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Sunday, April 18, 2010

A white girl's response to Renee Martin

I’m a white girl. I am also a feminist. However, I am under no illusions that my experience with feminism, that it is representative of my personal experience as a woman, is widely-felt. I hear what Renee Martin is saying, and I have no “yeah, but…” response to her complaints. They are legitimate. Despite what white people may say… feminism can be hostile to women of color. Feminism, while striving to include all women (e.g. woc, trans, disabled, elders, youth, working class women, etc), is still a product of our flawed, society. You know, the one with all the systemic oppression in it. So it makes sense that other oppressions, like racism, would be present in most mainstream feminist spaces/theory. I personally believe that feminism is not really doing its job unless everyone is represented and welcomed to participate in this community. Intersectionality is a must, it is necessary, it is The Key to dismantling oppression and it is the only way any of us is gonna see true equality in our lifetime. Therefore, if our sisters feel the need to be a womanist or an un-feminist or something else because feminism is too restrictive and doesn’t account for their experiences of oppression, we white girls better listen up and maybe do something about it. How about stepping back, making room for those who don’t necessarily share our fair skin tone, maybe sharing the mic more often, maybe we need to get more involved with race issues in a direct way. Show support for issues and concerns that are all too often ignored by white feminists. We also need to acknowledge the vast contributions that women of color have made, and are still making, to feminism. Renee has aired her grievances about the status quo, now how is feminism going to respond? To be continued…

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown knows whats up

It's nice to see a fellow lady blogger telling a would-be ally (who not only REFUSES to acknowledge his privilege, but actually complains that the ladiez aren't paying enough attention to HIS OPPRESSION) where to shove it.

Oh, and also, male studies = crap that's just too easy to mock.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Where have all the curvy ladies gone??

Alright, now I'm not the kind of girl who likes to hate on skinny chicks, they have their issues too, however as a woman who is technically considered "plus size" (whatever the fuck THAT means lol) I feel like I need to express the collective woe we bigger girls feel when curvy female icons join weight loss programs. Being large does not necessarily mean you are unhealthy, it may mean you eat more or it may just be your particular biology or any other number of things. But, I for example, just had a full physical with labs done and my doctor said I am INCREDIBLY healthy. That's right folks, this size 12-14 body is running like a well-oiled machine!! So what is up with actresses like Sarah Rue (who I loved back in the day on that show Popular) suddenly becoming a Jenny Craig spokesperson? And soulful songstress Jennifer Hudson similarly becoming a Weight Watchers spokesperson? Not cool!!! These women were beautiful, incredibly talented, and busted stereotypes left and right. I get that there is immense pressure for women in the media to conform to a certain image (read: dress size) but these women BEGAN their careers as fantastically curvaceous! They've already succeeded! Why the sudden need to slim down?

On a similar note, I'm downright annoyed at Gwyneth Paltrow for being an ignorant ass and complaining about how she "let herself go" during her last movie shoot. Really Gwen? Really?? Naturally slender women like you who fit every classic beauty trait to a T and STILL complain about their bodies are giving the rest of us a complex. Why not let yourself eat, dear god, fried food once in awhile and see how it actually WON'T kill you. Then maybe one day you could be a halfway decent role model for other women. I don't like hating on other women, honestly I don't, but I just can't stand it when one woman feels the urge to portray her low self-esteem and poor body image as concern for her (and by extension, our) health. So thanks, Gwen, for reinforcing the message that no woman is good enough unless she meets some impossibly high standard of beauty that is constructed to leave most of us out.

Also, can I say that this is just downright disturbing? A whole page on a tabloid website devoted to literally watching female celebrities' bodies?? What a shitfest of objectification of women and fat-shaming, while glorifying leanness at all costs. People definitely went for its demographic's jugular with this one.

To combat all this body negativity, I am prescribing some feel-good entertainment. Get yourself your favorite savory and/or sweet snack (mine is ice cream!) and pop in Real Women Have Curves. America Ferrera is fantastic and completely inspiring in this film about her struggle to assert her own identity even though her family, particularly su madre, has other ideas. A film with a curvy woman of color as the main character that passes the Bechdel test? Yes please.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Oblivious Allies Pt. 2

In my last post about allies I mainly vented about how my slightly more privileged (via class and gender) friend tends to complain a lot to me about his life even though the same things in MY life are a bit more difficult due to being a woman from a lower-middle class background. I found fleshing out my issue with this highly cathartic, but today my poor oblivious friend made what I consider to be a truly grave ally blunder: assuming that since he's "with it" when it comes to social justice issues, he thought he could make insider critiques about a group he is not a member of. This was accomplished by 1. ridiculing the content of rom-coms as not worthy of viewing, and 2. making a rape joke. Jesus Christ.

To be fair, I loathe romantic comedies, so I don't blame him for not liking them all that much either, but I think he tends to see them as crap story telling and leaves it at that. I, on the other hand, hate them because they are crap story telling that is specifically marketed to women and packaged in a neat, heteronormative, mostly white, happily-ever-after, traditional-gender-role-enforcing plot. I have no problem with movies that feature female leads and talk about women and their lives, I DO however take issue with the fact that ladies are apparently supposed to settle for rom-coms as the only medium that does this in the mainstream movie business. Yuck. So when I bag on a Nicholas Sparks film, versus my male friend doing the same, it doesn't carry all the weight of insinuating that chick flicks, by definition, aren't good because they are made to be consumed by women.

2. however, was just plain fucked up. Rape jokes are not funny because rape is not funny. It is a topic that is rarely taken seriously in society, especially when the sexual assault doesn't follow the stranger rape script. There are very VERY rare instances in which it is permissible to crack wise about rape (e.g. to be subversive and turn a stereotype on its head), but this was not one of those times and he is not the person who should say it. ESPECIALLY to a female friend who has experienced several forms of sexual assault in her life.

The lesson here, if you're an ally to a group of people, do not for a SECOND think that because you've experienced pain in your life, you therefore understand the pain of that group's oppression. If you're an ally, never assume that it is ok to make light of serious issues that affect a targeted group simply because you are more familiar with this type of oppression or that you understand it better than society does. It is not your place to point out internalized oppression in targeted groups, and it is not ok to assume that because you are progressive or liberal, that you get a free pass when it comes to saying shit that you have no business saying at all. If you're an ally, your role consists of supporting the targeted group and advocating on behalf of those groups with other privileged people. There, I said it. Rant over.