I blogged about Gabrielle Giffords at my Batman blog, Conservative Feminist Meme.
All I can say here is that I am beside myself, and the coverage of this event on Fox News has been SHAMEFUL.
Turn all the lights down, it’s time to snuggle up to your significant other with this slow jam I’m spinnin’ today.
Savage Garden. Yeah, I know. They’re old school and now made fun of, but when I was like, 8 years old and just getting to pick my own music, this was my shit. And you know what? I’m actually pretty proud of that in rtrospect, mostly because of this song. This is a sexy song done well by a couple of dudes – and get this. . .
. . .it contains the word “consensual”. The word “consensual” in a sexy song sung by dudes! I’m sold. Besides, I don’t even care, I still think the lead singer guy is sexy.
So I saw this commercial last night while watching Frasier re-runs with my mom. The TV was muted, but it really didn’t hinder any of the commercial’s message.
Let’s see, what’s a good summary:
“A doting father is worried about his darling little girl’s tendency to dress like a big slut, so he decides to ruin an article of her clothing of which he particularly disapproves like the manly hero that he is. However, the daughter schemes with her mother to wash the skirt, and thus continuing the daughter’s slutting around town with those legs of hers.”
So basically, the patriarch of the family’s totally acceptable wishes to control his daughter’s purity were dashed by a woman’s exceptional talent at doing laundry.
Just another day in patriarchy approved detergent commercials, I guess, especially from Tide.
So, this is how it seems dominant groups are prone to work.
If an underrepresented or undervalued group makes any kind of progress, it is an assault. An assault! For some reason, actually being made to face the fact that not everyone follows the same life path, or not everyone makes the same decisions, or not everyone IS the same nor SHOULD they be, dominant groups pretend as if they’ve been slapped in the face.
It happens all the time. When women make gains for equality, we have to wonder things like “Are they out for dominance over men?”, “How equal is too equal?” or even “Will there ever be another male nominated to the Supreme Court?”. When LGBT folks get the basic right to serve in the military, suddenly everyone gets concerned about sexual assaults and harassment. When people of color attain civil rights victories, words like “reverse racism” are conjured and laws are created to make sure those foreign brown people don’t feel welcome in our “melting pot” of a country.
And, of course, when a network that has run shows called “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom” happens to air one 30-minute special that takes an unbiased view of abortion at the oh-so-primetime hour of 11:30 PM, Christian anti-choice groups flip their shit.
An assault! An assault, they say! A plague o’er just your house!
I mean, it’s like MTV actually decided to put on responsible programming and to talk to teenagers as if they might have brains, a capacity for understanding and thinking about complex issues, and moral compasses! And they used. . .shudder the thought. . .facts! They must be stopped.
At least, according to the “Youth pro-life leadership” which tilts their hand a bit too much by the end of that post, revealing how much their opposition to abortion is rooted less in caring about the lives and well-being of women and children and more in being incensed that something isn’t in line with their religious dogma. Again, the existence of these women and their story being told in a 30-minute television show is an attack on the rights of pro-forced birthers to make sure you can’t make decisions about your viewing pleasure any more than you can your own uterus.
Really, it’s a shame how much oppression Christian anti-choicers face in a country in which the Speaker of the House is meeting with anti-choice domestic terrorists. Will they ever get to be equally heard? Excuse me while I wipe away John Boehner’s tears.
In other somewhat relevant news, if you would like a good, but disturbing, laugh, read this. I really wish they would make that commercial. . .as a Digital Short on SNL.
Generally, I don’t make new year’s resolutions because I tend to make my resolutions as they come to me, not at some socially arbitrated time. Still, I’ve been thinking about things that I think feminists as a whole can do to improve our own social interactions. In order to do that, I looked back on the year and even the year before that to see what worked and what didn’t, as is the standard practice.
When I think about the things that I did right last year, the few of them that there are, I mostly think about my relationship with my booberry. Yep, that’s my sickening way of talking about my boyfriend. He still seems to consider himself a feminist in training, although I think he’s a total senior when it comes to Pro-Feminist Male Finishing School (they should so totally actually make that). He’s told me before that he thinks I’ve taught him a lot during the almost year and a half that we’ve been together, and I started thinking about why that might be.
As most people do, I tell my boyfriend everything. Like, even about that time I puked in front of EVERYBODY at the end-of-the-year eighth grade dance (SO mortifying). Whenever I tell him something, if I’ve made the type of personal-is-political feminist connection, I tell him. When I tell him about all the times I got (and still get) weirded out getting cat-called while getting gas (or checking the mail, or picking up my dog’s poop, or, you know, being in public), it never comes free from subsequent analysis (. . .bitching. . .) about how dudes only do that kind of shit to make sure I know I’m part of the sex class 24/7.
It’s personal experience mixed with consciousness and rhetoric.
Now, this boy has got a leg up on most dudes in the first place since he seems to come pre-loaded with a propensity to reject the patriarchal notion that women aren’t to be listened to. Still, I think that when women are absolutely frank with men about their personal experiences, it can help men to understand how pervasive these experiences are – and how much of an impact it actually has on the women they care about.
I’m probably not saying anything particularly revolutionary here. Feminists have long touted the effectiveness of personal testimony in creating and nurturing change. I just think that I’m seeing the effect of that kind of transformative interaction more than ever – especially in this relationship.
There has been a lot of writing done lately regarding what is and is not acceptable for male allies (especially in relation to #mooreandme), and one of the points that stuck most with me was the notion that the LAST thing a male ally should do is stop listening or just refuse to listen in the first place. That being said, I think that the most important thing that feminists can do is keep talking.
As much as I sometimes want to stop feministing and just talk about things, I think it’s important for feminists in heterosexual relationships to talk to their significant others about feminist issues 0 and keep it personal. Make it an aspect of the personal discussions, inject it right into the heart of your interactions.
There have been too many times that I’ve made compromises on my feminist perspective to create a path for a relationship or for the dude I’m with’s comfort level. I don’t think either of us left that relationship the better for it, actually, so if I see feminist women compromising their values in relationships, it worries me, and I think it perpetuates the backseat that we sometimes take when otherwise liberal men start becoming defensive about women holding them accountable or expecting better from them when it comes to gender justice.
But I dunno. I don’t think this is a resolution per se, I more think that this is something I’ve noticed as valuable and would like to see continue to and spread even more, because I don’t want to see something like #mooreandme or any of the other disturbing displays of liberal male ineptitude when it comes to feminism that I’ve seen recently.
So dudes, keep listening, and gals, keep talking. That’s all I can really hope for this year, I guess. Well, that and for a complete feminist upheaval of patriarchy, but you gotta keep a balance, right?
So since my computer screen recently stopped working (I’m currently typing on my TV, fuck yeah giant blog!), I’ve decided that the universe is trying to tell me to read actual books more. So, I picked up my copy of Outrageous Acts and Every Day Rebellions by none other than the fantabulous Gloria Steinem (who signed it, ahhh!) and started reading. It really shouldn’t have taken me this long to read it, but college tends to make it impossible to read what you want to read, especially in your last year when you’re trying to write a thesis.
Anyway, I was reading the essay “In Praise of Women’s Bodies” and came across a piece of dialogue in which the also-amazingly-awesome Judy Holliday is mentioned. I feel compelled to share it here:
“Did you ever hear the story about Judy Holliday?” asked a woman peeling off a sweaty leotard. “When she went for a movie interview, the head of the studio started chasing her around the desk. She she just reached into her dress, pulled out her falsies, and handed them to him. ‘Here’ she said, ‘I think this is what you want.'”
I fucking love Judy Holliday. That woman was a freaking genius. Just wanted to share.