Posts Tagged ‘politics’

It’s hard to find a real, human black man on the movie screen. They’re either hard as a rock, dumb as a rock, or it’s literally just Dwayne Johnson! You may ask, does this affect how black men treat themselves in the world? (more…)

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My sister is mentally retarded. I’m not sure what the ‘politically correct’ term would be for this these days. I’m pretty sure it’s “mentally handicap”. Retard literally means to slow down. At the end of the day that’s a pretty accurate description of my sister. She is 24 years old and has the mentality of a twelve year old. She isn’t stupid by any means. She just got slowed down. My 6-year-old son and she are such good friends. I fear the day he intellectually passes her.


Let me explain a little more about her condition.


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Here’s a description of the project from the the artist Holly Norris’ website:

“American Able” intends to, through spoof, reveal the ways in which women with disabilities are made invisible in advertising and mass media. I chose American Apparel not just for their notable style, but also for their claims that many of their models are just ‘every day’ women who are employees, friends and fans of the company. However, these women fit particular body types. Their campaigns are highly sexualized and feature women who are generally thin, and who appear to be able-bodied. Women with disabilities go unrepresented, not only in American Apparel advertising, but also in most of popular culture. Rarely, if ever, are women with disabilities portrayed in anything other than an asexual manner, for ‘disabled’ bodies are largely perceived as ‘undesirable.’ In a society where sexuality is created and performed over and over within popular culture, the invisibility of women with disabilities in many ways denies their sexuality, particularly within a public context.

Too often, the pervasive influence of imagery in mass media goes unexamined, consumed en masse by the public. However, this imagery has real, oppressive effects on people who are continuously ‘othered’ by society. The model, Jes Sachse, and I intend to reveal these stories by placing her in a position where women with disabilities are typically excluded.

I think this project is extremely fascinating in its critiques of advertising and mass media, specifically American Apparel, and the projects counter-depictions of disability.

How is Norris’ explanation of the invisibility of disabled bodies in mass media, including the de-sexualization and undesirability often seen intrinsic to disability, parallel to Garland-Thomson’s “Integrating Disability, Transforming Feminist Theory”? Do you believe that the depictions of disability in American Able are revolutionary? Can these counter-depictions of disabled bodies truly change advertising and mass media and the ways in which we view disability in our society?

Some of the following images by be not safe for work (NSFW).

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So I’ll definitely put myself out there I am a virgin and I am 22 years old. And yes I am waiting till marriage. That being said I am tired of the, what seems to me, random depictions of virgins. In the movies usually the virgin is one prophetess or religious deity like in the movies Immortal and Conan the Barbarian. Or people in generally think that all virgins are prudish, stuck up, extra conservative, and hyper religious. It’s as if within the push for the feminist movement that means that have as much sex as you please and make the choice to have sex. What if you do not make that choice are you then against feminism. I thought the whole point of feminism is to respect women and the choices they make with their bodies (themselves). But more so it is lets show the men we can have as much sex as they can. I personally am not interested. It is as self there are two different secs the women who chose to wait and rock purity rings and the women who engage in sexual intercourse looking down on those that don’t. Of course I know that this goes both ways. But I feel as if women need to know that both options are viable and for this to happen sexual education needs to occur. Sex is everywhere and women are constantly being pressured to engage in something they might not be ready to yet. So where is the dialogue for those who want to wait and those who do not.

I think it is equally annoying to have certain body movements legitimatized by bodies who have sex and those that don’t. Just because I can wind and swirl my hips a certain way doesn’t then mean I have sex. Or if I can’t dance for anything doesn’t mean I am a prude. We create so many binary for ourselves that it is difficult to claim to be a feminist is daunting if as a part of that it means you have a body that participates in sexual intercourse. And to add on to that if you are any other ‘color’ than white your body is then hyper sexualized and expected to participate in sex. And if you are not that you are linked to being a prude. And fyi a prude means “a person who is excessively proper or modest in speech, conduct, dress, etc.” It comes from the french word meaning “worthy or respectable women”. But we take words and add our own derogation connotation to them and look down on the people that fit the altered rhetoric of the word. Lets change our words and connotations or words. In thus doing we change the frame of our world.

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(author’s note: I fully acknowledge the irony of writing this piece while being someone who identifies as male.)

Over the past two weeks, there have been two very different public showdowns over different parts of women’s bodies.  In the first, the Susan G. Komen Foundation found itself under fire for its decision to stop funding grants to Planned Parenthood because of a politically-motivated Congressional investigation into the federal funding the latter organization receives.  The second, more recent firestorm has arisen over a provision in the new federalhealth care regulations that would essentially require religious organizations that perform non-religious work to provide birth control coverage for their employees.

The real difference between these two events has been whose voices have been raised in anger, and who has garnered the media’s attention.  The Komen controversy began largely through social media channels, promulgated by well-known feminist activists as well as networks of those involved in the various breast cancer movements.  When the issue was brought to the attention of the mainstream media, the angry voices and stories of women both famous and not were splashed everywhere, supporting Planned Parenthood in a nearly unprecedented way.

Compare and contrast those scenes with what we have seen since the US Council of Catholic Bishops started to speak out against the administration’s birth control policy.  Not only have the public faces been overwhelmingly white and conservative, but they have also, almost universally, been men (with the exception of New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, best known for her previous encounter with Planned Parenthood). It doesn’t matter the network, you’re almost guaranteed that they have relied on a white conservative member of the clergy, politician, or talking head.  ThinkProgress tallied it up and published a report last week showing that over the course of three days, the cable networks relied on male voices more than two to one over women’s voices in the debate.

Given that the focus was on reproductive self-determination, shouldn’t the focus have been on the voices of women?  Surely, the Komen controversy showed us the value of women’s stories in understanding the impact of policy decisions?  The fundamental difference turns on the public role of men and male privilege in the areas of reproductive health versus their public roles relating to breast cancer.  When it comes to breast cancer, men and women have the shared goal of prevention.  For women, it is about the preservation of their health, while for men it is about the preservation of one of society’s most fetishized body parts.  Increasing access to breast cancer screening is thus a net win for both parties.

But birth control is a different story.  Men held an extreme advantage in sexual power relations prior to the mass marketing of hormonal birth control.  In a heterosexual relationship, it was only the male who was able to avoid the reproductive consequences of sex, by simply walking away.  But with the pill, women were suddenly able to control more accurately when, where, and with whom they would have a child.  Suddenly, there was a certain level of sexual equality.  The most misogynistic corners of our society, ably represented by the Catholic hierarchy and social conservative politicians, have yet to recover from this remarkable shift.  As a result, when the Obama administration presented them with this golden opportunity to limit access to birth control, they could not resist.  Throwing their privilege around, they were able to dominate media conversation, framing it as an issue of “religious liberty” instead of the attack on personal freedom it actually is.

Where the debate will end up has yet to be seen, but one can’t help but hope that women will actually be able to get a word in edgewise.

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