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Summer Hiatus/Final Links Round-Up

28 Apr

Hello good readers! We have reached that time of the semester in which regular blogging will temporarily cease for the break between semesters. But do not fear! Come Fall you will have some new bloggers, some returning bloggers, new co-editors and a new feature! This new feature will be titled “I am a Feminist Because…” and in the column the writer will either parse out why they identify as a feminist or interview someone on why they are a feminist. It is sure to be an exciting new series! Sadly, this means that The Bitchin’ Table will be retired in order for this new feature to take its place. While we all have a found place in hearts for the table that we bitched at, we found that the feature had ran its course and that it was time to freshen things up around here. We hope that you join us next semester! And stay tuned for graduating seniors to post their farewell posts this week!

With that out of the way, this week’s links round-up!

Aliasmitch was: “fortunate enough to have a fellow feminist blogger comment on his post on cisexism and share her own post that is much better in exploring how bodily organs are gendered and how cisexism functions. This is a MUST read.”

Eszenyme found: “this article that talks about Brangelina’s recent engagement.  Pitt claimed he would never marry Angelina Jolie until marriage was possible for all couples….He seems to be reneging on his end of the bargain but GLAAD doesn’t mind? Hmm…”

Femistorian was excited to find: “finally, Jezebel delivers a complete guide to Hipster Racism! I’ve been trying to explain this to people for years. Just because you think that cultural appropriation is cute, doesn’t mean it’s okay. And just because you think it’s fun to play at being poor in college doesn’t mean that’s how it is for the rest of us. Not everyone lives paycheck to paycheck ironically.”

Internationalcupcakebandit discovered: “this article from the Hindu.com references a Jezebel blog post about an Indian skin whitener. As an Indian women myself, I see these products everywhere in retail stores all over the South, where women are generally darker skinned. I think both this article and Jezebel’s blog post comment on a very frightening reality, that not only does society pressure women to be skinny and “model-like,” but also to be the whitest they can be. Weird. It’s also intriguing that women in America ironically try to be the tannest possible.”

Katie O. uncovered that: “Sweden continues to be better than everyone else with a national push for using the gender neutral pronoun hen for all people. Advocates propose it so that children can be raised to be good people without being gendered into a hierarchy of difference like every where else. Also, apparently in Sweden the national school curriculum pushes people to “counteract traditional gender patterns and gender roles.” Amazing. Of course, there are those who do not support this, but the fact that this is a national conversation at all shows how ahead Sweden is in terms of acceptance.”

Kaycorbs444 read “this post on Feministe about the degradation of contraception, both in politics as well as in popular slang used by men AND women. The author analyzes the damage done by referring to oral contraceptives as “whore pills” in a society that demeans women for having a sexuality (cough cough Rush Limbaugh).”

Parklena found that: “we get to see some progress now that the discrimination policy has expanded to include the transgender community. Hopefully it will be enforced well and we can see more big decisions made for equality.”

Mythbusting Monday: There is Only One Kind of Homophobia

23 Apr

It seems fairly obvious right? Except maybe not to those outside of the Queer community. When we think of homophobia in its most malignant and evil incarnation, we probably think of these guys:

Who wouldn't want to be her friend?

The Westboro Baptist Church is a very small group that, as a hate mongering cult, cannot really be construed of as being representative of anyone outside of their group but yet they have become the face of virulent homophobia. Which is problematic, in a way. Yes, while it is great that literally no one takes this group seriously they have almost become a charade to distract from the more insidious (and more frequently occurring/far reaching)  aspects of homophobia that impact members of the LGBTQIQA community every day.  So let’s break it down with a list of heterosexual privileges first:

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Sunday Links Round-Up

22 Apr

Hello again readers! Welcome to the second to last Sunday Links Round-up of the semester. In this edition:

Aliasmitch loved “this really awesome article calling out Jezebel on their incredibly problematic reporting on mental illness. While some of us may love Jezebel for its trademark snark, it is important to remember that it is, quite often, a media website with really problematic reporting practices.”

Eszenyme thinks that “since we’re all craving more Hunger Games, this article gives not only a discussion of Katniss and feminism, but the article parallels this discussion with a personal narrative on growing with The Hunger Games.”

Femistorian discovered: “this article on Jezebel which really sparked my attention. Apparently, a professor at App State showedThe Price of Pleasure, a documentary that critiques the porn industry. Shortly after showing the film, she was put on administrative leave and is facing getting fired. But the professor actually attributes this strange turn of events to her vocal criticism of App State’s male-only poker club for faculty and administrators. Men in this group just so happen to have more privileges and power than others on campus. Coincidence? I think not. Oh, and the best part? She has tenure. So much for academia being a liberal mecca.”

Internationalcupcakebandit liked: “this article from femininsting showcases a Change.org petition against LEGO’s friends line which is stereotypically targeted toward young girls. It’s quite interesting to think about how children’s toys are a huge part of “gendering” our society and reinforcing strict gender roles.”

Kaycorbs444  found: “an interesting article on Feministe about women in the workforce. As we prepare to graduate and embark on the next chapter of our lives in the professional world, this blog post is not only timely, but extremely significant for our generation. The author presents the statistics that defy, as she put it “the Ann Romney stereotype” of stay at home moms to show just how hard girls in modern society work. “

Parklena  enjoyed: “an interview with a couple of feminist mothers and their blogging. An interesting interaction with these mothers who are sharing their beliefs, and experiences with blogging while parenting and their battle to show their feminist side while avoiding being labeled as just a mother. “

In Search of Our Queer Gardens: Live Homosexual Acts

18 Apr

Hello readers and welcome to another edition of “In Search of Our Queer Gardens,” my running column that examines various artists whose art that I have found to be compelling and speaks of Queer experiences. Two of my personal goals in writing this ongoing column is to a) come to my own, personal definition of what Queer Arts may look like and b) try to incorporate the inspiration I gain from these artists into my own production of art. This week, we have something a bit different. Instead of looking at a particular artist, as I have in the past, I wanted to examine an event we have on campus that is all about Queer Art.

Live Homosexual Acts is a series of monologues written and performed by JMU students as part of JMU’s annual week of LGBTQIQA pride, GayMU, hosted by Madison Equality. 2012′s LHA occurred last Friday night and was, I think, a pretty amazing show. (Full disclosure: This year, I was fortunate enough to join the wonderful student volunteers and participated in the show by performing a monologue that I had written.) I wanted to write a post not only giving details about this year’s show but also, I guess, explore the experience of what it was like to create and perform Queer art. If you happened to miss the show, here’s a great way to find out what it was all about!

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Sunday Links Round-up

15 Apr

Welcome to another links round-up as yet another week begins and the end of the semester rapidly approaches! Ths week:

Aliasmitch found this: “must read list of cisgender privileges. Think of it as a nice companion to the list of white privileges Peggy McIntosh used in her essay “Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” — Also, if you all did not already see this, also make sure to read this totally awesome article in the Breeze addressing the difficulties of being Queer at JMU.”

Eszenyme was enchanted when she found: “This tumblr , which is amazing. We might just have a new feminist meme on our hands! Yay for accessible feminist theory jokes!”

Femistorian was: “extremely excited to see that Feministing profiled working class hero Lilly Ledbetter in the Feministing Five this week! If that name sounds familiar, that’s because Obama’s first ever piece of legislation signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (which extends the time limit on reporting pay discrepancies based on sex, race, etc.). Enjoy the article, and keep your eye out for her book the next time you’re in your local bookstore!”

Femonfire found that: “despite the way much of western culture sees Afghan women, there are many beautiful parts of the Afghan culture that make it arguably less restrictive than ours. This article was an enlightening read.”

Internationalcupcakebandit was tickled by: “This blog post and video is so hilarious. In Oklahoma they are trying to outlaw masturbation… life starts at sperm? HAH! This abortion/contraception backlash is seriously getting out of hand.”

Katie O.  wanted to bring to our attention: “Arizona governor Jan Brewer, who you may remember because of her bizarre debate performances, “papers please” anti-immigration act, or for disrespectfully shoving her finger in President Obama’s face, has signed into law the bill that would ban abortion after 20-weeks. But here’s the thing about this already horrible, harmful law. It actually says women are pregnant 2 weeks before they conceive. Here’s hoping she eventually signs a law that declares Arizona will secede from the U.S.”

Kaycorbs444 found: “this link which discusses Ann Romney’s involvement in her husband’s presidential campaign with her recent activity in debate. It’s interesting to see how Mormons, women and feminists alike responded to her opinions and gives a great perspective on the election prospects.”

Parklena enjoyed “this blog about all sorts of different feminist issues and interesting articles that different people have been reading. There are a lot of interactions between people and the sharing of different opinions.”

In Search of Our Queer Gardens: The Knife

10 Apr

Hello readers and welcome to another “In Search of Our Queer Gardens.” In this edition I’ll be examining the work of the the band the Knife.  More music acts? I know! Music must appear to be the only art form I attend to, but there is a reason for why I incorporate so many musicians into this ongoing series, which will be looked into later. I also decided to look at the Knife because they are the first feminist identified band I’ve looked at, and, like with Karen Finley last week, I want to write posts on things I love. No hope for objectivity here, folks!

The Knife: sister and brother super duo Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer

I was looking at the Knife’s website a few months ago and came across this link in which they compose a playlist of various bands to fit the designated theme titled “Queer Sounds.” I found the idea of Queer Sounds intriguing, particularly in the context of the Knife’s work and one of their more signature aesthetics: the blurring of gender and sexuality in their music. After reviewing some videos and certain songs, I determined that their music incorporated a theme that I will tentatively call “Queering the Voice” — in which expected gender and sexuality norms are subverted and flipped, creating either a narrative (in song, hence the Voice) that is either ambiguous or queer.

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Sunday Links Round-up

8 Apr

Greetings readers! Welcome to yet another links round-up at Shoutout! If you are observing a religious holiday, we wish you the best of celebrations! If not, we wish you a lovely spring weekend! This Sunday:

Aliasmitch would like to remind you that: “GayMU, JMU’s week long celebration of LGBTQIQA students kicks off today! Madison Equality has provided us with countless events this week. Check out the facebook event page here and come show your support!”

Eszenyme enjoyed this : “Great article on, of all people, Snooki. It discusses the negative impact of comments like “Snooki should miscarry” or “I feel sorry for that baby”, not only for Snooki, but for motherhood as well.”

Femonfire found: “This post is a reminder that, even though it seems tempting to discredit women’s heath critics who use the “slut argument,” we should not lose sight of the fact that the amount of sexual activity a woman has should not bar her from being equally eligible for birth control and other such rights.”

Internationalcupcakebandit is, to say the least, astonished: “Wow. Okay, so when did having human rights open you up to terrorism? A man has bombed a planned parenthood in Wisconsin because he claims that they are killing babies.. “he joined the growing list of extreme anti-choice domestic terrorists who bomb, shoot, and act with intent to kill, sometimes succesffully, in the name of their “pro-life” cause.” Thankfully, no one was killed in this attempt. I don’t know about you guys, but this is really scary! “

Kaycorbs444 found: “this article following the prospective candidates and their action concerning women’s issues. It explores each party’s “contribution” to the gender divide. While allowing one to side with their politician of choice, this article forces readers to critically analyze the issue on a personal basis.”

Parklena finds herself anxiously: “waiting and full of hope for a positive result on Obama’s mandate about the Affordable Care Act that would keep gender from being an issue regarding health care. Women would have better benefits, no longer being denied care on ridiculous conditions like domestic violence.

In Search of Our Queer Gardens: Karen Finley

5 Apr

Trigger/Content Warning: This post, and the media it contains, has references to sexual assault, violence, self-harm, suicide, strong language and nudity. NSFW.

Greetings readers! Time for something a little different today in this running series. First: I am excited to finally be writing a post about an artist who I find deeply influential in my life, has really helped form my feminist lens and has a completely unique aesthetic that I try to emulate in some of my own work. Second: The artist that I selected for today isn’t Queer-identified and as far as I know (which doesn’t mean much) she is heterosexual. Yet, I think she has produced work that has a distinctly queer-voice, is intended for a Queer audience and is, frankly, some of the most powerful Queer art I have experienced.

That would be the performance artist Karen Finley. Finley is (sadly) most recognized for being involved in the N.E.A. scandals in the early 1990s, in which four artists (Finley among them) were denied their National Endowment for the Arts grants because their art was considered too vulgar and the case became a center for debates about freedom of speech and censorship. Lynda Hart writes that “Finley received by far the most media attention as well as the greatest number of direct attacks on her art” (89) and she became known in the media as “The Chocolate-Smeared Woman”, her entire body of work reduced to a performance in which she douses her naked body in melted chocolate, an act that was symbolic of how society shits on women. Finley became embroiled in a lawsuit with the U.S. government which went all the way to the Supreme Court, a battle that she lost. Finley’s oeuvre is a diverse one: while her pieces focus mainly on the lives of women and utilize her explicit and often deranged depictions of human sexuality,  she also takes an intersectional approach in her responses to oppression in our culture, one that directly pays tribute to the plight of the Queer community. It is through these pieces that Finley can be considered a Queer artist simply because her art embodies radical Queer politics.

Lastly, this post has an ulterior motive. I will be performing a monologue that I wrote as an homage to Finley and is to be performed by me in her style next week as part of Live Homosexual Acts, a series of student-written and performed monologues about Queer experiences. It will be the second-to-last event of GayMU (which is next week) and will be in Transitions from 7:00-8:30 on Friday, April 13th. The show is is looking like its going to be pretty great and the more, the merrier!

And now to Karen Finley.

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In Search of Our Queer Gardens: Adrienne Rich

2 Apr

Editor’s note: Two extra sources and a paragraph working them into the post were added a few hours after the post first went up.

As I’m sure most of you already know, last Wednesday the world lost feminist poet and gay rights activist Adrienne Rich. She was 82. I had planned to write this post on Rich last week before receiving the news that she had passed; and this, plus something else that has come to light to me since her death has caused this post to be delayed and almost not written at all.

I had fully intended to write a post about my personal (and limited) experience with Rich’s work: the poetry I had read, her essays on feminist thought and action and her classic work on the institution of motherhood, Of Woman Born. This was complicated by the sad news of her passing: I by no way could write a memorandum appropriate for Rich’s breadth of work and activism. It was further complicated when I was informed, that very Wednesday night, of accusations of transphobia lodged against Rich and her participation in the creation of Janice Raymond’s nefarious and hateful 1979 text, The Transexual Empire. This woman, whose achievements are beyond comparison in both the realms of poetry and activism, had just died. Why drudge up a part of her history  that can make it appear that I’m speaking ill of the dead, or being disrespectful? At this very moment I’m still wavering on even publishing this piece, but I know, as well as we all do, that ignoring something does not wish it away and that includes the painful and exclusionary parts of our collective feminist history. Also, ignorance is a matter of privilege: there are numerous women and transfolk who cannot ignore this, whose lives have been impacted by this.

This is not an easy post to write by any means, but let’s dive into the wreck.

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Sunday Links Round-Up!

1 Apr

Hey folks, we are just plowing through the year and it is hard to believe that it is April already! Welcome to yet another edition of the Sunday Links Round-up!

Aliasmitch was delighted to find: “This series of interviews with co-author of Manifesta and co-founder of Third Wave Foundation, Amy Richards. The series, titled Makers, contains a multitude of diverse women ranging from artist Faith Ringgold and actress/activist Marlo Thomas to more controversial figures like Condoleeza Rice and Phyllis Schafly. I thought that Amy Richards’ series of clips really captured her feminist perspective well and is definitely worth checking out!”

Eszenyme gives a cheer to across the pond: “Yay England! This new law prohibits wolf whistling/cat calling/any other street harassment in Britain. The article makes a great point that ending street harassment is a great first step toward de-normalizing sexism.”

Internationalcupcakebandit really enjoyed: “This analysis of why not wearing a condom is romanticized and is a symbol of “trust” in today’s society. It’s quite interesting that many people believe when you care about someone and trust them, it means you should put their health and well being in danger.”

Kaycorbs444 found: “This link that explores the divide between the LGBTQ and black communities. The author is a member of both groups and discusses the tension between as both a personal and political problem. It was extremely interesting to read this as a primary source of one who is experiencing first hand the social and legal consequences of this severe disconnect.”

Parklena discovered: “An article on the effects of stopping the use of depo-provera that I felt was important to share because all women need to know the possible effects of different types of birth control. Women need to be very careful and read all the fine print on certain types of birth control offered.”

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