This is a guest post by Cordelia Nailong & Emma Shakarshy
Queer communities have a long way to go to be the welcoming places that we would like them to be, especially when it comes to racism.
Orange is The New Black’s “Big Boo”, Lea Delaria, recently viewed Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety”, an exhibit in Brooklyn’s Domino Sugar Factory that highlights the legacies of white supremacy, capitalism, colonialism, anti-blackness, slavery, and patriarchy that have shaped the past 500 years. The Domino Sugar Factory was chosen as a venue for this piece for a number of reasons including the fact that enslaved folks were the foundation of the sugar economy that Domino rose from and were the enslaved labor of the sugar plantations. This is not to mention that factories like this one literally processed sugar from brown to white. Walker’s exhibit features sculptures of enslaved children made of molasses to highlight the sugar factory’s, as well as many other industries’, reliance on black labor to benefit white capitalistic goals.
Guten Borgen Beigen, animals and crackers. Time for the billionth installment of appreciating female comics!
This week we are appreciating an oldie but goodie. Currently on tour with her also hilarious husband, let me introduce you to the fabulous Megan Mullally!
I fell in love with Megan Mullally when she played Karen Walker on Will and Grace, but she has a long entertainment pedigree. She made her Broadway debut in Grease in 1994 and she has appeared in several Broadway musicals since. From 2006 until early 2007, she hosted the short-lived talk show The Megan Mullally Show. In 2010, Mullally starred as Lydia in the second season of Party Down. She also co-stars as Chief on Childrens Hospital on Adult Swim, and has had recurring roles as Tammy Swanson on Parks and Recreation, Dana Hartz on Happy Endings, and Aunt Gayle on Bob’s Burgers. She’s won seven consecutive Emmy Award nominations for her role on Will & Grace, winning in 2000 and 2006. She’s also received four Screen Actors Guild Awards for her performance, and was nominated for four Golden Globe awards.
Here you go, kids:
It may be an understatement that white cis-hetero bros, en masse, haven’t always been the best allies of feminism. So when this comic from College Humor (also not particularly a bastion of social justice advocacy) started showing up EVERYWHERE on my dash I was…cautious. Continue reading
One particular thing has bothered me about the response to BeylevatorGate, the recording of Solange Knowles assaulting Jay Z in a hotel elevator last week. It is an idea, an insidious and implied idea. It can be seen in statements such as “Well we don’t know what happened” or “There’s no telling what Jay did,” and in the hashtag #WhatJaySaidToSolange, which speculates about what Jay Z said to cause Solange’s actions. These statements imply that something could have “happened” that justifies violence, but we’re not sure either way so we should reserve judgement. That idea is incredibly dangerous, particularly for black women, for whom domestic homicide is a leading cause of death.
In my opinion no one of any gender can do or say anything to “deserve” physical violence, and the only exception is if you are putting someone else’s safety at risk with violence, necessitating them to respond with violence in self-defense. Continue reading
This is a guest post by Page Gramsci.
During a family vacation a few weeks ago, my brother-in-law was having a conversation with my father about a Bill Bryson book. He was extolling the virtues of Bryson’s ability to explain a complex subject when my father, apparently bored with discussion, changed topics suddenly.
“You know what someone should explain in a book which would make them tons of money?” he asked, pausing for dramatic effect while my sister and I, seated a few feet away at the kitchen counter and furtively trying to derail this interruption by remaining silent and refusing to provide the expected “What?” waited warily for his reply – “Someone should write a book explaining women to men.”
Silence and irritated blinking followed. In one of those split second decisions we make every day – those gambles about whether to intervene and speak up about something problematic we’ve heard, and thus risk exploding the space and soiling everyone’s mood or, instead, to just grumble deeply in one’s throat and let it slide for the sake of not having to deal with said explosion – I decided to try to register dissent in a frame that my father would find difficult to immediately dismiss; by pointing out that not all men think like he does.
“You should just ask Tim [my boyfriend,]” I replied. “He understands women perfectly.”
“I highly doubt that,” was my father’s initial response.
“Well it is not that difficult, you know.” I continued. “You just start with understanding people and then you’re pretty much done.”
Perhaps irritated by the snark that had creeped into my tone – “it’s only a matter of time before she starts talking like that,” I imagine most of my conservative family members think to themselves – Dad quickened his retort and heightened his own tone of derision.
“Just because he agrees with you does not mean that he understandings you” – a comment which is only made explicable by the back history of Tim and I spending endless hours in political conversation with my father, each of us alternatively trying different strategies to push him along to perspectives we share. Still, the assertion was still baffling, and my brain rapidly tried to untangle the logic that could have produced such a reply. Was he suggesting that my political positions are merely products of the logic of Tim, and although I concur with him on most major points of politics, the process by which I do so is still somehow mysterious? And why was he focusing on my political views as what I was referring to when I claimed Tim understands me? Was the concept of Tim also understanding my emotional needs and states so preposterous to father that he assumed, somewhere in his head, that I simply meant Tim understands my intellectual positions? Or was he simply feeling backed into a corner, an experience that reminded him of many two-against-one conversations with the pair of us that was his most immediate reference for our mutual understanding?
Unable to solve the riddle in a matter of mere seconds, I simply said, “I have no idea what that even means,” and went on to clarify, “there has never been a time when Tim was not understanding about my feelings or experiences and did not listen to me closely to make sure he was understanding me correctly.”
At this point, my father’s defensiveness somehow melted – perhaps because, aware as he is of the very happy state of my relationship, his pleasure at seeing his daughter well-treated overcame his desire to win an argument about gender normativity – and as he nodded sincerely he said, “That must be really nice, it really must be.”
“Indeed, it is,” I grinned, and, mercifully, the conversation came to an end. But although it was brief, the exchange was so packed with absurdity and mutual bewilderment that it highlighted, like perhaps few short exchanges ever do, the vast ocean that separates the way someone like my father – a conservative white male baby boomer – and someone like me – a thirty year old white feminist leftist – think about relationships between men and women.
Happy Friday y’all! Have you heard of Maria Bamford? She’s a voice actor on the cartoon Adventure Time, Legend of Korra, and CatDog. You might recognize her from Arrested Development. All that and she’s an excellent stand up comic! I find her delightfully weird. Her style is impression-heavy and she’s not shy about distorting her face and voice. Here she is on Craig Fergusen:
And at the Laugh Factory:
Have y’all heard that SNL announced their newest cast member? It’s Sasheer Zamata, another fantastic female comic to add to our growing list. She’ll be the only black female cast member, and the first black female cast member on the show in six years. Yes, the year is, in fact, 2014.
No work of art is perfectly feminist, nor should it be. But like Miss X, I love movies! And sometimes I just want to watch one where a woman kicks ass. Or one that features meaningful relationships between women. Or contains gender-stereotype-defying characters Or simply has characters who look like my girlfriend and friends and family rather than Hollywood bots. Since those kinds of movies can seem few and far between, I’ve pulled together a list of some of my favorite feminist-leaning movies by genre, to make your next movie night a glorious celebration of the strength and versatility of good female characters.
This will contain spoilers! However, the most recent of these movies came out two years ago so I think we’ll be ok.
SRS MOVIES FOR SRS PEOPLE:
RED DRAGON, Thriller
Reasons to watch: Although she’s not the main character, Reba, the blind film processor who romances the serial killer Francis Dolorhide, makes this movie worth watching. When we first meet her, she explains to Dolorhide how to move around in her photo lab by using the step-counting method she’s developed–right away she establishes that she navigates the world just fine. Then she rejects, politely but firmly, the advances of a guy she dislikes, and decides to go out with a guy she DOES like, because he’s sexy and doesn’t pity her. She’s kind to him, and obviously attracted to him, and after he takes her on an awesome date, she seduces him. At no point is she anything but a total boss.
ALIEN, Science Fiction
Reasons to watch: Sigourney Weaver’s character is competent, complex, and intelligent. She “has no interest in the romance of finding the alien” according to Roger Ebert, but instead focuses on how to effectively eliminate the threat to her safety and the safety of her team.
This is a guest post written by Erika Turner.
Two days ago, I made one of the biggest transitions of my life – leaving a familiar city for one in which I never dreamed of living. No, really. New York was never my ideal, but writing or “living the creative life” always has been. So, here I am. And in the months leading up to this event, I’ve struggled. Not only with the decision to move or with plans concerning how the hell I was going to support myself, but with confidence. With convincing myself I was worthy enough to pursue my dreams, despite the seemingly insurmountable work I know I must do to ever be comfortable in my own skin, to love myself and move beyond my flaws.
Then, several days before my move, during a series of events through which I’m sure the Lord was testing my patience, my resolve, and perhaps my sanity, Beyoncé dropped her new album. Go ahead, roll your eyes. I’ll wait.