Archive for the 'Theory' Category

05
Mar
12

Vaginaphobia

Due to circumstances beyond my control, it’s been quite awhile since the last post. Still dealing with said circumstances, but I just have too much wandering about inside my little head.
V-Day having just passed, I feel the need to comment. For those non-feminists in my reading public, V-Day as mentioned here refers no to WWII, but rather to the day(s) devoted to bringing awareness of issues relating to violence (sexual and physical) against women worldwide. As part of the V-Day movement, The Vagina Monologues (VMs) is a collection of theatrical monologues performed to both educate and to raise funds for local violence shelters. So, having provided a short background, I will get on with my random thoughts…

This year there was a great deal of backlash about the VMs. As promotion, our group of young (and not quite so young) women went out and “chalked” our university campus, writing various bits of vagina information, including the dates of the show, some statistics and “Until the violence stops,” among others. One of those with which we were the most impressed was the section on the library steps, ”Vagina words: What do YOU call it?” Here there was a wonderful list written in various colors, many of which offered by passersby who were entertained by the fervor with which our chalk was flying. Some even asked to draw chalk vaginas on the sidewalk and we gratefully granted the chalk for the artistry.

The next day, as the young (and not so young) women involved in the chalking wandered campus, they listened with pride as people commented on the drawings, dates, and yes…the vagina euphemisms. It wasn’t until later in the day that things went awry. Our vaginas were disappearing. Not the drawings, not the FABULOUS euphemisms (which admittedly were the most likely to offend, so we thought), but the actual word: VAGINA.

I received a slightly intriguing email from a professor informing me of the disappearing vaginas. Said that appeared to be the only thing missing. Sure enough, on further inspection, the vaginas were the only thing missing. Someone or someones were removing “vagina” from every chalk tag within a 50 foot radius of one particular building of campus (the other side of campus was left untouched). Reluctant facilities services workers were dragging wet mops across the letters, removing them as though they were some form of profanity. A professor (who shall remain nameless here) was seen removing the word from a large tag stating “The Vagina Monologues 2012, Until the violence stops!” Yes, it was not the euphemisms that were found offensive (beef curtain was a personal favorite, as was the snack that smiles back), but the actual word “vagina”.

That same night, the young women (and not so young and a couple of male assistants) showed up in force with a great deal more chalk than before, and covered the section of campus that had been carefully censored. Also, there was hairspray involved for the purposes of sealing against future mopping. The next day, the same facilities service workers, as reluctant as before, began the work of removing the freshly restored vaginas. At this point, the head librarian stepped out and informed them that they were not to touch any of the work within her area, as that was her domain and it was done with her permission (which is only about half true, but that’s not the point).

It was wonderful to know that we had support. It was amazing to see people standing together for a cause so important. It was disappointing to see that people were so disturbed by such a simple word.

Had the word been “arm” or “leg” or “heart”, I am fairly confident that it would have remained untouched. I am saddened that the words “sideways clam” and “fish sandwich” remained, while “vagina” was removed. Why?

Why is vagina thought to be such a dirty word? Why was something as simple as a body part offensive, while negative euphemisms were left behind? Why, in an arena of free thought and advanced learning, is VAGINA thought so disgusting that it must be censored?

I don’t know the answer to these questions, but I do understand now, more than ever, why it is of the utmost importance that Eve Ensler’s Vagina Monologues be presented time and time again. We must, MUST begin to realize that vagina is not a dirty word, that it is a body part like any other while being a part like no other. To quote Ensler:

“THE HEART IS CAPABLE OF SACRIFICE.
SO IS THE VAGINA.
THE HEART IS ABLE TO FORGIVE AND REPAIR.
IT CAN CHANGE ITS SHAPE TO LET US IN.
IT CAN EXPAND TO LET US OUT.
SO CAN THE VAGINA.
IT CAN ACHE FOR US AND STRETCH FOR US,
AND DIE FOR US.
AND BLEED AND BLEED US INTO THIS DIFFICULT…
WONDROUS WORLD.”

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05
Jan
12

The truth about nobama…

Each of the following items is TRUE. Check them for yourself if you don’t believe it.
1. Obama requests personal information before accessing the Whitehouse website. This is a PUBLIC, GOVERNMENT WEBSITE!

2. Obama makes a statement of “shared history and shared values” with people from the Middle East! REALLY!!?? I am NOT a Muslim, thank you very much!

3. More than 180,000 were in Afghanistan and Iraq within the first year of Obama being in the Whitehouse. OUR soldiers are over there fighting for THEIR safety and he sits around talking about “hating war”? Yeah. Anything to get a vote from the stupid commies.

4. Obama Care legislates federal dollars to perform abortions. This one pretty much says it all for itself.

5. Obama Care forces American companies to dole out endless payments to people who don’t even work! If somebody is too lazy to work, why do hard working Americans have to pay for their laziness!

6. Obama supports the ‘marriage’ of Adam and Steve. That’s right. He said (and I quote) “the federal government should not deny gay and lesbian couples the same rights and legal protections as straight couples”.

7. Obama is seen dining with a group that frequently lobbies Washington on behalf of illegals and gays. That’s right folks. Cozying up to the lobbyists.
So next time you hear a liberal talking about how great Nobama is…Show them this! Share away friends, and SPREAD THE WORD!!!!!

05
Jan
12

And it begins…

The above entry is an experiment in conservative propaganda. As stated, each item is in fact true, but also there is a negative spin through omitting information, careful use of capital letters, sarcastic comment, or negative tags.

The experiment? This is a relatively quiet blog. Visits are most often faithful followers or people who Google information on related content. Average visitors are approximately 1-3 per day with the occasional spike around University finals time (with which comes an abundance of Googling of sociological and political terminology). I am looking at the number of hits through reposted links (FB, Twitter, etc.) as well as through the negative tags.

All information in the above entry is offered below without the conservative spin and with a direct link to the original content.

1. A ‘Keep Informed’ link on the entry page. One can also choose to enter without providing this information.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/

2. Statement made in regard to the US and Israel in a joint commitment to deny the right of sovereignty to the Palestinians.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/advancing-israels-security

3. In remarks addressing the UN. The 180,000 soldiers were placed before Obama entered the Whitehouse.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/09/21/remarks-president-obama-address-united-nations-general-assembly

4. Only in the case of rape, incest, and impending maternal mortality.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform/myths-and-facts

5. Insurers can no longer cap medical expenses on covered persons and dependants. Translation, they can’t cap on long term illnesses in children (you know, those pesky people who don’t work).
http://www.whitehouse.gov/healthreform/healthcare-overview

6. OK, that one hurt. This is just flat out true, but posting it with the spin almost made me vomit.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2011/07/19/president-obama-supports-respect-marriage-act

7. Obama spoke at a national Human Rights Campaign annual dinner. The group works to provide equal access and civil rights to all people.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/10/01/remarks-president-human-rights-campaigns-annual-national-dinner

03
Oct
11

In Honor of LGBT History (or herstory as the case may be)

1920 – “Gay” first used to refer to homosexuals in the publication

Underground

1921 – U.S. Naval report on entrapment of “perverts” within its ranks

1924 – First commercially produced play with a lesbian theme, “God of

Vengeance,” opens on Broadway; theatre owner and 12 cast members found

guilty of obscenity (later overturned)

1924 – Illinois charters the Society for Human Rights

1925 – After a year of police raids, New York City’s roster of 20 gay and

lesbian restaurants and “personality clubs” is reduced to 3

1926 – The Hamilton Lodge Ball of Harlem attracts thousands of crossdressing

men and women

1927 – New York state legislature tries to ban gay-themed plays

1927 – “Well of Loneliness” by Radclyffe Hall published, all British copies

destroyed as “obscene”

1930 – Encyclopedia of Sexual Knowledge illustrates first “sex-change”

procedures

1932 – Man Into Woman, the Story of Lili Elbe’s Life, published

1933 – Hitler bans gay and lesbian groups, burns the Institute of Sexual

Science library

1934 – Lillian Hellman’s The Children’s Hour opens on Broadway to rave

reviews

1935 – “Successful” electric shock therapy treatment of homosexuality

reported at American Psychological Association meeting

1937 – Morris Kight organizes the Oscar Wilde Study Circle at Texas

Christian University

1939 – New York City “cleans up” in preparation for the World’s Fair, closing

most of the city’s best-known gay bars

1940s – Revealed that Holocaust victims include LGTs

1940 – Courts rule New York State Liquor Authority can legally close down

bars that serve “sex variants”

1941 – “Transsexuality” first used…in reference to homosexuality and

bisexuality

1942 – Switzerland decriminalizes adult homosexuality (men only; lesbianism

wasn’t outlawed to begin with)

1943 – U.S. military bars gays and lesbians from serving in the Armed Forces

1945 – The Quaker Emergency Committee of New York City opens the first

social welfare agency for gay people, serving young people arrested on

same-sex charges

1945 – First known female-to-male sex change surgery, on Michael Dillon in

Britain

1947 – “Lisa Ben” publishes the first Vice Versa

1948 – New York Times refuses advertisements for Gore Vidal’s The City and

the Pillar

1948 – The Kinsey Report says homosexual behavior among men is

widespread

1948 – Hollywood Ten and the Blacklist

1950 – A Senate hearing reveals the majority of State Department dismissals

are based on accusations of homosexuality; Senate approves wide-ranging

investigation of homosexuals “and other moral perverts” in national

government

1951 – The Mattachine Society founded

1951 – “Donald Webster Cory” publishes The Homosexual in America

1952 – Christine Jorgensen comes to public attention

1952 – British mathematician and computer pioneer Alan Turing sentenced to

a year of hormonal treatments causing impotence and breast development

for “gross indecency with males.” He commits suicide in 1954.

1952 – American Psychiatric Association includes homosexuality under

“sociopathic personality disturbance” in its first official list of mental disorders

1952 – Immigrants banned from U.S. if they have “psychopathic personality,”

including homosexuality

1953 – Twenty-nine out of 30 men arrested during an 8 day period, charged

with engaging in homosexual acts in the Atlanta public library restroom, lost

their jobs after newspapers printed their names and addresses at least 6

times

1953 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower orders dismissal of all federal

employees guilty of “sexual perversion”

1953 – Kinsey report on women’s sexuality, including lesbian behavior,

released

1954 – Dr. Evelyn Hooker presents a study showing gay men are as welladjusted

as straight men, at an American Psychological Association meeting

1955 – Howl! published; Allen Ginsberg unsuccessfully prosecuted for

obscenity

1955 – Daughters of Bilitis formed; publication “The Ladder” launched the

next year

1955 – In the wake of the murder of a boy, 29 Sioux City, Iowa men

suspected of homosexuality are committed to mental asylums as a

preventive measure

1956 – James Baldwin publishes Giovanni’s Room

1957 – “Transsexual” coined by Harry Benjamin

1957 – Ann Bannon publishes Odd Girls Out

1957 – American Civil Liberties Union approves a policy statement saying

laws against sodomy and federal restrictions on employment of lesbians and

gay men are constitutional

1958 – U.S. Supreme Court rules ONE magazine is not obscene and can be

sent through the postal system

1960 – First U.S. public gathering of lesbians, at San Francisco’s Daughters

of Bilitis national convention

1961 – First openly gay person runs for U.S. public office (drag queen Jose

Sarria, running for San Francisco city supervisor)

1961 – First use of the term “homosexual” in a feature film shown in the US

(British movie Victim); motion picture code seal of approval is denied

1962 – Illinois becomes first state to make consensual same-sex acts legal

1962 – First known positive radio program about homosexuality (Randy

Wicker and 7 gay people, on WBAI in New York City)

1963 – American Civil Liberties Union opposes government interference in

the private sex lives of consenting adults

1964 – Life magazine runs positive cover story on “Homosexuality in

America”

1964 – The first openly gay person appears on national television (Randy

Wicker, on The Les Crane Show)

1964 – Series of public demonstrations held in Washington, D.C. by the East

Coast Homophile Organizations to protest U.S. government discrimination

against lesbians and gay men

1966 – “Lesbian” heard for the first time in a Hollywood movie (The Group)

1966 – First U.S. gay community center opens, in San Francisco, led by The

Society for Individual Rights

1966 – Harry Benjamin publishes The Transsexual Phenomenon

1966 – First transgender public uprising at San Francisco’s Compton’s

Cafeteria

1967 – England and Wales legalize male homosexuality

1967 – Bisexual rap group held in San Francisco

1967 – New York and New Jersey decide that state liquor commissions can

no longer forbid bars from serving gay men and lesbians

1967 – First gay bookstore in the U.S. opens: Oscar Wilde Memorial

Bookshop

1967 – “John” turned into “Joan” at John Hopkins Hospital after a

circumcision accident; published case widely impacts gender theory

1968 – Metropolitan Community Church formed

1968 – The American Psychiatric Association moves homosexuality from

“sociopathic” category to “sexual deviation”

1968 – Bi Alliance begins at the University of Minnesota

1969 – Betty Friedan warns feminist movement of the “lavender menace”

within its ranks

1969 – Stonewall Riots

1969 – National Institute of Mental Health study chaired by Dr. Evelyn Hooker

urges decriminalization of private sex acts between consenting adults

1970 – Boys in the Band, first major Hollywood movie on gay life, premieres

1970 – Gay “zaps” begin; first against New York City Mayor John Lindsay

1970 – Unitarian Universalist Association becomes first U.S. mainstream religious group

to recognize LGB clergy and laity within its ranks and to demand an end to anti-gay

discrimination

1970 – The Vatican issues a statement reiterating that homosexuality is a moral

aberration

1972 – “Ithaca Statement on Bisexuality,” by the Quaker Committee of Friends on

Bisexuality, is published in The Advocate; National Bisexual Liberation Group forms in

New York

1972 – East Lansing, Michigan, becomes first city to ban anti-gay bias in city hiring

1972 – First openly gay man ordained, by the United Church of Christ (William Johnson)

1972 – First time a U.S. national political convention (the Democrats) addressed by gay

leaders

1973 – American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its list of mental

illnesses

1973 – U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear case on the firing of an Oregon teacher for

lesbianism

1973 – Lesbian Herstory Archives founded

1974 – First state-level openly gay person elected: Elaine Noble of Massachusetts

1974 – Ohio Supreme Court rules that even though homosex is legal, the state can

refuse to incorporate a gay organization because “the promotion of homosexuality as a

valid life style is contrary to the public policy of the state.”

1974 – AT&T becomes first major American corporation to agree to an equal opportunity

policy for lesbians and gay men

1974 – Time and Newsweek run “bisexual chic” articles

1975 – U.S. Civil Service Commission stops banning gay men and lesbians from federal

jobs

1975 – Footballer David Kopay is first major sports start to come out (voluntarily) publicly

1976 – First openly gay police officer hired (by San Francisco)

1976 – “Tales of the City” published by the San Francisco Chronicle, includes LGB and T

characters

1976 – Doonesbury is the first mainstream comic strip to feature a gay male character

1976 – Lynn Ransom of California is one of the first openly lesbian mothers to win

custody of her children in court

1976 – Renee Richards outed as MTF and barred from a women’s tennis tournament

1976 – San Francisco Bisexual Center opens

1977 – Anita Bryant and Save Our Children succeed in repealing Miami law against

discrimination based on sexual orientation

1977 – 80% of surveyed Oregon doctors say they would refuse to treat a known

homosexual

1977 – Arkansas recriminalizes gay sex after two years without such a law

1977 – Florida forbids adoption by gays and lesbians

1977 – White House sponsors first-ever meeting with gay activists

1978 – Openly gay San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk murdered by colleague

1978 – National Coalition of Black (later Lesbians and) Gays formed in New York City

1978 – Rainbow flag debuts in San Francisco

1979 – First National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights; 100,000 attend

1979 – Moral Majority founded

1979 – First openly gay judge appointed (Los Angeles, CA)

1980 – First Harry Benjamin Standards produced for therapists working with

transgender persons

1980 – BBC broadcasts “A Change of Sex” about an MTF

1980 – Aaron Fricke takes Paul Guilbert to his high school prom after winning

a lawsuit against the school

1980 – Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence debuts

1981 – First reported cases of what came to be called AIDS

1981 – The Celluloid Closet: Homosexuality in the Movies published

1982 – Wisconsin enacts first statewide gay civil rights legislation

1982 – Parents & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) founded

1982 – Gay Men’s Health Crisis formed

1983 – Congressman Gerry Studds comes out; first federal official to come

out as gay while in office

1984 – FBI releases 7,500 pages of information gathered over 30 years of

watching gay groups

1984 – Martina Navratilova’s female lover publicly sits in her “box” at

Wimbledon and the French Open

1984 – Berkeley (CA) becomes first U.S. city to extend domestic partnership

benefits to lesbian and gay employees

1984 – San Francisco Department of Public Health closes the city’s

bathhouses

1985 – NAMES Project memorial quilt for AIDS victims launched

1985 – First school for openly lesbian and gay teenagers opens in New York

City (Harvey Milk School)

1985 – Rock Hudson comes out, admits he has AIDS

1986 – U.S. Supreme Court rejects challenge to state sodomy laws

1987 – Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights;

Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt shown

1987 – What becomes BiNet USA formed

1987 – ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) is formed

1988 – National Coming Out Day launched

1989 – Jazz musician Billy Tipton dies and is revealed to be FTM

1989 – BiPAC New York successfully challenges Hetrick-Martin Gay and

Lesbian Health Clinic to remove a “Bisexual men: Fact or fiction?” workshop

from curriculum.

1989 – First Lambda Literary Awards given

1990 – First National Bisexual Conference held in San Francisco

1990 – Federal Hate Crimes Statistics Act passed; first law extending federal

recognition of gay men and lesbians

1990 – U.S. restrictions against gay immigrants lifted

1991 – First Black Lesbian and Gay Pride celebration held in Washington,

D.C.

1991 – Amnesty International decides to work on behalf of those imprisoned

for consensual same-sex acts

1991 – Karen Thompson named Sharon Kowalski’s legal guardian after an

eight-year fight

1992 – World Health Organization removes homosexuality from its

classification of illnesses

1992 – Press for Change founded in Britain to work for trans people’s equal

rights

1992 – Colorado voters ban state and municipal rights laws for lesbians and

gay men

1993 – Intersex Society of North America founded

1993 – “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” U.S. military policy adopted

1993 – Brandon Teena and two SOFFAs murdered in Nebraska

1993 – March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and

Liberation held

1994 – Olympic gold winner swimmer Greg Louganis comes out

1994 – At U.S. insistence, United Nations suspends observer status of the

International Lesbian and Gay Association

1995 – First U.S. conference for FTMs

1995 – President Clinton names the first-ever White House liaison to the gay

and lesbian communities

1995 – Million Man March has no openly gay speakers

1996 – Congress passes Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), forbidding

federal recognition of (and benefits for) married same-sex couples

1997 – South Africa becomes the first country to enact a constitutional ban

outlawing sexual orientation discrimination

1997 – Rolling Stones article details failure of John Money’s John/Joan case

from the 1960s

1998 – Matthew Shepard murdered in Wyoming

1998 – First open lesbian elected to federal legislative office (Tammy

Baldwin)

1999 – Britain bans discrimination against trans people

1999 – Texas post-op MTF Christine Littleton ruled legally male and not the

legal widow of her husband

2000 – British ban against lesbians and gay men serving in the military is

lifted

2000 – Britain outlaws discrimination against lesbians and gay men

2000 – Vermont offers civil unions to same-sex couples

2002 – MTF teenager Gwen Araujo murdered by sex partners, in California

2003 – Massachusetts Supreme Court rules it is unconstitutional to deny

marriage to gay and lesbian couples

2003 – U.S. Supreme Court strikes down remaining state sodomy laws

2004 – United Kingdom: trans people allowed to change the gender on their

birth certificates

2005 – New Zealand first country to outlaw employment discrimination and

hate crimes on the basis of gender identity

2006 – South Africa begins recognizing gay marriages

http://www.forge-forward.org/handouts/LGBT_elder_timeline.pdf

14
Sep
11

Spawned by FFC

In response to http://hellogiggles.com/im-not-a-feminist-but

I am a feminist. I love men. I love women. I love myself. Why are ANY of these statements mutually exclusive?

Secondly, on what planet (and perhaps this is the masculinity theorist in me) do all men enjoy the security of walking alone at night? Or freedom from sexual harassment? Or the freedom from the ‘unique burden’ of keeping their bodies looking a certain way? And while the author of this piece may be considered ‘too emotional’ as a woman, she herself states that a man must defend his outward show of emotion.

She will never know what it means to be policed by every other child on the playground (both male and female) as to whether or not she is accurately portraying her feminine role appropriately. She will not know what it is like to be silenced by her peers for the sexual harassment she receives. She will not understand, despite the difficulties women as rape victims face, the consequences a man faces when raped. Google “sexy woman” and then “sexy man”. Are the images of both not stereotypical and harmful? She must be thin and busty, but he must be buff and strong (and rich, too I might add).

Something that I think she completely misses the mark on here (and maybe that is only because that is not the point of the piece) is that it is also OK to be MASCULINE women. Why must I, as a feminist proclaim my femininity in high heels and a dress? Why CAN’T I wear my jeans and t-shirts and combat boots, and that be OK too? So yeah, I’m a granola eatin’, boot wearin’, make-up burnin’, Feminist. Deal with it.
I understand that this all relates to the degradation of women and the horrors associated with femininity as a whole (that last part was sarcasm), but the source does not justify the action. Yes, we as feminists need to stand up and support Feminism as a study, as a social science, and as movement, but we CAN NOT do that without discourse. Without discourse, we become a cult of crazy people wandering around the compound agreeing with each other, never stepping out among the non believers.

10
Aug
10

Passive Resistance and Social Change

“Some of the most celebrated social struggle victories of the 20th century are attributed to the great pacifists of our time, Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King. This constitutes a historical whitewash, as these “victories” were achieved when the state weighed its options and chose the lesser of two evils: the pacifists. In this segment Derrick Jensen, Lierre Keith, Aric Mcbay, Harjap Grewal, Gord Hill and Peter Gelderlus deconstruct the Gandhi myth and show us why militant action plays an important in movements of resistance.”~From the film makers

After viewing and then tossing in some thought, this is what I’ve got…The key word here is resistance. While protesting orderly has its place in raising awareness, it is not the agent of change. Pacificity, on the other hand, does not mean compliance. One can be effectively passive, yet still annoy the shit out of the powers that be. Sitting in mass numbers and refusing to leave, for example. Standing in front of the whitehouse with qoutes from the president that make him look REALLY bad is another. While I appreciate their comparisons in both India and the Civil Rights Movement, they neglected to introduce pacifists who brought change without participating in ANY violence. Victimized by it yes, but giving it back, no. The Women’s Suffrage Movement is the ideal example here. Those who are most often credited (Susan B. Anthony) with bringing women the vote in the US were those same that were mentioned as being conservatives within the movement. Alice Paul and Anna Howard Shaw, on the otherhand, are lesser known but were certainly crucial to the vote. It was the latter two that, through passive resistance (if not some level of passive aggression) forced Wilson’s hand.See More

30
May
10

Rise of Patriarchy?

I’m asking for your input here. Please only reply to the question at hand and not to the replies. I’m looking for reasonable responses with actual support. No hate speech please. Anyway, to the question….

Functionality of egalitarianism in small societies is not up for debate. Historically, it existed in societies worldwide, but as societies grew and humanity began to globalize, egalitarian structures failed. Through this gradual process, patriarchy slowly rose to become a dominant societal structure.

My point here is not to argue the positives and or negatives of patriarchy, but to examine WHY patriarchy arose. Why did patriarchy become the dominant structure and not matriarchy? There have been very few matriarchal societies. Predominately the one’s that have existed did so under a matriarch, but still under the patriarchal structure, in other words, the place of men was still above that of women as a whole. Again, I am not arguing the consequences of patriarchy (positive or negative) only stating historical fact.

But why? Why has larger society, regardless of geographical region, tended toward patriarchy?




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