Archive for the 'Feminism' Category

31
Jan
09

Why I Love Kate Harding…And You Should Too!

First things first. I sincerely hope that everyone’s new year is off to a grand start. If not, I hope for only great things from this point on. One of my new year’s resolutions is to make sure that the things and people that have touched my life over the years and continue to do so do not go unnoticed. In pursuit of this goal  I realize what a long list this is but I am confident I will get to everyone no matter how long it takes me. In light of recent experiences I would like to start with Kate.

On Thursday night I attended a book release of the anthology Yes Means Yes: Visions of Female Sexual Power and a World Without Rape. The anthology includes an essay written by Kate entitled How to Fuck a Fat Woman. I will not attempt to do that fantastic piece justice by summarizing. I can only say, buy the book. Its phenomenal. 

As many of you may know I am a grad student in a gender studies program. I knew many of my classmates would be at the reading and when I found out Kate was coming it gave me a tremendous opportunity. I shared with my fellow feminists: this is Kate Harding and this is why she is so important. I was able to share with them that Fat Acceptance is both powerful and feminist and no one could illustrate my point better than Kate.

Even though I had already read her piece a couple of times by then, I was still completely in awe of Kate’s bravery. She shared her story with a fearlessness that I aspire to have. Afterwards, I had the chance to tell thanks her for writing her blog, and for giving me a platform to share Fat Acceptance with my peers. I hope many of you are readers of her blog, and if you are I implore you to take on my New Year’s challenge and share your thoughts and feelings with her. And to buy her book. (*wink wink*)

I must say that she is so dedicated to the community at the conclusion of our brief conversation she was familiar with this blog and even said to tell fashionablenerd she said hello. A message I gleefully passed along.

To conclude I will leave you with Jaclyn Friedman’s (the anthology’s editor) answer to Kate’s title question. How do you fuck a fat woman: with enthusiasm. 

Have a wonderful Superbowl Weekend.

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16
Apr
08

Why I am a Feminist

Editor’s Note: As I have been revamping my blog, I have invited a good friend of mine to join me. You’ve seen me refer to her in previous posts under a different moniker. But before she was the FutureProfessor, she was the IntellectualFeminist. There will be an about tab soon just for her! And now…her first post…

I am ashamed to say that I have spent most of my life trying not to ruffle feathers. And so, for every person who has ever asked me why I am a feminist I have given a less than honest answer, crippled by unexplainable fear of confrontation.

As complicated as my journey to self acceptance has been, my reason for being a feminist is actually quite simple.

Truthfully, feminism is the armor I wear to face a society that feeds on my hatred of self and of my body. I wear this armor in preparation for a battle that I have yet to undertake, until now.

Why am I a feminist?

Because I have something to say and I am no longer afraid to say it. I am ready to engage in the war of words and ideas that is the way that women look at themselves and their bodies. That journey starts with me, but it doesn’t end there. Madeleine Albright says it best:

There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help other women

I realize that this fight is one that I cannot fight alone. And that is what brings me here. To fearlessly begin that trek to the battlefield and invite those who read this to take up arms.

 

 

01
Mar
08

Updates and Outrage

So, my posting has been sporadic as of late, and for good reason. I’ve had to get myself on a managable sleep pattern, since I start working in a couple of weeks. So, yay job!

Posting will likely be sporadic still in these next couple of weeks, as BuddingStarlet is coming for a visit, and I don’t expect to be anywhere near a computer outside of the requisite online shopping. Once I settle into job/keep house/write rhythm, then posting should pick back up around here.

Now, on to the outrage. Via Jezebel, I found this article that outlines the double standard of fat men and fat women: fat woman is bad, fat man is athlete (stereotypically speaking, of course). Now I’m sure we all know men who would say that whole assertion is bullshit, but this author took it from a deeper perspective: she has a daughter and son, both fat (until her daughter developed an eating disorder). I could understand the author’s fight with body image, and wondering how to help her daughter….and then I read this paragraph:

To a new parent, size equals strength. Infants need cushioning, in case your suburb’s struck by cholera or plague. But by the time Jake’s older sister Marcy got to middle school, I was starting to worry. She was big like me; there wasn’t any denying it. Fortunately — unfortunately — society was on her like a leech to get skinny, so I didn’t have to say a word. By 10th grade, she was Kate Moss-thin. I was impressed by her self-control — until her hair began to fall out in clumps. With the help of a therapist, she conquered her eating disorder. But now I was totally confused on what messages to send my kids about food. Of course I wanted Marcy healthy — but damn, she sure had looked good when she was thin. Except for the hair.

Emphasis mine. That sentence may be the most heartbreaking and infuriating line I’ve read in quite sme time. It’s heartbreaking because why would anyone think…man, I’m losing hair because I’m starving, BUT I LOOK SO FUCKING SEXY? Chalk that up to the unattainable image of beauty that’s been foisted onto the world. And for that same reason it’s infuriating: Dammit, woman, your daughter’s hair is coming out in clumps and all you can think about is how good she looked thin? The world’s priorities are FUCKED UP, yo.

But I’ll let y’all read and discuss, since the massive cleaning of my house won’t wait. Sanity Watchers, tread carefully over at Jezebel, while the comments aren’t all that bad, there’s a couple of ignorant statements there. For those ED recovering, be careful at the other article I have here: while the author doesn’t go into detail, some of the scenarios might be triggering. I haven’t scanned the other article’s comments, so again, tread carefully.

13
Jan
08

In Which I Question Some Folks’ Sanity

So, BuddingStarlet gave me a call today to tell me that there was an American couple that plans to open a theme park in Haiti.

I’m all…ok. Why is this news?

Her: “Guess what the theme is?”

Me: “I don’t want to.”

Her: “You shouldn’t, but I’m gonna tell you anyhow. It’s slavery. Tourists come to the park and get to experience slavery.”

You know, I’ve seen and heard of many things in my short time here. But never, EVER in a million years did I think folks could actually decide that slavery would be an excellent idea for entertainment. So, I’m thinking…maybe people are playing a joke. Nobody could possibly be that insensitive to a barbaric event in history. So I Google it.

Yep, people really ARE that fucking insensitive

So, for folks who manage to find this post via a search (either because you want to know more about it, or because you, like me, couldn’t believe it) I am a Black woman, and anything I have to say about this from here on out is gonna be biased. Prep yourself for it now.

Can anyone…anyone at all…explain to me how in the mauve hell this could be considered entertainment of any kind? Because by calling it a theme park, that automatically designates the place as a forum for happiness and fun. There wasn’t a damn thing about slavery that was entertaining, happy, or fuckin’ fun. And if these folks saw the happy, I for damn sure want to see the history book they were taught from, cause my personal research as well as studies in school don’t reflect that ideal AT ALL.

Now, I was wondering where the inspiration for the park came from. I wanted reasons. Answers! Now! Well, I didn’t get that. Not from this article, anyway. What I got was:

Mrs Bluntschli said: ‘Slavery is a terrible wound. Germany is still suffering trying to get over the Holocaust, and this is a Holocaust that happened for centuries.’

Alright. I think I’m gonna do some reading between the lines here. Is she saying that perhaps in folks experiencing slavery, they can maybe understand it? And then this will silence the folks (both black and white) that say, “You don’t understand how the slaves suffered!” And in so doing, make people leave slavery in the past? And I ask this because I have had countless debates on how Black people always harp on slavery and use it as a scapegoat for all of the issues that Black Americans suffer.

I’m about to piss some folks off, so I apologize in advance.

Slavery is an issue today more than anything else because of the lack of equality on all levels. Hell, I came into this world with two strikes against me: I’m Black and I’m a woman. I, as many Black women, have to work twice as hard, because I’m fighting against both racial and gender stereotypes. All of this stems from the view of the Black woman slave: we’re not good for much more than cookin’, breedin’, and obeyin’. In twelve hours, these people expect to actually show how women were raped and brutalized, their children ripped from their arms and taken to God knows where, never to be seen again? In twelve hours, these people think that simulating being kidnapped and forced onto a slave ship is gonna adequately show the inhumane and unsanitary conditions my ancestors had to face? How these slaves were bound and stacked into compartments so that they couldn’t even move to pee? Cause you KNOW they had to relieve themselves on each other. They had no option. They were stunted intellectually because knowledge is indeed power, and just learning how to read could result in slaves being deliberately blinded? See, whippin’ ain’t all that the slaveholders had to do. It was all out psychological warfare. Is any of that being simulated?

Oh, and once all that is done, will they have to go out into the world knowing that for the next hundred or so years, their descendants are gonna be spat upon, raped, lynched, shot, bombed, sprayed with high power hoses, and attacked by guard dogs? Cause that’s the next link in the understanding, now. Don’t just half-step.

All that ranting is to say that no amount of simulation is gonna teach anybody anything they didn’t know about slavery. With the advent of the computer and Internet, people can look up and read horror stories from slavery times till they’re blue in the face. And they still won’t know the stigma that is being a Black person in America unless they instantly transform into a Black person and have to live in a world where folks with the same education level don’t get the same jobs and pay, get followed through stores by salespeople that are CONVINCED they’re gonna shoplift because of the color of their skin, or pulled over because they’re in “the wrong neighborhood.”

Oh, and please don’t give me that foolishness that “Blacks need to let slavery be in the past and move on.” Because as I’ve stated above, in 200-fuckin-8 we are STILL feeling the consequences of slavery. We can’t move on, because way too often I hear about folks being discriminated against in one form or the other. And now folks want to scream reverse racism because of affirmative action. I know what you’re thinking. “You’re always saying you want equality, but affirmative action doesn’t promote equality because it’s only for people of color!” Good point. However, in an ideal world folks wouldn’t have to worry about that, because they’d be accepted on merit. In a day and age where a person with a more ethnic name has a harder time getting hired, I’m sorry, but I worry sometimes if folks would ever hire people of color at all if not for affirmative action.

I understand the need for folks to know where they come from. I do, seriously. But you can’t make me believe that a 12 hour experience is gonna mirror 400 years of torture. You just can’t.

It’s times like this I question folks’ sanity. Or at least, their humanity.

For the record: I’m aware that this park focuses on slavery in Haiti, and not slaves in America. However, I still have a problem because slavery issues intertwine. I’m sure quite a few of y’all are aware of the issues that Haitians face both there and here in the States, should they even make it here. It just isn’t right on ANY level.

15
Nov
07

Seriously, Y’all, Leave Santa Alone!

Addendum: So, I emailed BuddingStarlet this article (as I always do). Interestingly, her company (which I won’t name) has a policy on not using salty language in emails, so I have to be careful to edit my posts on days when my mouth is particularly filthy. Now, there’s one obvious swear word here, which I took out, but she still didn’t get the email. Why? “Ho” is in it. I was too tickled to not tell y’all about it…because if I edit out that part, she’s not gonna get the gist of the post. And the foolishness spreads. 

Wow, folks. First, they wanted Santa to drop a few pounds because he was a bad influence on children. Now, not only are folks trying to take away Santa’s belly, but his catchphrase as well.

Sydney’s Santa Clauses have instead been instructed to say “ha ha ha” instead, the Daily Telegraph reported.

One disgruntled Santa told the newspaper a recruitment firm warned him not to use “ho ho ho” because it could frighten children and was too close to “ho”, a US slang term for prostitute.

Ok, folks, seriously? Why is everybody attacking St. Nick? Just as taking away Santa’s tummy wouldn’t make Santa…Santa anymore, taking away “ho, ho, ho” would diminish his image too. And it seems to me if folks feel that his laugh can be misconstrued otherwise needs to grab an encyclopedia, look up Saint Nicholas, and enlighten themselves.

But this whole thing makes me wonder what exactly these recruitment firms are reading into Santa’s laugh. Because, “ho, ho, ho” is a laugh. Don’t believe me? Go and grab yourself some early century literature (English or American, doesn’t matter) and examine the terminology of the day. “Ho” could have been a laugh, an order to charge (“Ho! go forward!”), or an interjection (“What, ho!”) Unfortunately, as social usage of words tend to dictate, yes, ho has now become synonymous with the word prostitute. However, this new equation is well, new. According to the Online Etymology Dictionary:

ho : exclamation of surprise, etc., c.1300; as an exclamation calling attention, c.1430. Used after the name of a place to which attention is called (cf. Westward-Ho) it dates from 1593, originally a cry of boatmen, etc., announcing departures for a particular destination. Ho-ho-ho expressing laughter is recorded from c.1150.

Emphasis mine. Now, etymology only explains the origin of words as opposed to meanings, yes, but as you can see, nowhere in the history of “ho” do you see the word “prostitute.” Why is that? Well, according to Merriam-Webster:

Main Entry: ho
Function: noun
Inflected Form(s): plural hos or hoes
Etymology: alteration of whore
Date: 1965
slang : whore

1965, huh? Slang, you say? So technically it isn’t even considered a “proper” word (think like that term “ain’t” I tend to throw around). Seems to me Santa has been around much longer, so for me, his version of “ho” holds a lot more weight. But I’m gonna hop off the etymology soapbox now and climb onto the feminist one.

From what I understand of the article, this change in speech is a) to avoid frightening children and to b) avoid offending women. Mhm. So, we womenfolk ain’t intelligent enough to distinguish Santa’s catchphrase from something random dude A would toss out whilst walking down the street? Seriously? I recognize where the sensitivity comes from, but come on y’all. Santa has not given anyone a reason to believe that he’s objectifying women. He’s just laughing, folks.

And as far as the children are concerned, “ho, ho, ho” isn’t what’s scary. It’s this huge man with lots of hair that they don’t know. And they have to sit in his lap. Now, if you’re 3, the unknown person is what scares the shit out of you. If Santa said “ha, ha, ha” they’d STILL be petrified…so, why alter it again?

Yeah. So seriously, folks, LEAVE SANTA BE!

06
Nov
07

Some Folks Just Shouldn’t Be Allowed on TV or the Internet

Now, I’m a huge fan of Dr. Phil, because I prefer real drama to dramatized drama (i.e., soap operas). So, I flip to today’s episode and today’s topic is about folks who have judgmental issues. Nah, seriously, y’all. I thought I had issues….yeah, not so much. So, we have a man-hater, a chauvinist, a misanthrope, a racist Black woman (ahem, she doesn’t like black folks–more on this later), a “morally righteous” (their wording, we may use the term “Bible-thumper” instead, although it’s not such a nice term), and a….well, “ugly person” hater (we’d call her a bitch. And I absolutely abhor that word…but, well…)

Whew. Now, I was aware such people existed. Hell, every once and a while I throw on my bitch cape. I can’t see doing it every day, though. As a Black woman, I’m fully aware that there are some folks within my race who aren’t happy being Black, who feel they cannot identify with the culture, and wish they could be different. I’m aware that said Black folks hold the same convictions that the stereotypical Caucasian bigot tends to hold (I say stereotypical because well, White folks ain’t the only folks who take issue with Blacks.) But I’m not gonna be upset about this woman who sees Black folks as “trashy, ghetto” people. I’m just gonna chalk it up to ignorance and pray she sees the light.

What I do want to focus on, however, are the self-professed Man-Hater and the Chauvinist.

Y’all might wanna go grab a snack and a drink for this one. G’head, I’ll wait. Ready? Ok.

So, the Man-Hater is, of course, a woman. She says she speaks down to men like the (insert random animal here) they are. They aren’t capable of thinking with their brains, they think below the waist. And, ok, while that may be true for some men (or at least the asses I dated), this cannot be said for all. And to lump the inherent jackasses with the good men is just damn dumb. If you expect all men will be assholes to you, then they WILL be assholes to you (in the case where men are assholes simply to be assholes, then you should tell them so, and politely tell them to fuck off. Just sayin’.)

And this leads me to the Chauvinist. Dear God in Heaven. Now, I should specify, as “Dick” (heh. fitting name, isn’t it?) has on the show, that he doesn’t HATE women. No, no, quite the contrary, he just thinks men are better.

*headdesk*

Now, if you choose to peruse his website (tread carefully ladies, because his “truth” shall offend your soft sensibilities), you’ll see gems such as “Every Woman is a Cheating Whore” (word?), “Feminism is Stupid,” “Women Would Vote for Hitler,” (*snort*) and finally, the creme de la creme that is “Date Rape is a Myth.”(the fuck?!) But no, he doesn’t HATE women, folks. *derisive eye roll* But not only does he only proclaim his supremacy, he put all his bullshit on the ‘Net for the world to see. And there are MEN WHO BUY INTO IT. *sigh* It’s becoming an infestation. These men make a good case for the Man-Hater above: they’re jackasses.

Well, since he put his opinion on the net for the world to see, I’ll give my totally non-medical analysis of his behavior (not into the whole “women are better than men” argument: I believe all sexes are equal. Weird, ain’t it?) But my analysis isn’t that revolutionary: someone hurt him.

Yep. Somebody must have made him feel less than he was. Which sucks in general. However, he’s decided to allow that ego wound to fester and has now infected the world with his chauvinism. It’s a whole power thing: if he can shame a woman, he feels better, and if he can find co-signers, that just makes it better. And all this just makes him even more pathetic.

But y’know, I’m a woman. So my opinion is like, so unimportant. *head shake*

Yeah. This bunch of folks makes me wonder why we can’t make folks get a license to use certian media. Oh, right, right. That whole free speech thing. Damn.




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