Monday, March 31, 2008

6 word memoir

Well then!

Only for you Meghan. :P

The Rules
1. Write your own six word memoir
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like
3. Link to the person that tagged you in your post and to this original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere
4. Tag five more blogs with links
5. And don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!


So here's mine...

What do you want, a cookie?





I think it's appropriate >.>

So, I tag... Rupert, Lady Brett, Essin'Em, Figleaf, and Sarah.

Holy crap

Did some more reading on the cis-debate-athon.

Good Goddess some people's heads are just lost up their asses.

Updated the "Cisgendered" post from last Sunday to reflect further thoughts.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

But I'm different now!

Hat tip to Hugo Schwyzer today, who made me chuckle and silently cheer with this one;

White people who are tired of talking about race often behave like newly sober alcoholics, eager to “focus on the future” and “forget about the past.” Because they aren’t drinking anymore (or lynching anyone this particular afternoon), they are annoyed when those who have been victimized by their recklessness or their privilege insist on “having a conversation” about what’s happened — and what may still be happening. “But I’m different today”, says the former drunk who’s just taken his 30-day chip at an AA meeting to his wife; “you should trust me now.”



And nod along enthusiastically with this one;

All gender roles are, of course, performances. Whether we’re straight or gay or queer, most of us “play act”. For many of us, that playing has become so deeply ingrained that we are unaware of a distinction between our “true” and our “performing” selves. But even someone who has never taken a gender studies course can figure out that certain ways of “performing” enhance and affirm our sense of ourselves as distinctly feminine and masculine. The woman who says “Wearing lipstick and heels makes me feel more feminine” is acknowledging that her sense of herself as a woman is connected to public performance, just as the guy who says, “I like it when a woman waits for me to hold the door open for her; it makes me feel like a gentleman” is admitting that his sense of gender identity is closely connected to what he does rather than to his biology.
[...]
Sugarbutch’s claim that chivalry is “deeply feminist” is a provocative one, but the more I think about it, the more it seems to make good sense. Sugarbutch makes the case that this deliberate performing of chivalry on her part is rooted in a recognition of just how burdensome the performing of femininity (or femme-ness) is. Doing chivalry is, it seems, rooted in a recognition not of feminine weakness but of the colossal effort of performing as a feminine woman (regardless of the sexual identity of whoever is performing femme.) To not be chivalrous is to claim that the burden of performing gender falls equally on both men and women, on both butch and femme. And that’s preposterous: think of the amount of time anyone performing “butch” has to spend getting ready compared to the amount of time that someone performing “femme” does.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Cisgender

For what it's worth and anyone who is interested...

I am happily, proudly, comfortably, cisgender.

When I found out I had a label besides "default" I honestly did a happy dance inside.

Let me reiterate that...

I am not "normal" versus "deviant." I am not "default" versus "other."

THAT nonsense is the stuff of privilege, and I will not leave mine unexamined, unacknowledged, and in the face of The Others.

Whether I match the box I was given at birth on any particular day, at any particular time, is irrelevant. This is dealing with identity folks, that's a different (though, yes, related) ball game from "how well do I fit societies expectations of a woman".

And if we truly are working towards destroying those boxes they want to put us in, we're going to have to start being more open minded when someone who doesn't fit in OUR box is TELLING US how THEY IDENTIFY.

I was in the room...

...when Rafael spoke truth.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Body Hair

So The Angry Black Woman got me thinking about my body hair. And I commented there, but you know, it's a topic I've spent a lot of time thinking about, but never posted here. I'm honestly starting to think I need to reroute more of my comments elsewhere to posts made here. :P

But anyway...

Body hair in general terms I have always been on the same page with. Women have body hair. We choose to manipulate it or get rid of it. But pure and simple, WE HAVE IT. And I have always been of the opinion that we should be able to simply HAVE it, and should not feel obligated to do anything about that. However... My relationship with my OWN body hair? Has been complicated. I am currently in a transitioning place with it, and have been ever since I met my husband.

He really doesn’t care about body hair. I could have hairy legs and pits and it wouldn’t matter to him. This was new for me, as other guys I’d been with made a big deal out of their preference (as little hair as possible). At this point, I’ve stopped shaving my legs except for occasionally, thanks to my husband’s attitude and feminism leading me to seriously re-evaluate my attitude.

I have always and continue to envy women who will let their hair grow and not care. I recently came across the “porn” site hippiegoddess.com and am seriously enamored with it. It’s not perfect as far as diversity goes (where are the “fatties” and dark skin??) but I love looking at all the different ways body hair can grow and distribute. At what a natural woman looks like. And I am white and thin, so they reflect my own reality fairly well, which makes it more powerful for me I think. I even found a Chicana who's body hair color and distribution matches my own, with the exception of the hair on her upper lip, which is darker, and her eyebrows, which are fabulous and seriously enviable to me.

However, I am still bound to shaving my armpits every few days. I just can’t get used to the idea of having hair under there, and it’s harder to cover up than leg hair. I have also noticed that my perceived opinion of others strongly influences my feelings on this. I feel stupid and guilty for not being strong enough to truly NOT CARE what they think (what business is it of their’s anyway?!) but I guess the constant reinforcement of the beauty standard just isn’t shrugged off easily.

When we were living in Seattle I would occasionally go out of the house with unshaved legs in basketball shorts to exercise and stuff. I felt like people up there were generally less judgmental than here in CA where I grew up and live again now. Living as close to Berkeley as I do, that is a surprising revelation for me. Perhaps if I was living IN Berkeley itself, or even San Francisco, this would not be so.

Another element of this is, I do like smooth skin. But the thing is, shaving your legs, you don’t get smooth skin! Or at least I don’t… There’s always some spot where you’re running your hand over your leg where you will feel stubbles. So, Jesus, what's the point then?! It doesn’t seem worth it to me. But I do wish my hair grew more evenly. If you didn't look at the pic, I’m one of those women who’s hair basically gets darker and darker the lower it goes on my legs, so it’s really noticeable and dark around my ankles. I don’t think I’d care half so much if it was just the same light brown color everywhere.

As for pubic hair, I can’t stand the way I look shaved. It’s weird looking, infantile, it’s uncomfortable when having sex and even just wearing underwear and just, overall ick. But I do trim, as maintenance and courtesy to my husband and myself (I’m SURE this is TMI but I prefer to wear underwear and if the pubes get too long they get stuck, and, just, ow, ow, ow ow!).

I think I'm sexy, hair and all. I know my husband does too. I think the women on HippieGoddess are sexy, some unbelievably hot. I do want to get to a place where other people's judgments and comforts don't influence my personal beauty standards. And I think I'm working towards it...

A couple rather cool stories

First up, we have bicycle porn! What? Yes!

People have made pornography with, on, about, and starring bicycles and the one-night film festival of all of these films is coming to New York City this Saturday. Not only will there be a wide range of films involving bicycles and erotica, but they’re having a costume contest also (you or your bike)! We donated some of the prizes so if you want to win some free sex toys, get dressed up and stop by.

If you don’t live in New York, don’t despair, the Bike Porn is touring so they might come to a city near you.

* 3/13 Minneapolis MN
* 3/14 Chicago, IL
* 3/18 Columbus, OH
* 3/19 Pittsburgh, PA
* 3/22 New York, NY
* 3/26 Washington D.C.
* 3/27 Richmond, VA
* 4/1 Nashville, TN
* 4/4 Salt Lake City, UT

Apparently I missed the San Francisco show. :(

The second thing?

Single mothers work together in Wyoming. This cool story from the NY Times about the group "Climb Wyoming, which takes women who have absorbed a few of life’s body blows — bad or absent men, drugs, public assistance and jail are all common stories — and combines free job training with psychological counseling."

But Climb Wyoming’s real core insight is female solidarity — that the group, trained and forged together more like a platoon than a class, will become an anchor of future success. New skills can go only so far in changing a life, the group’s trainers say; sometimes it takes a sisterhood.

“We look for groups that are ready to work together and make a change together,” said Ray Fleming Dinneen, a psychologist and co-founder of Climb Wyoming, which four years ago began training go-it-alone mothers for male-dominated jobs that rule the state’s industrial-energy economy.



And last, so-called "inspiration benevolence". Have no idea what that means? I didn't either, but it's awesome.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Happy Ostara


Happy Spring Equinox everyone!

A full moon, and spring is ON.

Something to be happy about.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Yes We Can

Today's speech from Obama is one of the greatest speeches I have ever heard.

Link

Wow.

Sex Positive Feminism

For the record, I often see from Rad Fem anti-Sex Positive types that we "Sex pozzes" are a man's wet dream. And while I see why they would think such a thing, I can tell y'all from personal, every fucking day experience that us Sex Pozzes piss men off just as much as anti-porn Rad Fems.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Those Tears

By, Chrystos

Those Tears
of a white woman who came to the group for Women of Color
only
her grief cut us into guilt while we clutched the straw
of this tiny square inch we have which we need
so desperately when we need so much more
We talked her into leaving
which took 10 minutes of our precious 60
Those legion white Lesbians whose feelings are hurt
because we have a Lesbians of Color Potluck
once a month for 2 hours
without them
Those tears of the straight woman
because we kicked out her boyfriend at the Lesbians only
poetry reading where no microphone was provided
& the room was much too small for all of us
shouting that we were imperialists
though I had spent 8 minutes trying to explain
to her that an oppressed people
cannot oppress their oppressor
She ignored me
charged into the room weeping & storming
taking up 9 minutes of our precious tiny square inch
Ah those tears
which could be jails, graves, rapists, thieves, thugs
those tears which are so puffed up with inappropriate grief
Those women who are used to having their tears work
rage at us
when they don't
We are not real Feminists they say
We do not love women
I yell back with a wet face
_Where are our jobs? Our apartments?_
_Our voices in parliament or congress?_
_Where is our safety from beatings, from murder?_
_You cannot even respect us to allow us_
_60 uninterrupted minutes for ourselves_

Your tears are chains
Feminism is the right of each woman
to claim her own life her own time
her own interrupted 60 hours
60 days
60 years
No matter how sensitive you are
if you are white
you are
No matter how sensitive you are
if you are a man
you are
We who are not allowed to speak have the right
to define our terms our turf
These facts are not debatable
Give us our inch
& we'll hand you a hanky.


Posted today by Black Amazon. I don't have much to add. I was simply moved, truly moved. I think I have come to understand this, and I hope I can truly come to grok it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Bravery

All I can say is "wow" to the bravery of these folks. My heart is with them.

As bulldozers and chainsaws cut into the forest and hill of Rath Lugh - one of a number of ancient tombs and holy wells in peril due to the road work in the Tara-Skryne Valley - protesters have announced that they have dug tunnels under the proposed roadway, and are willing to risk their lives in defense of the land.

For months now our brave pixies have been digging in secret, carrying out buckets of earth under cover of night. They have stocked the tunnels with food and supplies, and are digging in for at least a three month stay.

The soil around Rath Lugh is loose stone and esker. If the road crew attempt to drive their heavy machinery over the land, the tunnels will collapse. One of the women, interviewed in the video below, explains that if the gardaí attempt to enter the tunnel, she will lock herself to the jack holding up the roof. If they then attempt to pull her out, the tunnel will most likely collapse on them all. The question is, will those who are pushing this illegal roadway through, despite the protection orders and 80 percent public disapproval in Ireland alone, have the guts to refuse to harm these human shields, or are they going to have more Rachel Corries on their heads?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Yes, yes, yes

Mind the Gap has a great post up about femininity and courtly love. And there are a couple things I especially loved.

“The household tyrant has his wife help him into his coat. She eagerly does the service of love and accompanies him with a glance, which says: what am I supposed to do, let him have his little joys, that’s the way he is, only a man. Patriarchal marriage revenges itself on the man through the indulgence, which the woman practices and which has turned into a formula in the ironic lament of male vulnerability and dependence. Inside of the lying ideology, which posits the man as superior, lies a secret, not less untrue one, which reduces him to something inferior, to the victim of manipulation, maneuvers, deception.”


I have a big problem with the idea of the ‘deviant’, mainly because it’s usually meant as a challenge to heteronormative attitudes to relationships, but in actual fact it reinforces them. If you define yourself as a deviant, your identity relies on the existence of a norm. You’ve said ‘fuck you!’ to this norm, but at the same time, if it went away, well, oops, there goes your identity as a deviant.


I think if we’re to have a sexual revolution, if we’re to completely destroy patriarchal ideas of gender and sexuality, we need to get rid of the idea of ‘deviant’ versus ‘normal’, if nothing else because it assumes that everyone belongs to a huge mass of undefined ‘normals’ off somewhere pleasuring the Patriarchy, whereas we hallowed beings who are gathered in this room are all clearly defined individuals, which is of course a bit of an illusion to say the least. On a more basic level, we need to defeat our deeply patriarchal urge to define everything, and particularly as women, to pin and mount ourselves like butterflies.


I couldn't agree more, and that's as someone who has and does certainly define herself equally as much by what I am NOT as by what I am. But the labeling and titles and definitions, they have really started to wear on me and seem increasingly worthless.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Valenti on Clinton issues

Jessica Valenti posted a really great piece up at The Nation a couple days ago, that I just could not agree with more.

No matter what Clinton's fate, feminist election tensions will start to fade -- but we shouldn't let them, no matter how many calls for solidarity are issued by movement leaders. Instead of the group hug approach, let's focus on tangible goals: fostering youth leadership, working from the margins in and using intersectionality as our lens--instead of just a talking point. Let's use this moment, when our politics and emotions are raw, to push for a better, more forward-looking feminism.


I think this election has given us a truly rare opportunity to let down our guards and really discuss our feminisms with each other, and a defining moment of contrast between the 2nd and 3rd waves beyond the commonly propagated cliches. We should not waste it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Bitch

The new edition of Bitch is fabulous, as usual.

I haven't finished it yet, but I've already had post topics going through my head. Especially on the "domestic discipline" article. I see that Amanda Marcotte was also struck by this article, but I found it interesting how differently she took it.

I didn't take it as suggesting that ALL domestic problems arose from the female partner (or that this had one single thing to do with Christianity). I read the situation more like when the women partner does something to mess up (in her own estimation) that she is disciplined for it. I definitely didn't read in it the tone from domestic abuse situations where any small problem can and will be placed at the woman's feet. Though I have to admit that at times the perspective made me very uncomfortable. The way the women felt about themselves was chief in that.

At the end of the day it seems like an issue of choice, and taste, to me. And brings up difficult questions. Where do we draw the line between respecting individual choice and actually OK'ing abuse? And how do we tackle the very obvious possible self esteem issues that bring women to find DD attractive?

Friday, March 07, 2008

Out in the world

As someone who only last week found herself in a room with a bunch of male co-workers who were laughing uproariously at things I didn't find particularly amusing, trying to decide just how to react...this post was a much needed reminder that you know what? No. No, I can just sit there and stare at you puzzledly if I don't see why you're laughing. No, I don't have to chuckle or smile or anything else. Fuck that.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Man...

I am worn the fuck out from arguing that yes, we do live in a rape culture and here's why. No, women are not to blame for being raped. Yes, we are taught to be scared of men, and taught that if we are raped we must have done something to provoke it. Yes our society is sexist and racist and homophobic. No, your experience of what it is to live in this world is NOT a universal experience... Yes, our justice system is completely fucking broken.

Sometimes I don't understand how it is that I live in the same world as some of these people...Even at my worst, not realizing how I fit into this picture and not recognizing my privilege, I knew there was more to it than I was living. How are people satisfied living unexamined, unquestioned existences?? I've got ideas for real posts in my head, but I'm just fucking exhausted.