No More Throw-Away People!

April 21, 2008 at 10:23 am (amazing things, books, feminism) ()

No More Throw-Away People: The Co-Production Imperative, by Edgar S. Cahn, is the newest addition to our reading list. The book is so important, and so uncannily in line with our values, I’m not sure what to say about it. It’s about time dollars. You should read it. It’s full of the kind of ideas that are so good — so complete, so necessary — that, once you’ve heard them, you are floored by their obviousness. Ideas so revolutionary they shouldn’t be revolutionary, and how is it possible I never knew this? Why isn’t this taught in schools?

Some brief quotes to get you started.

So far, people seem to be able to master the complex mathematics of Time Banking: 1=1. One hour helping someone equals one Time Dollar or Time Credit. That’s it. More and more people understand that there is something basically wrong with a society where an elderly person can be despondent because, in their words, “I have nothing left to give but love.” How can love be “nothing”? (Cahn xii)

If we accept a market definition of work, there are a few minor omissions worth nothing. Work does not include: raising children, taking care of one’s elder parents, keeping one’s family, functioning, being a good neighbor, or being a good citizen. So work includes everything — except family, community and democracy. Some of us think those things are rather important. If they can’t be addressed as work within the market, it is clear we need a larger framework than that supplied by market. (Cahn 41)

Feminism, anti-capitalism, community, and love come together in this book, all dovetailed into a cohesive strategy, one way to save the world. Very relatedly, Emily (hopefully!), our friend Brenden and I, and my girlfriend and maybe other friends, too,* are all planning on going to this conference. If you’re in the Santa Fe/Albuquerque area, you should come too! I am extremely excited.

* Isabel? Eh?

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Monday Feminist Lost Blogging: On Being “A Good Man”

April 14, 2008 at 11:18 am (feminism, sexism) ()

Okay, so Lost is very easily the most egregiously sexist* work I’ve ever enjoyed. Ever. There’s no use trying to dissect the incredible level of gender-stereotyping that goes on on that show — there’s just too damn much of it. If I spent time doing that, I wouldn’t have any left to wonder about the meaning of the numbers, or what happened to the Dharma Initiative, or who the Others really are. I wouldn’t have any time to think about how “Adam and Eve” could plausibly be Amelia Earhart and her navigator, or to work on writing Lost songs with Emily, or to work with Emily on creating unlikely but hot pairings of characters.

But one thing that’s jumped out at me, lately. I don’t think a single episode goes by without a mention of someone being “a good man.” As in: “You’re a good man!”

“He was a good man!”

“I know you’re really a good man!”

Etc., etc.

The reason this has me thinking. “Good man” is a phrase with meaning, and it’s a good and powerful meaning, too. It means that, on a fundamental level, the man in question is moral, upstanding, and brave. It means that he wouldn’t hurt other people, that he would instead protect them. Right?

But never in all the gendered compliments on Lost has someone been called “a good woman.” Because that phrase is meaningless, or its meaning is so disturbingly sexist one cannot use it, not even on ABC.

What would it mean to call someone “a good woman”? To tearfully proclaim, “I love you because you’re a good woman”?

I don’t know, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t mean principled or courageous.

For this reason, I will never call someone “a good man.” When I want to say that someone is fundamentally kind, strong, righteous, noble, ethical, etc., I will use one of those adjectives, or call her, simply, “a good person” — “a good human being.” There’s nothing in the Y chromosome that brings bravery, and there’s no reason we shouldn’t hold all adults up to the same standard of risking oneself to protect others.

* And racist. And heterosexist. And…

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Sexual Offense Prevention Policy

April 6, 2008 at 2:47 pm (amazing things, feminism, injustice, LGBT, sex) (, , , )

In honor of the Gender-shenanigans that went down last night, and of course to afford Daisy and Emily more time to watch Lost, I am going to post briefly on something called the Sexual Offense Prevention Policy, or SOPP. It is a policy at my school designed to combat Rape Culture and make everyone feel a little more safe and secure about their sexual and gender identities, and the likelihood of harassment.

The main point of SOPP is consent. The two or more parties involved in physical activity of ANY kind, from hugging to making-out to fighting to naked jello wrestling, must VOICE explicit consent at every level of said activity. Basically, you have to hear the word “Yes” before you can throw your partner down and rub jelly in their face.

Obviously SOPP gets fudged a lot if you’re in a long term relationship, and its pretty darn ineffective against rape or any sort of real sexual harassment. But if something out of line does occur, under SOPP a complaint can be filed, and that person will be kicked out of school/banned from campus/reported to the police, etc.

But what does SOPP really do? It doesn’t stop harassment. My first month at Antioch I was verbally harassed very badly, in the form of questions. I would say no to one sexual position and I would quickly be asked if I was open to another, and this would go on and on and on. There is also definitely rape, fighting, and child abuse on this campus. Although I have seen some pretty bad situations, such as fights, adverted because of SOPP.

What SOPP does manage to achieve is an open dialogue. Some people have already gotten to this place on their own, and for that, I applaud you. But partly because of SOPP and partly because Antioch is a sex-positive campus, the conversations about sex are never-ceasing. In a society where you are forced to talk about what feels good to you sexually, how you identify, even what diseases you have, all before you actually sleep with someone, misunderstandings and some bad situations are avoided.

The SOPP: talking is good. Consent is good. Dialogue about important issues, such as sex, is very, very good. And I live in a community where if you don’t follow these guidelines, then you lose the right to be a community member. Because it’s that important.

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Genderfuck

April 4, 2008 at 1:11 pm (amazing things, art, feminism, LGBT, sex) (, , )

Daisy asked me to blog a little about my school, so here goes. I go to Antioch College, in a tiny itsy town called Yellow Springs. Antioch, as a collective, has currently gone mad.

Because this week is Sex Week.

Which is pretty much the best week ever, if you couldn’t already tell.

Genderfuck happens once a semester, and is an entire week devoted to workshops, seminars, field trips and dance parties concerning sex, gender-bending, and exploration of identity. To give you an idea of the schedule, here are a few of the activities posted:

Reproductive Justice, a seminar on Adoption (for Gay couples, etc.)
A Survivor/Ally Workshop
A porn and cigarettes party (free cigarettes!)
Porn 101- The new wave of porn, Sex 101, and Kink 101, Bottoming Workshop, Topping Workshop (all but on by our local Queer Center)
A trip to the Sex Shop
Love Your Body Night (open to female-body-identified people)
An SOPP (Sexual Offense Prevention Policy) Dance Party
Non-normative Masculinities Panel
Erotic Art Party
and of course, the grand finale, the GENDERFUCK dance itself.

The end of Sex Week is the Genderfuck dance. To illustrate a snapshot of what people usually look like at Genderfuck: a friend of mine will be dressing like Liz Vicious, a gothic porn star. I believe my friend plans to add a thong to Liz Vicious’ general ensemble, but still. Another friend is going as a broken marionette doll, and a third is going as Rainbow Bright. People will “perform”, and usually there’s at least one performance set to the Dresden Dolls, who I love.

Haha!

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International Sex Workers’ Rights Day

March 3, 2008 at 4:54 pm (feminism, sex)

I’ve just learned that today is International Sex Workers’ Rights Day. Visit that post for a bunch of good links pointing to blogs, outreach programs, and other resources.

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Blogging For Choice: It’s Important To Vote For Justice

January 22, 2008 at 4:38 pm (feminism, politics, sexism) ()

Go check out other people’s Blogging For Choice posts.

Late in the day! Sorry about that. It was the first day of the new semester, and then when I got home I got distracted building a friend for a comrade of mine who is lonely at school.

Onto the topic at hand: why it is important to vote pro-choice.

This question is an answer.

It’s important to vote pro-choice because it’s important to vote for justice. It’s important to vote for liberty. It’s important to vote against sexism, and against the fear and hatred of sex and bodies. It’s important to vote pro-choice because anything else is goddamn hypocritical.

It is blatant, absurd hypocrisy to exercise one’s freedom in order to restrict someone else’s. It’s ridiculous and contradictory and wrong to use one’s suffrage as a weapon of disenfranchisement. It’s hypocritical to use democracy as a tool of fascism.

Those of us who can vote can vote because we live in a free society. The hypocrisy of using that freedom to destroy another deserved, necessary freedom is mind-boggling.

Opposing reproductive justice is one thing. Voting against it is quite another.

It’s deceitful. It’s ridiculous. It’s disingenuous and fraudulent.

Tikkun olam, people. It’s important to vote for justice.

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35th Anniversary of Roe v Wade

January 21, 2008 at 10:21 am (feminism, politics) ()

I’m a little late in announcing this, but Our Descent Into Madness will be blogging for choice tomorrow, which is Blogging for Choice Day 2008. It’s also the 35th anniversary of Roe v Wade. This year’s Blogging for Choice theme is why it’s important to vote pro-choice. If you have your own blog, sign up and and join the feminist fun!

Blog for Choice Day

You can read Emily’s Blogging for Choice post from last year here, and mine here.

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The “race vs gender” competition only makes sense when you believe women of color don’t exist.

January 17, 2008 at 2:25 pm (feminism, movies/video/clips, politics, racism, sexism)

Via The United States of Jamerica, take a look at this discussion between Gloria Steinem and Melissa Harris-Lacewell, moderated by Amy Goodman, on race and gender issues amongst the Democratic hopefuls. That is, it’s Harris-Lacewell eloquently explaining why Steinem’s analysis of the Clinton/Obama competition is off-base, unfair, and typical of the worst of white feminism.

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Who Would You Rather Have A Beer With?

January 9, 2008 at 7:00 pm (feminism, politics)

I think it’s time we all considered this pressing question. Not to determine who to vote for, of course.

I would love to have a beer with Hillary Clinton.

The other major(ish) candidates each disqualify themselves pretty immediately.

I’ve already met Bill Richardson. He’s a jerk and a slime-ball. A gifted negotiator, to be sure, but I hope never to encounter him again.

I couldn’t be in the same room as John Edwards without punching him for the cheap sexist shot he took at Clinton earlier this week. I like his policies, but he gets on my nerves, and I’m really pissed about that comment.

Barack Obama might be the best president out of the front-runners, but there is no doubt in my mind that between the beer and the “hope-mongering,” I would throw up.

Clinton, on the other hand, I would like to meet. I’d like to ask her about her experiences as a woman in politics. I’d like to ask her about feminism. I’d like to apologize to her for the inexcusable shit she’s getting from our poor excuse for a media.

And then, of course, I’d have to tell her that she doesn’t have my vote.

Anyone else care to weigh in?

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Who are you and what have you done with my movement? (From Anne Frank to gastropods, from feminism to feminism.)

January 6, 2008 at 3:42 pm (feminism, racism) ()

pins

Anne Frank and a snail, two from my latest batch of pins.

I’ve experiencing some strange, sweeping changes in my attitudes toward the blogosphere, just in the last week or three. Certain feminist bloggers have started grossing me out. I’ve dropped some of the oldest members of my feed subscription, and a good handful are hanging on by just a thread.

As I’ve wondered to Emily, I’m not sure whether we (for she’s had a similar experience) just made a sudden leap in our evolving understandings of racism, classism, and sexism, rendering many of the more… Shall we say conventional* bloggers obsolete, or whether the blogosphere itself has taken a sudden turn.

Without warning, many old favorites now look to me like willfully ignorant incorrigible asshats (as they would say), and I’m enjoying conversations in places I never thought I’d want to go.

So have some other people gotten exponentially stupider, or did I get smarter somehow? I don’t know. But whatever happened, I’m pissed about it.

Who are you people and what have you done with my movement?

* Or perhaps conventional isn’t the word. Maybe the word is racist. Or maybe it’s capitalist. Maybe the word I’m looking for is bullshit.

Well. Others have said it far, far better than I can.

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