Thursday, April 22, 2010

I was a weird kid

I was sitting here reading Silvana's really excellent (second) post about dude rock at Tiger Beatdown and came across this line and re-read it twice.
Especially because (and I can’t find a link for this, so you’re gonna have to take my word on it) women artificially raise their voices around the time of puberty, limiting their vocal range and depriving themselves of full use of their from-the-gut voice. Ever known a woman who seemed to find it literally impossible to speak loudly enough to fill a room? It wasn’t a physical problem. Also, the thing that teens start doing where you are constantly sucking in your stomach? Not good for talking loud and singing in interesting ways.
And I remembered that, when I was little, I used to take a lot of crap when I was a kid about just how high-pitched my voice was. My kindergarten teacher actually complained to my parents about it at their parent-teacher conference. When I first recorded it and listened to it back, I was pretty horrified at how much higher-pitched it was on tape as compared to how I heard it in my head. Unsurprisingly, I always sang soprano in chorus.

When I was about 12 -- i.e., in that puberty phase Silvana mentioned -- my voice changed. It got deeper, not higher, something I blamed on a series of throat infections. It's still high -- just the other night at a reading, my friend Kristal said it's just high enough that, on a voice-over, it would be hilariously funny to hear cursing the way I curse because it makes the cursing unexpected -- but it's definitely lower than it was. When I slow down and speak about intellectual stuff for an audience, it gets deeper yet. When I answer work-related phone calls, it's similarly deep.

But when I get a little sloshed, it gets higher and more girly -- I once referred to it as my "Drunken Strawberry Shortcake voice." I also find when singing along to crap on the radio or at karaoke, if I want to hit high notes without shattering ear drums, I have to take the deep breaths more than when singing low notes. Apparently, I internalized the too-high-to-be-taken-seriously thing a little too much.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

On entitlement

So what is it, exactly, that makes people on the Internet (mostly dudes, but I have definitely seen it from women) think that a comment submission button means that have the RIGHT to comment as though it was guaranteed by the founding fathers and enshrined in the Bill of Rights as an inalienable thing? Like, hey, this is my space, my blog and my writing and there's nothing anywhere that says I have to be forced to hear or listen to your opinion. You can have it, you can say it, but I don't have to read it, I don't have to listen to it and I don't have to allow other people to read it. I don't expect if I comment on the Washington Post that Gene Weingarten is reading it and taking my critique or opinion about him to heart and, I would venture to guess, neither do most people.

And yet, when it comes to people who complain at Jezebel, or Feministe, or Tiger Beatdown or Shapely Prose (to think of sites where I've seen this entitlement spring up recently), it's like people feel that their rights are being violated when one of us refuses to allow them to rhetorically spew on our laps. Like, it's my lap, dude. I prefer it remain vomit-free. I wouldn't let you in my home, I wouldn't likely talk to you at a bar, I wouldn't get in a cab with you, why would I let your words touch me if I don't want? Hell, if you said that shit in my house, I would, in fact, escort you out, delete your number, not return your calls and generally act as though you don't exist, so I'm not sure why I'm supposed to have different standards on the Internet.

Fan letter time!

A letter from a "fan" in response to my piece about why the Steve Harvey telling African-American women to settle is as stupid as Lori Gottlieb telling anyone. Please note the egregious misuse of apostrophes, the inability to form contractions correctly, the run-on sentences, racism, misogyny, weird obsession with "natural" hair (but no acknowledgment that white women quite often die ours) and that this guy wants a white woman "TOO MARRY AND HAVE CHILDREN." I think, actually, no woman should settle for this crackpot, known as "Zzelbass," regardless of race. That is all. Enjoy.

SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE ATTRACTIVE, AND MAKE A BETTER WIFE FOR THE LONG HAUL.SADLY BLACK WOMAN ARE SERIOUSLY OUT OF THE MARRIAGE GAME AND SERIOUS DATING. WHITE WOMAN TEND TO SEE FARTHER INTO THEIR FUTURE. FAR TOO MANY BLACK WOMAN HAVE SOLD OUT THEIR SOUL'S ,THEIR KID'S AND THEIR MEN. SIMPLY BECAUSE BLACK WOMAN WANT TO BE WHITE, I'VE NOTICED WHITE WOMAN MORE OFTEN AND THEY IN TURN NOTICED ME.THE BLACK WOMAN WOULD RATHER BE RIGHT THAN BE LOVED. SO MANY BLACK WOMAN WEAR SO MANY FAKE PRODUCT'S YOU NEVER QUITE KNOW WHO YOUR DATING. AFTER MANY YEAR'S IN THE BLACK WOMAN'S CORNER I REALIZE IN SOME FASHION OR FORM SHE MIGHT ONLY BE INTERESTED IN SOME SORT OF PROSTITUTION. selling kids to welfare, ripping dad's for child support, skimming her mom's resource's. text her girlfriend.all so childish and when you've matured and are grown,well you,ve made it to enjoy the adult thing's in life, not carry on childhood drama's..from the court's to the bedroom's to the street's..who need's it. look around you, count how many black woman are sporting their very own hair, possibly none, check your local waiting room, none..a black woman will leave her man and child over nail's and a weave..I am not one to argue and my personal preference is not for all, however if you like authentic hair, real conversation's about matter's that actually hold weight, real future prospect's of marriage and or a family then a black woman is'nt for you either. They are everywhere in the world and can be had on almost any street corner for a nickel or dime by any man of any culture..there is absolutely nothing special about an old stretched out tramp saying she need a real man..i wonder who in the H gave her those 5 kid's and sadly she state's none of the father's were men..i disagree, i think she was not a woman, just a aging opportunist.they are hard to surprise, they intentionally sabotage their own future's, and they feed utter nonsense to too many men's kid's about their biological pop..they'll spend 21 year's telling a kid pop's was'nt shyt simply cause they could'nt squeeze a weave out his wallet. many of their goal's are short, they live fast and suffer long and too many are suffering but strangely glow in the midst of drama for they can not function outside of chaos. I AM HUMBLE, so black woman i (small I) no longer have faith in, or confidence, or trust or concern. she has sytematically destroyed the very same people she created, she birth's son's and offer's them nothing, she' sell's her daughter's to the highest bidder,her kid's to agencie's and her loyalty reamain's with the devil. she is materialistic and yet has nothing, she want's a fendi when she does'nt have a closet, her belief's are not that of society, she can not function without disrupting some man's life. She believe's not in planned parent hood, all her babie's are accident's and she does'nt believe in prevention of any sort,not even vehicle maintenance. she is nasty, and has not had a physical or been to the gy in year's, she prefer's over the counter cream's as opposed to a real doctor visit, and she cannot by any degree appreciate her very own BLACK men that she has birthed. SHE IS A TRAITOR.,SINCE WE HAVE HER TO THANK FOR OUR LOST empire, our lost children, our lost opportunity;s,so many black men incarcerated over black eye's hurt, my voice is weak and I can no longer save as she has done to him, she has done to herself utter destruction..Black men are the only men on earth who have no control whatsoever over their woman, only our so called woman is with every other man across the globe. since i cannot wake up her spirit or teach her the honorable way, or worship her like the queen she was meant to be.she's so uppity she does'nt even speak to the men in her community until she fall's..holly forbid if she has a gig, the bro will never hear the end. She like's being the man and all it pertain's..she will leave her man if she cannot control his every thought process, have'nt you noticed most woman find a man they can run over or younger or less experienced or less employed. She hate's men who have their own in such a way as she cannot destroy him. she should be avoided at all cost's, she is a danger to herself and her immediate family. However why bother, she believe's she's right about not holding her man down and having several babie's from 5 minute stay's, she wont be around long time like 401k, she can't envision more than a month ahead, she live's only to serve her immediate need's..she come's first even the kid's will go to the welfare or group home before she even remotely care's. rather than argue I saw something in them, it is THEY WHO BELIEVE THE WHITE WOMAN IS BEAUTIFUL..maybe too much barbie but who care' not arguing..TAKE A CLOSER LOOK THE WHITE WOMAN IS BEAUTIFUL AND I WANT ONE TOO MARRY AND HAVE CHILDREN..THANK'S BLACK WOMAN..YOU WERE RIGHT ABOUT SOMETHING-THEY ARE PRETTY. DONT GET UPSET WHEN U SEE ME WITH ONE, you pointed her out to me .

Monday, April 12, 2010

A response, cross-posted from the comments

First off, I guess I should point out (again) that I didn't disagree with the substance of Matin's article, nor her decision to self-identify as a womanist. Her problems with academic feminism and the feminist movement aren't particularly dissimilar from my own, in that I think race and class (and disability and gender-identification and lots of other things) are often (and used to be exclusively) side-discussions in favor of things that affected the day-to-day lives of the people with the money, time and space within the larger society to dedicate to discussing and being active on them. Her critiques of her experience with women's studies are similar to the things that drove me away from the program at my university. She identifies as a womanist; I identify as a feminist concerned with the kyriarchy. I don't believe that women can achieve equality without everyone in marginalized groups getting equality because too many women belong to marginalized groups that lack equality.

That said, my critique was very specific: she said that her problem with feminism was that it ignored the contributions and voices of women of color, and then seemingly ignored the contributions of voices of women of color. Latoya was totally right that those sites are externally identified more with Jessica, Jill, Amanda and Bitch herself than the women of color who write for it, and that their commentariat is often hyper-white and eager to separate race from discussions of gender (ahem). But, calling them "largely run by white women" is, to me, not accurate -- "largely identified with" or "largely read by" are extremely valid criticisms, as Latoya said, but to say that they are largely run by contributes to the (I think inaccurate perception) that their editors or leadership are exclusively white. Martin could have even said that they focus on issues of more interest to white women than not -- and it's a criticism this site made of Feministing a year and a half ago, to an angry comment thread, so I'd hardly be one to complain that it's not a interesting point.

To me, the problem with ignoring the contributions of women of color to mainstream sites is it contributes to the difficulty of those writers to get the attention, both from readers and the mainstream media, that they deserve.

Martin, on her blog, took offense that "Jezebel" didn't comment on a piece written by Chloe of Feministing for the Guardian about why she thinks womanists should integrate into the Feminist movement. I can only point out that I've worked here about 1-2 days a month for the last 4, hadn't read the piece, likely wouldn't have agreed with it if I had and might well have critiqued if I had been writing here when it ran. I am, however, more into these kinds of arguments than anyone except perhaps Latoya, and have no special insight other than that as to whether any of the other writers at Jezebel saw Chloe's piece or felt like getting into a discussion about it at the time.

Her larger critique, however, is that it wasn't my place to point out that there are women of color leading and writing in those spaces. It's not one I plan to argue with. It is a point of view -- one I obviously didn't agree with -- but one about which she feels very strongly for her own personal and intellectual reasons.

My point was, and is, that I think the way to get people to associate these blogs with women of color is not to accept and contribute to the perception that they are largely run by white women but to highlight the important contributions made by the women of color who write and help run those blogs, and to encourage them (and others) to hire, promote and highlight the contributions of many more -- and also to link to, engage with, read and promote the writers who choose to operate in different spaces, like Martin, that are dedicated to more specific points of view.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

You know who you are

Courtesy of my friend Erica, this pro-birth control video goes out to a friend.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The most disgusting thing on the Internet this weekend

From the comment thread on this Mother Jones article on circumcision:
The white emollient under the child's foreskin is called smegma. Smegma is probably the most misunderstood, most unjustifiably maligned substance in nature. Smegma is clean, not dirty, and is beneficial and necessary. It moisturizes the glans and keeps it smooth, soft, and supple. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties keep the penis clean and healthy. All mammals produce smegma. Thomas J. Ritter, MD, underscored its importance when he commented, "The animal kingdom would probably cease to exist without smegma."[27]
Yeah, that's a defense of smegma, aka dick cheese. It's clean, ladies! It's necessary!


Friday, April 2, 2010

It's a sad, sad world

When even the mannequins have fake boobs.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A weird long, week

So, I went to D.C. for my first Seder, learned the joys of matzoh, had a re-blogged post about Kate Gosselin atop the HuffPo's Entertainment section and this post about insurance company regulation hit near the top of Google News and generally worked my butt off like I don't know how to take a vacation. Maybe I don't.

But, if you're wondering what I've been up to:

Dancing With The Stars
Dancing With The Stars Recap: Week 2, Performance
Dancing with the Stars Recap: Week 2 Results
Why No One Can Hate Kate More Than She Hates Herself

KBR Says Jamie Leigh Jones Was Asking For It

The Gloss
Bitch, Please: Show You've Got Nothing But Love For Your Family

The Washington Independent
(This was actually my last week blogging for them, as they hired some great full-time people)
Unemployment Predictions Highlight the Need for Investment in Job Training
Adjustable Rate Mortgages Won’t Be a Big Problem This Year
This Month’s Economic Update: Inflation Up, Income Holds
Administration Sends Housing Assistance to Five More States
Geithner Offers Irrelevant Solution to Coming Commercial Real Estate Crisis
Judge Overturns Corporate Patent on Human DNA
Palin Left Alaska With Debts Equal to 70 Percent of Its GDP
Private Sector Lost 23,000 Jobs in March
10 Ways Insurance Companies Will Get Out of Reforming
Agency Admits Economic Stability and Consumer Protection Not Mutually Exclusive