welcome to the ninth carnival of radical feminists. i am ladoctorita, a.k.a. lily, and unconventional beauty is my blog. as a relatively new blogger, i am honored to be hosting this carnival, and i feel it’s fitting for me to host the last carnival of the year because 2007 has been the year of my awakening and blossoming as a radical feminist and blogger. in february, i discovered the radfem blogosphere; in march, i made my first comment to a post on womensspace; in april, i started this blog; and now i am hosting a carnival. it’s very meaningful to me, and i appreciate all of you coming by to see this carnival. i hope you enjoy it.
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when i first learned that the ninth carnival of radical feminists would take place on christmas eve, it seemed like a strange juxtaposition: a celebration of female thought, power, and expression sharing the night with a celebration of male-centric religion and rampant consumerism. after some thought, however, i can draw two meanings from this confluence of events: first, that both recognize the power of female creation, and that the radfem carnival can fuel a reinterpretation of our preconceived notions of christmas; and secondly, that the radfem carnival can illuminate and stand in opposition to the holiday’s materialistic and misogynistic tendencies.
with these thoughts in mind, i give you some of the noteworthy posts floating around in the radfem blogosphere at this time. enjoy, and may the season be filled with blessings for all.
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“Sometimes you just wanna duct tape her mouth and dump her in the hold for a month.”
taking the time to point out misogyny in various venues of current popular culture can often seem pointless for two reasons: one, because it’s just so damn easy; and two, because you’re guaranteed to get one of two responses: “oh, get over it, it’s just a joke, you only see that ’cause you were looking of it,” or “um, yeah, duh, now tell me something i didn’t know.”
regardless, i personally love a good pop-culture-skewering rant. they give the author a chance to vent, and they frequently produce some good insights. allecto’s “a rapist’s view of the world” is an excellent example of this. in her post, allecto takes on producer joss whedon’s show “firefly” and the accompanying movie “serenity.” i was excited to see her address this topic, because while i’ve never seen “firefly” or “serenity,” i know MANY feminist-identified young women who are obsessed with them. (personally, i’m a devotee of the early years of whedon’s “buffy the vampire slayer,” but that’s beside the point. )
allecto decries the influence of pornography in “firefly,” its not-so-subtle racism, and the near-total disempowering of its female characters:
So in the very second scene of the very first episode, an episode written and directed by the great feminist Joss, a white man tells a black woman to ‘shut up’ for no apparent reason. And she does shut up. And she continues to call him sir. And takes his orders, even when they are dumb orders, for the rest of the series.
and that isn’t even the least of it. check out what allecto has to say, regardless of your knowledge of “firefly”—it’s inspired me to check out a few episodes from the library, and i’ll definitely be challenging some of the fans i know.
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“That’s the thing about rapists, you see. They rape people.”
when i was a theatrical choreographer in college, i worked with a director who would instruct an actor delivering an important line to “take the obvious stick and hit the audience with it.” that’s what melissa mcewan does in her spot-on post addressing the stupidity of blaming rape victims for what happens to them.
Left to my own devices, I never would have been raped. The rapist was really the key component to the whole thing.
amen. go read it.
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“But who will fill/ the lacuna in her soul?”
when watching democrats and progressives alike flail away helplessly at the american republican party, i often sit back and think, “you know what the whole anti-republican movement needs? LIMERICKS.”
i know, you were thinking it too.
thus, i give you mad kane, who gleefully skewers the g.o.p. in poetry, prose, and song formats. here’s one i particularly like:
i shovel the snow
as bush blares through my headphones
shov’ling something else.
hey, any “recovering lawyer” who can combine political commentary with haiku is all right by me.
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“women can be very sexy, but that they are not sex objects, placed here for the exploitation and enjoyment of men.”
i’ve just been introduced to the work of shane magee at fakerepublic, and it’s definitely worth a perusal. his post “were you calling my name?” is an insightful look at how “the sexist language used in many modern translations of the bible inherently denies womyn a visceral connection with the text,” and i think it will resonate with many women who come from a christian background. additionally, “transforming sexism” starts out by dissecting the sexism and racism of the recent movie “transformers” and segues into a discussion of how sexism is ubiquitous in essentially all media-based male-female pairings.
[feminism] doesn’t seem like very radical stuff to me. seems pretty axiomatic, in fact. we have come a long way since suffrage when these arguments really needed to be made, haven’t we? then tell me why, when i go to see some good, fun, popcorn nonsense, i am assailed for two and a half hours by probably the most sexist (and racist) diatribe i have been exposed to in mainstream cinema for well over a decade.
why, indeed. i’ll be perusing shane’s work further in the future, and i suggest you give it a look-see as well.
(okay, fine. in the interest of full disclosure, i’ll admit that the only reason i let shane into this carnival is that he also does not capitalize in his blog. are you happy now? )
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“How, and on what planet, can anyone be held accountable for something that may or may not happen at any point in the future and which they have no control over whatsoever?”
i feel like these radfem carnivals can be a bit like one of those blog awards thingies that was discussed over at womensspace a while back. in that spirit, as arbiter of this carnival, i bestow the award for “longest post title EVER” upon debs at the burning times for “pro-choice-month-the-prevention-of-coerced-and-unsafe-abortion-act-or-our-lives-are-so-sad-and-empty-we-have-to-poke-our-noses-into-other-peoples-all-the-time.”
i kid, i kid. in all seriousness, this is a great post. debs describes a sickening 2008 missouri ballot initiative being pushed by an illinois-based anti-abortion group:
The proposal would require doctors to extensively review any so-called medical literature on abortion and investigate each patient’s background and lifestyle . . . [the proposal] also would require doctors to certify that the abortion was necessary to avoid a woman’s death or prevent permanent disability. The proposal would subject doctors to lawsuits from women who later regretted their decision to terminate a pregnancy, and would offer no exception whatsoever for the victims of rape or incest.
debs then goes on to expose the proposal for the judgmental, nosy, stupid bit of tripe that it is. go forth and check out her expert analysis (and don’t let the long title deter you ).
It almost seems like that is what some anti-choice campaigners want. Ban legal abortion, get the little slappers who are stupid enough to let themselves get pregnant going back to the back-alley abortionists . . . if they die, it serves them right for not having the moral rectitude to abstain from sex.
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“My underwear should serve my body. My body should not have to shrink or be sucked in to fit in my underwear.”
i’m loving tracee sioux’s hysterical-yet-so-true diatribe on the differences between gendered underwear over at blogfabulous.
Can you believe it? [Men] feel entitled to comfortable underwear that covers their whole ass. Both cheeks entirely. They don’t feel they should shrink their ass—they feel the makers of underwear should provide enough fabric to serve its function.
go read the whole thing, and you might find yourself considering trying men’s skivvies like tracee . . . i’m definitely thinking about it . . .
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“If you really love your father, you will dress up, do an interpretive dance, read words off of a script that is provided for you, so you don’t even have to go through the task of coming up with your own words that describe how you, as a person, feel, and make a commitment you are not yet old enough to understand.”
holly at menstrual poetry has a great post up about christian “purity balls” for little girls and their creepy dads, and the new fad of “integrity balls” for boys and their mothers. she makes a lot of great points, including mentioning that most of the girls who attend these balls are too young to comprehend their meaning and only know that they get to wear pretty dresses and have cake and ice cream. i think that’s so important to point out—i remember when i was little i wanted so badly to join a local ultra-christian girls’ group, because i saw a poster of them all wearing pretty white dresses! luckily, my madre put the kibosh on that idea real fast. however, it really IS creepy to play on a child’s innocent desires to get them to agree to some philosophical idea they can’t possibly comprehend.
holly also aptly points out that these events gloss over the need for any actual parent-child communication on the topic of sexuality:
Who else thinks these things came about when parents started feeling uncomfortable talking to their children about sex? Now we can just escort our children to balls, make young girls have pseudo-weddings with their fathers on their arm and make young men think about their mothers in a sexual manner.
niiice. *rolls eyes.*
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“The feminist conversation became deadly serious—which is a worry, since we weren’t really known as fun people to begin with.”
recently, two horrific gang rapes in australia (one in werribee, one in aurukun) have drawn attention to the atrocious manner in which rape is dealt with (or, more accurately, ISN’T dealt with) in the legal system. tigtog and lauredhel of hoyden about town have blogged extensively about these cases, and caroline norma’s article “bringing the ‘gynocide’ home” for e-journal “online opinion” also deconstructs the feminist response. she aptly points out that “the media described [these incidents] as ‘shocking,’ but feminists who see this kind of male sexual violence every day weren’t that shocked.” norma also does a great job of breaking down the concept of “gynocide” and explaining its application to these cases:
The idea of gynocide has been in feminist thinking for more than 30 years now, and could be described as a core idea. It refers to men creating a social system where women live entirely as instruments of men’s interests. This doesn’t mean that every single woman works to serve men’s interests in every single situation. It just means that major social institutions, and the way most people (men and women) think, don’t consider women as having a viewpoint different to men.
i think the explanation is especially valuable given that, as norma says, “the gap . . . between feminist and mainstream conversation means that even core feminist ideas look like they’ve come from outer space when they get a public airing.” check out the full article.
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“If you really think a child will sit obediently for 6 hours listening to stuff they already know day after day, well, you’re just wrong.”
“me, my kid, and life” blogs about the experiences of an american single mom living in france, working from home, and raising her mostly-homeschooled 16-year-old-daughter. i went originally to check out her post on homeschooling, which is a wonderful primer and resource as well as a great story of a mother and daughter working together to create a fulfilling educational experience. however, the site also features posts on frugal living, online business, and french culture, as well as tasty recipes and daughter sophie’s poetry and films. go have a look-see.
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“Pornography is worse censorship than the censorship that would be necessary to get rid of it.”
debs at the burning times has written a fantastic post decrying those who label themselves “pro-porn feminists” or “sex-positive feminists.” yes, it’s an issue that’s been discussed at length all over the blogosphere, but debs has done a wonderful job of expressing her position and it warrants reading. two choice “sound bites”:
You have to decide which you are, pro-porn or a feminist, because you can’t be both without doing one of them so badly as to make it meaningless.
To feel the need to tag the fact that you like sex on the front of your “feminist” label is either showing some kind of insecurity about your sexuality, or dubiousness about whether you like sex or not, or is just plain stupid.
nail. head. kthxbye.
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“Looking out of my bedroom window, I can see a graveyard. I have been told tales of how half the village died during the Black Plague.”
i’ve been struggling with how to introduce rebecca mott’s deeply personal piece “lie dead,” an “exploration of [her] life between six and twenty-seven.” to call it simply a narrative of the author’s experiences of incest, rape, and psychological abuse ignores her insightful analysis and evocative writing, while to call it a beautifully rendered memoir belies its horrific subject matter. suffice it to say that, though triggering, this is an immensely powerful piece which will move everyone, regardless of personal background. it deserves a thoughtful reading followed by thoughtful reflection.
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“The class was unable to identify a single masculine role that did not centre around conflict, dominance, and violence.”
the hoydens over at h.a.t. frequently discuss the racism and discrimination faced by aboriginal populations, which i find to be a great education because i’m woefully uninformed about the subject. of particular note is lauredhel’s most recent post on the subject, which focuses on the way aboriginal boys identify the role of “man” as being inherently tied to violence. it’s an important piece because, as lauredhel points out, this concept goes beyond the concerns of aboriginal communities and is applicable to the way all young boys are taught about masculinity.
If only we could all of us, all people, commit to moving towards a world where it is possible for all male children to become male adults without subscribing to an identity of violence . . . only then can gendered hostilities cease.
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“I . . . apart from the grunting, screaming childbirth thang . . . am a man.”
the previous quote is snagged from cellobella’s sarcastic look at stereotypical gender roles over at sultanablog. the rest of her blog is full of thoughtful musings, cute kids, and a singing banana. what could be better?
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“Heffner is in the business of persuading young girls to advertise and enjoy, to celebrate, a symbol of their own subjugation.”
that contemporary society is inherently pornified, and is becoming increasingly more so, is hardly news in the radfem community; however, recognizing and discussing this fact remains vitally important. sparkle*matrix’s piece “bin the bunny” addresses the ways that the playboy company insinuates itself into the mainstream through the ubiquity of its logo, and includes three anti-playboy campaign videos which satirically illustrate this point. the videos are well done and worth watching, and sparkle*matrix’s commentary is brilliant as always.
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“But hell hasn’t frozen over yet, so I’ll revert to my cynical explanation.”
as if women weren’t getting enough mixed messages about exercise and athletics, there’s the issue of “the gym.” not only are women working out at fitness centers faced with scorn at their level of ability of physical appearances, but they also have to contend with leering, ogling, and unwanted conversation from creepy males. two of my female med school classmates recently told me about a man who goes to their gym and spends hours there, but never works out, just spends all his time watching and chatting up women. he used to go to another gym, but was kicked out for this behavior, so he just found a new gym to frequent. charming.
after atalanta is a blog specifically focused on issues of gender in athletics, and the post “viva las vegas” addresses the issue of female participation in fitness centers. it begins by discussing a current lawsuit against a las vegas gym that has lower enrollment fees for women and includes women-only spaces. blogger ken points out that while these measures may be meant to support and encourage women, in reality they might actually disempower women and reinforce stereotypes. this could be the topic for a great discussion, so take a look.
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“the ones who pretend to be allies . . . can be the most dangerous haters of all.”
there’s nothing else to say; ann bartow’s “How Supposedly Liberal Doods Monetize Their Blogs” just needs to be seen. ICK.
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“All you have to do is stand up publicly for truth and justice. And it will be the making of you. Even if they kill you for it.”
i’m embarrassed that i haven’t done more reading of maggie jochild at meta watershed, but happily this carnival has given me an excuse to do so. she has several particularly notable posts up right now that i’ll draw our attention to, but her blog warrants a full perusal, so if you’re as behind the times as i am, get over there and start reading now.
in “claiming your people,” maggie explores the connection of spanish-english bilinguality to her experiences of self-discovery. as someone who speaks english, spanish, and portuguese, i found her narrative really intriguing. i also love what she says about the english language:
I’m astounded at how stupid these same people are about English . . . as a language it is enormously flexible and nondiscriminatory. America is not the hoped-for beacon to all that Jewish lesbian Emma Lazarus composed her lines about, but English gladly welcomes vocabulary from anywhere, no xenophobia there. There’s no need to force English on populations, or to “protect” it from diversity—its very strength lies in exposure to other languages . . . it has developed in [many] directions organically, to meet the needs of its diverse speakers, not to fit a political or religious mandate. Boxing it in will destroy what makes it valuable.
this reminds me of a discussion i had in portugal with an old swedish man who had traveled extensively throughout the world and spoke pretty much every language you can think of. when i asked him which language was his favorite, i was surprised when he said english, because i’ve always thought that speakers of other languages disliked it. however, he cited the same reasons for liking it that Maggie points out: the fact that english draws from so many other languages allows it to be uniquely expressive. it’s really interesting to think about.
additionally, maggie’s “hate crimes and the war on terror” examines the meaning and reporting procedures of “hate crimes,” especially in the context of current united states government policy. “finding the empty spaces in immigration rhetoric” is a great analysis of the current debates on immigration policy:
Given [the] geographic reality [of the US-Mexico border], anyone who posits “building a wall” should be treated with the same attitude one displays toward an individual who makes themselves a beanie from Reynolds Wrap to shut out the transmissions from Amalthea—compassion for their ignorance, but don’t hand them a microphone.
brilliant, and there’s much more where that came from. go peruse the watershed.
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“Anyone who’s okay with that kind of hypocrisy has a standing invitation to bite my gloriously snack-cake-enhanced left butt cheek.”
i simply had to close with this brilliant quote from amy’s brain today, from her fantastic post “another gay man for fat hatred.” as someone who, before perusing feminist reprise, was totally unfamiliar with the concept of fat acceptance, i find amy’s writings about the subject to be consistently eye-opening (not to mention excellently written and often perfectly humorous), and this post is no different. in fact, i think of all the women whose blogs i read regularly, amy is the one who has most profoundly changed my way of thinking; so if you haven’t had your mind blown by amy yet, get on over to feminist reprise.
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i hope everyone enjoyed this edition of the carnival of radical feminists. huge thank-yous go out to heart for organizing this project, everyone who took the time to send in submissions, and all the wonderful bloggers whose work i’ve included here.
it’s been an honor.
best wishes to all for the coming new year!