Archives for category: Feminism and Culture

It’s been a long time. But we’re just gonna jump right into things.

In case you haven’t heard, the Syrian refugee crisis has EXPLODED in the news, mostly because of the Paris attack that happened  one week ago, on November 13, 2015, which ISIS/Daesh took credit for. (I will, however, mention that there have been plenty of other attacks by terrorist groups, but those did not get close to the responses to Paris.)

Syria has been experiencing a civil war since 2011. Because of this war, many civilians are attempting to flee to safety. About 3 million Syrians have fled into the neighboring countries of  Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Turkey, but there are still an estimated 6.5 million people who are displaced in Syria. They are trying to find safety in Europe and in America.

Americans, of course, are having a fucking fit. And by Americans, I mean mostly Republicans who don’t seem to realize that the refugees are running away from Daesh, not a part of it.

Many Republicans (and, yes, some Democrats too) frame their xenophobia in a way that makes it seem like they are concerned about safety (as if Democrats aren’t?). That they want the vetting process of immigration to be better (even though immigration has little to do with being a refugee.)

And, yes, of course it’s “not all Republicans”. And it’s “not all Democrats” either. Some Republicans have agreed that we should take more refugees in, because that’s what America is and does. Some Democrats -specifically state governors -have said that they will refuse refugees in their states, even though that’s not actually legal. But at this point, between the governors and presidential candidates, it’s become a pretty partisan issue.

However, if the Republicans truly were primarily concerned about safety, then Chris Christie would have no issues letting a Syrian toddler into the USA, but he does. If Republicans were primarily concerned about safety, maybe they would take actual stances on gun control regulation and want to start profiling white extremists in America, since they have killed more people since 9/11 than “Muslim” extremists have. Home grown terrorists should especially be taken more seriously if we care about safety, because many of the culprits behind the Paris attacks were citizens of the European Union.

But safety isn’t really the point. Islamophobia is. Which sucks, because Islam is probably my favorite religion, and it’s constantly being dragged through the mud by “Christians” who don’t understand how to fact check their statistics on “radical” or “extremists” Muslims, who don’t want to take credit for Christian terrorists and never seem to hear about terrorists of other religions, who don’t know that jihad has two meanings in Islam or what Sharia law is, and who probably couldn’t tell me what the five pillars of Islam are without a google search.

Obviously, terrorists are evil and need to be condemned in any and all forms. But usually when the terrorists turn out to be Muslim, it is seen as an excuse to call all Muslims terrorists. But when the terrorists are white men with easy gun access, they are seen as “mentally ill” even though no evidence supports that theory. But I guess that’s for another blog post.

I’ve also seen a lot of people conflating the Syrian refugees by calling them Muslim refugees, which is just ridiculous. Yes, Syria is a Muslim-majority country, but it is a secular state. Yes, Syrian refugees are mostly Muslim, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t Christians or Atheists.

Also, this swapping of terms leads to serious implications when attempting to find sources. Searching for “Syrian Refugees” on Google gets you results that lead to facts about the crisis and the war, while “Muslim Refugees” generally lands you with fear-mongering results and anti-Islamic propaganda. It’s even worse/more biased when you do an image search.

Using the term “Muslim refugees” is meant to instill fear into people, because of very serious misconceptions about Islam in America. Playing on these misconceptions (instead of educating people about them and correcting them) is immoral and has real-life ramifications on people all over the world who are Muslim or who are perceived to be Muslim.

Aside from issues and concerns about safety, which are mostly invalid and/or irrelevant, I’ve also seen arguments that we need to fix things here in America before we help people elsewhere. Of course, it’s never stated that way. It’s more like “Americans before Illegals” or pictures like this:

homelessrefugees

Or this:

homelessrefugees2

I want to draw your attention to the “America First” part that I surrounded in yellow. It’s amazing that this phrase was used, when it was also used to criticize Americans during World War II by none other than Dr. Seuss:

adolf

(source here)

(Going along with WWII comparisons, because I’m sure some people think it’s inappropriate to compare Syrian refugees to victims of the Holocaust (Jews, Roma, Sinti, gay men, communists, etc) -even the Holocaust Memorial Museum in DC has mentioned the parallels between the two groups.)

The argument that we need to take care of Americans before we take care of others is meant to silence people who want to welcome and protect refugees. It is meant to shame us -“why aren’t you doing anything for homeless vets? How unAmerican!”even though it was Republicans in 2014 that killed a Senate bill that would’ve expanded benefits for veterans. (And here’s a list of at least seven bills aimed towards veteran benefits that Republicans have voted against.)

If we wanted to help homeless people, which number over 550,00 in America, we could put them up in any one of our MILLIONS of empty houses (many of which have been foreclosed by banks since 2007.) It is literally cheaper to house homeless people (and disabled people, and mentally ill people) than to just leave them on the streets. Studies have shown this over and over again.

So if Americans really cared about homeless veterans at all, we would take advantage of the models that we can use to help these people. And if Americans cared about homeless veterans, then maybe we would talk about helping them all the time, instead of just when America is receiving Syrian refugees, or when it’s Veterans Day.

In case you didn’t click on those last two links:

GoogleTrendsVeterans

But Americans don’t care about homeless people or even homeless veterans. It’s a silencing tactic. It’s a shaming tactic.

All of this to say, generally speaking, in light of the Syrian refugee crisis, America needs to do better. Safety concerns are valid, but the way they are being used currently is racist and xenophobic, and ultimately Islamophobic. Saying that we need to “focus on America/ns” is a silencing tactic to avoid the issue of Syrian refugees, instead of actually trying to help homeless people or American people in general.

To refuse refugees at this time based solely on their religion or ethnicity is despicable. The Statue of Liberty tells other countries to give America their “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” and America is supposed to be “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” At this time, it’s up to Americans to prove that this is still true.

Because I went to graduate school at a seminary, I am privy to many ministers (and/or pre-ministers) thoughts and issues they are dealing with involving religion (Christianity, for most of them) and their church. Recently, one person asked for advice on a group page, because they are struggling with opposing viewpoints in their church over LGBTQPIA+ equality/rights/justice.

One out of many people commented, advising that this person allow both sides to speak, saying that people can be Christians and have different opinions. This sounds very nice, but honestly, readers, it infuriated me.

Non-LGBTQPIA+ people speak from a place of privilege when they say that “both sides” should be heard in any discussion about LGBTQPIA+ rights/justice. They can say this, because they are not fighting for their own humanity in the same way that LGBTQPIA+ people are in these discussions. They say this and allow people to think that these “opinions” are equal because they are all opinions and “nothing else”, when in reality some people’s opinions are literally the reason LGBTQPIA+ people are being killed, stalked, abused, etc.

This is not an equal conversation. One side is saying that they deserve basic rights -like not being fired for being LGBTQPIA+, or being able to get married, or actually having some semblance of safety through their lives. The other side is saying that being LGBTQPIA+ is a sin, that these people are immoral, that their love is not as good as heterosexual love, and some are saying that they deserve to die because of it.

Let me rephrase and restate: LGBTQPIA+ people are literally being killed because of other people’s (heterosexual, cisgender people’s) “opinions”.

If your “opinion” contributes to the systematic inequality, dehumanization, and ultimately murder of LGBTQPIA+ people, it is not an opinion I am willing to listen to in any way.

If you are a person of authority in a church who is struggling between two sides in a discussion about LGBTQPIA+ rights/equality/justice, I want you to consider which group you think is more important, because that is the one you are going to listen to. Also consider:

Which group has been systematically kicked out of the church for being who they are -LGBTQPIA+ people or cisgender heterosexual people?

Which group has been condemned by many aspects of Christianity, making some of them reject all faith entirely -LGBTQPIA+ people or cisgender heterosexual people?

Which group needs a supportive church, who most likely won’t be able to easily find a new one if they choose to leave -LGBTQPIA+ people or cisgender heterosexual people?

We need to stop the cycle of abuse of LGBTQPIA+ people by the church. And there have been some great steps towards that goal, but dear god sometimes it is staggering how far we are from treating LGBTQPIA+ people as humans with rights and dignity. (The same can be said for people of color, disabled people, and other oppressed groups as well.) I really hope that the original poster finds the answers they are looking for, but I also really hope that they don’t do what so many other people think is ‘okay’ -to be “neutral”.

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.” -Desmond Tutu

Friends, let’s discuss Thor 2, a movie which recently came out. Now, if you have not yet seen Thor 2, I suggest you don’t continue reading unless you are alright with plot spoilers -because I will be talking about the movie in detail, and it will ruin some plot points for you.

So, fair warning, if you have not seen Thor 2 and don’t want it spoiled -do not continue reading. Come back after you’ve seen it.

I suppose I am supposed to be happy over the fact that Thor 2 passes the Bechdel Test. I mean, the Bechdel Test is super important, and not many movies pass it anyway (at least, not in America.) But, yay, Thor 2 passes the Bechdel Test -huzzah for jumping over an already low bar.

I guess I should also be happy that there was no pointless and useless sexualization of women like there often is in movies about men. I should be happy that women were presented as being very strong and put-together and not-taking-anyone’s-shit.

But I’m not happy.

I am furious at Thor 2. I am so tired of getting excited over movies and then being so completely disappointed and disgusted. I am so tired of believing that a movie would actually be decent towards women even though it’s focused on one man.

They [the writers, the directors, who the fuck cares] put Frigga in the fridge.

[If you don’t know what I mean, take a look at the “women in refrigerators” website or the wikipedia link]

I am raging.

Frigga -the All-Mother, the only other person/god with high enough status to sit on the throne beside the All-Father, Odin, her husband -was killed in the movie by the villains.

“She’s just a casualty of war”, you say, “Someone has to die, her gender has nothing to do with it. You’re over-reacting.”

I would not be so angry if they had done the same to Loki.

They spent the entire movie lining up parallels between Loki and Frigga -they have the same magic, the same fighting style, even. Loki was Frigga’s favorite, or at least she doted on him. Loki loved Frigga -this can be seen by him “creating” an image of her to talk to in his cell and then by completely trashing it after he learns she is killed. Even Tom Hiddleston, in an interview [starting at 2:20], explained:

“Part of the back-story we created was that Frigga was really the most attentive to Loki when he was a child. And Odin didn’t really know how to connect. He connected much more with Thor. They were sort of cut from the same cloth. And Frigga and Loki had this kind of beautiful, sensitive, more artistic relationship. And it was actually her who taught him all his magic”

Meanwhile, shortly after Frigga is killed and we watch her funeral take place, Loki is “killed” in a very similar way. Frigga was stabbed with a longsword, and Loki is similarly impaled on a sword (or something sharp, but it really doesn’t matter).

At the end of the movie, we find out (SURPRISE SURPRISE) that Loki is still alive.

This is why I am furious.

Because Loki literally learned everything he knows from Frigga. Frigga is much older than Loki is -she [according to the movie] is his fucking adoptive mother -she raised him. AND YET HE IS “CLEVER” ENOUGH TO LIVE THROUGH GETTING STABBED WHILE SHE IS NOT. SHE HAS THE SAME MAGIC AS HIM IF NOT MORE OF IT AND SHE STILL DIES AND REMAINS DEAD.

I am done. I am so done.

Why are men in movies always able to come back to life, but women are not? Is it because women are just meant to bear life rather than actually live it? And then, once they are killed, they can help the men “get their revenge” through their man-angst?

So, no, I will not be happy that this movie passed the basic standards of what all movies should-be (the Bechdel test and the lack-of-female-sexualization) because they still relied on a trope. They still showed their sexism in the end. They killed arguably the most powerful woman in the entire movie in order to propel the men of the movie into anger and action, and that is unforgivable and disgusting.

And this sucks for so many reasons. It sucks because the movie was actually pretty good -it was partially predictable, but it did surprise me at some points. It sucks because I am going to be seen as over-reacting, and not many other people are going to be angry at this. But it sucks because I feel like I have been betrayed.

I don’t want to see movies that star male characters anymore. I don’t want to be this angry at things that aren’t even real. I don’t want to be a feminist anymore when I can’t even go see a movie with my boyfriend without becoming furious and shouting in the parking lot.

But I also don’t want to be seen as someone who’s life can be thrown away to further the plot/life of a man. I am not just a plot device. Frigga should not be reduced to just a plot device. She was important. We are important. And I’m just so tired of not being seen that way.

Today I want to discuss the rapper Macklemore. Specifically, I want to talk about his song “Same Love.”

Now, when I first heard this song, I loved it. I thought it was brilliant and amazing and basically perfect in every way. It gave me chills. Parts of it still do.

Then I started seeing some critiques of it -very important critiques that I think need to be more talked about.

If you have never heard the song (where have you been?) you can listen to it here.

You can read the lyrics here.

The first critique that I have heard about this is that Macklemore (a.k.a. Ben Haggerty) is heterosexual. He is not gay, or queer, or bi, or any other form of a LGBTQ identity. This is not inherently problematic in and of itself, obviously.

The problem is that he has now become an icon for the LGBTQ activist movement because of this song.

Instead of listening to actual queer rappers (and there are plenty), people have instead decided that a heterosexual man can accurately rap about the difficulties of being gay even when he has never experienced those difficulties himself. As one article wrote, “Whether it is intentional or not, Macklemore has become the voice of a community to which he doesn’t belong in a genre that already has a queer presence waiting to be heard by mainstream audiences.”

There is also the issue (second critique) of his whiteness, because along with whiteness comes White Privilege. (Macklemore discusses his White Privilege in a song titled “White Privilege”.) The same article cited above talks about how Macklemore conflates LGBTQ rights with Black civil rights. He completely overlooks his White Privilege as well as his Heterosexual Privilege throughout the song.

For example, the first line of the second verse is “If I was gay, I would think that hip-hop hates me”. Hip hop specifically emerged from Black communities in New York as a response to White suppression and dominance. In this one line, Macklemore is attacking an entire genre of music -as well as the Black people who created and sustained it -for being homophobic.

He continues to critique hip hop (and Black people) with the line: “A culture founded from oppression, yet we don’t have acceptance for ’em”. This is even more problematic than the first line. It completely erases any queer person of color -especially queer rappers/singers of color -who are involved in LGBTQ activism, and it shoves more blame on people of color who are homophobic than White people who are homophobic. “This line of argument suggests that homophobia perpetrated by people of color is somehow worse because they should have known better as people who are also oppressed. Furthermore, when white people are homophobic, it is less condemnable because they don’t know what it is like.” (x)

Basically, this song is full of “microaggressions” against people of color (mostly Black people) as well as LGBTQ people. “What?” you say, “Same love doesn’t demean gay people -it’s all about equality!” The biggest microaggression against LGBTQ people is when Macklemore decided to drop the word “f*gg*t” in the second verse, even thought it is an extremely offensive and homophobic slur. That is not okay. It will never be okay.

Just because Macklemore is “standing up” for LGBTQ equality with the song “Same Love” does not mean that he can’t get things wrong and/or make mistakes. Just because he has a song called “White Privilege” doesn’t mean that he will always recognize it when it appears, or that it just suddenly disappeared when he wrote the song. No matter what, he is still a white heterosexual male and while that is not inherently bad, it is something that needs to be remembered when he’s rapping about hip hop and homophobia.

Upholding him and this song as an icon for the LGBTQ community activism is not okay. People who are actually LGBTQ rappers should be heard over him -people who have actually experienced homophobia or other types of cis-sexual/heteronormative aggressions. Again, you can find lists of them here.

I’m not saying that heterosexual people can’t talk about homophobia, or that white people can’t talk about racism. However, I am saying that when people with privilege talk about oppression that they do not experience themselves, they need to listen very intently when people talk who do experience that oppression. That is the only way we will learn -by listening, by reading, by talking with other people who are different from us and trying to recognize our own privilege.

There are parts of “Same Love” that are great -I love his critique of religion/religious institutions, and his mention of LGBTQ bullying and suicide. But this song is not without its problems, and people need to realize that.

I do not know how to start this post. I am angry. I am tired. I am tired of being angry.

There is often a lot of discussion surrounding ‘privilege’, at least there is on the Tumblr community. Privilege is what people in positions of power have in society. So, there is male privilege, which allows men to access things (capital, in the Marxist/Bourdieu-ian sense)  more easily than women. There is also white privilege, which allows white people to access better capital than people of color. There is cis privilege over trans* people; heterosexual privilege over LGBT*Q; and so on and so forth.

For examples of male privilege, see here or here.

Now, it has been my absolute honor to come across an article claiming female privilege.

Let me now explain how this article is complete and utter bullshit.

1. I’m allowed to be far more open about my sexuality than a man is. In fact, if I’m bisexual, it’s encouraged (both male and females encourage it funnily enough). If I’m hetero, I’m allowed to make comments about how hot men are, compliment men without others thinking it’s harassment and generally can make lewd comments about any person, be them male or female, and it’s considered ok. I can say “I fancy him so much I’d  even rape him” or “I need to pull him into the storeroom and show him I mean it” or “He is mega hot” about any male whether  he is seventeen (I am forty) or seventy. I can sit in a Twilight movie and drool at Jacob (for instance), and not be seen as a dirty old woman.

Women can only be open about their sexuality when it is approved of BY MEN. If you didn’t notice, she did not mention lesbianism, which only involves women. If a woman identifies as a lesbian, she will be told that she only likes women because she hasn’t had a good dick or a good fucking yet. In fact, even porn with “lesbians” in it is made for the men who watch it, and not for actual lesbians, which can be shown by the heavy emphasis on vaginal penetration. Bisexuality is only acceptable when she eventually settles down with a man, because then she will be seen as “really heterosexual”.

She is also completely erasing the Madonna/Whore complex. If a woman has sex before marriage, she is seen as a slut and a whore and deserving of any sexual assault that befalls her. Meanwhile, if she doesn’t have sex, she is a prude or a stuck up bitch or an ice queen. So tell me again how women’s sexualities are not controlled by men and how women are so free?

2. If my partner and I were in a domestic dispute and both violent, or both shouting, and I hit him … if the police were called, my male partner would still be the one far more likely to be taken into custody for the night. If my male partner tried to report domestic violence, it would be harder for him to have the charges laid, than if I did so. In fact, while there is a charge of Male assaults Woman in my country, there is no Woman assaults Male. That would be classified instead as General Assault.

Perhaps the male partner would be arrested, but let’s talk about what happens afterwards. The average prison sentence of men who kill their women partners is 2 to 6 years, while women who kill their male partners are sentenced on average to 15 years. This is despite the fact that 86% of female offenders kill in self-defense, while males are most likely to kill out of possessiveness (82%), abuse (75%) and during arguments (63%). Women are eight times more likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner.

Also, let’s talk about the fact that men are only allowed to show two emotions: anger/rage and lust. This is EXTREMELY harmful to the men in our society, and it is (one of) the reason(s) why men are disproportionally the one’s who commit assault (sexual assault, general assault, and domestic violence), have road rage, and commit murder. This is a problem and it needs to be fixed! THIS IS PART OF FEMINISM.

3. If my relationship with the father of my children was to break up, I’m far more likely to get the kids. And if I want a child, but don’t have a partner, I can do that too. I get to choose whether I have the baby or not, I get to choose whether the father’s name is on the birth certificate or not (and if he queries it, he’s the one who has to pay for the DNA test) and if he’s named as the father, he then has to pay child support, whether he was aware I was trying to have a child or not.

Yes, the reproductive rights of women are absolutely brilliant right now. No, really, it’s great.

Left out of her claims are the following facts:

1 –there are currently 31 states where a rapist can sue for custody of his child born from the rape. Also, let’s not forget that this happened

2 –the reason why women are often given custody is because of the sexist idea that women are better with children and more nurturing while men cannot be tied down that way because they have to be able to move to work

3 –working mothers lose more custody battles than they win

Also, are we just going to completely ignore the fact that if a woman does not want kids, people think there is actually something wrong with her? If a woman says that she never wants children, people will try to CONVINCE her that she actually does want kids, or that she’ll change her mind, or that kids are such a blessing. Are we just ignoring that? I guess we are.

4. I’m allowed to be as education- and career-driven as I want to be, and push for the top, seeking equity and equality in everything. But when it comes to dating and relationships, I’ll want the dates paid for, the doors opened, the bling bought. And if I want to choose to not be career-driven, and be instead at home, and not work, then I can far more readily choose that option too than a male partner could.

Women are “allowed” (by men) to be educated and career-driven, but it will cost them in many ways. Women are “allowed” to be career-driven, as long as they somehow figure out how to work and still do all of the house work and childcare. Women are “allowed” to be career-driven, as long as they are okay with never making more than their male peers and never being in a position of authority over them. Women are “allowed” to be career-driven  as long as they work above and beyond their male companions in order to even be noticed, and even then their achievements will probably be awarded to the men they work with.

Also, if women do well in academia or in the work-place, then they are immediately suspect. Claims are made that they “slept” their way to the top, because CLEARLY a woman cannot get into any position of power without having sex. This accusation has been leveled on me before, because I graduated with honors and won academic awards before moving on to date one of my previous professors.

In regards to the second part of her statement: the idea that men should pay for everything on a date is sexist and it comes from the idea that men are the breadwinners in society and women don’t/shouldn’t work, so how could they pay for anything? This is also a problem in society, and it needs to be fixed, but I’m not convinced it happens epidemically.

5. If I write an inflammatory comment, or a blog, or article, and a man questions anything in it, all I need to do to shut the conversation down is call him a bully, or say he’s a privileged male. I can also make disparaging comments about his sexuality, his economic standing, the size of his penis, and his ability to do pretty much anything in return for him disagreeing with me. I can do this, because when I do, I KNOW there will be a bunch of other women who will stick up for me. Because as a woman … I now have privilege.

Sure, a woman can try to “shut a man up” by calling him privileged or a bully. Want to know how to shut down a woman during an argument? Claim she’s on her period. Or, wait, no –just say she’s a crazy bitch who doesn’t know what she’s talking about. Or, I’ve got it, this one’s good –say that she is being a typical woman and over-reacting. These things are called “gaslighting”, and they are all a form of mental abuse that happen all the time. So, let’s be honest, it is MUCH easier to silence a woman than a man during an argument.

Any notion of “female privilege” is either bullshit or is perpetuated by different strains of sexism and patriarchy. I will accept, however, that cis women have more privilege than trans* women (also due to patriarchy and trans-phobia). I will also gladly take responsibility for and accept my white privilege, because I definitely have that.

I refuse to accept that I have any form of female privilege that is NOT directly perpetuated by sexism and/or patriarchy. Just because patriarchy and sexism can backfire and hurt men as well as women does not mean that women have any sort of dominance or privilege over men. Period.

Someday I will actually write something that is not a response to something else that is completely wrong, but today is not that day.

People, it has been a bittersweet week in America.

First, the good news:

1.) A section of DOMA has been found unconstituational by the supreme court, which will allow gay and lesbian married couples to receive federal benefits like heterosexual couples. Prop 8 has also been overturned, so now California can recognize equal marriage.

2.) An extreme anti-abortion bill in Texas was successfully filibustered by primarily Senator Wendy Davis as well as many others (I would like to personally mention Senator Leticia Van De Putte, because she was amazing and should not be forgotten.) Honestly, this ended as a “people’s filibuster”, because protesters were screaming so loudly that the republican senators could not hear the roll and so could not sign the bill before midnight. This was a good victory.

And now, the bad news.

1.) Texas governor Rick Perry has called a special session, beginning on Monday July 1st, in order to attempt to pass the anti-abortion bill again. In my mind, there is less than a slim chance that this bill will not pass.

If this bill passes, it will prohibit abortions after 20 weeks from fertilization with no exceptions. (Meanwhile, having the age of the fetus be determined by fertilization rather than from the gestational age determined by the LMP (last menstrual period) actually makes the gestational age less than 20 weeks.) This bill will also require doctors that perform abortions have hospital privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of their clinic. It would also require that the minimum standards for an abortion facility must be equivalent to the minimum standards for ambulatory surgical centers. This would effectively shut down almost all of the clinics in Texas which offer abortions, leaving only five in the entire state.

Let’s also be aware that the republican senators attempted to commit fraud in front of millions of people shortly after midnight passed by changing the time stamps on the official record. This has been screen-caped and passed around on social media networks, causing outrage.  Meanwhile, do you think anyone will be held accountable for this? Me neither.

2.) The supreme court has FUCKED UP twice this week. The first was when they declared that the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) does not protect a Native father’s parental rights. This article sums it up so well that I will quote from it and hope that you read the whole thing:

Christy Maldonado gave birth to a baby in 2009 whose father, Dusten Brown, is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. Because of self-determination, the Cherokee Nation decides who its citizens are—and because Dusten Brown is Cherokee, his baby, named Veronica, is Cherokee as well. Maldonado and Brown lost touch by the time the baby was born, and Brown was never informed of the baby’s birth. Maldonado decided to put the baby up for adoption, and a white couple named Melanie and Matt Capobianco took Veronica into pre-adoptive care.

Just to be clear, although the case is called Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl, the Copabiancos never adopted Veronica. When Brown was served with Maldonado’s intention to place the baby up for adoption, he immediately fought the decision. A South Carolina court agreed that a non-custodial Native father was, indeed a father for the purpose of the case, under ICWA.

So what does ICWA do? The act was created because of incredibly high rates of white parents adopting Native children; in states like Minnesota, that have large Native populations, non-Natives raised 90 percent of Native babies and children put up for adoption. Those adoptions sever ties to Native tribes and communities, endangering the very existence of these tribes and nations. In short, if enough Native babies are adopted out, there will literally not be enough citizens to compose a nation. ICWA sought to stem that practice by creating a policy that keeps Native adoptees with their extended families, or within their tribes and nations. The policy speaks to the core point of tribal sovereignty: Native tribes and nations use it to determine their future, especially the right to keep their tribes and nations together.

But leave it to the Supreme Court to miss the point altogether this morning. The prevailing justices failed to honor tribal sovereignty in today’s ruling. In writing for the court’s majority, Justice Samuel Alito opened his delivery on the ruling with these words:

This case is about a little girl (Baby Girl) who is classified as an Indian because she is 1.2% (3/256) Cherokee.

What Alito (along with Justices Roberts, Kennedy, Thomas and Breyer) is perhaps willfully missing is that the Cherokee Nation does not classify its citizens in that way. Baby Veronica is not a certain percentage Cherokee—she is Cherokee, as determined by her nation. The high court’s first sentence, based in the colonial practice of blood quantum instead of the way that citizenship is determined by the Cherokee Nation, illustrates that the justices made this case about race—in their mind—and not about tribal sovereignty in the law. By this flawed logic, the high court ruled that Baby Veronica is somehow not Native enough to be protected by ICWA.

So the Supreme Court fucked that one up. And if you think that’s big, just wait.

It also completely gutted the Voters Right Act of 1965. Basically, the supreme court has stated that we have changed as a country, and racism at the polls isn’t relevant. This decision will allow states (that were previously flagged in this act as needing federal approval for voting changes) to change any voting standards or voting districts without the approval of the Department of Justice.It took Texas two hours to declare that it was implementing a voter ID law and that it would be changing the voting districts to a plan that was already deemed by federal judges to be discriminatory to Texas minority voters.

There are already more states joining the bandwagon, and I’m sure this will continue.

So, honestly, readers, I feel like maybe I lied at the beginning of this post. This week has not been bittersweet. It has been horrifying with a few beams of light that will be shut out, or will be attempted to be shut out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that all marriages will receive benefits from the federal government, but the amount of racism, sexism, and discrimination that has been and will continue to be allowed is literally sickening.Readers, do not celebrate our victories too much. We are not done fighting yet. There is still too much to be done for people who are not being heard -for women, for people of color, for Native Americans, for trans* people, and so many others. Please do not forget them.

Please, stay angry. And if you’re not already, where the hell have you been?

I’m writing this to show you that no matter what, you cannot reason with anti-abortion people.

This is a conversation with my father, the original poster. I am the orange highlight.

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I hope everyone can read what this says. I’m too emotionally tired to type it out right now.

By the way, this is the article I referenced. Just fyi.

In case any of you have missed it, this article has been making rounds on the internet.

This is infuriating. Enraging. Hurtful. Shaming. Oppressive.

No one should be told their bodies are not good enough. No one should be allowed to discriminate based on another person’s body size. Until we understand that all bodies are beautiful -no matter what color, what gender, what size, what level of able-bodied ability they have -we will continue to make the non-normative (read: non-white, non-male, disabled, non-straight) bodies “Other”, and thus, oppressed.

This post is a call to action.

My friends and I are starting a protest. We are tired of these messages being sent to women that we are only worth the sizes of our waists. We are fed up with older white men telling us how to appreciate and love our bodies. We want other women to know that they are beautiful, no matter what a CEO of a fashion company says, or what society tells us in media images of models, actresses, and movie stars.

You are beautiful. Your body is beautiful.

If you are in the area, feel free to come to our protest. If you are not, the I challenge you to start your own. It doesn’t have to be like this one -we will just be holding signs. Your protest can take form in any way that subverts these harmful messages. Tell someone that they are beautiful. Let people know that being fat does not mean you are unattractive. You can be both fat and beautiful. Sure, start a protest (but consider the legal constructs as well. I don’t want people getting arrested!) Write a letter. But, please, do something.

The only way we will ever change society is by doing something.

Today I would like to take the time to discuss what is going on in the Supreme Court at this period of time, because everyone else seems to be freaking out about it.

First, let me give some background as to what’s actually going on.

The Supreme Court is deciding the fate of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and California’s Proposition 8. Basically, both of these oppose same-sex marriages at different levels (DOMA is federal, while Prop. 8 is within a state) and they are now being contested. Advocates for gay rights want both of these to be repealed by the Supreme Court.

It has been years since these have passed (DOMA in 1996, Prop. 8 in 2008) but now the case is finally being heard, and people are holding on to high hopes.

Now, I wanted to use this space not just for a history lesson, but in response to an article I found via a facebook friend.

The article is called “Why the Arguments for Gay Marriage are Persuasive” by a Christian pastor, Kevin DeYoung. It can be found here.

There are multiple places that I want to pick at from this article, so please read it, because then it will make more sense.

He writes that “For a long time, homosexuality seemed weird or gross. Now it seems normal.” I disagree with that -or, more specifically, I would like for him to admit that he is only talking about the American context  in very specific time periods. In COLONIZED America, homosexuality seemed weird or gross. Homosexuality and Trans* people were not always “gross” in “America”, because there were tribes of people who accepted these people in their cultures, until white people came in and basically destroyed everything. (If requested, I have actual articles on this, and I will reference them if necessary.)

And, even if we ignore the fact that this land was once filled with people who had Two-Spirit traditions going back centuries, other cultures had similar ideas too –Africa, for instance, before it was colonized, and India too. (Basically, let’s just agree that European colonization screwed everything up in every way.) In ancient Greece, homosexuality usually took place between an older man and a younger man/boy, and it was seen as healthy.

So, in short, no one should make sweeping generalizations about how homosexuality was “weird or gross” however long ago, because I assure you that there is more than enough research to prove that even longer ago than that time, people were cool with it and it wasn’t a big deal.

After he writes this very general and wrong statement, he makes a list of how gay marriage fits in to our common cultural assumptions:

“1. It’s about progress. Linking the pro-gay agenda with civil rights and women’s rights was very intentional, and it was a masterstroke. To be against gay marriage, therefore, is to be against enlightenment and progress. It puts you on the “wrong side of history.” Of course, most people forget that lots of discarded ideas were once hailed as the inevitable march of progress. Just look at Communism or eugenics or phrenology or the Volt. But people aren’t interested in the complexities of history. We only know we don’t want to be like the nincompoops who thought the sun revolved around the earth and that slavery was okay.

2. It’s about love. When gay marriage is presented as nothing but the open embrace of human love, it’s hard to mount a defense. Who could possibly be against love? But hidden in this simple reasoning is the cultural assumption that sexual intercourse is necessarily the highest, and perhaps the only truly fulfilling, expression of love. It’s assumed that love is always self-affirming and never self-denying. It’s assumed that our loves never require redirection. Most damagingly, our culture (largely because of heterosexual sins) has come to understand marriage as nothing but the state sanctioning of romantic love. The propagation and rearing of children do not come into play. The role in incentivizing socially beneficial behavior is not in the public eye. People think of marriage as nothing more than the commitment (of whatever duration) which romantic couples make to each other.

3. It’s about rights. It’s not by accident the movement is called the gay rights movement. And I don’t deny that many gays and lesbians feel their fundamental human rights are at stake in the controversy over marriage. But the lofty talk of rights blurs an important distinction. Do consenting adults have the right to enter a contract of their choosing? It depends. Businesses don’t have a right to contract for collusion. Adults don’t have a right to enter into a contract that harms the public good. And even if you think these examples are beside the point, the fact remains that no law prohibits homosexuals (or any two adults) from making promises to each other, from holding a ceremony, from entering into a covenant with each other. The question is whether the government should bestow upon that contract the name of marriage with all the rights and privileges thereto.

4. It’s about equality. Recently, I saw a prominent Christian blogger tweet that she was for gay marriage because part of loving our neighbor is desiring they get equal justice under the law. Few words in the American lexicon elicit such broad support as “equality.” No one wants to be for unequal treatment under the law. But the issue before the Supreme Court is not equality, but whether two laws–one voted in by the people of California and the other approved by our democratically elected officials–should be struck down. Equal treatment under the law means the law is applied the same to everyone. Gay marriage proponents desire to change the law so that marriage becomes something entirely different. Surveys often pose the question “Should it be legal or illegal for gay and lesbian couples to marry?” That makes it sound like we are criminalizing people for commitments they make. The real issue, however, is whether the state has a vested interest in sanctioning, promoting, and privileging certain relational arrangements. Is it unjust for the state not to recognize as marriage your group of four friends, close cousins, or an office suite just because they want their commitments to be called marriage?

5. It’s about tolerance. Increasingly, those who oppose gay marriage are not just considered wrong or mistaken or even benighted. They are anti-gay haters. As one minister put it, gay marriage will eventually triumph because love is stronger than hate. Another headline rang out that “discrimination is on trial” as the Supreme Court hears arguments on Proposition 8 and DOMA. The stark contrast is clear: either you support gay marriage or you are a bigot and a hater. It’s not wonder young people are tacking hard to left on this issue. They don’t want to be insensitive, close-minded, or intolerant. The notion that thoughtful, sincere, well-meaning, compassionate people might oppose gay marriage is a fleeting thought.”

So. My first issue comes to play in his #2, where he apparently assumes that marriage is not about love between two people, and that if the USA grants same-sex marriage, then love will be confused with sex somehow. I’m not entirely sure how he makes this jump: ” But hidden in this simple reasoning is the cultural assumption that sexual intercourse is necessarily the highest, and perhaps the only truly fulfilling, expression of love.” Because gay/lesbian people and their allies are NOT arguing for the right to have sex, they are arguing that they can be legally recognized by the government as being married and get the rights involved with that distinction. Sex is not a problem here. Rights are.

Also, what is the problem with marriage being about love? Because, literally, that is the reason most people list when you ask them “why did you get married?” It’s not ‘because we wanted kids’, ‘because we wanted to have sex’, ‘because we wanted to show people socially beneficial behavior’. It’s because they loved each other so much that they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. I assure you that marriage fails for a number of reasons, one being that they didn’t love each other any more, but any marriage based off of those three examples I gave above is practically doomed to failure from the start.

AND, let’s talk about kids, because I don’t think that marriage is REALLY about procreating (or that it should be at all) when more than 250,000 kids are put in foster care every year and over 136,000 are waiting to be adopted per year. So, let’s not make this a ‘kid issue’, because I am positive that some same-sex couples would LOVE to adopt and would not increase these rates about kids needing adoption. We do not have a procreating issue, I promise.

My next problem with the article is, of course, #3. DeYoung writes, “the fact remains that no law prohibits homosexuals (or any two adults) from making promises to each other, from holding a ceremony, from entering into a covenant with each other. The question is whether the government should bestow upon that contract the name of marriage with all the rights and privileges thereto.”

The question is actually if the government can recognize separation of church and state  in order to give these couples their damn rights. There are same-sex couples who have been together as-long-as or longer-than many opposite-sex couples, and they have nothing to show for it. They have no say in life-and-death matters in hospitalization, they don’t get tax benefits or social security benefits when their partner passes (or if they are disabled or laid off), and any of the other 1,138 rights married couples get.

Meanwhile, I sense a lot of hypocrisy coming from this man who is so willing to tell gay/lesbian people “you can make promises to each other and that should be good enough for you” when he benefits from all of the rights that these people don’t have and are fighting for.

In #4, he argues that legalizing same-sex marriage would forever change the meaning of marriage, so that it becomes “something entirely different”. This is crap, honestly, because the definition of marriage has changed before in history. (He should know this, especially since in #1 he was commenting on all the ‘complexities of history’ that we tend to ignore, kinda like he did in this case.)

Marriage, before the women’s movements I discussed in my first post, was about ownership. Men literally owned women -they were property. That is why the woman took the man’s name, because he owned her. It was a practice called coverture. Let me restate this: THE HUSBAND LITERALLY OWNED THE WIFE AS THOUGH SHE WAS A PIECE OF LAND OR FURNITURE. She went from having her father’s name -from being property of her father -to having her husband’s name, being the property of her husband.

Clearly, marriage has been VERY redefined since then, so I feel that the argument “We can’t redefine marriage, it’s always been the same!” is bullshit. Especially when it’s spouted by Christians, because in the Bible, marriage is rarely ever the same thing. The Bible has one man-one woman, one man-multiple women, one man-one woman-one slave, one man-lots of concubines, men-who-never-get-married, one woman-one relative; it also has remarriage (but only after death), sanctions against divorce, messages of coverture, sanctions against mixed-religion relationships, rapists marrying their victims, sanctions to remain unmarried, etc. (And don’t get me started on David and Jonathan…)

Basically, when Christians say that redefining marriage is against the Bible, or that God only defined marriage in one way, I want to slap them in the face and tell them to read the Bible, because it is just not true. (I also want to point out all the other verses that we ignore in this culture, like the kosher regulations (“but those are just for Jews!” they cry) and not wearing clothing of mixed fibers. We seemed to forget about those ones.)

I’m just sick of hearing/seeing people being bigots, because that’s what denying equality makes you. If you are so scared that someone else’s happiness is going to somehow take yours away, you need to re-evaluate what makes you happy. If you think that someone else’s marriage is going to de-value your own, you have very messed up ideas about how marriage works, and honestly your marriage is probably already broken.

I’m not even going to try to tackle the rest of his article, because it is ridiculous and bigoted and hateful. It is backwards in so many ways, and wrong in so many other ways. I am tired of people shouting with their eyes clenched shut and their hands over their ears. I want to be a person who is shouting with joy when same-sex marriage is legalized, and I want to go to my friend’s weddings when they finally legally marry their partners. I will be on the right side of history, and I don’t care if that makes me ‘part of the culture’ or whatever, because all I am working to do is make this culture a better place for everyone, and to make it more equal for people who are discriminated against.

Straight people need to check their privilege and start actually caring about people who are different from them, and it starts here.

TRIGGER WARNING: rape, suggestion of murder, general offensiveness towards women.

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Just in case you cannot read the three images above, here is a transcript:

Original status: Dear fb friends, I wanna know your favv pickup line. Comment!

Female 1: Are you gay? No? Lets make out.

Male A: Gentlemen don’t use pickup lines, they devalue women…wait, was that a pickup line? JK, I meant what I said.

Male B: Does your leg hurt? Because you must be an angel fallen from the sky.

Female 2: Tu cheese bari hai mast mast

Female 3: Is that a mirror in your pants, cause I can see myself in them.

Male C: Allow me to release my basilisk into your chamber of secrets

Male D: I’m working on my abs

Male E: this will go alot smoother for both of us if you stop resisting

Male F: You must be my new boss because you just gave me a raise. (Most likely not gonna work & chappal for free. )

Female 2 again: on your comments it just looks like all these people are trying to hit on you lol

Male F again: ^ she’s to blame for this since she’s looking so preety… lol (see what I did there!)

Male G: i once picked up a girl by asking her if she was a lesbian. and then when she said no i told her my friend wanted to dance with her

Male G again: another time i told a girl my friend was a charity case and his make a wish was to dance with her lmao… it worked

Female 4: The word of the day is “legs” so let’s go back to my place and spread the word. (most pick up lines are for hook ups)

Female 5: it’s funny because earlier today [boyfriend] randomly came out or our room and said that pickup line to me lol. Now i know why lol

Male H: I have a 45 and a shovel I doubt anyone will miss u stop resisting

Male I:Guy: hey wanna go hook up?
Girl: sorry my bf is over there
Guy: my fish died wen I was 6
Girl: huh?
Guy: uh I thought we were telling each other stuff we don’t care about

Today, kids, we are going to talk about rape culture.

Rape culture is when “pick-up lines” that perpetuate graphic violence against women, disrespect a woman’s choices, and disregard her sexuality (or use it as a way to get with her) are all seen as “funny.”  Rape culture is being able to claim “it’s just a joke, stop taking it so seriously”. Rape culture is allowing these “pick-up lines” to go unchecked for what they really are: violent harassment against women and just plain old sexist.

Rape culture is any culture in which rape and sexual violence are normalized by methods such as the above status and its following comments.

Pick-up lines are not inherently bad. Some of the comments above are actually funny -personally, I like the Harry Potter reference, since that gives plenty of space for the person to say ‘no’. The “angel” one is also fairly common, as far as I know, and the mirror one isn’t that bad either.

I want to be clear: Not all of these lines can be used by solely by men to get women. However, due to the fact that the majority of the comments which perpetuate violence (rape, murder), disrespect choice (having a significant other), and use sexuality (being gay or not) were written by men, most of whom (if not all) are heterosexual. The first comment which uses sexual orientation to pick someone up was written by a female, but that leaves other comments which fall into one of the three categories above (and others which are just generally offensive) which were written by males (who are hypothetically using these pick-up lines to get women, or even just using them now to be ‘funny’ in this instance).

So let’s break this down.

1.) Generally offensive:

Male D: I’m working on my abs

Offensive because some people are not attracted to looks, but rather to intellect or charity or basically anything. Maybe a better pick-up line would be something more like ‘I have no sexually transmitted diseases/infections’. This is offensive because it just lacks any sort of intelligence needed for decent conversation.

Male F: You must be my new boss because you just gave me a raise. (Most likely not gonna work & chappal for free. )

This one is offensive because, seriously, it is already difficult enough for women to be in a position of power in the workplace (look up ‘glass ceiling’ and ‘glass escalator’ and then look up ‘female CEO vs male CEO’) and now this just mocks it. Awesome. I’m so glad that you are the type of guy who only supports women in positions of power if she is attractive enough to make your penis hard.

Male G again: another time i told a girl my friend was a charity case and his make a wish was to dance with her lmao… it worked

This… I just can’t.

2.) Using sexuality:

Female 1: Are you gay? No? Let’s make out.

Male G: i once picked up a girl by asking her if she was a lesbian. and then when she said no i told her my friend wanted to dance with her

Let me make this very clear: The fact that you are heterosexual and another person of the opposite sex is heterosexual DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU ARE ENTITLED TO MAKE OUT/SLEEP WITH/DATE/FUCK/KISS/OR BE WITH THEM IN ANY WAY. It is this type of thinking -that if a girl likes guys and you are a guy, therefore she must like you -leads to sexual harassment and rape. Thinking that you are entitled to ANYTHING when it comes to another person is simply wrong.

She owes you nothing.

It doesn’t matter if you bought her a drink.

It doesn’t matter if you are ‘such a nice guy’.

It doesn’t matter if she happens to be attracted to guys and you are one.

It doesn’t matter if she flirted a little or even a lot.

It doesn’t matter if she kissed you or if you gave her a ride home or if you helped her up the stairs or if she invited you in or if she gave you her number or if she wants to date you or if she marries you or if she did this or that or anything.

It doesn’t matter, because nothing you do entitles you to anything. She owes you nothing.

3.) Disrespect choice (having a significant other)

Male I:Guy: hey wanna go hook up?
Girl: sorry my bf is over there
Guy: my fish died wen I was 6
Girl: huh?
Guy: uh I thought we were telling each other stuff we don’t care about

This is something I really hate, and I’m sure many women have experienced it. You, a woman, are being hit on by some guy that you don’t care about and don’t want to be with. Regardless of whether you’ve told him no already and he ignored it, or if you’re just telling him no for the first time, we often fall back on the ‘I have a boyfriend’ card.

Because, apparently, in this society, a ‘no’ from a woman is irrelevant until it is noted that she is only saying ‘no’ to you because she is with another guy. That’s when most guys will back off, because of the respect for the other guy -not for the girl. Until, of course, the two break up, and then she’s free game again, right?!

No means no.

When you ask a girl, do you want to hook up, and she says ANYTHING THAT IS NOT YES, it is a no. She is a human fucking being, and she deserves your respect, regardless of whether or not it’s what you want.

4.) Perpetuate violence (rape, murder)

Male E: this will go alot smoother for both of us if you stop resisting
Male H: I have a 45 and a shovel I doubt anyone will miss u stop resisting

These, to me, are honestly the most terrifying. These more than any other comments perpetuate graphic violence against women. Despite the glaring incorrect grammar in both of these comments, they both mention resistance. From this one word alone, we can assume that the woman doesn’t want to be ‘picked up’, and the threat of rape is there.

The second one goes even further, because he chooses to mention that he has a gun and a shovel, which then threatens murder. Basically, if you don’t let me rape you, then I will rape you anyway and then kill you and bury you so that no one will know.

And I’m sure there are some of you who are out there right now saying ‘They were just joking, they would never say this to anyone if they REALLY wanted to pick them up’.

They aren’t ‘just’ jokes.

For those of you who do not click on the links I provide, I’ll sum this one up. This is research done by a college professor and graduate assistants which found that sexist humor creates a ‘safe space’ for people to become more tolerant to sexist attitudes and behavior. Sexist jokes lead to a toleration of hostile and discriminatory attitudes towards women and serve as a way to legitimize sexist actions.

These attitudes can then potentially be expressed by violent acts -like rape and murder.

So, no, nothing is ever ‘just a joke’. That is a piss-poor excuse for letting things like this go unexcused. These men are sexist and potentially violent towards women, and what’s terrifying is that in this culture of normalized violence, they (and other men like them) can and are getting away with it.