Sunday, November 25, 2012

Allies and stuff

For this week's reading, I want to make some connections, pick some quotes and hyper link. Look at me being resourceful~

I want to start with Andrea Ayvazian's Interrupting the Cycle of Oppression. Specifically speaking, her subsection about providing positive role models.

I believe that it is difficult for young people to grow up and become something they have never heard of. It is hard for a girl to grow up and become a commercial airline pilot if it has never occurred to her that a woman ca and do fly jet planes.

 I have to agree, it is hard to find someone to look up to. And in the age of technology, I feel like a lot of people look for the media as a form of finding the someone that they're will look up to as a role model. For Mae Jeminson, the first black female astronaut  it was the fantastic and intelligent Uhura from Ster Trek: The Original Series that took on the role of... well, a role model. She says: "In many interviews, Jemison has recounted how her girlhood dreams of spaceflight began with watching Star Trek. When she was on the space shuttle, Jemison used Uhura’s signature line 'Hailing frequencies open' during the course of her duties (Penley, 1997, p. 19)". Let's be honest, media representation sucks these days - we rarely get to see our people (people of color) in dominant roles; there are rarely people of color in a position of leadership or power. 

And with Jeminson's next quote, I'll make my seque to Fletcher Blanchard's Combatting Intentional Bigotry and Inadvertently Racist Acts. To quote Jeminson once more:

Majoring in engineering, I would have maybe one of two or three African-American students in my classes. Some professors would just pretend I wasn't there. I would ask a question and a professor would act as if it was just so dumb, the dumbest question he had ever heard. Then, when a white guy would ask the same question, the professor would say, ''That's a very astute observation.'' As a medical student, sometimes I needed to hear the criticism in order to become a good doctor. Also as an engineer, and as an astronaut. But many times what's lacking is the praise. Race is always an issue in the United States. You always run into people who aren't comfortable with you. But we all -- the way people look, whether or not they're heavyset, for example, influences us. Anyone who says he isn't influenced by race is lying.
I think this goes hand in hand with one of the points that Blanchard was pointing out in the article. Even thought colleges and universities are "trying" to get make racism go away, they simply aren't trying hard enough. When they come up with one policy, it's missing something, and when they make a policing that makes that up, they forget about something else. To take Jeminson's quote as an example, even if the school had policies against intentional racism, this "inadvertent racial harassment" would go unnoticed because no one else has anything to say against it. And it happens more often than one might think. I'm not saying it has happened to me, but as a person of color, while i was in high school (and in some of my classes now), I feel like what happened to Jeminson has happened to me. But I digress. To end this paragraph, I'll quote Blanchard once more: "The fact that people of color often find themselves numerically underrepresented in academic institutions exaggerates the discomfort and pain that arises out of insensitive acts." Such as the one that Mae Jeminson experienced all those years ago.

To end this exhaustingly long post, I want to refer back to something that Blanchard said that didn't quite sit right with me. [On the subject of whites with [egalitarian values":] "Few, for example, have vicariously experienced the pain felt by a friend who has suffered racial harassment." This is where I can sometimes have a problem with the extent that ally can go with their...allyness. Even though the word "vicariously" was used, I still don't think it's entirely possible for whites to feel the pain and oppression people of color feel on a day to day basis, or even worse, while being racially harassed. The whole "experience the pain of the oppressed" thing is something that has always bothered me, especially when it comes to LGBTQ+ related issues. I'm sorry (except not really), but you (as a straight person) can't possibly feel the hate, the oppression, the harassment that I (as a queer person) have endured by people in any position of power. I think as allies, you have to know that there is a line drawn as to where your sympathy for us, as minorities, ends and where it begins. Just like I know, that as a male feminist, I will never understand and have never understood the oppression and pain that women go through while being denied of the privileges men have.

(sources: NYT article; Visual Inquiry)

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Event #1

            Wrestling with Manhood: Boys, Bullying and Battering

I was trying to think of a clever title but my mind's not working correctly so I just gave up.

In any case, a few weeks ago, I decided to go to the viewing of Wrestling with Manhood: Boys, Bullying and Battling. And y'all, let me just tell you that wrestling is some screwed up shit that brainwashes everyone (mostly men) who watch it. And it's funny, because people don't realize what's going on. They think it's "just entertainment" and "nothing is meant by it". When will people comprehend saying something just "is" is not a valid excuse for anything? Everything comes with baggage, whether you can read into it or not.

One of my favorite things that men were saying, in the film, when asked about wrestling in general was, "It's just a soap opera for guys". I just--. Literally, I had no words.

And then the movie began speaking on women, and the effect that wrestling had on them. Not only are women sexualized (like every other form of medium that's controlled by men with minds of thirteen year olds), but they pretty much stripped of everything they have. They are used as sexual figures to satisfy the need and desire of every man who watches in the audience. They are dressed up in clothes that reveal a lot of their body parts, and not just that, they need to fit the archetype that's given to them. There's this ridiculous and disgusting audition procedure for the women of the WWE called "the ho train", where they go around the country to pick up women. Like, honestly? "THE HO TRAIN"? If that doesn't scream misogyny, I don't know what does. Oh wait, I lied, I know what does. The fact that they literally beat these women up on stage -- men, that is. They are constantly being humiliated and forced to do acts that are just...plain sick (e.g. putting her head inside a "bucket of bile", or forced to get on her knees and beg for her job, or being stripped down in front of the whole crowd). You don't have to be a feminist to know that this is disgusting.

Women in the WWE are used to pretty much reinforced men's heterosexuality. They are often made to fight with other women in sexual positions, forced to kiss, and made to confused the "hatred" and anger  for sexual tension. It's funny though, because when we looked at the fighting between the men, it was almost the exact same thing, except people didn't make a big deal about that because the men were being manly and fighting and bullying each other and everyone knows that that's what being a man is about! The best part was when we were shown some fighting positions between men, and in the background and sensual tune played in the background, making us realize just how homoerotic wrestling really was, except everyone who watches fail to see that part of it.

When the audience was presented with a legitimate homosexual couple, they boo'd. Chuck and Billy weren't introduced to show diversity in wrestling, it was to enforce yet again how manly the rest of the men were. It also enforced the bullying and humiliation through homophobia. Ugh, it made me so angry. But what made me the most angry was the fact that people were buying into this bullshit. They were still saying that "IT'S JUST WRESTLING. IT'S HARMLESS FUN." Dude, are you kidding me? Do you really think you're four year old son is going to be able to tell the difference between reality and television? Do you really think this is going to go unnoticed for the rest of his life? Or do you think he's going to go to school and try this with one of his classmates?

One good example of what I ended the last paragraph can be seen in the film when one of the wrestlers brought his three and four year old offsprings (I guess children is a better word, but whatever) to one of his match. Before the match, he told his kids that it was all fake and that he was friends with all of the people he was going to fight. And yet, when he was in the ring, his children started crying and asking for his daddy. If they got the backstage pass and told it was all fake, and they couldn't differentiate between the two, what does that say about the youth that's watching this at home? Who have a tough time believing that it's fake?

make me a sandwich

I just had to share this with y'all because it made me laugh. 

Thursday, November 15, 2012

UPS Threatens to stop funding Boy Scouts due to anti-gay policy

Okay, so there's a reason why I'm not studying to be a journalist. Plus let's be real, making up a headline would be too much work that I'm not in the mood for right now. IN ANY CASE! This news made me rediculously happy. Mainly because it's a step up in destroying the ideology that people pass on to children at such a young age. Sure, they don't blatantly teach it, but it's there. I just think that it was such an amazing move from UPS to do this, and I'm excited for things to change in the Boy Scouts . Because if they do budge, that's a step closer toward equality. One more domino down, y'all. The others should follow suit right away. :3

The United Parcel Service (UPS), Inc. will soon adopt a non-discrimination policy that disqualifies the BSA from future funding, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) reports. UPS follows the Intel Foundation in withdrawing corporate sponsorship from the BSA, GLAAD officials note in an email statement.
"UPS and The UPS Foundation do not discriminate against any person or organization with regard to categories protected by applicable law, as well as other categories protected by UPS and The UPS Foundation in our own policies," UPS officials note on the company's website. "These include, but are not limited to race, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran or military status, pregnancy, age and religion."


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Election Post

Like others, this was the first time that I had watched the election with such intensity and interest. It was also the first time I had seen my parents taking part in something that I honestly didn't think they would ever take part in. I got home a little bit after 8 in the evening from hanging out with a friend (that experience was also interesting because we talked about so many topics that we cover in class, but mostly race and it made me feel so fancy and educated), and my family had been watching it. They caught my up in the whole thing and I sat down with them. We spoke about the issues that were at hand, but just over the surface. My sister in law can be quite judgmental sometimes, so in order to not sound mean, she asked me to clear things up for my mother. It being my first time taking interest in the election, I had to look up some things in order to kind of understand what was happening, one of those things being the whole electoral vote per state thing, and their distribution. I didn't know how many votes went per state and how that number was determined. A quick Google search helped with that though, but only to a certain extent. By the time I was going to sleep, President Obama was already assumed to be re-elected, but Ohio still needed to be counted. My brother was watching Fox News ("Why?" was my question seeing as though that channel is so biased, but another post on that some other day), and they were making a fuss as to why he had been re-elected if one more state needed to put in their votes -- they thought Romney still had a chance. I was too sleepy to keep up so I went to bed. The day after, I found President Obama had been reelected. My mind was put into some kind of ease.

The next day my father had friends over, and they were drinking, and I was in the next room re-watching 30 Rock or playing Assassin's Creed 3 (I will be making a post about this later), or something. And at some point I had to pause to listen to my dad's discussion with his friends. My parents aren't very educated, especially my father, but somehow he had learned quite a bit about the politics of this country. My father doesn't know about my sexuality (long story), so when he struck on the topic of "the gays", my ears perked up. He was saying that there was no way Romney was going to win because he was denying gay people their rights, and because he said the whole "Marriage is between a man and a woman". And he said something that kind of made me smile. He said that gays have a lot of power (I guess more than given credit to), and that they played a big part in President Obama's reelection. He said this as if he was being accepting of gay culture, something I thought I was never going to hear. See? Humanity does have some sort of hope even in the older generations. My dad is kind of racist and not to mention homophobic, and yet, he voted for Obama (and praised him, really) and voice his (kind of) acceptance of gay people.

I am probably the most cynical person I know, which is why it surprises me that I have hope in people's positive views of feminism and the issues that it wants to abolish. It might take a while, but it's not impossible!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Sex positivity

I'm really glad we got to read about this in class because it was always something that I kind of knew, but in a kinda sort of way - basically, I never knew how to put it into words. I loved the wikipedia article because it finally gave me the words I want to use when I wanted to argue how porn is not an anti-feminist medium (can we call it that?). Well, it can be, but that all depends on the type. I know that it can represent sexualized violence against women, which isn't feminist at all. But at the same time, there are more ~friendly version that give women the position that men have in the porn industry. "Sex-positive feminists argue that access to pornography is as important to women as to men, and that there is nothing inherently degrading to women about pornography. Anti-pornography feminists however disagree, often arguing that the very depiction of such acts leads to the actual acts being encouraged and committed." See? It's still so conflicting to agree with either one of these views because I can see truth in both of them! But like I said, I guess it all depends on the type of porn that's being watched? Ugh, this is one of those things that I wish had a straight yes or no answer, but there's such a long gray area in between that makes me question one opinion from the other. So, where should I stand with this? On the one hand, I agree that it is a form of expression of women and freedom of speech. But on the other, seeing as though the porn industry is dominated by men, we often get the degradation of women (not saying that all men are misagynist but you know...). SO I'M CONFLICTED AND CONFUSED! But at the same time enlightened. Sigh, welcome to feminism I guess.