Posts tagged: sexism
I know this is small but you can click “Hi Res” at the bottom of the post to open it in a new page and zoom in! This is a facebook thread with a number of reactions to this article:
which is about the website - Seeking Arrangement .
It’s controversial, no doubt. Which is why this wonderful and meaningful dialogue about it took place.
Facebook is often a place where dialogue is impossible - people get offended more easily because tone cannot be communicated. People also are empowered by the anonymity Facebook offers.
However, sometimes there are these little gems.
“And when we speak we are afraid / our words will not be heard / nor welcomed / but when we are silent, / we are still afraid. So it is better to speak…”
Noted in a facebook comment by Julia Meddera who wrote “For those who think I rant about the patriarchy and misogyny too much” (posted below)
Full text of Lorde’s speech is in the link
I wrote this for a course blog about the MDGs. It’s taught by Stephen Lewis and Christopher Gore. Obviously, the KONY2012 campaign created by Invisible Children has sparked a lot of debate and was brought up in class.
I’ve been reading a lot of the posts, and I’ve noticed that a lot aren’t from the perspectives of Ugandans, and that out of anyone, they’re the ones who have the most right to have opinions on the video. Also, a lot of articles are written by well informed people but not necessarily ‘formally educated’ in the topic.
This article (which I was put onto by a friend who studied under him) is written by Mahmood Mamdani, an expert in the field of government and the region. Mamdani, is Ugandan. He summarizes the history of the Ugandan military and the LRA, but in terms of specifically the KONY campaign, the last 6 paragraphs are what you should read.
I think it was interesting that our resident Ugandan (I’m sorry, I don’t know your name, please comment if you see this so I can edit the post!) pointed out the colonial problems with IC, but no one brought it up again. Maybe it’s because it makes us uncomfortable to think about, multiple people in my facebook network have said this whole “White Man’s Burden” criticism offends them. I think this is coming from a general lack of understanding of England’s/Portugal’s/Holland’s/Spain’s/France’s history in Africa. Someone said to me “Africa should be left to deal with Africa’s problems” completely ignoring in so many ways that much of Africa’s problems come from oppression via Western countries.
I get it, we have the money and resources, but there’s a difference between speaking on behalf of people, and speaking with people. And speaking on behalf of people can be very dangerous if you’ve got the power and you’re speaking about those who don’t without their blessing of your allyship. IC is telling the world what is best for Ugandans. And as a primarily, white, middle class and male organization (at least, their executive is), they’re just ramping up the voltage in their privilege and reifying our colonial history by saying “This is what’s wrong with Uganda, and this is the best way to save Ugandans”.
*See an excellent PARODY of this issue from the movie “Get Him to the Greek”*
While I obviously have an opinion about IC, I think that no one really has a right to say theirs is the best opinion on the matter except for Ugandans, whom it affects. I’m white and the history and present mistakes of my race are terrible, so the best thing I think myself and other white people can do for Ugandans is to fully realize that our draw in the genetic lottery privileges us, and therefore we need to acknowledge that we’re not the experts of their (Ugandans’) lives. As opposed to getting our knickers in a knot when people talk about our Western Savior complex. Because it’s true!
I’m an Equity and Diversity Studies major, so I do a lot of studying of anti-racism, and anti-colonial theory if you’re wondering what my lens is or why I have the opinion that I do.
Walk A Mile in Her Shoes was the first White Ribbon Campaign event I was a part of, and I was a part of it in a very intense, tangible way. Despite being in leadership positions before, this was the first time it involved activism. It was exhilarating! If I’m passionate about something, I have no problem devoting all of my time to it. I spent hours making posters, handing out fliers, and endearing my fellow “strutters”.
© Char Loro www.lovehard.ca
However, I spent most of my time encouraging my boyfriend and father, who were excited to walk, but were still struggling with what it really meant for them - straight white and black men - to be walking in heels.
© Char Loro www.lovehard.ca
My father, who is mainly a playwright but really involved in all things showbiz is used to the idea of costume. He really will wear anything. Unsurprisingly the sight of him in heels walked the very thin line of education and entertainment. The Toronto Walk a Mile event is held downtown during the work day, so it’s mostly the white collar 9-5 crowd that participates over their lunch hour. 9-5 white collar my father is not, and neither is the majority of the population so he made it his mission to represent. A 6’2, bald and bearded man dressed in a Canadian Tuxedo is a fearsome thing to behold. Compared to the clean shaven, suit wearing participants and uniformed officers, it is sufficient to say he stood out.
The looks he got went from what looked liked horror, to amusement, disgust to ambivalence. The courage it took to look like what some people might peg as a person who is ignorant, or maybe even violent - destroys preconceptions about who women matter to.
In my boyfriend’s case, there were a whole lot of other intersections that made his experience very different. Age for one thing - chirping from friends was not an issue whether lighthearted or not in my father’s case. There’s also the whole experience of doing it as a black man. Of course being a man in Canada gave both my father and him shared experiences, but we all know society is not post-racial and there are cultural expectations that clash heavily. More on that from the boyfriend’s perspective in part 2- to be posted tomorrow!
Despite being caught up in walking the walk, I came face to face with the boundaries and social norms that keep men in a tight - albeit, slowly changing - box of machismo. I saw men struggling with these boundaries to prove they could do it and to show the women in their lives they cared.
All the men who participated showed vulnerability, they made room for failure, embarrassment and possible emasculation all for the sake of those women who are and will become victims of violence. This act also encouraged men who feel so trapped by limited masculinity to seek help. Their support of the White Ribbon Campaign proved being a man does not necessitate aggression, and does not exclude strutting in heels.
All the cool kids are doing it. Why aren’t you? Join numerous campus groups and our biggest Ryerson team yet as we walk to end violence against women.
Inequity in Current Fashion and Media
New Topman shirt promotes taking advantage of women with a list of no consent excuses, and insinuating women are pets.
JC Penney had a shirt out (they have taken out of production) which was quite blantantly saying women are stupid. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard a young woman pretend she didn’t know something talking to a guy, that I knew she knew.
JC Penney Shirt - an article
How about lingerie for little girls- as young as 4!? This French retailer thinks it was a great idea.
And - if you haven’t seen this Nivea ad, it’s pretty self-explanatory if you consider the historical perception (which continues in various degrees through to present time) of Black people.
And FINALLY: What exactly is the problem with shoulder pads?
Think back to when shoulder pads were brought into fashion, originally. The 1980s - which is also when women first started to really make their way into the corporate, professional, executive world and wore suits. The purpose of shoulder pads is to make them look bigger, more square. More like a man’s shoulders. Something to think about as they’re reappearing.
Some questions I keep thinking about, with answers I’m trying to discover -
How can women be in leadership roles without relinquishing their femininity?
How can a woman be assertive and not be called manly? Or a bitch?