"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

Friday, July 29, 2011

Interview with Muslim Feminists

The F Word podcast has a great (though short!) interview with the folks who started AQSAzine. What is AQSAzine? From their page:
AQSAzine (est. 2007) is a Toronto-based grassroots arts collective by and for young women and trans people who self-identify as Muslim. Our main project is the creation of a biannual zine of our writing, art, activism entitled AQSAzine. This zine is a creative avenue for young Muslim women and trans people to express ourselves, share our experiences and connect with others. We strive to work from an explicit anti oppressive, pro-choice, queer positive & trans positive framework.

In Arabic, “aqsa” implies the furthermost, as in reaching out to the furthest possible point. This zine aims to motivate the utmost resistance to oppression in all its forms. 16 year-old Aqsa Parvez, whose life was taken on December 10, 2007 also inspires this zine. It is to honour her and other Muslim women and trans people who experience and resist structural and physical violence.

Jerusalem’s Masjid A-Aqsa in Palestine is also an inspiration to us due to its associations with Prophet Muhammad (SBUH)’s ascension, also known as the “night of Isra and Miraj”. To us, the belief in this event represents unwavering faith and an ultimate assurance of justice.

So if you’re tired of feeling alone or fragmented…If you get spoken to slowly because you’re wearing a hijab…If you get asked why how you could be Muslim and NOT wear a hijab…If you’re a steady victim of racial profiling, harassment by police, or “random checks” at airports…If you’re constantly having to repeat your name because no one can pronounce it…If you’re sick of being told “surely you can’t be Muslim AND gay!” We’re here for you, and we’re LOUD. Intellectual, scandalous, curious, hijab wearing, non-hijab wearing, immigrant, sexual, honest, queer, heterosexual all of it MUSLIM: United by our cause and in our diversity. Join us, won’t you?

The interview made me want to find out all I could about AQSAzine, and I'm learning a lot about how Islam and feminism can intersect.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Pro-Porn AND Pro-Reality: Cindy Gallop

I appreciate the nuanced take that Cindy Gallop has on how the ubiquity of porn may be affecting our sex lives, especially for those folks who have grown up with the internet.

I do have a couple of problems with her take on things: One, she seems to have ignored, at least for purposes of her presentation, that it's not only young boys who have easy access to porn, but folks of all genders. Secondly, I'd like to see some science done around what folks of all genders and ages really think sex should be like--I suspect many more of them understand that porn represents a few kinds of sex, most of which are pure fantasy. From Gallop's point of view, I'm overly optimistic about how easily people distinguish fantasy from reality.

I'd also love it if the myriad kinds of porn were at least recognized--there is queer porn, gay male porn, bdsm porn, fetish porn, etc. (and I do mean ETC.!)--so, while distinguishing between what happens on screen and what happens in folks' day-to-day sex lives is important, it's also important to recognize that what happens in all of those places has near-infinite variations, for those who want them!

Bonus video: Robin Williams responding directly to Cindy Gallop's talk: