Queer Latina Filmmakers Count on Love to Finish Mosquita y Mari

Holy. This project right here has got me cheesing like a mo’ fo’. Srsly.

Queers. Women. Beautiful brown folks. MAKING ART?!!

…SWOON.

So here’s the deal. They’ve got to raise a pretty penny to make sure that this project comes into fruition. AND IT’S HELLA IMPORTANT THAT IT DOES.

Why?

Uh-ho, lemme tell you. This project is about having a voice, sharing a story and a reality that might apply to a lot of people…we just don’t get to ever hear about it. It’s about creating new media and doing so in a skillful and critically conscious manner. This project is as much about communities of color and the queer community (and their intersections) as it is about YOU (and if these are your communities, it is triple-y important you advocate for its existence). So do the damn thing and donate.

Support QPOC, support art, support grassroots initiatives, and support LOVE.

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On intersectionality and toxic body culture…AND…detrimental assumptions.

Alright kiddos, this article right here is a must read. No really. It is. Trust me.

In a guest post for Feministing, Sayantani DasGupta touches on some pretty key issues that arise for women who work to promote intersectionality while simultaneously discussing the detrimental effects of body through the broader social lens of race, class, gender, and sexuality.

The following is an excerpt that truly penetrates and has got my mind churning (it’s either this or the caffeine and I’m thinking it’s a little of both). While several of her points are spot on and important to the advancement of the discourse around gendered, racialized and commodified bodies, there was one part that really stuck out to me.  DasGupta claims:

Although I knew I was to speak with a powerhouse panel of women on globalization and medicalization, and I also knew Courtney’s commitment to diversity and a feminist intersectionality (thinking about gender oppression in the context of race, class, sexuality, etc., see here), my first thought on entering the room was “this issue isn’t relevant to me.” It was a strange, visceral reaction that wasn’t about who was present in the room, but how (I assumed) the argument was being framed.

For me, this is such an honest confession of what women like myself, who identify with several marginalized identity groups, often carry and hold onto. This assumption that we are going to be excluded, to put it bluntly, is one that I find hard to shake off.

I have been conditioned to think this way not only to validate my inherent skepticism of the level inclusion in whichever setting I find myself in, but to protect myself from utter disappointment and subsequent resentment. In essence, yes, holding onto these assumptions that people won’t understand, be inclusive, representative, or flamboyantly anti-racist, anti-homophobic, etc. is simply a defense mechanism I have developed over the years.  Frankly, I would not be at all surprised if this is the case for other marginalized individuals.

What I’m learning is that time and time again I have felt the need to prepare myself for this exclusion, subtle as it may be, and it’s really…wearing…me…down.

While I am in no way, shape, or form ready to offer any advice for how to come to terms with this, I am realizing that mindfulness is key. Yes, these assumptions are in direct opposition with the very way that I have been challenged to see the world (through the kaleidoscopic lens of intersectionality), but I want to catch myself here and just accept their existence.  I want to be aware and keep it there. I want to harness the blame and judgement that I feel building.  It’s not about who is causing “x” reaction– it’s about the fact that this reaction to activate these assumptions even occurs.  What does this say about the society that we live in? The feminist movement  today? The experiences of minorities in any given category? The experiences of individuals who work to promote intersectionality?

Clearly, I am still struggling with this issue of feeling unrecognized. But my time at Barnard has taught me to own my voice, to SPEAK because I can, and to speak and so that we can. And while issues such as these not-so-productive internalized assumptions come up, I’m learning to continue fighting a not-so-quiet battle to accept these realities (hence this pretty tangential post).

Le sigh…I have much to learn and while this has definitely added another layer to my path of self-cultivation and understanding, I am appreciative that I have been challenged and similarly, that I have been supported through this journey.*

So uh, in summary… can we get Sayantani DasGupta to speak at Barnard? No really… like right nao.

*Please note that this post might just be a “HOLY CRAP I’M GRADUATING IN 6 WEEKS” type rant. #$$&$**$%!!

A Sweet Resolution

I don’t know about you, but I always associate holidays and festivities with food. In fact, there’s a saying in my family that we don’t celebrate anything without preparing some sort of feast. Thus, one can understand why I am excited about tomorrow, September 22, 2010: it’s the Mid-Autumn Festival!!!

24 hours ago, I was in a state of bliss: I was going to hop on the 1 train after my last class on Wednesday and journey home so I could stuff my face with my Mom and Dad’s homecooked meal. I would fill my bowl with fluffy white rice and dive into the spicy prawns and savory chinese broccoli; I would munch on crispy pork and salted peanuts with wild abandon. And to top it all off, I would finish my dinner with one (or possibly two?) sweet mooncakes. Mmmmm!

But my bubble of a daydream was unfortunately popped by my suitemate when she mentioned that mooncakes are too fattening and unhealthy to eat. Call me naive, but I never really thought about the caloric value or grams of fat in food. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are drinks that are filled with artificial nonsense and that twinkles (fried or otherwise) don’t do wonders for anyone’s health. It’s just that from as long as I can remember, my food motto has always been “eat what you like if you do so in moderation and exercise.” So when my friend brought up the “mooncake issue,” I began to question myself. Should I not eat the mooncake when I get home? Should I tell my family not to eat mooncakes? Are there low-fat/fat-free mooncakes? Continue Reading

“I’m not a feminist (and there is no but)”…

Here is a piece about the racelessness of feminism and the concept of womanism. It has generated a lot of commentary and backlash from members of the feminist community.  While the article alone brings up great points,  there is much to be said about the public’s reaction to Reene’s argument.  Zora and Alice blogger Ope Bukola cliff notes the comments under Reene’s post here and effectively claims why she supports Renee’s overall argument:

“The comments above illustrate why it can be difficult for women of color to feel like they truly belong in certain publications. Pointing out the fact that a few women of color write for mainstream feminist publications and therefore, these publications represent women of color, is like claiming you can’t be racist because you have some non-white friends. Renee’s point is not that voices of minority women never get featured in these publications. Instead, what matters is that the dominant discourse is a white one.”

I most certainly agree with Ope’s point.  While I can address several points raised in these articles, I want to focus on one: the underrepresentation of women of color in the media, specifically in the blogosphere. I  suppose I have been waiting for a comprehensive list of  feminists of color to just fall on my lap but alas, it doesn’t seem to work that way.

In an effort to hone my laziness, I want to create a list of feminists of color that are making waves throughout the online world.
Here are a few FOC’s that I follow closely with links to where you can find their posts:

My question is the this: Do you follow or know about any other women of color who write, blog, vlog, tweet, draw, paint or [insert previously unmentioned form of expression here] about feminism/womanism/___? A large following is not necessary, just the name and link of a woman who is adding to the discourse of feminism from a woman of color’s perspective.

C’mon…gimme whatchagot!

AIDS in the UAE

This article, “UAE recorded 35 cases of AIDS last year,” is about AIDS cases in the UAE and the struggle to raise awareness around the issue of AIDS. I found it interesting that in the UAE, a relatively “western” country by many standards, an AIDS awareness conference was titled, “Women, Take the Lead… Leaders, Keep the Promise: Stop AIDS.” Isn’t this reinforcing the idea that women are complicit in the spread of AIDS? Why is the prevention of AIDS the responsibility of women any more so than it is the responsibility of men? While I appreciate that this conference is taking giant steps to inform people about the true nature of AIDS and those affected by it, I don’t think that this goal and the fight for gender equality need be mutually exclusive.

As always- what are your thoughts? Am I being “nitpicky” or could this conference have been set up differently? How should the fight to raise awareness of AIDS prevention- and to alleviate prejudices against those affected by AIDS- be addressed in places where prejudices surrounding AIDS may be particularly strong?

News from Denmark

Female genital mutilation, or FGM, is illegal in most Western states, and is illegal by law if not by practice in many African and Asian countries as well.  Denmark, however, has taken the prohibitions a step further, by making it illegal for parents to have this procedure performed on their children–even if it happens outside of Denmark.

The Copenhagen Post reports the first challenge to this law, from an immigrant couple who sent two of their daughters back to Sudan for circumcision.  Besides the hypocrisy (Danes were bewildered when Muslim extremists insisted that the Danish Mohammed artists be tried in Jordan for “crimes” committed in Denmark), this brings up lots of questions of cultural practices versus plain misogyny, the difficulties of immigrant assimilation, etc.

What do you think?  Should a country carry their law this far?  Should the US?