Archive for October, 2010

October 21st, 2010

Be More Than A Witness…

….and do more than make a video.

Anyone who’s been in earshot of me lately has heard about my issues with the “It Gets Better” campaign. There’s a good critique of it here.

And here are some facts:

About a third of LGBT kids miss school at least once a month because they are physically afraid.

Almost 20% of them have been assaulted at school in the last year.

These statistics are much higher for queer kids of color and trans or gender queer youth.

There are LGBTQ youth living on the street or in shelters who are at an even higher risk of assault, rape, and suicide.

As usual, the solutions are low-tech and require commitment. Support the people who are on the ground helping these kids every day. Volunteer with a shelter or a group in your community. Start one if there isn’t one. Donate to GLSEN so schools in your community can organize and identify safe spaces. The Trevor Project is looking for volunteers right now. Write to your Representative and Senators and urge them to pass the Student Non-Discrimination Act.

And let’s make something else clear: LGBTQ young people are not the only ones we need to reach out to. Straight kids and cis kids need to learn how to be allies–and how to deal with homophobic and transphobic slurs that they receive. Young people who engage in bullying behavior need to be held accountable, but also understood–they have often been bullied and abused themselves. We as adults need to listen.

It’s been 12 years since Matthew Shepard was tortured and murdered for being gay. Last week three men were kidnapped and tortured because they were suspected of being gay. That’s not getting better.

October 18th, 2010

When Andy Met Sally

Andrew Cuomo and two other men. they are at the end of a hallway inside a large dairy refigerator.

The potential for shock, revelation and self-immolation are all high: the cast includes not only Mr. Cuomo, the attorney general, and Mr. Paladino, a Buffalo real estate developer, but also a convicted former madam, a Black Panther turned left-wing city councilman, and a self-described actor, rent activist, karate expert and private investigator. “We could end up with Andy Warhol meets Salvador Dalí,” said Bruce N. Gyory, a Democratic political consultant who is not involved with any of the campaigns.

Remind me to go to Mr. Gyory whenever I need a colorful quote.

October 17th, 2010

THE S.T.IG.M.A. MANIFESTO

SISTERS TOGETHER IN GIRLIE MOVIE-MAKING ACTION

In honor of all those women out there making films and kicking ass, I propose a new manifesto—Sarah Jacobson

Because movies that reflect a woman’s point of view are still too rare.

Because even though women are achieving incredible feats in business, politics, sports and the arts, we are still invisible unless we are the love interest or the heinous bitch (or both!).

Because women who have made films in the past have been written out of history—like Alice Guy Blache, the first narrative filmmaker (The Cabbage Fairy, 1896), who went on to run her own studio and was involved with over 700 films and has been totally left out of the history books.

Because distributors don’t pick up films made by women and critics don’t champion girl-friendly movies that do get released. (Can you name any female-directed, critic-darling movies where a woman doesn’t die at the end?)

Because the industry doesn’t know how to market to a female audience and isn’t interested in organizing one.

Because women over 35 are one of the largest movie-going audiences and Hollywood doesn’t want you to know!

Because someone made, released and gave a ton of money to Shallow Hal!

Because girls are still getting intimidated out of film school.

Because we are not going to put up with this *beep* any longer.

Because we are tired of women filmmakers and women’s stories being considered a stigma

Here are the guidelines:

–At least one of the main characters is a woman

– The main woman character does not die at the end, especially if she flaunts moral and sexual conventions

– The main woman character does more than be helpless and/or sleep with the main man character

– No rapes against women unless it deals with the consequences

– No “glamorous” female naked corpses

– More eating pussy and clitoral stimulation scenes during sex scenes if there are any

– No shopping montages

– No makeovers

– Must have at least one guy in the cast who straight girls would want to French kiss

–No dissing of fat girls

– No male fantasy lesbian makeout scenes

– Beautiful girls only fall head over heels in love with ugly loser guys if he’s rich or gives good head

– The main woman character must have one real friend who doesn’t *beep* her over at the end because of jealousy over a man

– A woman must either be the writer or the director of the film

– TAKE YOUR CREDIT. Women, no more holding back to not intimidate others, especially if you are producing your boyfriend director.

Sarah wrote this in 2002. She died in 2004. The Sarah Jacobson Film Grant is dedicated to keeping her spirit alive–and we need your help. We give grants to young DIY filmmakers who are making movies and kicking ass, as Sarah would say. You can donate as little or as much as you’d like–every bit counts. (Harvey Weinstein once gave me a $20 bill! I am not kidding!) Click here to donate and please spread the word.

October 6th, 2010

A Feminist In The Family. The Partridge Family.

I literally just rocked back and forth at my desk saying “Oh my God” while watching this.

It is especially intense because just this morning I was reading about The New Harmony Sisterhood Band who did in fact create a Women’s Songbook which is available on Amazon. I KNOW! I AM BASICALLY DEAD FROM THE FANTASTICALNESS.

The introduction by Martha Deihl, a member of the band, says:

I am firmly convinced that women’s culture is revolutionary.

It was published by Diana Press on January 1st, 1976. ALL CAPS AGAIN.

Kendall Hale, another band member, wrote in her memoir that:

“I was constantly preaching to my band sisters: “We’ve got to sing about the oppression of poor and minority women too, not just privileged, white feminists like ourselves.” I wrote about capitalism and imperialism in songs about my jobs, union organizing, black women’s battles, Puerto Rican freedom fighters and other issues new to the white middle class women’s movement.”

“Within a couple of years, we created and arranged a song list linking historical figures like labor organizer Elizabeth Gurley Flynn and pilot Amelia Earhart to the most burning social/political issues of our day.”

Also: Hale, who says she was the only straight woman in the group, was working as a welder by day and then going home to her feminist singing group at night. IT IS LIKE AN ECLIPSE UNTO ME. Someday finding these nuggets of revolution won’t be as exciting but for now, I enjoy the marvelment.

The other completely awesome thing is that this originally posted on Kathleen’s blog at 2:30 am.

October 6th, 2010

There Is No Such Thing As Rape Culture

Because all culture is rape culture. It is. I am thinking about this because last night someone said sagely, “Rape is now a weapon of war,” and everyone nodded their heads because this is a progressive woman-centered way to express the horrors of war.

Let’s just get this out there. Rape has always been a weapon of war. It has. Women (and probably men)  were raped during the Holocaust. They were raped during the Civil War. Wherever there is conflict, you will find rape. It is part of war. It is part of conquest. The various empires all advanced and enforced colonial rule via rape. Slavery and rape culture go hand in hand, if you will. Wherever there is oppression, you will find rape. Men (and women)  in prison don’t start raping one another because they have suddenly gotten in touch with their inner homosexual, or out of some kind of “love the one you’re with” thing—it is an act of war. Rape is not people expressing their sexuality. It does not happen by accident because someone is drunk. Rape is about power. When women describe their birth experiences as rape, it is not because giving birth is like sex. Rape is not like sex. Rape is someone violating your body.

Why are you hearing about rape so much these days? It’s not because there is more rape than ever before! It’s not because rape is a fad. It’s because rape is being acknowledged–although even here, the cases that come to the fore are the ones involving white, straight, women.

People who want social justice and gender justice don’t talk about rape because it’s a woman’s issue.  We talk about rape because it is something we all have in common. All of us—men, women, transmen, transwomen. EVERYONE.  It is part of our history and part of our culture. Preventing and stopping rape is not a goal because we  think it should be harder for frat guys to have sex. Preventing and stopping rape is is about liberating every gender from “rape culture.” That is the revolution.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Note: I am grateful to Genderbitch for noting my clumsy phrasing about gender and offering a respectful, inclusive way to say what I was trying to.

You can read her whole comment below but for those who don’t read comments she wrote:

“Men, women, transmen, transwomen” should be “cis men and women, trans men and women, and nonbinary/genderqueer folk” or “men and women (cis or trans) and nonbinary/genderqueer folk)”

Someone on Tumblr  (I don’t know who–Tumblr confuses me!) made a different change, writing:

All of us—men, women, (genderqueer people, agendered people, bigendered people, pangendered people)

I think the parens are there because that text was an insertion to correct what I had, I don’t think it should otherwise be in parens.

Thank you for the constructive responses!  (Oct 7)

October 6th, 2010

A Lot of Movement Work Here

Once I realized a white leather dress is impractical, the only thing that has really appealed to me about marriage is the proposal. Obviously mine would involve some kind of treasure hunt, possibly requiring me to use my fingerprint kit, but the above is pretty amazing. I was also amazed to see that there is an actual category of “proposal videos” on YouTube. I have long been a fan of “time out” videos, so this shouldn’t have been a surprise but it was.

Flo Kennedy wrote an essay called “The Case Against Marriage” back in 1946, which is one more indicator of how goddamn badass she is. Some of her thoughts on marriage are also in her autobiography, which finally arrived yesterday and which has blown my mind on every single page. EVERY PAGE.  So mindblowing that when I noticed some people looking at the cover when I was on the subway, I convened a discussion right there and then.  One of my new rider friends I met via this interesting discussion wrote down her name and said he was going to look her up on Wikipedia. Social change is where it’s at, people!

HER BOOK IS LIKE A BOMB WHICH IS THE HIGHEST COMPLIMENT ONE CAN GIVE.

“I don’t believe in marriage, horizontal romance, or religion, church, and/or the Bible; I love the hiccups, words, and fighting.”

She wrote that in 1946!! NINETEEN FORTY SIX!!!!!!!!!!

Even before you open the book, you know it is badass because on the back it is classified as “Autobiography/Current Scene” which  1. needs to be brought back as a literary category and 2. is a useful litmus test for one’s every action, as in “Am I making the most of the Current Scene?”, “Am I participating in/critiquing/advancing the Current Scene to the best of my ability?”, etc.

Do you see the situation? That is just the work that must be done based on the second page and the back cover! Leonard Cohen wrote a song about her! LEONARD COHEN! A man to whom I once wrote a letter, telling him that his music had adversely affected my boyfriend to the point that we had to break up, and that he should think about the deleterious effect he was having on the male population. I will perhaps now forgive Mr. Cohen, although obviously not the boy in question.

Flo Kennedy also covers the politics of blow jobs, why prostitution should be legal, the cleanup of Times Square, poverty chic, gay rights, abortion, pro-parent bias, faux-solidarity, “Wrinkles Reagan,” Nixon going to China, the “Pig’s Prerogative,” Martin Luther King, the Warren Commission, feminist media, Attica, busing, Caspar “Milquetoast” Weinberger, zombies, voting as activism, rape, and solidarity vs. celebrity in the first 18 pages of the book. IT IS DEEP.

She stood on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and sang “Tired of Fuckers Fucking Over Me” to protest abortion laws. This should be required of everyone.

October 3rd, 2010

Still Here

Unite Here Local 2 protesting poor working conditions in San Francisco Hotels, Oct 3, 2010
October 3rd, 2010

Withdraw Support

Builders Labourers Federation environmental protest, Sydney AU, 1974
October 3rd, 2010

Girl Gang

October 1st, 2010

Hell No