Most of the art our culture celebrates is the same type of art that makes me yawn. See, I enjoy art that gets my blood racing. For me, good art needs to be both aesthetically appealing and make my brain hurt. Because of my intense predilection for this type of provocative eye candy, I was exceedingly pleased recently to discover the Visibility Project—a female, Asian American, Queer portraiture project by Bay Area Photographer Mia Nakano and Los Angeles collaborator Christine Pan.
For a while, it really seemed like Rachel Maddow was respected. While conservatives surely disagreed with her, most of them would give her an interview on her show, or seem to acknowledge her as someone to watch out for. She had an educated opinion, and she was eerily intelligent and well-spoken. (To some, I'm sure, that ignored Air America, she "came out of nowhere.")
Suddenly, Rachel Maddow has become a target. Andrew Breitbart, just yesterday, told the press what he'd say to Maddow, if he ever has the pleasure of meeting her:
I hope to see you and give you a lovely hug because you validated my hopes and aspirations and my business model because you're so bad at what you do.
"Sexual anorexia - have you heard of it?" Glamour coyly asks us this month. In the world of Glamour we all want sex, all the time -- and if we don't, we should do it anyway as it makes men happy and validates our existence as women. It's not a world in which women might have a 'preoccupation with the avoidance of sex,' as this problem is described by sexual health expert Dr Patrick J Carnes. 'Like self-starvation with food or compulsive dieting or hoarding with money, deprivation with sex can make one feel powerful and defended against all hurts,' he explains.
Ida Hammer has been writing The Vegan Ideal for several years as a way to examine and deconstruct overlapping oppressions. Her work centers on undoing transphobia in vegetarian and ecofeminist communities. Ida was kind of enough to speak with me recently about how cissexual privilege undermines a lot of ecofeminist writing and how she has carved safe space for herself in a sometimes very anti-trans movement.
Flicking through the pages of this month's Company magazine - diets, fashion, celebrities, diets, fashion - what's this? The word 'period' in a women's magazine? A feature entitled 'It's 2010 - so why are we still having periods?' Good question, according to the rest of the articles we're meant to have stopped eating by this point, so why not give up on another, far less enjoyable, natural bodily function?
As a television watching feminist, I was shocked when I found out Steve Ward was asked back to do another season of his dating show, Tough Love. After all, the first season was full of all kinds of problematic messages about women and dating. At least as the season went on, his dating advice became challenged more and more. But by the second season, this dynamic has evaporated and the women on the show generally do not challenge Steve on his edicts. Season two also brings a new pet challenge in for Steve - reforming a sex worker.
Transphobia and anti-trans sentiments are not uncommon among ecofeminist writers and activists. It's a disgusting and painful reality. Feminists working on all sorts of issues know that transphobia and anti-trans sentiments are not uncommon among radical groups of any kind that nevertheless label themselves as open and tolerant. What's particularly disturbing to me is not that this happens in any one place—context aside, oppression sucks—but that in a movement of people working on issues around valuing all life, human and non-human alike, there are still vocal opponents of trans rights and inclusion. How completely bewildering and shameful.
NPR did a segment on break-up songs. Tigerbeatdown devoted a week on the subject. And Thao Nguyen has written an article breaking-down the break-up song for Bitch. But I got to thinking about the break-up songs are good for you, the ones that are less about the blues and more about kicking-ass.