greenie_breizh: (Default)
One of these days I will have the time to write something about what's going on in my life, but for now I'll stick to more food for thought:

- Glee's Gay Suicide PSA: It got worse: This article perfectly summarizes why the episode left me with a very bitter taste. Ironically, Allie and I came home to watch that episode right after I'd given a lecture about sexuality and schooling and seriously, I could have used the episode as a perfect example of everything that we're doing wrong about homophobia in schools. Bah. (On a much nicer note, the lecture went awesome and I heard from a number of students that they really enjoyed it. I feel like it was the best one I've given so far.)

- On this topic, I have to link this wonderful blog post by a mom whose 5-year-old boy wanted to dress up as Daphne from Scooby Doo for Halloween. It's both heartening and maddening to read about the kind of stress a child has to go through when he disrupts gender expectations, but if I can be that great a mom one day, I'll be happy.

- Also, a bunch of people have started a Write Your Principal letter campaign, where basically you commit to sending letters to principals of schools that you've attended growing up, and letting them know that you expect them to do something about homophobia in their schools and to question the heteronormative school culture they might be perpetuating (OK, that last one may be mostly me, but it would be awesome if that was included). This is meant for the U.S. but I would encourage anyone who can to do this. People in schools need to realize that people care even after they graduate, and even when they don't have kids in the school system.

On a totally different note...

- As a follow-up to my last posts, I wanted to post a few links on why the Rally to Restore Sanity was, in some ways, extremely problematic. It's partly the ablism of the title, which is not even where I went first because I sometimes suck at noticing ablism (my own and society's)(thanks to [livejournal.com profile] lounalune for calling me out on it). More generally, I loved this post because it touched on almost everything I had in mind, as someone who very much loves Jon Stewart and his show and yet sometimes feels very ambivalent about it. I particularly love this section, in response to part of the speech that Jon gave at the end of the rally:
“So, why would we work together? Why would you reach across the aisle to a pumpkin assed forehead eyeball monster? If the picture of us were true, our inability to solve problems would actually be quite sane and reasonable. Why would you work with Marxists actively subverting our Constitution or racists and homophobes who see no one’s humanity but their own?”
Why indeed, Jon? Why indeed would you say such things about people on the right, making it impossible to work with them? Except, of course, that it’s not your rights being denied. It’s not you who can’t marry your girlfriend, who when you look down the road at your potential futures see the horror of not being able to protect your assets together, or even be by each other’s side at a hospital bed. It’s not you who have had to fight all your life to get your gender accepted, even grudgingly, as a legal reality, not you who will have whispers following you the rest of your life or who fears to publish things under your own name because it outs your entire life history. It’s not you who worry that you’re getting older and a woman in an industry that is not known for accepting women, not you who are worrying that if you get fired from your job you may never find another one like it.
greenie_breizh: (jon stewart <3)
I should be working (story of my life, ha) but I'm happy with how much I got done this morning so I'm going to take 10 minutes to write that post I've been meaning to write forever. First, some links! Wonderful!

- Black-Grrl Power: Willow Smith and Sesame Street: an article on black hair, started by the recent Sesame Street video featuring a black girl puppet singing about how awesome her hair is. It's a good article, and a nice reminder that racism takes forms that white people sometimes can't even fathom.

- Why Decriminalizing Sex Work is Good for All Women. It's kind of old news by now, but at the end of September, the Ontario Supreme Court struck down Canada's prostitution law (read news article here). Because it is likely to set a precedent, it's a huge step taken towards decriminalization (not to be mistaken with legalization!) of sex work in Canada. And in these Tea Party ridden times, that's almost unbelievably progressive and fantastic. So I'm just going to gleefully quote: "Whore stigma is one clue that anti-prostitution ideology is about more than just violence against women—it’s specifically about femininity. In this sense, arguments against transactional sex are a defense of both the gender binary and of heterosexuality. This is why men and transgender sex workers are invisible in prostitution debates. This is why changing laws is just the beginning, not the end, of a longtime struggle for basic human rights for sex workers."

- A post by Dan Savage on a manifesto written Episcopal Bishop John Shelby's decision to no longer debate the issue of homosexuality in the church with anyone. More than this decision (which has positive and maybe negative sides), the reason I'm posting this is Bishop Shelby's words on "fair-mindness", which is a discourse currently used by media outlets to justify airing the views of profoundly homophobic parties: "In my personal life, I will no longer listen to televised debates conducted by "fair-minded" channels that seek to give "both sides" of this issue "equal time." I am aware that these stations no longer give equal time to the advocates of treating women as if they are the property of men or to the advocates of reinstating either segregation or slavery, despite the fact that when these evil institutions were coming to an end the Bible was still being quoted frequently on each of these subjects. It is time for the media to announce that there are no longer two sides to the issue of full humanity for gay and lesbian people." This is an incredibly powerful statement, and a serious challenge to the way we tend to think about 'freedom of expression'.

- Two links (1, 2) to galleries of photos from Saturday's Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear in D.C. There are many signs amongst these that I feel ambivalent about, but there are true jewels in there, too, including this one, this one, this one, this one or this one. My all-time favorite, though, is this one which I found on Lemonde.fr (#5): "I masturbate and I vote (but not usually at the same time)." And then of course I have a special fondness for geeky signs. :) I have my ambivalence regarding the Rally (most of which has to do with the way that it idealizes moderation, as if this particular political stance - because it is one, whether people like it or not - didn't have its own problems, and consequently the way that rhetoric around the rally has tended to lump together right-wight extremism and left-wing radicalism, which I find infinitely problematic) but in the midst of all the Tea Party insanity absurdity, it does feel good to see people come out and point out the ridiculousness of people who embrace their willful ignorance and refuse to debate reasonably.

- And to finish, a link shared by [livejournal.com profile] shadesofbrixton: a sexual attraction chart. Very neat, not without its problems obviously, but I love the sheer complexity of it. :)

As usual, this has taken me WAY longer than I expected, so I'd better make myself some lunch and go back to the 200 pages I'm supposed to read before 4pm. Haha...ha.

EDIT: I forgot! I went to see The Social Network the other night - I went in being slightly unconvinced but I was truly blown away by the quality of that script. Great, complex characters and super tight dialogue, I did not see those 2 hours go by at all. What did everyone else think?
greenie_breizh: (political)
A friend just posted a really good, thoughtful post on her blog about why the "I like it on [insert place]" Facebook phenomenon is problematic. In a nutshell:

But facebook status promotional campaigns such as this not only do little in terms of helping the cause. They actually illustrate, even as they perpetrate, at least three things that are very, very wrong with American society:
  • The gendering, reifying, and branding of disease;

  • The oversexualization (and consequently, the trivialization) of women's issues and bodies;

  • The disinterested, low-risk, low-engagement psuedo-activism made all too easy (and commonplace) by social media.

The last point (about pseudo-activism) in particular I think is important to understand.

And since I'm talking about breast cancer, and Breast Cancer Awareness Month always bothers me, I'll link to another post that I find helpful to think through these issues: Why I boycott Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The central paragraph that summarizes why I feel uncomfortable with awareness campaigns and the way that they have been taken over by corporations.
My highly critical view of Breast Cancer Awareness Month is along the lines of Samantha King’s, who, in her book Pink Ribbons, Inc., “traces how breast cancer has been transformed from a stigmatized disease and individual tragedy to a market-driven industry of survivorship.” King maintains that corporations, under the guise of philanthropy, “turn their formidable promotion machines on the curing of the disease while dwarfing public health prevention efforts and stifling the calls for investigation into why and how breast cancer affects such a vast number of people.” I couldn’t agree more.
greenie_breizh: (melancholy)
I still ache when I read tales of teachers bringing up homosexuality/homophobia/heterosexism in their classrooms and face kids who are so reluctant to change their assumptions about heterosexuality being, essentially, better. Partly these stories touch me so much because I've been the one at the front of the class, and because I realize how much needs to be done. I ache because I know, when I read yet another story of a kid who chose to end their life rather than keep going to school, that it's because we still think it's OK to think heterosexuality (and the codes of femininity/masculinity) is just a little more natural, just a little better.

I rant about this constantly but it's because it doesn't go away. It won't go away, for me. I don't really want it to, though. I've been working on a funding application for my PhD project (which is on anti-homophobia education) and I've realized just how much I care about this project and this issue. I want it to be my life's work as much as possible. I want to keep feeling I have to do something about it every time I read about homophobia in schools, and I want to feel like I'm doing something about it. I want to be unapologetic about it, and I don't care about feelings being hurt, not when something so important is at stake.

As Dan Savage said in a fantastic blog post today,
The dehumanizing bigotries that fall from lips of "faithful Christians," and the lies that spew forth from the pulpit of the churches "faithful Christians" drag their kids to on Sundays, give your straight children a license to verbally abuse, humiliate and condemn the gay children they encounter at school. And many of your straight children—having listened to mom and dad talk about how gay marriage is a threat to the family and how gay sex makes their magic sky friend Jesus cry himself to sleep—feel justified in physically attacking the gay and lesbian children they encounter in their schools. You don't have to explicitly "encourage [your] children to mock, hurt, or intimidate" gay kids. Your encouragement—along with your hatred and fear—is implicit. It's here, it's clear, and we can see the fruits of it.

It's not about painting all Christians with the same brush. There are wonderful, activist Christian people out there, who fight against the status quo and the prevalence of hateful, conservative voices in their religion. Some of them are LGBTQ. But it IS about telling people who think they're "nice", who think it's "just" their opinion, people who refuse to face the fact that teaching your children that same-sex couples shouldn't be able to get married or adopt children because they're less good than opposite-sex couples (against all actual evidence, scientific and otherwise) does teach your children that it's OK to tease and mock and undermine people who challenge heterosexual expectations.

Sometimes being faced with well-meaning people is a good start, and it's not about telling everyone to fuck off just because they don't get it. But there's a place for that, too, for expressing unapologetic frustrations and anger and for stepping on toes, because while you're upset that we're saying you're teaching your kids to hate, our kids are being bullied, and schools are doing little about that.


On another 'fuck off' note, France continues to suck (link in French). The Constitutional Council just refused today to strike down a law which stops same-sex couples from being recognized together as legal parents of a child.
greenie_breizh: (together)
Last week, a 15-year-old kid killed himself because he was bullied constantly at school. Much of the bullying was homophobic in nature.

I'm not going to rant about the event or why it's tragic that it happens, over and over, to kids on this continent. Why it's tragic that the reason that our kids do this to each other is because we tell them it's OK, even when we don't say it in so many words.

Dan Savage launched a Youtube video project in response: It Gets Better. The idea is that queer people from all over the United States (and presumably, beyond) can talk about how life gets better once you get out of high school, away from bullies (young and old), away from communities that shame you instead of loving you.

It's a beautiful idea. I love the idea of intergenerational solidarity in the queer community (and it can go both ways), and I like that this moment is for queer adults, young and old, because as complex and slippery as boundaries get between gay and straight, all along the continuum - it's not the same to grow up straight than it is to grow up anything else, and I value the moments where we support each other like family. So I would encourage people to share their stories if they can. (Especially if they're women, especially if you're not white, Christian, able-bodied, middle-class, because it's very easy for certain groups to believe they have the authority to speak across difference.)

But most of all, whatever you can do, help make it so that it doesn't have to get better. So that schools stop becoming such hostile places for kids who are queer, or maybe even just soft-spoken. You have to demand it of people around you, including your legislators and your school administrators, and you have to do it constantly.

Believe me - we notice. And then, it gets better.
greenie_breizh: (identity)
Through an NPR report that a friend recommended, I started reading [livejournal.com profile] chaoticidealism's journal, and I suggest you all do the same. In my own time I've focused more on the type of marginalization that non-whiteness, non-heterosexuality and femininity/femaleness bring onto people, but obviously marginalization isn't limited to these particular experiences. Disability studies is an entire big field that I've only been able to dip into briefly, but which I find fascinating because it speaks to me on the same level as the stuff that I'm more familiar with.

The experience of oppression at the hand of a dominant group has much potential for enabling people with different experiences to connect and empathize with each other (that doesn't mean equating the experience of being black with the experience of being gay, but rather it means recognizing the different forms that systemic oppression can take). I love to be reminded of that by reading thoughtful, non-essentialist reflections from someone else who's been thinking about this sort of stuff.

I particular enjoyed this post entitled "Joining the Disability Rights Movement", on the place of the neurodiversity community (which includes people with autism) within the larger disability rights movement.

As a sidenote, I love when people in the majority group get labeled, the way that Lisa is using the word 'neurotypical' to describe people who aren't part of the neurodiversity community. It feels weird, but it's an important experience to have when you're part of the dominant group and thus are most likely not used to being labeled constantly (including by people who barely know you). I think we have a lot to gain from being able to recognize the parts of us which enable us to access certain types of privilege.

EDIT: From a new post of [livejournal.com profile] chaoticidealism, not the one I was mentioning, but it sums up the argument wonderfully:
But sometimes, I see people who say, "I'm high-functioning. I'm not like those low-functioning people over there." And then they advocate for the rights of high-functioning people only, by whatever arbitrary standard they're using today to define "high-functioning", because at some level down deep, they're still trying to justify their existence. They feel like they've got to say, "I'm valuable because I can do X, Y, and Z", and distance themselves as much as possible from "disability". They don't realize that the solution is to challenge the disability stereotype that they're taking for granted. And they don't realize that it's valid to say, "I'm valuable," no strings attached, with disability or no disability completely irrelevant.
greenie_breizh: (political)
Quick additional on Prop 8:

- Full ruling can be read here.
- If you don't have time to read 130+ pages of ruling (ha!), check out this post on Queerty. It sums up all of Judge Walker's arguments by quoting from the ruling, and it's a delight to read Walker's unequivocal language. He doesn't leave a single bone to opponents of same-sex marriage.
- A New Yorker article on the topic. Please link me to any commentary that you read and found particularly compelling and insightful!

This is so satisfying. To a great extent, Prop 8 ruined the Obama win for me; that night is a mix of profound joy (and relief) mixed in with the bitterness of another defeat in the polls (for something - same-sex marriage - that should never even be put to a vote anyway). So regardless of how this does on the 9th Circuit of Appeal and possibly, at the Supreme Court afterwards, this is a beautiful victory. Now let's hope it's not downhill from here.
greenie_breizh: (yay)
Proposition 8 has been overturned by the California Supreme Court. Not only that, but the majority judge wrote in his decision this great statement: "That the majority of California voters supported Proposition 8 is irrelevant, as 'fundamental rights may not be submitted to [a] vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.'"

FINALLY someone with some high judicial authority makes this point.

:D

(More later, probably, but for now, back to work.)
greenie_breizh: (soci grad: painfully aware)
I took advantage of the fact that Allie was in Canmore with her parents for a few days to finish my second draft of my thesis, which was nearly 50 pages shorter! Success! Hopefully, anyway. Now I'm waiting for substantive comments.

Anyway, I mostly wanted to share an article, Policing Female Masculinity: Much Ado About Rachel Maddow’s Yearbook Photo! We have a tendency to jump the gun and say that masculinity is more harshly regulated nowadays than femininity, and an article like this one reminds us that actually, norms of femininity are still very much in place.

Also, a question for the French (or French-savy!) folks out there: quelle est votre crêpe végétarienne traditionelle préférée?


EDIT: Also want to link to this article on people (including Sarah Palin, who's decided to become a spokesperson for the cause or something) who oppose the construction of a community centre and Islamic prayer space near Ground Zero (note the NEAR, it's not even at Ground Zero itself). Benevolent racism drives me nuts, and I hate how much the far-right thinks they alone know what the true "American" reaction should be to something like 9/11.
greenie_breizh: (political)
Same-sex marriage is about to become legal in Argentina. (Article en français / English article, whose choice of picture I find doubtful.)

Every time something like this happens, France's refusal to give its own citizens the rights that it recognizes for other couples (and that an increasing number of countries are recognizing) becomes more and more ridiculous and shameful.

Alain Piriou a d'ailleurs rédigé un très bon article sur son blog, à propos du cas du couple bi-national dont la co-parentalité a été reconnue, le même jour où deux françaises se voyaient réfuser la même chose. A lire absolumen: Homoparentalité : la Cour de cassation face aux limites de la loi.

(J'aime bien aussi son article sur les problèmes de diversité même dans les entreprises qui se disent "en avance" sur le sujet.)
greenie_breizh: (gay)
And in gay news:

- A French court allowed for a child to have two parents of the same sex by recognizing an adoption validated by an American court of a child by his mom's female partner. I want to say ABOUT TIME and at the same time, it's such a small step forward. Fuck, I can't wait for French legislation to get over itself re: gay stuff. What's craziest is that the courts still won't recognize this between French citizens, so a binational same-sex couple has more chances of having their family recognized. WTF.

- Mass. Federal Judge Strikes Down Federal Ban on Gay Marriage. It was a long time coming, I feel. Between that and the Prop 8 momentum, the horizon might look a little brighter than I thought.

But if the U.S. legalizes same-sex marriage before France does, I'm going to be so pissed off.
greenie_breizh: (ftw)
1 sleep until Allie gets back
+
starting new job July 5th
+
buying new bike tomorrow
+
Iceland postcard from Allie in French
+
cat napping with her head against my leg
=
yay!



Now some actual interesting links:

- Accepting Kyriarchy, Not Apologies. On why the term "kyriarchy" is more useful than "patriarchy" to understand patterns of dominance and oppression in our society.

- Rachel Maddow's BRILLIANT fake presidential address. I wish so, so much that Obama had said these things. "If you can't handle the risk, you will no longer take your chance with our fate to reap your rewards."

- Here's another fine mess by Roger Ebert, on the BP oil spill. I don't 100% agree on the idea that we need to go back to an earlier age - I think that usually grossly glamorizes what life was like then - but we do need to learn to use less. In a lot of ways, it's a lot like privilege - we can't expect to keep all our advantages, to be coddled, and we should get over that.

- A post on Hey Baby Hey, an online video game which, essentially, mimics what street harassment can feel like.
greenie_breizh: (clothesless)
Oh, yeah, also:

Please everyone lament this reality TV awfulness with me. >.> And let's take a moment to think about who this "we" is supposed to be...

I'm disappointed that none of them seem to own cats.
greenie_breizh: (political)
Three links with a lot of overlap, but they all add some details, like quotes, etc, so if you're interested, it's worth reading all three:

Yahoo!News's Lawyers give final arguments in gay marriage case

OMTD_political's Where's the Evidence? Judge Asks Proposition 8 Supporters

The NY Times's Closing Arguments in Marriage Trial

Of course, the comment section is full of idiots who make claims that are either illogical or cannot be backed up with evidence... but whatever. Overall it sounds like the judge is really taking the defendants' lawyer to task, which he should, because there's no good rational reason to back up discrimination in this case. While I ultimately agree with the plaintiffs' lawyer that justice shouldn't come down to whether or not public opinion is ready for this, I do see why the judge would worry that a decision in favoring of overturning Prop 8 might stiffen opposition when trends show that overtime people are becoming used to the idea that same-sex marriage should be legal. That said, if we waited for public opinion to change completely for these kinds of things, we could be waiting for ages, and there is a point where discriminatory practices need to be addressed, period.

Point is... it will be interesting to see how the judge rules. I think there is a really good chance that he will rule against Prop 8.

I'm going to spare you going over every single argument that the defense attorney made and pulling them apart, I've been over all of them too many times before, but I need to comment on one thing. This?
The plaintiffs say there is no way to understand why anyone would support Proposition 8, would support the traditional definition of marriage, except through some irrational or dark motivation," Cooper said. "That is not just a slur on the 7 million Californians who supported Proposition 8. It's a slur on 70 of 108 judges who have upheld as rational the decision of voters and legislatures to preserve the traditional definition of marriage."
Is bullshit. I'm so tired of this attitude - I really really fucking hate when social conservatives not only expect us to engage with their prejudiced view, but get offended when we call them prejudiced. Yes, this is exactly what Prop 8 was - a prejudiced piece of legislation. Does that mean everyone who voted in favor of Prop 8 is a bad person? Of course not. Does that mean they hate gay people? Not necessarily, though most likely if you probe they think that gay people are not quite as great for society as straight people. But yes, opposing same-sex marriage is prejudiced and irrational; over the years, I have become convinced that the anti-same-sex-marriage view is not a view that can be sustained by rational arguments. (Religious arguments, yes, but we're not discussing religious marriage here.) It would be easier if prejudice was always about malice, but it's not. Most people who voted against Prop 8 were convinced by arguments based on fear and illogical reasoning, but that may have been convincing when it panders to deeply-ingrained heterosexist beliefs - prejudiced beliefs that are anchored so deep in us, from so early on, that we don't necessarily know when these prejudices get activated. It's work to come to recognize heterosexism, and it's work that we don't encourage a whole lot. So of course people would be convinced. It's always easier (and less scary) to be convinced by the status quo.
greenie_breizh: (green is good)
For anyone who think the current oil spill disaster is solely BP's fault, rather than a product of the way that we exploit oil resources... We could not have stopped Gulf oil gusher, ExxonMobil chief tells Congress.

Scapegoating doesn't help, although I have no sympathy for the situation that BP finds itself in. The problem is much more systemic than that, and I hate that we're probably going to fail to implement any kind of decent regulation to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. And yes, that probably means a ban on off-shore drilling, as far as I'm concerned.
greenie_breizh: (clothesless)
"Ultimately, of what possible social significance is it if a person likes to masturbate over a shoe? It may even be non-consensual, but since we do not ask permission of our shoes to wear them, it hardly seems necessary to obtain dispensation to come on them."

- Gayle Rubin, Thinking Sex: Notes for a Radical Theory of the Politics of Sexuality


I love when academics slip funny things into their otherwise very serious analysis. XD

We're checking out Science World today! I'm really excited.
greenie_breizh: (funny)


XD
greenie_breizh: (soci grad: painfully aware)
I am trying to get all the midterms out of the way by the end of this weekend so that next week I can focus on my thesis, and I'm doing pretty good, but some of the stuff I am writing so often that it's starting to drive me crazy.

In spite of that, I still like how concise and effective this definition is:

Gender stereotypes are widely held beliefs about the defining characteristics of masculinity and femininity. They are both descriptive (suggesting what group members are like) and prescriptive (specifying what group members ought to be like).

Only 20 or so to go!
greenie_breizh: (gay)


This just makes me uncomfortable. Which sucks because I love Alan.

This guy says the shirt's not supposed to be homophobic because it's "entirely a concise observation of objective, indisputable evidence. Evidence like overly-coiffed hair, pretty men, and body glitter."

But I'm not sure how resorting to stereotypes to make fun and devalue a cultural product is not an exercise in homophobia. Body glitter? Hilarious. "Real" men don't wear body glitter! Overly-coiffed hair? "Overly" says it all - men are not supposed to care about their hair! This wouldn't be funny if not for the heterosexist assumption that (straight) men don't do these things (gay men do) because it's not masculine.

This is full of value judgment crap, and not in a positive way at all. Not to mention ultimately, it's extremely problematic to call anyone gay unless you've asked them (or they've made it clear) how they identify, and you certainly can't base your opinion on whether or not the man takes care of his hair. Ugh.


(Don't get me wrong, I think vampires sparkling in Twilight is ridiculous, especially the part where they've got so much shame around sparkling in public, but fuck.)

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