Category Archives: sexism

Too Much Going On – Short Links

I have a lot going on today and for the next couple of weeks plus it being Monday makes me feel even more stressed and out-of control so for today’s post I have a list of short links that I thought y’all would find interesting and can read instead of my insightful commentary ;)

Whose Feminism? over at Racialicious by Guest Contributor Thea Lim where she discusses her feelings of anger and betrayal toward some of the white feminist blogosphere and grassroots movements that ignore any discussion of race. I think it puts into words what a lot of Women of Color are feeling right now toward the feminist movement.

Oregon Public Broadcasting has the first in a series on Umatilla women, their tradition of root gathering and the threats to this tradition. Anna King actually talks to women of the Nation instead of talking at them which makes this a much more rounded article than the usual ones on Native folks.

A woman in Canada shaves her head to raise money for a Cancer org and finds herself fired from her waitressing job. This is all about this man (and the patriarchy itself) trying to control women’s appearances. It such bullshit and I’m glad the community is up in arms about it but – and perhaps this is just me being cynical – but I wonder would they be half as up in arms if this was her personal choice and not about raising money for Cancer?

Worried about angry white women voting for McCain? Well you probably shouldn’t be. Jill over at Feministe breaks down the point lead that Obama holds over McCain in regards to women overall. But as most of us know the media’s never really cared for any women but white middle-class ones and among that group McCain is beating Obama (but only by the small margin of 6 points).

An experimental new Alzheimer’s drug/treatment may stop the build up of protiens that damage brain cells.

Homophobic judge in Spain forced to marry gay couple after years of putting off performing any marriages between folks of the same sex.

Guest Contributor Alex Alvarez has two recent posts over at Racialicious that are really eye-opening. First, New Study Shows that Latino Teens Are Pregnant Suicidal Junkies where Alex questions who they consider Latina/o and how they decided it which is an important factor that’s not been brought up. Secondly, Our Genes Don’t Match with “Brown Pride” Clothing discusses the conflation of the term Latina/o with the chola/o subculture in the media and with clothing marketed to the Latina/o community in particular.

Finally on an environmental note, the first beaver dam in England in over 800 years.

I love Omarosa! Why Don’t You?

This whole post came about because my friend Jackie and I were lazing around and flipped onto some Reality Show countdown on VH1. It was showing the fight on the Surreal Lifebetween Omarosa & Janice Dickinson. I said to my friend “Y’know I kinda like Omarosa”. Her response? “Me too.”

So we started to toss ideas back and forth, not only for why we really like Omarosa but also why other people seem to have this unspoken but powerful need to hate her. It really comes down to our society’s view of women and the view of black women in particular.

Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth burst onto our TV screens on the Donald Trump reality show Apprenticeand though she didn’t end up with the big prize we all heard about her. Omarosa was the villainess, the bitch, the evil player that everyone loved to hate, but my question always was why? I enjoy some reality shows (though they are usually more frivolous that Apprentice) so I tuned in for a couple episodes way back when to watch this black woman that had all my friends talking. 

And honestly I didn’t understand the hate.

I saw a smart business woman. I saw a woman who had been immersed in the shark-filled waters of the business world and had discovered how to swim. Let’s be completely honest, the backroom dealing, the harsh attitude, the need to have everything her way and not compromise on what she thought was right, all of those things wouldn’t have gotten a blink, let alone intense media coverage had she been a white man. I mean how often are White Male Reality Villains heard about and known beyond the bounds of fans of that show? Almost never and when they do they fade quickly from public consciousness, anyone not a fan of Survivorstill remember Johnny Fairplay? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Yet Omarosa became a household name and achieved heights few others have aspired to…being known by only one name.

Look at the “character flaws” generally attached to her, the reasons for hating her given are usually something along the lines of: “bitch” “bossy” “aggressive” “angry” “defensive” “not able to get along with others” “liar” these are very similar (exactly the same in some cases) to the accusations constantly thrown at African-American women within our society, the constant stereotype of the overbearing, controlling black woman.

Let me get back to what inspired this post, the altercation on television, specifically the other combatant: Janice DIckinson. Janice is frequently described with the same kind of epithets as Omarosa, yet she is very rarely has the vitriol pointed at her that is constantly pointed at Omarosa. In fact she profits off the perception of her as a “bitch”,  gaining not one but two shows of her own after parting ways with America’s Next Top Model: The Janice Dickinson Modelling Agency and Abbey & Janice: Beauty & The Beast. So why? Why does Dickinson get show deals and lauded as a fashion/queer icon where anytime Omarosa is talked about it’s in terms of negativity, she’s called chickenhead, people “pull an Omarosa”, she’s used as a measuring line for the villainy of reality show contestants.

This “bitchyness” that’s such an iconic personality trait for a white woman and yet for a black woman it makes her hated world-wide? A lot of it has to do with perception of black women in America and Omarosa’s history of success. When a Woman of any Color is not submissive and stands up for herself (especially against a white man and especially on a reality show) she’s a villain or unreasonable or stupid or a bitch but they don’t all get as famous as Omarosa has. Part of that could simply be the wide response/audience of the first Apprentice but I think much of it has to do with her history. She worked in the Clinton/Gore administration and  has a history in business, hell the very fact the Trump picked her for his show gives her a lot of business cred. Mainstream America cannot write her off like they do many of the other Women of Color they see on their television, they know that her approach does work to some degree, that she has known success.

Let’s look at the perception of businesswomen. What is the constant image America gets of the successful business woman through our media? That she is someone who uses/used sex to get ahead or at the very least someone who is highly sexualized (if she’s traditionally beautiful). I could list multiple movies and TV shows where this is the case such as Sex & The City, Ally McBeal, Women’s Murder Club…etc. 

When we combine that view with the already highly sexualized view of African-American Women in our current society, it’s fireworks or ignorance all over the place. We as a society are conditioned to expect Omarosa to use her sexuality, to not be successful but she breaks these “rules”. She does not use her sexuality at all in fact. She comes to the show (and every appearance we see her in) hard and she comes with a highly developed sense of self and her own worth.

The automatic response to this woman breaking through our expected perceptions of her seems to be anger and hate. That anger becomes focused on things she does that when looked at objectively are actually no worse than anything contestants in the same episode or on other reality shows have done hundreds of times. Yes there might have been some lying, some backstabbing, some ambition on her part but isn’t that the point of reality shows? That’s at the base of all reality shows, trying to show that you (or your team) is the best and sorely deserves the top prize. 

There will of course always be some who’ll claim that the hatred targeted at Omarosa has nothing to do with gender or race but in that case I’m still waiting for them to explain to me the hatred that Omarosa’s name invokes. And why that same hate is directed at ‘ole whats-his-name, you know the one I mean, the one from Big Brother…

I feel that I actually could have gone on for a couple more posts about Omarosa by expanding everything in this post but I have training at work today and no time in which to do it. Plus I promised y’all a post on Omarosa this week but I might come back to this essay later, consider it an early draft.

Ladies of GTA Video – What the Fucking-Fuck?

I’m really fucking sick y’all. Like when I inhale it doesn’t feel like I get a full breath sick and so I hope you’ll excuse my inability to go into a full rant on this subject. I want to explicitly state it is not that I’m not outraged but simply that my body is weak and I will be spending the rest of my day doing my work and reading on my breaks to give myself a rest. So in brief -

There’s this video y’see.  (WARNING: Video May Be Triggering In The Extreme)

It’s an ad for the new Grand Theft Auto Video Game IV and it is called the Ladies of Liberty City and you get three guesses as to the only two things these woman are good for within the game. Fucking and Killing. The video is truly horrifying not only because the sex and sexual exploitation is so realistic but because of the intense misogyny laced through it. Women are sex objects who perform in thongs and spank each other for the characters pleasure. There’s some truly hideous imagery where sections of the video titled things like “A Quick Fix” involve the consistent murder of women. The women in the game who are actually sex workers have some pretty explicit car sex with the character and then leave the car only to be run down by the player.

This is all supposed to be funny and fun

There are a lot of issues here; misogyny, racism, sex shaming, validation of all three and encouragemnt of steretypes 

The prevalence of WOC as the sex objects and sex workers in a game that’s mostly marketed at white boys and men

The idea that it’s okay because those killed are sex workers and therefore “expendable”

The linking of violence/murder with sex

The killing of women as a fun activity 

Naming the video the Ladies of Liberty City which implies that that’s all that women are good for.

My breath is running out so I’m gonna leave it there but if you can stomach it I suggest you watch the video and see exactly how this game is being marketed as every homicidal misogynists dream.

If you want to rant on about how this is just a game and to just get over it, yeah I call bullshit (the media is a huge part of our everyday life), also I recommend you go read this post before stepping to me: Suggestions For Talking About Race and Video Games. I’m not saying we all don’t like things that are problematic (in the interest of complete brutal honesty I admit to playing some games in the GTA series before and enjoying them), I guess it’s all about how much your willing to accept along with your fun but for me the ad above goes way to far.

Revisiting the Open Source Women Back Each Other Up Program & Safety

Now I still fully support the Open Source Women Back Each Other Up Program (WBEOU) and am not turning in Y-Chromosome Reserve card but I was remiss in not analyzing the intersections in this program and how they could affect me if it were not women run and focused and how it can still affect me even being women run and focused.  

Let’s put forth a scenario, now most SF cons are very white. Even at WisCon (which I love, don’t get me wrong) among about 1,000 attendees approx. 50 are People of Color (these are from my own observations not an official number), that’s 5% of the total attendees. So odds are that if I see a woman being followed or bothered by a creepy guy they’ll both be white. Now if I, as a black man of size, approach this situation and try in intervene there are a number of complications that can arise.

#1 The white woman might feel she’s safer with the creepy white man than the large black man

#2 The man could get very confrontational and physical thinking he’s protecting the white woman from a rampaging black man

#3 Others outside the situation could misconstrue what’s happening when they look at it through the eyes of their own prejudices.

All three of these can lead to the authorities being called and exactly how would my story stand up in this situation? When it’s my voice against one or two white people, now I’m not discounting that the woman may stand up for me but I’m not counting on it either. Now I feel this is especially important to bring up regarding WisCon because it’s coming up soon and because there was an incident last year where “Niggers!” was yelled from a passing car as a friend and I walked down the street in Madison.  No othjer passerby on the street acted like they were surprised or angered or that anything unusual had happened (Note: Almost everyone at the Con itself who heard about this though was horrified on our behalf and supportive of our feelings).

This has understandably colored a lot of my perceptions of Madison, WI and makes me even more wary of the possibility of involving the authorities in that area. I have a healthy fear of the police as most POC do considering the relationship between POC and the police and the constant knowledge that any interaction with police could very well lead to a story like the one linked.

Now if it’s a member of WBEOU asks for my support in a situation that’s gotten out of control I’m happy to provide it but I do think we need to keep in mind the safety of everyone involved. And realize that should the authorities become involved (because the harasser could very well make up his own story and involve the police himself) that women’s complaints to the police in situations of harassment are often written off (and I’ve already talked about the interactions between POC and the police). We have to keep in mind at all times that we are working within a system where doing the right thing can lead to disbelief of your story and punishment from the authorities that are supposed to protect us. The white male harasser is often more “believable” to the authorities because they see themselves in him, and us well were just a bunch of b*tch*s and n*gg*rs.

And this doesn’t even take into account the scenario where the woman being harassed is a WOC. Most WOC can tell you about various instances were the police either hauled them in instead of their harasser or where the police were the harassers themselves.  Like a comedienne once said “Black women when were in trouble we call our cousins instead of the police because you call the police you have a good chance of ending up in jail. You end up in jail and you’re the one who called them!”

Just some things to keep in mind.

 

 

Still Recovering… More Feminism and Race & some books

I’m still on very little sleep so excuse any incoherence.

Aaminah, a guest contributor over at Racialicious writes Mocking a Culture, Mocking a Friend a nuanced and in depth response to a Jezebel post that boggles the mind. I’m not a regular reader of Jezebel and the post (linked to in Aaminah’s article) is a really reprehensible set of judgements and stereotypes presented as an interview.

I’ve tried to keep y’all in the know on the recent issues within the Feminist blogosphere regarding the divide (that’s always been there but a lot of younger white feminists seem surprised by) between white and WOC feminist bloggers and the theft and appropriation and dismissal that’s alienated many a WOC from the feminist movement . Now even if you don’t agree with what some WOC bloggers and myself have had to say about the events it seems insensitive and downright stupid to only two weeks later promote Marcotte’s book as Feministe has done. (of course in the comments Amanda steps in to complain about how she’s being unfairly targeted because people want to ruin her career because you know she’s just so important and the hate people have for her for getting a book deal is the issue not that she might have done anything wrong but I digress) the point is that this is exactly one of the problems that WOC have been complaining about from the beginning. By promoting Marcotte’s book so soon after WOC have talked about their anger at Marcotte makes it look like Feministe tacitly approves of her methods. Now I know Feministe is a group blog and Holly actually made a great post on the issue as it was happening but this feels like an erasure of the of WOC feelings and opinions to promote someone who’s been seen as hurtful, damaging and angering and who has triggered an exodus and disavowal of feminism from WOC. It just seems irresponsible of a major feminist blog.

Jill has an update on there now that wasn’t earlier acknowledging these issues and explaining herself and I understand that she supports Marcotte’s book and that’s her choice I’m not judging her on that (though I disagree with the assessment that it’s an important feminist work), the timing is the problem and the way it looks to those who’ve been hurt like it didn’t matter at all, like we’ll have to go through all this again and again because no one wants to learn and Bfp is gone while Marcotte is getting her work promoted on Feministe. We see our voices disappearing and those who contributed to the disappearance being lauded by the white feminist blogosphere yet again. I respect Jill for acknowledging a lot of these issues, explaining her side, apologizing, listening I just wish she had thought about that herself instead of having to have it pointed out to her in the comments.  

Hradzka breaks down some John Ringo books in: books to make my flist’s heads explode: John Ringo some of my friends pointed me to it as a funny breakdown of some really problematic works. It was funny but I’ll admit that I wasn’t able to get more than a few paragraph’s into the breakdown because a lot of the issues hradzka brings up about the book touch on triggers of mine and just realizing this kind of book was popular enough that the series is now coming out in hardcover was raising my blood pressure but I thought some of you might be interested. Make note I’m not judging Hradzka for having these as guilty pleasure books especially as I have some books that I find problematic in some ways but that I read voraciously when they were released *cough*Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels Trilogy*cough*. We all have those thing we love that we know are not the best or most conscious work but we love anyway, you just have to acknowledge those issues and Hradzka does that very well (from what I read).

Tuesday Quick Post/Rage: Open-Source Boob Project, really? REALLY?!?

Bloodshot eyes and five hours sleep is what I’m running on so another quick post, there will be a return to lively and awake commentary on Thursday when I’m apt to actually be lively and awake.

Okay this will be a mini rage but, SWEET-FUCKIN’-JEBUS! What The Fuck! Open Source Boob Project, are you stupid? No really, are you this stupid?I admit that my interactions with most (not all) straight white men have not been the best, often because they seem completely unaware of their own privilege and quite happy to take advantage of it…but DAMN! This is some privileged BULLSHIT! This is disgusting! This the the illusion of endorsing open sexuality by opening up bodies that aren’t your own for touch! This is a way for you to get your rocks off groping womyn in public and pretending to be deep! This is enforcing the belief that womyn are public property!

Let me say it loud so that it might -might- penetrate your skull:

WOMYN’S BODIES ARE NOT A PUBLIC SPACE!

You don’t get to walk up to a stranger and just ask to touch their body! The question alone is a violation! You talk about how it was consensual and all that mess but can you not see the power dynamic if a womon is going down a hallway and a large group of people ask to touch her breasts! Can you not see any reason she might say yes even though she doesn’t want her body pawed and devalued to an object. I am so disgusted by this that I’m feeling physically nauseous right now. And those added little notes at the bottom do not take away from the peer pressure and male-gaze/female-object dichotomy you set up and validate and approve! Also it is a totally different dynamic for men to be “open-source” to womyn, than the other way around. Just look at the bulk of your post and the way it’s drenched with male privilege and objectification. That bullshit flip-the-script play is not only defensive but stupid and doesn’t take into account any power dynamic at all.

You know what I can’t even say anymore on this, here are some links:

Cynthia who first brought this to my attention.

James Nicoll, the link is here almost entirely for the title of the post which says it all: Welcome to the Harlan Ellison Memorial Personal Boundaries Club

Mswyrr takes him to task here in the comments

Tablesaw breaks down his language and the saturation of the male gaze here

ETA: More Links

springheel_jack’s – open source male assholes: on the bullshit defenses and the ignorance of privilege and power dynamics that go into such things.

kate_nepveu – On asking to touch the breasts of a stranger: on fear, trust and pressure

rachelmanija – A proposal to crush the button-enabled sexual harassment proposal: an action plan should this be going down at a Con you intend to attend

Badberbag has two great posts on this idiocy, a fabulous rant at her livejournal: The Open Source Groper Project and a longer post at Feminist SF – The Blog: The Internets work how they’re supposed to with some links I missed and where she talks about her anger over the use of “open source” in this fashion among other things.

Just ugh, I swear WisCon can not get here fast enough and yes this kind of bullshit is exactly why WisCon has been the only F/SF con I’ve attended.

Monday Dreariness & Links

It is Monday, which is bad enough but it is a Monday where I’ve been up since 4 A.M., after only five hours sleep, so I am understandably cranky and ready to go home. Le Sigh, since that’s not happening for a few hours yet let’s get to some of the interesting things from around the net that I’ve found today.

Karnythia over at The Angry Black Woman has a wonderful post on People of Color and the Politics of Medical Research. The Tuskegee Experiment is only the most well known of the instances POC have been used to further medical knowledge against their will and then the benefits of those experiments used to help Upper Class White Folks. She also mentions Harriet Washington’s book Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present, which I’ve heard from vatrious friends is a fantastic resource and completely gruesome to read. I haven’t read it personally because of some of the gruesomeness that’s been described to me by those that read the book but I probably should pick it up soon. She also discusses Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his accusation regarding AIDS. It’s all great stuff, head over there and give it a read.

In the interests of my previous post on White Liberal Feminist Imperialism, I feel remiss in not mentioning the other imperialist moment that’s been occuring in the feminist blogosphere. A blogger by the name of Black Amazon made a post in which she stated “Fuck Seal Press”. For those who don’t know Seal Press is a feminist publisher, and her fuck you was about their ignoring of Women of Color {or near enough} in their publishing. Their response was so entitled and unprofessional that it disgusted almost everyone who read it. Read about the whole thing over at WOC PhD in Why Seal Press is OFF the syllabus. I would link to the actual posts but like WOC Phd I can’t seem to link to them directly.

Over at Feminist SF – The Blog!, the angry black woman in Are We Talking About Gender and Magazines AGAIN? …Yes talks about gender disparities in several top F/SF magazines. She’s analyzed Asimov, Fantasy & Science Fiction (F&SF) and Analog by their Table of Contents so far in 2008. I think, considering the prevaling thoughts on women writing/being interested/excelling in fantasy as opposed science-fiction, that most will be shocked to find out that Asimov has the highest percentage of female writers so far in 2008. She also has yearly percentages for Asimov, Realms of Fantasy (ROF) & F&SF. Make sure to check out the comments as well which are very illuminating.

And last but certainly not least over at The Hathor Legacy, Revenna talks about Nim’s (almost awesome) Island and the issues with race that abound in the movie. Mostly it’s about the action-adventure scenes which she says recall the whole pulp fiction the Other as evil stereotype. You remember from all those pulp novels about the heart of  deepest, darkest Africa and it’s headhunting, cannabalistic evil dark people who’re evil because….um, well…because they’re dark…AND EVIL!