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Member since: Mon Aug 23, 2004, 10:18 PM
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“Baffled” Shirley Manson Slams Beyoncé’s Photo Embargo

(While I find the headline completely offensive, the article is badass)

There is something about the way the media and Beyonce are publicly duking things out currently that bothers me so much I can’t stop thinking about it.
I speak to the recent spate of media outlets who have gone to great pains to print “unflattering” photographs of Beyonce performing on stage.

As though it was a mortal sin that a woman should be caught “in public’ looking anything less than perfect. I can’t even begin to describe how utterly reductive, offensive and dangerous this kind of thinking is.

But what has bothered me even more than the media’s relish in printing unflattering photographs of one of our era’s most accomplished entertainers and one of the great beauties of our age was Beyonce’s reaction to the attempt to diminish her.

What did she do? She banned photographers from the pit. The ultimate checkmate in her mind no doubt.

This is what Cheryl Strayed had to say that rang my bell so loudly

“It’s true that in all the most important things I am—feminism is at the center. It’s a description so clear and permanent it seems to me it’s inked on my ass whether it’s literally there or not. I’ve been a feminist since before I knew what a feminist was. It’s an indelible part of my identity and it informs everything I do.

It takes guts to be a feminist. It takes nerve to remind people that our world is colored by gender and gender bias, by inequality and ugliness and violence. It is a difficult business, emphasizing that these things matter, that they are not special interests or fleeting causes, that we are informed and affected by them whether we realize it or not, that we carry them with us not because we choose to but because we have to.


Women Forge a Space for Themselves in Latin American Labor Movement

But the leader of ÚNETE – which has 1.5 million members from the public and private sectors – said she doubted that quotas were the way to achieve greater participation by women in union leadership posts.
“We forge a place for ourselves in the battle, elbow to elbow with men, against the common adversary: the bosses, capital, bureaucracy, and in that battle we don’t need concessions, because women have the same values and capacities as men when it comes to participating and leading,” she said.
She noted that women trade unionists must somehow juggle their commitments as “mothers, wives in many cases, breadwinners, workers and labour or political activists.”
She added that quotas “are merely cosmetic measures if women are not given practical help in handling their multiple roles.”
Máspero said that while the labour movement in Latin America is mainly in the hands of the left, “it behaves in a retrograde manner in terms of gender, and is still dominated by a patriarchal, machista culture.
“I don’t see women heading the labour movement in Cuba, Argentina or Brazil – only in Chile has the rhetoric been translated into practice,” she said.


What do you guys think about this?

I recently renewed my ACLS, and this short video, while containing great information, is sexist as hell. I was the only one who spoke up, and I did that because I can get away it as I use humor (hey! No sexism! How come the firefighters have shirts on!?)

Nobody was there to discuss sexism, but I didn't feel like giving it a pass. I never feel like giving sexism a pass.

Feministing Chat: Kitty Pryde takes on rape culture and Danny Brown’s on-stage blow job

(This is an excellent analysis I thought, it links to the original article by Kitty Pryde. I've excepted a couple of salient points. For those who don't know, this young man, a rapper, was sexually assaulted on stage by a female fan, who yanked down his pants and began performing fellatio on him. The young man was conflicted, to say the least, and didn't quite know what to do. The entire situation brings up questions about the cult of masculinity and rape culture from a different direction.)

Alexandra: Exactly. But one problem I had with Kitty’s analysis was where she located the source of this oppressive power. Obviously a woman was in the wrong here, but it seemed like she’s arguing that ladies have some sort of privilege–to fight back, to claim victimhood–like a ‘reverse sexism.’ Men, as we were saying, are hurt by gendered expectations, and often in different ways than women are–but it’s the same sexism, the same patriarchy that constrains everyone. We can acknowledge men’s unique problems within this system without pretending the scripts are flipped and women are rolling in power now.
After all, part of the reason we have so much trouble imagining a woman assaulting a man is that we can’t break the assumption that masculinity equals aggression and power while femininity equals passivity and weakness. It’s not a woman’s privilege that allows her to get away with terrible violence like this, but that we can’t conceive of her holding any power at all.

Maya: True, well said. Permission to be seen as a victim–”to at least attempt to kick the shit out of you”–is super important, particularly if you don’t have it. And, as we’ve said, it’s not just male survivors who often don’t. Think of the New Jersey Four, CeCe McDonald, Marissa Alexander, and all the women of color in prison for acting in self-defense against domestic and sexual violence. (I mean, it’s really only the “small white girls” like Kitty who even have that permission–and then only if you’re not drunk or wearing a slutty outfit. Oh, and being a virgin would help.) But that permission is not actual power, and it’s also not going to fundamentally change a culture in which people think it’s ok to do things to other people’s bodies without their consent. Although I feel like Kitty would probably agree with that? I dunno, it seems like she gets it.

Alexandra: That’s fair, but I think without an explicit acknowledgement of that we risk providing MRA fuel–though yes, she definitely recognizes that the nuance of the power dynamics at play. And the races of Danny and his assailant, of course, add a whole other dimension. By Kitty’s account, the girl was white. White women are stereotyped as innocent, and black men as sexually voracious, so the assault doesn’t fit any of the predetermined narratives to which we, as a society, are so deeply committed.

Maya: Yes, I think this is key–especially, as Kitty points out, in terms of constraining Danny’s options for reacting during the assault. “Guys pushing girls is not a good look when people are taking photos,” but especially black men pushing white girls. And the fact that as a black man, Brown is automatically considered hypersexualized is only compounded by the fact that he is also a dude in hip hop, and one who has a very sexualized persona and lyrics. (I’m not super familiar with his work, but Lori tells me that he’s got a rebel rockstar kind of sex appeal that is very sexual but doesn’t necessarily adhere to traditional ideas of masculinity–which sounds pretty awesome and I will be checking out asap.) So those are a few strikes against him right there.


They mocked her "science fantasy." Then she wrote Empire Strikes Back.

May the Fourth! Tomorrow's the day we celebrate all things Star Wars — which makes it the perfect day to recognize one of the great unsung contributors to the galaxy far, far away: Leigh Brackett wrote the first script draft of Star Wars: The Empire Strikes back, and her contributions helped make the saga epic.

But before Brackett had a major hand in creating the best Star Wars movie, she was a science fiction novelist in the 1940s, writing a slew of space adventure novels with titles like The Starmen and Alpha Centauri or Die!. People called her the Queen of Space Opera — and it was not always a compliment.

At that time, space opera (like Star Wars) was looked down upon as less worthy of appreciation than other types of pulp fiction, including other types of science fiction. Brackett also wrote a lot of pulp crime fiction, and had co-written the screenplay for The Big Sleep with William Faulkner. But she chose to spend a lot of her time writing these despised novels. As her friend Michael Moorcock explains in an essay:

Like so many of her heroes, Leigh preferred the outlaw life. She always said her first love was science fantasy. She said it defiantly, when it paid less than other pulp fiction. When it paid less, indeed, than other kinds of science fiction. If she had chosen, in her fiction, to hang out with the scum of the L.A. streets instead of the dregs of the spacelanes, she could have made a lot more money... Her keen sense of freedom made her, like many other fine writers of her generation, choose the more precarious life of writing science fantasy.... There was a time when the kind of science fantasy Brackett made her own was looked down upon as a kind of bastard progeny of science fiction (which was about scientific speculation) and fantasy (which was about magic).


Hats Off (But Dresses On) to Our Kurdish Feminist Brothers

(I know there was a thread about this, but I thought it worth revisiting)

Men in Western societies have also resorted to wearing women’s clothes in order to challenge gender discrimination. Even the most democratic societies struggle with rape culture, sexism, homophobia and transphobia. Violence against women is a global epidemic. If tabooizing and controlling women’s bodies and behaviors in the name of honor is the sexism of one society, the porn industry, prostitution and unhealthy beauty standards make up the other end of the patriarchal spectrum that devaluates women by reducing them to objects of men’s pleasure or property. Cross-dressing is an effective way of challenging binary notions of gender and raising awareness of issues that human beings who are not male and heterosexual encounter on a daily basis.

However, the case of Kurdish men wearing Kurdish women’s clothes is even more special, because it attacks two forms of oppression at the same time. This “punishment” is not only sexist; it further constitutes an attempt to ridicule Kurdish culture. The Islamic Republic of Iran has executed at least 56 Kurds in the past year. It continues to enforce oppressive annihilation policies towards the Kurdish people and other ethnicities, or against any dissident voice, for that matter. While the misogynist regime forces women to cover in black cloth, traditional Kurdish (and of course traditional Persian) women’s clothes are very colorful and beautifully embroidered pieces of detailed handwork. The meaning of these sequined, extravagant robes on Kurdish men is a double strike against a regime that covers, hides and silences women in plain black, discriminates against different ethnicities and believes that being an oppressive despot defines masculinity and power. After all, chauvinist concepts of gender and abusive power structures are inseparable.

But while the Iranian authorities attempted to shame male prisoners by making them wear traditional Kurdish women’s clothes, Kurdish men formidably responded by standing up against both sorts of oppression. They made two statements in one: Being a woman is NOT a punishment—and our culture is beautiful. Not being a woman, but being sexist is degrading. Not Kurdish clothes, but racism is humiliating.
Dler Kamangar, a talented musician from the beautiful East Kurdish city of Sine, agrees with Masoud that this Facebook action is just one small step in the right direction. Though media and public attention are important, future steps must be more practical, and not just remain in the social media sphere. As he drinks his black tea, he tells me that they are currently planning protest actions in front of Iranian embassies. They will appear in women’s clothes. Dler’s skepticism of the Iranian regime is surpassed by his optimism for the Kurdish people’s struggle:

Read more:


Luci Tapahonso Named as Navajo Nation's First Poet Laureate

April 30, 2013
The Navajo Nation’s first-ever Poet Laureate has been named and will be officially introduced to the public on May 17.

On April 24, Elmer Guy, president of Navajo Technical College, announced the appointment of Luci Tapahonso as the Navajo Nation’s first Poet Laureate. Tapahonso will officially assume her role for the two-year position at the college’s commencement ceremonies on May 17, Guy said in revealing the award.

The goal of designating a chief poet is “to encourage other Navajo poets, writers, film makers and artists to realize how important their work is to the continuance and growth of Navajo contemporary culture,” Guy said at a press conference announcing Tapahonso’s honor. “Luci represents the best of what it is to be Diné, honoring our traditions, while at the same time forming a contemporary voice that speaks beautifully to all people.”

Lucy Tapahonso
Tapahonso has written five books of poetry and stories, as well as a children’s book. Saánii Dahataal (1993) and Blue Horses Rush In (1997) are two of her better-known collections, both published by the University of Arizona Press. She also holds the distinction of being named Storyteller of the Year by the Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers in 1999, a year after being recognized with the Region Book Award from the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association, the Navajo Nation said in a press release.

She is one of 11 children and grew up in Shiprock, New Mexico, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English from the University of New Mexico. Today she is on the board of trustees of the National Museum of the American Indian and is a 2006 winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas; received the 1989 New Mexico Eminent Scholar Award from the New Mexico Commission of Higher Education, and in 1981 earned the Southwestern Association of Indian Affairs Literature Fellowship.

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/04/30/luci-tapahonso-named-navajo-nations-first-poet-laureate-149114

Meet the women behind Reductress, the feminist Onion

Founders Sarah Pappalardo and Beth Newell, both improv and sketch comedians, saw the space for Reductress because they’re religious consumers of women’s online media; Reductress, designed to look like any other “women’s” publication, is a clear play on magazines like Cosmopolitan and Shape and feminist websites like Jezebel and xoJane (disclosure: I've written for them).

Reductress is not only biting, “goes-there” hilarious, it’s a fantastic, sad, and much-needed look at the way the media talks down to women, convincing us we need products we don’t and playing on our every insecurity. (Need a boyfriend? Too fat? Not giving your fetus the jumpstart it needs to attend Harvard?)

My favorite headlines? Having witnessed a “Women in TV Writing” panel in which the host, a journalist for Entertainment Weekly, kept asking the women about their bangs rather than their very successful careers, I’d have to say the “Creator of ‘Rape in America’ Documentary Talks About Hair Care” headline is depressingly spot-on. How about “A Homemaker’s Guide to Maybe Thinking About Wanting to Have Sex?” Or “White Woman Speaks: I’m So Exhausted From Saving the Day All the Time.” Or “‘How to Not Get Raped’ Class a Big Hit in Indiana Town,” which includes this gem:

Instructor Michael Kearns, 54, says, “We tell these girls about the dangers of mixed signals. If you’re dating a bunch of jerks but then you won’t put out for a nice guy, the injustice of your behavior might drive the nice guy to desperate measures.

It also takes down the annoying habit companies have of slapping “For Her” on a product and calling it new. Remember Bic’s ill-fated “pens for women” campaign that was destroyed by witty feminist Amazon reviewers? Reductress introduces us to “Bologna for Her.” In satirizing the way we blame Taylor Swift for everything, the site accuses the pop star of destroying the space-time continuum and of breaking up the Beatles.


Limbaugh: "It Might Be Said That I Have Succeeded In Stigmatizing" Feminism

Well, you know he has point there. How many times have we heard the term 'feminazi? FROM THE LEFT? How many times has feminism been stigmatized, marginialized and trivialized? Oh, and all that kittycat in-fighting we're apparently doing, I've read a number of articles on THAT; all the feminist shaming and nary a mention of the accomplishments. Well you know what? Fuck that and FUCK this asshole.

What we let THIS asswipe call the misogynists shots? Apparently so. Yea the left!

(Note; personally, listening to Limbaugh makes my ears bleed, but I'll link to the mediamatters site with the short clip of him diddling around with unreferenced statistics and claiming credit for 'stigmatizing' feminism. He also quotes the New York Times, I think it is, saying "Feminism is Dead", ----so no real need to listen if you don't want, I took one for the team here. Boy is he in for a surprise anyway.)


I find this so incredibly ironic it defies description

Disney Rejection Letter From 1938 Tells Candidate, 'Girls Are Not Considered'

One woman tried to "lean in" in 1938 -- but it didn't work out too well for her, and not through any fault of her own.

When Mary V. Ford applied for the animator training school at Walt Disney, she was informed that "girls are not considered" for creative positions:

Ford's grandson, Kevin Burg, discovered the letter after his grandmother passed away. Thanks for sharing, Kevin. We're sure she would have been great at that creative work.


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