merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)

 

Halloween-y goodness:

 

Our neighborhood always gets a hojillion trick-or-treaters, and it's awesome. Here are some of the standouts from this year:


Zombie cheerleader!

Wee baby pirate - like, 6 mos old - on zombie dad's shoulders

Several awesome lady vampires

Darth Vader WITH THE BREATHING

Boba Fett

So many little Marios! Plus one accompanying mama wearing a mustache :)

Pippi Longstocking!

 

We went Hershey- and Nestle-free this Halloween. I didn't have time to plan very well, so this pretty much left us with Skittles, Starburst, and Tootsie Pops. As is our custom, people who amused, entertained, or unnerved us got extra cool treats - gummy body parts or candy skeletons. 

 

WTF of the night - a wee black girl, no more than 8, dressed as a convict. Except with black and pink stripes instead of black and white. And sequins. 


….

 

Really, costume company? REALLY? You think that's okay? And really, mom? You're going to allow that? Yeesh.

 

We are Family moment #1 - An adorable teenage boy wearing street clothes, lip gloss, and a tiara. I told him he got an extra gummy brain for gender-bending, and he was all, "AWESOME." I'll save a place for you at Pride, honey.

 

We are Family moment #2, slightly creepy - An adorable teenage boy dressed as a sexy construction worker. Seriously. Strategic shirt tears and all. Definitely saving him a spot at Pride, but a little sad at his self-objectification with a whiff of classism.

 

Fucking rad motif - Young people of color in superhero costumes! So many adorable wee folks of all ethnicities as Superman, Batman, Spider Man, Wonder Woman… Awesome! All those annoying fanboys who freaked out over the new biracial Spider Man can suck it! 

 

Sort of encouraging but still disturbing motif - So many young girls of color wearing generic princess or Disney princess costumes. I mean, hooray for being all, fuck white normativity, my kid can totes be a mainstream media character! But sad face that what they chose was so retrograde. 

 

Today's reason why I <3 my partner:



Our current TV project is the X-Files. I never watched much of it, so most of it is new to me. We're watching an episode where a central operating system in a building may have killed a dude, and I said, "I'm waiting for someone to say, 'I'm sorry, Dave. I can't do that.'" And my partner said, "If I were writing an episode like this, I would have humans saying that line all the time, and then at the end, a computer would say, 'THAT'S NOT FUNNY.'"



<3 <3 <3

 

 

merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)
I kind of hate fandom.

I am a big geeky nerd. I read, watch, love, and like discussing a lot of speculative fiction. I play video games. I've watched the David Lynch Dune more than five times on purpose. Yep, I'm a nerd.

But I'm also a anti-racist queer feminist. And I fucking detest about 80% of all the fanboys I've ever met. Seriously, I live in Texas and I do politics and policy. I deal with enough smug, self-absorbed, privilege-denying assholes in my professional life. I have zero desire to spend my leisure time around them, too.

A dear friend is spending the weekend selling his wares at ArmadilloCon. I had a brief moment of, perhaps I was wrong! Perhaps this could be fun! But then I spent five minutes looking at the website.

Top three reasons the website reminded me why I hate cons:

3) There is a panel on how awesome the new episodes of Futurama are. Really? Just, really? Boring, sexist, badly written... AWESOME, indeed.

2) Fucking W*ll Sh#tterly is a special guest.

1) The following panel description about MoonFail:
Sa2000T Wiscon and Elizabeth Moon: What Happened and What Can We Learn from It?
Sat 8:00 PM-9:00 PM Trinity
E. Bull*, S. Leicht, S. Lynch, L. Person, C. Rambo, L. Thomas

Elizabeth Moon was invited and announced as Guest of Honor for the 2011 Wiscon, but the invitation was withdrawn following a noteworthy blog post she wrote. What were the issues, and was the situation handled appropriately? How do we avoid similar situations?

WHAT IS THIS I DON'T EVEN. How many things could they possibly get wrong in three sentences? What is the goddamn point of the last question? Moon was an asshole. She could have not been an asshole or chosen to stop being an asshole. That's how the situation could have been avoided. For fuck's sake. Part of me wants to go to this panel just to point out how completely misleading, wrongheaded, and stupid is this entire description.

So that's why Wiscon is pretty much the only con I want to go to. Because I want to actually enjoy things I do for fun, and I don't find it fun to watch while people systematically dehumanize others.
merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)

(Note: I spent most of tonight writing a Very Serious Post for the Austin NOW blog, talking about why Social Security cuts are a feminist issue, so now I will relax by writing about fluffy pop culture.)

I detest most ‘reality’ television. But one of the few such shows I totally dig is So You Think You Can Dance. I resisted it for a few seasons, because I thought it would irritate me solely on the basis of being reality TV. But then the gay male roommate with whom I shared a flat in San Francisco while I was there for a summer seminar a few years ago introduced me to it, and I was hooked after one episode of sitting on the couch with him, eating ice cream, jovially bickering about our favorites, and forgetting to breathe as I watched all these incredible performers blend athleticism and art to create such ephemeral beauty. (I tell you what, that was some seriously fun fag hagging; we were both aware of the cliche and amused by it.)

A few reasons why SYTYCD is a fixture in my DVR:

  • I love dance. I own not just a DVD of Center Stage, but the soundtrack. For real, I am a dork for dance. SYTYCD is a delicious weekly buffet of all kinds of dancing. Woot!
  • The lighting, costuming, and makeup are freaking amazing! That’s got to be a hard job - so much to do every week, and very little time in which to do it. On rare occasions I’ll have a “…. seriously?” moment with the costumes, but overall I think they do an outstanding job.
  • There are tons of people of color on it - dancers and choreographers, sometimes judges - but it’s not relegated to the second-class status of a “black show” that advertisers think white (read: middle and upper class) people won’t watch.
  • The random drawing of partners results in many multiracial pairs, and I think it’s awesome that we’re visually normalizing that a little bit more. I still have such vivid memories of season 4 competitors Ade and Melissa’s incredibly moving contemporary piece inspired by breast cancer survivors. Yeah, that’s a big black dude and a teeny white ballerina, nobody found it strange, they both got to play complicated characters, and all the judges were crying at the end because the performance was so gorgeous and amazing. And from the same season, Joshua and Katee, a black man and a Japanese-Irish-American woman, rocking a Bollywood routine was, for me, a multiculturalism I can totally get behind: learning, sharing, beauty, and joy without cultural appropriation and with respect. Rad.
  • I think it’s so kickass that all kinds of dance are treated equally. “High culture” (read: rich people like and fund it) contemporary dance, “middlebrow” (read: commercial and hobby dancing) forms like Broadway and ballroom, and “lowbrow” (read: stuff poor people do) styles like hip-hop and Bollywood that are strongly associated with people of color, are set side-by-side. We watch them one after the other, and they’re just positioned as different styles rather than having icky race and class bullshit attached. That’s a big deal.
  • They make such a point of saying that dance is for everyone and (not wholly, but to a large extent) backing that up for real. A few episodes ago, they featured a performance by a couple from Axis Dance Company made up of a guy in a wheelchair and an able-bodied woman, and it was amazing. A loosely affiliated nonprofit, the horribly named Dizzy Feet Foundation, offers scholarships to increase access to dance education regardless of ability to pay. And this season, they have beginning, intermediate, and master-level routines for National Dance Day so more people can join in. And the beginning routine demo video has a person in a wheelchair doing it! That’s awesome.

The show is not unproblematic. The panel of judges does tend to be majority white. So even though Lil’ C annoys me, I would like to see him and Debbie Allen up there a lot more.

Also, there’s a ton of tangled-up gendered and homophobic bullshit. There is a lot of annoying rhetoric about what sort of movement is “masculine” or “feminine.” It is heteronormative; the dancers are sorted into male-female couples and an irritatingly large percentage of the dances have love story plots. Head judge Nigel Lythgoe said some dumbass things about same-sex ballroom couples a while back; GLAAD did some outreach and this got better, but still, that was crap.

And boy, do they deal weirdly with body size. The dance world is notorious for this, and SYTYCD is no exception. This season, sisters Sasha and Natalia Mallory both made it through Vegas, but thin Sasha was selected for the top 20 and bigger Natalia (she doesn’t even read as fat to me, she’s just considerably larger than all the other teeny tiny dancers) was not - and no real reason was given. It’s true that Natalia got diagnosed with diabetes in Vegas and of course that needs dealing with - but then why didn’t they just say that? It totally feels to me like the partnering issue she had in Vegas, when she was paired with a very small guy for a routine with serious lifts and, what a surprise, they had trouble, is the undiscussed elephant in the room here. This is also crap. Put her with a guy with enough leverage and strength to swing her around, and she’s lovely. I get that there are practical concerns here - several of the guys in the top 20 are quite small, and they’re randomly paired, so the partnering issue would come up again in unpredictable ways - but I just feel like they were first patronizing (“Awww, it’s so cute that you’re SO GIGANTIC but you’re still a good dancer”) and then silent because they didn’t know what to say. FEH.

So it’s not perfect. But it does have a lot of awesome subversive qualities, plus so much gorgeous dancing. My revolution totally has dancing in it.

merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)
I don't know what the fuck that mess was on Sunday night, but it damn sure wasn't anything like the Song of Ice and Fire I know.

grump and spoilers behind the cut )
merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)
So I'm sitting on my couch, working on my final paper for my feminist theory class. My partner is out of town on business and the house is super quiet, so I had Young Frankenstein on in the background.

Our papers for this class are supposed to advance our master's thesis work. In my thesis, I plan to think through the limited sex education offered now, why and how it fails young people, where they look for information instead, how the current approach reinforces patriarchal gender roles and the ideology of rape, and how we can do better at helping young people have healthy sexual lives. What I'm doing for this paper is reading the few publicly available sex ed materials used in Texas schools through the anti-racist, anti-homophobic, feminist critical lens we've been developing all semester.

As I was writing about the disconnect between what the public wants (more than 2/3 of Texans want comprehensive sex education in schools) and what actually happens here (92% of schools teach abstinence-only), and how fucked up that is given how sexualized popular culture is, Young Frankenstein ended and some piece of crappy softcore Skinemax porn came on. Thanks for underscoring my point, universe!

Now I have Ronin on instead. Because I think my head would explode if there was stupid heteronormative mainstream porn on in the background while I'm ripping apart the racist, sexist, heteronormative, fear-mongering, factually inaccurate horseshit these people call a sex education curriculum.
merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)
- i'm totally brain-crushing on liss at shakesville today. this piece on the myths about female friendship gets a big amen from me. she breaks it down beautifully and eloquently, as always.

- tim wise at alternet offers a stunning thought experiment showing how white privilege functions in the cultural conversation about the tea party protests. highly recommended.

- chloe at feministing talks here about michael kimmel, a great male ally. for those of us who struggle to understand and talk to some of the dudes in our lives, this has some useful bits. and i'm really curious to read his book now. (as an aside, i want to find and deprogram the asshole mentioned briefly here who wouldn't let shelby knox into a UT frat party because she was "too fat." fucking seriously?)

- i have mixed feelings about stephanie herold's piece about how young feminists are awesome and mostly online. many of the young feminists she interviewed are doing some badass stuff, and that's awesome. but i kind of feel like she's saying that online feminism is What We Do nowadays, that this is the official third/fourth/wtf-ever wave way to do feminism, and i think that's reductive and short-sighted. you know i loves me some interwebs. email is great. blogging is great. twitter... is okay. online tools that allow you to email your representatives in one click are fine. but these days, it's necessary but not sufficient. for example, unless you have a compelling personal story to go with it, sending a boilerplate email to your state rep or member of congress is not very effective anymore precisely because it's trivially easy; they know that, and they value it accordingly. they've got to get an avalanche of such emails for it to make a difference, and for that to happen, you've got to be hooked in with an interest group, at least to the extent that you're on their mailing list.

saying brilliant things online is wonderful, but it's just one part of a larger struggle. it's not a substitute for voting, running for office, donating to or volunteering for pro-woman candidates, donating to or volunteering with pro-woman organizations, writing op-eds or letters to the editor, offering workshops, calling people out at your workplace or holiday dinner table, or any of the other million ways to do feminism. i don't think it is true that we're "mostly" online, but if that were the case, then frankly, i don't think we would be doing our share.

i'm sympathetic to her irritation at older feminists for clinging to their power and excluding younger women from leadership positions talking smack about how younger feminists are lazy or nonexistent or don't get it. it's really damn annoying. i have been tempted many times to write to certain big national feminist groups (hell, most of them) something like:

"hi there! i worked for your organization for free! a lot! i do a whole helluva lot of feminist work! i weave it into my everyday life, and i also do a nontrivial amount of all that formal stuff you talk about. now that i have money, i give it - to women candidates and feminist nonprofits. i go to lobby days, i track bills, i harass my friends and family to call/write/vote... i play the game exactly how you say it should be played, and you know what you haven't done? you're so busy thinking about *your movement*, you can't see that it's *ours* now, and you haven't asked me what i think or care about. if you have asked, you haven't listened or incorporated what i say, because i'm just a kid and what do i know? you haven't offered me a spot on a committee where i can make a difference, because, hey, we've already got one feminist under 40, do we need more? and while you're happy for the organization to take credit for what i accomplish, you don't listen when i say here's how we can do more and better. and on and on and on.

so hey, feminist leader who's all 'i'm kind of a big deal,' get the fuck over yourself. have you ever thought that maybe there are things YOU don't get? work on your intersectionality. listen to your younger colleagues. i have about a million more suggestions, and am available to discuss them. <3 me."

whew, check the pent-up anger there. see? i really do get why she's frustrated. but it's not okay to just be like, "i took my toys and went to the internet, so EFF YOU, ellie smeal/kim gandy/gloria feldt/dolores huerta/whomever! we younger babes will just do feminism in our little online sandbox!" that's no way to effect change. it's hard, and it sucks to feel like you're fighting your own organization/movement at the same time you're fighting everyone else. heaven knows i'm aware of this. but if we want big, structural things to change, like health care infrastructure, pay inequity, laws about violence against women, etc, we've got to use every tool at our disposal.

note that i'm not saying every feminist must take part in every kind of activism. i'm addressing this article in this way specifically because it explicitly purports to be a state-of-the-movement update. the internet is one tool in the box. but it isn't the whole box, and it can't and shouldn't be. i grant you it's kind of a swiss army knife - it works for conversations, fundraising, keeping people informed, linking up members of small groups spread over large areas (trans* folk in particular have used it to great effect), all kinds of things. but have you ever tried to use your swiss army knife screwdriver to put in or take out more than one screw? it kind of sucks, doesn't it? i bet you went and got your regular screwdriver or even a fancy battery-powered one, because you know what? there are other tools made specifically for that purpose that work better for that job. and if you're trying to dismantle the master's house, there's a big damn lot of things that need doing, and they cannot all be done with a single tool.

Profile

merielle: purple passiflora on a barbed wire fence (Default)
merielle

February 2016

S M T W T F S
 123456
789101112 13
14151617181920
21222324252627
2829     

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags