"Though both are bound in the spiral dance, I would rather be a cyborg than a goddess." – Donna Haraway

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Why I Can’t Fist Pump with Meryl and J-Lo

Women in the audience reacting very enthusiastically

Reactions to Arquette’s Acceptance Speech

You know what they say about the road to hell…

In this case, the intentions under scrutiny are those of Patricia Arquette calling for wage equality at last night’s Academy Awards.

Many have identified Arquette’s backstage remarks as the moment that they noticed a problem with her message. The privileging of white womanhood was certainly very explicit backstage. But to be honest, she lost me when she was still on stage. When she said, “We..have…fought for everybody else’s equal rights.” She read that from something she penned in advance.

Cut to me in my living room: *face-palm* I was immediately reminded of the #solidarityisforwhitewomen hashtag and the critiques of racism within white feminism. As implicitly biased as Arquette’s onstage remarks might have been, that piece of paper she held in front of her is a problem for me. For that paper implies contemplation and composition. And in all of that contemplating and composing, she does not seem to have questioned what she meant when she said the word “We.”

Yes, wage equality is a critical issue. But it is clear from her remarks both onstage and backstage (included below for those who did not see them) that Arquette’s “we” is white women. You pretty much have to not be paying attention to not realize that the wage gap is even more egregious for women of color. And from your position of relative privilege, it shows an extreme disconnect from the reality if you are willing to ask that people of color prioritize gender over race, and that LGBTQ folks privilege gender over sexuality, in the fight for equality. That is not a sacrifice that you get to ask for. Ideally we are fighting on all fronts, but in reality, that is not always the case. And you don’t get to demand this.

There are those who say that Arquette should not be “torn down” for her remarks. Or that people are overreacting.The truth is, she had a pretty big megaphone last night and she got it wrong. So yes, we can recognize her intentions, but we get nowhere without willing to be thoughtful about why good intentions don’t lead to equality for all.

Brittney Cooper’s response in the following tweets has started people posting to the #askawhitefeminist hashtag

I started a Storify of tweets and posts inspired by Cooper’s hashtag and also connected to Mikki Kendall’s hashtag #SolidarityisforWhiteWomen that started back in 2013. As time allows, I may get over to Storify to update with new material, but I can’t promise.

So here’s what I found so far:

Bummer. After a good 30 minutes of fighting with it, I’ve learned that non-VIP users of WordPress.com can no longer embed Storify into their posts. Here’s a link instead: https://storify.com/purplekimchi/askawhitefeminist-responses-to-patricia-arquette

**Edited to Add the text of Arquette’s backstage remarks:

“It’s time for women. Equal means equal. The truth is the older women get, the less money they make. The highest percentage of children living in poverty are in female-headed households. It’s inexcusable that we go around the world and we talk about equal rights for women in other countries and we don’t. One of those superior court justices said two years ago in a law speech at a university that we don’t have equal rights for women in America and we don’t because when they wrote Constitution, they didn’t intend it for women. So the truth is even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America right under the surface there are huge issues at play that really do affect women. It’s time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now.

“Get in My Vagina! Language and Power in Online Comedy Videos” posted at In Media Res

I thought I’d take a moment to draw your attention to a recent post I wrote for In Media Res. On their “About” page, IMR describes themselves as “dedicated to experimenting with collaborative, multi-modal forms of online scholarship. Our goal is to promote an online dialogue amongst scholars and the public about contemporary approaches to studying media. In Media Res provides a forum for more immediate critical engagement with media at a pace closer to how we experience mediated texts.”

The structure of the site is that they put out a call for participation for “theme weeks.” Proposals are reviewed and if you are accepted, you submit an image, series of images, or video along with a brief Curator’s statement. One post is published per day during the theme week. The Curators, other scholars, and the public are invited to engage in dialogue around the week’s posts.

This is the second time that I have participated in an In Media Res theme week. The first time, a group of Fashioning Circuits graduate students and I curated a piece called “The Multiply Mediated Voice of the America’s Next Top Model All Star,” that addressed the use of social media to construct “authentic” participant personae on the show. This time the theme week was “Women’s Health is a Joke.” My piece, “Get in My Vagina! Language and Power in Online Comedy Videos” addresses the ways that certain comedy videos use the word “vagina,” taking into account our social context in which biological language to describe women’s bodies is deemed improper.


Flyover Feminism is Looking for Ideas and Editors

Flyover Feminism.

Flyover Feminism attempts to give voice to feminists who are traditionally marginalized, due to geography or other factors. This is one of those cases in which emerging media can be a powerful organizing force.

Check them out and submit ideas for posts!

Re-blog: What We’re Really Talking About When We Talk About Hillary Clinton Without Makeup

What We’re Really Talking About When We Talk About Hillary Clinton Without Makeup.

Much of what Erin Gloria Ryan has to say about the attacks on the appearance of a woman is similar to my discomfort with the reactions to the Alexandra Wallace “Asians in the Library” video, which I blogged about here.

That’s Vaginal.

I apologize for the lapse in posting here at The Spiral Dance. My “Spring break resolution” is to get on a regular posting schedule. Really. I have a plan. 

April 1, 2011 (the irony of which is not lost on me), I posted a link to an article in which Scott Randolph, a democratic representative from FL, was chastised for using the word “uterus” on the house floor. I ended the post with the quip, “Thank goodness he didn’t say vagina.” Fast forward to February 2012 when VA delegate David Albo uses the term “trans-v” instead of “transvaginal” in discussing abortion legislation. I’d like to be able to claim prescience but let’s face it, this has been circulating in the political weather system for some time. Vaginas are the hottest topic nobody is talking about right now. In a blog post  on FeministingKatie makes the excellent point that if you can’t say the word “vagina,” perhaps you should neither be probing nor legislating them. The fact that media commentators and conservative legislators are uncomfortable with the anatomical terminology of the female reproductive system indicates a much bigger, systemic problem.

Infographic on Women's Health Issues in 2011-2012

Anyone paying attention to the recent spate of legislation attempting to restrict women’s access to birth control can tell you that the vagina, and the people who have them, are under siege. Women’s sexuality and reproductive rights are being used as a pawn in the 2012 election season. I can’t even begin to succinctly summarize the variety of moves in this game. “On International Women’s Day Congress Debates Measure to Limit Reproductive Rights” by Laura Basset of The Huffington Post does a nice job of summarizing a lot of what has happened over the last year. In addition, here is a woefully incomplete “stack” on delicious that contains links to a variety of stories. And if you don’t have time to browse any of these, Bassett’s post included the timeline based infographic, pictured above, that shows a steady stream of restrictive legislation.

Sometime between when Iowa passed their new legislation and when Planned Parenthood was defunded, Summer’s Eve launched their “That’s Vaginal” campaign. Given the political climate, I had to admire their chutzpah*  (more…)

Democrat chastised for saying ‘uterus’ on House floor

Democrat chastised for saying ‘uterus’ on House floor | Florida politics blog: The Buzz | tampabay.com & St. Petersburg Times.

Not necessarily related to technology or media, but when an anatomical term like “uterus” is branded indecorous, it cannot be ignored. Thank goodness he didn’t say “vagina.”

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