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Saturday, December 16, 2017

Wonder Woman and Me

*I have no idea whose image this is - I would love to give credit where credit is due - it appeared on Facebook in an ad on a t-shirt website known for selling stolen designs. . . 

I've started reading The Secret History of Wonder Woman by Jill Lepore and just the title took me back to my childhood and also feels relevant in this Trumpian world and moment where we're holding a few men accountable for their sexual harassment and assault.

This is the one:

It is a year after the Women's March and we've endured much of what we expected from our tiny handed Cheeto in Chief, more of the same sexism and misogyny along with the demand that we accept it by way of him bragging about such and being given the nation's highest office by the Electoral College. I found it interesting that Wonder Woman became an icon in this moment, then the movie came out-  and on further investigation I was surprised to find that she has always been there. 

I have a somewhat conflicted memory of this particular character in the first place and that mixes with my current knowledge and her resurgence in popularity. 

On the one hand, I'm seeing her now as a feminist icon- strong, righteous (I mean her weapon is the TRUTH! Right?), chosen to lead. Also though, as much as I want to see the movie, the actress, Gadot, has been exposed as a settler colonialist cheering the deaths of Palestinians. She conflates terrorists and civilians and celebrates murder- I might give her a pass for not understanding if she hadn't been a soldier. I don't think the film should have been banned as some demanded, but I think we must discuss that and compare and contrast it with the character she plays and how we want our world to be.

Moving on. . . 

As a child, I was a tomboy. That moniker seems outdated now, but I'll use it for a point of reference. I hated dresses because I wanted to play soccer and kickball and hang on the monkey bars without everyone seeing my underwear. I'd have played with anyone, but usually the things I like to do were dominated by the boys. I was comfortable with them, they liked to do what I liked to do. I never really remember feeling out of place with regard to clothes or activities in the under 10 age group I'm thinking about right now, even in the religious school I attended in Indiana in the mid 80's. And then Wonder Woman will happen and you remember when your world got a little smaller.

In sports and other games, I had no trouble joining in, even being very introverted/shy. When the group of boys wanted to change it up and play superheroes, things got a little less easy, but I rolled with it. I didn't watch the shows or read the comics, so I had a limited knowledge of who I wanted to be. I totally relied on their advice, which wasn't so much advice as unimaginative pigeonholing. Why do I have to be a girl when you can't really shoot lasers out of your eyes. . . ?  I always went into the choosing of the characters with some excitement- I mean there are guys who can be invisible, climb walls, shoot fire- whichever ones were popular in the 80's, I can't remember and I still don't read those comics- but it was incredibly fun to think about being able to do any of these things. Swinging on the bars felt like flying- how would it be to just take off into the clouds. Who would I be? I could be anything I wanted, this was pretend. Nothing was off the table in my mind. I didn't give it a second thought. One guy always had to be Green Lantern. I'm sure he had a good reason- we all let him have that by default. When my much anticipated moment came, I was chosen to be Wonder Woman. Fine. I had no idea what was so great about her. Nothing, I thought. She has a rope and she's in her underwear. And she's the only girl, like me. I should have guessed. GREAT! The first time probably wasn't so bad honestly, but it became a pattern. One I came to dread. I was always the girl. I never got to try anyone else and I disliked the inevitable "choice" of character for me. Can't we go back to kickball? But I had a friend who wasn't so athletically inclined, so I felt bad about not wanting to do this thing he liked better. I remember that disappointment well- you think all possibilities are wide open, you can be ANYTHING you want. But not really. It's an illusion. Your bright, sunny, wide open world is now a narrow, dark hallway. The game is rigged and you really have no choice. I had no idea how close to the truth I was at that point in life at just 7 or 8 years old.

Melodramatic? Maybe if it were one incident. Women continually endure things like this throughout our lives and the balance of them can be soul crushing. I'm sure I'm not the only one. This is simply one of the first times I remember it happening. It's not a bad memory necessarily. I wonder if anyone from the time remembers it differently. Memory is a funny thing. 

Some 33 years later, I'm finally embracing Wonder Woman. I may even love her. She came to the US to fight for peace, justice and women's rights! How did this even exist then- in the 80's or in the 40's or now for that matter? I can't wait to find out.

Friday, December 15, 2017

Roy Moore, Republican values and religious freedom

A few thoughts while listening to a favorite podcast:

Listening to Tuesday's show- Final Thoughts on the Alabama Election. They were discussing the reasoning behind some conservatives' voting for Roy Moore - that they don't like his sexual abuse and pedophilia, but are voting for the seat, the Republican platform and in many cases only the abortion issue.

On this episode they were talking about the double standard on what is termed morality and values between Democrats and Republicans and I definitely can relate. I used to be told I'm sinning for supporting Democrats who committed adultery and got divorced and remarried (big deals for the group I was with- but even when I was in that, I considered consensual bedroom things none of my business) but when I brought up McCain or anyone like that, there was silence.

(Note- My religious group i left was anti-gay marriage, anti-abortion, anti-alcohol, etc, so all my references are specific to that)

While that is frustrating - getting them to use their value system equally - the more disturbing thing is the importance to them of banning abortion and how they frame it. They've obliterated the meaning of religious liberty or taken it hostage. It used to be about your right to practice your religion freely and for there to be no state religion or religious test for running for office, but in religious conservatives' hands it means something quite the opposite- they have the right to infringe on your rights because of their religion.

If abortion is legal, they have the right to not get one and it doesn't affect their religion, health, privacy or lives in any way. And I know their argument then goes to them "paying for abortions" through taxes or healthcare (which if you take it that far, they "pay the salary" of immoral people in Congress and no doubt eat at places with bars which in the same way would be condoning drinking whether or not they partake), but this is of course ridiculous given what the money actually pays for. . . It just seems like an obvious violation of our basic rights when you can ban something based on bible verses and call it your freedom of religion. I don't know who said it, but this seems applicable- The right to swing my arms in any direction ends where your nose begins.

I know that people whether in religion or anti-vax or whatever will believe what they want regardless of fact, but I feel the need to keep defining freedom of speech and religion every chance I get and making that distinction of where that freedom ends and becomes, rather, infringing on the rights of others. I fear we're losing the battle for the meaning of those words much like the way the fake news meaning came and went.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Tale of two shootings: NYC on Halloween and several dozen in a TX church Sunday

There's something that reeks in the Republican response to recent violent attacks involving guns. We all know what it is. Some don't want to say (or act) because they are afraid of the gun lobby, but feel quite comfortable attacking marginalized groups as though that's the common denominator.

I mean besides the absurdly unequal response depending on skin color, which we will return to a little ways down the page. . . 

Try GUNS. This is the problem. Common sense regulation, not free for all zero restriction fearmongering about taking away your dubious "right to bear arms" and demonizing those who desire safety.

Or domestic violence (I put the dates for your information only, the content is relevant.) If you can't get angry over women being assaulted because we're human, perhaps you can pay attention because it often leads to violence that could affect YOU:
Oct 10, 2017:

August 15, 2017:

June 16, 2017:

June 15, 2016:

The color of the shooter's skin determines what response Trump and Republicans give:

Link to follow her account:

The Republican response always reeks of xenophobia and politicization of anyone but white shooters.
These links are about Las Vegas but discuss the difference in coverage of a white shooter vs other shooters.

You can compare with the coverage of the Halloween attack in NYC and the attack on the church in Texas. I was dumbfounded by the immediate assessment of terrorism for the brown man and zero mention of the race, motive, identifying features or ideology that appear in initial reports of people of color. But it's how I knew immediately the shooter was white. No assumptions, no scouring of his social media to grab a phrase to quote as proof of assigned motive,  no pontifications on the role of his political or religious views and how we should crack down on those.

Here's a pretty good piece on the difference in reaction of the President to the two recent tragedies involving guns, but shooters of different skin colors:

Here is the transcript link and a significant passage on how disturbing it is to politicize and paint certain perpetrators in a light convenient to push an agenda that plays easily into the hands of actual terrorists, while urging caution and support for zero gun control when the guy is white like the people in power. Why do you think ISIS tries to claim responsibility for any attack, even Las Vegas? Recruitment. And Republicans apparently want to help with that.

Link to video:

From video transcript:
In contrast, the president immediately sought to try to divide Americans and further his own political agenda. And what do I mean by that? It’s things like what you were just discussing earlier: trying to basically score political points, to feed his agenda, his long-standing policy to radically transform our immigration system, to significantly curtail, if not outright stop, the immigration of nonwhites to the United States. And this—and we could just see, in contrast, after the Las Vegas shooting, after the Charlottesville attacks, we did not see the president calling for changes in policies, like gun control policies, after the horrific attacks in Las Vegas. But here we see the president immediately calling for changes to the immigration system.
The other concern we have is Senator Graham, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, claiming that he and the president had a phone call the evening of the attack and that they both agree that this is a religious war. This was deeply disturbing to us, because we know—and I think all Americans can agree—that violence, unfortunately, has no single faith, race or political ideology, whether—you know, you just look no further than the Charleston attacks, the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting, the congressional baseball game attack, to know that violence, unfortunately, it comes in various forms. And so this is just deeply, deeply disturbing. And furthermore, the New York Police Department’s own deputy commissioner, John Miller, yesterday, in a press conference, very explicitly and clearly said Islam is—had no role in this attack.

From a Twitter account you should probably follow:

On thoughts and prayers. . .

It's not so much that thoughts and prayers aren't nice, it's that sending thoughts and prayers to victims of mass shootings whilst accepting millions from the NRA makes you politicians look like liars and hypocrites. In case it wasn't clear.

People Fed Up With ‘Thoughts And Prayers’ Demand Action After Texas Church Massacre

Thoughts and Prayers and NRA Funding

Friday, October 27, 2017

New BK ad on bullying. . . and application to sexual assault

BK PSA on bullying:

My Facebook commentary on the ad:
Whether we're talking bullying or "run of the mill" sexual harassment, it's time to stand up. Having a president who is a blatant misogynist and racist and bully, the dissonance should now be so loud that you can't sit quietly by. YOU, apolitical person, have to lead. YOU, person who'd rather not get involved, be the first to say this is not ok.

I like the messaging here, the challenge to get involved when you see it happening. Disrupt the culture of silence. But it also made me think of the resurgence in awareness of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the outing of Harvey Weinstein and some other famous people. While I think this is great, I do think the headlines about Hollywood getting cleaned out are a little overly optimistic and misses the much greater problem for everyday women who aren't getting justice and never will due to the pervasiveness of the silence, shame and duty to protect men at the expense of women. That would be rape culture, as it is named.

And men speaking out and disrupting the culture of silence is the solution:

The Vast Majority of Perpetrators Will Not Go to Jail or Prison

But what about all those false allegations?? What about men?? Doesn't this happen ALL THE TIME? No. No, it does not.

A few facts to help you get rid of misconceptions surrounding rape. For starters: it's not about sex and false allegations are rare.


So I'm going to offer a bit of pushback to my own post here. No, wait. It's more intersectionality than pushback actually. What about these false accusations on campus? Here's one, doesn't this indicate how flawed the system is? Some think the problem is that men are convicted too easily or women "cry rape" too often and ruin men's lives. This is very misleading, though. The other inference you could draw is more supported by evidence- see the next paragraph.

There have been some harsh punishments to make the news and our dimwitted Education Secretary is all over it. Betsy Devos  has been meeting with Men's Rights groups to get ideas on how to "fix" Obama's protections for women so that we are in fact less protected. I think it's great to want to provide equal protection under the law- this should be everyone's goal- but that is clearly not what's going on here. The problem isn't Title IX and too many women accusing innocent men of rape. In many cases, an old wrong plays a role and that is systemic racism- the very same phenomenon that was responsible for the deaths of Emmet Till and Henry Marrow and the wrongful convictions of the Central Park 5.  This is explained quite well here:

The real problems are not that too many women lie about being raped and the campus policy encourages it or that too many men are having their lives ruined by women "crying rape," it's that black men are targeted for incarceration on the whole, including for rape- and concurrently the fact is rape is under reported. These are the actual problems we need to be addressing.

More on that:

Study: Black people more likely to be wrongfully convicted

Further reading. Yes, a BOOK! 
The New Jim Crow

Also circulating online recently was this quote from Jackson Katz, The Macho Paradox . It describes what it's like to be a woman living in our culture, rape culture.

“I draw a line down the middle of a chalkboard, sketching a male symbol on one side and a female symbol on the other. Then I ask just the men: What steps do you guys take, on a daily basis, to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted? At first there is a kind of awkward silence as the men try to figure out if they’ve been asked a trick question. The silence gives way to a smattering of nervous laughter. Occasionally, a young a guy will raise his hand and say, ‘I stay out of prison.’ This is typically followed by another moment of laughter, before someone finally raises his hand and soberly states, ‘Nothing. I don’t think about it.’ “Then I ask women the same question. What steps do you take on a daily basis to prevent yourselves from being sexually assaulted? Women throughout the audience immediately start raising their hands. As the men sit in stunned silence, the women recount safety precautions they take as part of their daily routine. Here are some of their answers: Hold my keys as a potential weapon. Look in the back seat of the car before getting in. Carry a cell phone. Don’t go jogging at night. Lock all the windows when I sleep, even on hot summer nights. Be careful not to drink too much. Don’t put my drink down and come back to it; make sure I see it being poured. Own a big dog. Carry Mace or pepper spray. Have an unlisted phone number. Have a man’s voice on my answering machine. Park in well-lit areas. Don’t use parking garages. Don’t get on elevators with only one man, or with a group of men. Vary my route home from work. Watch what I wear. Don’t use highway rest areas. Use a home alarm system. Don’t wear headphones when jogging. Avoid forests or wooded areas, even in the daytime. Don’t take a first-floor apartment. Go out in groups. Own a firearm. Meet men on first dates in public places. Make sure to have a car or cab fare. Don’t make eye contact with men on the street. Make assertive eye contact with men on the street.
“That, my friends, is what it’s like to be thought of as prey.”

In the same vein, many things I do without even thinking are on this list: Change the locks when housekeys are misplaced. Avoid eye contact with men trying to get our attention. Never open the door for someone we’re not expecting and stay still until the doorbell stops ringing.Driving in a circle if we sense we might be followed. Walk with our keys grasped between our fingers in case we need to use them as a weapon. 

In the same way men are so shocked by famous people getting caught assaulting women, they have no idea this feeling of lack of safely is absolutely pervasive in our worlds.

And in the segment, wtf did she just say. . .Mayim Bialik. . . whyyyyy??

Can US senators outlaw support for BDS movement?

5 Myths About Israel Boycotts That Every Theater Lover Should Consider


U.S. Lawmakers Seek to Criminally Outlaw Support for Boycott Campaign Against Israel


The First Amendment Protects the Right to Boycott Israel


This guy says don't worry about that outlawing BDS thing because who knows what they're really about anyway?

Indeed, the BDS movement is highly disingenuous about this very ambiguity, refusing to define exactly what it is for and what it’s against. Is the BDS movement against Israel’s occupation, or against Israel’s existence? Is it for two states, or one state? By refusing to clarify its aims, refusing to condemn terrorism, and refusing to silence the anti-Semites within its ranks, the BDS movement has left itself open to the right-wing charge that its anti-Zionism is merely repackaged anti-Semitism.

Pay No Mind To The Fake Ruckus About a Phony Israel Anti-Boycott Law

Monday, July 24, 2017

Should we in fact, 'try Kamala Harris'?

So names are popping up for possible party leadership or possible challengers to our nectarine nightmare in 2020. One of those names has been Kamala Harris. She's been composed, intelligent, concise and persistent in the face of stodgy white male supremacy in the Senate and everything you'd want in an elected official questioning potential Cabinet members. I admit, I've enjoyed her outspoken statements and tweets. I get her emails and I've imagined her as President. Of course I have. 

OPINION | Dems need a fresh face for 2020: Try Kamala Harris

I disagree that lack of experience as a legislator is a serious problem- Obama was a junior Senator and Trump had ZERO. She seems to be nationally known with the several instances of being interrupted and calling attention to sexism in the Senate- the piece seems to think she's not that well known.

Here's her commencement speech to Howard University:

BUT. . . we should also consider a few things. She's a prosecutor. I know! One thinks usually that's not a place for liberals, looking to get convictions ruthlessly, fill jails, be tough on crime, etc. 

I did read this, though, which sheds a bit different light on that part at least:

Through a Facebook group for my favorite podcast, Radio Dispatch, I became aware of these other stances Harris has taken. She has the fortitude and composure to really make a splash and shift things to the left - hopefully. These couple of stances though, if indicative of her current mindset, really don't bode well for her being a candidate I could support enthusiastically.

Prop K was going to finally address the prostitution issue and stop criminalizing the women (and targeting women of color) and rather rehabilitate them. Harris called it ridiculous. There's the tough on crime liberal I was hoping not to see. 

And while it didn't hurt her election to the Senate obviously, it's problematic to see these blips.

So, in short, I don't know, but I do know we should soberly look into any possible candidate. Don't simply get star struck because she speaks intelligently and we haven't heard anything like that in months.

Fad diets and nutrition trends

I saw a video the other day that made me think a few things, so I figured I'd write them down.

Is 'Clean Eating' a Dirty Trend? - I'm failing at embedding this, so it's here:

Wow. So perhaps clean eating isn't what I thought it was? I don't take fads all that seriously. I remember Michael Pollen's advice that sounds close to common sense and is as catchy as any of these silly fad mantras: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." Plans that exclude entire food groups or include some kind of extreme deprivation send up red flags for me. I try to eat more veggies and greens, drink more water, eat less bread and don't deprive myself, all in moderation- the more and less being just for me because I know what I'd eat if I didn't pay attention to it. It doesn't matter what I eat, that's not the point I want to make. I only give my opinion there to say that clean eating sounded like what I shoot for in general. But that turned out to be wrong.

At first blush clean eating seems fairly innocuous as far as trends go. Eat more fruits and veggies, eat less white bread (processed!). I totally agree. But it goes a lot farther than that. . .and I'm not even talking about the religion/lifestyle aspect and eating disorder encouragement yet.

I grabbed this explainer so we can get some specifics on what someone thinks clean eating is.

It takes a few good points- don't eat too much over processed stuff with a lot of preservatives and eat more greens- and takes it to the absolute extreme. It discusses 'processing' and puts adding salt, mashing apples to applesauce, steaming your broccoli or stir frying your veggies in the same category as removing bran to create refined bread and adding preservatives you can't pronounce to prepackaged food. It does say not all processing is necessarily bad (yay for facts!), but doesn't clearly sort that out in a way that doesn't seem completely nuts to a person who has studied science for at least 4 years. As in me. I graduated in microbiology, took a nutrition class while there and worked in science for 10 years. Putting things in a blender is processing them, then say processing is bad. I would say that smoothies are not the best choice because you add milk and sugar instead of just eating the fruit, the chopping isn't the problem here. *Add the overblown uninformed GMO bogeyman and you have a great pile of junk science. You might as well have told me to down some capsules filled with essential oils for HEALTH, Mr. Bodybuilder turned amateur fake nutritionist says so, trust him! Believe!

*GMO bogeyman- 

Is clean eating about GMOs?

Eating Clean in 2017- this is a pro- clean eating piece, fact checking needed, but it might give you an idea of the GMO stance in the movement.

On the  GMO scare cult, akin to vaccine avoidance . . . from Cornell University
"If you vaccinate your kids and believe that climate change is real, you need to stop being scared of genetically modified foods."

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

I know people will push back, saying surely not everyone who eats clean will have an eating disorder, but the lifestyle rather than diet plan and the wild interpretations of nonspecific rules don't really make this a great choice for anyone unless they are constantly fact checking with scientists and doctors. Be careful who you are getting your information from.
Whilst the rules of clean eating are far from clear cut, the underlying commonality is the omission of certain food groups – whether it’s gluten, dairy, grains or meat.

Another piece urging balance, not necessarily this clean eating lifestyle business- it talks about gluten too, which has become another trend probably sparked by the benefit seen in those with celiac disease for whom it was a medical necessity.

Clean eating: the good, the bad and the unhelpful


I added this based on he number of food photos and hashtags I saw in 2016:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - 

Let's look at the other side then.

Can We Stop Condemning ‘Clean Eating’?

 I don't agree with that as a journalism tactic, but I'm not a journalist. I'm not asking about the Nakba or Holocaust and entertaining the morality of the other sides of an anti- genocide stance. For fun, let's see how the clean eating people are taking the pushback on their lifestyle choice.

This pushes back on clean eating bashing, you can take for what it is. The last paragraph flummoxed me. I value seeing the other side of an issue, so it was informative. The author even addressed the possible unhealthy direction the fad could take. In the last paragraph, though, she seems to completely buy into the harmful aspect of the lifestyle and encourages others to join her, like in religion. She latches onto the good vs evil unhealthy aspect she momentarily acknowledges in the second to last paragraph. Ugh.

"One can only hope that the British public won’t be deterred from making a nutritious green smoothie once in a while due to bad editing and lazy research."

Here's one about juicing! Shall we go there??

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Forced pregnancy and religious freedom

Over the course of a day last week, I saw this article about a 12 year old forced to carry her rapists' baby to term and a CPC was quoted, it was #ExposeFakeClinic (CPC) week as well, then I saw one about anti-abortionists violating the law to block the door to the only clinic in Kentucky. Either Trump's incompetence is opening the door for religious extremists to bring us closer to state religion or they're able to move us backwards regardless. Some say that after history is made - electing our first African American president - that it's normal to move backwards a bit before continuing forward as with desegregation, among other events. I hope, as the saying goes, that the arc bends toward justice, but it sure does look dismal sometimes.

Alabama lawyers say a 12-year-old rape victim shouldn’t be allowed to have an abortion

From this article about the 12 year old girl:
"Mullins, the executive director of COPE Pregnancy Center in Montgomery, which provides counseling but not abortions, said that the girl likely had trouble deciding what clothes to wear to school, let alone determining whether or not an abortion was appropriate."

What is a CPC?

Keep in mind in this Alabama case- NO ACTUAL COUNSELING WAS INVOLVED- these CPCs peddle lies (abortions cause cancer!) and guilt and prey on women in general.

The girl can't decide what to wear to school, so yeah, the natural conclusion is she should be forced to carry her rapists' baby to term, causing more trauma and disrupting her schooling, thereby limiting her choices further! Brilliant! And by brilliant I mean you cruel lying manipulating authoritarian fundamentalist PsOS.

Your religious freedom allows YOU when you get raped to CHOOSE to carry your sweet precious reminder of that trauma to term, IT DOES NOT let you make that decision for others. That is outside of the bounds of your freedom; you are now infringing on someone else's. Like the misnamed Religious Freedom Restoration Act in Pence's home state and several others

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act Is Used to Discriminate. Let's Fix It.


Here are two more references for those CPCs if you want to know more- one's an older investigative piece and the other is a recent update:

King County's "Crisis Pregnancy Centers" Can No Longer Say They're Health Clinics 7/20/2017

Exposing Fake Women’s Health Clinics: My Visit to a Local Crisis Pregnancy Center from 2009
- - - - - - - - 

Seeing this last story made it a little harder to be optimistic about all the progress being made with regard to race, the glass ceiling, and marriage equality. There was a specific ruling made that you cannot block the door to clinics; women have to be able to walk in free of interference. A sea of people sat down in front as though they were protesting segregation or some real civil rights violation. Instead, they are angry they cannot yet control where you walk and what health decisions you make according to their religious preferences. It's not enough for them to freely practice their religion, they want the right to force you to make choices based on what they believe too.

Judge Says Protestors Can’t Block Door To Kentucky’s Last Abortion Clinic


And to top that week off, I'd forgotten to add this bit about a legislator trying to prevent doctors from even learning how to perform the procedure, so that even in an emergency, eventually there will be no one to help women. That is dangerous and irresponsible to even consider. Leave medicine to the doctors and women's heath decisions to them and their doctors.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Antisemitism or media bias?

Antisemitism or media bias?

No, I'm not asking this in general, so please don't take the gloves off yet. Relax. There has been a specific controversy lately and very little pushback on a large scale. There was an excellent discussion on this in the FB group for a podcast I love, Radio Dispatch, they considered the charge and as new facts were brought to light, people didn't double down on the original position or throw around baseless personal attacks, which was refreshing and productive.

NYT smear piece:

Another, rather worse, smear piece I became aware of through a supposedly liberal organization online:

Always a good resource, here's what Mondoweiss had to say on the whole thing:
Anti-Semitism accusations against ‘Dyke March’ prove pro-Israel lobby will torch LGBT rights for marginalized people

This TIME article is particularly bad because it is not only devoid of facts, but also makes wild baseless accusations. First, it asserts that Jews were denied expressing their intersection of religion and sexuality, which is false - others with stars of David on shirts, signs and flags were welcomed and not ejected. Which begs the question, what did these three individuals do differently?

Greenblatt of the ADL in the TIME piece pointed to these things as examples of intolerance

Last summer, a plank in the platform of the Movement for Black Lives bizarrely accused Israel of genocide.
Linda Sarsour, a leader of the women’s rights movement, has lambasted Zionism as incompatible with feminism and advocates for the exclusion of pro-Israel Jews from activist groups. And some in the anti-Israel movement have accused Israel of “pink-washing,” claiming that Israel and its supporters celebrate freedoms enjoyed by the LGBTQ community in Israel to divert attention from Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.

Genocide? Bizzare? It's a frequent consideration due to the indiscriminate use of deadly force and talk of "demographic threats." Here's one example of Holocaust survivors' concern for Israel's genocidal tendencies:

The TIME piece ends by saying they, the ADL,". . . demand that our allies observe those fundamental values that we also seek to live by: equality, fairness and respect for all."

This is a noble goal, but when you try and whitewash history and ignore Palestinian suffering at the hands of the oppressed turned oppressor, you are no longer heading in the general direction of these ideals; you're going the opposite direction.

Zionism is to many, by definition, a colonial and genocidal undertaking. Maybe we need to be asking what do YOU mean by Zionism? What do you mean by a Jewish homeland? The right simply to exist in peace with equal representation such that all peoples' rights are protected? Great! Or do you mean the right to exist as a Jewish entity protecting Jewish rights, thereby necessitating the ethnic cleansing of another group, namely Palestinians? The right to continue the Occupation until a (suitable to you) government emerges from the rubble of the starved open air prison you created? When a person objects to Zionism, you cannot charge antisemitism automatically.

A few notes and facts can be found in the links to the official statements of several groups below, facts which are missing in the TIME and NYT articles that only seem to quote one woman who was kicked out and no other witnesses or organizers or Palestinian groups that may have been involved to make this grand pronouncement of antisemitism. From what I gathered, one or all of the three ejected were members (one was a director, possibly?) of A Wider Bridge, a problematic organization in support of various IDF actions against Palestinians that go against the anti-colonial position of the March and violate human rights more broadly. They weren't just there as LGBTQ Jews, they were loudly anti-Palestinian and increasingly belligerent when asked to be respectful of the March's aims and others marching.

Chicago Dyke March Collective's statement:

JVP statement: If Not Now statement:

More on A Wider Bridge and why these individuals as opposed to other Jewish participants were asked to leave:

Among problems with A Wider Bridge are (from EI article above):

+ In 2016

+ "In 2014, A Wider Bridge sponsored rallies addressed by Israeli government officials in support of Israel’s 51-day bombing campaign that devastated the Gaza Strip and left 2,200 Palestinians – more than 550 of them children– dead."

 + And at the March-  "the altering of chants to erase the word “Palestine,”" among other things.

+ In general- "A key goal of Israel and its lobby groups in recent years has been to inoculate Israel against criticism by obscuring the line between anti-Jewish bigotry, on the one hand, and criticism of Israel and its state ideology Zionism, on the other."

Saturday, April 22, 2017

me, tomboys and transgender. . .

Ok, so this has nothing to do with transgender issues as far as I can tell. I want to make sure it's known though, that I do support trans people and will support however you identify and do what I can to help keep you safe and protect your rights. This post and article aren't really about that. This is more about expanding society's definition of what a girl "is" and is "supposed" to look and act like.

My Daughter Is Not Transgender. She’s a Tomboy.

I loved reading this because I felt I was this girl when I was little. There are a few differences though. Transgender issues weren't a thing yet in my story - or no one spoke about it. Ever. I was never asked how I wanted to identify. This little girl had a short haircut and picked out her own clothes- I had long hair so the part about being mistaken for a boy really wasn't there and I really can't remember if I picked out my own clothes. I'm pretty sure my mom made sure I matched, though I fought hard not to wear dresses if at all possible. She developed an affinity for ties and blazers, while my uniform then, as now is jeans and a t- shirt. I wore some amazing shoes- I must've won a concession on dress shoes at some point. In at least one photograph, I'm wearing some very brown, chunky, possibly E.T. themed shoes with my pink frilly dress. If I can find a photo, maybe I'll post it.

I'd refuse anything pink with ruffles, ricrac, frills or any other itchy, confining flowery detail. All my friends were boys and we ran around the playground pretending to be animals or making up He Man or superhero themed games (I wasn't a fan of the latter as I'd always get stuck with a lady part and that was always a let down) that involved climbing monkey bars, swinging and jumping off at the highest point and performing pathetic feats of gymnastics that felt like flying to us. Do THAT in a dress! Plus, they'd sing that song" I see London, I see France. . ." and I didn't want to be consumed all day with keeping my underwear covered in a garment that kind of seems DESIGNED to show all your business. I just wanted to play soccer, kickball or this other kicking game I think they called 500 for some reason. Who cared about clothes anyway??

I also loved the part that said the little girl wanted to be the pet or police officer in a game of family- I also tried to get the part as the family pet if I got stuck playing family. Mostly my friend and I would abandon the family part and just be cats for the entire indoor recess period. 

Which brings me to the other element of this which nearly intersects somewhat but still misses the transgender issue. One day on the walk out to the playground of my Christian school, an older kid (I assume, I can't remember who now) asked me if I wanted a sex change operation, they can do that now, you know. (The year is 1986 or 1987?) Shock. I had no idea. I was maybe 3rd grade or younger and lived a pretty sheltered and conservative existence up to now. Well. What about that. I'm sure I paused a bit and imagined being a boy because I still entertain funny scenarios while people are talking if something strikes me, but I answered (possibly silently) the same way I answered any question like that about changing myself- do you wish you were taller? why don't you talk? don't you have anything to say? I told them I was fine with what I had, most likely. It's equally likely I didn't say a word, but my mind was going 100mph and I knew what I thought. This was before puberty, so there was a lot less self doubt! But I guess they assumed what that teacher in the article assumed, that because I dressed and played how they thought boys dressed and played and played with mostly boys that I must be unhappy with who I am and want to look like the group I chose. It was the first time I became partially almost aware that I'm playing a game I didn't know existed and I don't know what the rules are- I couldn't articulate that til much later of course- but suffice it to say, I was made aware of a difference. My thinking was obviously that I already play with boys and wear jeans and t-shirts, so why would I want to be a boy, what's to be gained? It's not necessary. Maybe that question would have been difficult if I'd been strictly forbidden to do the things I was most interested in- or if for instance I felt I WAS a boy.

While I appreciate that teacher's sensitivity in the article, I really do, I'm progressive too- my assessment is that people are still, in general wholly devoid of imagination and stuck in some really antiquated ridiculously narrow binary gender stereotypes.

**I want to make it extra clear that this is not to say all transgender people are just tomboys or that I would in any way support the position that how you "should" identify is only determined by your physical genitalia- as though I have any idea what you feel or any authority to tell you who you are. 

Monday, March 13, 2017

Day Without A Woman, March 8, 2017

Photos in this post are mine taken at CCB Plaza, Durham, North Carolina.

A Women’s Strike Reader

There is a lot to process in thinking about the day, it's effectiveness and how different segments of the population reacted to it. 

At first blush, I thought well, isn't that what the men want? Then they can joke, have their locker room talk and not have to bother with equality. Maybe they'll decide they like it better that way and won't help right the system. On the other hand, when some teachers announced their intent to observe the day, even in our "right to work" state, a few school systems chose to close for the day. Some people recognized the impact and prepared for it. And if mothers who take kids to school, cook, clean, buy groceries, do laundry, whether or not they also have full time jobs outside the home were able to pull off striking completely in all work at least men might notice and even be compelled to switch up or divide labor differently than before the strike. This second example wasn't as widespread it seems, I even failed on several counts. Was it a failure then?

I considered striking as a privilege, though the history of strikes would negate that, some still maintain that. I did consider that those women who can strike might make more work for those who can't, though this might happen in other strikes, that you hurt the group you try and help.
This might help muddle through this point:
And what about this ability to strike? Is it that some of us are actually unable- or is it unique to women, unique to this strike - that we've been conditioned to not be disagreeable, to be too polite even when it means hurting ourselves hence we don't feel confident we can all walk out like in a predominantly male profession.

And there was this perspective. . . 
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What to make of it- I don't think it's about the percent who participated in one particular way or evaluating your own self worth, as some have insinuated. It's a call to action to some, an education to others, or maybe a renewal of the commitment to anti-capitalism and the forces that perpetuate the patriarchy.

On Radio Dispatch coverage of the Women's Strike, there were two great articles detailing the history of the strike and movement:

Here are the two podcast episodes:
Analyzing Women’s Strike Coverage  March 10, 2017

  • Breaking down a NYT piece about the "failure" of the strike
  • Feminism for the 99% what it means
  • Clara Zetkin, the movement's roots in socialism and the origin of the strike
  • Dangers of lean in feminism- it can't be solely about arguing for higher pay, that marginalizes others, the pay gap is still an issue but leaves out a large portion, such as the trans women killed in February
  • Be explicit in our politics (see Bryce Covert's piece, New Republic)-  woman president, women CEO, like Sandberg at Facebook is not victory for ALL women, it's a victory for some- read wealthy white women
  • Name capitalism as the enemy, it'll reinforce misogyny, patriarchy-- think Clara Zetkin, reordering society 

Anyway, do yourself a favor and listen!


 Trust women, get it??


And some more examples of why we need feminism:

Ok, so this below is why I have gotten angry in some of my Twitler voter posts. Yes, I believe I can be friends with Cheeto's fans and yes I know we can differ on budget or health care plans and not be outrageously offended, BUT when it comes to racism and sexism or denying someone rights because they don't agree with your religious views, this should be UNACCEPTABLE. It should be unacceptable NOT because you have a black friend, a daughter or a wife, it is unacceptable because another human being is being treated as LESS. That absolutely should be offensive to you and outrage is justified. If you are not offended by people being treated as less that human beings on the basis of race or gender or religion, perhaps YOU should re-evaluate YOUR position and stop your complaining about hateful libtards and feminazis.
"The rest of the page's members, it appears, just looked the other way. They probably shrugged their shoulders and said to themselves, "It's just locker room talk." If that defense worked for the president of the United States, it'll probably work for a bunch of patriotic Marines."



Discusses the disparity, but breaks down a bit on the solution. I think we need more than just to clean up our own house. Maybe it should start there, I can see that- how can you help anyone else if you can't stand up for yourself. But I don't know if that's the only thing holding us back.


Women Held To Higher Ethical Standard Than Men, Study Shows