Wednesday, December 22, 2010


My friend Trevor introduced me to a brilliant little thing called the interrobang (‽), which I am now in love with.  While poking around on the internets for more info on it, I found this, which is also brilliant.

We decided to call it a "deedge." - a pretty decent news story on the failure of the DREAM Act...this time. - a succinct post on those who voted for the repeal of DADT while also voting against the DREAM act - not so recent, but important and well-outlined by CL Minou - "So now what do we do, because we obviously can’t take a black woman’s story of violence seriously? Well, that’s simple.  We marginalize the attack and focus the story on her brother, whose anger we can exploit because it fits into stereotypes of queer masculinity that provide comic relief. " - Hipsters, explained.  No, really. - "But QEJ believes military service is not economic justice, and it is immoral that the military is the nation’s de facto jobs program for poor and working-class people."

Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday Madison!

I mean, really.

In Support of Sady Doyle and #mooreandme

Twitter campaign: @MMFlint, #mooreandme

Folks, this is a problem.  Sady Doyle from Tiger Beatdown - along with many other people who are also speaking up -  is actually getting threatened, harassed and possibly stalked for having the audacity to call beloved "progressive" filmmaker Michael Moore on his rape apologism.

I say "progressive" in quotes, because y'know what?  It's actually NOT progressive to dismiss and attempt to discredit women's claims of rape.  It's not progressive to publish the victims' names.  It's not progressive to use a fucking Holocaust denier as one of your sources, for pete's sake.

As many, many other people have said, it is ENTIRELY possible to hold both thoughts:  that Julian Assange is being targeted by governments for his important work AND that any rape allegations should be taken seriously.  Much like one can hold that Roman Polanski has made some great films AND he's a child rapist.  People are complicated.  They can be awesome and talented in some ways and incredibly fucked up in others.  This is not rocket science.

So anyway, Sady Doyle.  She started a campaign, asking folks to tweet Michael Moore (@MMFlint) with the hashtag #mooreandme, asking him to stop being a rape apologist and to use his fame and influence to actually address the very real problem of sexual violence.  Whereupon, supporters of Moore (and others) started using the hashtag to make rape jokes, to threaten sexual violence against Sady and to continue to belittle rape survivors.  This is almost ironic, except it's so exceedinly fucked up.  It's indicative of a continuing problem.

Kate Harding has some really good things to say:
"Technically, he hasn’t come down on one side or the other here. But when you say “don’t believe the official story” and call the allegations “strange” and link to an article that casts a great deal of suspicion on the alleged victims–and where the primary sources are “people in contact with his entourage at the time,” his defense lawyers, and a Daily fucking Mail article that’s also based on anonymous sources–and p.s., you live in a culture where victims are routinely called liars and sexual assault allegations are routinely downplayed–you’re sending a message." -

And here are some Tiger Beatdown posts from Sady Doyle about this:
"And you’re the face of the Left. You have the platform, you have the power, you have the cash and the fame and the name and face recognition: You claim to speak for us. And when you speak, you don’t stand against rape."
"“Because they want it to disappear,” I said. “That’s what they’re counting on. It’s been four days, they’re counting on the fact that the Internet has a short attention span and a bad memory, they’re counting on the fact that the trolls are going to scare us or make us feel so terrible that we can’t keep going, they’re counting on the fact that they can just let everybody harass us until we can’t keep going just for the sake of our own emotional and physical health, and they can just not respond, they can just have a nice weekend, while we keep fighting until we’ve been threatened and called whores and been scared for our safety or the safety of others enough, and then we’ll disappear and they can keep pretending that this isn’t happening, they can just keep pretending that it never happened.”
“AND THAT’S EXACTLY WHY WOMEN DROP RAPE CHARGES TOO,” I said. I remember this part very clearly because I was, in fact, yelling."

They all have links to original sources - I just do not have the time or energy to post them all here. But I will post links to local and national orgs working on the problem of sexual violence.  Get involved, donate if you can.  At minimum, educate yourself and speak up.

Twitter campaign: @MMFlint, #mooreandme

Safe Place - Olympia
Northwest Network - Seattle
CARA - Seattle
INCITE! - National
(In light of news that RAINN partners with orgs that discriminate against trans folk, I do not recommend donating to them.)

Want a comic that elegantly and hilariously breaks down sexism on the internets?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sexual Harassment Comes Home

I've been sexually harassed.  A lot.  Just like most women (and when I say women, I am including trans women), really, and especially as a chubby woman with T&A, and as a woman with tattoos (those two factors seems to make people feel even more entitled to lasciviously comment on my appearance).  But I can remember being scared just two times.

When I lived in San Francisco several years ago, I frequently took cabs home from the bar or the grocery store.  The driver this time kept looking at me in his rearview mirror - like, staring a LOT, and started asking me personal questions (what's my name, do I have a boyfriend, etc.).  And I realized - fuck, I'm in HIS car, he has the power.  This is creepy and scary and I do NOT want him to know where I live.  So I told him to let me out about 4 blocks earlier than I'd planned, didn't tip him, and stood there and watched as he drove away.

And now, just last week, I was leaving a friend's holiday party.  I had to leave at 10pm so I could catch the last bus home on a Saturday night (oh, small towns and their public transportation!).  I was walking along State Street, about a block from the bus station, when a shiny black car with two young white guys drives slowly by and shouts at me "show us your titties?!"

(Let me add here a note about clothing.  Because of the whole stupid, misogynistic idea that wearing slutty things means its your own fault if you get harassed, and that that's why you get harassed.  It's winter in the Pacific Northwest, which means it was rainy, and I was wearing about 5 million layers - leggings, dress that goes to just above my knees, cardigan sweater, thick zip-up sweater, 2 scarves, armwarmers and a puffy vest.  Sexxxxxy.  I was totally asking for it dressed like that.)

This is the kind of thing I'm used to, and that has happened to me several many dozens of times and generally I respond by either not responding at all, or by flipping them off as I continue walking.  This time, I flipped them off.

And that's when it got scary.  Because they pulled into the parking lot I was crossing.  And there was no one else around.  It gets a little fuzzy at this point, because that's what happens to me when I'm scared or highly emotional - I kinda dissociate, apparently.  But I do remember wondering where my knife was and if I couldn't find that, maybe I could stab them with my knitting needles, and that I started yelling at them at the top of my lungs, something to the effect of "FUCK YOU!  YOU DO NOT FUCKING HARASS WOMEN LIKE THAT ON THE STREET AT NIGHT!  YOU NEED TO FUCKING LEAVE RIGHT NOW OR I AM CALLING THE COPS, YOU GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKING ASSHOLES!"  And I kept walking, and they slowly pulled away after a few minutes.  I do not remember if or how they responded to what I said.

When I got to the (well-lit, populated) bus station, the adrenaline wore off and I was shaky with the realization of what easily could have happened.  I managed to hold it together until I got home and then I cried for a few minutes.  And part of it was yeah, I was scared because it came close to getting physical.  But the other part was the horrible reminder that this is what women (and others) live with every goddamned day.  The fear of violence, sexual violence is always there.  I don't care how fucking tough you are - pretty much every woman and has this in the back of their minds, even when we're not aware of it.

And really, I'm kinda curious what drives guys to do that sort of thing, and to think that it's okay to do.  I mean, do they think that downtown Oly at 10pm is Girls Gone Wild?  Do they think I'm going to be overcome with lust for them and blow them all in their cars?  Really, I want to know what's going on in those heads.

I was just lucky.  I was lucky that nothing happened.  Sure, I have a loud mouth and some righteous rage (by-products of a privileged white girl upbringing) and maybe that helped.  And maybe those particular guys would never actually physically assault someone.  But when at least 1 in 6 women is sexually assaulted in the US (and an estimated 60% of assaults go unreported), well, I'm no special snowflake just because it's never happened to me.  I would say that most of my friends have been sexually assaulted in some way, and I sometimes feel oddly guilty that I haven't been - like a perverse form of survivor guilt.

We need men to do more work on this.  We need men who will be active allies against sexual violence, who will speak up when they hear women being denigrated.  We need more men like Tony Porter, to challenge our society's idea that being a man must mean being violent and dominating.

And I know I'm not saying anything new here.  I think I mostly needed to post this for myself, to vent and to share, because that's what we humans do.

p.s. I like to fantasize about what it would have been like if my crazy, fear-aggressive dog had been with me. HAHAHAHAHA!  If I were Allie Brosh, I would draw you an awesome picture of it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Remember that one time I was all, "I'm going to BLOG!"  Yeah, me too.  
I really like the idea of doing a blog, but as with many things in my life, it's the getting around to the doing of it that always trips me up.

Fall quarter is just about over, so I'm going to try to post during that time, in hopes of getting in the habit.

My writing class was a bit disappointing - not so challenging and not enough writing.  But I got a few good things out of it:
  • a good start on an essay about the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival and the exclusion of trans women from queer women's spaces/community.  I really want to continue working on this and put it out to the public in some way eventually
  • an invitation from one of my professors to write a short article for the Evening Weekend Studies circular, with a distribution of about 50,000.  It was nice to be recognized and invited, and it's nice to have something professional to start building a portfolio.  And I get a $25 gift card to the on-campus store and some sort of fancy thank-you letter from the Dean.
  • a few new friends, connections to smart, nice people.
  • more confidence in my existing writing skills and a desire to further them
  • the knowledge that I want to focus my studies on more theoretical and academic learning
I'm hoping to get into a sociolinguistics class for next quarter, and a 2-credit writing class with Rebecca Brown (!).  And it looks like I'll be doing an independent study on passing and invisibility spring quarter.

My personal life has been up and down, with a lot of down.  There's work to be done and I'm doing some of that work.  So yay me, I guess.

Look for a rant or two soon...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Madison!

This is my dog, Madison.  He's got some intense behavior problems.  He's cost me literally thousands and thousands of dollars, caused several grey hairs to prematurely sprout and has almost given me heart attacks numerous times.  But get a load of this face.

I mean, really.  Ugh.

Friday, September 17, 2010


New work from Erin M. Riley - textile art + sociological explorations of young women on the internets = awesome. - Hipster took a stand!  Go, hipster, go! - Ah, the joys of gender polarization. - "There's also a misconception among many commenters that when I say "acceptance" I mean "approval" or even "support." I'm not asking you to approve of fat people's choices or fat itself. [...] I'm telling you that you need to accept fat people as human beings, treat us with respect, respect our personal choices (and by respect I don't mean "admiration") and keep your judgments to yourself while not allowing your personal biases to distort how you treat fat people. It's pretty simple."  I ♥ Tasha Fierce. - "“If Rep. Kern and her allies spent as much time focusing on Oklahoma’s future as they seem to spend worrying about my past, maybe we could keep teachers in the classroom and rebuild our crumbling infrastructure,” Novotny said." Brittany Novotny is a transwoman (among many other things) who is running against bigot Sally Kern. - A few key findings:
• LGBQ Respondents of Color were more likely than their LGBQ White counterparts to indicate race as the basis for harassment, and were significantly less likely than LGBQ White respondents to feel very comfortable or comfortable in their classes (60%, 65%, respectively).
• [...]those who identified as transmasculine, transfeminine, and gender non-conforming (GNC) experienced significantly higher rates of harassment than men and women - C'mon Obama - how hard is it to put a few damn solar panels on the White House?  Crikey. - "The official probe of her death would later note that earlier she had been "reprimanded" for showing "empathy" for the prisoners. One of the most moving parts of the report, in fact, is this: "She said that she did not know how to be two people; she…could not be one person in the cage and another outside the wire."  (Don't miss part 2 as well - linked at the bottom of the post)

After that last link, I feel that we need to end on a happyfuntimes note.

My friend Alicia turned me on to this and I was all "oh, cool!"  And then I visited their site: - turns out they are takin' traditional Irish dance to a whole new level.  I am so in love with this.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Trouble with Gaga

I'm not a fan of Lady Gaga.  There, I said it.  I know that every gay and their sister thinks she's brilliant and amazing and I just. don't. get it.  In fact, I didn't even realize I'd already been hearing her music because those songs sound just like every other song I heard in my gay club-going youth in the 90's (in fact, at The Gay 90's.  Yep, she has wacky outfits.  She's down with the gays.  She can deliver a catchy pop dance hook.  But...

The wacky, avant-garde costumes and performances?  She's got a predecessor in Grace Jones (and many others, I'm sure - I'm just not well-versed enough to know them off the top of my head).  The meat dress?  Please.  Feminist artists like Jana Sterbak did that years ago and with a lot more thought and intent.  Fetishizing disability and using folks as props?  Not. Cool. Choosing to make the repeal of DADT her statement when millions of eyes are on her?  Well, that's nice and all, I guess, but there are so many other issues she could have chosen.

And y'know, one could make the argument that there's nothing new under the sun and that everyone's work is derivative in some way.  My point here is that she makes absolutely no acknowledgment of her predecessors (to my knowledge) and I find that problematic and privileged.  She could be using her fame to at least acknowledge these trailblazers that came before her and introduce their work to her fans.  It's her choice not to do so and it's my choice to find that irksome.

Jack Halberstam over at Bully Bloggers did a scathing takedown of Camille Paglia's recent ridiculous piece on Gaga.  I am definitely a fan of Halberstam's work and Halberstam is definitely a fan of Gaga.  And personally, I loathe Paglia and agree with many of Halberstam's points.  Paglia's main method of making an argument appears to rest on tired old pop psychology tropes (men r awesome and created the world cuz they pee standing up?  Freud much?  Ew.)

But (and I fully recognize that I've got nothing on Halberstam's academical prowess, but here I go anyway), while I think Paglia's obsession with framing Gaga as a Madonna-stealer misses the mark, I am wondering why Halberstam's analysis of Gaga doesn't touch on things like Grace Jones and Jana Sterbak?  Especially when one considers the long history of white artists appropriating music from people of color while simultaneously ignoring or denying said appropriation Elvis, anyone?).  And while I think Paglia is grasping at straws, the one thing I do agree with is that yeah, I do think it's good to give some props to the people who came before you, who inspired you, who paved the way.  Otherwise, it just feels too much like appropriation and almost plagiarism to me.

(The video is Grace Jones' Slave to the Rhythm, a dance song.  It features many stills and video shots of Grace Jones in various artistic and experimental ways, including: a car driving out of her mouth, avant-garde fashion, black latex outfits, etc.)

Monday, September 13, 2010


I really wanted to post a clip of Jerri Blank and her infamous "I've got something to say!" by way of introduction, but the copyright gods are not smiling upon me.

I decided to start this blog because I realized that I was basically using Facebook as a blog.  This way, I get to have my rants and other people get to read them if they're actually interested, not just because it showed up in their friend feed.

I expect I will rant on topics including, but not limited to, politics and theory pertaining to:
  • race
  • gender
  • feminism
  • queers
  • transgender
  • adoptee/adoption
  • fat activism/health at every size
  • ability
  • femmes
  • class
  • privilege
  • passing
  • pop culture
  • being a "nontraditional" student
  • my dog (because I'm totally one of those people)
  • and anything else that strikes my fancy/makes me ranty
Now let's get this party started with a video that I was just introduced to yesterday:

(the video for El Tigeraso features Dominican-American artist Maluca.  the music is fast-paced, she raps melodically, she walks down the street wearing a red leather bustier and curlers in her hair, encountering various people; men watch her and she scoffs at them.  she ends up performing in a club with two other female musicians.)

Can we PLEASE talk about how awesome this is?  I mean, besides the music.  Firstly, it is femmetastic!  I covet those fringed backseam tights like whoa.  Bronx-born Dominican artist Maluca is full of smart hotness. I love the way she rocks the black leather jacket near the end, with her all-lady backing band, no less!

But secondly, the explicit depiction of objectification theory in action is fabulous.  What stands out for me is the calling of attention to it:  At first, it seems almost like your basic sexy thin lady getting ready, being looked at on the street, in the salon, etc.  Where it takes the interesting turn is right at the 2:45 mark.  Before, the men were regarding her in passing - now they are in a circle around her.  She is in the middle of their objectification, she sees it, and spits it right back at them, full of contempt and dismissal.

Also, notice the way the gazes differ:  the women on the street are usually smiling and laughing with her; the men are uniformly rather stone-faced and appraising, and in some cases, almost menacing (if you've experienced street harassment, you know what I'm sayin'.).

I want to know more about this Maluca Mala person, from her own mouth.  Often artists (especially ones involved with any sort of pop-ish music) won't talk much about their artistic intention, but I hope to hear more from her.

In conclusion:  YES, YES, and oh btw, YES.