"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Thursday, July 31, 2008

"Overgrown Dudebro[s]"

Inspired by this comment from Shakesville about Maher, I decided to make this submission to totallylookslike.com:

Bill Maher


totally loooks like


Hugh Hefner

(This is my second ever submission to the celebrity look-a-like site. The first one can be found here.)


Quote of the Day

Stephen Colbert to New York Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney on Tuesday night's Colbert Report:
"Isn't it better for the ladies to be below the glass ceiling than to be standing on top of the glass ceiling with all those men down there lookin' up?"

Carolyn Maloney is the author of a new book about women's rights called Rumors of Our Progress Have Been Greatly Exaggerated, which I'm intrigued to check out.

Watch the show segment here. It's especially funny when Colbert asks Maloney her thoughts on Nathan Petrelli running for her Congress seat on Heroes and then matter-of-factly informs her that Nathan Petrelli can fly.

Today in Double Standards:

Feminist bloggers are spotting them left and right. Keep up the good work, ladies!

Sarah Seltzer at RH Reality Check:

The movie, seen so close in proximity to the more acclaimed Batman flick, did have me thinking about the part gender plays in what we determine to be serious. While The Dark Knight dealt with themes of power and violence, Mamma Mia! was about the more domestic, but no less universal, themes of family and forgiveness -- but both films were primarily interested in showy visual sequences. Critics slobbered all over themselves heaping praise on the former, while many admitted being embarrassed by Mamma Mia! The contrast between the way the two have been received makes one wonder why, to start with, we consider singing and dancing showpieces to be "silly" while Batpods, metal suits, and improbably-rigged explosives are allowed be taken quite seriously. We're quick to forgive the tokenization of female characters as villain-bait in superhero movies, but critics whine when men in movies like Mama Mia! and Sex in the City are relegated to love interest status.

Pop Feminist:
The actual material content constituting girl culture is cheap and depreciates with time. With possibly clothing and being the greatest expense, its value does not exceed point-of-purchase, girl-centered magazines like 16 are printed on perishable black and white newsprint, disposable accessories like stickers and lip gloss litter her purse, dime-novels are tossed in with the other Wal-Mart appropriate merchandising that has only a prayer to turn a profit on the fringes of ebay. Although girls are considered to be the hyper-consumers, it is boy culture in which we must invest.

Though video games and gaming consuls must be upgraded constantly, the "cred" of having an Atari or arcade game is considerable, comic books carry the potential of "collectors editions" leering behind counter glass, same goes for baseball cards, same goes for action figures. Re-editions and special editions of Star Wars and Star Trek mark the originals as hot commodities. Though there are notable exceptions, like a fine wine, boy culture value increases with age, whereas girl culture is largely marked by its dispensability.

Jennifer Kesler at The Hathor Legacy:
In every walk of life, men are perceived as having a right to stand up for what they believe and/or “misbehave” - no matter how we disagree with what they’ve said or done. Women who step out of line are perceived as needing punishment - a good spanking to teach us our places. Additionally, our motives are more likely to be treated as suspect - it can’t be that we really believe what we’re saying. We must have an agenda.


Remember Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy? This one is one of my favorites:

Somebody told me how frightening it was how much
topsoil we are losing each year, but I told that
story around the campfire and nobody got scared.

I thought of this quote when I read Kristina Wilfore's post at RH Reality Check detailing right-wing ballot initiatives all over the U.S.:
If a "definition of personhood" initiative gets passed in Colorado and Montana this November, you might be investigated if you experience a miscarriage.

If an initiative to end affirmative action is passed in Arizona this fall, you may lose business if you're a woman who receives government contracts.

If a marriage-discrimination initiative passes in California and you're a lesbian newlywed, you'll have to cut short the honeymoon.

In the November election, voters will be deciding whether to roll back equal-opportunity programs for women and people of color, discriminate against gays and lesbians in marriage and adoption, cut public education and threaten women's health care. The big question is whether voters will buy what these ballot initiatives are selling.

Check out her whole post. It's frightening to me and anyone who cares about basic human rights, but probably not scary around the campfire.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

But think of the homophobes!

Via CineQueer, the Daily Show on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell":


Being both an atheist and a big fan of comedy-writer Larry Charles (of Seinfeld fame), you would think I'd be super pumped for Charles' upcoming documentary Religulous, which is supposed to be a satirical look at religious dogma around the world and throughout history.

But I'm not. At all.

And it's because the last thing I want to do is waste a couple of hours of my life watching a movie in which fucking douchebag Bill Maher acts like he's superior to everyone else.


I pretty much already knew that's what this film would be, but this clip posted at SlashFilm just confirms my suspicions. Just the title of the clip made me cringe: "Bill Maher in a Burka Store". I'm not sure if it could get any worse.

Isn't it gentlemanly of Maher to take a break from oppressing women in the U.S. long enough to try (poorly) to make a point about how women are oppressed in other parts of the world? Asshole.

Update: It wasn't until I saw Melissa's post that I realized I was spelling the film title "Religious" instead of "Religulous". The difference was so subtle in print that I didn't notice it, but I enjoy Melissa's take on how the name sounds: "less like a cross between religion and ridiculous than Caligula and ridiculous".

Monday, July 28, 2008

A Crowded House: My Newly-Revised Blogroll

You may or may not have noticed that the blogroll has finally been updated. Lots of blogs added, broken links repaired, and some seemingly defunct sites removed. As I mentioned here, if you have or know of a blog to which I should be linking, let me know in comments or shoot me an e-mail at trrrracey(at)gmail(dot)com.

My first inclination was to break up the blogroll into separate categories of social activism: feminism, anti-racism, disability rights activism, queer activism, fat acceptance, etc., but it was just too difficult. Due to a lovely little thing called intersectionality, there's naturally too much overlap for me to feel like I have the authority to decide which box to put people in. And since I don't want to be in habit of shoving people into boxes, I just put them all together in one big alphabetical melting pot of social activism. The titles alone are usually enough to identify what each blog is about, and since every site on the list is at the very least anti-sexist, I don't feel the need to separate out the blogs that are expressly devoted to feminism from those that are more focused on other issues.

The links on the blogroll do not represent any one particular brand of feminism or social activism, and their presence on the blogroll does not mean that I agree with everything these bloggers have to say. But when I was faced with the prospect of removing links to certain blogs or leaving off some of the blogs I read, I found that I just didn't want to. I like having links to feminists of color, radical feminists, liberal feminists, pro-woman feminists, pro-feminist men, anti-racists, sex-positive feminists, sex-workers, queer feminists, transgender feminists, womanists, pro-Hillary feminists, pro-Obama feminists, feminism 101, pop culture critics, "big" blogs, "little" blogs, etc. I don't plan to stop reading them, so I don't plan to omit them from the blogroll. Click away, read for yourself, and develop your own opinions.

To best explain why I chose to include all of these voices despite their contradictions, allow me to quote liberally from the kickass blog Pop Feminist:

My obsessive consumption of feminist literature and political ideology has left me tangled in many equally valid and contradictory schools of thought in the movement, the surface of which is but scraped! If I am therefore dismissed as "confused", at least the label is just. Who isn't?

The only way I can think to grope along the walls of this crude tunnel is by speaking and writing about feminism as much as I can stomach it, utilizing every platform available to refine my thoughts and hope to find truths forged in the fires of debate.

If the above sentiment reads as lofty, that's because the goals of feminism are just that. To imagine that one form of feminism is the one pathway to a complete overhaul in gender-hierarchy and human injustice, you're dreaming. The fact is: feminism, as it stands today, isn't good enough.

It falls short on all counts: symbolism, theory, politics, aesthetics, inclusiveness, coherence, draw, and the list goes on.

This goes without saying. So it is with virtually all movements, though my sense of feminism's inadequacy is piercing because it is the ideology with which I align. The underlying idea, which I define broadly as "the belief in women's fulfillment as human fulfillment", is the only thing I know for sure. Everything else is the process through which I can best live this belief and extend its reach.

To my 29 feed-subscribers who are probably reading this in their blog readers, take a second to click on over to the site and check out some links you may not already know about. (And thanks for subscribing!)

More from the wise Pop Femimist:
I declare: more voices not less, open doors not closed, exchange not embargoes, and joy not despair is the only way for us.

1930s Sexism: Disney Edition

A while back, Feministing pointed out this unfortunate example of sexism from Walt Disney Studios in the 1930s.

Remembering that and how disappointing I found it, my fiancé Dan (an animator) just showed me this recent post at Cartoon Brew as evidence that Disney apparently wasn't all sexist all the time back in the 1930s. It seems they at least tried to make an effort to stop sexual harrassment in the workplace:


(Click to enlarge.)

This Disney Studios inter-office memo from 1939 states:

Attention has been called to the rather gross language that is being used by some members of the IBT (Inbetween) Department in the presence of some of our female employees.

It has always been Walt’s hope that the studio could be a place where girls can be employed without fear of embarassment or humiliation. Your cooperation in this matter will be appreciated.
Being the junior feminist that he is, Dan pointed out that the memo still referred to female employees as "girls", and that its format only allowed writers to address each other as "Mr.".

I'm sure I would have seen that, too. I was just too busy noting the misspelling of "embarrassment".

Friday, July 25, 2008

GraphJam is entirely too much fun.


(found here)

An Interaction

Male Co-worker: I hear you're leaving us soon.
Me: Uh-huh. I'm going to go back to school full-time. Time to get my master's degree.
Male Co-worker: Yeah? In what?
Me: Women's Studies.
(Male Coworker smiles dismissively.)
Me: (nodding, unsurprised at his reaction) Nice. Way to fight back the laughter, there.
Male Co-worker: Are there Men's Studies?
Me: Sometimes there are masculinity studies within Gender Studies, but Western education throughout history has been Men's Studies. Women's Studies is an answer to education's marginalization of women. It fills in the huge gaps left by that marginalization.
Male Co-worker: I wish we had about an hour to debate that right now.
Me: (calmly) Oh, yeah?
Male Co-worker: Yeah. Any guy who has been married for more than five minutes can tell you what they think about that whole theory that women are marginalized.
Me: (sarcastically and uncaring) Uh-huh.
(Male Co-worker leaves.)

Quick Rant

I'm so sick and fucking tired of rock radio stations in my town alienating their female listeners by objectifying women in their advertising and pulling other sexist bullshit.

That is all.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

"A Disgrace to the Man Race"

If it seems like I only post about offensive commercials lately, it's because there are just too many to ignore. Like this one I just saw on Queers United:

Ummm, yeah. Shaming a man for exhibiting "feminine" behavior (according to Mr. T., anyway) wasn't enough, apparently. They actually had to have hyper-masculine Mr. T. assault him with a machine gun followed by the tagline, "Get Some Nuts" in order to get their point across. What we have here is a depiction of an overt hate crime in order to sell candy bars.

Putting Mr. T. behind the gun doesn't make it funny, and neither does making it shoot Snickers instead of bullets. It's not funny. It's homophobic and misogynistic.

It's a disgrace.

Go here to tell Snickers what you think of their new campaign, and click here to e-mail the ad agency that produced it.

UPDATE: I'm late in adding this, but it seems that Snickers has pulled the ad due to complaints. My cheesy-pun-lovin' boyfriend sent this link to me with the tagline, "No one SNICKERed." Ha! Get it?!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I'm Inappropriate!

When Habladora at The Feminist Underground reported that the mere addition of the word "abortion" to her blog earned her an NC17 rating from this blog-rater, I got curious.

Sure enough, it seems like that dirty "a" word referring to a safe and totally legal medical procudure is to blame for the same rating on this blog:

OnePlusYou Quizzes and Widgets

Created by OnePlusYou

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

abortion (4x) drugs (2x) pissed
It's funny to me that these are the offensive words, since I'm sure I've dropped an f-bomb here and there, but whatever. Apparently, using the word "abortion" is about as subversive as you can get.


Why I Want to See Mamma Mia!

And also why I still have a total girlcrush on Kate Harding:

So okay, let’s talk about Pierce Brosnan — and Colin Firth, and Stellan Skarsgard. It is, frankly, weird to see these three men in supporting roles, while the women completely and utterly take center stage. Though they’re playing Streep’s old boyfriends, these are categorically girlfriend roles; the guys exist mainly to look nice, drive the plot forward as necessary, and sometimes take their shirts off. How fucking rare is that? Although I was thoroughly sick of the phrase “male gaze” by the end of just one feminist film theory class, I must say, I can’t think of another movie I’ve seen that so unabashedly employs the female gaze. Not just because there’s lots of eye candy for straight chicks, but because even male viewers are truly expected to identify with the female characters and see everything through a woman’s eyes. Meaning both that there’s no male hero and that in a movie set on a Greek island, there are no lingering shots of hot young girls in bikinis. Amanda Seyfried is plenty gorgeous in a fairly demure one-piece, but the point is not to be turned on by her, even if you are. Granted, most of the time she’s in a bathing suit, she’s hanging out with men who are old enough to be (and indeed might be) her father, but I can’t help suspecting a male director would have glossed over that pesky little fact and put her in a more revealing suit anyway — ’cause, you know, why waste that body? Meanwhile, when Baranski rocks a somewhat less demure, blazing red one-piece, we are supposed to think she’s hot — but in a way that encourages the viewer to think, “Hey, maybe I’m that hot, too!” not “Yeah, I’d hit that.”

For my money, the female gaze is exactly what throws so many male reviewers about Mamma Mia! The movie, as Ebert noted, wasn’t made for them. It’s not just that the poor widdle straight men are forced to watch a bunch of chicks doing chick stuff to an ABBA soundtrack, it’s that they’re supposed to identify with chicks doing chick stuff. They’re supposed to share in the joy when they hear old girlfriends squealing together, imagine themselves on stage rocking “Super Trouper” in sparkly polyester, and fantasize about what they might do with a shirtless Pierce Brosnan. They’re supposed to put themselves in the metallic boots — and behind the eyes — of a bunch of women, taking the same sort of gender-swapping imaginative leap women are expected to make, oh, only about EVERY GODDAMNED TIME WE GO TO THE MOVIES. Seriously, other movies I have seen this summer: Indiana Jones, Iron Man, Wanted, The Dark Knight. If I tried to identify with the female characters instead of the male heroes in those movies, I’d have been bored right out of my fucking skull. Likewise, the man who watches Mamma Mia! and attempts to envision Pierce Brosnan as someone he wants to be, not someone he wants to bang, is pretty much screwed (so to speak). To enjoy it, you’ve got to want to be Meryl Streep. And men are really not used to being put in that position at the movies because, you know, THEY NEVER ARE.

Go read the whole thing.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Feminist Fun

(H/T RH Reality Check)

Men Beware: Fear of spiders will make you grow boobs!

Luckily, all you have to do to become manly again is drink some soda:

(Via Sociological Images)

But wait! Sexist advertising also informs me that men want to have breasts:

Bigotry in the Fine Print

I just saw this at Queers United (who hat tips Good as You). It seems that the Game Show Network is bringing back the Newlywed Game, but not all newlyweds (i.e. newly married same-sex couples) will be welcome to appear on the show:


In case you can't see the graphic, this excerpt from the show's Rules and Requirements reads:
"Each newlywed team of contestants must be legally married to each other (legal marriage defined as one that is legally valid in all 50 states of the United States) and, upon Producer's request, must be able to provide proof of marriage (i.e. a marriage certificate) that shows that Contestants are legally married to each other. As of the tape date of the Program, Contestants must still be newlyweds (which is defined as the period of two (2) years after the date of Contestants' original married to each other)."
My first thought about this thinly veiled attempt to exclude gay couples is that it's a huge shame they don't want to welcome same-sex newlyweds with open arms, since doing would mean the writers would have to downplay the ridiculous over-gendered-ness (if I can make that a word here) of the show. I always felt like both the Newlywed Game and The Dating Game had way too much of a Mars/Venus gender binary feel to them.

Either way, there's really no excuse for such discrimination. Maybe the producers just don't think the American public is quite ready to hear gay people answer quirky questions about "making whoopie".