|—||Anita Hill to Feministing|
Slutwalk NYC is having its second organizing meeting this Thursday from 7-9pm in the Puck Building, 295 Lafayette St (at Houston). 4th Floor. If you’d had enough of slut shaming, victim blaming, and rape cops escaping justice, then come help us plan a march to end sexual violence and oppression. If you can’t make it, but want to be involved email email@example.com. Date of the march TBA (early fall).
So today, I got invited to Google +, however, my excitement was completely tempered by their offensive gender question that is not optional. You must check, Male, Female, or Other. Forcing someone to check other if they don’t fit into the incredibly restrictive, socially constructed, gender binary? Not cool, Google, not cool. Everyone at Google + should be reading the book I just finished, Stone Butch Blues. I DARE you to demand someone check Other after reading what it’s actually like to live outside the binary.
(photo via Feministing, who also wrote on the subject)
UPDATE: Yes, Google responding by giving you the option to not show your gender. I don’t quite think that’s good enough; the question should be optional, and instead of relying on pronouns for identification, just use the user’s name. Pretty antiquated veiws on gender there, Google.
Yesterday, I was on the stairmaster, where I often think about patriarchy. Yep, you read that whole sentence right. On the screen on the treadmill in front of me (I hate treadmills), E! was showing highlights from the Miss America pageant, which apparently happened on Sunday and featured around 49 or so women who don’t really believe in evolution, or are willing to say as much to win a crown. Awesome. (And yes one of two who did won, but still!) Maybe it seems absurd to get angry about Miss America, since I’m not, you know, shedding light on something: “Hey, I don’t know if you’ve heard of the Miss America pageant, but it’s kind of sending the wrong message to young women.” Or maybe it’s sending the right message by alerting girls to what society will really value: not your brain, but how you look in a bikini with Vaseline smudged on your teeth, which can’t taste good, not that we ever thought it did. And yet, I’m told, a lot, not to bother getting upset about something so silly as the Miss America pageant, or rather, I’m supposed to champion that these women are all going after college degrees, or the charity work, or something, but I won’t, I won’t do it. Nope. I think beauty pageants suck, when not being the jumping off point for dark comedies or quirky films.
And then, I read that HALF, fucking HALF, of 3-6 year olds think they are fat, and it’s connected to what we teach young girls is valued- their looks, and that women, parading in bikinis, for a crown, is a national pastime. I know everyone, rightfully so, got upset last week when the news broke that boy children are preferred over girls (so did I, and I think it’s a great lesson that America behaves like many developing countries we love to criticize), but you know what, I’d be fucking terrified of bringing a girl into our society right now, so if you asked me, well for starters, I have like no income, but I’d tell you I want a French Bulldog.
But there is something we can do, besides protest Miss America, which I am totally totally down to do next year if anyone’s in! We can change the way we talk to little girls, as Bloom explains. It sounds simple, but it’s brilliant. Bloom writes that:
“I always bite my tongue when I meet little girls, restraining myself from my first impulse, which is to tell them how darn cute/ pretty/ beautiful/ well-dressed/ well-manicured/ well-coiffed they are…
Teaching girls that their appearance is the first thing you notice tells them that looks are more important than anything. It sets them up for dieting at age 5 and foundation at age 11 and boob jobs at 17 and Botox at 23. As our cultural imperative for girls to be hot 24/7 has become the new normal, American women have become increasingly unhappy. What’s missing? A life of meaning, a life of ideas and reading books and being valued for our thoughts and accomplishments.”
She then goes on to show you the kind of conversation you can and should be having with young girls (asking them what books they are reading right now, for example). I happen to babysit them sometimes, and I also have a niece. That said my sister and brother in law teach me a lot about gender, and my niece knew who the Buddha was before she knew what a TV is, but it scares me to think about how the rest of society will treat her, which is why it’s so important to do things like change the way we talk because we have control over it, and our society is going to send some really awful messages. I know that doesn’t sound super optimistic, but I think it can be. It’s empowering to make change where you can.
I look forward to reading Bloom’s book Think: Straight Talk for Women to Stay Smart in a Dumbed-Down World.
“Fuck Heteronormativity: My queer world-making project continues with the always subversive T-Swift’s ‘You Belong With Me.’”
This is amazing. Also check out “I’m not a virign because virginity isn’t even real.” Woman of Steele’s newest crush, thanks to feministing.
Early Friday evening, I met Genesis P-Orridge on Bedford Ave. I was so humbled to be able to talk to them. Genesis speaks of himself as a we, in reference to his late wife, Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge, so I will too.
Genesis is an incredible artist and musician, the innovator behind Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, but I know them best from the love story in The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye (trailer below). I stuttered more than a bit when I first introduced myself, as I have a tendency to get nervous and inarticulate in the presence of someone whose work and life I admire. Genesis gave me a big hug and was so lovely and friendly, and we talked a little bit about my impression of the film. Genesis remarked that the world would be a better place with more romantics and less cynics, as I mentioned hopelessly falling into the former category.
I am so thankful for having met them. And again, thank you Genesis and Lady Jaye for sharing your life and love with us.