Archive for April, 2009


The past five Vassar Students Association Presidents have been men.

But today we wake up to a female president! Here’s to Caitlin! Hope she’s cool.

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So last night Irene and I went to go see Ani DiFranco (which was super great especially the super cute/talented drummer) but unfortunately we found ourselves stuck listening to the opener, Hamell on Trial.

Hamell on Trial sang poorly, had mediocre guitar skills, but worse than that he was incredibly offensive. Literally everything that came out of his mouth was some sort of commentary on female genitalia, or his experience of sex, where let’s face it his descriptions projected women as simply objects rather than participants.

wash your mouth and bald head with soap, you creeper

wash your mouth and bald head with soap, you creeper

And yet the strange thing is that I think I was supposed to read Hamell on Trial as being uber cool and progressive for his crudeness. As if the fact that he says he loves to “lick pussy” shows that he’s a feminist. Or the fact that he has a 30 second song about Matthew Shepard means I’m not supposed to get all enraged about his demeaning heteronormative jokes about the fact that only the men in the audience know what he’s talking about when he talks about sex with his wife. I’m all for talking about sex more openly, for not feeling ashamed of our bodies. But it has to be done with respect. My body should not be the punchline of a joke, that’s not a part of my feminism.

I don’t understand how just because you have a guitar and talk about Obama makes it ok to demean me and my body? I don’t understand how talking about essentially pressuring your wife into having anal sex makes you hip and cool. And I certainly don’t understand how it makes you suitable for Righteous Babe Records or as an opener for Ani.

I don’t know who makes these decisions but if it is Ani, I hope next time she seriously reconsiders her choice in picking Hamell on Trial. Apparently he’s been opening for Ani for years and you’d think someone would let them know that that creeper is offending a lot of her audience.

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Something to chew on.


Hope Hilton did an interesting photography exhibit where she took pictures of women wearing graphic rap lyrics. I thought it was interesting. And disturbing.

Here are the rest: http://www.dospestaneos.com/hilton/raplyrics4.html

What do you think?

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media again

the media…never our ally

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more like 30 doesn't rock!

more like 30 doesn't rock!

ive noticed that so much comedy is anti-feminist. SO MUCH. lucie wrote about this a whole ago, so im adding onto that thread.

ive been watching this show, “30 rock”. when i first saw it, i thought it sucked. the main character, liz lemon, is this total mess. i personally dont see what’s so messy about her, but she, and every character on that show, all think that she’s a mess. she likes to eat, it’s like her biggest passion. what’s so fucking funny about that? but everyone laughs at her and like makes fun of her cuz she likes to eat. and because she always seems to be involved with men who are huge losers.

but over time, i started to really enjoy watching this dumb show. even all the female characters are stereotypes: 1. the spinster liz lemon whose life is really not enviable, 2. the jealous attention-obsessed blonde actress, and 3. the skinny young theoretically attractive little child who is supposed to be an adult. the men, though equally fucked up, are portrayed as powerful: 1. alec baldwin plays the part of a corporate wizard, and he’s like so annoying and mean to everyone but he’s made uber likable, 2. tracy jordan fucking sucks and is the dumbest person on the planet, but he is the richest guy ever and throws money around on strippers and getting expensive useless shit.

it’s fun watching this show, but only after making a huge effort to sit in front of the screen, desensitized on purpose, so that i can be entertained by what is deemed entertaining in today’s world…

we need better comedy. we need to parody gender inequalities, not exalt them and absorb them. we need to build a better world using media, instead of having powerful, profit-driven actors (pun not intended) in society using media to perpetuate their own false mindsets.

idk how on earth we can mobilize against this, ideas?

and also, if you haven’t read munzi’s post below, it’s fucking amazing so go read it right now, it involves discussions of unfair perceptions of women.

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3325145626_c58349526e_oIt ain’t easy being “obese” on a campus where the trend is to be a skinny hipster.  A place like Vassar should have so many happy wonderful women, and yet hardly a day goes by when I don’t hear some sort of comment come out of my mouth or a friend’s that has some self-hating laced with it, the vast majority of the time referring to weight and body fat. Even my professors who have been so formative in the development of my own feminism all seem to find themselves at the gym running on treadmills like hamsters on a wheel, claiming they need to slim down. It’s hard to find a balance in all of this. Sure we all want to be healthy and beautiful, but what if we already are?

For pretty much as long as I can remember doctors have been telling me I’m overweight or obese and that if I don’t do something about it there will be deadly consequences. Up until recently I’ve always accepted this as fact. And maybe in some ways it is. A lifetime of being the pudgy kid with glasses who gets picked last for kickball is certainly not the ideal healthy life style. And I do have to worry about health, as we all do for some reason or another. My mother has type 2 diabetes as did my grandfather. It’s in my genes, I’m at risk.

But after reading Kate Harding’s Shapely Prose and seeing her BMI Project, I’m starting to wonder just how seriously I should take my doctor’s warnings. Confession: I’m 5′ 6” and a fairly steady 190 pounds, BMI 30-31. I know, it’s alarming. But before we get all fat-phobic on me, let’s think about what that actually means. Last summer I hiked up and down Cadillac Mountain with relative ease. When not at school I travel my hilly hometown nearly all by foot. In high school and for the past few summers when I worked at the school, I walked every weekday a total of roughly 2.5 miles because I don’t have a car. While I’m not very fast, I can swim for pretty long periods of time without too much effort. I take a pretty strenuous yoga class once a week and while I’m no yogi, I manage to achieve new strength and peace with each class. My last checkup alarmed my doctor, because wouldn’t you know I have excellent cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels, despite being “Obese” according to my BMI. Everything about my health was normal or better than normal. But still my doctor pulls me into her office to have a “serious talk” with me. It’s time to take care of my health she says. If I don’t do it now I’ll regret it my whole life. But what if I’m actually healthier just as I am?

Could I eat more veggies? Of course, even as an aspiring vegan, I know I don’t eat enough leafy greens and too many french fries. Should I go exercise more? Sure, and so probably should you, dear reader of the interwebz. But maybe as a young non-smoking 20 year old I’m a lot healthier and hotter than I, and you, and my doctor give me credit for. And maybe we should stop freaking out that I’m so fat. Because in terms of health, the only thing really “wrong” with me is the amount of vertical force I exert as a result of gravity, which I’m just gunna put out there I kinda have no immediate control over. I’ve been to nutritionists, endocrinologists, therapists, you name it. Is it poor diet? Poor exercise? Thyroid Problems? High Testosterone Levels? After lots of worrying, shame, depression, and loneliness, I still have no definite answers, and I’m still exactly as I am. And It starts to become obvious that maybe no one can fix me because there isn’t anything really wrong with me, despite what doctors and society tells me. Maybe it’s time to stop the hatin’ and just love myself for myself. I know super rad, right?

So if you call yourself a feminist, stop playing into the patriarchy of the health profession, media, and whatever and start to love yourself, and all your womanly curves, lovely lady lumps, or whatever you want to call them. Love the woman at the heart of this fight–yourself.

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I’m back!

I’m really, really grateful that people actually want me on this blog…I felt like I was being a dick to people, and I felt like I was not contributing positively to the discussion, so I withdrew myself. I would love to continue contributing to the discussion, though, and thank you for being so generous in allowing so many different voices (such as mine) in here. And please feel free, everybody, to challenge anything and everything I say! Anyway. I’ve been having all kinds of thoughts recently on the origins of Patriarchy, and I’d love to know what y’all think. Let’s all follow this train of thought for a bit, if you’d be so kind:

One of the first things the Patriarch realized was that he could not create. The Patriarch could surely make things–fashion objects, construct constructions (social and otherwise)–but he could not physically create life. From the Patriarch’s point of view, this is what separated him from the biological female. For him, at the most basic level, the difference between male and female is nothing greater than labels we slap on to organisms to indicate the “impregnator” and the “impregnated.” And yet, in the Patriarch’s world, this was all the difference in the world–quite literally. Within this world-view, the power to create life is indeed an inherently female power–and so it has been viewed as such, at least, for much of human history.
But, if the one unifying factor of all life on this planet is that it emerged from a female organism, then the very absurd myth of life itself is female. The flowering of nature, the evolution of animals, the taking root of trees and the evaporation of water: to even say that these natural phenomena occur at all is to give voice to their femininity. This natural occurance of life–the very essence of creation–is female. Our misunderstanding of this concept gives rise to all of the problems as in the world today, none so great as the Patriarchy itself.
The Patriarch, confronted with his inability to create life, desired power: power that seeks to dominate life in its pre-existence, and does so by clawing and grasping at everything around itself. The Patriarch could not create life and so sought to control the life that he had been created within–faced with the inability to conceive, he conceived instead of gods, of races, of classes, all in the vain hope that by imposing this order on the world he could take part in some of the creation that was never his to have, gain some power over the universe which he so obviously lacked. And so the Patriarch choked female roots by chopping down trees, silenced female voices by constraining them in corsets, took away female movement by balancing it on high heels and binding its feet, destroyed female freedom by beating it, marrying it, shoving cameras up its skirt and punishing it for not producing more males to carry on the same practices. The Patriarch took away the female body by teaching it to starve itself and value itself only in its relationship to others. In denying the female Other, the Patriarchs hid from themselves the truth that they were nothing more at heart but vulnerable skin and bone and muscles, who must be born and die without having even directly produced life. His removal from the entire process made it a concept that could be ignored, if he tried, and so he tried hard. He sought an all-powerful father, who would dispel all such ambiguity, and an all-powerful mother, to assuage the guilt of the destroyer and to grant unconditional forgiveness. This is the origin of the concept of religion: a search for answers to the great question of life–a question whose answer could be found in no obscurer place than between a woman’s legs. And so, to spite it all, this place was made obscure, made secret and made shameful. Unearthly spotlessness was the only realm in which man felt safe from the very human and substantive female body–so unnatural white was chosen over inscrutable black. In this way the world fall under the sway of the Patriarchy, from underneath which is has floundered ever since.
The very nature of power is circular–it dominates because it is weak. If it was not weak it would never have undertaken such a shallow enterprise as domination. And so, the Patriarch–by his very nature, weaker than women–created a world in which the male is powerful: the world of the Patriarchy. Only in a world of such unqualified oppression could the dominance of such a weak being be possible. Such one-eyed self-centered thinking is masculinity in its rawest form–the inability to look outside of oneself and one’s own interests, origins, and vulnerabilities. The Patriarch wishes to dominate because he knows he will die–his inability to create life plants in him the envious, greedy urge to destroy. Just as he wishes to dominate women, he wishes to witness lesbian sexual activity and to thereby totally remove himself from the concept of sexuality: he wishes to remove himself from the pressures of performance anxiety, responsibility, compassion, and recognition of simultaneous connection and irretractable distance. In other words, men wish to blind themselves from the very nature of our lot in life as human beings. Men, living, yet unable to create life, seek to affirm their own power while thereby tacitly admitting that they have none–they are, after all, male. Life is female–if the very concept of creation is a feminine act–so the very process of living must be so too. Every negative development in the history of the world has been a movement away from recognition of this supposition.

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So recently I went to this learn how to network post graduation thing. I won’t say exactly who it was I talked to because I don’t want to jeopardize my career in case someone wants to find this and use it against me. It was a group of older women. The older women at my table (and all the other tables that I could see) were both white. The students at my table, including me, were all South and East Asian.

The younger lady at our table talked about how women have historically been bad at networking. I was like whaa? She clarified by saying that women are better at networking as mothers, not as employees. I was like oh. It kind of made sense. American women didn’t even used to be employees, as in America, it used to be culturally unacceptable until very recently for women to have jobs. So it makes sense that American women, as a group, could potentially be lacking in the kind of assertiveness that is required for successful professional networking. An interesting theory, at least.

The older lady, more authoritative, agreed with her peer. She said something to the effect of, “Yes, that’s true. Especially when you come from a certain country, where if you’re a woman, you don’t just go up to a person and say hello, you don’t just do that.” She went on to look at the student to her left, who had a Vietnamese accent, and nodded understandably at her.

At the end of the meeting, I decided that I really liked both these women who were helping us learn how to network. Overall, they seemed like good people to get to know. But at the time of the above little chat about the inability of women from “certain countries” to network, I felt offended.

Is that reasonable? Does it make sense for me to be annoyed at this white woman for pointing out what she sees to be the truth? And isn’t it kind of the truth, in objective terms? That women from South and East Asian countries aren’t given the latitude to be bold in professional settings? Was this lady being racist, in talking about the passivity of Asian women? Part of me is saying “Yes” and the other is saying “No.”

Furthermore, am I being racist to readily accept that women from South and East Asian countries are forced to assume less-than-assertive roles in their societies’ workplace? I lived in India for 13 years and what I saw completely validates her statement. Should I hold my horses before I extend this observation to large, heterogeneous parts of the rest of the world? Are “Asian” women, whatever that means, actually not passive? Is it anti-feminist to think of them as passive? How is “passive” being constructed in this case?

What is really complicating the picture here? I am so confused. Readers, and I know there are millions of you, feel free to chime in with insights.

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By “Live Blogging” I mean not that I will be blogging live on some event. I mean that our blog is ALIVE! Though it’s been kind of sick for the past few weeks.

Reasons for why the blog was sick:
1. Maybe it’s that fight me and Ben had. I hope you come back Ben! I really mean that. Even though we disagree on pretty much everything, I liked our eye-opening exchanges.
2. Maybe it’s cuz it really started to look like we were doing the blog the wrong way…too confrontational. Some of us talked about it and I think we agree that confrontation needs to be given a second chance. Let us do it! Fight to the death, or something.
3. Some of the older (read: geriatric) (no, don’t though) bloggers appear to have lost interest…no worries, things will start looking so interesting so soon, they won’t be able to resist coming back!
4. Probably everyone is busy, but soon the semester will end and we will stop being busy YAY!

Optimism r us.

I could make this private but imma not because I want the stranger reader ppl to see it too, so that they know my composite theory of why things got so quiet all of a sudden.

Okay, I’m going to go write a non-PR post now on something that happened to me last night. Stay tuned!/By the time you read this you’ll probably have first read my non-PR post already! Let us hold hands and breathe life into this thing and continue our education in feminism.

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