Posted: February 29, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Tags: Feminism, lgbtiq, politics, privilege, Religion
Closing some tabs I have open of some very interesting articles I’ve found about on the internets recently.
At Charlie’s Diary, “Life With and Without Animated Ducks: The Future Is Gender Distributed“, an excellent and timely reminder how technology and women’s work aren’t all that great together.
This may sound like bitching, and of course in some sense it is. But it began to occur to me that the tech I was using was incredibly gendered. In the “male” sphere, of professional operations, offices, corporations, pop culture, businesses, the available technology was extremely high-level, better than anywhere I’d yet lived. In the “female” sphere, the home, domestic duties, daily chores, cleaning, heating, anything inside the walls of a house, it was on a level my grandmother would find familiar.
At LGBTQNation, “It’s 2012. Do you know where your transgender children are?“:
Something out of the ordinary happens when cisgender adults talk about transgender children. People who wouldn’t normally make a child’s genitals a public issue are suddenly desperate to publicly scrutinize and debate the intimate details of children’s bodies. Some of these bodies belong to kids as young or younger than seven, like Bobby Montoya, the first openly trans Girl Scout.
At Love Joy Feminism (one of my new favourite blogs), “You can’t pray the gay away, even at BJU” discusses those LGBTIQ individuals who study at Bob Jones University and realise that they’re not straight and that being LBGTIQ is ok (though a long journey to get there for some).
I grew up believing that being gay is a disorder of some sort, likely caused by either sexual abuse or having an absent father or distant mother, and that gay people can be “cured” through prayer and therapy and go on to lead normal lives as straight people. No one from a functional, Christian family should ever end up gay.
But of course, the reality doesn’t work out that way. And it’s that reality that these GLBT Bob Jones alumni want to make known.
s.e. smith writes “Where Are All the Nonbinary Parents? And Children?“:
Don’t mistake me. I know they exist, because I see them. They’re pretty active online, for example, and have lively communities offline as well. I’m talking about where they are in media and pop culture, because right now, it appears to be pretty much nowhere; along with the rest of nonbinary people, of course. There is something particularly sinister about the erasure of nonbinary parents and children when it comes to pop culture and mass media descriptions of families, though.
Margart Cho contributes to the It Gets Better project with a blog post about they bullying she survived at school:
I was bullied pretty badly when I was a kid, the worst period falling between the ages of 10 and 14, I think. People tell me to get over it, and that I am an adult now, privileged and famous and constantly applauded not only in my primary field, stand-up comedy, but also in practically every endeavor I have chosen to devote myself to, from acting to burlesque bump-and-grind to songwriting. I am told I have no right to complain, and that may be true to some extent, the good in my life flowing in from all directions, satisfaction pulsing through me every second of the day, but I will never stop complaining until I am dead in the ground or even afterward, probably, if I can find a way back out of the light to complain about the afterlife. I will never stop complaining. It’s kind of fun to me now, and looking back, I was treated so terribly that I don’t feel I have the capacity to forgive. Fuck forgiveness and all that. I think that even Jesus would say, “Yeah I guess you do have a point…”
A very interesting article at New Matilda, “The War On Birth Control“, detailing issues of the current US Republican Presidential wassname that they have going on currently. The article, despite my issues with the US democratic system, is a very interesting read:
Obama’s hard-fought health reforms, the Affordable Care Act, include a provision that requires all employee insurance plans to cover contraception — without any religious exemption. In practical terms, this means that the employees of religious-affiliated institutions such as universities and hospitals (but not churches themselves) will have access to birth control as part of their health insurance. Twenty eight states had similar provisions before this announcement and the stated goal is to provide more affordable birth control.
A bill introduced by Republican up-and-comer Mario Rubio attempts to counter the lifting of the religious amendment. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act would allow not only religious-affiliated institutions to opt out of employee health plans which cover contraception, but also those provided by individual employers whose religious beliefs are at odds with contraception.
Posted: February 22, 2012 at 10:03 pm | Tags: Feminism, Language, rape, sexism
*Trigger warning for rape discussion (corrective sex)*
So Ricky Nixon, an AFL “personality” (former player manager), decided to publicly sledge a Fairfax columnist (is that different to journalist?) Suzanne Carbone on his Facebook page today. As it was a public page/wall* the whole world could (and indeed did thanks to the article published by The Age and other places) see what he and his friends said about Suzanne Carbone. It wasn’t pretty, it was incredibly sexist. It was also incredibly immature. Seriously guys, if someone says something you don’t like, debate it, don’t call that person names and suggest that the solution is “a good shag” because not only is that sexist and misogynist, but it also makes you look like a Neanderthal. Debating ideas and opinions is not that difficult. Name calling is certainly easier, but makes you look like a fool while the other person effectively wins. Not a good strategy.
Posted: February 21, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Tags: Feminism, health, mental illness, sexism
The Age published an article today about a woman who was six times the legal blood alcohol limit when we went to pick up her children from school yesterday. Her BAC came to light after she forgot to put the handbrake on and her car rolled into the back of another vehicle. The owner of the damaged car suspected that the woman was drunk and called the police.
Much was made about the fact that the woman had driven without accident to the school. Much was also made of the fact that she had been driving with her six month old child in the car with her (I assume suitably restrained). Little was made of the fact that had she not rolled into the car in front of her that she would have driven her children home.
A lot was made of the fact that she appeared coherent and was capable of driving at that BAC. This suggests to me that she may be an alcoholic, and I mention this solely due to the comment made by one of the police officers involved:
He said the woman’s husband left work early and arrived at the crash scene to collect the children.
The husband said his wife was dealing with some issues which had led her to consume alcohol.
She had been drinking for most of the day, but did not say what she had consumed or how much.
‘‘[The husband] seems to have things in hand and he’s now obviously fully aware of her drinking habits and the fact that she should not be driving and possibly looking after the kids. He has involved some extended family to assist with that now and it’s not something that we want to punish him for in relation to his actions.’’
[These quotes and comments are from Leading Senior Constable Hewatt]
Alcoholics develop a higher tolerance for alcohol and due to the stigma attached to alcoholism are unlikely to seek treatment or support (Wikipedia). So suggesting that somehow “the husband” (let’s call him George), knew about his wife’s illness, and that he somehow was responsible for her behaviour is alarming. How could the police suggest that there are any laws under which George could be charged or punished for his wife’s behaviour. He knew about her issues, whatever they may be, but it doesn’t sound like he knew about her alcoholism.
It is after all 2012. Men are no longer responsible for their wives. Men no longer own their wives. Women these days are independent beings who can be held responsible for their behaviour, a fact that has clearly escaped Leading Senior Constable Hewatt. To even suggest that George should be held responsible for his wife’s endangerment of their children is incredibly sexist and about a hundred years out of step with modern society.
I hope that George, his wife, and their children have all the support they need. I suspect that this will turn ugly for them in their community and at the school their children attend.
Posted: February 18, 2012 at 3:08 pm | Tags: bisexuality, differences, disabilities, Feminism, lgbtiq, racism
Some interesting news on bisexuality which I’ll open with for this collection of Linkspam.
Maria Burnham writes about “What ‘Bisexual’ Means to Me, and Why I Claim the Title“:
Is it simply a matter of liking both sexes? And does “liking” mean sexual attraction, or emotional attraction, or both? Or more? I sent out an inquiry to my queer community and was surprised by the variety of responses. One thing most people agree on is that there is a scale, with gay on one end and straight on the other, and each person falls on a different part of the scale. According to some, “true” bisexuals are at the halfway mark, 50/50, smack dab in the middle. Others believe that falling anywhere other than at the two points on the end grants you the right to claim the bisexual label. And what about pansexuality? Some believe it to be interchangeable with bisexuality, while others say that it is less exclusive than bisexuality, truly open to everyone and not based on a two-gender binary. And if you end up in a monogamous relationship with someone of the same sex, does that mean you’ve graduated to gay status? If I end up marrying a man, does that give my friends the right to say, “I told you you were straight”?
The PinkPaper details a recent report released in the UK on the mental and physical health of sexuality groups.
Attitudes towards bisexual people were found to be more negative than those towards other minority groups, with them often being stereotyped as promiscuous, incapable of monogamy, a threat to relationships and spreaders of disease.
Although the attitudes and behaviours of others, and exclusionary structures, cause issues for bisexual people, the report found that there are many positive aspects to bisexual peoples’ experiences – the ability to develop identities and relationships without restrictions, linked to a sense of independence, self-awareness and authenticity.
The full report is available here.
The Salt Lake Tribune reports on Utah’s Immigration Law HB497 and the impact that law has on Utah’s LGBTIQ community, especially since same-sex marriage is not recognised in Utah.
HB497 would force couples like these to choose between love and the law, resulting in a life of immobility and fear. Nearly 260 binational families composed of lesbian and gay U.S. citizens with noncitizen partners live in Utah. HB497 contains a harboring clause that unfairly and unconstitutionally forces binational couples to choose between breaking the law, or turning in his or her noncitizen spouse or partner to immigration officials to be deported.
Annie Murphy Paul in an opinion piece in the New York Times, writes about the upsides of dyslexia:
Dyslexia is a complex disorder, and there is much that is still not understood about it. But a series of ingenious experiments have shown that many people with dyslexia possess distinctive perceptual abilities. For example, scientists have produced a growing body of evidence that people with the condition have sharper peripheral vision than others. Gadi Geiger and Jerome Lettvin, cognitive scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, used a mechanical shutter, called a tachistoscope, to briefly flash a row of letters extending from the center of a subject’s field of vision out to its perimeter. Typical readers identified the letters in the middle of the row with greater accuracy. Those with dyslexia triumphed, however, when asked to identify letters located in the row’s outer reaches.
N K Jemisin writes, “Dreaming Awake”
I am African American — by which I mean, a descendant of slaves, rather than a descendant of immigrants who came here willingly and with lives more or less intact. My ancestors were the unwilling, unintact ones: children torn from parents, parents torn from elders, people torn from roots, stories torn from language. Past a certain point, my family’s history just… stops. As if there was nothing there.
I could do what others have done, and attempt to reconstruct this lost past. I could research genealogy and genetics, search for the traces of myself in moldering old sale documents and scanned images on microfiche. I could also do what members of other cultures lacking myths have done: steal. A little BS about Atlantis here, some appropriation of other cultures’ intellectual property there, and bam! Instant historically-justified superiority. Worked great for the Nazis, new and old. Even today, white people in my neck of the woods call themselves “Caucasian”, most of them little realizing that the term and its history are as constructed as anything sold in the fantasy section of a bookstore.
These are proven strategies, but I have no interest in them. They’ll tell me where I came from, but not what I really want to know: where I’m going. To figure that out, I make shit up.
Posted: February 14, 2012 at 11:09 pm | Tags: Feminism, geek, gender roles, growing up, privilege, sexism
Graeme Garden was always my favourite Goodie. He was a mad scientist, an inventor, a megalomaniac, and sometimes the most frenzied of the group. His character spoke to me and my enjoyment of science, helping dad in the garage with things, and my developing interest in design. I always loved his one piece suits. He was my first geek role model.
My second geek role model was Doctor Who (and I believe my first doctor was probably Jon Pertwee, though looking at the timeline of each of the Doctors, it was more likely to be Tom Baker. Then again, with the way the ABC ran Doctor Who at the time, it’s hard to know exactly. So Doctor Who saved the universe, and Earth, time and time again, had fun gadgets, understood maths and science, and travelled through time and space (what’s not to like?).
I don’t recall any female geek role models that I really identified with when I was growing up. Marmalade Atkins was a role model on rebelling and questioning everything, which is one of the lessons my parents also taught me – though not how Marmalade Atkins went about it. 3-2-1 Contact (the more grown up version of Sesame Street) had women involved, but as it screened at odd times in Australia (again on the ABC) I didn’t watch enough of it to identify with any of the presenters. Penny from Inspector Gadget was almost someone I could relate to, but she was a cartoon, and that made the whole thing unreal for me. The sad state of affairs of ABC children’s TV programming in the 1980s meant that for the most part we heard the stories of the boys and men over the stories of women (not having children and therefore not consuming children’s TV currently, I don’t know if this is still true).
So all my geek role models were men. Which meant, in part, that geekery when I was growing up was not a feminine thing. That to be a geek and female was unusual, so being a geek and feminine probably didn’t work out. I had a fairly normal childhood (well ok, it wasn’t that normal), I did ballet for 8 years, sang in choirs, rode a bike, had friends, learnt how to cook, and attempted to fit in – in Alice Springs not so much of a problem, but in Bendigo a nightmare.
The biggest issue is that I grew up without female geek role models. I didn’t know at the time about my cousin Hillary Booth, who had a PhD in mathematics and no doubt was a geek and I am sad I never met her. So growing up I separated geekery and femininity as they couldn’t go together. To be a geek meant that I couldn’t be feminine, so I attempted to distance myself from femininity and those who practised it. Which means that I didn’t have much time for many of the girls I went to school with, and they didn’t have much time for me as a result. I did have female friends, but they were geeks like me, stuck between the masculine and the feminine. Being female but not is still something I live today, but these days I no longer distance myself from those who practice femininity. I understand a lot more about feminism, gender constructions, the Kyriarchy, Geekdom, privilege and class than I used to thanks to the power of the internet, friends, and the awesomeness of the feminist blogosphere.
I’ve just remembered George from The Famous Five (TV Series) as a female role model I related to. Though sadly with that series you had the two options Anne or George. The Wikipedia entry describes them both:
Georgina is a tomboy and insists that people call her George. With her short hair and boy’s clothes she is often mistaken for a boy, which pleases her enormously. Like her father, Quentin, George has a fiery temper. She is fierce, headstrong and very loyal to those she loves. She is sometimes extremely stubborn and causes trouble for her mother as well as her cousins. She is very possessive of Timothy (Timmy), her dog. George is cousin to siblings Julian, Dick and Anne and is aged 11 at the start of the series and 16 at the end. In Five Have Plenty of Fun, Five Fall Into Adventure, and Five Go To Mystery Moor there were tomboys like her.
Anne is the youngest in the group, and generally takes care of their domestic duties during the Five’s various camping holidays. As the youngest, she is more likely than the others to become frightened and does not really enjoy the adventures as much as the others. She is 10 years old in the first book of the series and 15 in the last. As a small girl, she sometimes lets her tongue run away with her, but ultimately she is as brave and resourceful as the others. She likes doing the domestic things such as planning, organising and preparing meals, keeping where they are staying clean and tidy, be it a cave, house, tent or caravan. In Smuggler’s Top it is suggested she is claustrophobic as she is frightened of enclosed spaces since it reminds her of bad dreams she has – however this just shows how brave she really is as the adventures invariably lead the five into tunnels, down wells, in dungeons and other enclosed spaces.
So I could have the fierce, headstrong role model, or the domestic goddess who frightens easily. Top marks for guessing which one I related to – yes that’s right the girl who wants to be a boy.
Posted: February 9, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Tags: equal marriage, lgbtiq, politics, racism, WTF
This probably doesn’t come as a surprise, after all they are a religious (though ecumenical) organisation dedicated to “the family” whatever that means to them. That in itself is an interesting thing, family is really quite a nebulous term, and I am not convinced that narrowing the definition to the current idea of a nuclear family does anyone any good. Surely families are more than two opposite sex individuals and their 2.4 children living in suburban Australia. Surely family includes grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, your best friends, siblings, your best friend’s kids (if they have any), your neighbour, nephews, nieces, and anyone else that you consider part of your family.
But anyway, the Australian Family Association is all about the rigidly defined nuclear family. One woman, one man, and any children that they may have during that relationship. They appear to be a bit fuzzy on children that aren’t from that relationship, and that’s one of the points which will I’ll use to nail them in their “Arguments defending children’s rights over same-sex couples’ rights” (yes that’s right. And the only reason I’m linking to it is to prove that I’m not making it up).
Posted: February 9, 2012 at 9:34 pm | Tags: athiesm, catholic, Christianity, gender roles, health, racism, rape, Religion
Things that I have read about the place and thought that would be interesting to share:
The Nation writes about Obama standing up to Catholic Bishops, which has been a topic of discussion on twitter and elsewhere.
As if it had finally noticed that women out-
number bishops, the Obama administra
tion has decided against permitting religious organizations a broad exemption from rules requiring that all methods of contraception be covered, with no co-payment, by health insurance plans. Strictly religious organizations—churches, missions and such—will be exempt, but not universities, hospitals and charities. As a public health matter, this is excellent news: for women whose health plans don’t cover birth control, it can be difficult to obtain and costs hundreds of dollars a year out of pocket.
As part of “Why I am an Athiest” on Pharyngula, Frances shares her thoughts on atheism and feminism *trigger warning for discussion of sexual harassment and rape*:
I wondered where god was in all this. Not in an angry, he-should-have-my-back sort of way, but in a literal way. I went to church every Sunday for my entire life, and as near as I can tell, god has no opinions at all on rape, sexual harassment, sexual assault, or actually any of the issues women have to deal with. I knew the church was against abortion, premarital sex, and being gay (I was raised catholic in an area with lots of fundamentalists), but beyond that, there was literally no guidance. There were no ethics relating to this at all, or if there were, the priests were very tight-lipped about them.
Sandy Ghandi writes on The Anti Bogan about the racism she’s faced in Australia, in “F**k Off You Indian Monkey“:
The reply from the newsdesk was probably predictable, although I didn’t see it coming. After all, I had been submitting my weekly column to the Northern Star for four years, receiving the the stellar payment of $50 (raised from $30 after some agitation).
The email came from the then acting editor and he said, in part: “I know you are trying to push the envelope and be feisty but I think in trying to do that you sometimes confuse the point you are trying to make.”
“Like it or not, we are a family newspaper (the demographic is 40-65, mainly professional people working in Lismore, Casino and Ballina). That’s a fairly conservative audience so swear words are not going to go down too well.
“… thank you for your input to the Star, but we won’t be reconsidering the decision (to cease your column), nor will we be asking readers what they think. If we do cop some backlash and get some letters to the editor, we’ll run these in the appropriate place.”
Posted: February 6, 2012 at 9:44 pm | Tags: Christianity, identity, lgbtiq, Religion
This is a guest post from James Dominguez.
Right now in this country, and around the world, huge numbers of wicked, self-entitled people are demanding that the government grant them special rights based on their lifestyle. That’s right! We’re not talking about in-born traits here (no matter what these sickos claim) but a conscious lifestyle choice.
For some reason, these people think they can demand special treatment from government, special exceptions from our traditional laws, and special human rights that aren’t granted to anyone else outside of their sordid little club. How on earth could this be constitutional?
People can’t help who they are, or where they were born, or the circumstances of their birth. Disallowing discrimination based on these inherent traits, such as race or disability, makes sense of course. The problem is that these shrill, demanding people want us to believe that even though they have chosen this deviant lifestyle long after birth (some of them not even acting on these impulses until very late in life!) they are entitled to all kinds of legal protections and special rights.
No reasonable person could possibly agree with this. If you make a choice to join a minority group based on weird behaviours, then you know that you are buying into any negative consequences that go along with that. Don’t want people to treat you badly? Don’t choose to join in with this destructive lifestyle! It’s so simple!
Hopefully I’ve convinced you by now that these people should be denied any kind of special rights and protections. Please join me in spreading the word about this widespread injustice:
People who choose to join religious groups should not be granted any legal protection against discrimination.
I mean honestly, it’s not like it’s something they’re BORN with, like sexual orientation!
Disclaimer: No, I don’t really think religious groups deserve no protections: everyone should have the legal right to live their lives in peace. But seriously, why is the religious right still using such an easily reversed argument?
Oh, and thanks for letting me guest-post, Rebecca!
- James “DexX” Dominguez
Posted: February 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Tags: atheism, identity, media, minority rights, privilege, Religion, secularism
Frank Furedi posted another screed against atheism, well “so-called New [Atheism]” earlier this month. It’s not hard to demolish, so I’m not going to deconstruct it line by line, but seriously Mr Furedi, next time try actually providing some examples of what you are talking about instead of emotional arguments. It’s not like he’s your every-day pundit either, he’s a former Professor of Sociology at the University of Kent in Caterbury, so he should at the very least be able to quantify his arguments.