So, lately my world has been made up of working, sleeping, yoga, my first YMCA visit in who knows how many months, and Doctor Who. Aside from one trip home, during which I got acute DEATH IS IMMINENT food poisoning, that is.
On second thought, I don’t even know if “yoga” and “the YMCA” should be included, because they pale in comparison, time-spent-doing-them-wise, with everything else on that list. Yes. You heard that right. About 2 hours of Doctor Who on the weekdays. Weekends are a break, but I have fallen into the trap of Doctor Who audiobooks at work. And though I can’t stop people standing by my office, RIGHT NEXT TO MY FATCAST FLYERS, and talking about whatever spurious food morality du jour, I can always jam my headphones in my ears and drown it out with David Tennant’s broguey, Doctor Whoish, commentary.
(Last week I finally saw this episode. OMG cute and win.)
Another thing I have been doing is following #dearjohn and the rising campaign to crush the absolute nightmare that is HR3 (here are some great resources.) Oh, and by the way I got a job! WOO! So that means I now have health insurance (PROBABLY DOESN’T COVER ABORTIONS, THO) and a seriously appreciated stability, and perhaps part of my recovery from the last 2 ½ years will be that my brain cells start firing again and I get some ideas that I may want to record via keyboard. No promises. It may just end up being pictures of adipose.
Things That Don’t Happen at Work After Spending One of Your Days Off Playing Assassin’s Creed and Consuming Nothing But Twizzlers and Coffee:
“So, if I collect all the TPS reports hidden around the office in 3 minutes or less, I get a casual day?”
“Aaah, it’s Rob from accounting… WHERE ARE ALL THE HAY BALES”
“I finished that year-long project today, woo! Oh KA-CHING throwing knives”
“I want to leave work half-an-hour early. I need to find me some scholars so I can blend my way out…”
If you travel to Google’s homepage today (in the U.S.), you’ll notice a little sentence below the search bar:
This brought to mind a post by Shelby Knox on Feministe – namely, that “Of 109 innovators, artists, revolutionaries and creators designated important or interesting enough for a doodle, only 8 have been women.”
Apparently, the women’s suffrage movement in the U.S. is not a momentous enough occasion for crafting an actual Google Doodle, perhaps celebrating all of the women that worked long and hard to be recognized as active, contributing members of society, and not property.
I mean, come on, it took about 10 seconds of Google-fu to come up with this list. Imagine the wealth of knowledge on Wikipedia, or maybe in an actual book. This is just another example of minimizing women that, while taken by itself may seem insignificant, contributes to the oppressive behemoth that is our patriarchal culture.*
*For more dirt that we angry women use to make mountains out of molehills, see My Fault I’m Female. It is made of win.
I may come into possession of a small, fuzzy ball of cute in the next few days, so I’ve been going over in my head the geekiest names I can think of. My thoughts went back to Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield, because Dickens’ character names are the amazing precursor to JK Rowling’s character names – i.e., they are novel, chosen/crafted very deliberately, convey the essence of each character, and are just damn fun to say. (Would this have been a much more fun topic to focus my thesis on? Quite.)
If I had any knowledge about gender politics back in my undergraduate days, I could have opened up a huge can of worms surrounding our conversation about names in Dickens, specifically the nickname David Copperfield’s childhood friend, Steerforth, gave him: Daisy.
Missed that boat.
If I do come into possession of a mewly little tribblekitten, this blog may temporarily descend into awwlookatthelittletailandthefeetzand bpabhbldhbhddb.
The other day when I was thinking about privilege, like you do, I was reminded of one of my favorite movies: a stunning piece of cinematic genius known as Power Rangers: The Movie. I know what you’re thinking: that PR:TM is slightly high-brow for a lowly blog, but bear with me.
So, back in the day, I was quite smitten with a certain Blue Ranger. The glasses, the overalls, the being socially ostracized – it just did it for me. And quite recently I happened upon a behind-the-scenes video from the bygone era of Angel Grove High that confirmed what I was too naïve to grasp in those glory days: Walter Jones was perfectly aware that he, a black man, was cast as the Black Ranger. I can also infer from this that Thuy Tran was well aware that she, an Asian woman, was cast as the Yellow Ranger.
This last paragraph doesn’t really have anything to do with my point. I just thought it was interesting.
My point is actually related to something Billy the (drop-dead sexy) Blue Ranger says on Phados when he and his buddies are fighting stunt actors in bird suits:
“Y’know the funny thing about Morphin’? You don’t appreciate it ‘till you can’t do it anymore!” [At which point he gets his ass handed to him by aforementioned feathered stunt persons.]
And – lo! – we do not live in a vacuum. Even movies like PR:TM are written/produced/filmed in a social milieu. (That may account for those egregious casting decisions I opened with! Look, I brought it around!) So, I thought, “Hey! What if I replace ‘Morphin’’ (as cool as that is) with ‘privilege’? With one word, I have successfully turned PR:TM into insightful social commentary.”
Some privilege doesn’t just go away, like Morphin’ can (if your head-in-a-tennis-ball-canister boss gets pwned, of course).
So, as a tool for folks when they come into a situation where their (white, cis, het, male, etc) privilege affords them an unearned advantage, just encourage them to imagine that they’re on an alien planet that looks a lot like Australia. All of a sudden they’re ambushed by wisecracking Tengu warriors, and they realize that their trusty magic gold coin, used to swathe themselves in Technicolor spandex, is gone, and without it their chances of escaping (psychologically, physically, emotionally) intact are, if not nil, at least drastically reduced.
That spandex – that’s privilege.
Seriously, use this in a conversation about the kyriarchy. It’ll help.
A co-worker just stopped me in the hall and said, “Do you think it’s rude that, when I walk into the employee lounge, and there are twenty people from India in there, that they’re all speaking in their language?”
“No,” I said.
“Well, I do. I mean, who knows what they could be saying?”
Having friendly co-workers makes your job easier. The vast majority of my white co-workers would not be as friendly with me if I were not white, and especially if English was not my native language.
This has been an episode of “a day in the life of white privilege.”
I have seen variations on this title EVERYWHERE:
Not a woman, not even a person. Only a STRIPPER. Would it happen if the victim were anything other than a sex worker? “…faces deposition in slain short-order cook lawsuit.” “…faces deposition in slain customer service representative lawsuit.” “…faces deposition in slain executive director lawsuit.”
The only reason this could be [MAYBE] justifiably used is if the woman’s occupation meant she somehow wanted to get murdered more, or the way in which she was killed has something to do with her occupation, like: “Weak I-beam at fault in construction worker’s death.” Even then, I’m squeamish about boiling down a person to their occupation.
This is not new, or even exceptional. It just happens to be flooding my various inboxes, so I’m holding it up as just one example of the Rape Culture.
I’ve been tromping creeping with an ear-trumpet through the feminist blogosphere for about a year now, and I’m experiencing my first live Feminism Kerfuffle™ in the form of a post by mai’a over at Feministe about children, motherhood, and, through comments, the role of WOC in mainstream feminism.
I include details of my short time in the blogosphere to make clear that I’m far from well-versed on the various discussions within feminism, and all of the amazing nuanced intersectionality that should come part-and-parcel with working for social justice (and, apparently, is widely sorely lacking.) mai’a’s original post focused on strictly adults-only spaces and how they exclude caregivers (and, in our society the majority of caregivers are women, thusly the practice excludes and oppresses women). I’m not going to talk about this, as I haven’t made up my mind about it yet. I want to focus on mai’a’s follow-up post, in which she talks about her experience of the label “mama” in different contexts, and what that means: specifically,
“being a mama is not a description of one’s biology or genitalia. it does not describe how many children we have nestled in wombs. it is not a description of age or even male/female gender.
it is who we are. it is what we do. it is love by any means necessary.”
From my n00b point of view, what I see happening in the comments is what I’ve seen from trolls on other, less controversial threads: women who identify as feminists are recoiling, digging their heels in, and fighting back – without consideration of, and in direct opposition to, the voice of the oppressed. Folks are practicing classic pearl-clutching: “What do you mean, you don’t identify as a feminist? Then why are you writing on a feminist blog?! Good heavens!” …aaaaand the critical-thinking skills have left the building. Faith tries to inject some perspective:
Here’s a thought: instead of getting offended by that statement, maybe you might want to step back and consider why someone like bfp would utter such words. Someone whom I’m guessing also believes very much in the full humanity of women everywhere. If even women like me who have identified as feminists for years are not offended by that statement, then maybe it’s time for some people to consider that maybe there are some very valid criticisms to be made about the feminist movement in general.
Of one thing I am certain: Mainstream Feminism Has Issues. And, though I don’t agree with other things in the OP, I agree with mai’a on this: “if your brand of feminism does not embrace and push to the forefront the critiques of itself, then i have no interest in your brand or your movement”. Folks are not engaging with mai’a’s critique; they’re just grabbing their Feminism badge and running for cover behind the brick Feminism barricade, flinging things like “you’re excluding and oppressing me by pointing out things that are problematic but don’t affect me so I don’t think about them! That’s not helpful!” at women who dared to step into hostile territory and speak truth to power.
Ellie provides an example of this:
Do these women owe me an explanation? No, not really. But I also don’t see how exclusion, whether it’s of them or of me, helps anyone here. I understand, perhaps the community has not always done the best job at including everyone, I can acknowledge that. But does it help any more now than it did then?
Imagine that statement coming from a Men’s Rights Activist. See the problem? Traditional feminist perspectives and practices are being called into question, and the practitioners cry “exclusion! silencing!” instead of thinking critically about the issue.
This is not the way to go about having a dialogue. This is oppression rearing its ugly head in a place where, though varied and opinionated it may be, the folks in power shut their mouths and the voices of the marginalized are finally, actively, heard.
As of today:
- Smashing headcrabs with a crowbar
- Reading awesome books and drinking beer
- Swimming laps (with the added vindictive pleasure of “fuck you” to folks who think fatties shouldn’t wear bathing suits)
- Cross-stitching Stargate chevrons while watching Jane Eyre (thank you, Masterpiece Theatre, for making a version that doesn’t suck)
- Making puddioca, then eating it
- Visiting my sister and SITTING ON THE PORCH (goddamn it, I love sitting on the porch)
- Actually going to yoga
All of the above are subject to change.
Now is the time of year that I start getting hyped up for the Renaissance Festival. 3 years ago I finally had enough cash to buy a set of garb, and let me tell you, that was one of my favorite baby steps into fat acceptance. This is odd, because technically a bodice is a way of restricting a woman’s body (and justifying our weakness and tendency toward “hysterics,” because a person can’t breathe properly in that shit). But I got all courageous and tried that sucker on, and a nice lady-in-waiting laced me up and I went to go look at myself in the mirror and it was awesome AND THEN another lady-in-waiting came up to me and clucked her tongue in disapproval and pulled that sucker down so my decolletage was front and center which was even MORE AWESOME.
So I like Renaissance Festivals.
Which made me lol at Sady’s missive on Menaissance Festivals, especially where the white folks ”get off on re-enacting cartoonish imitations of massively oppressive time periods while somehow also always imagining that they would be members of the privileged elite class, and not one of the lowly and downtrodden.“
And also this quote from Paul Mooney, via swpd:
“White people like going back in time, which is always a problem for me. I can only go back so far. Any farther and my black ass is in chains.”
I can go back as far as I want and, as long as I’m rich and white, baby, it’s all turkey-legs and jousting from here. Outside of that you’re fucked, but I know the manly lord that’ll get you into the beirgarten.