Fat women's sexuality is often joked about, and when it's not being joked about, it's being vilified. As fat women we get the cultural messages that convince us no one would want us sexually in the state we're in; mass media reinforces these ideas by portraying fat women's sexuality in a mocking way or as distasteful and unappealing. The almost violent pushback against any positive image of fat female sexuality is at once disturbing and also understandable. Understandable because in a society that views fat women's bodies as disgusting and their selves unworthy of love, any media that challenges that deeply ingrained belief is dangerous and can be the source of much cognitive dissonance if the portrayal happens to stir some kind of sexual attraction in the consumer.
I would be remiss in talking about pushback against intersectional critiques of pop culture without discussing my long and tormented relationship with the Fox hit Glee. To put it bluntly, I hate Glee.
Yet, a lot of feminists, including some of the staff here at Bitch, love Glee. The show is regularly celebrated on feminist sites, people post videos of their favorite moments, and everyone likes to talk about how great it is.
The reason I don't like Glee is pretty simple: The show has some of the most horrifically troped depictions of people with disabilities I have ever seen. The show's also been criticized for having a lot of problems when it comes to race and gay teens, but I want to focus on the disability aspect today, because the critiques of this show from the disability community have been universally ignored by the feminist community when it's not busy dismissing them.
While the decision to paralyze Barbara Gordon was certainly a misogynistic one, the way that her character develops after the shooting speaks to the transformative power of information and technology...and librarians! Last week we looked at Barbara Gordon's character prior to The Killing Joke. She was a librarian by day and Batgirl by night. Her role as a librarian disguised her alter ego as Batgirl; reasserting the stereotype of librarians as meek and the opposite of badass. But this all changes after The Killing Joke. Thanks to a few writers who decided to make the best of what had happened to Gordon, Gordon's character decides to embrace her identity as a skilled librarian. She becomes Oracle, a computer hacker who discovers that access to information is a pretty phenomenal superpower.
It's time again! We're rounding up some of the most interesting things we read this week in another edition of On Our Radar!
Muslimah Media Watch's Ayaan Hassan introduces us to the latest character from the Marvel Comics Universe: Faiza Hussain, a British Muslim super heroine!
SKM ponders why Google didn't have a doodle to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the 19th Ammendment on Shakesville.
One for the bookmarks: our fabulous TelevIsm blogger RMJ offers a great primer on cis, cissupremacy, and cissexism on Deeply Problematic.
The title says it all: Sandip Roy writes on "Why 'Eat, Pray, Love' Makes Me Want to Gag" on Alternet.
Gwen Sharp uses a karate studio's rejected advertisement featuring the gender policing of a young boy as a springboard to discuss the murky world of "unofficial/unreleased ad campaigns" on Sociological Images.
Gebe Martinez, Ann Garcia, and Jessica Arons look at the "birthright citizenship debate" as a "thinly veiled attack on immigrant mohers" at the Center for American Progress. Take a look at Michelle Chen's piece on Colorlines for more about the debate.
Amy Larocca profiles figure skater Johnny Weir for New York Magazine.
Spoiler Alert: Carrie Polansky reviews the gender politics of the new film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World on Gender Across Borders.
Find something that piqued your interest this week? Leave it in the comments section!
The person with whom you have decided to have a monogamous relationship owes you fidelity, as you owe that person the fidelity you also promised. If that person breaks that promise, I can guarantee one thing: he or she made the choice to do so.
Today's BitchTapes is dedicated to that traditional end-of-summer treat... (no, not fudgesicles!) The Road Trip. So play on playa, cause you're looking at 8 songs for, and about, the joys of the open road. Track list after the jump!
But I am writing to you today not to talk about lady business. Instead I want to talk about how we are both mixed race Southeast Asian high femme ladies, and you are the first mixed race Southeast Asian lady I have ever seen on American television (I am not counting Cassie because she had hardly a line in Step Up 2: The Streets). Your work at the Daily Show has made me feel sad, alone, and quite a bit like crying, despite the fact that I have a shriveled angry little anti-racist feminist heart, and it's rare that things on TV hurt my feelings anymore.
I'm not going to argue about whether or not you got where you got because the male-dominated worlds of gaming and comedy value women who are beautiful, over women who are competently funny, because that horse has been beat to death. And also, comedy is pretty subjective and obviously you have a lot of fans, so clearly there is an audience for your style.
What angers me about your comedy, Olivia Munn, is how it is built on gleeful collusion with misogyny and racism. If we're talking about the race stuff, unlike other comedians of colour (Katt Williams! Dave Chappelle! Russell Peters!) whose jokes—while hit or miss with the kyriarchy—rely on poking fun at white racism, your jokes generally rely on racist stereotypes about your own damn people, to get a laugh out of a racist white audience.
The polarization that surrounds discussions about works of pop culture created by women can sometimes make it really hard to fairly and honestly critique female creators. We all internalize misogyny to some extent and I am never surprised, though I am disappointed, when it expresses in pop culture critiques.
We have to be able to strike a balance.
It is necessary to evaluate and critique all pop culture, no matter the gender of the creator. Being a woman does not make you immune from criticism when your work is problematic. At the same time, we need to recognize that there is a history when it comes to talking about art created by women. A history of bringing discussions about personal lives into discussions of art, of picking female creative professionals apart personally, not just professionally, of expressing some internalized tropes in the way we interact with art created by women.