Monday, July 28, 2008

Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog

I saw this brilliant piece of Whedon work when it first came out (last week) and supposedly it was then going to exclusively be on Itunes. But I guess not!

Ever wanted to know what a musical done by Joss Whedon starring Neil Patrick Harris and Nathan Fillion would look like? Check it out. Then come back and take a look at the great commentary that's gone on around it. I've got to admit, I didn't really wear my critical hat when I first saw it. I was just transfixed by this random and crazy thing that had popped up in my inbox.

But yes, yes, it is the story of the Nice Guy, the Asshole and the Sweet Girl caught in between. I love Nathan Fillion and he did a brilliant job here, cuz I hated his guts. I honestly can't top the Feministe commentary in this regard, just go see for yourself!

And...cuz...it's fun?



Oh yah.

This semester's courses

So I thought y'all might be interested to see what I'll be taking this coming semester, my first full time being back in school for two and a half years (it wasn't supposed to be this way). I am really excited, and credit-wise am well into my Junior year. I'm taking the intro course because it's required for the major, and it wasn't offered at my JC where I took my first Womens Studies course, a history class.

Introduction to Women and Gender Studies
Pretty self explanatory.

Gender, Race and Nation
Through an interdisciplinary perspective, examines the politics of representing women and gender through differences of race, class, sexuality, nation and state. Focuses on feminist and related social movements including US women of color.

Women and Media
Analytic modes, including feminist, psychoanalytic, and economic criticism, to assess both how women are represented in mass media and the status of women employed in mass media.

Gender and the Culture of War
Using historical, theoretical, fictional and cultural texts, students discuss political, cultural and ideological configurations of war in conjunction with case studies of men/women’s involvement in different violent conflicts.

Lesbian, Queer and Transgender Identities
Examination of lesbian, queer, and transgender identities in cultural and historical contexts. Using a transnational feminist approach, presents a challenge to Western assumptions about sexual identities and analysis of sexuality through nation, gender, race and class.

Wow, really?

5 year old Adriel Arocha is being blocked from attending school in a Houston-area school district.
The reason?
As an Apache, he has long hair that he has been growing in his Native cultural tradition that “violates” this school’s dress code rules.
long hair
The kicker though is that the school board is willing to make exceptions on religious or other “proven” moral grounds, but doesn’t think that being Native American cuts it.

Yah, really.

h/t to Jessica at Feministing for the lead

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Benefit for Angie Zapata

In my daily perusing I came across something I want to share.

We hope that you are able to attend the Benefit for Angie Zapata on July 27th hosted by her friends and family.

On Thursday, July 17, Angie Zapata, an 18-year old Latina transgender woman was found murdered in her home in Greeley, CO. It appears that there may be anti-transgender motive in this brutal crime.

This event will be held on Sunday, July 27th at 8 pm at the Sipres Lounge, 1490 County Road 27, Brighton, CO 80603


If you are unable to attend, consider making a contribution to Angie Zapata's memorial fund. Contributions may be made at Academy Bank in Wal-Mart, 60 W. Bromley Lane, Brighton or checks made payable to Monica Murquia may be mailed to CAVP at P.O. Box 181085, Denver, CO 80218.


If you are unfamiliar with the Zapata case a brief summary can be found here.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Beauty Privilege -or- How the "feminists aren't all hairy and ugly!" reassurance actually hurts us all

Apparently I have one bone left to pick with Valenti over one of her choices in Full Frontal Feminism. That is, her numerous reassurances that "not all feminists are fat, ugly, hairy, lesbians." Yah ok Jessica, but how about those of us who ARE? Or those of us who maybe aren't all of those things, but maybe, say, one of them? I've been picking at this sore for a while and Feminist Gal's post on beauty privilege over at Oh, You're a FEMINIST?! finally tipped me over the edge to post about it.

Now first of all, you should totally read that post, because it's good. But what it brought up for me was consciousness of my own beauty privilege, which I have more or less recognized myself to have before those words were put on it. Being in possession of beauty privilege has certainly worked in my favor in life, and I've taken full advantage of it. It makes my explorations of topics such as the hair on my body more easily accessible than it must be for others. I can afford to buck the system, because I can, if I choose to, assimilate very easily into it. And I have had an uneasy relationship with that fact, at turns choosing to conform and not to conform.

As Valenti said in her book, few things sting women worse than being branded "ugly" and I have, in fact, had my fair share of that. It is harsh, it is lasting, and feminism did help me work against the affects of it. So I understood why she brought it up, and I think I understood her goal in doing so. However, the repeated assertion that "we're not all like that!" only serves, imo, to distance ourselves from these notions of ugly, instead of stomping them into the ground. It was incredibly alienating, as someone who chooses to be hairy most of the time, to read a fellow feminist defining something of herself through what she was not, and what I am.

For most of us, reclaiming our bodies as our own, is going to involve bucking the system in some way. Coming to have the authentic relationships with our bodies that Valenti stressed the import of, is going to involve accepting pieces of ourselves that others have branded ugly. For me, that's involved my body hair. For Valenti herself this involved her nose and those who branded it when she was she was young, as well as the whole stupid "boob-gate" thing. This stuff is vital to feminism, there is a reason why second wavers paid so much attention to it. There is a reason why hippies went hairy, and why bush was in, in the '70's. It was good work, promptly and thoroughly thwarted by "the ugly stick." And until we can get that shit training out of our souls, our choices are not based on our own desires. And if they're not based on OUR desires, whose are they based in...whose standards are we reinforcing?

This reclamation always has, and always will, be rooted in our ability to stand together, not in defining ourselves against each other.

Hear Us Roar

Via Essin' Em I got word of this new collection of survivor's stories being gathered.

Many women have had similar defining moments in life—a sudden or gentle awakening where something unmistakable happens: a woman’s experience of herself shifts from powerless to powerful, from whispering her worth…to roaring.

Hear Us Roar! is a collection of auto-biographical stories, like Andrea’s, that celebrate the vitality, strength, and power of women across the globe. Our goal is to collect stories from 100 women by July 31, 2008, publish them in a book by the end of the year, and raise $100,000 from book sales to be donated to charity by June 2009.

Are you ready to roar? Do you know someone else who is? For more information, and to submit your story online, please visit the Tell Your Story page.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Music MeMe

I was tagged!

So in no particular order, my current top five songs...

Maybe it's because the Ruby Room is around the corner from my apartment, or maybe it's just cuz I'm digging this new album and everyone's already heard Mother Mary, but...


Alanis Morissette - All I Really Want


Moulin Rouge - El Tango de Roxanne


m.i.a. - Paper Planes


And as has already been featured here at The Jaded Hippy, Flobots - Same Thing


I'm not going to tag anyone, but if you feel inspired, share away!! (and link back so I see it!) And since we're sharing, I see absolutely no reason not to end with my namesake...All's well that ends well...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fuck you, PETA



h/t to Ann at Feministing who brings us the story of PETA still defending these ads because, basically, they can't think of anything better to get people's attention.

So fuck you PETA, fuck you and your uncreative, sexist, bullshit ads. I liked you better when you were throwing blood at fur wearing celebrities.

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Deconstructing Transgenderism" psssst your cis-privilege is showing

So I linked y'all earlier this week to the latest edition of the Radical Feminist Carnival. And it was a really good haul. For the most part. The exception was that mAndrea managed to get another of her transphobic posts in a feminist carnival. Even more distressing to me was that she did so unacknowledged in this case. When her first post came out in the Carnival of Feminists, there was a significant response and uproar. Resulting in a long discussion and many people letting Natalie know that transphobia is not an acceptable part of their feminism or any equality rights movement. Yet in this new Radical Feminist edition, not a peep. And I don't know if that is because it went unnoticed, or because any commenters pointing it out did not have their comments approved. I do know that I left a comment, complimenting allecto on the impressive amount of work she had done, but voicing my disappointment at the inclusion of mAndrea's work. My comment was not approved.

So here is my voice. There were many great posts in that Carnival, but mAndrea's was not one of them and I want to be perfectly clear that I in no way support her views. And I'm appalled that the host allecto would call it "a fun...topic". It's also interesting to note, that basically her entire premise (quoted for the Carnival post) is based on a faulty understanding of feminist gender theory, and was just today debunked by Feminism 101.

mAndrea:
This individual claims to be a different gender then hiz birth body indicates. Well we have a problem with that word gender. Because feminists keep saying that there is no gender. So if transgenderism is a valid medical condition, and transfolk really do need to change body parts, then the reason they need to change those body parts is because gender is real. Which automatically makes the favorite feminist theory invalid — yanno, the one where they screech that gender is a social construct. Yanno, the one theory which has formed the foundation for all other subsequent feminist theory for the last three centuries. Yanno, the one theory which if rendered invalid automatically reboots every other feminist theory in existence.


Feminism 101:
FAQ: if “gender is a social construct”, aren’t feminists saying that gender doesn’t really exist at all?
Posted on July 21, 2008 by tigtog

A: NO. Social constructs are human conceptions, invented but not therefore imaginary (unless one thinks that social consequences are imaginary).
[...]
Social constructs exist because people are acculturated to a shared tradition/belief/convention that such constructs are meaningful systems. It is the multiple intersections of social constructs that institutionalise people’s perceived social roles. The nature of social constructs that is most important for feminism (and other progressive ‘isms) is that social constructs are malleable rather than inherently fixed, and by deconstruction and persuasion these constructs can be modified (although there may be a great deal of social inertia to overcome along the way).


Transpeople do not throw all of feminism's theories out the window. Transpeople do force cispeople to do something they may not have ever done before, which is question their own gender identity and what it means to them to be the gender/sex that they are. But I have found that train of thought, while challenging, to be incredibly rewarding to explore. We cannot simply stick our heads in the sand and pretend that a topic such as gender is not going to be as complex as people are. Finding our own boxes for people whilst simultaneously decrying the boxes put on us by kyriarchy is hypocritical, to say the least.

Astrobarry Takes on Obama

...Obama is neither our worst fear nor our greatest hope. He's merely a man. But if we were to examine the astrology behind Obama's uncanny ability to appear as what we collectively most yearn for or bristle at, we wouldn't have to look very far before finding one huge obvious clue—his Leo Sun squares Neptune.

The Leo Sun itself isn't exactly a surprise. This is a quintessential rock-star placement, the Sun in its ruling sign a big shining light of personality standing front-and-center, sharing its brilliance with the world. Bill Clinton, our last Leo Sun president, certainly has a similarly noteworthy charisma to him (so much so that, as we all know, it actually gets him into much trouble). And George W. Bush has a Leo rising, giving him enough superficial likeability to get himself elected on the voter belief he'd be a more fun guy to knock back a beer with than stodgy ol' Al Gore.

But when the Leo Sun squares Neptune, however, that purest light of ego-self (Sun) is interfered with by a mystifying cloud of fog we can only partially see through (Neptune)… leaving us to fill in specific blanks with what we wish to see, or what we wish not to see. Individuals born with a Sun-Neptune square often possess a hard-to-read quality, their sense of self somewhat obscured by context—who they're with, what they're trying to get across, how they're feeling that day. Neptune, after all, seeks to dissolve ego boundaries, causing it to become less clear where another person actually ends… and where our own investments in who we imagine them to be (the good or the bad) begins.
[...]
Obama's Sun-Neptune square, of course, also has its ramifications for our trying to get a good handle on what he really believes. In Obama's chart, Neptune falls in the 9th house, the domain of our personal ethical and religious beliefs… and judged on the Sun square, it does seem that ambiguous or inconsistent stances on such 9th-house issues have the potential to unsettle Obama's sense of leadership. The Reverend Wright controversy, in which Obama drew criticism for tacitly endorsing his clergyman's 'angry Black man' politics through silent witness, is a perfect example of this. The Neptunian connectedness Obama felt from participating in Wright's church undermined his ability to clearly express his own personal views as distinct from others'. This won't be the last time we're offered a perplexing glimpse at Obama's ever-shifting moral compass—not because he's a bad guy, but because he's an idealist who legitimately wants to bring everyone together. Alas, some differences are real, substantive and unbridgeable.


Read the entire piece!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's only a matter of time

So, things went really really well today. We had a ceremony at my grandma's house. To say goodbye, tie up loose ends, give her soul strengthening energy, help her and be with her as she prepares to move on. At times it was like any other family gathering party, and we all had a really good time together. Of course I also cried more today than I have...in a long time.

And now we're honestly just waiting, it's all a matter of time. My dad, uncle and aunt and their significant others are taking shifts spending time, but she's only alone when she wants to be (which is rarely).

I've been trying not to second guess myself. We each took some time to talk to her alone before the ceremony. She and I talked about life, mistakes, figuring shit out, picking life partners and how cool it is that it seems like everyone of her kids have finally found someone who complements them (it honestly is rather...ironic? fortuitous? just good timing? but it happened for them all in a very short amount of time, like in the last year and a half). I had a hard time looking her in the eye the whole time. But I'm like that a lot. It makes me feel too vulnerable or something. But I tried to make a point to do that this time, even though it made me want to cry more which I really didn't want to do right then...I didn't want to make that time about me.

And I told her I would miss her (and I loved her, of course). I am second guessing myself there. I didn't know if that was really the right thing to say. But it's the most dominant feeling I have. I'm not scared for her to go on, she's satisfied with how things have gone for her so I am too... But I will fucking miss her. I know she'll still be around from time to time checking in or watching over or what have you, but... That's not the same. :P Anyway it was interesting because she responded that we had had some hard times, and I was kind of like, really? When? I guess when I was a kid... I was sort of anti-social and had a difficult time with relating to people and being intimidated by adults and...you know, I just had a hard time opening up. The truth is I always really loved being around her... But it just hit home that I thought I had more time, and would get to know her better as I got older, as a natural progression, like has happened with my parents.

What really keeps weighing on my mind is this is one of those things you don't get to do over. We get one shot at doing this right. And if I let myself have regrets, thinking I could have done more...I have to live with that forever. So, I made sure to reiterate to my dad and step mom and aunt that if they needed anything at all to please call me and that I want to be involved as much as they want/need me to be. I think my dad knew where I was coming from because he said "You know, you've done all you can here for now" when I was debating whether to go home yet or not.

During the ceremony, I was trying to ground and stretch my energy out to her. I cast a super basic protective energy spell over her, and sort of projected my own energy to stay behind with her, to help her along if I couldn't be there in person when it's time for her to leave. While I was calling to Brigid (to strength and support me), Cerridwen (for her) and Gaia (for her) I had a vision of arms of green grassy earth coming up from below her to wrap her up gently and absorb her into the ground. It's the sort of vision I often find frightening in movies and such, but it didn't feel threatening at all this time. Simply the last embrace of the Mother. It's intimidating for me, but I think I want to be there when she dies...I want to go with her as far as I can go, and even though I have little practice in it, I feel like I need to try, because it's all I have any idea how to do to help her.

One thing on that note that I found somewhat comforting... During the ceremony I kept staring at the foot of her bed, sort of mesmerized by the patterns of the blanket that was there, even when I was projecting the protective energy at her. Later I heard people talking and apparently at some point during that she had commented that she had seen a spiral there at the foot of the bed. Also, it seems that my dad's dad (who passed when he was very young, car accident or something I think) has been hanging around. She's gotten a sense of him being there (maybe seen him?). I find that very comforting, that someone is so anxious to see her and wants to help her across, that they're hanging around evidently already.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Various Linkage and Posts to Check Out


It's that time again! The 6th FCSFA is up at Kaleidoglide!


In other links;
The 16th Carnival of Radical Feminists is up at Gorgon Poisons. And the very first post talks about something I've run into a lot, and one of the things I didn't like about FFF, that Jessica kept pointing out how "not all feminists are ugly, hairy, man hating lesbians." As the host says, it's "distancing behavior" and imo really counter productive and hurtful to those of us who are ugly, or hairy-legged (me!), or lesbians...
“You’re one of the few sane feminists” Or “You’re one of the good feminists” or “For a feminist you’re not so bad” and similar statements are not compliments. The first one is disabilist, and the whole thing is shitty anyway. Like “Your values are shitty, but you’re not so bad” or “I like you, but I don’t like most people who beleive the things you do.” or any other version of ‘your value system sucks’


Habladora talks about how gender policing hurts kids at Feministe.

There's a new online magazine on the block. Chay; Having observed in Pakistani society, a disturbing tendency towards fear and shame around issues of sex and sexuality - that is to say, around a normal human interaction - the founders of Chay Magazine feel that sex and sexuality should enter the public discourse. The taboo and silence around sex and sexuality are oppressive on all of us, irrespective of gender, and lead, at the very least, to unhappiness in our daily lives and, more often, to violence, shame, depression, ill health and general social malaise.

I expanded my cisgender post and put it up through my Feministing Community account.

Monica at TransGriot reminds us that All Black Transwomen AREN'T Hookers

And Dominae at Feminist Review adds one more book to my never ending list.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Men I love

Besides my husband, of course, because, yes, he is hot.

So there was the whole "women's sexual desire" week what have you not very long ago. But I was just feeling decidedly uninspired right then. After seeing Iron Man twice and The Incredible Hulk however, and then stumbling across the latest genius from Joss Whedon; Dr Horrible's Sing-a-long Blog, which led me to Facebook and becoming fans of some of my favorite male actors...I'm feeling inspired now.

So, if you're curious, here's some of my favorites who get me hot. I'll even put them in some rough kind of order of LOVE for you. The only sad thing for me is that quite a few of my most favorites are starting to show their age. And nothing wrong with that, but, I'm 23. When you start looking like you could be my father? That's a turn off.

First up: Robert Downey Jr, and David Duchovny (ZOMG NEW X-FILES MOVIE IN A WEEK)

Next up: Ewan McGregor and Colin Firth

James Marsters and Kiefer Sutherland

Keanu Reeves and Matt Damon

Edward Norton and Adrien Brody

Bam Margera and Jack Black

Heath Ledger (R.I.P.) and Owen Wilson


Billie Joe Armstrong and Tobey Maguire


and...
OF COURSE
Nathan Fillion and Neil Patrick Harris


And now you know. I hope these guys don't mind me objectifying them.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Full Frontal Feminism

So I saw this book at a used book store and thought, "why not"? And so finally got to read it. For the most part I liked it alright. I had problems here and there. I definitely understand some of the criticisms that I saw leveled at it by Black Amazon back when it first came out. But you know I think it is what it said it was, one woman's experience of life and feminism. That is limiting, and the book showed it. But as one book taken with others, and in knowledge of the goals and limitations of it...? Really a pretty decent primer.

For me personally, I didn't like her tendency to "other" people who are on opposite sides of issues. It felt very short sighted and immature to me. On the other hand, I like the way she "cut the bullshit" on certain issues. I can also see how someone might feel "talked down to" by her choice of tone, however her target are like, 16 year olds, right? I would have loved it then.

All in all, you know what, I don't know if I could write a book. I think it's cool she took it on, and her source list at the end of the book is brilliant. If the women who read it read those too, it will do a lot of good for feminism.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

LaVena Johnson - Another GI's Rape and Murder Covered Up

When Dr John Johnson finally brought himself to look at the slain body of his beautiful 19-year-old daughter flown home from Iraq, he knew immediately he was looking at murder. This was no suicide from a self-inflicted M-16 wound, as the military would later claim.

The Johnsons are still fighting for answers. It was only recently, when they met anti-war activist Retired Colonel Ann Wright, that there has been a flicker of movement. Her contacts got Dr Johnson an audience with Congress. Since then, he's received word that LaVena's case may make it on to the congressional agenda.

Tragically, the Johnson family are not alone.

This is no single aberrant case. John Johnson has discovered far more stories that have matched his daughter's than he ever wanted to know. Ten other families of "suicide" female soldiers have contacted him. The common thread among them - rape.


Via and h/t to Cara

To learn more, like what you can do to get this case taken seriously, check out What About Our Daughters? and this online petition. We have got to stop the rapes and murders of our servicewomen, and it appears when they are anything but blonde haired white women, we won't be able to count on anyone but ourselves.

spiral goddess in the sand


sprial goddess in the sand
Originally uploaded by Cosmegoddess
I feel her around me lately, I'm aware of her presence in a more tangible way than usual. I don't know if that is because of the circumstances surrounding my grandmother, or something else. But I felt moved to go searching for pictures, and I especially liked this one.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Obama New Yorker Cover

Michelle Obama Watch has a selective roundup of blogs responding to the recent New Yorker cover that's causing responses all across the blogosphere. For any who have missed this, here it is:

I gotta be honest y'all. I find this cover hilarious. Hilarious in a dark, cynical, omfg some people in this country are such unbelievable fucking idiots, kind of way. The New Yorker says it's satire. And I can see that.

I also get why people are pissed off. And I think Jake Tapper is probably right on the money when he says "It’s a recruitment poster for the right-wing." (h/t to Jill for that link). And I think the Anxious Black Woman is also right when she asks, "...are we, as a nation, truly sophisticated enough to make these kinds of jokes?...although it would seem absurd for Fox News to confuse the love fist jab as some kind of "terrorist gang sign," and, therefore, quite appropriate for the New Yorker to poke fun at their stupidity, how many did take this news account seriously?" [Emphasis mine]

That being the case, it only makes me like the cover more. And makes me despair for my country.

Addendum!

Black Amazon put up a post in regards to this cover today also, and touched on another aspect of it that I felt but didn't articulate here.

That is, the root of my despair. It's not just that people are so fucking stupid that they believe these lies propagated by Fox news and friends. It's the lies themselves that are depressing.

This the scariest shit Fox & Co. can think of? He's a muslim and she's a revolutionary with THE DREADED FRO?! Really?!?! This is what TERRIFIES people?

How fucking sad is that?

Christians Offended by Proselytizing?

I cannot express how amusing I find this story.

Bartholomew's Notes on Religion reports on a Christian community that is offended and "fearful" about having another faith's beliefs "imposed" on them!

"An English translation of the Quran began appearing two weeks ago on the doorsteps of hundred of homes in the BraesTimbers neighborhood. The books came in plastic bags with a note attached from the ‘Book of Signs Foundation’ asking recipients to accept the Quran as a gift from the Muslim community. But some residents, like Greg and Sue Ann Pieri, said they feared the group is imposing its beliefs on non-Muslims and found the gesture offensive."


Oh noes! People sharing their faith with us how dare they! What makes them think this is ok?!?!

Hilarious.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

More appaling police treatment of immigrant women

Juana Villegas DeLaPaz, a Nashville, Tennessee resident, should be happily tired these days since the recent birth of her fourth child. And Villegas DeLaPaz is tired but it's one derived of an emotional ordeal that has drained and depressed this 33-year-old mother — not because of her undocumented status, but because of what local law enforcement subjected her to as she was about to deliver her baby.


Disgusting!

Hat tip to bfp

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Bad news

I was just told by my father that his mother has cancer of the pancreas and liver.

Things are very much up in the air right now, but the words he used in talking to me lead me to believe she may be dead very soon.

This is not something I was remotely prepared for, as she is the youngest of my grand parents, and healthy. She already beat breast cancer in her life, before I was born. I figured that was it for her.

I'm semi in shock semi coming to terms semi in denial semi...crying.

I don't know how this will or won't effect my blogging. But I know I have some readers, and wanted you to know what was going on if I randomly disappear...or start working overtime.

Line is at it again

Caroline from Uncool is at it again, being informative and making me laugh.

You may find that some of these arguments bear little to no resemblance to anything you've read from us 'pro-porners'. Here's why:

"Caroline from ‘Un-Cool’, huh? Oh, I completely ignore her fucking blog! Just like I ignore all the stupid pro-porny “sex-poz” blogs now…" Maggie Hays

and,

The pro-porners we meet online are so easy to avoid or dismiss when we want to ignore them (thank fuck for that) Maggie Hays

Eee, the lamitch! as my Gran would say. But yes, in short Maggie isn't engaging with that which disagrees with her. Personally, I find it astonishing that anyone would proudly display their ignorance like that. And why, knowing that when she clearly states it, would anyone bother to take her seriously? She's said she hasn't researched into anything that disagrees with her, so why on earth does it matter what she would say to these imaginary arguments?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Powerful words

This account is one of the single most heart wrenching things I have ever read. And therefore I must encourage you to read it as well. Wow... A taste:

We stop at a house and enter the room. I feel stupid because we wear our shoes inside and we are covered in dirt and they leave their tsinelas (sandals) at the door. They bring us broken dirty chairs to sit in and I sit by the couch, my mind is numb from the situation.

They tell us the story of their lives.

They pay 3000 pesos (roughly $66.00) for a whole truckload of garbage from which they sift through for things to resell and also PASAN, leftover food they pick up and they shake free of dirt and then re-cook to eat. They scour for plastic utensils, metal, soda bottles, plastic bags, and anything edible.

The prices change depending on where the garbage comes come. If it comes from condos, the price is high. If it comes from a construction site, it’s even higher because you will find good wood and metal, which can be sold at a junk yard. The least expensive garbage is from chain fast food stores and restaurants which throw out perishable foods and unused ingredients.

We survive off the garbage, they tell us.

And they pay for the scraps.

I turn my head in disbelief.

I look into her face, the woman who is talking with us, and smile even though I don’t understand her words until they are translated after she is finished speaking. My eyes gloss her home and become fixated with the staircase. Uneven wooden blocks. The last step is incredibly steep. The stairs look like something for a tree house. Some of the climbing ladders in US children’s playgrounds are sturdier and better built than this house.
[...]
We navigate a narrow pathway and find ourselves at the base of the basura (garbage) mountain. The heat is bearing down on my skin. The smell comes in waves, my nausea as well.

An unfamiliar man begins asking if we are students. Someone explains we are from the US taking an immersion trip. He explains their community.

Many of them were displaced from the homes and placed here by the government. Now that foreign development companies want to develop the land, they are trying to move them out of their homes. Some of the families take the small amount of money they offer because they do not know what else to do and the government moves them again with promises of stable homes and better conditions. Instead, they are put in flooding areas with tents. No water, no electricity. Their promise of a better life is unfulfilled.

Not too long ago, one of the garbage mountains grew too high and collapsed from the weight. Three hundred people were buried alive in the garbage and left there to die. Many of them were husbands and fathers looking through the trash for survival. When the story broke, billions were raised and donated to the families for aid. The families have not yet seen one peso of that money. Strangely, any money that passes through the government never sees its intended destination.

The government of the Philippines, the man said, asks for assistance of other countries for arms. The government uses the language that the US military will understand: “terrorists” and foreign countries donate arms for the military to use against the civilians.

So they ask other countries for arms to use against its own people? Yes.

The military is used against the people here. The weak, the small, the helpless communities are threatened, harassed, and bullied with arms when they do not want to move, refuse the development companies, or voice their concerns over their living conditions. Their organizing for rights is considered “terrorism.”

His voice becomes louder, “I am not a terrorist!” He is nearly screaming.

Kyriarchy

Now I know there's probably plenty of you who have heard of kyriarchy (keer-ee-arck-ee), but for those of you who haven't...check this out.

Patriarchy, for me, doesn't cut it. It cuts it to gender. As you can see, I'm not that simple. Kyriarchy is a term I adopted four years ago and I feel now it's time to show my true colors of what I think of patriarchy. Two words: old skool.

Kyriarchy - a neologism coined by Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza and derived from the Greek words for "lord" or "master" (kyrios) and "to rule or dominate" (archein) which seeks to redefine the analytic category of patriarchy in terms of multiplicative intersecting structures of domination...Kyriarchy is best theorized as a complex pyramidal system of intersecting multiplicative social structures of superordination and subordination, of ruling and oppression.

Patriarchy - Literally means the rule of the father and is generally understood within feminist discourses in a dualistic sense as asserting the domination of all men over all women in equal terms. The theoretical adequacy of patriarchy has been challenged because, for instance, black men to not have control over white wo/men and some women (slave/mistresses) have power over subaltern women and men (slaves).

- Glossary, Wisdom Ways, Orbis Books New York 2001


Let me break this down for you. When people talk about patriarchy and then it divulges into a complex conversation about the shifting circles of privilege, power, and domination -- they're talking about kyriarchy. When you talk about power assertion of a White woman over a Brown man, that's kyriarchy. When you talk about a Black man dominating a Brown womyn, that's kyriarchy. It's about the human tendency for everyone trying to take the role of lord/master within a pyramid. At it best heights, studying kyriarchy displays that it's more than just rich, white Christian men at the tip top and, personally, they're not the ones I find most dangerous. There's a helluva lot more people a few levels down the pyramid who are more interested in keeping their place in the structure than to turning the pyramid upside down.
[...]
It's about recognizing the power-over relationships that exist because of property, religion, security, economics, citizenship, and geography. Let's not pretend that just because there are not many propertied males mucking around the fem blogosphere, there aren't queen bees and wanna bees exercising the same kind of behavior. So when we talk about woman asserting power over other womyn, we're talking kyriarchy. When you witness woman trying to dominate, define, outline the "movement" or even what an ally should be - that's the kyriarchal ethos strong at work.

(All bolding emphasis mine)
I can hear Sudy's brilliance blowing your minds from here...

Police violence of late

What is up with the police lately?

It seems like every time I turn around they're fucking up.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

No sympathy for the HRC!

The Independence day event is in response to HRC's ongoing refusal to support federal legislation that actually protects all LGBT people from employment discrimination.

According to Wikipedia, "The LGBT rainbow flag or Gay pride flag is a symbol of LGBT pride and LGBT social movements in use since the 1970s. The colors reflect the diversity of the LGBT community, and the flag is often used as a symbol of gay pride in LGBT rights marches. It originated in the United States, but is now used worldwide... After the November 27, 1978, assassination of openly gay San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk, demand for the rainbow flag greatly increased..."

By contrast, sometime during the early 1990s, HRC introduced its own, purely-domestic, impostor flag, two gold bars -- symbolizing wealth? We're not sure.

Who: Our DIVERSE San Francisco LGBT Community, especially Pride at Work, And Castro for All, the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club, and others

What: FREE Rainbow Flag Giveaway!

When & Where: Saturday, July 12 @ 12PM, @ the SF Human Rights Campaign store (19th & Castro Street)


I hope I can make it!

More on Kyle Payne

Check back at Ren's for a good round up of blogs talking about that asshole.

I'm still getting the creeps re-reading the original post I came across.

Do something about Fox!



Sign the petition

Telecom Immunity

Senate Approves Telecom Immunity and New Eavesdropping Rules

What crap is this!

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

60th Carnival of Feminists!

Up at Unmana's Words, and it looks like another great haul!

Wow

Ren should be an investigative journalist

What it means to vote for John McCain

I know we’re pledged to stay in other countries (most notably Germany & South Korea) for 100 years, but that doesn’t mean adding new locations to that roster is a good idea. Making it less feasible for military personnel to have good options at the end of their tour isn’t what I’d call taking care of the troops. And balancing the budget by making it more difficult for the poor to exist is just flat out ridiculous. Especially since you then want to limit the options of low-income women to plan their family size. Of course if you want to be at war on multiple fronts for 100 years, what better way to ensure troop levels than to have limited educational opportunities for the masses of unwanted children born in a society where abortion isn’t an option and access to birth control will be increasingly curtailed by cuts to Medicaid then I guess this plan makes sense. Of course that’s a crazy conspiracy theory that doesn’t make any sense. Right?


Nice

Monday, July 07, 2008

A great find

Seriously
For every girl who is tired of acting weak when she is strong, there is a boy who is tired of appearing strong when he feels vulnerable. For every boy who is burdened with the constant expectation of knowing everything, there is a girl tired of people not trusting her intelligence. For every girl who is tired of being called over-sensitive, there is a boy who fears to be gentle, to weep. For every boy whom competition is the only way to prove his masculinity, there is a girl who is called unfeminine when she competes. For ever girl who throws out her E-Z-Bake oven, there is a boy who wishes to find one. For every boy struggling not to let advertising dictate his desires, there is a girl facing the ad industry’s attacks on her self esteem. For every girl who takes a step toward her liberation, there is a boy who finds the way to freedom a little easier.


Found via Drik

Sums up my feelings pretty well

Sunday, July 06, 2008

HRC SF Protest

I was moving during Pride weekend, but this, I can do, any in SF, would love to see you there!

Officials announce HRC dinner boycott
Published 06/26/2008
by Zak Szymanski

A handful of San Francisco's LGBT elected and appointed officials – joined by more than a dozen gay, youth, housing, and labor activists – gathered at the LGBT Community Center on Tuesday, June 24 with a message that they said was in the spirit of unity and LGBT Pride: Boycott the Human Rights Campaign's fundraising dinner next month.

The news conference was held in part to announce that Supervisors Tom Ammiano and Bevan Dufty were introducing a resolution calling for a federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act that includes gender identity protections. An inclusive ENDA – the result of years of coalition work – was pulled from the U.S. House of Representatives last year in favor of a bill that protected sexual orientation only, reportedly due to a lack of congressional support for protecting transgender people in the workplace.

Over 350 LGBT organizations nationwide refused to endorse the non-inclusive ENDA. The groups emphasized that transgender people suffer from a high rate of unemployment, but they also noted that excluding gender identity put anyone who did not conform to gender norms at risk for discrimination. Only HRC supported a bill without gender identity protections, and it did so, according to many involved with the ENDA process, without consulting other community groups.

"I really do have a lot of bitterness and anger toward HRC's lack of vision and transparency," said Ammiano, who also distributed the recent IRS filings for HRC, which showed HRC President Joe Solmonese making $259,096, and several other directors earning over $120,000.

Ammiano added that HRC's support of a non-inclusive ENDA "really does reflect their uneasiness with this issue. And if they're so uneasy ... I'm not sure they should be making the decisions for our community."

Tuesday's press conference also served as an opportunity for Dufty, Ammiano, and other officials – including Police Commission President Theresa Sparks and state Senator Carole Migden (D-San Francisco) to declare that they would be boycotting HRC's San Francisco dinner on July 26, and they encouraged other officials and community leaders to do the same.

Dufty, who noted that he has attended nearly every HRC dinner since the 1980s, said he objected to HRC's decision last year to proceed with a bill that did not reflect the work of the entire community. He also took issue with HRC characterizing the move as "strategic," because at a certain point it became clear that the bill would be vetoed by President Bush anyway, "and still the decision was made – for reasons I don't accept – to move forward without gender identity."

"On July 26 I'm going to be in my kitchen," said Dufty, announcing that he would be hosting an after-party for those attending the "Left Out" protest that night.

The Left Out protest – organized by Pride at Work and other groups – bills itself as "a large, fun alternative party outside of the Westin St Francis, with gender-bending spectacles, signs, entertainment, stickers, and our own awards and accolades."

HRC has responded to the San Francisco boycott by issuing an open letter running in the LGBT press. The letter expresses disappointment that not enough legislators would sign on to an inclusive ENDA. The letter also encourages the LGBT community to attend the HRC dinner in order to help defeat a gay marriage ban scheduled for the November ballot in California.

"At a time when our community is threatened, once again, with a cynical
election-year ploy that could hurt our families, we believe that it's time to set aside our differences and fight for what we all want," the HRC letter states.

But on Tuesday, activist John Newsome said such responses are similar to those that were directed at organizers of anti-racism efforts in the Castro in recent years.

"We heard a lot about how [anti-racism organizing] was divisive and wasn't timely, and that we couldn't both fight racism and advocate for marriage equality, though many of us somehow managed to do both," said Newsome, who added, "The original act of bigotry was the divisive act."

Newsome added that people can fight the November ballot initiative by donating directly to California groups working for marriage equality.

Sparks, who is transgender, agreed that boycotting the HRC dinner was a stand for unity, and she encouraged HRC to tap the community for help in educating members of Congress on the importance of an inclusive ENDA.

She pointed out that trans people like the National Center for Lesbian Right's Shannon Minter – an attorney who helped argued the recent California same-sex marriage case – have been at the forefront of securing gay and lesbian protections.

"It's not our intent to split the community," said Sparks. "We want to be inclusive – and we hope HRC will come around as well."

Those interested in attending or helping organize the protest can call (415) 848-3628.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Transgender Advocates Rally for Obama

I read this today, and it seemed like something I should share.

Dear Fellow Transgender Advocate,

This year we have an opportunity to elect a President who will be the most transgender-supportive in history.

But electing a candidate isn't enough just by itself. Unless we're visibly and vocally involved with campaigns and giving our time, energy, money, and ideas we will miss out on an opportunity to create a relationship with a President who has already said he's willing to stand with us. That is why we are asking you to join with us in supporting Barack Obama.

We've set up a specific page to track donations from the transgender community and our allies to Sen. Obama's campaign. You can donate by clicking here:



In both the United States and Illinois Senate, Barack Obama has a long commitment to supporting the LGBT community—and specifically the transgender community. Most recently, here is what he said when issuing his statement on Pride month:

"It's time to live up to our founding promise of equality by treating all our citizens with dignity and respect. Let's enact federal civil rights legislation to outlaw hate crimes and protect workers against discrimination based upon sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. . .

"We are ready to accomplish these goals because of the courage and persistence of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who have been working every day to achieve equal rights. The gay couple who demand equal treatment in our family laws as they raise their children; the lesbian soldier who wants nothing more than to serve her country openly and honestly; the transgender workers who ask for the simple dignity of being judged by the quality of their work. Generations of LGBT Americans, at once ordinary and extraordinary, have made possible this moment in our history. With leadership and hard work, we can fulfill the promise of equality for all."


--Sen. Barack Obama
June 6, 2008

Oy

A.E.Brain: The Stupid... It Hurts....

American Psychiatric Association has announced the appointment of a member of the Vatican Council to its panel on Gender Identity Disorders.


Cuz, you know, that just makes SO much sense!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Ess Said It Best

We celebrate our independence today. Our freedom. All that jazz.

Yet I wonder...how much freedom do we really have? Speak too loudly, and get thrown in jail, interrogated, or at least put on "the list." Put your actions where your mouth is, and you're even in more trouble. Queer people can't be out in the military, women can't make 100% of their choices concerning their body, men must register for selective service when they turn 18. Your phones can be tapped, your records can be gathered, and your home invaded.

Your vote counts. Unless...there are hanging chads, provisional ballots, road blocks in the way to your polling station, or electoral votes outweighing the popular vote.

How much freedom do we have? And when we celebrate our independence, how come we don't think about the independence and freedom we have taken from so many, both within our borders, and in other countries.

I like the US. It's a good mix of people; lots of diversity. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to college, to travel around the country, to learn and see and hear and experience.

But sometimes, I also hate it. I hate the hate, the mistrust, the fear, the anger, the blaming.

So as you celebrate our independence, think on how free we REALLY are, and what that freedom has cost us and other over the past few centuries.

Now go drink, go swimming (not in that order), and watch fireworks.

Happy 4th of July!


Ain't that the truth.

Marvel Movies

So, I've loved many of the Marvel Comics movies. Iron Man and the Hulk this year were fantastic. So I did some research into what else is coming up. Oh they have plenty of movies announced and in development.

Is a single one of them about a solo female character?

Nope.

Not a single fucking one.

I guess Elektra was our only chance to prove super heroines have a market?

The only ray of light was an "announced" project for "Cloak and Dagger".

I haven't looked into what DC is doing yet. Perhaps we will see a truly good Wonder Woman movie?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Moving

I'm reading bfp again... My heart sank reading this story.

Another story: another person I know (who likes to imagine himself as the biggest baddest mo’fo Chicano out there) got kittens for his sons for Christmas. The boys were thrilled. And although Big Bad Mo’fo Chicano pretended he wasn’t impressed (too big bad and mo’fo to get all oogliy googily over kittens), he loved the black kitten the best.

One day the black kitten was hiding deep inside a lazy boy that BBMo’Fo was sitting in. When BBMo’Fo closed the lazy boy’s foot rest, he heard the tiny kitten screech and the sickening crunch.

BBMo’Fo evaporated. He jumped out of the chair and couldn’t do anything but shake. He pulled himself together enough to call his wife at work. She had to come home and pull the kitten out of the chair because Evaporated BBMo’Fo was such a mess. He couldn’t even look at the body of the kitten as his wife walked it outside. Evaporated BBMo’Fo cried when he told his sons about what happened to the black kitten.

This was the first time I understood Machismo (and as such, sexism) was a cover, a game. A front that could be taken off, just like pants or hair color. I’ve been looking for ways to deal with that reality ever since.

Power

HellOn Hairy Legs had a post a while ago that I meant to expand on drawing from my own life experience. But you know, it's really pretty corollary to my life already.

I watched talented and ambitious boys be taught how to earn power as I was taught to seduce for it. I was taught I could be powerful through a man, that I could control them with a flick of the lid and an exacting amount of cleavage.

Power through one remove is hardly power, and relegates women to a second tier even if we are successful in our snares. This power is also used as bait, baiting us to continue in our search for the beauty ideal. It can be used as a thin shield for men to hide behind, because aren’t they just helpless beings who are under our control?


I cannot tell you how many times I have heard this used to show "how powerful women are". Gods, fuck that bullshit obliviousness.