In 1957, Elvis asked us to "Put a chain around my neck and lead me anywhere" in the song "Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear." Fifty-five years and a whole lotta writhing, panting, and spanking later, pop culture's fascination with BDSM still knows no bounds. So why, in the jaded, post–50 Shades 21st century, do kink and feminism still make uncomfortable bedfellows? Come with me on a journey through BDSM and pop culture to find out more...
Maybe it is because I am breast-feeding my own son and am used to seeing women whip out a boob to put in baby's mouth at the drop of a hat, but when I saw the cover of TIME this week, I didn't find it all that odd.
Frankly, my first thought was, "Great! A picture of a woman breast-feeding!" After the uproar in 2009 about Facebook removing photos of breastfeeding mothers, as well as the rise of "lactivists" staging nursing sit-ins everywhere from airports to the Hirshhorn Museum—places that had asked women to stop nursing their babies—I usually appreciate seeing breastfeeding in the media. Obviously, though, when we have steps forward, we have steps back. The TIME cover is problematic in several ways, its problems well-pointed out in a previous Bitch post. Also unfortunate is the way the image coats the story inside, which covers "attachment parenting" with a greasy, unfriendly film.
After what Rousso describes as a childhood full of ups and downs and other children asking why she was "crippled," Rousso grew up to pursue higher education despite what some saw as barriers—her disability and her gender. She earned a degree from Brandeis University in economics in 1968, which landed her a job in Washington D.C. in the Office of Economic Opportunity and also exposed her to the women's rights movement. It was while living in D.C. that Rousso became involved in feminist activism. Rousso said in an interview that when she started working in feminist issues, she realized that "this self-loathing about my body and about my womanhood is not just a disability issue, it is a women's issue." Her first taste of activism fueled her to go on to get two masters degrees, one in education from Boston University and the second in social work from New York University. She had hoped to study psychotherapy but was rejected from a program because of her disability. Instead of being discouraged, this action further inspired her life work at the intersection of disability and women's rights.
I noticed a friend's Facebook share the other day of a Maxim "article" along with a critique of the language of "lads mags." Here's the magazine feature, which is disgustingly violent in the most straightforward of ways, in order to give some context, but what I really want to talk about are some of the public conversations that have followed it.
My position right now is that it's crucial that as we work to produce ourselves and others as people with critical consciousness—especially in schools, and not just in Women's and Gender Studies classes—and that a feminist consciousness is a vital part of that for people of all genders and sexes. But all learning is a process, so I look forward to you challenging or complicating my views!
With twenty studio albums under her belt, and another coming out in the new year, she is still as bad-ass as ever. While her new songs may not hold the same personal angst as earlier ones, they are still infused with a strong point of view, activist spirit, and feminist ideology. I recently had the chance to talk with Ani about her music, her (ever-changing) feminism, motherhood and everything else in between.
"I started dancing seven years ago. On the topic of prostitution, I generally say, you know, I have sex for many different reasons in many different contexts. I guess that's a buffer, a way of easing discomfort. I suppose I like that people are interested in my work, so long as it comes from an empathetic and genuine place. But there are so many other aspects of my identity. And so often people's curiosity does not come from a good place."
The latest book to grace the shelves of Bitch's virtual bookstore is Who is Ana Mendieta?. Part comic book, part eulogy, and part social critique, this book is a unique graphic retelling of the life and legacy of conceptual and land artist Ana Mendieta by artists Christine Redfern and Caro Caron.
Happy first week of a new decade, y'all! Here's what we've been reading at Bitch HQ as we dive into the 20-teens.
Gender Focus has up a nice list of their favorite things of 2010. Like an NPR Top Ten list, but with more True Blood and trans rights!
Feminists With Disabilities (FWD) announced that it has ceased production, and will be maintained as an archive and blogroll site. Big love, FWD. We'll miss you!
Racialicious points out some...er...problems with the new Grouplove music video. Up and coming band? Yes. Lynching, warpaint, and headdresses? Not so much.
Yesterday was Nancy Pelosi's last day as Speaker of the House, and Ms. has a reminder to her replacement John Boehner that she's still on the feminist-agenda clock.
Taking a page from Kelsey's book, Sociological Images has a round-up of advertising that plays directly to close-minded, normative masculinity as a marketing tool for men.
Surprise! Teenagers are actually fabulous people that care about things! F Bomb wrote about "Teens and Technology," and how social media might not actually be the death of all that is good and proactive in the world. Rock on, F Bomb!