greenie_breizh: (clothesless)
Before I get started on this little rant, something I did in preparation for my lecture:

Really, heterosexuality manifests itself at school? No. Never, ever.


UBC FilmSoc is showing the movie this week and I've been hearing about it so we (me + a bunch of friends) went it to see it last night. Three things that I found particularly interesting about the movie (which is about, well, young people - four couples and a threesome - fucking), but I'm going to put that under a cut in case some of you don't want to be "spoiled" for the movie.

Hétéronormativité, quand tu nous tiens... )

It's 'funny' because I'm pretty sure I'm coming across as very critical; I actually enjoyed the movie a lot and I would absolutely recommend it. But especially since it's so much about sex, sexuality and relationships, it's just impossible for me to sit there and not reflect on the messages that the movie was perpetuating and the way in which the audience through its reactins was reifying very problematic messages about sexuality. What's acceptable, what's "normal", and in contrast, what is funny because it's unexpected/abnormal/unusual.

Pretty much I was sitting there and feeling like I was watching hegemony at work. Our messages change, evolve, but some dominant beliefs don't.

Real guys don't get fucked, y'know?
greenie_breizh: (identity)
I take liberal feminist education to share some core features of mainstream liberal education, with a central emphasis on a broad education that fosters freedom by developing autonomy. In doing so, the feminist variant would pay particular attention to encouraging the growth of autonomy among girls, and their capacity to choose roles and lifestyles rather than being forced to accept traditionally defined ones. (p.73)

Extract from Enslin, Penny (2003)."Liberal feminism, diversity and education", in Theory and Research in Education 1 (1): pp.73-87.

On Tuesday Karen Bradley, from Western Washington University came to do a talk entitled “Cultural and Structural Factors Affecting the Incorporation of Women into Systems of Higher Education”.

One of the things she was looking at is vertical and horizontal segregation: vertical segregation refers to the fact that women are confined to low-paying jobs, and horizontal segregation refers to the fact that they're limited to certain fields of work. One of the things that's fascinating about these two aspects of gender segregation is that the rationale of gender equality seems to have helped reduce vertical segregation, but not horizontal segregation, so that the male/female ratio at university for example is very unequal in fields of study that are traditionally gendered: engineeing, computer science (in favor of males), education, nursing (in favor of females).

One of the explanations she mentioned for this phenomenon is that our belief in gender egalitarianism has not been accompanied with a real challenge to gender essentialism: that is, the belief that men are 'naturally' one way and women 'naturally' another way. One reason for the fact that increase in gender egalitarianism in the general population doesn't mean an increase in gender essentialism is that legislating equality affects vertical rather than horizontal segregation.

Her main thesis was interesting - and provocative. She argued that norms of self-expression and the rationale of choice that are so popular (especially in North American cultures) legitimize our indulgence in gender-stereotyping.

So for example, our focus on the individual means that if a girl decides she wants to be a nurse and doesn't like math, rather than challenging that, we focus on the idea that she's making that choice for herself and that as an individual, she has the right to do that. Consequently we tend to disregard economic outcomes and the influence of gendered cultural ideas... Bradley argued this is all the more true since we allow teens to make choices for themselves at school at a moment in their life where they are the most sensitive to pressures of gendered expectations and most likely to make choices based on deeply-held cultural beliefs of gender essentialism.

In short, the valuation of choice and individualism in our society would be the very tool that allows for the perpetuation of gender essentialist beliefs, as they become concealed behind arguments of self-expression.

Now, I don't know if I agree completely with this idea, but it certainly resonates with what I know and what we have witnessed over the past few decades. It certainly makes sense in the context of heterosexism resonating so easily with a large percentage of the population, because heterosexist is rooted in gender essentialism. Anyway. I just wanted to relate the argument (not as well as she made it but hopefully fairly clearly) as food for thought.

It also really challenges liberal feminism as defined by that quote at the beginning of the post, since then emphasis on autonomy, unless it is actively accompanied by challenges to gender essentialist beliefs, would simply work to reinforce gender stereotypes in the framework of our society, rather than help liberate women.

Oh, and before I forget again: the grad advisor for our department, Gerry, is a browncoat! :D I was so happy to find out. On Thursday he briefly sat down next to me during the UGF and at one point turned to me and said "shiny!" with a knowing grin on his face. Just awesome.
greenie_breizh: (identity)
"See, if we can't notice color, if I'm not allowed to notice color, I'm not going to have a very easy time understanding or acknowledging the consequences of color."

If you're white, and ESPECIALLY if you feel concerned by racism, but even if you don't, I BEG you to watch this presentation by Tim Wise. I know it's an hour long. Every minute of it is worth it because this is something we don't talk about. Not in those terms, and it's extremely important that we do. That we understand what whiteness and white privilege is, that we understand what we gain from it and how it hurts us, because it does.

(People of color should also really, really watch this to familiarize themselves with the argument and because it's a really fascinating presentation. It's just that for white people it really should be close to an obligation.)

This, by the way, touches upon why I think France's approach of "we're all equal! we can't distinguish one another by skin color! this is racism!" is problematic at best. In the words of Time Wise (and to repeat the point made by the quote above) "if we're colorblind, we can't discuss white privilege". We need to acknowledge color so we can deal with the consequences.

Interestingly enough, this morning on [ profile] metaquotes someone quoted [ profile] nightengalesknd talking about the phrase 'I don't think of you as disabled' and why that's actually offensive to disabled people. It is the exact same mechanism at work here.

When we don't acknowledge difference and inequalities, it's always to the advantage of the dominant group.
greenie_breizh: (identity)
I've been meaning to share that link - a must-read for guys, but it's a very useful read for gals, too.

Don't be That Guy.
greenie_breizh: (kiss)
Back on Monday, Stephen Colbert had on his show Philip Weiss, the author of "The Secret Lives of Married Men".

It was an interesting interview because Weiss pokes at our idealization of monogamy. And btw, despite the title of the book, good points to Weiss for making the effort to add throughout the interview that women, too, are not necessarily fundamentally monogamous.

I don't know what I think about the idea that some of us are less capable of restraining themselves when they're aroused by someone outside of their relationships, but I certainly do believe monogamy is not THE way of life for everyone. And I like that Weiss mentioned that we're more sexually liberated and we should have these conversations in our couples. What I do regret is him not insisting on that.

I remember a conversation a couple of years ago at one of our birthday parties where people were discussing the whole concept of cheating. Y'know, the whole "is kissing cheating?", that sort of thing. Well, the beautiful (?) thing about cheating is that it's nothing specific. Cheating is crossing the line that you and your partner drew for yourselves. Dude, if you wanna say that oral sex with someone else is cool, but kissing them is out of the question? That might not be a line most people would draw, but so what?

We need to stop thinking in terms of norms for consensual sex. There is no norm. There's only what we, as individuals, feel good about, and feel comfortable with. It's the same for sexuality in general. So what if you're a gay man who doesn't like anal sex, or a straight man who does? It's about pleasures and attractions and sexual behavior is not synonymous with sexual identity. Nothing makes you gay - and nothing makes you straight, either - and no one should be ashamed about what they like in bed. It doesn't define who we are - simply what we like.

Everybody would be a lot better off if we could talk more freely about sexuality. Yes, we're saturated with discourses on sex and sexuality but they're all very limiting. It's sex, it's a man and a woman (or "gay sex", whatever that is), it's monogamous sex. We've eroticized extra-marital sex because we have those strict norms that say that this is a really bad, naughty thing to do (while we're all thinking, that bad and naughty is kinda sexy), and we need to stop doing that, because it also comes with shaming people in real life for their desires. We need to be more open and more open-minded about sex. Not necessarily in public and certainly not necessarily graphically. It's like the homo thing - you can teach children that being gay is okay without shoving a dildo in their hands at age 5. It should be about creating an environment where our concern shifts from normal and acceptable sex to consensual decisions about sex.

So back to the original point, I don't care if you're having sex outside of your marriage. I do care if the partner you're married to has agreed to the fact you're having sex outside your marriage. That's why I have a problem with the whole not being able to restrain oneself thing. That's an excuse. You abide by the rules you set with your partner. Now, if you didn't agree on rules that make you happy, then there's something to be said about your couple, and you need to resolve that. See what gives - their vision or yours and there's often a lot of room for compromise if you're willing to think outside the box and you decide what your priorities are (and there's nothing with giving - as long as you're not the only one doing it all the time. Compromise is a very respectable and amazing thing. On the other hand, only caring what you want and what you like and not being willing to incorporate anyone else's well-being into your life is a sign of extreme selfishness and immaturity.). But if you disagree fundamentally, if nothing can give? Don't let anyone tell you what you need is wrong or weird; don't let yourself be unhappy in a relationship and find yourself in that situation where you've grown so unsatisfied you're going to cross that line you and your partner have set.

Basically, my point is: sure, monogamy is what most people on Earth are good with (and probably a big part of that is that we grow up learning that monogamy is the thing). That doesn't make it normal or natural. That makes it, at best, hegemonic and heterosexist. Just like most people on this Earth are mostly straight, and that's not a judgment call on anyone who isn't. We all like different things, and it's a diversity we should embrace. Two people in a consensual relationship - whatever they agree on, whatever they feel good about - I say good for them. I have a lot more respect for that than a married couple forcing themselves to stay monogamous because that's the "right thing to do".

So it's not about right, or wrong, or normal. It's about making a conscious decision with your partner, because that's the kind of thing that gives value to your relationship, that means you're both in this together. And yeah, even if the conclusion's often going to be that you both want to be monogamous (there can be a bunch of reasons for that, and that's okay, too), it's good to have that conversation. It's good to know it's something you can discuss openly with your partner. Nothing wrong with being monogamous, either, but be monogamous for the right reasons (ie: not because you feel obligated to).

Easier said than done, I know. But if at least we strive for that, our relationships - and public climate - will be healthier for it.

And yes, I've turned into Doctor Love. Have a good day everyone. ;)

PS. I think it's obvious, but all of this applies to sexual acts as well as sexual behavior (if that's what you call monogamy, open relationship, polyamory, whatever else you wanna call the agreement you have with your partner), maybe even more so because that belongs completely to the private realm (whereas monogamy and its cohort doesn't). If you like something, it's game. You just have to make sure your partner is okay with that (or willing to work on it), and make an effort to be okay with what they like. Mutual consent is key at all levels.

EDIT: I wish my own RP characters would follow my advice. Least they could do, the brats.
greenie_breizh: (ecology)
"We have to do the things we do that seem so hard on the community to make sure there is a community."
- Joss Whedon interview

This is so true it hurts. And it's so true because it transcends the issues that writers and actors have been having with the AMPTP - at the very core of environmental issues, this is what it's about, too: making tough choices so that we can go on, instead of turning a blind eye to the situation and hoping it'll get better on its own. It doesn't. Civil rights were never won without a fight; the free market will never help the poor, and it certainly will never improve the environment crisis.

We have to make tough choices. And start thinking long term, instead of thinking about how we can make the most money fastest. Instead of believing in a market that's only done good to the richest. That's the only way we're ever going to create communities instead of trigger wars.

The choices are not going to get any easier, either. We complain about rising gas prices while thousands of people are dying of hunger. Let me stress that. Dying. Of hunger. Because the Western world wanted coffee and so developing countries started monocrops instead of feeding their own people. Speaking of eating - start eating less meat. I don't care you like it. Because we eat so much meat, our pasture footprint (the surface on the planet we need to feed ourselves) is 8 times bigger than developping countries. I don't care you love meat. Us liking beef cannot justify using resources so disproportionately and leaving other people starving.

I'd like us to stop thinking it's not related. Of course you're not directly starving a Senegalese when you buy meat - it's not about making people feel guilty. It's about understanding that we're in this together. That it's all interrelated and that our system is deeply unequal in our favor. That we all live on one Earth and our actions do have consequences. Our system, our way of life, has consequences for the planet and for other people. It's about changing. It's about realizing that we're living above our means, worse - that WE are living above EVERYBODY ELSE's means, and they never got a say in the matter.

One of my most hated quotes of all times is a quote by George Bush who said "the American way of life is not up for negotiation". Of course it fucking is. Americans are real nice people (well. most of them anyway.), but that doesn't give America a right to stomp all over the rest of the world.

Let's realize how superior we've been acting, let's stop being brats, and instead of feeling guilty, let's make changes. Soon we won't have a choice anyway, but it's not even about that - I'll rant more about that later, I think. We've built a sick world. We need to reconnect with each other and with the very ecosystem that allows us to exist. Think about your impact. Then do whatever you can to reduce it.

Moderation might not seem as sexy and fun as excess, but it's not a bad thing. We should celebrate moderation - there is nothing wrong about being respectful enough of people and the planet not to care online about getting the most of everything. Excess doesn't mean satisfaction.

(Note the irony of the song I'm listening to - and then turn off your lights whenever you're not in a room.)
greenie_breizh: (identity)
So. I'd like to say in advance this is probably not going to make much sense, but I want to put all of it out there. It's a rant about sexuality and desire mostly and it's all been whirling in my mind a while.

It's been a long journey since I first kissed Fan'. I meticulously jumped all the hoops: it's just this one girl, I'm bi, I'm gay, I'm SO gay. A lot of people know I like girls, I don't really try to hide it. I'm comfortable with that, and I've been lucky enough to live and be in places where it's not a threat to my life to be comfortable with it. It's been a long journey and I've learned a lot. About gays, lesbians, coming out, discrimination, homophobia, heterosexism, stereotypes, inequalities, common experiences, civil rights, gender identity, pride, trans.

The truth is that transgenderism fascinate me. )

There's something else I've sort of come to terms with, and that's got more to do with sexuality and desire. )

I still have a lot to learn, even within "my" "community", but I like the journey it's all taken me on. I'm so grateful for everyone I've met that's taught me to push my limits a little further. It's more complex and it doesn't all make sense, but I feel a better person for it. I hope I am a better person for it.
greenie_breizh: (gay)
California is still struggling to pass same-sex marriage: the Californian Senate sends a bill to the governor's desk for him to sign into law. This is the second time the legislature tries to pass a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage, but the first time Governor Schwarzenegger vetoed the bill.

I find it incredible that Republicans would whine about "activist judges" and then when a same-sex marriage bill is validated through the legislative system, therefore representing the view of the people that the aformentioned activist judges are apparently so little aware of, they veto it. WTF. I find Schwazenegger is overall more liberal than some of his Republican fellows, and I'm really hoping he doesn't veto this second bill. And it would be huge, if he doesn't - the first time same-sex marriage is legalized in the US through the legislative process.

In other LGBT-related news, despite the fact that the American Red Cross (unlike the French Red Cross - consistent policy what?) and other blood groups have been criticizing the policy that stops gay/bisexual men from donating blood, the FDA has reasserted it would not change the policy. This policy means that any man coming in to donate blood is asked if he's had sex, even just once, with another man since 1977.

This policy, as far as I can tell, is common amongst blood-donation groups across the Western hemipshere. I've talked about it with a number of friends but apparently I've never mentioned it here. I'll just copy-paste my thoughts on this from what I told [ profile] rabidmaiden (who just learned about this policy and was consequently pissed off), since I was pretty articulate there.

It's something that I've always been very angry about, because to stop gay men from donating blood on the premise that "men who have sex with men" as a group are more at risk is, simply put, discriminatory. "Sexual contact with another man" does not mean you're more likely to have contracted HIV. Anal penetration is the risky practice, and while it's obvious that it's a common practice amongst men who have sex with men, it does not define sexual contact. A woman who's been anally penetrated is taking just as many risks as a man - if not more, because I wouldn't be surprised to hear condom use for anal sex is more common amongst gay men than amongst their straight peers.

The assumption that all gay men have anal sex and therefore should be banned from donating blood might seem harmless because it's a correct assumption in the majority of cases. However, like many assumptions, it has unwanted consequences on our perceptions, and in this case, it's very telling of the way we compartmentalize sexuality. It's dangerous not only because it ignores that the ACTUAL risk is anal sex and not "gay sex", but also because it perpetuates the belief that "having sex with other men" is somehow fundamentally different from straight sexual intercourse. Sexual behaviors doesn't abide by boundaries... and to believe that a sexual orientation is linked to a specific sexual behavior allows us to continue to make gay men (and gay people) different because of what we fantasize happens in their bedroom. Newsflash - you never know what someone does in the bedroom until he or she has taken you there.
greenie_breizh: (identity)
Where does homosexuality come from: the question we shouldn't be asking ourselves

[ profile] heikki_cheren just linked me to this episode of 60 minutes on, basically, the origins and manifestations of homosexuality.

On sexuality, gender identity, femininity and masculinity, and all that good stuff - or what was wrong and/or interesting about these videos )

Yesterday I was at the monthly meeting of the ComPol of the Inter-LGBT, and we were reworking a text for a flyer that will be distributed at pride. I'm mentioning it now because we came to make a distinction that can be essential when discussing all of these questions. Sex life is a private matter - that's related to whom you're sleeping with, how you're sleeping with them, any preference you might have in the bedroom. Sexuality, however, belongs partly to the public sphere. I've made that point before and I know some people differ, but I really believe it stands. You define your sexuality in lots of ways in your everyday life - by the interest you show for people of a particular gender, by jokes you make, by some of your statements, and of course, when you're in a couple, by the hundreds of small gestures that betray you and the other person are a couple. By doing all of this, you're saying nothing about your sex life - and a majority of people would feel uncomfortable bringing their sex life itself into the public light, while they're open about their sexuality. Keep that in mind when people ask the typical "but why do you/they have to say you're/they're gay?". If people were asked not to be straight, you'd find a lot of conversations would become stilted, because sexuality is pervasive in our society. I'm not saying it's a good or a bad thing, it's simply a fact. In this context, for a gay person to simply affirm their sexuality is a way to feel more at ease, because they will be better included in the conversation. Saying it is often the simplest way.
greenie_breizh: (political)
Le site sur lequel est proposé le test dont je parlais dans mon post précédent est extrêment bien conçu et permet de s'informer sur les candidat(e)s. Proftez-en!

Vous pouvez vous renseigner sur chaque candidat(e) en cliquant sur sa photo puis sur les thèmes qui vous intéressent le plus.

Autre possibilité: si vous hésitez entre deux candidat(e)s, utilisez le Face à Face (disponible sur la page d'acceuil) pour comparer la position de vos deux candidat(e)s sur les thèmes qui vous semblent les plus importants.

Le mieux, évidemment, c'est de jeter un coup d'oeil aux programmes. Même si votre choix est déjà fait, c'est important de savoir ce que les candidat(e)s proposent, au moins sur les thèmes que vous trouvez les plus intéressants - et d'ailleurs c'est souvent intéressant de lire les programmes des candidat(e)s qu'on connait mal ou qu'on ne soutient pas, parce qu'ils n'ont pas toujours que des idées stupides. Et si vous voyez dans le programme de Sarkozy une proposition qui vous parait intelligente, alors vous pouvez demander autour de vous ou à votre candidat(e) pourquoi il/elle ne propose pas la même chose. C'est comme ça qu'on instaure un dialogue sur le sujet plus intéressant que "Royal, j'aime pas sa voix". (Même si c'est vrai que moi, je n'aime pas sa voix! Elle ne me donne pas envie de l'écouter, ce qui est dommage pour une figure publique.)

Le problème, c'est que les programmes sont longs et pas toujours faciles à trouver exposés de manière claire. Pour les dernières présidentielles, les Verts avaient publiés un petit livret clair et concis sur leur programme, j'espère que c'est aussi le cas cette année. Hier, Fan' a récupéré Le programme d'action de Bayrou dans la rue - quand les militants vous proposent juste des flyers, ou des discours sur "la France mérite toutes nos forces", c'est inutile, ça ne vaut rien. Tout le monde dit la même chose, évidemment.

Mais s'ils vous proposent ce genre de petit livret avec les propositions du candidat, prenez-le. Jetez-y un coup d'oeil dans le bus, dans le métro, ou dans votre bain. Ca ne fait jamais du mal de s'informer et franchement, ça ne prend pas des heures.

On se plaint beaucoup de ne pas être au courant, de ne pas avoir les outils pour voter de manière informée. Mais les infos, elles sont là, et souvent pas aussi difficile à trouver que ça. Le truc, c'est que la démocratie, ça fonctionne sur un principe de démarche citoyenne. On ne peut pas toujours attendre que ça nous tombe tout cuit devant les yeux; il faut lire, réfléchir, confronter. Et on peut parfois être étonné(e) d'y prendre un intérêt. La politique, ça n'a pas vocation à être chiant et déprimant.

Un mot sur le vote utile... )
greenie_breizh: (kiss)
Gay extravaganza!
Part 2!

Careful! This post is going to contain spoilers for the one but last episode of Torchwood.

I can't remember precise instances, but I remember some of my straight friends complaining gayness was showing up everywhere. And that everybody always got so excited about it. The realm of LJ and fandom in general takes that and blows it out of proportion - slash pairings seem to beat other pairings in the interest they raise by miles, and I mean by miles. But most of the fans getting intense about these gay couples potrayed (or not) on TV aren't gay themselves. So this isn't some big surge of love for TV finally potraying "our" relationships on screen (I'm not denying a lot of straight people permanently have two thumbs up for gay couples and it's very couple, I'm just saying it's not blind "they're like us so they're cool" love).

So the question is, is it really cooler to be a same-sex couple on TV? )

Up next, and probably tomorrow (since it's two in the morning)...
Gender roles and (male) gay couples : is it really easier to be reduced to doing the dishes because you live with another man?
greenie_breizh: (sean)
Gay extravaganza!
Part 1, otherwise this is going to end up a monster of a post.

I was on IMDB hoping to maybe find some info about a new project Sean could be working on, and I ended up reading a thread of discussion on his IMBD page revolving around the quintessential question : Is he gay?!1!! I read through all of it, and I've made remarks here and there on this journal on Sean's sexuality, but I've never really addressed the question. So.

Is Sean Maher gay and do we really care? )

Wow, that was much longer than I expected it to be, and I'm pretty sure I lost Sean Maher in there somewhere. So let's switch the focus back to him for a second : this is like the 3rd time I hear about Sean bringing a boyfriend to a convention (Serenity Squared, for what I could gather, but it could be another event). WTF is up with that and can anyone confirm it? Did Sean ever show up anywhere with another guy? Or did just bring his brother or someone, and our brains are too perverted with Wincest?

It's not so much in the hopes to put a final end to the aforementioned question (bisexuality is very much a possibility) but because of the weight carried with a man showing up with a boyfriend at a public event even though he's not publicly out. Sean showing up with a boyfriend just like he would have with a girlfriend would be such an encouraging event, especially since very little would have been said about it online. I mean encouraging is the sense that it would have been a non-event - it'd have been just as common as him showing up with a girl. The activist in me can't help being all "wheee". Oh, and of course I have no doubt they'd be absolutely adorable (and I'd like pictures), but that's another thing altogether.

Up next!

Why do we get more excited about the same-sex couples on TV?
Gender roles and (male) gay couples : is it really easier to be reduced to doing the dishes because you live with another man?

EDIT : Changed heterosexist into heterocentric because it seems to fit better, as heterosexism implies more of a bias and a predisposition towards heterosexuality, rather than simply an assumption of heterosexuality. The politics of sexual orientation are not exactly clear, though, I think the two words mean the same thing in French. But it's probably better to make the distinction.
greenie_breizh: (clothesless)
My oven cannot really make good cookies. I'm sad.

My five guilts... )

On to that rant about sex. Might be a bit graphic but don't worry, no picture ahead. Or just mental ones. )

Tomorrow is a busy day (Printemps des Associations plus the MAG's tea-dance) so I'm off to get some sleep!
greenie_breizh: (ecology)
Yves Cochet showed up at our General Assembly this morning, which was sorta funny and unexpected. I think now he's gonna remember me. That guy has amazing blue eyes, by the way, as much as I'm not attracted to him physically. He spoke up for a bit and of course stirred up the whole debate about politics and political parties taking over "our fight", which still annoys me. I understand that we don't want to be taken over - but to reject the idea that we share that battle with non-communist political parties is ridiculous. You can reproach any party that gets involved in government with many things (good thing about the small communist parties is that you can't reproach much to them, seeing they don't get involved in governing - always easier to complain than to try and actively change anything) but you can't deny some fights are general. Tsk. It "amuses" me we can warn people about being "taken over" by the "gauche plurielle" and then we start talking about a general strike. He.

Quelques citations qui m'ont fait réfléchir ce matin, en lisant l'article du dernier Monde 2 sur la décroissance.

"Pourquoi la notion de richesse est-elle d'abord monétaire?" (Pierre Rabhi)

"Peu importe qu'on dégraisse, qu'on élimine des gens, pourvu que le PNB continue d'augmenter. L'homme est devenu un contingent." (Pierre Rabhi)

The whole topic of "décroissance" (akwardly translated into "ungrowth", but most of what I've read in English actually refers to "zero growth" or "steady-state economics" which is slightly different but stems from the same arguments) I find really appealing. I first remember hearing about the concept in Dr Moore's class, "In Search of Justice", when she had us read a text by Herman Daly entitled "Steady-state economics" and actually, I recommend reading it to anyone who's interested by the concept and/or studying economics ([ profile] twixou, I know you probably have other things on your plate right now, but I'd love to hear your opinion on that text). It's a challenging article but overall an easy read (there are so pretty tough parts though), and Daly even managed to use humor from time to time :

"The American people have been told by no less an authority than the President's Council of Economic Advisors that, 'If it is agreed that economic output is a good thing it follows by definition that there is not enough of it' (Economic Reportof the President, 1971, p. 92). It is evidently impossible to have too much of a good thing. If rain is a good thing, a torrential downpour is, by definition, better!"

No matter what you think about zero growth, the article makes a lot of good points. (There are also some points I don't really agree with, but that's what debate and questioning is about.)

"As Wallich so bluntly put it in defending growth, 'Growth is a substitute for equality of income. So long as there is growth there is hope, and that makes large income differentials tolerable' (1972). We are addicted to growth because we are addicted to large inequalities in income and wealth. What about the poor? Let them eat growth! Better yet, let them feed on the hope of eating growth in the future!"

Interestingly enough, Daly actually counter-points arguments made by economist Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen, often recognized as the founding father of the zero growth theory. I've also reached sections of Singer's book that talk of free trade, which is obviously linked to economic growth, so it's fascinating to get different perspectives on what is, ultimately, the same issue.

This reminds me of how much I dislike the French system - I would have loved to keep studying philosophy (though not in that terribly forbidding French style) and I'd also be very interested in studying economics, just to understand the whole system better (because, unlike what that girl said at the GA earlier, I don't think captitalism can quite be summarized in two minutes, and simply demonized). But I couldn't actually get a degree in either majors. I just wish we could pick a few classes, actually open our minds instead of getting stuck in one single topic. It seems so out of touch with our times, where everything is intertwined, economics, lifestyles, ecology, poverty, violence. Anyway.

Totally unrelated, but let me squee : Dr Moore is on the picture illustrating Phillips' RelPhil department!!!

Et un peu d'humour pour finir...
"Pour ce qu'on nous a dit, on aurait pu nous envoyer un fax." (Membre d'un syndicat étudiant, à la sortie de Matignon samedi)

"And therefore education at the University mostly worked by the age-old method of putting a lot of young people in the vicinity of a lot of books and hoping that something would pass from one to the other, while the actual young people put themselves in the vicinity of inns and taverns for exactly the same reason." (Terry Pratchett)
greenie_breizh: (political)
Les jours passent, se ressemblent ou ne se ressemblent pas, et c'est toujours les mêmes questions qui m'agitent... "En participant au blocage, je ne me sens pas moins étudiante que toi mais plutôt plus citoyenne". Il serait grand temps qu'on remettre "la citoyenneté" en avant en France, parce que c'est un concept un peu perdu. Je ne comprends toujours pas pourquoi il n'y a pas plus de discussions politiques organisées sur la place publique, régulièrement. Enfin bref. Je dis ça mais si ça se faisait je passerais mon temps soit à y aller (on sait que je ne suis pas assez occupée comme ça ^^) soit à m'en vouloir/être déçue de ne pas pouvoir y aller, alors finalement peut-être que c'est aussi bien que le lien entre la politique, le local et le citoyen soit un peu faible en France. :)

Bref après l'épisode CPE hier, je vais parler Verts, parce que déjà ça me perturbe moins, je sais un peu mieux où je me situe, et en plus c'est à mon avis beaucoup plus important. Déjà parce que ça s'inscrit dans la longueur, et qu'en plus c'est quand même une dynamique beaucoup plus constructive à mon avis. Bref.

Donc comme vous le savez sans doute, les Verts aiment bien (trop?) les principes démocratiques, et donc le problème du moment c'est qu'il faut choisir qui on va présenter comme candidat aux élections de 2007. Alors on fait des primaires, comme aux Etats Unis, et au passage avant cette année je ne savais même pas que ça se faisait en France, des primaires. Mais j'aime bien le principe et pour une fois qu'on importe des éléments positifs des Etats Unis, ça fait du bien. Bref donc les Verts ont cinq candidat(e)s à la candidature, Yves Cochet, Dominique Voynet, Cécile Duflot, Alain Uguen et Jean Desessard. Hier soir à Paris il y avait le premier meeting de présentation des candidats - personnellement avant de rentrer dans la salle, je ne connaissais qu'Yves Cochet et Dominique Voynet.

Et avant de me lancer dans le vif du sujet, je voulais juste dire que Yann Wehrling était présent et j'étais bien contente d'enfin voir la tête de notre secrétaire national, surtout qu'il n'est pas moche.

Réflexions sur les candidats )

Juste pour finir : deux trucs que j'adore chez les Verts : c'est quasiment systématique d'appeller les gens par leurs prénoms, c'est tout bête mais ça fait super convivial. Et quand on s'interpelle, on dit "chers amis", ce que je trouve trop mignons. Les Verts, c'est un peu le pays de Bisounours, en plus réaliste et en plus écolo. ^^

greenie_breizh: (political)
Je vais faire ça dans l'ordre chronologique et donc commencer avec la fac. Aujourd'hui l'AG avait lieu à 14h, ce qui est pas mal pour dormir mais très mauvais sur tous les autres plans, ça ruine le reste de la journée puisqu'on est incapable de faire moins de 4h d'AG à chaque fois... Le nombre d'étudiants était très impressionant aujourd'hui, et une très grande majorité continue de soutenir grève et bloquage : il faut dire qu'on a l'avantage de ne pas avoir la direction contre nous, et d'avoir l'AG des profs et des personnels IATOS qui continuent eux-aussi de voter la grève.

A force d'entendre certains étudiants mettre tant de conviction dans leurs propos, sometimes I find myself thinking maybe we will win that battle, after all. Et dans ces moments là je me dis que ça vaudrait le coup d'avoir fait tout ça, même si moi je n'ai pas foutu grand chose, soyons honnête. En plus ça me conforte un peu de voir des tracts des Verts contre le CPE.

Quelques réflexions sur l'AG... )
Au passage, la banderole de Paris III a fait la une du Times après la manif de mardi dernier... (et, un peu moins glamour mais quand même, une de nos AG elle a fait celle du 20 minutes!)

And yeah for teachers with a sense of humor :
"Je m'engage à ne pas changer le calendrier universitaire et je m'opposerai systématiquement, quand le temps sera venu, à ceux qui voudront y faire quelques menus aménagements.
Par contre, les examens seront light, comme l'Orangina.
Mais pas de panique, c'est meilleur pour la santé à ce qu'il paraît.
" (from Censier's strike website)

Bon, je voulais aussi faire un point sur les Verts et le meeting de présentation des candidat(e)s à la candidature de ce soir, mais il est presque 3h du mat' et demain, c'est nouvel épisode avec le plombier (qui a le potentiel pour devenir "Meurtre dans le bâtiment B") à 10h donc je crois que je vais remettre le résumé de mes aventures écologiques à demain.

Qui vote pour?

Qui votre contre?

Qui s'abstient?

Qui ne prend pas part au vote???

greenie_breizh: (political)
So yeah, I need to write a little something about what seems to be pretty much the definitive results of this election.

It's funny, because I don't actually believe much in that Constitution, in the sense that it *is* pretty unsatisfying and too liberal for my own taste. Yet I can't help being (once more?) disappointed by the vote of my fellow citizens. I can't say I voted knowing exactly everything this constitution implies, because I don't think anyone could, anyway. I do feel like I voted knowing what the general stakes were.

The thing is - as I just told [ profile] stampinground - I can't think nationally. I'm not sure exactly where it comes from, but I can never think only of France. And - I like Europe. I like the idea of countries getting together, trying to work things out. Going forward together. Being stronger together. And we've started doing so through economics. It's a doubtful choice if you want my opinion, but it's been working, and maybe it's what matters most in that case. And - if there is one reason why I was looking forward to having a European Constitution, it's because it does more. By simply exisiting, it creates something more. It creates Europe. The real one. One where we're tied by the same words, by the same main beliefs.

One where we all say together, we refuse to discriminate against someone based on their gender, religion, sexual orientation, political beliefs. If only just that... it means something to me.

The Constitution was a compromise between 15 countries. A compromise kind of always sucks. It's doomed to, when you're trying to satisfy countries that are as different as Danemark, Poland, the UK and France. We all see things differently. I'm attached to some things we have in France, but something in me refuses to say we have the best system. I can't help thinking, no matter how left-wing I am, that Nothern Europe countries such as Finland or Sweden do better socially than we have ever done, and yet they're pretty liberal, economically-speaking. Maybe they've got something figured out that we haven't. I want to ask them and learn from them.

Rejecting that Constitution... what are we saying? What are we doing? Are we going to draft a new one? Is it realistic to think we'll reach a better compromise now that Europe has 25 members? Is it realistic to think we can write something less liberal when liberalism is what Europe is founded on? When the majority of the countries are right-wing right now? Can you really write something more socially advanced when countries like Poland are so far behind already?

More importantly... what now? What happens next? How long will it take, now, to build a political Europe, if we've just rejected it?

I think I'm a little annoyed because the wound from 2001 still hurts. Because I'm only 19, but I trust politicians more than most of my fellow citizens, because at least politicians (speaking in the general sense - Joss knows individually there are some politicians I hate with a deep passion) get involved. I feel like most people now... they vote (if they do) and that's it. That doesn't really make you a citizen, does it? And to be fair, at least for this elections there were debates. Not well handled for the most part, but it was a start.

My question is, of all the people who just rejected the constitution because they want a Europe that's more social / less liberal, how many are going to actually DO something to help change the constitution? How many are going to get any information about how they can involved? And how many are just going to sit there and wait for a new draft for come along?

Maybe that's what bothers me the most tonight. Voting yes induced a lot of things that I'm not sure I was going to be happy with, or proud of. But I did think it was a step forward. We refused to make that step forward tonight, and it's fine for lots of reason. But I feel a lot of the discontent that explains the victory of the no is not going to transform into anything productive. And that bothers me. Because I don't like the idea of refusing something, but then not helping finding a new, better way to go forward. And I'm afraid that's exactly what's going to happen...

After all, the abstention rate at the local elections a month after LePen got to the second round was as big as ever. Can I ever trust my fellow citizens to get involved?

What about me... am I even getting involved myself?

I want to build something strong. A political identity. I want the Spanish, the English, the German, the Dannish, the Lithuanian... to be my fellow citizens. I can't see the future any other way... Maybe I'm trying to tie myself in. Maybe I think if I feel I'm an actual European citizen, in the strongest political sense of the word, I won't feel like going away. I won't need to cross the ocean to feel at home. Why don't I ever feel at home here? Am I losing my ideals for settling for a compromise?

EDIT : Just read that post at [ profile] twxiou's and I think it's pretty interesting to read. I'd like to hear the thoughts of those of you who voted no.

EDIT as I read my Flist : I read that in [ profile] anna_tarawiel's comments, and I do agree. If there is one thing that I do hope tonight, as strongly as I can, is that my reasoning was wrong all along and that those of you who voted no because you want to build something better were right.
greenie_breizh: (Default)
"How far have you gone with a guy/girl?"

I hate the "1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, all the way" thing. It's like an heterosexist thing without even wanting to be, which might be the worse. On the talk of sex, I wondered about bisexuality against a couple of days ago. It's all right for a straight girl to say, yeah, sometimes I notice cute girls and I think about kissing them for a second. It's like, that doesn't make her gay, of course not. I feel like, being gay, you're much less free to say, yeah, I look at some guys and think they're kissing-material. It's like suddenly you're telling the world, wait, maybe I'm not so gay after all! I don't know. I'm puzzled. The whole issue is that technically then a lot of people are bisexual, but don't choose to identify as such - so are you what you identify with or what you physically feel attracted to? How many boys / girls do you need to find kissable to be "bisexual"? The whole label thing is kind of disturbing. And then everybody gets afraid that bisexual people are going to leave them for the other sex. So what if my significant other breaks up with me to go with a guy? Is it much better she'd break up to go with a girl? I mean first case I can go, "gee, I wasn't giving her what she needed" because I didn't have the "good stuff", but second case I can still go "gee, I wasn't giving her what she needed", but this time it'll be because I just *wasn't good enough*. It wasn't even I didn't have a penis, which I can't help anyway.

The whole rationale behind fear for bisexuals puzzles me. Mostly I think it's too complicated - gay, straight, bi, it somewhat shouldn't matter but it does. It does and it's straight couples everywhere kissing, and it's family issues because you're gay and it's the whole angsty thing to try and figure out whether you want to be kissing girls or guys. Too much to think through. Let things be. Just don't hate the other side, or the middle-ground. We're all playing on the same field in the end. Aren't we?

I want to be cuddling with my girlfriend. Or oddly enough, I want to be talking about gay stuff with a lesbian couple. I just don't get that need to "group" sometimes. It's a silly thing and doesn't make much sense. Because it's not like I want to talk about being in the closet, having homophobic issues with your family, or anything that's strictly gay-related and that you could argue straight don't have to live through. It's not that. I just want to hang out with lesbians, friends of mine, and it'll make me smile just to know they're together. Where does that feeling come from? Why does it feel so strong sometimes? I love my straigh friends, and I love my straight friends in a couple.

So I don't get it really. And I don't like not to get things.
greenie_breizh: (ecology)
Emotionally charged evening, in a unrelated to my life kind of way. I've started watching the Butterfly Effect and that movie has really caught my attention – I think I need to finish it before I go to sleep. It's just – gripping, really.

Then, watched the documentary Amerika, Amerika on Arte. It was about working poors, something that still baffles me. I remember that philosophy class last year where I had to remind Andover kids that some people worked two, three jobs in the US, and still couldn't pay the rent and feed their kids. The issue chases me deep down. I don't get it. Part of me wants to fight, part of me just can't, because I have classes, because I have to go somewhere. I don't even know where. It's not that I feel guilty for what I have that they don't, even though it does feel wrong that my dog should be better fed than a baby in a country like the US (not that it's not wrong my dog should be better fed than a baby from Bangladesh, just that Bangladesh has an excuse for not being able to provide welfare to its population – the US just doesn't). It's not guilt. I just can't think I, or anyone who cares, should become just as poor as those people – works the other way around for me. We need to bring these people up, give them access to books, education, cheap DVDs. Why do we download DVDs? We can't afford them. Who are we really kidding? You can't afford the whole world. Where should we stop? What's the limit? When does it become ridiculous that something becomes accessible, when you didn't really need it? How much do we really need going to a Firefly convention, having a 10 000 song playlist, buying a new CD player? Again, it's not about shame, or guilt. I just wonder about this system we live in – the system I live in. How much do I really need that Pink TV poster?

I'm annoyed at not being involved more in those things. At not being involved with the Green Party this year – I need to join again. Maybe that's why America holds such magnetism to me – I feel like there's so much to fight for over there, and I don't know why I don't have that drive as much here. What I need is just a demonstration. There's no way to describe how I feel in a demonstration for something I believe in. It's my place, I feel like I belong. I've run around a lot in my life, on a lot of levels. But as long as I can remember, demonstrations have always been some kind of haven to me – not the reason I keep going, but a reminder of what's important. What it all comes down to. Fighting, struggling. There are so many different battles. I don't know which ones I'm supposed to pick. I do wonder about that. I know requiring good social security for every American is more necessary than asking for gay marriage – yet I somewhat believe as strongly in those two things. It's funny how I watch this man who can't support his baby boy anymore trying to fight by joining a union, and they're in that food place and for a second I'm thinking – these people might just be total bigots. Fag's probably a common word for them. Yet I'd fight with them. There are some things that transcend others. Maybe that's what I dream of. Showing people that there is no such thing as a difference between gay and straight people - through fighting for something else, something that unites us. Probably it's a fantasy.

But as I stand there, having looked up Napoleon-related book for 4 hours at a library this afternoon, I just feel like I need to repeat what I mentioned a few entries ago. My literature teacher is idiotic, at least from what she lets us see. There are things that more important than understanding books correctly, speaking French absolutely perfectly, or owning all the right books, studying like crazy. That might just give us a job, sure. I just don't think it's the job I want. I've been struggling with myself trying to figure out my life. As a so-called smart kid who's obsessed like everybody else to "do" something with the smartness, as a young gay woman who wants nothing more but yell around she's gay and it's okay, as a young liberal woman who, quite ironical, wants nothing more than have kids and raise them, as young student who's being pushed like crazy. I know what I wanna be, deep down. I want to be that teacher who helps make kids' life a little bit better. I want to be that union worker who jumps up and down because a union has gained the right to be formed. I want to be that person who fights to ensure our planet's protected. I want, in my own little way, in my own little corner, to make a difference. I want to give people strength to fight, too. I want so badly and desperately to convince them things are worth fighting for.

I can't be stuck with that stiff knowledge Lakanal is full of. I'm not saying it's useless – it's absolutely not, and I value it, and getting to have access to it. Art seems useless in a materialistic way but I hold it close to my heart. I mean, Buffy has helped it make it through adolescence more than anything else. It's just – I don't want to make it my job. I'll leave that to others. In the end, I need to – make things matter. The only thing that scares me? I'm nineteen. I have no clue what's in store for me. I'm showing off on LJ with all my big principles and my ideals and I know most of them will be crushed. I'm saying all those great things about having strength and being involved but I don't know how to argue – I mean, c'mon, everybody ends up being more convincing than I am. Whenever we disagree on whatever topic, I can't even express my own opinion correctly to my girlfriend. I mean, thank Joss she understands me so well she gets my point without my having to explain it rationally, because I just can't seem to be able to do that. Truth is, point is – I want to be something I'm not sure I can be. I'm not sure I have it in me to fight for something openly. I feel good in a demonstration – can I speak in front of a whole assembly about something? Can I answer questions that question my beliefs? I don't know. I'm not sure. Actually, I'm pretty sure I can't. Especially the question part.

Maybe twenty years from now, I'll read this LJ entry again and laugh. Maybe cry. For now – I'll just go back to my telling myself I should get involved with the Green Party, I should take time to read things that don't have anything to do with school, but that matter to me in life, and it certainly doesn't mean they're less important than Flaubert. I guess it is something if I manage to keep that fire alive in me. If I keep believing.

If nothing we do matters,
then all that matters is what we do.

I don't think I can say it better than that. Let me just never forget that.
greenie_breizh: (political)
So yeah, my life keeps being intense and exciting... school in France has so much potential for non-class action. (Actually, *some* people are getting action at breaks. Just not me. *g*)

Dawn's in trouble, must be Tuesday )

The one where she wonders about gay stuff (again) )

Mr Grey Sky )

And that would be the end of my rant for today... but I'm sure I'll come back with more soon :-p


greenie_breizh: (Default)

November 2011

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