"The women of Bikini Kill let guitarist Billy Karren be in their feminist punk band, but only if he's willing to just "do some shit." Being a feminist dude is like that. We may ask you to "do some shit" for the band, but you don't get to be Kathleen Hannah."--@heatherurehere

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Men's Project

For those of you in the SF Bay Area, spread the word. Deadline extended to May 30th.

Call for submissions:
Men's Story Project

Men of all ages and backgrounds are invited to participate in the Men's Story Project! This project will bring together a diverse group of men's real stories to create a local performance about men's life experiences. We're looking for stories from men of a variety of race/ethnicities, sexual orientations, social/cultural backgrounds, life histories, etc.

The pieces can be poems, monologues, prose, raps, just a few powerful sentences, a dance piece, music, etc. - on subjects such as lessons you were taught about what it means to be a man, social/cultural expectations, learning on your own what it is to be a man, experiences of violence, experiences of promoting peace/healing, relationship with your body, sexuality, gender, power, transformation, taboos, etc. Pieces should last a max of 5 minutes. It may also be possible to exhibit visual art in the space.

Contributions of all kinds are welcome -- funny, serious, vulnerable, risk-taking, triumphant, etc - the main theme is REAL. We will present them to an audience in a Bay Area venue TBD in June or July, with the lofty goal of helping move society forward in conceptions of what it can mean to be a man.

If you want to create a piece but would prefer to have someone else read it, that's fine - authorship can be anonymous. If you have a story in mind but want some coaching to get it on paper, we have folks who can help you.

This is a progressive event and will be a safe space.

*Submission deadline: May 22 May 30th*

Participants will be paid $50.

This is an independent project getting off the ground, and is not affiliated with any organization.

Please send submissions + a short bio and any q's to Josie Lehrer at jlehrer1@gmail.com

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sticks and Stones

From The Fusco Brothers, which provides a seemingly endless supply of blogfodder: Because domestic violence is hi-larious.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Don't Vote For McCain, Because He's Pussywhipped

Ted Rall has some interesting stuff, but this cartoon about McCain bothers me:
Rall's point that McCain is supported by special interests--in this case, special interests related to his wife's business--isn't unimportant. But the idea that we shouldn't vote for McCain because hes somehow emasculated by his wife's power and money is distracting, rather than interesting or funny.

There are so many other reasons to not vote for McCain, other than the idea that his wife made him sign a prenup, or that she makes him keep the toilet seat down (that BITCH!).

Note: This is all leaving aside the lack of compassion toward anybody who has ever been a prisoner of war that Rall exhibits with the "I miss the Hanoi Hilton" comment.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Mildred Loving

Mildred Loving has died. From her wikipedia page:
Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don't think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the "wrong kind of person" for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people's religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people's civil rights. I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard's and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That's what Loving, and loving, are all about.

To think that it was in the late 60's that her case came to the Supreme Court makes me shudder.

Note: When I first went to the wikipedia page, I found this:
Richard [her husband] died of AIDS from having sexual intercourse with a nigger in 1975.
I'd never edited a wikipedia page until today, when I deleted that sentence. It makes me wonder how many lessons have really been learned, of course.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Killing Hookers is Funny!

From A Softer World:

First of all, ASW loses points right away for trying way too hard to be 'edgy' or something, here. So the humor is supposed to be that the kid is a violent racist? Aside from that being not-so-funny, it's not worrisome that a kid might enjoy killing hookers in the video game, because they're not, y'know, human beings--instead, they're women, and sluts on top of it. On the other hand, "blacks" (ack) are human, so it's ...funny?

Friday, May 02, 2008

One More Thing Feminism Can Do: Critique Traditional (White) Masculinity

I've been thinking some more about why I think the tragedy that is Sean Bell's death is a feminist issue. Holly pointed out at Feministe that part of the reason why it's a feminist issue is because it's difficult to take in the situation without also taking in the women that Bell's death has left behind, and the anguish his fiance, Nicole Paultre-Bell, must live with. Holly also notes:
The problem here, as Delores Jones-Brown points out, is that there is a systemic pattern of police officers shooting unarmed suspects. The problem is that this disproportionately affects communities of color. The black men who are most often slaughtered by such violence, and all the women and children in their lives too, their loved ones, friends and relatives. A system that is all too eager to exonerate “the thin blue line” and continue business as usual. All of these are feminist issues. Racism must be a feminist issue, for any kind of feminism that counts. Police brutality must be; the biases of the criminal justice system must be.

There is another aspect of this, which was revealed to me in a comment by donna darko, who said:
Sean Bell and Jena 6 are not feminist issues although feminists are interested in them and post about them. For example, what is the feminist solution to the Sean Bell and Jena 6 case? There are feminist solutions to incidents of police brutality involving women. This is feminism’s worst nightmare: IT’S NOW ABOUT TEH MENZ!

I think I see Donna's point. To take it to an extreme, we ought to be concerned about the ways in which feminism and feminists may lose focus to the point of making everything a feminist issue. But I also think that it can be worth our time to look at most problems through a feminist lens. In the case of the Sean Bell tragedy, feminism can offer up an analysis of the force of traditional masculinity, for example.

First off, I think that what happened to Sean Bell is at least partly the result of the enforcement of traditional masculinity, a masculinity based on fear-of-other-men, on might-makes-right. Mixed up in all of this is also the way in which traditional conceptions of masculinity revolve around traditional conceptions of white masculinity, where men of color aren't 'real' men, but rather, animalistic, and dangerous. And traditional white masculinity is so entrenched in various institutions that it affects all of the people in those institutions--even to the point of men of color reinforcing such masculinity themselves, as (I think) is the case with the two men of color who shot Sean Bell.

And where do we find critiques of this type of masculinity? Well, one place we find it is within the frameworks of feminism. This isn't the only place we might find it, but it's where I see a consistent critique of it. Which is not to say that anti-racist analysis, for instance, isn't just as viable a lens through which to see this tragedy--but so is the feminist lens, inasmuch as traditional masculinity has had a hand in such tragedies, and inasmuch as feminism offers us ways of critiquing and changing masculinity.

So, in part to speak to Donna's point, I want to say that while there may not be a feminist solution to what happened to Sean Bell, there is a feminist analysis that can be done, that needs to be done, on how traditional conceptions of masculinity helped to cause Sean Bell's death (not to exonerate any of his killers from their individual responsibility, to be clear). Feminism isn't the only tool to use in order to do this, but it's a good one.

Also: Sudy makes a similar point regarding a feminist analysis of the Iraq war:
The question is not what makes the issue feminist, but has a feminist perspective been applied to the issue? Many perceive the Iraq war not to be a feminist issue. I don't give two shits if it's a "feminist issue," I care if feminists have applied their analytical skills, intelligence, resources, and insight to the Iraq war.

Also: If you don't think that some of the problems of police abuse of power don't revolve around conceptions of traditional masculinity, you might watch this, courtesy of Lauren: