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Archive for July, 2009

Girly Colors?

pinkA recent-ish feministing post got me thinking about colors, and gender. The post was about how it is sexist for companies to make pink electronics to market to women. But then the author said that the only grown people that she knows of who like pink are high femme women and gay men.

That was sort of alienating, in a weird way.

My favorite colors when I was a kid were pink and yellow, followed by purple and black. I was made fun of a lot for being a sissy (it didn’t help that I was a notorious cry-baby). I ended up pushing black to my favorite color, with red and blue following close behind. Pink and yellow are too sissified.

I’m a grown man, and (now) my favorite colors are yellow and pink. One of my best friends is a grown, straight man, and his favorite color is pink. Neither of us is high femme, nor are we gay men. Is it petty to feel invisible because the author of a blog post doesn’t know men like us?

We buy electronics and other consumables based on aesthetics. We buy things that are pink and yellow and pastel colored. We love Hello Kitty. We both happened to use the girly, ice cream gmail theme because it is the best looking. I don’t even know if our color preferences are campy or not, but they are there.

That said we probably are not a large enough market to be the reason that pink things are sold, but we’re definitely a counter example and I know I am often almost drawn in by the idea of a yellow computer (the pinks in electronics are too not pastel enough for my tastes).

I also don’t know what this post is really about, but I’m mostly just sharing my thoughts. It probably is going to lead up to something else a little later.

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Raising Pop

A Swedish couple is attempting to raise their kid without gender. Pop is already 2 and a half, and is genderless. The article about it is funny to me because there is the biological determinist who is convinced that the parents are ruining the kid because children need gender to be individuals. And then there are the others who are certain that raising a child genderless allows the child to be a complete individual.

There were also a number of quotes about how people didn’t ‘know what they [the parents] were trying to do.’ Even though it seems pretty obvious that they are trying to raise their child in a way that allows Pop to be more free from set gender roles.

I’m also curious about how Pop will be when Pop is older.

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There is a new movie coming out soon– “Deadgirl.” From what I’ve gathered from watching the preview and the entry on Salon this movie is basically about a couple of guys who get made fun of a lot finding a zombie in an abandoned mental institution that they then rape and pimp out to other loser-guys. As the Salon entry says its hard to judge this movie until I see it, but I do have some qualms as I worry about how critical it is, and how much of it becomes necrophilic pornography. The tagline, “Every Generation Has It’s Story About the Horror of Growing Up,” freaks me out. This is why I don’t think the movie will critique very much– but makes rape into a rite of passage for growing up. (Also Looking at the movie poster it seems pretty clear that this movie is also suppossed to be sexy for the viewer).

What I’m most upset about now is the Salon piece about “Deadgirl.” There is one line where she compares the fictional rape of a zombie woman with the actual rape of a ‘mentally disabled’ girl (I’m going to use the AP style guide on this one–though I don’t like the term disabled). It seemed like a bit of a throw away phrase until I rephrased it; that the raping of a zombie isn’t “that far off” from the raping of a ‘mentally disabled’ girl.

There is a denial of humanity on the part of the girl who actually was raped. Why else would the rape of a ‘mentally disabled’ woman be any closer to the rape of a zombie woman, than of any other women. This sort of abject subhuman status given to both of them is what bothers me.

And that this connection between zombie and ‘mentally disabled’ can be so easily, and casually made without anyone really caring is mind boggling.

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France is proving itself to be very selective in its liberality. The idea of personal autonomy for women who choose to wear the burqa is not acknowledged. Instead the French state must liberate these women from their oppression, by banning an article of clothing.

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racism/feminismSorry in advance if this is a boring post. I really do wonder what graphic they’re going to put next to it…

Here is an interesting passage from The Routledge Farmer Reader in Multicultural Education, edited by David Gillborn and Gloria Ladson-Billings. The specific author of this passage, from the essay “The Souls of White Folk: Critical Pedagogy, Whiteness Studies, and Globalization Discourse,” is Zeus Leonardo:

“For practical purposes, we are born with certain bodies that are inscripted with social meaning…. However, that white students act on the world does not suggest they accomplish this from the perspective of a white racial paradigm; in fact, they could be articulating their life choices through non-white discourses or strategies of anti-whiteness. To the extent that a man can be a feminist, whites can be anti-white. Likewise, students of color…could live out their life through whiteness…. White people have accomplished many great things: the issue is whether or not they have asserted whiteness…whenever whiteness, as an imagined racial collective, inserts itself into history, material and discursive violence accompanies it.” (p. 119)

He keeps saying “students” because this is a book intended for teachers, and the book’s subject is indeed race in the classroom. On the issue of gender and feminism, however, I was interested that Leonardo wrote that “To the extent that a man can be a feminist, whites can be anti-white.” What do people think about this? Does this mean whites really can be anti-white, or does it mean they really can’t? I thought it was interesting that he chose not to explicitly define the extent to which “a man can be a feminist,” and instead chose to use it has the basis of a stand-alone comparison. And does the comparison really work at all? Are the two situations complimentary?

The obvious criticism of this to me is that whiteness keeps people of color out of feminism in general, and white feminism produces its own forms of sexism and misogyny. So, a man seen as supposedly “rebelling” against his gender and becoming a feminist may in turn produce a merely more specific form of racism. Therefore, a man becoming a feminist may not be subverting the patriarchy in the way that Leonardo seems to mean by “whites can be anti-white.” Seen for what it really is, in my opinion, white feminism shouldn’t in fact be called feminism at all. So, then, should the quote instead read, “To the extent that a white person can be a [real] feminist, whites can be anti-white”? I like that better.

I’d love to hear all thoughts and opinions.

That’s just a personal wish of mine, the desire for telepathy. Now that that little confession is out of the way…

I’d love to hear all responses.

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