I'm an affectionate person, almost everyone I've dated or been friends with commenting on that. But whenever I am out in public with my fiancée, I become self-consciously affectionate. Not because I'm concerned about what nasty thoughts people might think about seeing such queerness, but because of what they fail to think.
This post is about what I consider to be one way of being the change I want to see. I think of it as a small public education intervention that I do almost every day.
So I was watching Glee the other night, waiting desperately to see if Brittany and Santana would show some sign that they were still together. As I tried to peer into the minds of Glee's creators and discover their subversive intent in having the lesbian character Santana dance to a song with romantic lyrics about boy/girl love with the gay-in-real-life Ricky Martin, it hit me: TV is not activism. I mean, critiquing TV can be activism, but TV programming itself exists, by and large, in the service of profit, not activism. In recognition of TV's persuasive powers over "impressionable youth," there is a long history of the "after school special" and the "very special episode" of family sitcoms. But the structural inequalities and relations of rule responsible for the most urgent cultural problems of our time run way deeper than the politics of media representation.
Fighting for social justice doesn't need to stop when you give birth. In fact, in my opinion, we should fight even harder if we have to raise a kid or two in this world. Also, by continuing our activism postpartum, we'll set kick-ass examples for our children. It's win-win all around.
Prison-rights activist and black feminist Angela Davis was arrested forty years ago this month for accomplice to conspiracy, kidnapping, and homicide. Celebrate this iconic woman who has never stopped or been silenced by checking out a new documentary featuring her alongside fellow activist Yuri Kochiyama and a full-length segment on Democracy Now! More after the jump.
Although she always claimed her birthday was May 1st--International Worker's Day, Mary Harris "Mother" Jones was born on August 1st, 1837 (although she also claimed to be born years earlier, in part to maintain her grandmotherly public persona).
Another Bitch podcast ready for your aural consumption! Like the Action issue, this podcast speaks broadly to the theme: Annie Leonard on the big deal with cap and trade, what Lady Gaga has to do with labor unions, and one feminist film buff who loves action movies (and thinks that Judi Dench should be in more of them!) Plus, music by Brooklyn duo Buke and Gass, whose debut full-length album Riposte is due out September 14th from Brassland records. Stream it below, subscribe on iTunes or RSS, or download it! Podcast script and links after the jump!
Want to know the story behind the Story of Stuff? In this interview, Annie Leonard talks about how the original Story of Stuff came about, how she got into activism, the backlash she got for covering cap and trade from within the environmental movement, and why its important for celebrity activists to push the envelope. Check out The Story of Stuff website on the truth about cap and trade, bottled water, and cosmetics.
Anyone who spends time on the web has seen the words FAIL splashed
across pictures of cats with their heads stuck in empty cans or dogs dressed by their humans
as Oompa Loompas. Don't get us wrong, those can be pretty funny. But
you know what's even better? Making the digital bombast of FAIL less
associated with the minor humiliations of pets, and more so with the
project of media reform -- which just may involve a more pointed, and
meaningful, kind of humilation.
Since we're already piling up the posts about both mothers and
pregnancy, now seems like a good time to issue a call to action on an
issue that doesn't usually come up when we talk about reproductive
rights: home birth.
The 2007 documentary The Business of Being Born
was, for many women (and men) an eye-opening look at the increasing
medicalization of birth in America and a compelling illustration of the
way midwife-assisted home birth can be a powerful alternative to the
standard hosptial delivery. The film—which was produced by home-birth
advocate Ricki Lake—along with books like Jennifer Block's powerful and
well-researched Pushed: The Painful Truth About Childbirth and Modern
Maternity Care, brought the subject of home birth out of the fringes
and into the mainstream. Soon enough, home birth was a hot topic in the
pages of the New York Times, Ricki Lake and BoBB director Abby Epstein's book Your Best Birth was published, celebrities like Cindy
Crawford, Demi Moore, and Lisa Bonet were testifying to their own
home-birth experiences, and birthing tubs were flying off the
Internet's virtual shelves.