A Hex on Both Your Houses

I generally do not waste too much time expounding on general American political issues because they’re done to death just about everywhere else. For all of your Red vs. Blue, lib vs. con cockfighting there are quite literally hundreds of sites for your fancies. What I try to do here is to shed light on viewpoints that are not likely to, say, be repeated on HuffPo ad nauseam. Nevertheless occasionally something comes along, down that corroded mainstream pipeline that I find is being analysed in a way that elides its most interesting elements. Ladies and gentlemen: Christine O’Donnell had sex with a witch. Liberals wish for you to know this and meditate on this. Ms. O’Donnell and I likely agree on nothing save for, perhaps, the colour of the sky and Goddess knows I hope she’s trounced in the November election, for all the good it will do. But in watching the ascent of the Tea Party’s women I’m noticing a familiar pattern emerging here and one I am not especially fond of. When it … [Read more...]

Lost In Trans-lation: The Final Chapter/Reckoning/Cliche something-or-other

I'll not preface this essay with very much, only to say that it is a swan song for the last month and an interesting opportunity that I seized to neatly tie up and summarise my academic and- dare I say- personal journey over the course of the class. My final grade in the course was an A and so was my grade for this essay. The question I'm answering here is, basically, what did I learn over the course of the last month and how did the readings challenge (or not challenge) me and the views I held when I walked in. My response is as follows: I walked into the class having done a good half of the assigned reading and with a fair amount of foreground knowledge of both emancipatory politics in general and feminism specifically- both its virtues and its foibles- as well as already being familiar with concepts like intersectionality, epistemological or materials hierarchies, disability studies, pivoting the centre, and many others to boot. Yet I also knew I was going to learn … [Read more...]

At the Crossroads and Other Mixed Metaphors: Intersectionality

This essay, as I mentioned yesterday, got an A (which is the highest grade my professor will bestow as he doesn't believe in A+s for one reason or another). The 'question' I had to answer was really more of an essay unto itself but here it is: This essay has three parts, which should be integrated into a single essay, and not answered separately. Explain the concept of intersectionality. You should discuss at least race, class, gender, and sexuality, but you may also discuss other aspects of social inequality we’ve talked about in class. This section should focus on Crenshaw and the Combahee River Collective, but you may use other texts as well.  Do not just quote a definition here, explain the concept in your own words and in detail. Discuss one or two particular historical events, periods, or issues in the context of an intersectional analysis of multiple axes of oppression. Use at least two readings not including Crenshaw. How does … [Read more...]

Lost in Trans-lation: A Journal of Women’s Studies, Part IV

So, it has been a while since a preface was put on one of these. I should provide some more background on what's happening in class and what the environment is in which these essays are being written. First and foremost I should talk about the grades as well as what has been going on in class. A lot of my writing for class makes no bones about trans issues and what I will post today is quite blistering in that respect. My teacher also knows I'm a trans woman since I outed myself to him. What my writing and my commentary in class has done, much to my surprise, was prompt my professor to devote a couple of class days to transgender issues specifically, the first of which was this evening. It went quite well, I have to say. I also got the grade back for my first essay, which I will post tomorrow. It was an A. All the articles you've seen posted since Part I have received perfect scores (10 out 10 on the grading scale he uses for these journal entries) and this one was no exception- he … [Read more...]

Lost in Trans-lation: A Journal of Women’s Studies, Part III

The early chapters of Angela Davis’s Women, Race, and Class were palpably powerful and forthright in their analysis of black women’s enslavement and empowerment in 19th Century America. These twin, interwoven narratives tell a story whose importance demands one’s attention. For my own part her vivid descriptions of the horrors visited on black women in the institution of slavery caused me to pause in my reading, staring at the page before finally closing my eyes for a moment, offering some feeble form of remembrance for the women whose stories she brought to life. They were not just passive recipients of abuse, however, but active agents in their liberation. Brave resistance seemed to meet, blow for blow, every whip, cruel word, sexual advance, balled fist or backbreaking labour that these women’s masters could bring to bear or muster. In this lies the point of Professor Davis’  narrative. This point is twofold: one, it is meant to elucidate on the gendered realities facing black … [Read more...]

Lost in Trans-lation: A Journal of Women’s Studies, Part II

Here follows part two of the amazing epic story, nominated for six Golden Raspberries, and a Grammy for Best Kazoo Solo: Lost in Trans-Lation. The witty title of this series will, I hope, reflect, what focus on trans issues I can provide in the context of our readings. But as you'll see today, save for one cisfail at the end, there wasn't much discussion this time around. That said, the connections that exist between all three of these readings: biology utilised to buttress discrimination, power and privilege, and neo-bigotry disguised as liberalism all bear heavily on transgender people in our daily lives and are part of understanding our particular social locality. There is also the fact that while quotas may not exist for affirmative action, this blog has a quota for a certain number of trans-puns per year. So, bear with me on that. Now, without further ado, the curtain rises on our gallant heroine going way past the page limit of her homework assignment... The New York … [Read more...]

Lost in Trans-lation: A Journal of Women’s Studies, Part I

This evening I started an introductory Women and Gender Studies class which I'm taking over the Summer to both help me catch up and get me a headstart on one of my two major tracks. I am very excited, of course, and I had a good evening in the first class today. I was also very pleased to see that I had done several of the readings on the course syllabus, and was able to confidently explain a lot of things to my classmates during our group session, so I'm in a very good position to make this a breezy month. One of our regular assignments is to write a weekly journal entry on our readings. What follows is the first entry, hot off the presses and emailed to my professor moments ago. The class is designed to emphasise the voices of women of colour and other groups that have been traditionally marginalised from feminist and activist discourse, and in that spirit I'm bringing the trans perspective in as well. The following entry will, I hope, set the tone of my participation for the next … [Read more...]

Through The Looking Glass

<<EDIT: As of this afternoon Blizzard has officially backed down and will no longer move forward with their scheme to force players to use their real life names on the forums. This is, of course, a tremendous victory. One suspects that major media outlets talking about the "row" or "huge outcry" opposed to this idea finally moved their executives to give way. However, significant as this is, Real ID remains and some of the architectural issues I allude to below remain.>> Yesterday I wrote at some length about my strident opposition to Blizzard’s absurd RealID scheme, something I’ve called the single worst idea I have ever seen implemented in the history of online gaming. I am rarely one to speak without qualifiers, but this surely merits it. The threat posed to women is very real. I myself was stalked in WoW, but it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could’ve been because it didn’t bleed into real life; he didn’t know my name, nor where to begin with finding out personal info … [Read more...]

World of Warshaft

As I alluded to in my recent autobiographical posts, I was once a WoW gamer. Ahh, those were the days. I still miss those days, in fact! Which was why I was considering going back and firing up the ol’ Priestess so I could kick arse at raid healing again. I’m still in touch with plenty of WoW gamers, so my fingers remain ever so delicately situated on the pulse of that ageing but still powerful online gaming behemoth, including those times when it accelerates from WoW’s neverending and oh-so-entertaining drama. Most in-game drama blow ups- this class getting nerfed, PVP being changed thus and so, raid gear altered in such and such a way-  is geeky wonk of the nerdiest kind. But Blizzard has recently decided to inaugurate a change that raises important philosophical questions in spaces far beyond the alluring vistas of Azeroth. Real ID. “Recently, we introduced our new Real ID feature - http://www.battle.net/realid/ , a new way to stay connected with your friends on the new … [Read more...]

Invisible Women

Visibility matters. To be sure it carries with it various risks; to be known is certainly not always to be loved. For example the type of visibility transsexual women “enjoy” in society is of perhaps the lowest order; stereotyped, parodied, and exploited- this is what our visibility in the mainstream media usually accounts for. Which is why it’s all the more frustrating to take note of where we are not visible. Recently various trans and women’s websites have been blowing the lid off of a particularly egregious episode of appropriation. By now most people have heard of the beleaguered and persecuted “gay couple” in Malawi who have just been sentenced to prison terms in an inhuman miscarriage of justice. What far fewer people know, however, is that they are not quite a gay couple per se. Indeed, one half of that couple understands herself quite firmly as a female. Questioning Transphobia among others have taken a look at this issue, and as per usual Skip The Makeup has an excellent … [Read more...]