City sent a letter in June asking church members in California to work for its passage.
Last I checked, there weren't that many black Mormons, except for the ones in my family. Yeah. I'm also doubtful of a large black population in the Knights of Columbus or in Focus on the Family, despite the imagery of the article.
Even if every black person in California voted for Proposition 8, we only make up less than 7 percent of the population of California. That means if the approximately 2.4 million of us black people--including the children and the people not registered to vote--all voted for Proposition 8, we still wouldn't make up half of the 5.3 million votes that were cast in favor of Proposition 8.
Simply put, there is no logical reason to blame black people for the passage of Proposition 8. And yet our media is perpetuating the message that since we black people were all obviously out voting for Barack Obama, we black people were all obviously out voting for Proposition 8 as well. Because we black people love the church and hate the gays. Right. Thank you, mainstream media, for your fair and balanced coverage.
Obama's victory caps struggles of previous generations. Hooray!
New Congress turns more -- much more -- Democratic. Hooray!
Prop. 2, animal protection measure, wins. Hooray for the animals that we're going to eat?
Early numbers favor same sex marriage ban in California. What?
I would like to note that over 6 million Californians voted to protect the animals, while under 5 million Californians voted to protect the rights of their fellow human beings.
Some may say, "you should be happy about the first black guy in the White House." Well, I am happy that the reign of terror will be over soon. However, the video below displays one of the many reasons why I continue to be concerned, nay disappointed, in the direction of this country, especially with two men in charge who think that some people should be separate but equal:
Monday, November 03, 2008
but that video is embarassing. I never saw the whole thing until today. I had to make sure it wasn't three guys parodying 911's "Love Sensation" video from 1996. It wasn't. That's really 911, prancing around a carnival, performing poorly choreographed dance moves on a suspension. I knew it was the real video when I saw Casper the Ghost, because the song was on the soundtrack for Casper: A Spirited Beginning. I had exquisite taste in music at age 15.
Sunday, November 02, 2008
Thanks for stopping by! I encourage you to peruse the Best Posts Ever down on the right side of your screen, and please leave comments.
Here is my favorite headline of the day: 'Zack and Miri' Banned in Utah, by Jonathan Crow, Yahoo! Movies.
If you're looking forward to seeing Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks in director Kevin Smith's new R-rated comedy "Zack and Miri Make a Porno" this weekend and you live in Salt Lake City, you might be out of luck. Utah Jazz and Megaplex Theaters owner Larry Miller has refused to book the film. The chain's spokesman Cal Gunderson expressed concerns about the film with The New York Post, citing the film's "graphic nudity and graphic sex" and that it was "too close to an NC-17."
The company's standards seem a little odd considering that the chain had no problems screening ultra-violent fare like "Saw V," which features beheadings and explicit self-mutilation. When asked why Megaplex Theaters did not object to the gory horror sequel, Gunderson had no comment . . .
Monday, October 27, 2008
Republicans in biz feel stifled, bullied, by Paul Bond, The Hollywood Reporter.
. . . there are many who are trying to make Hollywood more accommodating to political diversity. Andrew Breitbart is one. At his Breitbart.com, he's launching a "Big Hollywood" blog with 40 industry conservatives tasked with -- among other things -- highlighting liberal intolerance.
"There's an undeniably vicious attitude against those who dissent," Breitbart said. "Hollywood is the most predictable place on the planet, not exclusively because of politics but because of narrow-mindedness."
Breitbart maintains that liberals have pushed conservatives too hard in Hollywood and that Americans have noticed. His intent is "to stop the bullying."
One "Big Hollywood" blogger is Andrew Klavan, an accomplished novelist-screenwriter who made a splash with a Wall Street Journal article comparing Batman and the "The Dark Knight" to President Bush and the war on terror.
"It's not easy being different," he said. "The liberals aren't all that liberal. We think they're wrong, but they think we're evil, and they behave like it."
. . . If you lean right, pitch to those who are sympathetic, or at least tolerant of conservative viewpoints, Klavan said. Mel Gibson, Jerry Bruckheimer and Joel Surnow come to mind.
As white male writers in Hollywood, it must be difficult for Mr. Klavan and Mr. Breitbart to feel like they fit in. Oh, wait . . .
When you consider Mel Gibson as one of your sociopolitical peers, there is something wrong with you. Also, if we "liberals" think you conservatives are evil, well . . . All I can say is that these people aren't helping your cause.
Friday, October 24, 2008
The scene below is from Designing Women, Season 3, Episode 20, “Stand and Fight”.
Mary Jo: If kicking a man is such great defense technique, how come you almost never see that on TV? I mean, you’re all the time seeing women get raped, but you almost never see a man get kicked there.
Charlene: Oh, I can answer that. Because the TV network censors won’t allow it. I mean, at least that’s the way it used to be.
Mary Jo: How do you know that?
Charlene: Well, because Rhonda Fay Knuckles, who graduated high school with me in Poplar Bluff, is in fact married to a network censor. Which in itself is incredible since Rhonda Fay had the filthiest mouth of anyone I ever knew. I mean, she would even answer roll call with, “None of your damn business.”
Mary Jo: That’s incredible.
Charlene: I know.
Mary Jo: No, no. That they can show a woman being raped on TV, but they can’t show woman defending herself by kicking a man in a certain . . . sensitive area. You know what gets me even more is that twisted ankle business. That is so annoying.
Suzanne: What twisted ankle business?
Mary Jo: Oh, you know how they always show some young, blond thing in high heels with her bosom popping out of the dress. You know, running away from some monster or killer or something. And she’s doing pretty good, she’s making pretty good time, until [Mary Jo snaps] she twists that ankle. And then she just lies there till the monster polishes her off. I mean, I guess that’s what you get for having big breasts and running around on three-inch stilts.
Suzanne: What do you want her to do, Mary Jo? Stand up and beat the tar out of Frankenstein?
Mary Jo: Yes! I want a movie where some woman stands up and beats the tar out of Frankenstein. Or Jason or Freddy Krueger or whatever, and does it before her friends get killed. I want a movie where a woman with a gun knows how to use it, and doesn’t let some man wrench it out of her wimpy little wrist. I want a movie where the hero is Charlene, not Charles Bronson.
Charlene: I kinda like that idea.
I really like that idea. I am tired of seeing women attacked in my media. I was so upset when I was watching Mad Men earlier this week. You can see clips from the episode, "The Mountain King", explained by Creator/Executive Producer Matthew Weiner here. Or, you can watch the entire episode here. The AMC website describes the scene as such:
In Don's office the same afternoon, [Joan's fiancé Greg] asks Joan to "pretend I'm your boss" and forces himself upon her despite her protest that "this isn't fun." He pins her to the floor, saying, "This is what you want, right?"
Way to euphemize, AMC. Apparently the network has no problem showing a rape on screen, but heaven forbid they put the word "rape" in print.
After the scene aired, I could barely finish my breakfast, and breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I quickly remembered the following study that I found earlier this year on Feministing:
A recent report by NOW-NYC's Women and Girls in the Media Committee (WAGM) uncovered the startling fact that a number of films in circulation today fail to accurately warn against the sexual content they contain. The Motion Picture Association of America is in charge of assigning detailed and precise ratings to films. And they are not doing their job.
In response, WAGM spearheaded a campaign aimed at the MPAA and its failure to include warnings of rape and/or sexually aggressive behavior in movies where these abominable acts are clearly depicted. The committee compiled a list of 144 films released between January 1996 and March 2006 that had received either an R or NC-17 rating with mention of sexual content, but no specific mention of rape or sexually aggressive behavior (which we have defined as any non-consensual sexual contact/behavior that does not result in sexual penetration). Of the 144 films screened, 31 depict rapes or attempted rapes, and 66 contain characters that are victims of sexually aggressive behavior.
I read the actual media report, and what troubled me was that many of the 31 films that depicted rapes or attempted rapes were mainstream R-rated films, like Con Air, The Good Girl, The Craft, and Disturbing Behavior. One could argue that these films reflect the American culture of rape. However, I am more concerned about these films--and television shows and videos and commercials and advertisements--normalizing rape and perpetuating the image of women as victims.
When I saw Joan's fiancé smashing her face into the carpet as he attacked her on screen, I felt demoralized. I saw the physical act of slut-shaming: Joan's fiancé was angered by 1) Joan's numerous past partners, and 2) the fact that she likes to be on top. So he attacked her.
I doubt that Matthew Weiner consciously knew he was doing this, but he effectively punished the show's strongest female character for owning her sexuality. In the process of attempting to elicit the viewers' sympathy for Joan's tragic situation, the show also reinforced the message that eventually, women who enjoy sex will always get what's coming to them. And not in a good way. :(
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Oh yeah, he was banging the drums for war.
Powell endorses Obama as 'transformational', by Mike Allen and Jonathan Martin, Politico via Yahoo! News and Meet the Press.
. . . Now, I understand what politics is all about. I know how you can go after one another, and that's good. But I think this goes too far. And I think it has made the McCain campaign look a little narrow. It's not what the American people are looking for. And I look at these kinds of approaches to the campaign and they trouble me. And the party has moved even further to the right, and Governor Palin has indicated a further rightward shift. I would have difficulty with two more conservative appointments to the Supreme Court, but that's what we'd be looking at in a McCain administration. I'm also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, "Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer's no, that's not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, "He's a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists." This is not the way we should be doing it in America.
I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards--Purple Heart, Bronze Star--showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn't have a Christian cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I'm troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions . . .
Then came an exchange which irritated me, and also provided an excellent example of white privilege:
MR. [TOM] BROKAW: And you are fully aware that there will be some--how many, no one can say for sure--but there will be some who will say this is an African-American, distinguished American, supporting another African-American because of race.
GEN. POWELL: If I had only had that in mind, I could have done this six, eight, 10 months ago. I really have been going back and forth between somebody I have the highest respect and regard for, John McCain, and somebody I was getting to know, Barack Obama. And it was only in the last couple of months that I settled on this. And I can't deny that it will be a historic event for an African-American to become president. And should that happen, all Americans should be proud--not just African-Americans, but all Americans--that we have reached this point in our national history where such a thing could happen. It will also not only electrify our country, I think it'll electrify the world.
I wish Mr. Brokaw would have asked me that question so I could have given him a good what-for on national TV. How dare he ask such a racist question? How many white men have endorsed other white male politicians throughout the history of the United States? Has anyone ever dared to ask people like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Joe Lieberman if they were endorsing someone like John McCain because they are all white men? No. I have never heard that. Ever. But let a retired General and former Secretary of State endorse a US Senator who is leading the polls in the Presidential race, and the question that pops into Tom Brokaw's mind is, "you're not doing this because you're both black, right?".
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Per the end of the video, I think a sizeable portion of my readership is special white women (maybe even more than five), and they already know how much I care. So, you're welcome. :)
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Mark Wahlberg Slams "Saturday Night Live", The Huffington Post via Yahoo!.
Someone showed it to me on YouTube. It wasn't like Tina Fey doing Sarah Palin, that's for sure. And "Saturday Night Live" hasn't been funny for a long time. They've asked me to do the show a ton of times. I used to watch it when Eddie Murphy was there and Joe Piscopo and Bill Murray. I don't even know who's on the show now.
Admittedly, SNL has not been funny for a long time. However, I am still laughing at this sketch. Andy does a good Marky Mark. Mr. Wahlberg should be happy that someone thinks he is still relevant enough to mimic. I'd be honored if Andy Samberg wanted to do me. Wait a minute . . .
Friday, October 10, 2008
(Skip to 2:16 for the reference. Darn you, AIG.)
This morning I clicked on the Shine link on left side of my Yahoo! front page. The About Us section of Shine includes the following:
When we started talking about creating a new website for women, we wanted to avoid all of the common categories that advertisers or marketers tend to put us in. We didn’t want to be a site just for moms or just for single women or working women, or any specific demo- or psychographic. We wanted to create a smart, dynamic place for women to gather, get info and to connect with each other and the world around them . . .
. . . We’ve got a woman campaigning for the top job in the country, female bloggers now outnumber men, and we’ve got Tina Fey writing a hit network show for goodness sakes. We no longer need to stand by passively as the media portrays us as fashion-obsessed diet victims. With the internet as our megaphone, we can now portray ourselves as funny, opinionated women who are in charge of our incomes, careers, families and happiness.
So what you won’t find on Shine: Advice on how to please your man and diets that urge you to "lose 10 pounds fast!" . . .
But then I scrolled down Shine's frontpage and found the following headlines under the love + sex section:
Is there such a thing as an "ugly vagina"?
I need advice: Spit or swallow?
I spent the next few minutes yelling at my computer screen. Then I wondered, Is this really "a smart, dynamic place for women"? I certainly have more pressing issues to ponder than "an ugly vage". For instance, the illegal occupation of Iraq, or the genocide in Darfur, or the 2008 US Presidential election. Shine does address our current political state with the following front and center article: Obama v. McCain: A fashion face-off, subtitled, "First Lady Fashion Smackdown".
I do some advice for Ms. Vajajay and the Concerned Spitter. If you are with a gentleman--and I use that term loosely--who insults your vagina or gets upset when you don't swallow his ejaculate, then kick him to the curb. Tell him "to the left", and keep it moving. Your partner should see you as more than an eager-to-please sperm receptacle. Moreover, you should see yourself as more than that. Stop trying to figure out what someone else might like. Figure out what you want and what makes you happy. Then go from there.
Those Shine people should hire me. I am an expert at giving advice about issues which I have no experience in.
Sunday, October 05, 2008
This is how the debate actually went! Joe Biden behaved himself well, considering he was up against the offspring of Gomer Pyle and Jed Clampett. However, no gay marriage? Still? Really? Joe Biden and Barack Obama, your bigotry continues to astound me.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Today I attended a women-in-business related meeting, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Afterwards, I invited myself into a conversation amongst women about how women in business are perceived, both by men and by other women. There was a consensus about the double standards, and the impossible standards, that women are held to. Some women were surprised that they would be treated differently simply because they were women, and they were not happy about it. If you are one of the women in question, Hello! Thanks for reading my blog! Please leave a comment. :)
As the conversation progressed, one of the women expressed disdain for the sexism involved in some men spreading rumors about women to undermine them. Then within her next sentences she said, "I am anti-feminist".
I don't understand how the words, "I am anti-feminist," could come out of a woman's mouth. I was offended both as a woman and as an out-and-proud feminist. It would be like Senator Obama saying, "I hate that Dr. King and his ilk. He and Malcolm X and Maya Angelou were always causing trouble. There was no need for all that rabble-rousing to make sure that people like me have equal rights. I didn't need any help to get where I am today, even though people still discriminate against me based on my color. Why should anyone fight for the rights of black people? Now I'm going to go deliver another speech that heavily borrows from 'I Have A Dream'. Check you later!"
Since I am young, educated and black, I never have the opportunity to forget where I come from and how hard millions of people before me have worked to allow me to get where I am, both as a black person and as a woman. I often forget that many nonblack women don't have that same awareness and historical perspective. I know who I am and how I am. I also know that other people think they know, but they have no idea. But many other women don't think about how they are perceived in the world until something happens to them. And even then, they don't always recognize it as sexism. Feminists have made it possible for women to live much of their lives without experiencing (relatively) overt sexism. Feminists worked to get women up to that 77 cents of the dollar that our male counterparts make. Feminists continue to fight for human rights every day, including the right for women to be in business in the first place.
To clarify about The F Word: If you believe women should have equal rights, you are a feminist. Period. End of story. Jam done. You can go home now.
You don't have to tell anyone that you're a feminist. You don't have to protest. You don't have to burn the MYTHICAL bra. You can keep it to yourself. You can enjoy professional sports. You can wear skirts. You can have sex with men. It's okay. Please realize that most if not all of the stuff that you have been taught about feminists and feminism is false. I will repeat: If you believe women should have equal rights, you are a feminist.
And, as I have said before, Men? You can be feminists, too. There is no vaginal requirement. For reference, here is my favorite famous feminist man. He's super cute, too!