This is a thought-provoking discussion.
Starting with this from Helen Razer in Crikey (behind a paywall, sorry if you don’t have a subscription):
Because the “Left”, such as it is, is not able to think about systems; about social and economic class. It has not only borrowed the cheesy stupidity of Andrew Bolt; it has borrowed the idea of his “individual” as well.
The “Left” now hungers for symbols of cultural identity and spurns the idea of class. Or, indeed, of material conditions.
Nowhere, for mine, is this more starkly drawn than in plaintive chalk on sidewalks as queer activism gives up its campaign for mental health reform and supplants it with the symbolic fight for an equality that already exists in law.
This from Elizabeth O’Shea in Overland:
But to me it seems disingenuous to berate the obsession with symbolism and individualism on the part of the Left as a commentator with apparently little interest in doing anything material about the social problems you identify. I would be happily proven wrong on this point. Razer is perfectly positioned to write about those problems she is concerned about and pose interesting and compelling alternatives. But she seems to prefer confecting her own outrage about the confected outrage of others. That is, her criticism is basically an individual, symbolic act.
And this from Sacha Blumen in Larvatus Prodeo:
Her piece struck a chord with me, particularly in relation to inner-Sydney politics over the last 13 years. (I moved from Brisbane in 2000 to inner-Sydney.) While Helen’s piece was about national cultural politics, I see it also played out in inner-Sydney cultural and electoral politics.
And finally, this from Helen (not Razer) in Hoyden About Town:
Razer has a schtick, and it’s being the Cool Girl of Australian feminism, scolding other feminists for sweating all that small stuff which is small, and neglecting to focus 100% on the Terrible Things (about which she doesn’t write much herself). #DestroyThePoint and other snarky tweets were greeted with You Go Girls! and Woohoos! (a description, not a verbatim quote) from numerous male media figures with recognisable names. Cool girls, of course, don’t call people on their day-to-day shit, they keep their powder dry for the Terrible Things, so they make men feel so much more relaxed and comfortable. People who think #EverydaySexism might feed directly into the big issues are so irritating and boring and serious. No, wait – they’re not serious enough, because they’re not off writing articles about masculinised violence and feminised poverty? Are you completely confused now?
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This is such a good read! A wonderfully thought-provoking interview with Amalia Ziv on queer parenting and feminism in Haaretz, which covers all manner of things from pornography to gender identity:
“I see a clash that is far from simple between queerism and parenting, because in parenting there is something inherent that reproduces the social order, even if you don’t mean to.
“You have to socialize your child to this world, as it is, with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and with the gender division. But I am trying to convey to him a more complex picture of the world. Obviously without coercing him − this isn’t some dogmatic attempt to socialize him differently, but he is being raised in a home that is different in certain respects. I can’t erase all of the insights I have about gender.”
Something I find fascinating is how people’s feminism evolves over time and how parenting impacts upon that and this is an element covered in the interview.
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What is missing from all this analysis about discrimination against marginalised groups? (Or at least in my case, wasn’t being highlighted?) Race!
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Read this review in The New Yorker, it sounds like a challenging but absolutely fascinating book.
The story of Megan, Michael, and their unexpected family life is one of many in Andrew Solomon’s “Far from the Tree: Parents, Children, and the Search for Identity” (Scribner). Solomon, an assiduous journalist with an essayistic bent, is fascinated by the paradoxes of procreation: how do you nurture a child who may be unlike anything you’ve encountered before? Most people who consider themselves black, say, or Jewish, have parents who do, too. Solomon calls this “vertical identity,” because it flows naturally down the generations. It’s a conduit through which the benefits of shared experience—empathy, hindsight, a sense of who you are—can travel. But what if, like Jacob, you are a deaf child with hearing parents? What if you’re a dwarf with parents of normal proportions? These identities are “horizontal”: there’s a rupture between the child’s life and the parents’ experiences. They seem to challenge many premises of family and interrupt the basic continuity that it presumes.
Solomon is in many ways the perfect writer for the subject—nuanced, thorough, humane, and a gifted stylist—and, trying to get to the root of this conflict, he pushes horizontal identity as far as it will go. He includes chapters not only on deafness and dwarfism but on Down syndrome, autism, schizophrenia, multiple severe disability, early genius, conception through rape, criminal behavior, and transgender life. He talks with more than three hundred families; interviews those around them; and reads extensively about the conditions they face. When bonds within families begin to fray, he seeks to understand what went wrong.
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Posted in body image, book review, feminism, feminist motherhood, GLBTI, motherhood, motherhood bliss, politics, pop culture, preschoolers, raising daughters, raising sons, school kids, toddlers on November 18, 2012 |
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The One Of A Kind Coloring Book: 1. Surprise Box by Genevieve Labelle.
For real! This is a feminist colouring book for your kids. I love it.
Some of the concepts explored in the illustrations include gender non-conformity, debunking gender stereotypes (eg. insect collecting princesses and male ballet dancers), same sex attraction, and even cross-dressing. All of the topics are handled gently and playfully. You can choose, as a parent, how far you want to go with discussions in response to these illustrations but there’s nothing particularly provocative about them if you want to just let them be, too. My daughter, at age 7 and very fluent with these concepts, is old enough to pick up on every point being made and to find them all fascinating but they went right over the head of my three year old son until I deliberately explored some with him.
The illustrations are well designed pieces for colouring and are terribly sweet and whimsical in nature. There’s a great picture in here referencing recent protest action in Quebec and lots of mysterious illustrations stemming from Canadian mythology that I can’t decipher but that make for interesting pictures and really, children are pretty happy to embrace the unexplained. Labelle also includes a brief synopsis of some of the legends depicted with the package.
It’s difficult to find anything to fault about this book – I guess this is not the cheapest colouring book at US$10.50 but then it’s self-published by an author/illustrator and as a special occasion gift.. Well, it would make a great stocking-filler if you happen to celebrate Christmas!
Available for purchase from her Etsy shop here and I thoroughly recommend it.
In accordance with standard disclosure guideline, please note that a free product was supplied to me for review and that I was not paid for this review and nor did the company see my comments prior to my posting it here.
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Ta-Nehisi Coates in The Atlantic with “Hippies Wander Into The Lions’ Den, Maul Lions” on what the full election results mean.
That president is the pivotal figure in what must be one of the most progressive nights in American history, and arguably the most progressive night in American history in some 40 years.
I am not sure what more to make of this. I would not say that the battle is over, but that some monster of American history, some wraith, some awful Power went into battle last night, and is presently limping away mortally wounded. The beast-handlers know this. I think it’s broadcast in Bill O’Reilly’s open racism
, in Karl Rove’s flight into lunacy. It is slowly dawning on them: This isn’t 1968. The hippies are punching back.
And David Simon with “Barack Obama And The Death Of Normal” at The Audacity of Despair.
Hard times are still to come for all of us. Rear guard actions will be fought at every political crossroad. But make no mistake: Change is a motherfucker when you run from it. And right now, the conservative movement in America is fleeing from dramatic change that is certain and immutable. A man of color is president for the second time, and this happened despite a struggling economic climate and a national spirit of general discontent. He has been returned to office over the specific objections of the mass of white men. He has instead been re-elected by women, by people of color, by homosexuals, by people of varying religions or no religion whatsoever. Behold the New Jerusalem. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a white man, of course. There’s nothing wrong with being anything. That’s the point.
This election marks a moment in which the racial and social hierarchy of America is upended forever. No longer will it mean more politically to be a white male than to be anything else. Evolve, or don’t. Swallow your resentments, or don’t. But the votes are going to be counted, more of them with each election
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Here is the definitive at-chest supplementer guide from the fabulous Milk Junkies blog, which is written by Trevor, a transgender dad breastfeeding his baby.
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Femininity itself has become a brand, a narrow and shrinking formula of commoditised identity which can be sold back to women who have become alienated from their own power as living, loving, labouring beings.
From Laurie Penny in an interview here on Feministing about her new book, Meat Market: Female Flesh Under Capitalism. So many great thoughts in this interview.
AS: You also mention that feminist stereotypes exist because it “terrorises women with the fear that radical politics will destroy their sexuality and gender identity.” Why do you think this is women’s greatest fear?
LP: Whatever sex we are, we come to learn, particularly after we start school and the social segregation really begins, that our gender identity is the most important part of our overall identity, and that not fitting properly into the big pink box marked ‘F’ or the big blue box marked ‘M’ will lead to ostracizing, loneliness and shame. One of the things I’ve learned from my transsexual friends is how powerful and frightening the fear of being misgendered can be – it feels like a form of identity destruction, like a tiny part of us is being killed. Stereotypes about feminists – that we are sexless, masculine-looking, ‘hairy-legged’, aggressive – are often designed to imply that women who question gender norms on a personal or political level lose that feminine identity that is so important, as important as it ever was thirty years ago, to social and intimate acceptance. The fact that it’s not true – I know feminists of all ages and genders, and some of them are incredibly femme, and some are magnificently butch, and most fall somewhere in between – that’s not the most important thing. The most important thing is that we have allowed feminism to be rephrased as somehow anti-sex, anti-gender, when feminism is all about liberating gender and sexuality.
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