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: (soci grad: painfully aware)
From Making Meaning of Relationships: Young Women's Experiences and Understandings of Dating Violence by Donna Chung (2007, Violence Against Women 13:12):

The findings suggest there are two related and noteworthy differences between the current generation of young women and the previous generations. First, young women now expect and feel pressure to be in an equal relationship that can lead them to present their relationship in ways that mask inequality and abuse. Second, because they see themselves as having equality with men, there is no reason why they should stay with violent or abusive partners; therefore, if they are living with male violence it can be viewed as an individual failing.
Female victims of male violence are constructed in two ways through young women's explanations. On one hand, they are responsible for the violence because they have not made good decisions about the men they date and "choose" to stay with them. On the other hand, they are vulnerable to being victims because they have low self-esteem or another personal inadequacy, which is why they continue to stay in the relationship.
Both explanations place responsibility on the woman and do not question the man's use of violence or consider his capacity for change. The study shows the continuing dominance of individualistic explanations that conceal male power and a woman's vulnerability to male violence, and focus on her responsibility to stop the violence. [...] This leaves gendered power relations relatively intact because they are invisible within these individualized explanations.

There's more in there, about how intrinsic heterosexual dating is to the performance of femininity for teenage girls, but to me the crucial point that keeps coming up over and over again is the way in which discourses that individualize actions at the price of almost all other narratives unwittingly perpetuate broader, structural patterns of inequalities. There's obviously something profoundly discouraging about the way that new discourses around gender equality have actually work to create extra pressure for girls (and presumably boys, too) rather than modify the foundations of how heterosexual couples are socially expected to relate to each other. (Which of course does not mean all straight couples strictly conform to the scripts, that would be far too simplistic.)

As a sidenote, I would be curious to use Chun's interview guide to have similar conversations with teenage boys, and see how they frame their dating practices and relationships with girls, and their own experiences of "casual" dating violence.
greenie_breizh: (still life)
I wanted to share a paragraph in a book that really spoke to me on the topic of why the notion of impartiality actually reifies the dominance of certain perspectives over others. I haven't read the chapter where the author develops her point, but I thought this was nice to share as a starting point for thinling about this.

From Iris Marion Young, Justice and the Politics of Difference (p.10-11):
Some feminist and postmodern writers have suggested that a denial of difference structures Western reason, where difference means particularity, the heterogeneity of the body and affectivity, or the inexhaustibility of linguistic and social relations without a unitary, undifferentiated origin. This book seeks to show how such a denial of difference contributes to social group oppression, and to argue for a politics that recognizes rather than represses difference. Thus Chapter 4 argues that the ideal of impartiality, a keystone of most modern moral theories and theories of justice, denies difference. The ideal of impartiality suggests that all moral situations should be treated according to the same rules. By claiming to provide a standpoint which all subjects can adopt, it denies the difference between subjects. By positing a unified and universal moral point of view, it generates a dichotomy between reason and feeling. Usually expression in counterfactuals, the ideal of impartiality expresses an impossibility. It serves at least two ideological functions, moreover. First, claims to impartiality feed cultural imperialism by allowing the particular experience and perspective of privileged group to parade as universal. Second, the conviction that bureaucrats and experts can exercise their decisionmaking power in an impartial manner legitimates authoritarian hierarchy.
greenie_breizh: (political)
We watched one of Stuart Hall's lectures tonight in class. Nothing ground-breaking, but beautifully articulate on issues of meaning-making and representation.

I also learned, not without surprise, that Stuart Hall is black.

It was funny - to realize I'd unconsciously been making that assumption we all tend to make, especially if we're white, because I've been reading stuff on LJ about cultural appropriation in writing and more generally white privilege and stuff, and it's frustrating, in a way, that I continue to make these assumptions. It makes me want to pay closer attention. Anyway, I wanted to share a few of the things I've been reading:

I Didn't Dream of Dragons and the continuation, more specifically addressed to white folks. A few selected passages that really spoke to me:

Do not tell me, or the people like me who have grown up hearing Arabic around them, or singing in Swahili, or dreaming in Bengali—but reading only (or even mostly) in English (or French, or Dutch)—that this colonial rape of our language has not infected our ability to narrate, has not crippled our imagination.

[...] Asking an author to write the Other with respect and assuming it to be sufficient, is like telling a person that being polite to everyone is sufficient in their goal of being an anti-racist ally. This is crap. Your definition of individuality, just like your definition of politeness is culture-specific.

[...] I distrust universalising statements proclaiming our inherent mutual humanity because they are uni-directional—they do not make everyone more like me, they make everyone more like you. And I do not want that.

[...] We are not used to throwing our abusers in jail after three strikes--we negotiate with our abusers being our bosses and television hosts and school teachers and peacekeeping forces and our clergy. When someone tells us we are wrong, we can't run away or banish them, we learn to live with them, and with ourselves.

[...] Decide whether you want to understand the critical lenses we use to deconstruct dominant narratives, and learn how to use them. This will probably be painful because it reveals feet of clay in dearly beloved books and authors. Is the cost worth the result for you? No one is saying there isn't still value in something offensive and flawed, but your line of tolerance may be different from someone else's. I found that, having once turned my critical reader on, I could not turn her off, and I am happy, on the whole, that this means that there are now books that I find unpalatable which previously I would have been able to enjoy.

(Also, frustrated because there was one good link that I can't find again. Will edit if I do.)

I also never got around saying on Tuesday just how fantastic it was to see so many African-Americans involved in the inauguration process, both in the proceedings and in the audience. I'm sure Obama will disappoint in some ways, but no matter what, he changed something big, and I can't help but smile at his image. Looking at this little girl's eyes, I feel like I won't ever be able to grasp the full extent of just how amazing it is that this biracial man is going to be everywhere for the next four years. (Not just him. All of them.)

Speaking of Obama and politics, much much win for his swift decision on Guantanamo (dude, he's left-handed, too? heee), and his support of Roe v. Wade today.

On that topic:
"I think what everyone ought to be interested in doing, whether they are or not, is reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies," Gandy told CNN. "Because if we reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies, it will by definition reduce the number of abortions and reduce a lot of the pain and despair that has befallen women in these economic times, who cannot afford to enlarge their families when they don't have a job and they don't have a way to put food on the table for the kids that they have now."
THAT, yes.

To go back to Obama, how gorgeous is this B&W photo?

On this note, I will leave you with a beautiful photo and great moment. Not seeing / hearing about Bush anymore is going to be quite glorious, too.
greenie_breizh: (identity)
"There are [...] queer kids who do not become queer adults and kids who were not queer that do."

(Interrupting Heteronormativity: Toward a Queer Curriculum Theory, by Sumara, D. & Davis, B.)
greenie_breizh: (gay)
From "Queering/Querying Pedagogy? Or, Pedagogy is a Pretty Queer Thing" by Susanne Luhmann (1998), discussing Rosello's essay "'Get out of here!' Modern Queer Language in the 1990's" (1994).

Mireille Rosello's equation of studying lesbian and gay material with learning a foreign language gets at some of the issues at stake for a pedagogy that is curious about the conditions of learning and how such learning might incite the proliferation of new identifications. [...] Language instruction, Rosello argues, must assume rather than condemn the students' ignorance. [...]
The language analogy might be further productive in disengaging teaching and learning queer studies from the notion of identity, deconstructing both the normalcy and its difference without disavowing moments of identification. The process of language acquisition acknowledges that all languages are acquires, that there is no 'natural' language, that a straight person can learn a gay idiom, and that gays speaking straight are bilingual, who, like "bilingual children of immigrants...can be both alienated and empowered by their double origin" (Rosello, 1994, p.160). By the same token, the analogy does not dismiss altogether hierarchical and political struggles over language and language instruction. Although languages are habitually taught by native speakers or by those with a native-like fluency, even native speakers are never a unified homogenous group. How a language is spoken varies greatly according to regional and geographically varying dialects.
According to Rosello, language instruction, much like teaching lesbian and gay material, has its most dangerous and powerful moment in the recognition of ignorance, or the students' refusal to see anything else but a superfluous language and an unimportant skill. Rosello's analogy of speaking and teaching gay avoids a judge-like mentality full of indignation about the students' ignorance. Instead, it offers a new set of questions: Why do some students acquire near-native fluency whereas others never identify the value of learning another language? How does learning, speaking and listening to a new language affect how one relates to one's mother tongue, one's own culture? Who do I become through listening and speaking another language? How is this process a form of risking one's self, for example in the moment when I am neither understood nor understand what is being said? How does the self respond to this breakdown of mastery of self? What kind of defense mechanisms are elaborated? What does this other language foreclose, or open up? What is at stake in not understanding? Who can I become through speaking and listening to another language?

I don't know if it's because of my own position as bilingual/having learned a language to near-fluency, but I find this parallel really helpful and insightful in a lot of ways. It does a really good job at challenging the idea that binaries are necessary for us to understand the world and asking questions.
greenie_breizh: (identity)
From Ladson-Billings, G., & Tate, W. F. (1998). “Just what is critical race theory and what’s it doing in a nice field like education? Qualitative Studies in Education, 11 (1), p. 7-24.
Talking about the disparity between per pupil spending often invites the critique that money doesn’t matter. Studies as far back as Coleman et al. (1966) and Jencks et al. (1972) have argued that family and individual effects are far more powerful than schools in determining poor school performance. Whether or not school spending is a determining factor in school achievement, no one from the family and individual effects camp can mount an ethical case for allowing poor children to languish in unheated, overcrowded schools with bathrooms that spew raw sewage while middle-income White students attend school in spacious, technology rich, inviting buildings. If money doesn’t matter, then why spend it on the rich? (p.21)

Why, but because they have earned it, of course.


Aug. 30th, 2008 11:49 am
greenie_breizh: (clothesless)
Reading about heterosex and feeling a little down at how male hegemony is just so closely intertwined with the way we see sex - it's like even when we think we're in an egalitarian relationship where the woman is treated the same as the man, our accounts of sex reveal systemic inequalities. :/ I find myself wondering if it's possible to have non-hegemonic heterosex and the thought that maybe it's not is incredibly depressing.

"The way these activities were described, as in these two extracts, often represented her orgasm as something that she had as a result of what he did or gave her. In contrast, his orgasm, achieved through intercourse, was not typically framed as her giving – instead, it was something ‘we’ did together, or about where his orgasm took place. In these accounts, the man is represented as more active in the production of orgasm – both hers and his own – than is the woman. In this way, it is a subtle account of the relative passivity traditionally expected of women in heterosex (e.g. see Gavey and McPhillips, 1999; Gilfoyle et al., 1992)."

[...] "Numerous studies have pointed to the links between male sexuality and performance/competence (e.g. Gilfoyle et al., 1992; Kilmartin, 1999). It also points to how ‘saturated’ heterosexual reciprocity is with unequal status. If a woman’s orgasm is ‘given’ by a man, as it is in the discourse of reciprocity, men stand to gain positive identity positions (sensitive and unselfish) through this discourse. Furthermore, the caring, sensitive man partaking in reciprocal heterosex is also imbued with ‘sexpertise’ (Potts, 1998, 2002) – the competence to know how to meet the complex challenge of producing orgasm in the female body, as well as the more straightforward task of his own orgasm. Women’s ‘gift’, on the other hand, is recognized less as an active gift than as a taken-for-granted expectation. As such, the positive identities to be gained by women through the discourse are less clear (although the negative implications of not participating are clear)."

[...] "It is ironic . . . that the ‘enlightened’ male discourse, in which men take some responsibility for their partner’s pleasure, is yet another example of men abrogating power to themselves, as they take away women’s ability to be an independent sexual agent. (Gilfoyle et al., 1992: 224)"

(Extracted from Virginia Braun, Nicola Gavey and Katrhyn McPhilips, “The ‘Fair Deal’? Unpacking Accounts of Reciprocity in Heterosex,’ Sexualities 6:2 (2003): 237-261.)
greenie_breizh: (quote)
I was browsing through books to bring some home, and I found this really articulate quote on coming out:

"Coming out is, after all, a result of heterosexual practices more than homosexuality. It is not queers' unsolicited burdening of others with our secrets, but the relentless incitement to discourse, as Foucault put it, that makes it nearly impossible to ignore or fail its terms without aggressively articulating a narrative break. [...] The hypocrisy of the system is that the eventual result of endless harassment is what is condemned, rather than the process that provokes it. Heterosexuality wants to see itself reassured and reflected back in every instance and image."

(From Cragin, Lesbians and Serial TV, in Keller & Startyner, eds (2006), The New Queer Aesthetic on Television)

I believe it's Judith Butler that called heterosexuality 'permanently unstable', and that's exactly why.
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: (slash)
Just a few wonderful things I've come across while I was doing research for my paper... I'm not even going to address everything that's wrong with all of it, you know the drill.

"I have seen a few of her friends starting to "consider" if they are lesbian also. These girls, who played with Barbies, saw themselves marrying a prince just last year. Now they are wondering if they are gay? Her friends see the gay issue as "cool" and interesting and a definite option for love."
- Betty Humphrey. Kamloops Daily News. Kamloops, B.C.: May 27, 2006. pg. A.6

"Marriage between one man and one woman, and the nuclear family have forever been cornerstones of civilized society. A conjugal relationship involving a man and woman is what must be promoted in the school curriculum as the only option that surpasses all others."
- Keith Jordan. Chilliwack Times. Chilliwack, B.C.: Jul 21, 2006. pg. 9

"But he never realized how different he was until the first time someone called him “queer.” It was like a devastating gunshot wound to his heart. And when others joined in and added the title “fag” to the insults, Jeremy was humiliated beyond words. By the time he reached high school, he was basically considered an outcast. He couldn’t communicate his fears to his dad—in fact, Jeremy couldn’t relate to him at all. So, slowly, he found himself in a world with no male companions or acceptance from men. Soon, Jeremy began to crave attention from guys and even fantasize what it could be like if a boy really liked him."
- Focus On the Family website
[I...don't even have words for how ridiculous this is, and the rest of their "fact sheet" about homosexuality is plain appalling because it is filled with stereotypes and assumptions and conceit. *sigh* Albeit ironically, this little extract could also be reason to support anti-homophobia education - calling people fag will actually turn them into one! Oh noes!]
greenie_breizh: (annoyed)
So, despite every single professional body in the field having concluded that abstinence-only education does not prevent unwanted, out-of-wedlock pregnancies, the United States of America is still proud to have morons like this gentleman:

Rep. John Duncan (R-Tennessee): "It seems rather elitist to me that people who maybe have degrees in this field would feel that, because they've studied it somehow know better than the parents."

(Jon Stewart's commentary, to lighten up the mood: "And I don't like these elitist airline pilots with their locked door and their ability to fly planes... I think I know how to fly my own children!")

I so don't have the brains to rant about this tonight, but it just makes me so mad that people would willingly ignore all scientific and social evidence and make decisions that we know are dangerous for their children's health and future. Especially dangerous to girls because they're the ones who suffer most from unwanted pregnancies and the ones who get the most shit for getting STDs because no one's ever told her or her boyfriend how to use a condom.

All of this because they can't fucking deal with the fact that sex can and should be about pleasure one's self and one's partner and that there is nothing wrong or dirty about that or the human body.
greenie_breizh: (b&w)
"You can't ask questions such as whether or not we have enough time. We all have to act to the best of our ability. The issue is not whether or not we make it. The important thing is that we have to try."

This a David Suzuki quote (I am more and more convinced that ecologists are the true visionaries that walk this earth), and it reminded me so much of Stephen Lewis's message back in January.

The issue is not whether or not we make it.
greenie_breizh: (ecology)
Am in the middle of my third paper and it's frustrating me greatly because it's about water privatization and environmental issues are paramount to me - much more fundamentally important than issues of gender and sexuality, no matter how much I love, and how much more versed I am, in these two. But I'm finding it's a hard paper to write and I feel like I'm not going to do the topic justice and that annoys me. Funny thing, academia - last term I ended up finding it easier (and doing a better job) of the paper I wrote on the interplay between social inequalities and the school system than my Buffy paper (a topic I felt more strongly about).

The article about Firefly as anti-femininst that's been floating around has been on my mind, too, and I'm hoping to make a post about that this weekend - but I really need to get more done on this paper first.

I was mostly posting because I read that quote in an article and I can't decide if I agree with it completely or not, but it's at a crux of a lot of what I wonder when it comes to modern politics.

"Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither." - Benjamin Franklin

Watch me.

Jan. 22nd, 2008 10:24 pm
greenie_breizh: (firefly)
"And with this kind of role model and a changing social context, Jennifer is a girl who plays [softball] with a sense of enjoyment and confidence that was never allowed her mother. She loves to play. And she even loves to be the "bat-girl" for her father's city-league softball team. The first time she went to clear a bat away from home plate, she was confronted by a boy about her age who said to her derisively, 'There's no such thing as a bat-girl!"
'Watch me,' she replied."

By Mike Messner in Race, Class and Gender in the United States (Rothenberg, 1998)
greenie_breizh: (west wing)
"As AIDS activists stress, there are no "high-risk groups": only high-risk activities that anyone can engage in." (Power & Resistance 4th edition, by Les Samuelson, p.121)

Which sums up, in one sentence, why I think it's discriminatory and dangerous to screen gay men out of donating blood.

Looks like textbooks are still smarter than me. Dang!
greenie_breizh: (political)
I really should edit the previous post, but I don't want this to be lost in the flow of your flist!

Joss blogs about the strike again. I love the end in particular.

"None of the writers – or anyone – I’ve spoken to have ever heard of fans organizing and supporting a strike the way you guys have. Supporting our right not to entertain you. Seriously, that’s rare. When I showed my wife the banner that went with the pizza scheme, she just said, “These people are gonna be running the world.” Man, I hope she’s right."

That's the kind of support that makes me proud to be part of a fandom. If you're bitching about possibly not getting your weekly/daily dose of entertainment, you need to revise your priorities.

Also - GIP! The icon was made by [ profile] lexigeek who's awesome in many ways, as is this icon.

In more personal news, I had two presentations today which both went pretty well, so I'm glad. Now I can start officially worrying about term papers.
greenie_breizh: (Default) has been distributing flyers and pizzas on the picket lines, which I think is awesome and I really wish I was down there right now to take part in that, share that "giddy first burst of solidarity and fear".

More importantly, Joss posted on about the strike. Not that it comes as a surprise, but I truly love and admire this man. He's articulate and socially-conscious and he's got the exact right reasons for striking.

"Sounds pretty damn pompous, no? “Generations to come…”? Yeesh. But it’s true. Our culture, our government, our corporate structures have all gotten pretty used to taking care of ourselves at the expense of our children and their children. Part of this is simple greed, part is immediate practicality trumping long-view perspective, and part is perfectly understandable fear. It’s easier to take what you’e given, not protest, not make a fuss. A lot of people will suffer grievously if this strike isn’t quickly resolved, and the men and women who voted for it know that. But like so many things – our eco-system being the most obvious – if we don’t make it work now, what’s to come will be much worse."

"I watched my Father strike, back in ’88. It was hard. But I was proud. I’m proud now."

It's silly, but I'm pretty proud too.

As for Aly and Alexis coming down to show their support for the writers? Bless them.

BDH love

Sep. 21st, 2007 05:38 pm
greenie_breizh: (laughing spree)
I got my Serenity Collector Edition DVD the other day, and immediately proceeded to watch the movie with the commentary by Joss, Nathan, Adam, Summer and Ron. As expected, so much of it was simply hilarious. Joss in particular just seemed so much at ease with the group, it's awesome. Anyway. For future reference and for good laughs, I wanted to post my favorite quotes from the commentary. You might want to avoid reading if you haven't seen it yet! Though I'm certain it'll still be an excellent watch even if you're spoiled for a few quotes. *g*

I have heard of exercise... )
greenie_breizh: (bad day)
“Without forgiveness, there's no future”

Salvador Allende, Chilean President
killed on September 11, 1973 in a military coup staged by the US

"Workers of my country, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this dark and bitter moment when treason seeks to prevail. Go forward knowing that, sooner rather than later, the great avenues will open again and free men will walk through them to construct a better society."

“My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together”

<img src="http://" title="" >

The choices you make define who you are. Think of others; strive to understand them without condescension; don't fight - discuss; question and challenge your truth and that of others; remember your past, the bullets you took, and the wounds you inflicted; be kind and forgiving.

Be a better person.

Header quotes by Desmond Tutu, image of the Twin Towers stolen from [ profile] ourdramaqueen's LJ.


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