Since my last post on the Bitch Social Commentary blog was a (rather long) analysis of Lady Gaga's "Paparazzi" video and the problematic representation of disability issues contained therein, I thought I'd take this post to focus on some popular songs that get disability and representations of persons with disabilities (mostly) right. There are, of course, some issues with these songs, but overall, I'm of the opinion that the musicians profiled in this post are doing something right with their respective songs. One caveat: This is by no means a complete list of songs that portray disability and people with disabilities in a positive light.
Today marks the eleventh annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, a day to honor and grieve victims of hate and ignorance (a disproportionate amount of who are trans women of color) and a day to respect and celebrate those with us today. Read on for thoughts from the blogosphere....
First, a confession: I want to like Lady Gaga and be able to enjoy her music, ideally as something of a pop confection--sweet, not very long-lasting, and ultimately disposable. As a person who listens to a wide (and admittedly weird) variety of music, this is something that I would like to strive for. As a person with disabilities, however, I am left wondering about what, exactly, I should find at all progressive about Lady Gaga's representation of (temporary) disability in the video for "Paparazzi." Other bloggers--most notably Wheelchair Dancer--have covered the now-infamous 2009 MTV VMA performance of this song; however, the promotional clip is also worth examining at length, particularly due to its messages about (temporary) disability, race, and the public/private binary.
This week's shiny golden douchebag statuette goes to Robert
Rector of the Heritage Foundation. A recent article published in The New York
Times reported that the number of people living in households lacking
consistent access to adequate food his risen to 49 million Americans. In the 14
years that the Department of Agriculture has been collecting these statistics,
these are the highest ever.
A bit more data from the survey to put this in perspective:
of those 49 million, one third of respondents reported that they are "outright
hungry" meaning they experience frequent hunger pains, are forced to skip meals
or reduce portion sizes.
The households facing the most dramatic food shortages are
usually headed by single mothers. In the last year, the numbers of households
reporting severe food insecurity that also contain children has swelled by
almost 200,000 to top out at 506,000. Of those 506,000 households, 37% were
headed by single mothers as opposed to 14% that reported married, two-parent
Now this is where the d-bag factor increases exponentially
in relation to the food insecurity data.
Do a quick search on the Internet and you'll see that there are lots more people waiting to adopt a healthy newborn these days than there are babies out there ready to be adopted. Gone are the (ahem) "good old days" when a pregnant woman finding herself in less than optimal circumstances could be shamed, coerced or forced to give up her baby as a matter of socially accepted course (for more on THAT history, check out Ann Fessler's The Girls Who Went Away). Access to safe, legal abortion (while awesome when it occurs) has done a real number on the adoption industry.
I didn't realize that in my quest to be up on YA literature and be able to have thoughtful discussions with my Kid about her reading adventures that I would encounter something so wrought with this many problematic themes. Or that I would find it all wrapped up in the charming red ribbon of the most Epic Love Story Evah! With Fangs.
Everyone! This just in! The "gender wars" are over, and women won!. That's right; after fighting for centuries for equality, our struggles have finally paid off BECAUSE MEN ARE BECOMING JUST LIKE WOMEN. Which, you know, means not only are we equals now, but women are actually the conquerors in this scenario. WE WON!!!
Imagine a woman holding this sign and you'll get the idea.
OK, we might want to hold off on the victory parades for a minute, because the news of our triumph comes from The Huffington Post courtesy of Marcus Buckingham, whose bio describes him as a "personal strengths expert" (totally didn't realize that was a job, btw). In today's issue of the online journal, Buckingham claims that
In a war, no matter the outcome of a certain skirmish or battle, the winner is the party whose attitudes, behaviors and preoccupations come to dominate the postwar landscape. By this measure, the outcome of the gender wars, if wars they were, is clear: women won.
Does this argument seem flawed to you in any way? Yeah. Thought so.
Having been denied a marriage license in Buenos Aires this past April, Argentinian couple Jose Maria Di Bello and Alex Freyre sued the city on the grounds that the denial was violating their constitutional rights. Although civil unions are available in some cities, including Buenos Aires, the union does not afford couples all of the rights granted to those who can marry--such as a shared health insurance policy and inheritance rights. In this week's ruling on the case, Judge Gabriela Seijas said, "The law should treat everyone with the same respect according to their singularities, without the need to understand or regulate them," and granted a marriage license to Di Bello and Freyre--the first state-sanctioned gay marriage in Latin America.
A lot of people tell me they want to make their blog more accessible, but they aren't really sure how to do that. I'll own right up front that most of the accessibility issues relating to websites and blogs don't directly affect me – I'm not blind, d/Deaf, and I don't have mobility issues that could make web-surfing a pain. That means I may have lots of stuff at my fingertips that's "Best Practice", but people's lived experience pretty much trumps my "studies show that". Also, not all problems are ones you're going to be able to fix at your end anyway. But a few key things with your blog can make a big difference in who can read it.