“Disabled bodies are natural. We are also unpredictable, as nature is. We do not submit well to clock time or capitalist ablist white supremacy under its present form. Queer people of color who are bridges reach a moment where we say, enough, and retreat. My queer woman of color chronically ill body has its own schedule. Like the tides of our bodies- our sick, in pain, in less pain bodies that resist a boxed-in life that an ablist world demands.”—Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, So much time spent in bed: Gloria Anzaldua, chronic illness, Coatlicue and disability (via radtransfem)
Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code was just legalized in 2009, and it took several years for many Indians to feel safe with their sexuality in public. Today the Supreme Court reinstated the part of the code that criminalizes sodomy, forcing India’s fledgeling queer community back in the closet.
There’s more to the story than this article, of course. Section 377 only criminalizes certain “unnatural” sex acts, but not the LGBTQI identity itself, which means that activists are free to continue fighting for the repeal while hiding nothing but their sex lives… at least in theory. Another part of this story is that Section 377 is very much a higher-caste LGB struggle, while transgender Indians and hijras, dalits and adivasis (specific caste and gender identity groups) face continued discrimination. In the state of Karnataka, transgender identities are effectively illegal.
So while the reenstatement of Section 377 is a rallying point for the queer community, it can’t be forgotten than there are other pressing battles that receive far less publicity.
“When confidence relies on beauty, bad days for the body become bad days for the mind. Girls’ sense of worth crumbles, leaving them insecure and ignorant as to how to handle it; emphasizing beauty as a requirement for self-love means that the absence of beauty must lead to an absence of love. Teaching girls how to avoid these days is impossible, teach them to handle these days. Teach girls that they are funny, smart, engaging, compassionate, kind, insightful and valuable, and then figure out a better way to teach them that, if they want to, they can feel beautiful, too.”—Stop Telling Me I Am Beautiful, Suzanne (via eyebrowgurl)
Two weeks ago a man in France was arrested for raping his daughter. She’d gone to her school counselor and then the police, but they needed “hard evidence.” So, she videotaped her next assault. Her father was eventually arrested. His attorney explained, “There was a period when he was unemployed and in the middle of a divorce. He insists that these acts did not stretch back further than three or four months. His daughter says longer. But everyone should be very careful in what they say.” Because, really, even despite her seeking help, her testimony, her bravery in setting up a webcam to film her father raping her, you really can’t believe what the girl says, can you?
Everyone “knows” this. Even children.
Three years ago, in fly-on-the-wall fashion of parent drivers everywhere, I listened while a 14-year-old girl in the back seat of my car described how angry she was that her parents had stopped allowing her to walk home alone just because a girl in her neighborhood “claimed she was raped.” When I asked her if there was any reason to think the girl’s story was not true, she said, “Girls lie about rape all the time.” She didn’t know the person, she just assumed she was lying…
No one says, “You can’t trust women,” but distrust them we do. College students surveyed revealed that they think up to 50% of their female peers lie when they accuse someone of rape, despite wide-scale evidence and multi-country studies that show the incident of false rape reports to be in the 2%-8% range, pretty much the same as false claims for other crimes. As late as 2003, people jokingly (wink, wink) referred to Philadelphia’s sex crimes unit as “the lying bitch unit.” If an 11-year-old girl told an adult that her father took out a Craigslist ad to find someone to beat and rape her while he watched, as recently actually occurred, what do you think the response would be? Would she need to provide a videotape after the fact?
It goes way beyond sexual assault as well. That’s just the most likely and obvious demonstration of “women are born to lie” myths. Women’s credibility is questioned in the workplace, in courts, by law enforcement, in doctors’ offices, and in our political system. People don’t trust women to be bosses, or pilots, or employees. Pakistan’s controversial Hudood Ordinance still requires a female rape victim to procure four male witnesses to her rape or risk prosecution for adultery. In August, a survey of managers in the United States revealed that they overwhelmingly distrust women who request flextime. It’s notable, of course, that women are trusted to be mothers—the largest pool of undervalued, unpaid, economically crucial labor.
CeCe McDonald, a trans woman of color is in the midst of a 41 month prison sentence for defending herself against a violent, racist and transphobic attack in Minnesota which resulted in the death of one of her attackers. Actress Laverne Cox is portraying an incarcerated trans woman in Orange is the New Black. Through a powerful in prison interview, and investigative filmmaking. This film confronts the issue of transphobia and the culture of violence surrounding trans women of color.
“We as women are trained to see ourselves as cheap imitations of fashion photographs, rather than seeing fashion photographs as cheap imitations of women.”—Naomi Wolf, The Beauty Myth (via storytellersmind)
it’s so frustrating to be girls in a punk rock band and to keep banging our heads against the walls of the “alternative” scene. what is so alternative? everything in punk and alternative scenes is still owned by white men and so many of the same racist and sexist structures still exist. is it really alternative to use a racist objectifying national geographic picture as a joke on your “way cool” punk record? i feel like a dialogue does not exist for people to talk or deal with anything. i mean, i think some people in the punk rock community would really like to talk to each other but the way in which to do it is really complicated. …
so i guess this is a challenge to girls, women, men who don’t talk very much to look at the ways in which we live and work. i would really like to see a girl-run collective where women produce their own records, shows, discussions, artwork, everything… i want to work on building a community that is not male-controlled, that deals with racism and sexism and where people are not too afraid of not being cool to talk about the work they produce. i want the resources right now. don’t settle for anything less.
“Wanna be a writer? Find a different way to say “I’m going to the store” every single time you say it. Come up with nicknames for all of your friends. Ask people questions, welcome conversation from an outside perspective, do not drop a topic until you are satisfied. For every different room in which you find yourself on every single day, point out at least one thing that is there, but shouldn’t be there, and why it shouldn’t be there. Then take maybe ten minutes a week to get it down on the page. Writing only takes a long time when the only time you think about writing is when you are writing.”—Toni Morrison (via crybabysadghost)
"If you were a lesbian in the 1950s, you were probably married, with children. Or solitary, drudging through the hinterlands…Could you be the only woman on the planet with tender feelings for other women? Were you evil? Cursed? Or merely sick?…And then a miracle happened. In the drug store, the train station, the bus stop, the news stand, you came across a rack of pulp paperbacks. Among the cowboy tales, the cops-and-robbers, and the science fiction, there began to be books about lesbians. Suddenly, you had a name, an identity, and a community of unknown sisters…
"Some of the books you read so eagerly, so secretly, were fictional romances, and even with the heartaches, they provided solace and erotic transport. But another genre appeared: factual reports about lesbian life in the big city, penned by someone who lived there and knew. Her name was Ann Aldrich…"
"Aldrich told you what it was like to come out (joyful prospect!). she told you where lesbians in the know gathered - the bars, the resorts, the restaurants. She told you what these women wore, how they talked, how they coped with intricate personal problems."…"The effect on women was electric."
—-From “A Salute to Ann Aldrich” in We, Too, Must Love, the 1958 classic nonfiction work on lesbian lives, reprinted in 2006 by The Feminist Press
We at the Feminist Press are no strangers to the paralyzing terror gift-buying. So we came up with a handy guide for your the feminist literatis on your list.You can find the complete guide here, but these are some top picks:
For the Comic Book Geek:
Spit and Passion ($15.95) is the spunky comic memoir of Cristy C. Road, queer cubana whose love of Green Day gets her through her adolescence.Who is Ana Mendieta ($18.95) is the tale of the famous cubana artist Ana Mendieta, and both books are sold in combo this holiday season for $20.
For the Revolutionary:
The War Before ($15.95) is a powerful story of a Black Panther revolutionary. Kissing the Sword ($15.95) is the memoir of Iranian novelist Shahrnush Parsipur telling her experience in her country’s jails. These revolutionary reads are sold in combo for $20.
For the Transfabulous:
Tango: My Childhood, Backwards and in High Heels ($16.95) is on sale for $12.00 as a gift this season.
“The iconography of mixed-race fashion models and spokespeople often reinforces white supremacist beauty standards by fetishizing mixed-race bodies as uniquely beautiful, so long as they are impeccably groomed according to middle-class beauty standards, well dressed, and relatively light skinned. The commodified coolness and sexual exoticism of these bodies are derived from their intoxicating hint of color; just enough forbidden and dangerous racial difference to give consumers a buzz, but not enough pure blackness, brownness, or yellowness to make them feel sick or threatened.”—Michael P. Jeffries, Paint the White House Black (via sociolab)
“I remember when we were in high school the only time we were taught about rape was when this lady came in from the local domestic violence shelter. This was 1985 so the type of teaching was don’t wear high heels of you’re on a date or walking by yourself in case you have to run. That was about the extent of the information we got. I looked out the window while all of us girls were in the class and the guys are playing football. Why aren’t they learning not to rape instead of being in here learning how not to get raped. What kind of message is that? Boys need to be taught not to rape and how to treat people with respect. This goes for all types of education. We need more than just a picture of a suffragette or an abolitionist with a sign in our text books. We need to have diversity training in grade school.”—Kathleen Hanna (via gutterpussy)
“we may never touch queerness, but we can feel it as the warm illumination of a horizon imbued with potentiality….the future is queerness’ domain. queerness is a structuring and educated mode of desiring that allows us to see the future beyond the quagmire of the present….we must dream and enact new and better pleasures, other ways of being in the world, and ultimately new worlds….queerness is essentially about the rejection of a here and now and an insistence on potentiality or concrete possibility for another world.”—
josé esteban muñoz, ultimate dreamer, 1967-2013, in cruising utopia (via karaj)
Rest in peace to this visionary thinker and friend of the Feminist Press.