Archive for the ‘sexuality’ Category


Abortion and contraception: a radical lesbian perspective

July 11, 2009


The issue of abortion and contraception seems to be a straightforward one for most feminists. They are considered to be a fundamental right, and access to safe, legal and affordable contraception and abortion on demand is said to be necessary for women’s sexual freedom. I would argue that from a radical lesbian point of view, the reverse is actually true.

Now, I do not deny that access to contraception and abortion is absolutely necessary for women to have any semblance of control over their reproduction, right now… as we are living under male supremacy and women’s Selves and sexualities are fundamentally controlled by male ideas of women’s sexual function. Women’s sexual awareness is tightly controlled by the media, by the porn industry, by father’s, brother’s, husband’s, lover’s, son’s; and our function is clear: we are fuck objects, our function in sex is to be fucked.

Intercourse is central to sexual relations between men and women in our male supremacist society. Most of us do not question its primacy and its place in sexual intimacy… it just is. When men and women get together and have a relationship they are expected to fuck on a regular basis. If they are not fucking on a regular basis, something is considered to be wrong… the relationship is not functioning… sex is not occurring. For a detailed deconstruction of intercourse and the way that men and women are conditioned into coital sexuality read Anticlimax by Sheila Jeffries and Intercourse by Andrea Dworkin.

Anyways, centering abortion and contraception as necessary for women’s sexual freedom and as a fundamental human right presupposes that intercourse is a natural expression of women’s sexuality and that intercourse will continue to occur with the same frequency once women have complete control over their own bodies. Now I would argue that that is one hell of a presupposition.

The reality is that intercourse is the cause of unwanted pregnancy. Given that we know, as women and as radical feminists, the extent to which women are bullied, coerced and downright forced into allowing men access to their bodies… do we really think that intercourse will happen anywhere near as frequently as it does now, once women have actual sexual freedom? I personally doubt it.

While I agree that abortion and contraception are necessary at the moment, because we are living under male supremacy, women do not have any level of sexual freedom and intercourse is an unfortunate reality in many women’s lives… I am also looking forward to a time where abortion and contraception are no longer necessary. A time where women can engage freely, safely and lovingly in relations with other women, or in non-coital relationships with men.

I cannot in good conscience jump on the abortion/contraception is great for women bandwagon. In my opinion it has done as much damage as good. In reality, it gives men another crowbar with which to wedge open women’s legs. Yes, it gives *some* women, *some* level of control but it is a very, very far cry from actual liberation.

What does real freedom look like? Well, I have never had to take any unnecessary hormone pills for one thing. I have had lots of wonderful, messy, lusty, loud, sexually intimate moments with my last partner and I have never had to run to the chemist for a morning after pill, never had to buy condoms… or any of the other weird paraphernalia of heterosexual relations. Lesbianism is a 100% effective, safe and affordable contraceptive.

To summarise: intercourse causes unwanted pregnancy. Intercourse is totally unnecessary for women’s sexual pleasure. Access to abortion and contraception has not delivered either sexual or reproductive freedom for women. Demand for abortion would decrease dramatically once women have control over their physical integrity, and once our sexualities are no longer conditioned and controlled by men.

Basically, I don’t think that either contraception or abortion is the ‘solution’ to women’s reproductive rights even though I fully support women’s right to access free, safe and legal contraception and abortion.


That Girl

May 22, 2009


Something I wrote the other day on the train. I’m having a great deal of difficulty doing any creative writing at the moment. This is the first poem I’ve written in months.

That Girl

sometimes I forget about that girl
who molded her body,
like it was clay
molded her figure
around and
into his palm
fear pooling

sometimes I forget about
that girl
putting on her face
a different one
for each day
to mark her presence

sometimes I forget

that girl who
hitches up that skirt
curves her ass
just that way
to fit into his eyes
knee-high boots
squirming on the dance floor

“smack my bitch up’
‘superman dat ho’

and sometimes I am that girl
soaking it up
bleeding bits of myself
on the dance floor
and they watch
and they watch
and they watch
and they watch

sometimes I forget
but mostly I remember

sometimes I wonder where
she’s gone to
where she got to
seeing slivers
of other girls
catching the corner of my eye
and I think she’s gone
far away

but mostly
I feel her inside me
that girl
she jab me fierce
watching men
watching her
she is in me still
watching men
watching other girls

skin tight jeans
dark lined eyes
and a smile to say she don’t give a shit

that girl
she in me now
curve of her ass
my body
her body
fits into her own hands
and she comes
when I come
and here she is
smiling now
and giving him/they/them
the fucking finger


Why ‘lesbian’ has become a dirty word by Amazon Mancrusher

May 5, 2009

*This is a thought-provoking guest post written by my sisterfriend Amazon Mancrusher.*


Why lesbian has become a dirty word

You would think the word lesbian would have gotten less radical rather than more radical since the 1970’s but that doesn’t seem to be the case. These days, fewer young women seem to be identifying as lesbian, choosing instead to use queer, gay or pan to describe who they have relationships with and how they feel about their sexuality and political identity. This article will explore why young women who have intimate relationships with other women have rejected the term lesbian.

The word lesbian originates from the island of Lesbos in Greece, where a poet called Sappho lived. The people of Lesbos have historically been known as lesbians. Sappho wrote love poems to other women, many of which were destroyed by religious fundamentalists and the term lesbian became known as a term to describe women who love other women.
In the 1970’s, many women organised a feminist women’s liberation movement, in which lesbianism become a highly politicised and revolutionary concept. Many lesbians broke away from the gay liberation movement in favour of the women’s movement after making the analysis that they had more in common with straight women than gay men. They believed that gay men still benefitted from the gender hierarchy, know as patriarchy, in which the needs and human rights of women are invisible or secondary to the needs of men and where men dominate women through sexual and domestic violence. Their analysis showed that this still applied in the gay and lesbian community, where the political and social focus often focused on gay men and silenced the needs of lesbians.

Lesbians became highly visible in the 1970’s women’s liberation movement and many women who had previously seen themselves as heterosexual made choices based on their feminist politics to become lesbians, claiming that intimate relationships and sexuality are not biologically determined, but rather politically influenced. Feminists argued that heterosexuality was the cornerstone of male domination, because men are brought up to think that through heterosexual power relations, they have automatic sexual rights to women’s bodies. Feminists pointed out that the sexual power that men are granted encourages them to see the bodies of women as property or a commodity. This concept is backed up by society’s historical and cultural social structures through the laws of marriage and the culture of prostitution.

During this time, heterosexuality was ‘outed’ as something that was politically and socially compulsory rather than natural. Many feminists engaged in the women’s movement soon realised that there was a different choice and they chose lesbianism. For many women this was a choice of political resistance against compulsory heterosexuality, marriage and all other forms of male domination and gender hierarchy. Women also realised that they could make different decisions about what clothes to wear and whether to shave or wear makeup and many chose to reject feminine stereotypes. Sexual violence was finally theorised as stemming from power relations and male political domination, rather than a by-product of the ‘natural’ sex drive of men that they cannot control. This analysis meant that sexual relationships had to be politicised and the term ‘the personal is political’ became a well known feminist slogan relating to personal relationships.

Unfortunately, revolutionary lesbian resistance did not come with money and societal power and men with power in society, who control the media and finances, soon drove a powerful backlash campaign against lesbians that remains so toxic that it still poisons the lesbian community to this day. Worldwide media ran articles and news stories inflicting hatred upon women who rejected heterosexuality or rejected femininity, and claimed that lesbianism is ugly and that the rejection of femininity is inadequate for the physical desires of men. Another type of backlash against lesbians involved the depiction of women having sex with each other in pornography. These depictions were created by men who felt threatened by lesbian’s rejection of heterosexuality and wanted to place male needs back in the centre of the lives of lesbians and to recreate lesbianism in a way that they could control. Attitudes in society and the media continue to perpetuate the myth that lesbians are monstrous, revolting, unsightly beasts and lesbianism, especially in pornography is frequently represented as existing for titillation of heterosexual men.

So is it any wonder that women are rejecting this identity?

Lesbians themselves, especially those growing up in the backlash, have had little choice but to internalise this plethora of hatred and look for more palatable ways to survive and become more acceptable to their male peers and heterosexual friends. As a consequence, during the 90’s, lesbians increasingly withdrew from the women’s movement and returned to the gay liberation movement to seek political support from gay men. Many lesbians began to call themselves gay because it felt more palatable and less confrontational to their male friends.

Feminists have and continue to acknowledge that lesbians and gay men both face hatred for rejecting heterosexuality, and that a commonality exists but they also argue that the needs of lesbians and gay men are very different and that when they politically become a homogenous (same) group, that the needs will default to gay men, because as men, gay men have more economic and societal power.

The 1990’s also saw the rising influence of neo-liberalism and post-modernism, which both reject an analysis of social structures of oppression in favour of the analysis of individual power. Post-modern theorists claim that power is like a toy that can be played with by anyone, regardless of gender, race and class. Queer politics stemmed from post-modern theory, and argues that gender and sexuality can be performed and played with like a game. Adopting a queer identity became a way that lesbians could reject gender but remain palatable to gay men at the same time. Terms such as queer and pan have become used as a way of blurring the boundaries of gender. Many feminists claim that some post-modern and queer perspectives were harmful because they distort the reality of people’s day to day lives and deny the lived experience of women under patriarchy. Women living in domestic violence relationships or surviving rape are harmed by real violence stemming from real power structures. They ask how queer performance will ever help women around the world surviving rape, trafficking and domestic violence.

Queer politics proposes that if women play with their gender and do drag performances and reject the identity of woman then they will gain power. This technique has been used in recent events in the lesbian community with theme nights like Playboy where women were encouraged to dress up as Hugh Hefner in order to subvert the power dynamics. What queer politics does not tend to explore, is if these notions of male power are in fact positive in the first place and if women should claiming or subverting them will not just in reality just continue our gender binaries, albeit in a more performative way. Interestingly, queer politics has not been used by any other group to challenge hierarchy. Aboriginal people do not have colonial theme nights and dress up as white imperialists in order to distort racism and I have never heard of Jewish people coping with memories of the holocaust by holding a Nazi theme parties and playing with the role of being a Nazi. Any attempt to organise such an event would be met with confusion and probably outrage, but feminists and survivors of violence who criticize such notions of so called ‘subversion’ seem to be taken much less seriously.

To conclude, the backlash against women’s liberation has made it acceptable for the real lived experiences of women to be denied and almost impossible for lesbians to hang onto lesbianism as an alternative to a world where men’s needs dominate. It is easier, more palatable and less confrontational to be known as queer, gay or any other identity that decentres the needs of women.

by Amazon Mancrusher


Where are all the younger lesbian feminists/separatists?

March 12, 2009


Eva Johnson, Aboriginal playwright and radical lesbian feminist

In these times, where pornography abounds and young men expect young women to gratify their unnatural urges to dominate/control and make slaves out of us, where sexual slavery, the buying and selling of women as sex, is seen as liberation, where evidence of men’s hatred of us blares itself from movie screens and billboards… in these times, lesbianism, as a political choice, makes sense. It seems ridiculously simple. Men hate women. Why the hell would you want to sleep with one?


Renate Klein, biologist, activist against dangerous reproductive technologies, radical lesbian feminist

I chose separatism as a way of life fairly early on. I saw my mother being abused by my father and stopped speaking to him as a form of protest. I realise now that it was also one of the first separatist acts I made, in addition to being an act of sisterhood with my mother and my sisters. It wasn’t long before my not speaking to my father became me not speaking to any male peoples whatsoever. I was a ‘beautiful’ girl. Both men and boys would follow me around, ask me out, touch me, wolf-whistle etc, etc. I rarely had a day that I was not sexually harassed during my teenage years. This is not atypical however. Most women experience this kind of harassment on a daily basis.


Audre Lorde, poet, writer, radical lesbian feminist

So I decided that all males were as bad as my father and refused to speak to any of them. I guess this meant that I automatically invested in my relationships with women. My primary relationships were with my mother and one of my sisters. But I had a succession of other deep friendships. Those friendships only waned because I moved around a bit. It was the love and support of those female friends that got me through highschool, through an eating disorder, through being suicidal and messed up.


Sheila Jeffreys, professor, activist against prostitution and all forms of male terrorism, radical lesbian feminist

I was aware of my attraction to females fairly early on. I loved Xena. Definitely my first ‘girlcrush’ as Rain likes to put it. But despite the fact that I was raised in a strict christian household, I didn’t really feel any guilt from my attractions to women. In fact, in order to cause trouble with my father, I would purposely go to see ‘gay’ films and buy ‘gay’ music. It was actually really funny. When I was about 14 my father asked me out to get an ice-cream. I agreed to go, thinking he wanted to maybe try and repair our relationship or something. Anyway, we go and buy ice-cream, we sit down and he proceeds to give me a lecture about not sleeping with boys and not taking drugs!!!! Oh, I was trying so hard not to laugh. He was so way off the mark it was so, so hilarious. So, yes… um no worries with that one, daddy.


Mary Daly, poet, visionary, spinster, sister, radical lesbian feminist

Anyway, I didn’t have much trouble avoiding boys. They gave up trying to talk to me in school as I completely ignored all of them. But when I was 17 I started working. One of the boys at work showed an interest in me, and whether it was curiosity or something, I agreed to date him. He was really boring, he kissed me and it was so unbelievably gross. I dumped him. For some reason, up until this point, I still thought of myself as straight. I had spread rumours around the school that I was a lesbian 1) because I like negative attention and 2) because I had had some really embarrassing incidents with boys inviting me out in front of the whole school and I did not want anything like that to happen again. But despite this, I was primarily attracted to males, even though I couldn’t understand why I was. I really willed myself to be attracted to other girls because boys and men were just so unbelievably disgusting.


Staceyann Chin, poet, activist, performer, radical lesbian feminist

So fast-forwarding to uni where I met and fell in love with a gay boy, the son of a lesbian feminist no less. We had a great relationship, while it lasted. Neither of us wanted sex from each other, just love and emotional intimacy. Unfortunately, like most men, he had no problems at all sorting out his priorities and I, of course, was dumped to the bottom of the list once I stopped being interesting to him. I ditched him and it was all very sad, but I decided that he was the last man that I was ever going to care about.


Nedra Johnson, singer/songwriter, radical lesbian feminist

But that relationship did bear fruit. I met his mother when I signed up to do volunteer work at The Women’s Library. Both her and her partner were an invaluable source of support and care during the time I was in Sydney.

I had a few brief heterosexual encounters in uni but they all bored and disgusted me. Looking back, I have no idea why I let myself get roped into them. I guess it was a mixture of curiosity and the whole ‘everyone else is doing it’ thing. Which is strange because I’ve always been very reluctant to do anything that everyone else is doing. Also, despite everything, I was still more attracted to men than women.


Robin Morgan, poet, writer, radical lesbian feminist

The reason that women find men more attractive has NOTHING to do with sexuality and everything to do with socialization and validation. I had serious work to do on myself psychologically, before I could see women as being life partners. I was easily attracted to women, but could not envisage being with them in a relationship. And I don’t think I could really understand why. Not to mention the fact that I was seriously addicted to the male gaze (hence the eating disorder).


Susan Hawthorne, poet, novelist, aerialist, radical lesbian feminist

After a wake up call, which started with a man befriending me when I was desperately lonely, and ended with sexual assault, I decided to tell my best friend of my feelings for her. She reciprocated and I entered my first lesbian relationship, my first relationship period. And it was really good. It didn’t work out long term, although we are still really good friends. During the time of my first relationship I discovered political lesbianism and lesbian separatism by reading about them in The Women’s Library and that felt like the world breaking open. I couldn’t believe that these women existed and that I’d never heard of them. Oh, I had been looking all of my life for them. And I hadn’t found them. And then suddenly they were there. And my imagination was on fire, but it wasn’t a dream, these women actually existed. They were real, and they were just like me. They shared the same hopes and dreams, they believed that a world without violence could exist and they set about making that a reality. And, oh, I wanted to be a part of that so, so much.


But I look around and I don’t see many younger women being interested in political lesbianism and separatism. There are only 2 lesbian feminist bloggers under 30 that I know of. I find this really sad. I think lesbianism is a very powerful and immediate solution to male supremacy and violence. Women-loving women, women-touching women are the ultimate anti-thesis to this woman-hating world. As much as I hate to agree with the ‘fun’-feminists, I do think that feminism needs to change its image. We should be saying, “Feminists ARE hairy, man-hating, prudish, fat, ugly, dykey and radical”. And we are a hell of a lot happier than the women being treated like sexual and domestic slaves by men who say they love women.


Joss Whedon is so unbelievably sick

February 10, 2009

Just read part of the Season 8 Buffy comic in the library today and I am still dry retching. EWWWWWWWWW!!!!!





Repeat after me kiddies: “Pornography is not fracking empowering.”

Lesbian porn for male gratification is fucking sick. Besides DYKES DO NOT LOOK LIKE THIS JOSS WHEDON YOU PERVERT!!!!

Showing teenage girls in their underwear is fucked in the head. YOU ARE A CHILD PORNOGRAPHER, JOSS!!!!

Just needed to get that off my chest.


The Price We Pay

October 25, 2008

Another piece from a womyn of colour at Michfest. This one is close to my heart. She talks about resisting the shitty dom/sub, butch/femme destructive heteropatriarchal dichotomy in lesbian relationships… as well as other things. Thank goddess for sane womyn like this.


Objects in Space: Black masculinity through the paradigm of whitemale lust

October 15, 2008

Objects in Space was the last episode of the television series Firefly before the series was cancelled. This episode was revealing in a number of ways. I am going to look specifically at the construction of lust in the episode and the way in which Whedon charactrises lust, the differences in his treatment of lust between his whitemale characters and his Black male characters. The way that Whedon positions the Black man as a violent, sexual monster and the relationship this construction has to the characterisation of whitemales as protectors/owners of white women.

The straight whitemale is the default audience for Firefly and Whedon immediately sets up a paradigm of objectification of the female characters. In the first episode Serenity we have a deliberately provocative shot of Kaylee eating a strawberry. Soon after there is a shot of Inara half-naked, bathing in her shuttle. Both scenes cater for the whitemale sexualised gaze, setting up whitemale lust as a central and necessary part of audience engagement with the show.

The centring of whitemale lust continues throughout the series as female characters are consistently observed through the eyes of the white male characters. We have Wash objectifying Zoe, with his comments about how he wants to watch her bathe. In a separate occasion in the Bushwhacked episode, he reduces Zoe to body parts. I find this to be a very telling scene and the contrast between Zoe’s reluctance to part with the sacred details of her love for Wash, and Wash’s disgusting objectifying comments could not be more stark.

Wash: The legs. [laughter] Oh yeah, I definitely have to say it was her legs. You can put that down. Her legs and right where her legs meet her back that actually that whole area that and above it. Have you seen what she wears? Forget about it. Have you ever been with a warrior woman?

Also in the commentary for the episode Shindig they talked about how Zoe wore her necklace thingie as a symbol of her slavery (love) to Wash. Wash does not wear any ‘love’ token.

In later episodes we see vulnerability as ‘sexy’ through Mal and Jayne’s eyes in their objectification of Saffron. Obviously the more vulnerable, submissive and pliable the woman, the ‘sexier’ she is. Yet another viewpoint worth mentioning is Jayne’s objectification of Inara when she is with her female client. Don’t even get me started on the ickiness of that scenario.

Joss Whedon’s depiction of lesbianism as hot pornography for his whitemale audience is beyond excusable. This is not the first time he has depicted lesbianism as pornographic fodder for whitemale lust. He did it a few times in Buffy: the Vampire Slayer also. At the end of the fourth season there is an episode where the character Xander fantasises about Tara and Willow together for his (and the whitemale audiences’) sexual gratification. What makes this even worse is the fact that Willow is supposed to be Xander’s best friend. Later, in the seventh season Xander again fantasises about the potential slayers (15-16 year old girls) having erotic pillow fights in his bed. Really sick stuff.

Hmm. Well I really could go on forever about the many ways in which Whedon centres whitemale lust as the primary carrier for his phallosophical televisions shows but I did really want to talk specifically about the othering of Black men and women of all colours within the framework of whitemale lust as default, normal, natural.

In Firefly we see lust being constructed in different ways. I would argue that Whedon has constructed Mal’s lust as the baseline and we use his lust as a measure of normality. Mal is a rough and ready kinda guy. He lusts but his lust is tempered by his inner moral code. This inner moral code seems to justify most male behaviour. You can be a scumbag, but as long as you don’t cross that invisible line, you’re really a great guy. This is the same moral code as the one in wider society where men are congratulated for not being rapists. Also known as the Nigel phenomenon.

But the stupid men do not realise that it is only in a society where the majority of men are rapists that Nigels are congratulated for not being rapists. Stupid men. Anyway, Mal is a ‘safe’ man, because he never crosses that invisible line. Of course he rapes women. That is shown quite clearly in the episode Heart of Gold. Of course he treats women like possessions, that shines through clearly in his treatment of Inara, see episodes Shindig and War Stories. But that invisible stretchy moral line, he never crosses it. That makes him a good little Nigel.

So we have the bottom line of whitemale lusty Nigelism set by the dear Mr. Reynolds. Next up we have Wash another whitemale Nigel who likes to objectify his wife, and cut her up into little fetishised pieces. His lust is neatly contained within the bounds of holy, male supremacist matrimony, the bonds of which he never breaks (unless he knows he will get away with it). He too likes submissive women (see attraction to Saffron in the episode Our Mrs. Reynolds) but he also fetishises Zoe’s independence and strength in his pornographic fantasies of her as a dominatrix (‘warrior woman’). Most importantly his lust is not threatening to Mal’s leadership within the chain of command on the ship. Wash is tempered by Zoe as an outlet for his lust and object for ownership. Men need to own what they lust and lust what they own, therefore Wash’s possession of Zoe, within the male paradigm of imperialism, renders Wash unthreatening to Mal.

We then come to Jayne. In the comments of my last post I analysed Jayne as Whedon’s ‘fall guy’ for feminism. I think Whedon deliberately exaggerates Jayne’s whitemale lustiness in order to define ‘proper’, egalitarian lust. So Jayne’s lust is caricatured and made fun of. His overt masculinity is contrasted with Mal’s kinder, gentler, more feminist desires. The whitemale audience is supposed to distance themselves from Jayne’s unsophisticated masculinity and are invited to position themselves within Mal’s paradigm. Not only this, but Jayne is subject to Mal’s rule. He is not the Alpha male on the ship, Mal is. Jayne’s unsophisticated lust is tempered by Mal’s leadership. Jayne, in his natural state, is a dangerous man, but Mal’s control of Jayne and his rapacious nature, renders him ‘safe’. This clearly positions Alpha whitemale’s as protectors of women and children and as regulators of other men’s sexuality.

As an aside, this is why white men invade countries like Afganistan and Iraq and try to justify it by saying that their actions will spell women’s liberation. Whitemale think deplore the actions of other men, refusing to acknowledge the slaughter, terrorism and violence done in their own countries against women and children, by their own hands. Here we are talking again of the ‘good’ man Mal and the ‘bad’ man Jayne. In reality both commit violence against women, but each refuse to acknowledge their own violence.

Whedon explores a different kind of masculinity with the character of Simon. Simon’s masculinity is based on his intellectual achievements and social position. He acts as his sister River’s owner and protector, which also feeds into his sense of self. Simon’s intellect and compassion are mocked and punished by the ‘real men’: Mal and Jayne, who do their best to undermine Simon’s less valid claim to manhood. But Simon still wields his lesser manhood to some effect; his opinions matter more to Mal than the female characters opinions do. More air time is dedicated to dealing with Simon’s backstory than is given to the female characters. Simon still has male privilege, despite being a ‘lesser’ man.

Book’s character has already been commented on by a few other feminists and anti-racists, as being a stereotypical ‘magical negro’. I would agree with this assessment of his character. Book is a kind of ‘Uncle Tom’ character, the opposite of Early who is Whedon’s whitemale pornographic fantasy of the Black man as a hypersexualised, aggressive monster. Whedon neutralises this threat in his Book character by making him subject to his religious principles. It goes without saying that what regulates Book’s sexuality is a whitemale belief system. His Bible is modeled on the Judeo-Christian tradition; which is inherently whitemale supremacist. So the threat of the Black man’s lust is shown to be regulated and neutralized by the white man. Book becomes feminised, neutered, unthreatening.

In this way Whedon sets up and defines whitemale lust as characterized by Mal, as healthy, normal and natural. He also centralizes whitemale lust as essential to the audiences’ engagement in the text. (This was very much true of Buffy the Vampire Slayer also.) He defines ‘normal’ whitemale lust against an exaggerated version in order to set up whitemales as regulators of other men’s sexualities. I find it really fascinating how blatant Whedon is able to be with his misogynist masculinising. Anyway. In the episode, Objects in Space, Whedon takes this regulation of desire another step and shows the whitemale defeating the monstrous manifestation of unleashed Black male desire. Again, I find it really fascinating how blatant Joss Whedon is able to be with his pornographic race-hating depiction of Black male lust.

Gail Dines, the awesome feminist anti-pornography activist, in her essay King Kong and the white woman: Hustler magazine and the demonization of Black masculinity (read it in Not For Sale), talks about the characterization of Black men as sexual monsters. She makes many points that are pertinent to this discussion.

From the box office success of The Birth of a Nation in 1915 to the national obsession with O.J Simpson, the image of the Black male as the spoiler of white womanhood has been a staple of media representation in this country (US). The demonization of Black men as rapists and murderers has been well documented by scholars interested in film, news and rap music. While this image stands in sharp contrast to the feminized ‘Uncle Tom’ which was popular in early Hollywood films, both images serve to define Black men as outside the ‘normal’ realm of (white) masculinity by constructing them as ‘other’ .Although both the ‘Uncle Tom’ and the sexual monster continue to define the limits of Black male representation in mainstream media, it is the latter that dominates, and, according to Mercer, serves to legitimise racist practices such as mass incarceration of Black men, police brutality and right-wing government policy.

I would argue that Whedon is very definitely working within the Black man as sexual monster: Early; or neutered ‘Uncle Tom’: Book dichotomy, with his construction of Black male characters.

Early is played by a Black actor who is darker skinned and younger than the actor that plays Book. He is virile, uninhibited and very dangerous. He is depicted as cruel, depraved and not mentally balanced. His costume is a dark space suit, painted a burnished red, the colour of dried blood. The clarinet theme for the character is eerie and melancholic. Everything about the character screams malevolence.

When Early first boards the ship he immediately takes out Mal in a short and violent scene. He then locks most of the crew in their cabins while they are still asleep. Then suddenly he is in the engine room with Kaylee. Now this makes no sense to me in the scheme of the plot. Early’s supposed objective is to find River and take her to the Alliance. What the hell is he doing in the engine room? Oh, that’s right. We have to have a scene where The Black Man threatens The White Woman with rape.

James Snead, in the book White Screen, Black Images: Hollywood From the Dark Side, asserts that ‘in all Hollywood film portrayals of Blacks… the political is never far from the sexual.’ I think that this point is made very clearly in the scene where Early threatens Kaylee with rape. In this scene, Whedon is playing on all of the whitemale fears of the terrifying lust of Black men.

KAYLEE: River…?

She stands, looks. Nothing. She turns back to the toolbox, squats down to toss in a part, comes back up and Early is RIGHT behind her, she spins to see his face staring impassively inches from hers. She gasps, stumbles back. She’s up against the wall here.

EARLY: I like this ship.

She says nothing. Looks frantically around.

EARLY: (cont’d) Serenity. She’s good-looking. I mean she looks good.
KAYLEE: How did you get on…?
EARLY: It strains the mind a bit, don’t it? You think you’re all alone… Maybe I come down the chimney, Kaylee, bring presents to the good girls and boys. Maybe not, though.

He comes closer to her. She shrinks closer to the wall.

EARLY (cont’d): Maybe I’ve always been here.
KAYLEE: What do you want?

He looks at the turning engine, mesmerized.

EARLY: That’s her beating heart, isn’t it? You pull off any one of a thousand parts, she’ll just die. Such a slender thread… (still looking at the engine) Have you ever been raped?

A small beat —

KAYLEE: The captain’s right by —
EARLY: The captain’s locked in his quarters. They all are. There’s nobody can help you. Say it.
KAYLEE: There’s… there’s nobody can help me.
EARLY: I’m gonna tie you up now. And you know what I’m gonna do then? (she can’t answer) I’m gonna give you a present. Get rid of a problem you’ve got. And I won’t touch you in any wrong fashion, nor hurt you at all, unless you make some kind of ruckus. You throw a monkey wrench into my dealings in any way, your body is forfeit. Ain’t nothing but a body to me, and I can find all unseemly manner of use for it. Do you understand.
KAYLEE (tiny voice): Yes.
EARLY: Turn around and put your hands behind your back.

She slowly does, terror on her face, as he pulls out a thin roll of tape. Pulls a strip out, says:

EARLY (cont’d): Now tell me, Kaylee… where does River sleep?

Kaylee’s fear is absolutely central to this scene. Whedon emphasizes this in his commentary, excitedly describing Kaylee’s terror as ‘so achingly perfect and beautiful’. No big surprise there, white men like Joss have always gotten off on women’s pain. But the extent of the white woman’s fear is the measure of Early’s maliciousness. The more fear he inspires in her the more monstrous he becomes.

Early visits Inara too. Again, inflicting pain on a woman by hitting her. Not because he has to. Neither Inara or Kaylee are a physical threat to him in the same way that Mal and Book are portrayed.

Inara is sitting up in bed. Simon stands near the entrance of the room, looking tense. Inara, vulnerable and more than a little confused, looks from him to Early, who is peeking in the back room, gun trained steadily on Inara.

INARA: You can still walk away from this. I know you’re tired.

He violently pistol-whips her, pointing the gun back at Simon as she feels the blood on her lip.

EARLY: Don’t go visiting in my intentions. Don’t ever.

He moves to the entrance. Before he shuts the door:

EARLY (cont’d, to Inara): Man is stronger by far than woman. But only woman can create a child. That seem right to you?

Joss just loves putting pointed misogyny into the mouths of Black men, doesn’t he? In this scene Inara’s vulnerability is highlighted in the script, in sharp contrast to Early’s contempt. So Joss creates this Black male character who is a violent, malicious sexual monster. He is a bounty hunter and his bounty is River, a 16 year old white girl. Given the treatment we have seen him give Kaylee and Inara, the threat he poses to River isn’t really left up to our imagination. So whitemale lust and misogyny is the default ‘normal’ lust whereas lust and misogyny in a Black man is monstrous and must be contained and controlled by the whitemale.

We eventually find out that River has escaped the Firefly and is on board Early’s own ship. She pretends to go along with Early’s plan to steal her and give her to the Alliance but secretly she is in contact with Kaylee (after convincing the terrified white girl that the big, bad Black monster isn’t going to get her) and Mal, putting into place a plan to trick Early and escape. She tells Early to come back to his ship and she will go with him. Early believes her and steps out onto the outer hull of the Firefly in order to return. But Mal is there waiting. He pushes Early hard and Early goes spinning off into space. Then River comes floating down from Early’s ship, an ecstatic look on her face as she is gathered up in her white saviour’s arms. The whitemale role as protector could not be made any clearer than it is in this scene.

The final scene shows River playing a game with Kaylee while the defeated Black monster is floating alone in space, becoming the final object in Joss Whedon’s phallosophising wankfest. The Black monster no longer poses a threat and the whitemale has emerged victorious having put down the threat to the (whitemale) social order. To quote Dines “King Kong’s death at the end of the movie remasculinises the white man, not only by his conquering of the black menace, but also by regaining the woman.” In Objects in Space Mal is able to reassert his ownership/protection of all three of the women threatened by Early: Kaylee, Inara and River.

Well, that concludes my analysis of Objects in Space. It would be remiss of me to talk about racism in Firefly without mentioning the appropriation of Asian culture within the series. Go here and here to read critiques of the series from that perspective. Thanks to all the Whedonites who have been following my posts, I couldn’t have done this without you. (Scarily enough I actually mean that!)

First Firefly post, second, and third.


Male Children Sexually Harassing Female Children

August 2, 2008

Some things make me want to scream and throw things. The fact that the story I am about to tell is one of the milder things that a male child has said/done to a female child recently is one of them.

This was an interaction between myself and two nine year old children:

Female child (having misheard me say ‘miss’ to a male child): “She just called you ‘miss’.”

Me: “So there’s nothing wrong with being a girl. Besides I didn’t say ‘miss’ I said ‘mister’.”

Male child: “Yeah, there is something wrong with being a girl. Girls suck. The only reason that boys like girls is ’cause they’re hot. [To me:] Well you’re not. [To the female child:] But she is. She is really hot. She is a ten out of ten.”

Me: “…”

Seriously, what do you say to this shit? This is the stuff that makes me believe wholly in segregated education. This particular girl has to put up with this little boy’s continual sexual harassment of her. And for what? What an honour to be told “you suck but you are hot so I don’t care”. Fucking hell.

This isn’t the only story I have to tell. I have many more but am not too keen on this blog being discovered by a parent. I almost wish that I could work with girls only. It wasn’t so bad when I was working with younger kids but school aged boys are another story.


Movies about sisterhood and love between women

August 2, 2008

Go watch these clips from Radiance, my favourite movie (aligned in greatness with Serenades and Fire).

Fire by Deepa Mehta

Fucking Amal (Show Me Love)


If I wasn’t a dyke already these movies would make me one. This post is for those straight, whiny, rad fems out there. You know who you are. 😉


“We are the foundation of all that matters”: The 16th Carnival of the Radical Feminists

July 18, 2008

Hey sisters,

Welcome to the 16th Carnival of the Radical Feminists. I’ve finally gotten it finished and it is LOOONG. Um, sorry about that. It couldn’t be helped. I blame all of the awesome women out there who write too damn eloquently and blog tirelessly for women. Thank you so much for all existing. Thank you so much for finding your voices. Putting together this carnival has opened up my eyes to the wholeness of what women have forged here on the internet. Together we are a brilliant and dazzling force. Our words shine strong. The few links I’ve collected here barely scratches the surface of the work that women are doing collectively online. As Renee from Womanist Musings put so beautifully, “we are the foundation of all that matters”. Believe it.

Reflections on Feminism

It really annoys me when some feminists distance themselves from other feminists, saying shit like, “not all feminists are hairy, man-hating lesbians”. I consider this distancing behaviour, and as such it is lesbophobic and woman-hating. Which is why I really appreciate Cellycel’s lastest post over at ‘Cause Knowledge is Power which she writes On Being a Good Feminist.

“You’re one of the few sane feminists” Or “You’re one of the good feminists” or “For a feminist you’re not so bad” and similar statements are not compliments. The first one is disabilist, and the whole thing is shitty anyway. Like “Your values are shitty, but you’re not so bad” or “I like you, but I don’t like most people who beleive the things you do.” or any other version of ‘your value system sucks’

Feminism is my value system. I use a lot of what I’ve learned from my feminism to guide my life. That means small things, like just trying not to be a jerk, trying to pay attention to people etc. For the most part. Other things too, like trying not to be a privileged ass, and such. You know.
These are my values. Stop insulting them.

L at Editorializing the Editors reviews Feminism is for Everybody: Passionate Politics, by bell hooks.

I’m loving dredgirl’s writing over at fuckthepostpolitical (such a great name for a blog too). In Thinking Feminism dreadgirl talks of her own experiences and queries post-feminism.

Postfeminism doesn’t speak of living in a male-dominated world. It also seems to be a specifically ‘Western’ idea; it speaks of the equality granted to privileged women, failing to acknowledge the global condition of women, or the way in which women’s experiences are differentiated according to race, class, sexuality, ability etc. even in these privileged nation-states.

Anxious Black Woman from Diary of an Anxious Black Woman writes of the National Women’s Studies Conference in her entry NWSA 2008 Repositioning Black Feminism.

After reading Beloved and Michelle Cliff’s Free Enterprise – forget about fiction, let’s just look at history (and I certainly suggest you revisit my Black Herstory series) – after Harriet Tubman, do we really need to construct a patriarchal narrative about the Underground Railroad when this journey required the strength of both women and men, black and white? I did find it quite amusing, after this filmic introduction, that the tour guide – when describing one of these fugitive slave stories to us – kept getting one of the names wrong by mentioning the name of Mary Ellen. It finally dawned on the group: right across from the tour guide was a big old portrait of Mary Ellen Pleasant, looking all impressive and big-eyed and “angry” like how black women get when they cut their eyes at you (and, yes, that’s how she looked in the photo). Heh. I knew, when I gazed into her portrait, that Mrs. Pleasant was feeling the way I was since, ONCE AGAIN, she was being erased from this narrative. So, every time the tour guide kept inserting her name, I felt her spirit in tune with mine: if I could high-five her at that instant, you know I would.

Don’t you just love it when black women, dead or alive, refuse to be silent or forgotten? 🙂

Ruby Sales over at Something Within posts I Can’t Deal With Her: Black and White Women in the Movement.

In the Movement, I worked met and worked alongside white women who were just as fierce about democratizing the south and the rest of the country by breaking the backs of economic and racial injustice. Like black women, they took the body blows and the vicious name calling without backing down or finding easy ways out. We stretched each other’s lives! Thinking back on it now, had we gone through life without meeting each other our lives would be the poorer for it.

Hellen at Hell on Hairy Legs talks up Feminism.

As a feminist I’m not going to dispute how women label themselves. I understand why some people might want to distance themselves with the racist, classist and ultimately unprogressive elements of the feminist movement. When people say feminist is about equality, I don’t see it as being equal with where man is right now. I see it as creating a world where all people are equal, regardless of genitalia. That world would not look anything like the world we have now.

Renee over at Womanist Musings rocks it out in her post Colluders and Stepford Wives.

I’m going to let you in on a little known secret, women matter. Despite the hegemonic role that men play globally, the labor of women is necessary to keep this little blue planet from going completely off kilter. I know that everywhere you turn women are minimized and reduced to accessories, but we are the foundation of all that matters*. It is on our shoulders that civilizations have risen and fallen, and it is from our wombs that life continues to be nurtured. [*quoted in post title: thanks, Renee!]

Debs from The Corvid Diaries writes beautifully and movingly in Dark Moon Musings.

I talk about rape a lot, I know I do. It’s something that’s in my head a lot, so I talk about it. I have only just learned to talk about my own experience in that area, so I am not going to shut up now, not for anyone, not until every last nuance is dealt with, and even then I’ll probably still keep talking about it, because, well, it was 17 years ago for me, but for other women it’s today and tonight and tomorrow and next week, and on and on, until at some point some miracle happens and the men Stop Raping. I suppose, until then, which will be a long time after I die I should think, I’ll have to keep talking about it.

Documenting and Resisting Male Terrorism

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff speaks out against the Quiverfull Movement in the documentary Quiverfull: Shunned from God’s Army. Watch the clip.

I’ve mentioned before that I disagree strongly with the idea of stem cell research. A large factor in this has to do with the fact that there are many, many reasons to be deeply distrustful of reproductive technologies. This is a link to a video about a woman who was seriously harmed by these technologies, her story is not an uncommon one: The Calla Papademas Story. From the awesome women over at Hands Off Our Ovaries.

Digital Dryad writes angrily about men getting away with rape in the military in her post Military: The Ultimate Rape Club.

The US military has a long history of not wanting women in the boys club. This case just goes to show what happens to countless numbers of women within that institution.

This Colonel will get a slap and life will go on, except for the fact that the women who were assaulted never got justice.

Eeni B. Bella over at Radical Misfit wants rapists to be held accountable for rape (as they fucking should be) in her post Hold the rapists accountable!.

Now, get this: ABC NEWS IS CALLING THIS 14-YR-OLD RAPE VICTIM JACQUES’ “TEENAGE LOVER” AND “ACCOMPLICE”!!! Then, the author refers to Jacques and Brooke’s 40-year-old stepfather “having three-way sex” with the 14-yr-old girl. NO, THAT IS CALLED TWO MEN SIMULTANEOUSLY RAPING ONE GIRL!

The author is David Schoetz. I want his fingers fucking cut off so he can’t ever write again.

Jennifer writes of her experience of the American courts and her father’s domestic terrorism.

At one point I was relieved when my told them that she couldn’t do it. She said that she couldn’t make us go with him. Then Michael London grabbed me and pulled me out of my mother’s arms. I wouldn’t let go. I remember all these people prying my fingers loose from my mom’s dress. When Michael London had me, I kept kicking and screaming “MOMMY I WANT MY MOMMY.” I told Michael London “BUT HE HURTS ME AND HE HURTS MY BROTHER!” I still remember him saying “I know!” as he handed me to my father.

That was the worst day of my life!!!!!

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff from Women’s Space writes in support of Jennifer’s mother in her post In Support of Holly Ann Collins, a Battered American Woman Granted Asylum in the Netherlands Because the U.S. Wouldn’t Protect Her.

Holly Collins’ adult daughter, Jennifer, has created a blog attempting to raise awareness of the family’s situation. She and her adult brother want to come home to the U.S. They want their mom and their younger brother to be able to come home, too. They are rightly horrified over the treatment they are receiving at the hands of officials in the United States. Their father continues to abuse them whenever he gets the chance. The one ray of hope is, they have a good attorney with lots of experience representing survivors of battering, “domestic violence,” so-called, male terrorism, really, plain and simple.

One of these days there will be women’s country, and women will have asylum, sanctuary, peace and safety. One of these days.

Rebecca Mott’s writing is always incredibly powerful. It is very hard to quote Rebecca, as every sentence she writes is full of truth. Her post Entitlement is no different, where she talks about the male-dominated left and their inexcusable attempts to justify prostitution.

Men that the left will “othered”. Say those men are bad, so when they do “bad things” to prostituted women and girls – the men in the left can ridiculed their behaviour.

But when men use prostituted women and girls, they come from all backgrounds.

Where is the criticism of poor men abusing prostitutes, men who called themselves left-wingers, then rape prostituted women.

When I was prostituted I was raped by students, unemployed, rich men, elderly, men from different cultures or counties. I was raped by men who it was their first time, men who may never do such a thing again, and men who who abuse prostitutes as a hobby.

Rebecca also writes of the pain of never being able to seek justice for the crimes that were committed against her by so many men, in her post titled On Justice posted at rmott62.

A huge part of my grief and depression comes from that I know I will never get personal justice for all the tortures I was on the receiving end when I was prostituted.

All I can do is to use my experiences to help fight the battle to get justice for other prostituted women and girls.

This eases some of my grief and pain. It will never be a complete cure.

But that sense of frustration fuels my anger.

Professor Tracey from Aunt Jemima’s Revenge blogs about the murder of Sparkle Reid-Rae in her post Former Professor Convicted of Hiring Hitman to Murder his African-American Daughter in Law for “Cultural Reasons”.

Reid-Rai’s husband has since completely abandoned their child to be raised by her parents and has not seen the child in years. I do not envy those grandparents having to explain this horrific story to that child when she grows up. How do explain that your grandfather who has never seen you, hire people to murder your mother?

Fire Witch over at Fire Witch Rising writes So Much For Sorry: Canada Beats Grandmother’s.

On Saturday, border agents were pulling over every Native person. Kahentinetha and Katenies were traveling in Akwesasne in the course of their regular activities and were caught up in the dragnet. Did Fantino set up a trap for the two outspoken, Mohawk grandmothers? We suspect that Kahentinetha would have been killed at a secret location had she not had a heart attack and been taken to hospital.

Nine Deuce from Rage Against the Manchine writes about the misogyny of radio hosts in her post What About the Poor Rapists?

These two radio dildoes then began to wonder aloud what it must feel like to be Mr. Tarrant. The poor guy has to go to class with a bunch of people who know he’s been accused of rape. Aw, that really sucks, man. (Wait, why the fuck hasn’t he been suspended from classes at the school?) The radio hosts didn’t wonder what it might be like for the victim, who has, you know, been raped and all, and who has to go to school on a campus where people are more concerned with football stats than women’s human rights.

Nine Deuce again with How to End Rape: Deuce’s Law.

If I had my choice, we’d do away with rape by changing our cultural attitudes toward gender, toward sex, toward power, toward everything, thereby creating a world in which rape could not possibly occur. That would most certainly be ideal, and I believe it’s possible, but I think it might take an awfully long time, and I’m ready for rape to stop right now. Rape and other forms of sexual violence are hate crimes and are among the most heinous manifestations of the misogyny that characterizes our culture. As such, eradicating rape, in my opinion, is one of the most pressing feminist issues.

Sarah from Fort Worth Feminism writes about a christian minister’s justifications of male terrorism in the home with her post Theology Professor Connects Domestic Violence to Feminism.

Bruce Ware, a professor of Christian theology at a seminary in Kentucky, spoke from the pulpit of Denton Bible Church recently. His sermon focused on his belief that men abuse their wives because women rebel against the man’s God-given authority and because women “desire to have their own way instead of submitting to their husband’s because of sin.

Marcella Chester from abyss2hope: A rape survivor’s zigzag journey into the open examines the male apologist’s arguments for why men rape in her post Kathleen Parker: Save The Sexually Violent Males.

I’ve walked down many streets and I’ve seen attractive women with bared midriffs, but I’ve yet to see a bared midriff taunt men or boys into physical or sexual violence or into fear for their safety. Same goes for tattoos. I’ve seen plenty of them, but I’ve never seen one taunt men or boys. However, I have seen men and boys actually taunt girls and women based on a variety of excuses or for no reason other than gender.

Renee from Womanist Musings writes movingly about Esmin Green… Yes She Mattered.

Women akin to Esmin don’t matter, they never have, and I doubt that they ever will, in my lifetime. Really who cares about some mentally ill, poor black woman. If she cannot be exploited any longer, she might as well die and decrease the surplus population. It was with callousness, and disregard for the sanctity of life, that the hospital staff acted.

Debs from The Corvid Diaries has started a new project, Medical and Obstetrics Rape Awareness Group, to resist the invasion of women’s bodies by medical practitioners. It is a really fantastic project that everyone must check out.

The Medical and Obstetric Rape Awareness Group (MORAG) is an international project aiming to raise awareness of and get people talking about the terrible violation, and even rape, that some women experience at the hands of medical staff when giving birth or undergoing a gynaecological procedure.

I have read many stories of women suffering inhumane treatment from doctors, midwives and other medical staff in situations when they are at their most vulnerable and should be able to trust the medical staff to have their best interests at heart. Some of the stories have been harrowing to read, yet women all too often feel unable to tell their stories, or name what happened to them, as it is so frowned upon to say anything detrimental about the medical profession.

Anne Bartow over at Feminist Law Professors posts on Judge Alex Kozinski of the Ninth Circuit Is Running A Misogynist Porn Site.

Holly Ord at Menstrual Poetry writes on the hypocrisy of anti-choices groups in her post Pro-Lifers Say No to Habitat for Humanity.

We all know that “pro-lifers” want to destroy everything relating to reproductive health care and limit the types of reproductive health care women seek and are given. We also know that pro-lifers hate hate hate Planned Parenthood because they are “baby killers” (even though not all Planned Parenthood clinics perform abortions) and they distribute that evil poison-in-pill form known as birth control!

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff from Women’s Space Publishes Suki Falconberg’s Open Letter to PBS: Why Didn’t You Film the “Carrier” Rape-Stops?

I would like to know what the women sailors aboard the ship think of this rape of their prostituted sisters—do they make the connection? High rates of sexual assault in the military are directly related to the time-honored rape of for-sale women by sailors. Train and allow men to rape one group of women, and they will rape others as well.

I read that the Nimitz is planning to dock in Hong Kong this month. Perhaps PBS could do some ‘postscript’ filming–follow the men into the brothels. As a woman who was raped and prostituted by the U.S. military, I would like my side of military history to be told. What is ‘fun’ for the sailors is life imprisonment in rape hell for us prostitutes. I wish women journalists and filmmakers would cover what happens to us.

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff over at Women’s Space writes a powerful critique of the male left in the South Americas in telling the story of INGRID BETANCOURT FREED.

I have spent much time writing this post not only because Betancourt is an amazing woman whose work and life may well be pivotal to the history of Colombia and for that matter, the world, but also because it so illuminates the experiences and difficulties of being a woman who aspires to political power, and ultimately wields it, in a male supremacist world.

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff over at Women’s Space draws attention to COINTELPRO 2008: New Justice Department Policy Will Authorize Racial Profiling.

For those unfamiliar with COINTELPRO, it is an acronym for the FBI’s notorious Counter Intelligence Program of the 50s, 60s and early 70s which targeted, infiltrated and destroyed individuals and groups it considered a “threat” — ”communists” (communism was illegal in the U.S. in the 50s), labor unions, leftists, Civil Rights movement leaders, including Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the American Indian Movement, radical feminist groups, the women’s liberation movement, Angela Davis and many others, including Viola Liuzzo, a Civil Rights worker who marched from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 and who was shot by a COINTELPRO informant who was a member of the Ku Klux Klan.

Cheryl Lindsey Seelhoff again, highlighting the highly disturbing medicalisation of birth and women’s resistance to this form of male terrorism in her post American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Launches Attack on Home Birth and Home Birthing Moms.

Since the earliest days of the women’s movement, women have been fighting for our right to birth our babies in our own way. For as long a time, patriarchal, allopathic medicine has attempted, in every conceivable way, to assert, establish and maintain control over our bodies and our lives. It has consistently attempted, often successfully, to establish policies and procedures, rules and regulations, which forbid home birth, birth with midwives, and unassisted birth.

Michelle Obama Watch is a very awesome website dedicated to calling out the media’s sexist and racist attacks on Michelle Obama.

Women Speaking Up and Stepping Out

SheCodes over at Black Women Vote lets her incredibly powerful voice shine in her post The War Over the Souls of Black Girls.

So far, we have been losing this war horribly. Our dead litter the brothels and the crack houses, our prisoners of war are held captive by the porn industry, and our would-be warriors are enticed away to serve the destroyers of the souls of Black girls. Our survivors wander through a wasteland of damaged social standing, reduced life choices, and meager economic opportunity; many become locked in a cycle of self preservation.

Below is footage of a rally in defense of Karen Salazar, a teacher in the US who was fired, quite literally, for teaching her students.

Focused Purpose writes passionately against the degradation of Black women and girls in her post: Heart of a Whore.

In light of our history, and the sexual horrors and atrocities we have sustained and continue to endure at the hands of white and black men; standing against ANYONE that does not treat us respectfully is the only acceptable behavior. Black skin does not afford you impunity, even if you are suffering racism. We all are in black skin and suffering racism.

Justice Walks over at My Perspective provides clarity in her post I Eat Male Babies for Breakfast.

Abandonment is not murder. Certainly, men faced with the prospect of abandoning their daughters aren’t jumping to the frenzied conclusion that it’s exactly the same thing as just snapping their little necks. Men go on with their lives, generally never to consider their abandoned little girls again, except in some cases when men come back tired of life’s thrills expecting a little of the family time they missed out on. (And they’re generally obliged.) Yet, mothers so deeply identify with their little patriarchs that, at least at that forum, they immediately leap to exactly this conclusion.

Fantasia from Fantasia’s World writes of her dream of getting more women moving in Egypt in her post D for Dream.

Thus, motivation and strong will are other big challenges in a woman’s world. Many women think that whatever they can achieve is not worth being stoned for it. Therefore, they follow the safety instructions listed in their old grannies’ manuals, which they learned to trust and treasure so dearly. Wisdom is always good, you know. What they don’t know, however, is that wisdom never built anything or invented anything. If we allow ourselves to get stuck in this old wisdom safe box, we can never move a single step ahead. Stepping ahead has got its risks.. and you can never be able to take those risks unless you are a dreamer. If you dream, you dare take risks. Only then will you discover, and grow, and make a change.

Maggie Hays from Against Porn debunks the porn apologist’s myths in her post Porn Apologist Bullshit Arguments List.

See this? Yeah, that’s a broken record. I chose this image for this post because I sincerely believe that all the pro-porners, pro-prostitutionists, pro-sexploitation folks, pro-hate speech & pro-“sex work” activists (or whatever you rad fems wanna call them) sound like a fucking broken record with all their “same old shit” reactionary arguments that do nothing whatsoever to help women as a class, arguments that, on the contrary, bolster the patriarchal anti-woman status quo.

The video below is part of the We Are More: Empowerment campaign. I hope to see more like it. This one is called Ain’t I a Woman?

Anne Bissell’s Website is really fantastic and worth a visit. Anne Bissell is a survivor of prostitution and has written a book titled Memoirs of a Sex Industry Survivor. There is also a radio segment here that is worth listening to with interviews with survivors of prostitution: Wendy Barnes, Anne Bissell and Heather. The transcript is here.

Yawning Lion over at feh-muh-nist writes up her Dating Advice.

Cultural Commentary

Dissenter over at The Mermaid’s Garden does what she does best, literary analysis, in her post The Golden Compass, Billy Thunder and the Night Gate, Sabriel and Lirael: A Comparison.

Thus we have the usual patriarchal lies being perpetrated, in which women are presented as being controlling and power hungry, while men are presented as oppressed beings risking their lives for freedom. Tell me, how many women can you think of who have courageously given their lives in the pursuit of not only women’s freedom, but freedom for all, even the men who hate them? Who is it who is stopping these women, who murder them and put them in prison, who ridicule their books and their intellectual achievements, who viciously silence their voices? Men. Men are the ones who do these things to women. It is not women who do these things to men.

dredgirl at fuckthepostpolitical writes a great critique of The Gruen Transfer. (For non-aussies The Gruen Transfer is this cool, hip, new, aussie show that supposedly critiques advertising. There is a panel of four white men and one white woman and ah… not a whole lot of critique. But as a bonus we get lots of sexist jokes, as well as justifications and advocation of advertising. Yay!)

As a tutor in cultural studies, i spend plenty of time teaching students about the semotics of advertising; I teach them about the social politics of representation, often discussing the gendered and racialised aspects of media in general, and advertising in particular. In the courses I teach on, we ask students to unlearn, to defamiliarise themselves with the representations and experiences they may take as natural, normal or common. Unlearning is often experienced as uncomfortable, as an affront, or critique of privilege (whether it be race privilege, gender privilge, class privilege etc), but it can also be incredibly invigorating, allowing students to see the world differently.

Amanata at Screaming Into a Void writes an incredibly insightful post Islam Vs. Christianity, Re. Feminism.

I hear people say women are forced into marriage in those “other” cultures. Define forced. Do you think every married woman in the Islamic world is dragged in chains to her wedding? I mean – do you really think that? Are some marriages there forced? Sure. But as a young white Christian girl I knew of at least two forced marriages in my teen years – forced marriages of young girls who’d “gotten themselves knocked up”.

Richard Leader from Adonis Mirror concentrates on the real perpetrators of white, male supremacy… white men, in his post The Pimp and Ho Primary.

However, my dislike isn’t arbitrary or capricious. It has a very specific origin. I detest progressives who claim to be against unchecked capitalism, up until the issue of sexual exploitation is raised. These are the sort of people who mock Wal-Mart shoppers, McDonald’s workers, and other inferior beings in the liberal universe, only to turn around and celebrate the selling of sex as liberation itself. Some of these people are so far gone as to be in favor of human trafficking, if only because George W. Bush had the sense to be against it.

Pisaquari from Buried Alive writes Reassigning Looks examining our notions of physical attraction.

Seeing physical attraction for the media-frenzied, constructed, cruel bull shit it is has some far-reaching implications. Re-worded: it changes the way we see everyone. For women, it changes a great deal of how we view ourselves.

Renee from Womanist Musings writes along similar lines in her post Sexiest Black Women Alive.

I am not saying that light skinned sisters are not beautiful, I have a problem with the fact that they are commonly used as a representative of ALL black women. We come in many different shades, and to point to one as particularly more beautiful than another, is to reinforce a hierarchy based in skin tone. This is not a sign of loving ourselves, rather it is the internalization of black hate. The cruelty of slavery has left us with this terrible legacy.

Rainbow Girl over at Team Rainbow completely cracked me up with her post How to Victimize Yourself Before Others Victimize You!.

Trust your instincts. Women are very intuitive. Yes, actually women have magical animal instincts because they are genetically closer to vampires/bats than humans. That’s why we don’t allow them full human rights. You know how an ordinary flower looks different to a bee because the bee can see the ultraviolet colours? Women are like that. Bad men have RAPIST written in a colour called ultraviolator, which women can see if they look really hard.

Professor Tracey at Aunt Jemima’s Revenge asks Why Is Anyone Watching Or Debating About BET’s Hip Hop Vs. America Series?.

And if the discussion was supposed to be about women and hip hop, why wasn’t the discussion panel and host all female? What is exactly is the point of having men discuss women and their history and role in hip hop music and culture? Men, particularly black men have clearly already had more then enough say about women and hip hop.

Buggle from Buggle’s blog writes quite frankly about how Abortion should be free and on demand.

People talk about abortion as if it’s this big moral thing. I don’t think it is. It’s a question of: do you want a kid or not? For some of us, that may be a hard decision. For others, it may be incredibly simple and easy. Now, I have never had an abortion, or been pregnant, so you can say “well buggle, easy for you to say! Just wait until you get pregnant and have to make that choice.” And, you have a point 🙂 But to me, there is no moral issue. It’s not about murder, or killing babies. It’s just not about that at all. It’s about me, as a human being, being able to decide if I want to spend the rest of my life parenting, or not. And I choose not.

I found this post by Aimee over at Black Girls Rule interesting in its analysis of racialised sexual stereotyping in her post Reinterpreting Wesley Snipes.

As Halima’s concept of racio-misogyny articulates, for some black men, sexism against black women is not merely a function of gender but also of race—resentment is derived as much from black women’s nappy hair, dark skin, broad features, “lack of femininity,” the way in which her blackness precludes her from being the trophy that Snipes describes (“the guys are like, `Oh man, you’ve got a great women.’ And the man says, `Yeah, I do. ”)–as it is from her being a woman. His words here remind me of the scene in “Their Eyes Were Watching God” in which Tea Cake brags about the fair-skinned Janie’s susceptibility to bruising after a beating. Black equals strong, loud, unsusceptible to bruising–mule-like in toughness and resiliency. As Snipes notes, a man wants to be proud of his woman: he wants someone pleasing, someone compromising, someone compassionate—to him.

Focused Purpose writes on the same theme in her post: A different energy…

i have oftentimes conversed with brothers that date out and heard how much “easier” it is to “deal” with white, asian, hispanic, persian, armenian, and other women. of course, there never is consideration given as to why this might be the case. these brothers usually make these women out to be superior and us sisters inferior, deficient, lacking, and unworthy of love.

m Andrea over at miss Andrea’s chooses a fun, troll attracting topic in the second part of her deconstructing transgender posts: PART TWO: Deconstructing Transgenderism for non-radical feminists.

First, we have someone who claims to not feel comfortable in hiz own body. All well and good, many people are uncomfortable about some aspect of their physical appearance that they wish to change. This individual claims to be a different gender then hiz birth body indicates. Well we have a problem with that word gender. Because feminists keep saying that there is no gender. So if transgenderism is a valid medical condition, and transfolk really do need to change body parts, then the reason they need to change those body parts is because gender is real. Which automatically makes the favorite feminist theory invalid — yanno, the one where they screech that gender is a social construct. Yanno, the one theory which has formed the foundation for all other subsequent feminist theory for the last three centuries. Yanno, the one theory which if rendered invalid automatically reboots every other feminist theory in existence.

Polly Strene over at you know that I’ve been drunk a thousand times covers pretty much everything in her post The opposite of sex.

Yes that is from an official home office document (international readers, – the Home office is one of the most important central government departments). Men and women have different brains, understanding and thought processes. Men are naturally aggressive whilst women just love fluffy little kittens and know nothing about the gold standard. And what is to blame for this bizarre belief? Have they spent too long reading the Daily Male? No it’s gender – the new hallucinogen of choice.

Creative Feminist Resistance

Yawning Lion over at feh-muh-nist lets us know about a cheap way of accessing female artists in her post I’m in love.

My sweet CDBaby introduced me first to Ebony Washington and her “Revolutionary Kind of Girl” CD which I love. I love anyone who can work words like gentrification and patriarchy into music along with references to Rudy Guiliani. Ebony’s CD is my favorite of the surprise CDs. As many of you know, I’ve been wrestling with my whiteness and struggling to understand the dynamics of race in this country, and Ebony deals frankly with the subject. In her song, “Movin’ On Up,” she tells it plain as can be, “at the sight of color, you were quick to scatter.” In her moving tribute to global solidarity among women, she says, “I could have been right there with you, but instead I constructed new ways to create miracles and I’m asking Victoria to keep my secrets… I’m right here with you – a commodity, bought and sold.”

Debs writes a raw piece on rape: Only She Remembers.

Lynn Sweeting writes up women’s revolution in her poem Good Boots.

Tami from What Tami Says posts a powerful poem by the incredible Black female poet Nikki Giovanni: Woman Poem.

dredgirl from fuckthepostpolitical uses poetry to describe her experiences of domestic violence in her poem today i listened to the air.

Naomi Downie from Sacred Beauty: Visionary art and Poetry is a woman-centred poet I had the pleasure of seeing perform recently. All of the poetry and artwork on her site is fantastic; beautiful and women-centred. I particularly recommend The Universal Mother.

My sister Dragort started writing when she was seven years old. Her stories have long been a source of strength, inspiration and women-centredness during some desperately bleak times. She has started writing a brilliant young adult novel, The Chosen, the first part of which has been published at Spinning Spinsters.

Miriam who blogs over at Black Fire, White Fire is writing an awesome story for teenagers designed to empower and inspire young Black girls. It is really awesome and I hope she continues Jumping In!

Madeline Begun Kane at Mad Kane’s Political Madness asks the pertinent question Is Olbermann Turning Into O’Reilly?.

Tori Amos is one of my favourite songwriters. Here she performs Me and a Gun, one of her most intimate pieces, which deals with her experience of being raped by a man, at gunpoint.

Thanks again, sisters, and thank you Heart, for starting this ball rolling. You can contribute posts to the next carnival on the Carnival Submission Page and the carnival home is here.