Tuesday, August 18, 2009

"Protecting" Love and the Human Race...

New Jersey based anti-gay group National Organization for Marriage (NOM), held a Celebrate Marriage and Family Day in Rhode Island last week. NOM boasted that they were one of the largest financial contributors to the Yes on Prop 8 campaign in California. Their mission: to “protect” Rhode Island from allowing same sex unions of any kind. That’s right, no recognition in the government or religious institutions. Gross. So basically you just want us to exist then…thanks.

Rhode Island queer activists proudly protested outside of NOM’s event.

Representatives from NOM stated that the event was not meant to be political or religious, just celebration with multiple renewed vows. Ahem…

Yeah, that wasn’t political or religious at all…

In a nut shell, she’s saying that if the government allows same-sex unions, the human race is bound to end because of the lack of child production. Who fills her mind with these crazy ideas? Clearly, queer couples have alternative routes to creating a family. What would she say to orphaned children or those in the foster care system? "Oh sorry dear…we could have placed you in a warm home filled with unconditional love and parents able and willing to provide you with anything you’ll ever need…but they were the same sex. Have fun in the (too often) corrupt child care system."

NOM says they want to protect family and love…but what kind of love are they showing? If anything, they are destroying the basic fundamental concept of love, and that is to end hate. Their “love” is centered on the idea of hatred and discrimination. I’m from New Jersey and I shutter to think that headquarters for NOM is located in Princeton. With a vote for equal marriage coming up soon in New Jersey, we need to be stronger, more devoted, and more organized than the hateful groups.


If you’re in the area, the Women’s Center of Ramapo College will be hosting an equal marriage demonstration on Saturday, October 3rd from 12pm-3pm. It will consist of a letter writing station, phone bank, postcard station, as well as a large-scale symbolic wedding ceremony open to all!

And please don’t forget about the National March for Marriage Equality on October 10th-11th in DC.

Cross-posted here and here!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Gone too far? The Joan Rivers Roast...

Did anyone else catch the roast of Joan Rivers? I’m usually prepared for some of the most tasteless jokes out there, but I did NOT prepare enough. In my opinion, the best/smartest comedians don’t need to resort to easy/cheap laughs, but every year the roasts get worse and worse. It has almost become the vulgarity Olympics.

The line of jokes I felt most strongly against were the comments made by Gilbert Gottfried, Joan Rivers, and Bob Garrett regarding Howard Stern host Robin Quivers. Garrett came out with a slew of racist jokes, all in poor taste. And apparently, Robin has spoken very openly about being molested by her father as a child. Rivers and Gottfried decided to exploit that situation.


It was vile, but she laughed at them. I’m not sure if she really was ok with the jokes, or if it was a front in order to avoid looking like a poor sport. The entire premise of a roast is to offend and insult. And I know some might just say I need to lighten up, but I can’t nor do I think I should have to. Garrett is supposed to be a household name, a familiar face. What a great image to put out there, even if was just in “good fun”. I’ve noticed a lot of “rape jokes” posts lately. If those in the public eye can make them without visible repercussions, then of course they are going to filter their way to more common usage.

And maybe it’s just me, but I don’t EVER find molestation “jokes” funny in any sense.

At what point can we STOP laughing, and say they’ve gone too far?

cross posted at http://community.feministing.com/2009/08/gone-too-far-the-joan-rivers-r.html

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Surf and Sexism...bottoms up?

Cross posted at http://community.feministing.com/2009/07/surf-and-sexismbottoms-up.html
I’m not sure if anyone else has noticed but some surfing magazines are truly appalling. I found this advertisement, if you would even call it that, in Transworld Surf Magazine.
It’s for the Reed Surf Sandals Company and their Miss Reef Bikini Contest. (These are the online versions but the magazine featured these on a double sided pull-out poster) Their motto: “Celebration 25 years of Taking the Focus off our Team Riders.” Yeah…but only by objectifying women in one the most overtly dehumanizing campaigns I’ve ever seen. One side features males with their faces showing, their names in each box, or in some amazing surfing stunt. On the other side is a series of faceless women doing, well you know, what they do best, wearing thong bikinis while playing in the sand. The magazine wants its audience to judge women solely on their “bottoms.”
It’s not just this ad either. How often do surf videos feature the surfing parties? They usually consist of “dudes” catching some waves during the day and then catching some “chicks” later that night. Very rarely, with the exception of the end of the movie Blue Crush, do you see female surfers being taken seriously. Because women could never hope to rise to the ranks of men, right? So just stand their so those men have something to look at after a long, hard day of surfing. Great message.
What Can You Do?
Send your thoughts or concerns to the magazine's advertisement manager or contact the Reef Company directly.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Why "Classy" is classist...

How often do we hear/use the phrase “show some class?”

Before I identified as a feminist, I never really thought about the meaning of this statement.Dictionary.com defines classy as “of high class, rank, or grade; stylish; admirably smart; elegant.” Personally, I wasn’t aware that people of a lower socioeconomic status, or class if you will, couldn’t be stylish, admirably smart, or elegant. We attempt to raise awareness of inequalities and the distribution of wealth in a capitalist system.

At the same time, we constantly preach about loving who you are and where you come from, yet in the back of our minds we know that there is a default group. So when we tell someone to “show a little class” we are actually telling them to emulate people with more privilege and resources. Because who we are and what we’ve grown up around just aren’t good enough, even for ourselves. How do we show that we can emulate people of a higher class? Material status symbols like high-end hand bags, luxury cars, over-sized houses, and expensive name-brand clothes. When you buy a coach purse, are you really paying for a better made bag or just that coach label? And yet we wonder why debt is such an issue in this country? The counterfeit market, which very often uses virtual slave labor, is booming because people crave these status symbols. How can we actually expect people to save money? Especially families of a very low socioeconomic status with youth feeling especially pressured to match the class of those around them.

We can certainly teach ourselves and our children to put a priority on respectful behavior and schooling, but we need to be more careful about being content with what we’re able to own. Who are we to say that’s not good enough? Achievement is self-defined and, unfortunately, often limited to the circumstances we were born into. So think about what you’re really saying the next time you tell someone to “show some class.”

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Historical Turn Out in Australia Equal Marriage Rally

8,000 Australians participated in a giant rally for marriage equality this past Saturday after the Australian government failed to pass equal marriage legislation. They instead voted to recognize same-sex couples as civil unions.

Here is a video of the amazing turnout:

This video has fueled my excitement for the National March for Equality that will be held in Washington DC on October 10th and 11th.

I hope these grassroot efforts will be enough to gain the full rights/federal protection we have been promised. I feel as though the issue of marriage equality has almost disappeared from the news recently due to all the media coverage of the economy: cash for clunkers, healthcare, the war.

One story I did see recently was on Fox news. A round table was discussing if people "should even care" about GLAAD's ratings of TV networks for the inclusivity of Queer characters, as though it wasn't "real news." What I found the most ironic about this disrespectful line of questioning is that as the story was airing, the scrolling news banner included the Tel Aviv shootings. THAT'S WHY WE NEED TO CARE. Simply put, we need more positive queer visibility. Why? Because both institutionalized and personal hatred still exists, and far too often it leads to violence.

So many times I've heard people state that they simply "disagree" with the gay lifestyle but that they're "glad we live in a country where people have the right to choose." Well, we don't choose to be queer, so what choices are they referring to exactly. The fact of the matter is, the hateful choices/opinions of others have taken away the queer community's right to choose for themselves. And the last time I checked, we are still people .


Choose love and I hope to see everyone in October.

Cross posted at http://community.feministing.com/2009/08/historical-turn-out-in-austral.html

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

What would MLK say?

Cross posted at http://community.feministing.com/2009/07/what-would-mlk-say.html
Reverend Eric Lee, leader of the Los Angeles Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, has been a vocal supporter of marriage equality. During the Prop 8 campaigns in California, he attended numerous No on 8 rallies while working especially close with the Courage Campaign.
During an interview with the the New York Times, he reported being apart of the minority at a convention of the SCLC'sleaders even though the organization has a publically neutral stance on the issue.
Now he is in danger of possibly losing his position.
Mr. Lee said, he was surprised to receive a call from the National Board of Directors summoning him immediately to Atlanta to explain why he had taken a position on same-sex marriage without the authority of the national board.Explaining that he was unable to come to Atlanta on such short notice, Mr. Lee then received two letters from the organization’s lawyer, Dexter M. Wimbish, threatening him with suspension or removal as president of the Los Angeles chapter if he did not come soon to explain himself.
I think this is just sad, but I don't want this to become an issue of finger pointing. We all know that after Prop 8 passed the media did a really good job of making it seem like the black vote was the main reason. And while 70% of the black voting population did pass Prop 8, they don't even come close to representing the 52% of votes it took to pass the hateful legislation. The article really doesn't do much to combat this misconception either.
All of this just seems like dividing and conquering. The media likes to pit one oppressed group against the other based on stereotypes and over-generalizations. There is no one "enemy" to blame for the passing of Prop 8, and the sooner we realize that, the sooner the queer community and its allies can unite. Queer reaches across lines of race, religion, ethnicity, ability, age, class, gender, and expression. We can only succeed when we begin to realize that queer rights, or for that matter the rights of all oppressed people, are civil rights. They keep us divided because divided we fall.
This quote comes from Reverend Lee...
"...any time you deny one group of people the same right that other groups have, that is a clear violation of civil rights and I have to speak up on that.”

Monday, August 3, 2009

The "Real" World...

Cross posted at http://community.feministing.com/2009/07/the-real-world.html
Has anyone else been keeping up with The Real World this season? It's only three episodes in and already it's wearing thin on my feminist nerves. There is just SO much to pick apart this season, but what I have found the most interesting is the relationship between the men and women of the house. Just in case you haven't been keeping up, there are four self-identified women and four self-identified men. Three women have been very close in the house while the fourth,Jonna, has bonded more with the men. This, by her own definition, is because she is not a crazy bitch like the rest of the girls in the house.
The men all seem to agree with her analysis of the situation. One cast member in particular, Joey, is extremely vocal about his dislike for "stupid girls." After his blow out with the three girls in the second episode, his anti-woman persona rang loud.
Now there is a very interesting situation going on where two women out of the three are trying to distance themselves from the third, Ayiiia. I find it very interesting how the two women are buying into the "stupid girl" label that the men have given them. It seems like they are now just trying to prove to the men that they are less "girl-like" than Ayiiia.
Basically it comes down to the group of men being the "default." The sane and normal ones trying to stay above those "crazy girls."
As I watch the show, I think to myself that none of this happens in real life. We shouldn't buy into gender stereotypes because personalities are not determined by anatomy or gender identity. Sometimes personalities clash. There are bound to be instigators in a new roommate situation, but that doesn't mean it's always going to be a woman. There are 3 types of agitators in the Real World. The "bitchy" woman, the caddy gay man, or the ultra-aggressive alpha male. These three archetypes surface in almost every season and it's incredibly irritating.
Of course I think this, but the majority of Real World watchers probably don't. Many just buy into the stereotypes...it's sad.
Hey Real World...get real.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

It's not always Black and White

So, I'm Jamaican, Italian, and Cherokee Native American. (I know, it's a mouthful) Visibly, I've been mistaken for Asian, Hawaiian, Filipina, and Latina. That being said, the whole debate about being in an interracial relationship really throws me for a loop. I'm incredibly proud of all my heritage, and I don't put one above the other. I would never identify as solely Italian, or solely Jamaican, or solely Native American. I choose rather to identify as a person of color, mostly because there aren't a lot of options for me out there. I feel like when people place me into the box of being black or white, it really takes away a part of my identity and my personhood as a whole.
I feel like I should elaborate on the being placed in the "white" box. All my life, I have been told I'm not black because of various ignorant stereotypes. My friends in school, black and white alike, used to call me white because I received good grades, graduated as the salutatorian, was the president of the student body, and spoke like a "white girl." What the hell does that even mean? Were they saying that in order to be a person of color, you had to be unintelligent? I often heard the word bougie thrown my way. God I hate that word. My actions and achievements are characteristic to a person of color because I am a person of color. They should never be stereotypically categorized as "white-girl" or "black-girl." This only enforces the idea that one could never surmount to the other.
Anyway, back to being in an interracial relationship. Not saying that more of people just like me don't exist, but it's kind of rare to be Jamaican, Italian, and Cherokee. My mother's definition of me being in an interracial relationship is dating a white woman, but isn't me dating a black woman the equivolent. I know this brings up the whole debate of how multi-ethnic people identify or, perhaps more importantly, are identified by others. I've already told you what I consider my identity, and that really doesn't fit into the racial-binary of black or white. I exist as a whole, not in neat little boxes. We need to realize that self-definition has more to do with who we are as individuals and not the color of our skin. We need define ourselves. It's not always black and white.