Why you talk so white! By Maya the Poet
Ella’s Song by Sweet Honey in the Rock
Amazed, inspired, awestruck.
Love and solidarity.
Why you talk so white! By Maya the Poet
Ella’s Song by Sweet Honey in the Rock
Amazed, inspired, awestruck.
Love and solidarity.
Over at Jezebel, one of my favorite pop culture feministy blogs, the headline story right now is called “Under Pressure: The Terrible Curse of ‘Most Likely to Succeed.'”
It’s taken a lot to work up the nerve to say this, but here goes. I, too, was voted “Most Likely to Succeed” in high school. Whew, I feel better now that I got that off my chest. It’s hard, ok? Knowing that all of those people in high school who were friends with you in order to get your answers to the homework really were looking up to you and respecting you the whole time.
My whole life was defined by this one moment in high school. I will forever be under pressure to be successful, because otherwise my classmates who I practically will never see again for the rest of my life except for our ten year reunion where I will hopefully get spectacularly drunk in order to deal with the whole thing will be disappointed. We don’t want to disappoint the classmates!
I’ve already got a lot of work to do in the not disappointing the classmates department, due to the whole being queer thing that no one knew about. So they’re probably already disappointed by me for not already being married and spawning like some of them. I must make up ground! I must become whatever it is they deem to be “successful,” forsaking my own definition of success and forgoing my own dreams. Because my high school class voted me MLS (that’s what those of us in the Likely Successes club call it. Didn’t know about the club? Probably because you’re not likely enough to be successful. It’s a cool club though – we have a secret handshake and discount rates on stress therapy sessions).
But other than the club, which is super fictitiously awesome, the MLS title hangs over me. I can’t judge myself based on my own definitions of success and happiness because I am continually trying to meet the expectations of a group of people who really don’t know me anymore. Because that’s totally possible.
I bet the people who were voted Class Clown and Best Hair have this problem too.
Gotta love revisionist history :)
My ultimate frisbee team (Space Invaders) submitted this for our creative bid to get into this year’s Potlatch tournament. It got left to the last minute, so it’s a good thing we have an artist on our team!
Evidently there is far too much support for queer students at public universities in Texas.
Enter the Texas legislature and Rep. Wayne Christian. Rep. Christian introduced an amendment to a budget bill that would require all public universities with centers that focus on sexuality and gender to set aside an amount of money equivalent to that which the center receives to a separate “family and traditional values center.” A quick search of the Texas Legislature’s website reveals that in this session alone Christian has also sponsored such legislative gems as HB 561, “Relating to a hospital district’s use of tax revenue to finance the performance of an abortion;” HB 1109, “Relating to the time at which life begins;” HJR 51, “Proposing a constitutional amendment relating to the rights of individuals to choose or decline to choose to purchase health insurance coverage;” HJR 55, “Proposing a constitutional amendment to prohibit a hospital district from using tax revenue to finance the performance of an abortion,” etc. He’s also (surprise!) president of the Texas Conservative Coalition.
The appropriately named Representative is apparently concerned that there is not adequate support or advocacy for heterosexual students on these campuses. Or that there is too much support for queer students. Or that these sexuality and gender centers exist at all.
According to an Inside Higher Ed article, a leading member of the group Young Conservatives of Texas, which helped Christian with the bill, is hoping to use this measure to bring about the demise of these centers altogether. From the article:
But the Young Conservatives of Texas, a group that worked with Christian on the legislation, did so with the hope that public colleges would respond to a law, if the bill passes, by ending support for existing centers. Tony McDonald, senior vice chairman of the group and a law student at UT Austin, said in an interview that “we could try to get these groups defunded” in a law, but that the equal funding approach was viewed as more likely to pass (perhaps with the same impact). […]
Requiring the creation of traditional values centers would “give the left a taste of its own medicine,” he said. He charged that these centers “are encouraging folks who consider themselves homosexuals to go on considering themselves as such. That’s the point of the centers, and that’s not something Texas taxpayers should spend their money on.”
Clearly they are not actually concerned about the lack of resources for heterosexual or “traditional values” students. This is just the most expedient vehicle they could find for a blatantly transparent attack on sexuality and gender centers as well as non-heterosexual or gender non-conforming people.
There are so many things wrong with the argument that heterosexual students are discriminated against or somehow harmed by the mere existence of sexuality and gender centers that I’m not going to get into them in depth here. I would instead like to simply point out that straight privilege is everywhere, and that non-queer people carry with them the “institutional power” that is given to them based on the fact that they fit into what is considered the norm in our society. People with institutional power like this cannot have their identities used to harm them in the same way that others can. If they could, then calling someone a “hetero” would carry the same insult power as “homo,” “faggot,” or “dyke.”
This is not about giving heterosexual and gender-conforming students “equal access” to resource centers. It’s about the conservative movement as a whole refusing to acknowledge differences in perspectives, beliefs, identities and experiences. It’s about the negation of things they simply do not understand or do not agree with. It’s about the desire to force people by any means possible to conform to a certain way of life that they have unilaterally deemed the best and most appropriate. It’s about using a Republican majority in Texas government to prosecute a culture war. It’s about everyone in Texas, queer or otherwise. It’s about me and my queerness. And it’s about you.
Queer people and others who fall outside of what is considered normal in our society often do not have many places to turn to for affirming, critically conscious, and compassionate services and resources. We do not see accurate or affirming representations of ourselves in media or in many public figures. We do see people similar to ourselves routinely bullied, attacked, murdered, and discriminated against on an individual and institutional level. We need resources such as the sexuality and gender centers at universities in Texas and elsewhere.
Our community should be exploding nationally over this. The HRC and other national organizations should be all over it. It’s not just an unfortunate piece of legislation in a state where conservatives pretty much win everything. It’s not just a few state legislators joking about identities as if they weren’t things we’ve struggled for for our entire lives and continue to fight for. It is an attack on every single one of us that attempts to delegitimize our identities and experiences and ultimately dehumanize us.
Take action! Tell people this is happening! I’m sure you can think of lots of people or organizations who could benefit from hearing your thoughts on this, but in the meantime here’s a couple:
You can email Rep. Christian here.
You can contact the Human Rights Campaign here.
 Pharr, Suzanne. “The Common Elements of Oppression.” Homophobia, Weapon of Sexism. (53-64) http://suzannepharr.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/homophobiaaweaponofsexismcondensed.pdf
I’m sure you’ve all heard the news by now. There is, in this country, at least one woman who paints her son’s toenails pink (and happens to be the creative director for J Crew and therefore has access to national marketing campaigns). Shocking, right? I know I was completely shocked.
While I tend to belong to the camp that believes that if something is seriously no big deal and doesn’t deserve national media freak out, then giving it even more attention to point out how stupid it is will only make it worse (in other news, why are we still talking about Sarah Palin?), I think this whole situation is hilarious so I’m going to offer some of my own thoughts. Also, some of Jon Stewart’s thoughts.
The “debate” on this has been ridiculous. Many national media figures that have jumped on it have asked, in their “I’m-a-very-serious-and-concerned-reporter” voices, what kind of harm this might be doing to the woman’s son. Because as we are all aware, toenail polish is very dangerous and has been known to infect small children with gender identity crises.
Somehow they make the vast rhetorical leap from talking about a picture in an ad campaign to claiming that J Crew celebrates transgender children, or (gasp) gender bending.
As if transgender children and gender bending shouldn’t be celebrated. The implicit argument here is that parents should enforce rigid gender roles on their children no matter what the child wants, and that if they have gender non-conforming children they shouldn’t love them for who they are.
“It’s an attack on masculinity,” says some guy with “Dr.” in front of his name who gets paid to commentate on Fox News.
Not the masculinity! Anything but the masculinity! If these sorts of attacks on our rightful system of gender hierarchy continue unchallenged, soon all boys will have to wear dresses, women will be able to own property, go to college, have careers, and vote, and gender non-conforming folks will actually be considered to be real people and not less than human! This must end!
In all seriousness, though, the thing that bothers me about this is doesn’t have anything to do with gender. It’s that the mother and son in the ad are “bondvertising,” as Jon Stewart put it. The photo isn’t just an adorable picture of a mother and a son, it’s a clothing ad designed to sell a product, which to me feels super creepy.
No, this was not an excuse to listen to a bunch of top 40 while procrastinating on homework. Nope.
Full list of songs at the end.
A day in the Top 40
Ever wondered what your day would look like if you lived in the Top 40? Wonder no longer. (Bonus points if you can sing parts of it. My sympathy if you can sing all of it.)
Wake up in the morning feelin’ like P Diddy. 5 am, turn the radio up. Where’s the rock n’ roll? I’m gonna kick my feet up then stare at the fan, turn the tv up, throw my hand in my pants. Keep drinking coffee, stare me down across the table while I look outside. Let me thank you for your time and try not to waste any more of mine. Get out of here fast. I’m movin’ on, I’m throwin’ on my Louboutins. Watch me walk it out. Walk it out. Walk it out. Walk this right up out the house.
Here we go again, I kinda want to be more than friends. Ain’t about the cha-ching, cha-ching, ain’t about the ba-bling, ba-bling. And oh, I’m into you and girl no, no one else would do. You know that I want you. And you know that I need you. I want your bad, your bad romance.
You know you love me. I know you care. Just shout whenever, and I’ll be there. You are my love, you are my heart, and we will never ever ever be apart. Are we an item? Girl, quit playin’. We’re just friends? What are you sayin’? If I wrote you a symphony just to say how much you mean to me, what would you do? If I told you you were beautiful, would you date me on the regular?
Gave you all I had and you tossed it in the trash. Tossed it in the trash you did. To give me all your love is all I ever asked, cuz what you don’t understand is I’d catch a grenade for ya, throw my head on a blade for ya. I’d jump in front of a train for ya. You know I’d do anything for ya. Yes I would die for ya baby, but you won’t do the same. I’m your biggest fan. I’ll follow you until you love me. Papa-, paparazzi.
I see you drivin’ round town with the girl I love, and I’m like “Fuck you.” How could you be so heartless? How could you be so cold as the winter wind when it breeze, yo? I bust the windows out your car. And no, it didn’t mend my broken heart. I’ll probably always have these ugly scars. But right now I don’t care about that part. And now you wanna get me back and you gon’ show me. So you walkin’ round like you don’t know me. You got a new friend, well I got homies. But in the end it’s still so lonely.
If I never see your face again I won’t mind. I’m all right; I’m just fine. And you’re a tool, so so what? I’m still a rockstar. I got my rock moves. And I don’t need you. My life is a movie, and you just Tivo.
So we back in the club, with our bodies rockin’ from side to side, (side side to side). Thank God the week is done, I feel like a zombie gone back to life, (back back to life). Hands up, and suddenly we all got our hands up.
All the single ladies, all the single ladies. All the single ladies, now put your hands up! Up in the club, we just broke up, I’m doin’ my own little thing. I got gloss on my lips, a man on my hips, got me tighter than my Dereon jeans. I’ll get him hot, show him what I’ve got. Can’t read my, can’t read my, no he can’t read my poker face. P-p-p-poker face, p-p-poker face.
Tonight’s gonna be a good night.
I kissed a girl and I liked it. She’s nothing like the girl you’ve ever seen before. Nothing you can compare to your neighborhood whore. I’m tryna find the words to describe this girl without bein’ disrespectful. Damn, girl, yous a sexy bitch. A sexy bitch.
I know you want me. I made it obvious that I want you too. They call me heartbreaker. I don’t wanna deceive ya. I’m only gonna break break your, break break your heart. You know my motivation given my reputation. Please excuse me, I don’t mean to be rude, but tonight I’m lovin’ you. Cuz I might be bad but I’m perfectly good at it. No, I don’t even know your name. It doesn’t matter; you’re my experimental game, just human nature. I won’t tell you that I love you, kiss or hug you, cuz I’m bluffin’ with my muffin. I’m not lyin’, I’m just stunnin’ with my love, glue-gunnin’.
I wanna make love in this club.
Please don’t stop the music!
Oh shit, my glass is empty. That sucks!
Songs in order of appearance