Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ad watch for "o filthy grandeur!"

I'm calling on my readers to police the new ads on my site. While I don't object to ads being posted here, I am concerned that they may not be appropriate for this site (I can totally envision the damn ads promoting some weight-loss shit in response to an article on body image, which is not okay). For this reason I am calling on my readers to bring any inappropriate ads to my attention (I will do my very best to maintain the integrity of the site, but I'm new to this, so it may take me a while to get the ads the way I want, so please bear with me).

If anyone sees anything in the ads that goes against this site as a safe womanist/feminist space that is a friendly and respectful community to/for women, people of all sexualities, races, and genders, etc., please let me know immediately via email (see sidebar).

Thanks for your help!
Update: Having gotten frustrated with the ads, I removed them. I doubt I'll put them back, since there was no way for me to pick and choose, since they were automatically generated. Fuck that. I'll have my space clean and free of junk!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: resurrection of the Dumbo crows and women as props

Spoiler alert

I just got back from this movie (fully aware that it is not getting good reviews from critics--I fully place blame on my fiance for this one). I think I might start rating movies on a scale of eye-rolls, where I tally how many times I find myself rolling my eyes during the course of the movie, and the more it gets the worse it is.

There was just so much wrong with this movie. So before I get to what this post is really about, here are a few complaints:

  • Optimus Prime is essentially dead for 3/4 of the movie before being reanimated or whatever you want to call it, and then the final battle is over in like 2 seconds. I mean, he's like the One, so why was he so under-used?
  • The lady autobots are motorcycles, tiny dainty motorcycles. And I think they only get one line before they're blown apart by a missile. Rather than give them any face time, the filmmakers decided to give it to the two twins, but I'll address them later.
  • I know since Shia LeBeouf was in a car accident that injured his hand, the filmmakers sort of had to work around that and that's fine; but come on--are we to seriously believe that the group just happened to have gauze with them when they suddenly found themselves in this dangerous situation? Wouldn't it have been more believable to use a shirt or something?
  • As much as I love that John Turturro is still getting work, did he (or anyone for that matter) really have to point out that those two wrecking balls that happened to be dangling between the Devastator's legs were "scrotum"? Haha, dick and ball jokes...
  • Bumblebee (before the audience is even made aware that Alice is a Decepticon) attempts to prevent Sam from cheating by playing suggestive music, and when that fails he resorts to making Alice bash her face against the dashboard and then squirting her with some liquid. But assault and humiliation are okay (and hilarious) when the girl's a slut, right? I mean, yeah, that bitch totally had it coming...
Now onto my main points.

I see no difference between this:

and this*:

I couldn't laugh at Mudflap and Skids;** all I kept thinking about is what sort of statement is their presence making in the movie where they are essentially charicatures of black wanna-be gangstas, embodiements of racist stereotypes in fucking robot form. The first we see of them, they are an icecream truck which has graffitti on the side which states "Suck my popsicle." So, we know they're sexual (though I wasn't aware that robots really had a sexuality) and they're gendered, thanks to that invoked popsicle imagery. The big ears and grill (on the one), the fact that they can't read (and make a joke of it) and are prone to violence (especially among themselves) all further illustrate the obvious play on racist stereotypes. I found my jaw dropping any time either of them said anything. I'm not exactly sure what contribution they made to the film except as walking talking racist jokes.

Now, as for Megan Fox's heroine roll: even though it seems like she's an ass-kicking heroine to LeBeouf's hero, she's essentially just another prop--a sexy prop, who we first glimpse ass-first in the movie as she's displayed for our viewing on a motorcycle, detailing it at a highly impractical angle. Yeah, she's the love interest, but she's also a fuckable object (like every other woman in the movie--including Sam's mom, who receives a lovely ass-slap from her loving husband, and also including Alice, and the girls in class (who are also sexualized in their interaction with the dirty professor--tee hee, sexual harassment is a compliment!)).

Megan Fox's character, Mikaela, is treated as a prop throughout the movie. While she does help by capturing Wheelie, it's her job to tame him, winning him over by being femininely sweet.

She has actions done to her rather than acting herself, like when Wheelie humps her leg (I guess it's supposed to be endearing, or some shit), or when Jetfire lands them in the desert, and she has apparently landed on Leo's crotch, sprawled in a suggestive manner. She's nothing more than a prop used for the (male) viewer's enjoyment. Even Wheelie says she's hot (a statement I can't make sense of, since I wasn't aware that these robots were sexual, or even had the capacity to judge the attractiveness of a creature not of their species).

After having addressed the above, I would like to ask the following to filmmakers:

This may be difficult to understand, since it goes beyond your prescribed movie-making formula, but women enjoy action flicks involving epic battles and explosions just as much as guys do, so why are you still relying on the same tired ass sexist dialogues that basically portray women as available and fuckable instead of giving them complex characterizations like you're so willing to bestow to the men?

I doubt they have an answer for me, but still--I would love to see an action movie not cater to dudes. I seriously felt like an interloper while I was watching the movie.

I give this movie 8 eye-rolls.***

Most of these due to poor dialogue (like where Optimus says "Punk-ass Decepticon" or when one of the twins calls someone else a "pussy," as well as almost every other uttered line--seriously, who the fuck wrote this???), but of course I factored in racism and sexism.

*Certainly there are other examples of this in other recent movies--still doesn't make it okay.
**Skids is apparently voiced by Tom Kenny, the dude that voices Spongebob, and is white. Draw your own conclusions.
***Out of a possible ten. I decided it shouldn't be arbitrary (well, not completely), and since I can't say for sure how many times I rolled my eyes during this movie, I'll just make it on a scale of 1-10, ten being the most intolerable thing I've ever been forced to view, and would've left if it weren't for the exorbitant ticket price.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Mourning the King of Pop

I'm still very upset about Michael Jackson's passing. I've been on every thread imaginable seeking out closure for this. I have never been so upset about the death of a celebrity, and this unfamiliar territory of adulthood simultaneously frightens me, and leaves me with an emptiness I never knew existed.

Closure is quite the elusive creature. On every thread there are people mourning the loss of a great talent. And there are people saying good riddance to a freak show and pedophile. And then there are people like me that mourn his death twice, and are knotted up inside because we need to mourn to move on, yet we also mourn that he may have victimized children.

It is for these reasons that I cannot seem to get over this, that I'm constantly trying to keep from crying. That I'm trying desperately to keep from snapping at some kind person pointing out that I didn't know him personally so it shouldn't affect me.

But it does.

I'm upset because he was so troubled. I'm upset that he clearly crossed boundaries with children, whether or not he actually molested them. I'm upset that he was verbally and physically abused as a child. I'm upset that he may have engaged in the cycle of abuse himself. And I'm upset that such a worldly infamous icon has succumbed to a tragic death, and at the same time I hope that, if he has victimized children, that they now find solace in his passing. I also hope that he has found peace that he simply did not have in life.

And I hope that the media avoids the victim-blaming once the cause of death is made public (though I don't have much hope in that, since there's already speculation of drug abuse, followed by the, "well he didn't take very good care of himself" crap--oh you think? Too bad we were all too busy finger-pointing and making a spectacle of his freakishness to step in and offer help. This society is plagued with a desire to see the greats fall, to illustrate that they're human too, and in that we are all guilty because we "other" them, ostracize them for their abuses and mental issues, and then are shocked when they tragically die. I'm fucking sick of this. We're all human, but rather than help each other we blame them and cause more damage and say it's all their fault anyway for being addicts or being crazy or being fat or having identity issues or whatever else we can point and laugh at, and then marveling when they're dead).

It simply cannot be ignored that Michael Jackson brought joy to millions of people around the world. He was an entertainer, and he was a great one. His influence in pop music is still evident in the genre. No other artist has compared to his success thus far. And to say that I am anything less than devastated by his death would be an understatement.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson dies at 50

I waited to post this since my only source so far was fucking TMZ, but now there's confirmation of Jackson's death.

This has been a bad week. First we lost Ed McMahon. Earlier today we lost the beautiful Farrah Fawcett. And, even more recently today, Michael Jackson has passed. All I can say is "Damn."

He arrived at UCLA in a coma, and has just recently died.

I am shocked, and my heart goes out to Jackson's relatives for this sudden loss. My heart also goes out to McMahon's and Fawcett's relatives. I just cannot believe it.

Michael Jackson was the first singer I truly liked as a kid. I remember coming up with dance routines to all of his songs as a kid, and loved listening to those songs over and over and over.

I wish I had more to say, but I don't.

He will certainly be missed...

Fuzz Therapy (Guest Fuzz)

I apologize for my lateness on your weekly fuzz; I completely lost track of the days, and well, better late than never, so shut it and enjoy.

Since Princess has decided to hide from the heat all week, here's a guest fuzz therapy featuring my mommy's pets.

Dat's her boy Rascal trying to capture Precious' tail (and she doesn't look too happy about it). Rascal is the newest addition to their cache of petty goodness, and true to cat form he's already claimed much of the house as his territory (everyone else is apparently lucky enough to be in his presence--hmm...just like my Princess).

I particularly enjoy the utter laziness of this one. I'll avoid the obvious weenies and pussy joke (especially since the genders are reversed in both cases--or does that make it okay? I don't know) and just say how much I miss Precious and her fatty plumpness. Hannah's okay, too, but she only likes napping with Ted, whereas Precious loves to play. I haven't met Rascal yet, but soon.

And just so everyone's aware, I'll be out of town this weekend on a camping trip with my fiance, so don't expect a post. Hope everyone has a great weekend.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

An "o filthy grandeur!" tattoo?

Well, I'm thinking about it. I've always liked the idea of getting a tattoo, but never did. I realized that getting a tattoo when I was young and flighty was probably a bad idea (thankfully I did realize this, since as a teenager I got sick of things at an alarming rate--hell, I was that way even my first couple of years in college). I was afraid of having permanent evidence of something I was no longer interested in. Plus, my fiance always expressed a distaste for tattoos, so rather than argue I stopped thinking about it.

But now I'm really thinking of getting a tattoo, some variation (in font) of "o filthy grandeur!" (My fiance still isn't sold on the idea, but too fucking bad). I'm sort of leaning toward it being written around my wrist (for easy cover-up when necessary). My affinity for Baudelaire has managed to survive my normal flightiness of interests, and my commitment to this blog has been nothing but rewarding. This phrase that has become an encompassing space for a variety of topics has become a phrase I hold dear to me, and I think it would be appropriate to have it written on my body (plus, the poet in me is all "Yeah, poetry on my skin! Wooo!").

Anyway, I'm going to think it over another month or so. I am going to Florida to spend time with my parents in August, and my brother will be there too, so if I do decide to go for it, it'll be then. But I'd appreciate any thoughts. I base a lot of my decisions on what I "feel" like doing at the moment, and often rationalize my choices later. So help me rationalize prior to the "no turning back point."

Update: I chickened out. Don't like pain, and if it turns out bad, there would be more pain...sorry.

Dear Ladies,

I have a favor to ask all of you. Let's all agree from now on, for the sake of womanhood (regardless if you identify as a womanist/feminist or not), stop stop stop blaming your shortcomings on the fact that you're a "girl." I hear this most often from you, fellow twenty-somethings, which causes me to grind my teeth. We are grown-ups, therefore we are women now, not girls. I find it irritating enough when a man calls us girls; we don't need to reaffirm sexism among ourselves, okay?

Now to my next point: if you find you cannot do something, that is okay, because we're all imperfect, and there's plenty of things we all are unable to do. There are things we're not good at, and that's okay, because there's plenty of things we are good at. I'm terrible at sports, and am a sore loser, so I won't even play. I can't parallel park, and don't care. I hate numbers, and refuse to do math (even at my job). I love rap music, but cannot for my life rap along to lyrics I know by heart. I have asthma, so exercise is unpleasant for me. I have never successfully run a whole mile. Some days I'm lucky to ride my bike that far. I don't really know how cars work.

But I know how to write. I can write poetry and short stories and nonfiction. I can draw pretty damn well (see site banner). I can paint. I can sew and crochet. I can cook. I have a frightening knack for reading comprehension to the point where I can point out inconsistencies that go unnoticed by other people reading the same thing. I recently learned how to build and fix bicycles. I've fixed the heater in my car (yes, actually removing and replacing the necessary parts--not just hitting the damn thing).

All these things have absolutely nothing to do with my ownership of a vagina. Hell, they don't even have anything to do with my gender identity.

So lets all stop blaming our shortcomings on our sex and/or gender. It's not cute, not even when you say it with a little "tee hee" to a cute guy. It may not seem like much, but it's damaging. If we're determined to show that we are as competent and ass-kicking as any man, we need to stop reaffirming sexist stereotypes.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day, Ted

I would like to wish all the fathers a happy Father's Day today, and to tell those who haven't done so already to call their dads and wish them a happy Father's Day.

I want to dedicate this post to my stepfather, whom I have always considered to be my "real" dad even though I haven't called him that.

Not since I was a little kid did he carry that title. My brother and I both called him "dad" until we slipped up one day in front of weekend dad and called our stepdad "dad." Our biological father is an angry man--always has been, and when he heard that, that was the end of that. So our stepdad went back to "Ted," and thus he's been that since.

When I was younger, I didn't like Ted much. I saw him as a usurper, but I also understood that my mother loved him and he wasn't going anywhere. That didn't keep me or my brother from absorbing the hateful lies our dad told us, and every time we came home from a visit with Dad, my mom and Ted would have to reprogram us. It did not escape my notice, however, that they did not say anything bad about our dad. Contrast that with how our dad would call our mom a "bitch" (and still does) and is still bitter about the divorce that was nearly SEVENTEEN years ago.

Eventually I got older and began to realize that my real dad wasn't necessarily the one that provided the sperm. My dad's anger issues and alcoholism (both things he's very defensive about, yet refuses to acknowledge) have always caused a rift between us, and between him and my brother. But Ted has always been there when I needed. He was there when I decided not to speak to my real dad for months because I couldn't take the constant fighting, the frustration of speaking to an incessantly drunk man that is verbally abusive to his own children (oh, but it's just "jokes"). And yet Ted was the one encouraging me to speak to him, because he is my dad.

The love I have for my dad is obligatory. This is not the case with Ted. He's been there emotionally for me. I've never felt uncomfortable talking to him about anything even that thing that daughters aren't really supposed to talk about with their fathers. With my dad, I often keep things from him because I'm afraid he'll ridicule me, or the topic makes me uncomfortable. When I was in a bad relationship in high school and it bothered Ted to no end to see me so unhappy, he only encouraged me to do what was best for me; my dad, however, only saw that my boyfriend was black, and encouraged me to dump him on that alone.

I think my favorite memories are the ones from when I was really young. Like when Ted used to "fly" me to bed, lifting me up and telling me to put my arms out. He'd fly me through the whole house before finally landing me on my bed to tuck me in. I would get out of bed and run back to the living room just to make him do it all again.

Or when my brother and I would wait until the commercials came on in the middle of whatever show we were watching, and then pounce on Ted to wrestle for those few minutes before the show would come back on. The best part was it would drive Mom crazy.

Or when Mom or Ted would grab my treasured raggedy stuffed cat, Smokey, and throw him down the hall shouting "Smokey go pee!" where he would land ungracefully on the bathroom floor, sliding into the bathtub. This was my least favorite as a kid, but it's funny as hell now that I'm a grown up (and yes, I still have Smokey).

When I got older, I appreciated Ted more. We haven't always gotten along, but that's to be expected. I miss going to the bar with him and my mom (sometimes just me and him at three in the afternoon after he got home from work). I miss camping, and laughing my ass off at Ted's campfire antics. I think the simplest thing is just sitting at the kitchen table talking about what is going on with me, and what he plans to do next with the house or yard, or what car he's thinking of buying to fix up and sell. Phone conversations are okay, but they don't compare with actual presence.

I have long understood that I have something better than a dad or a real dad or whatever. I have a Ted, and I wouldn't trade him for anything. I've often heard people sympathize with my having a bad relationship with my real father, and I've always responded with, "Well, it's not a big deal, because I've still got Ted--and he makes up for everything that my dad doesn't do." In a way, that kind of sucks, because no one ever asked Ted to take on responsibilities that should have fallen to my dad, but I think that's what makes him awesome--no one asked him to do all the things he's done for me and my brother, and yet he does.

I always laugh when I think of what made my mom decide to get married to Ted--when he offered to help clean up when my still-in-diapers brother decided to make artwork with the "ew from [his] diaper" without my mother asking him to.

So, happy Father's Day Ted. I love you.

And now, I call upon you, my readers, to share your Teds. Show them some love in the comments.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Adam Lambert's Rolling Stone interview--full of win!

I finally got my copy of Rolling Stone, featuring the wonderful and talented, Adam Lambert. If you haven't gotten yourself a copy, go get one now. Not only is the cover super-hot, but the article is wonderful. I kept shushing my fiance so I could finish it.

While I'm glad that he decided to not discuss his sexuality while the show was still airing, and thrilled that he decided to talk about it on his own terms, waiting for the Rolling Stone interview, I have to agree with Renee over at Womanist Musings that it's no one's damn business:

"Should Adam be gay or bisexual and actually declare himself to be so; such action will only affirm that heterosexuality is the assumed identity and that homosexuality is something must be confessed as though it is a perversion. There are those in the GLB community who staunchly believe that public figures should declare for the sake of acting as a role model to others, however the fact that such a requirement is not deemed necessary from a heterosexual serves to further “other.”

"The whirling speculation about Adams sexuality is occurring even as same gender marriage is making the most gains that it ever has, proving that the “just like you” theory that has been projected to legitimize same gender marriage only goes so far. Full acceptance of a GLB identity would silence those that feel the need to speculate because a wish to know does not stem from simple curiosity, but from a desire to discern difference for the sake of invoking privilege. By refusing to respond to speculation, Adam stands in solidarity with Anderson Cooper and Queen Latifah. If we really believe that sexuality is irrelevant, it is time to stop asking questions that do not concern us."

Sadly, in the aftermath of this interview, Adam's sexuality is the only thing anyone wants to talk about, when there is so much more to this talented man. I wish to share some of the best parts of this interview.

Adam Lambert on gender: "Why can't some men have strong feminine sides? Does that make them less of a man? I don't know why our society has such an emphasis on masculinity and femininity--it's really gross. I don't think you're truly sexy until you don't care about that." Tell it, Adam.

On "flirting with both sexes": "I loved it this season when girls went crazy for me. As far as I'm concerned, it's all hot. Just because I'm not sticking it in there doesn't mean that I don't find it beautiful." This one gives me the giggles and a case of the "awwwws."

I particularly enjoy this part of the article:

This is the usual kicked-back attitude one expects from Lambert, but when the conversation turns to his newfound role as a gay icon, he begins to pick the polish off his nails, which is what he does when he feels anxious - it's clearly an argument he's spent a lot of time having with himself, in his own head. On one hand, he wants to support gay rights at a moment when same-sex marriage is in legal limbo in many states. He enjoyed performing Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" on the show for a reason: "This civil rights movement is near to my heart, and it felt really good to sing that," he says. "I'm not asking to get married in your church, but you don't have any right to tell me I can't do it."
And finally, on worrying about the consequences of coming out: "I'm an entertainer, and who I am and what I do in my personal life is a separate thing. It shouldn't matter. Except it does."

Also included in the interview are some likes and dislikes, and when I read that he includes Twilight on the list of likes, it was almost a deal breaker for me (ha); however, on the dislikes is Nickelback, so I guess those sort of cancel each other out in my head. I'll forgive him, since Nickelback does suck bad.

Adam--I cannot wait for your album, and this is something I've never said to any Idol contestant/winner/runner-up--ever.


Work Cited:

Grigoriadis, Vanessa. "Wild Idol: The psychedelic transformation and sexual liberation of Adam Lambert." Rolling Stone. June 25, 2009: 50-7.

Happy Belated Juneteenth

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the ending of slavery in the United States. Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that the Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were now free. Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation - which had become official January 1, 1863. The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact on the Texans due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive order. However, with the surrender of General Lee in April of 1865, and the arrival of General Granger’s regiment, the forces were finally strong enough to influence and overcome the resistance.

Later attempts to explain this two and a half year delay in the receipt of this important news have yielded several versions that have been handed down through the years. Often told is the story of a messenger who was murdered on his way to Texas with the news of freedom. Another, is that the news was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the labor force on the plantations. And still another, is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. All or none of them could be true. For whatever the reason, conditions in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.

From Juneteenth

I apologize for the lateness of this post (I worked a ten hour shift last night, and came home and collapsed).

Admittedly I heard no one talking about Juneteenth here (in Wisconsin), but I am not surprised. I am white, living in a predominately white town, and commute to a job where I work with predominately white employees. I can't say for sure if the local news mentioned it, since I only watch it when there's nothing else on, and I need noise in the mornings.

This weekend I will be celebrating Juneteenth by reading, and reflecting on my whiteness, and I challenge other white people to do the same.

Here are more awesome links commemorating Juneteenth:

Monica: Happy Juneteenth, Peeps!
Carmen D.: Juneteenth 2009

Happy Juneteenth everyone! No one said we can't celebrate all weekend!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Dear Fox Milwaukee:

[Trigger warning]

Dear Fox Milwaukee:

While I appreciate you reporting on something so heinous as a man sexually assaulting a nine-year-old girl, you all need to check your damn language. A nine-year-old girl cannot engage in sex acts. This is rape. Yet not once did you use this word. This man took advantage of the girl and the situation. While you seem to all be in agreement that what the man did was wrong, it almost reads as rape apologism that you bring up that the girl engaged in "sex acts" in exchange for "chips and a cell phone." Say it like it fucking is: this is rape. This man is a rapist. This rapist used coercion to rape a little girl. Don't act like this little girl is a prostitute because she got something out of this "sex act." She is a victim.

Thank you.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

Scary people find my site

In lieu of an actual post, I just want to address the following:

Who the fuck keeps finding my site by typing in "filthy grandmothers"?

And who can't get it through their heads that Wybie is black--stop searching Google for it--yes, he's black. Get over it.

And I really really don't want to know who keeps searching for images of rape.

As much as I would love to enjoy imagining their disappointment at stumbling upon a feminist blog, it's still rather frightening--and you know they're not going to stop and take a moment to read any of the posts once they've figured out that I somehow tricked them.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Fuzz Therapy

Sorry I haven't been updating as often lately. I'm actually getting more hours at work, so less time for blogging, but hopefully I'll get a good schedule going again.

I decided that this week's Fuzz Therapy will (again) feature my Princess, sans fuzz. For a few consecutive years I had gotten her a summer hair-do since her fur is just unmanageable this time of year. This year I've decided to suck it up and groom her regularly, which means pinning her to the floor and holding her head down while I quickly rake the brush across her (trust me, the snarls and hissing is just melodrama), and I earn a number of scratches for my good pet ownership.

So here's looking back on the fleeting times when Princess had no fluffs, and I was in a state of constant giggles looking at her tiny pink body and giant head. Lion cut = pure joy (for humans).

I particularly like the Popeye-look she sports with her seemingly beefy front legs.

I think the look on her face in this one says it all:

I hope everyone's having a great week. Don't forget, you can submit your own pics for Fuzz Therapy. See submission guidelines for details.

Friday, June 12, 2009

KRXQ's apology

Yesterday, KRXQ discussed its previous comments. The audio of that show can be found here. I suppose that the Rob, Arnie, & Dawn crew realized they weren't getting off the hook with their previous unapology; I do commend them for not blowing this second opportunity, and taking the time to not only recognize their ignorance, but also confront it. Hopefully they learned something about the transgender community (especially transgender children), and were able to teach their listeners about the transgender community as well.

Often when people find their bigotry confronted they act defensive, and rather than own up to their behavior or words, they'll write it off as jokes, or state they didn't know it was offensive. Which is of course what KRXQ tried first. It was not until we started sending emails to their sponsors that they took the hint and decided to do the June 11th show.

But I'll give them points for their (eventual) effort, and if it brings good to the transgender community and tells the rest of society that this sort of hatred is not acceptable, then it's better than sticking with the original unapology.

Over at GLAAD's site, they've posted a statement by Rob Williams, which states:

Thank you for having the courage to stand by us and to keep the show in check. It was through the loyal listeners of the Rob, Arnie and Dawn show that Arnie and I were dragged, kicking and screaming, to the reality that we had gone too far and crossed a line in the eyes of OUR audience. It is still a point of sadness and frustration that it took us so long to acknowledge our mistake, believe our audience, and begin making things right. The show of Thursday, June 11 serves to set things in forward motion.
GLAAD also states:

As noted in its Thursday press release, GLAAD will continue to monitor the show daily to ensure it stays within the bounds of fair, accurate and inclusive coverage. GLAAD will also continue promoting the stories of transgender people to the show and advising the hosts on covering transgender people with respect and dignity.
Hopefully they've learned their lesson.

What is (and isn't) important in the media: coverage (or lack of) the trial of Lateisha Green's alleged killer

You may recall Allen Andrade's trial for the murder of Angie Zapata, which certainly got more attention than the trial for Lateisha Green's alleged killer, which began yesterday. As Monica of Transgriot points out

You wouldn't know that because if you Google it, check the local Syracuse media, the website of the Onondaga County DA's office, and even the websites of GLBT groups in the area, you won't find anything on the DeLee trial except old stories and link backs to TransGriot.
It strikes me as disheartening that a woman's life is somehow deemed unimportant. The lack of coverage outside of Syracuse illustrates the lack of value the media places on a black transwoman. The fact that news on this trial is almost nonexistent--even on GLBT sites--is infuriating, and only reinforces this idea that some people are just not important. A transwoman is dead--stolen from her friends and loved ones, and no one is talking about it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Fuzz Therapy (and call for submissions)

Here it is--your weekly therapeutic fuzz:

This is your toe-touch edition. She actually finds this position quite comfy, unlike her human (read: me), who is not so flexible.

Touching toes on Jack Sparrow's face (her favorite blankie; formerly mine).

And a toe-touch with a stretch. Nice.

Princess will be back next week (unless I get some new materials). This is your reminder to submit your pics to me to be featured on Fuzz Therapy (fuzz is, of course, optional). If you have some pics you'd like to submit, please see my Submission Guidelines. Seriously, send me your pics. Princess thinks she's special enough.

Hope everyone is having a great week!

The new face of blackface

Craig Brimm from kiss my black ads posted some ads from Chicago Lake Liquors in which it displays white people "acting black" (please note, I hate this phrase, since I believe it has no merit, but this sort of ignorance is what seems to be invoked in these ads--especially since they've chosen the whitest of white people for the them).

There's a clear class distinction going on here, too. Notice that these white guys are are at least upper middle class (in how they dress and speak--in the one at the office, they're at least moderately successful). Notice, too, how awkward and clunky their speech is, going from "proper" (white) speech to what we understand to be "black slang."* It's awkward because it doesn't come naturally to them; they're imitating something deemed cool.

As soon as I saw the video I immediately made the connection between this and blackface--the only difference here is there's no obvious racist make-up. I also showed it to a white friend, who thought it was hilarious. When I told him that some people might read it as racist, his response was "Well, who made it? Were they white or black?" When I asked why that would matter he said, "If it was black people, then it's okay." This logic escapes me, and I'm not sure if I'm capable of pointing out why it's still not okay.

I recommend that you go to Craig Brimm's page for an appropriate video response to these ads.
Note: this is an insulting (and unfortunately common) label. According to the Linguistic Society of America:

The variety known as "Ebonics," "African American Vernacular English" (AAVE), and "Vernacular Black English" and by other names is systematic and rule-governed like all natural speech varieties. In fact, all human linguistic systems -- spoken, signed, and written -- are fundamentally regular. The systematic and expressive nature of the grammar and pronunciation patterns of the African American vernacular has been established by numerous scientific studies over the past thirty years. Characterizations of Ebonics as "slang," "mutant," "lazy," "defective," "ungrammatical," or "broken English" are incorrect and demeaning.

Monday, June 8, 2009

KRXQ to issue verbal apology to listeners on June 11th

I just received the following email from Mr. Geary of KRXQ:

Thank you for your feedback regarding the May 28th and June 3rd, 2009 broadcasts of “The Rob, Arnie and Dawn Show.” I understand the seriousness of the issue, and want to share with you a copy of a notice that has been posted on our website,

During these shows, Rob and Arnie made what we, and they, recognize were completely unacceptable remarks concerning members of the transgender community, especially children. Accordingly, this Thursday, June 11th, 2009, the show will be dedicated to what we anticipate will be a forum to promote a better understanding among all listeners of the issues involved.

John D. Geary

Vice President / General Manager
Well, it had better be an apology, anyway. It's not like they didn't already blow their chance at an apology--now they want another one. I'm anticipating their response, though, since maybe--just maybe, they won't fuck this one up too.

However, I would like to point out my problem with their first unapology: telling people not to be offended because it's all just jokes, man is no fucking excuse. I also have a problem with the "just jokes" excuse, since jokes are not often told in such a fiery hateful manner (unless, of course, you're Lewis Black, but I digress). The few clips I've seen of the KRXQ show in question, these men are spewing hateful bile in such an angry and offensive manner that I find it hard to believe these were "just jokes." These weren't jokes. These were men who are filled judgement and hate, and who are just pissed that so many people called them out on their comments.

I don't think an apology is enough at this point. They've already gotten their chance to apologize and they didn't take it. Now that the heat's on and their sponsors are dropping one by one have they realized that it was wrong (and I think that realization stirs little in them).

Really??? A fucking "shoeologist"???????

There's a local ad running in the Milwaukee area that I've seen a couple of times. The first time I saw it I screamed "What the fuck?" I recall also throwing something. May have been a shoe. I've seen it a couple of times, and each time I'm more pissed off than the time before.

In case you cannot view the video, I've transcribed it:

Disembodied lady-voice: Hi Madison. What are you doing?

Madison: Studying! There are a lot of shoes at Rogan's.

D. L-V: Studying?

M: Yes! I'm going to be a shoeologist!

D. L-V: What does a shoeologist need to know?

M: Well, at Rogan's, there's all the big-name brands--30,000 pairs of shoes and how to be helpful to every customer [wow, great dialogue, eh--nice disconnect from the original point, idiots, not to mention the complete lack of parallel structure.]

D. L-V: That's a big job!

M: Not too big for me! Why don't you try on these boards [?]. They're perfect for YOU!

[Then some tagline for Rogan's, where I will not be buying my shoes.]

Yes, because all little girls should aspire to be shoe experts, and the only -ologist that matters if you're a girl is that of shoes. This commercial makes me wanna go on a giant fire-breathing rampage of destruction. I doubt it even occurred to the makers of this ad to have a boy talking about shoes. I think it's even worse because they make it like the little girl is so knowledgeable and successful because she's studying--but she's studying shoes goddammit! A fake fucking -ology, har har because girls don't study real, important things. And of course she has a suggestion for the unseen woman addressing her--because that's all we want, is some expert telling us what we should be wearing. That's so goddamn adorable, innit?

I'm so fucking tired of this shit.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Racism in horror flicks: brown people magic is scary, guys!

I love movie reviews. Especially movie reviews of bad movies. Or at the very least movie reviews that not only point out why a movie is bad, but illustrate its ridiculousness so efficiently that I find myself in a fit of giggles, which then allows me to mock the director for being such a dumbass.

Aren't we sick of the tired cliche of the bad and scary thing being caused by none other than the magic of brown people? Hollywood never gives us a movie where the antagonist is a scary Christian using his or her love for Jesus to magically attack and frighten people, or using it to malevolently steal souls. How many horror movies involve pretty white kids going backpacking to a foreign country, only to be attacked by OMG MUMMIES AND GYPSIES, and A VOODOO WITCH!!!

I wonder what about this "other" magic fills white people with such wonder.

Anyway, rather than fill the page with rage, here's an excerpt of Nick Mamatas' awesome review:

Drag Me To Hell, the first horror movie by Sam Raimi in a long while, is a short and silly piece of anti-Roma propaganda that at least has a decent theme: don't be a social climber.

As it turns out, in the world of Drag Me To Hell, "gypsies" have the power to summon up a lamia (here a demon from hell) who can drag people, bodily, into hell. Indeed, in 1969, a little boy who steals some jewelry from a "gypsy wagon" has just that happen to him despite the intervention of a Mexican spirit medium. "We'll meet again," the medium tells the, uh, floor, after the little boy is dragged to hell.

So, to sum up:

Little boy steals a necklace from a Romany woman: gets dragged to hell three days later

Adolph Hitler kills 500,000 Roma during the Holocaust: nothing happens after three days

So there are two problems here—the first and most obvious is the trafficking in the sort of stereotypes and libels that continue to inform the persecution of the Roma worldwide, the second is that the movie ends up making no sense. For you see, forty years after the little kid gets dragged to hell, a Romany woman finds herself unable to pay the mortgage. Of course, she has the power to drag people to hell, but she can't seem to scrape a few extra bucks together? Here's what I'd recommend:

DRAG YOUR ENEMIES TO HELL ($5000) (Pasadena, elsewhere)

Have hateful enemy? I shall have him tormented for three days by shadowy figures and special effects, then dragged bodily to hell! Results guaranteed! No transgression too small! Take Paypal, bank check.

Write to Sylvia Ganush:

It is not okay to contact this user with other products or services.

See, that would solve the problem of the movie right off. If Roma (or Indians, or the less intimidating sort of Will Smithian black folk, or woppy old ladies or whomever they give powers to in movies these days) had magical powers, they really wouldn't have problems. You know who'd have the problems? White fucking people would have the problems.
Sam Raimi sucks so bad. Not to mention the complete inanity of the title "Drag Me to Hell" which indicates a first-person command, not a freaked out white girl struggling to not be dragged to hell. So now Sam Raimi sucks and is a moron.

Finish reading here. Seriously do it.

Also, reminder to send in your animal pics. I know you got em. I want em.
H/T: Alas, a Blog for link.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

More on KRXQ's Sponsors

There's an update over at GLAAD (sorry I just now posted this, but I had to work today--ugh). But good news, because McDonald's has decided to drop their sponsorship of KRXQ.

From GLAAD's page:

McDonald’s wrote:

McDonald’s has a proud legacy of diversity and inclusion. The views expressed by the hosts are not consistent with our core values.

As such, we are in the process of withdrawing advertising from KRXQ until further notice.

McDonald’s USA LLC, Pacific Sierra Region

The global fast food chain now becomes the tenth company to either retract or to not renew its advertising contract with KRXQ.

The entire listing of companies include:

  • Chipotle
  • Snapple
  • Sonic
  • Bank of America
  • Verizon
  • Carl’s Jr (CKE Restaurants)
  • Wells Fargo
  • Nissan North America
  • AT&T
  • McDonald’s
I wonder how much time before all sponsorship is dropped and the station realizes they're better off without Rob and Arnie (hint to KRXQ--YOU'RE LOSING MONEY ON THESE ASSHOLES).

Friday, June 5, 2009

Carl's Jr. is number five!

These sponsors are dropping like flies. Just found this in my inbox:

Dear Concerned Reader,

Thank you for your email. We have pulled all of our ads from KXRQ. We did this as soon as the matter was brought to our attention.

We appreciate your concern and thank you for contacting CKE Restaurants on this matter.


CKE, Public Relations

Guest Response Line: (877) 799-7827

CKE Restaurants encompasses Carl's Jr. and Hardees.

Update: Verizon has just dropped sponsorship. They've been crossed off the list.

Update 2: Wells Fargo has removed its logo from KRXQ's site, responding to the complaints with the following message:

Thank you for your message. We appreciate your feedback and take such matters seriously.

We are strongly committed to equality for all and we do not tolerate discrimination. When we learned of the inappropriate comments made during the May 28th KXRQ broadcast we immediately removed our logo from the radio station’s Web site.

Wells Fargo was not an advertiser on the May 28 broadcast, is not currently advertising with KXRQ, and has not done so for more than a year.

We’re proud of our commitment of supporting many organizations that serve our diverse communities – which is consistent with our company values.

We very much appreciate your comments.

Diversity is at the core of Wells Fargo’s vision and values and Wells Fargo is honored to be on DiversityInc Magazine's Top 50 list for 2009.

Thank you for taking the time to bring this matter to our attention.

Julie Campbell

Wells Fargo Communications

They've also been crossed off the sponsor list.

Updated sponsor list:




Alicia Rockwell


Darryl Harrison - Media

John Britton

Debra Lewis

Walt Riker
Vice President, Corporate Media Relations
Heidi Barker
Sr. Director, Corporate Media Relations

Media Relations:



Bank of America no longer sponsoring KRXQ

I got a quick response today. Apparently enough people have been complaining, because just about as quickly as I hit my send button, I received the following email from Bank of America's SVP, Joseph Goode:

Bank of America is proud to be a leader in supporting diversity and continues to be widely recognized for our progressive workplace practices and initiatives to promote inclusion. This commitment to equality and diversity informs every aspect of our enterprise, including our approach to advertising. As a result, we adhere to a set of media buying guidelines for syndicated programming and for local stations that promote inclusion and help our company reach a broad range of diverse customers.

Bank of America prides itself on fostering a corporate culture that is inclusive of all the communities we serve. Our customers, clients and associates speak different languages; support different family structures and life situations; and have unique and personal financial requirements. In order to meet the diverse needs of our customers, we require a variety of products and services, marketing and a diverse workforce that demonstrate and reflect our awareness and appreciation of who our clients and customers are.

We hope the immediate actions that we have taken demonstrate our longstanding support of diversity, and we hope you inform members of your organization of the steps that we have taken to address your concerns.

Thank you for your inquiry and bringing this to our attention.

Joseph L. Goode, SVP

So keep at it. This is the fourth company to drop its sponsorship for the station. Others are Sonic, Chipotle, and Snapple.

Hate-speech is dangerous: more on KRXQ's trans hate

Here's another post on KRXQ's verbal attack on transgender children, by Michael Rowe. It's pretty disturbing to read, but it's an important read, explaining (again) why this hate-speech is so dangerous:

In light of the well-publicized suicides this year of the two boys who took their own lives because of bullying and harassment for "acting gay" (which, in the argot of modern North American teenagers, often refers to acting in a way considered unmasculine by their peers) the stunning lack of moral sensibility on the part of States and Williams is breathtaking. But it also points to the increasingly degraded landscape of talk radio.

The causal link between Bill O'Reilly's obsessive baiting of abortion provider Dr. George Tiller on FOX and Tiller's murder on Sunday, May 31st as he was ushering in his Kansas City church, is currently being explored, an exploration particularly relevant in the case of Rob, Arnie, and Dawn in the Morning, and the potential violent fallout from their inexplicably rage-filled invective against not only transgender children, but even boys who err on the feminine side of standard adolescent behavior, behavior States and Williams consider unnatural because "men are hunters and women are gatherers."


They berated co-host Dawn Rossi, who seemed genuinely horrified by the rising crescendo of ugliness towards the children and their parents from States and Williams.

"You're actually defending allowing people to become freaks?" they seethed. "A boy who wants to wear a dress is a freak. A nut." Comparing transgender children to "fat bastard kids on Maury," States and Williams urged advocates of transgender children to "stop hiding behind research and laws," whose authority they wholeheartedly reject. Braying with the certitude of the jubilantly ignorant, States and Williams revealed to listeners that "transgenders [sic] did not exist four decades ago," apparently unaware of the historical fact that transgender individuals have existed in every culture throughout recorded history, including in native American cultures where the "two spirited" were revered as teachers, healers, and shamans.

I urge you to read the whole thing.

Also, send those emails--tell the sponsors to drop this station:




Alicia Rockwell


Darryl Harrison - Media

John Britton

Debra Lewis

Walt Riker
Vice President, Corporate Media Relations
Heidi Barker
Sr. Director, Corporate Media Relations

Media Relations:



H/T: Feministe for links and sponsor info.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Update on KRXQ-FM's bigotry

This is an update on my prior KRXQ-FM post. They've responded to the angry emails and phone calls in what amounts to a privileged half-assed apology. You can see full details at GLAAD's website. Basically it's a "sorry you didn't think it was funny" sort of apology. The station manager, Jim Fox, is quoted as saying, "Did they do anything wrong? If you're a regular listener, the answer is no." Let me just say that I'm very sick of this "Equal opportunity offender" bullshit. Carrying that label doesn't give anyone a free pass to advocate violence against any group of people ever. Saying that it's okay to make these statements against the transgender community because they're always offending someone does not make it somehow better. Embracing that "edgy" persona does not make you cool--it makes you a douchebag.

Hate speech is damaging, and this should not be allowed to continue. Making "jokes" like these is not a harmless act. As Monica over at Transgriot states:

And note to KRXQ-FM fans of the show. You cannot hide behind the First Amendment and advocate violence against transpeople or ANY ethnic minority. As I can painfully tell you from my people's history, when you are part of a minority group, people who advocate violence against you cannot be brushed off with a 'I was making a joke'.
Keep sending in those emails. Keep calling and complaining. This un-apology is not going to cut it.

Update (on my update): I've also found a list of KRXQ's sponsors, which may produce more results if you contact them (since two sponsors have already backed out). So have at it peeps. H/T: Ampersand at Alas, a Blog for link

John Geary
Vice President & General Manager
(916) 339-4209

Arnie States
On Air Personality
(916) 334-7777

Rob Williams
On Air Personality
(916) 334-7777

Submissions for Fuzz Therapy

Not that I'm running out of material, of course, what with my fluffy Princess being super fluffy and cute, I've nonetheless decided that other cute fuzzy creatures should also get attention, So if you would like me to post pics of your fuzzy pets (or not-so-fuzzy) I will feature them on here.

Submission criteria:

  • It must be a pet that you own, or at the very least interact with. Don't just find cute pics floating around on the internet and send them in. I want pets that you know and care about, ones whose personalities are familiar to you.
  • The picture(s) should be .jpeg and sent in email as an attachment.
  • It must have a description of the pet (what is it doing in the picture, is this usual cute behavior, etc). Names are nice too. The description should be in the body of the email.
  • The submission must also include the name you wish to appear in the submission (you may use your actual first name or your internet handle, but note I will not post last names). Let me know also if you have a blog you would like me to link to.
  • No inappropriate pictures, please. That means no nudity (except for your pets, of course); no offensive material depicting violence against animals or humans; no racism; no sexism; no homophobia; no transphobia. Basically, if the image is questionable, don't send it because it won't be posted.
  • Pictures can have humans in them, but I would like the focus to be the animal (since humans are not all that fuzzy--well, mostly).
  • Submissions must be sent to me at
  • Submissions submitted in the comments section will not be considered. Do it right, people.
Fuzz Therapy will continue to be posted on Wednesdays. If I do not have submissions, you will get pictures of Princess. It's in your hands now.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More Sotomayor racism--this time in cartoon form!

Since this has got to stop (and since so much awareness and anger was--rightly--raised over this cartoon) I'm going to do what several have already done and post this with a "why this is acceptable" rant.

Jessika over at Middle Raged Punk has posted the offending cartoon, pointing out the obvious racism, but the sexism as well:

So the image of Obama asking “Now, who wants to be first?” to a group of men holding sticks, waiting to beat up a smiling Sotomayor who is strung up on a rope sends a strong message to any woman or girl who has opinions or wants to achieve in a male dominated field.
This has to fucking stop. Is a successful woman so threatening that people must resort to racism and sexism in an attempt to silence her? Advocating the violence against a woman (in a painfully obvious racist manner) is unacceptable. What's worse is that Sotomayor is clearly a qualified and intelligent woman, and this cartoon and commentary like it reduce her to a racist stereotype that says violence against strong women is acceptable since she is overreaching her social place. Fucking. Bull. Shit.

Send in your complaints to the newspaper (follow the link to Jessika's page for full submission guildelines--must be under 250 words). Let them know that this is unacceptable.


Update: I sent an email to the general link ( and one to the editor ( Here is a copy of the email I sent:

Dear Editor:

In case you are somehow unaware of the offensive cartoon depicting Sonia Sotomayor strung up like a pinata, I would like to point out exactly why it is offensive. 1. Having a Latina woman hung up as a pinata is ignorant and racist, calling on stereotypical imagery of Hispanic culture. 2. Obama wearing a sombrero is similarly offensive. 3. That the cartoon-version of Obama asks "Who wants to be first" while Republicans are ready with sticks implies a perceived justifiable violence against women. This violence speaks volumes, as a warning to any woman who dares be successful, who dares be intelligent and whose body exists as a challenge to racist white men. This cartoon is racist and sexist commentary that dehumanizes Sotomayor, and others like her. It is absolutely disgusting and unacceptable. I demand that your paper and the artist issue an apology for this ignorant hatred immediately.

Update on Orobator

For a refresher on Orobator's jailing in Laos, see my previous post. There's an article over at CNN's site detailing (I use this word loosely) the results of her trial in Laos. She has been sentenced to life in prison, a sentence that she will be serving back home if she consents to transfer.

If you'll recall, she became pregnant after she was imprisoned, which reeks heavily of rape. Which makes the title of the CNN article all the more appalling "Life for pregnant Briton in Laos trial." She wasn't fucking pregnant when she was arrested! As for her pregnancy, the article has this to say:

The circumstances under which she became pregnant in prison remain unclear.

She told her mother she was not raped in prison and that the father is not a Lao prison official.

A newspaper run by the Lao government reported Orobator as saying she impregnated herself with the sperm of another prisoner being held in the same jail.

I'm calling bullshit on that last part. First off, she's imprisoned where there are other male prisoners. Second, there are male guards. It (sadly) is not unheard of for male prisoners or guards to rape a female prisoner. And even telling her mother that she wasn't raped doesn't negate that she was raped--she's in a prison, probably still in proximity to her rapist. I cannot begin to imagine the amount of fear she now exists in.

H/T: Commenter wiggles for the link

Fuzz Therapy

It's technically Wednesday, so here's your Fuzz Therapy to brighten your week. I don't know about anyone else out there, but there are days where my only comfort is snuggling with my Princess, whether she likes it or not.

Yesterday I bought her some treats, which apparently induces in her a mindless desire, because every time I shake the can she meows and turns up the cute to head-exploding levels. The above is her trying to knock over the canister to get to the yummy goodness, despite my telling her "no more" (like I thought for one second that she would listen).

This one was taken this morning when some birds passing by momentarily distracted her from her on-going 18-hour nap. She soon grew bored and fell back asleep. I wish I were a cat.

Hope everyone's having a great week!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Rape of the Heroine: examining rape as a tool in Sara Douglass' fantasy novels

SPOILER ALERT: This post will examine parallels in Sara Douglass' various fantasy series, including The Wayfarer Redemption, The Troy Game, and DarkGlass Mountain. Though I do not give a plot summary of any of them, I discuss events in the novels that can be considered spoilers. I will try to maintain "the author is dead" examination since I know nothing of Douglass' personal convictions; thus I will only discuss the "facts" as presented in the novels--any topics I challenge or take issue with will not reflect an opinion on the author.

I've been a fan of Douglass' work for some time now, having read all six books of Wayfarer, the first three of Troy, and two of DarkGlass (note that the third has not been released yet).

What all of these series have in common is rape and violence against women. It makes me uncomfortable each time I pick up a novel because each one in the series involves rape and violence. Granted, the novels describe epic battles, and fantastic wars against such enemies as demons, wraiths, and even beings with no real "life," as in the pyramid in DarkGlass, or the labyrinth in Troy. These enemies commit horrific atrocities against the characters (of course, because they're enemies), but we also have characters on the same side hurting one another.

Think of how Axis beat Azhure when he thought she might betray him, nearly killing her. Think how Axis used Faraday for his own gains, which ultimately cost her her life.

Think of how Brutus raped Cornelia, an act that made her his wife.

How many times is rape used to advance the story? Quite a bit, actually. It seems that the heroines in these novels are doomed to experience sexual assault. Cornelia is repeatedly raped by Brutus, her "husband." Faraday is raped by Borneheld (well, she doesn't seem all that willing even though it's her "fate"). Zephyr is raped by WolfStar; WolfStar by the Timekeeper demons; Salome by every man and beast with a dick in Coroleas as punishment; Inardle is raped, given as a prize to a soldier; SummerStar is raped by a wraith (Skraeling).

These rapes all serve a purpose: advance the story so the hero can do his thing. Sadly, even the heroes committing the rapes are portrayed in a sympathetic way, as if saying, "Yeah, he's a rapist, but that's just his flaw." Like Brutus--the conquering hero, rapist of his wife. He's ambitious. Later, he learns that he loves Cornelia, after he's lost her. Oh, and he's lost her (this is me discussing Book Three of Troy) to another abuser of hers, Weyland. Inardle lets herself get raped so she can be rescued by Axis, and thus gain his confidence (nothing turns on a man more than being allowed to play the hero, rescuing the wounded woman in an act of uber-manliness). Inardle is powerful, capable of enchantments that can heal herself; she acknowledges that she could have saved herself, in an admission that she allowed the rape to happen.

What's extremely troubling in all these instances of rape is that the majority of the time the victim eventually comes to love her rapist or abuser. Zephyr loves WolfStar; Cornelia loves Brutus and Weyland, respectively; Azhure loves Axis. For Zephyr and Cornelia, relationships didn't come first--what was first in these interactions was either rape or other physical abuse, and love grew. It reads as if rape is okay, because the women don't seem so affected by it. Certainly, after it has happened, the women carry on almost as nothing happened.

While the victims falling in love with their abusers may be realistic, it is problematic in the novels. The reader is perched on the shoulder of the woman. WE experience her fear, abuse, and humiliation, and so it follows that we experience her eventual love of her abuser. We sympathize with the abuser, recognizing his deep emotional pain that caused him to rape or beat the woman (in the case of Cornelia and Weyland, the cause is the heartbreak of betrayal by another woman). Even Brutus, whose rape of Cornelia mirrors his conquest of the Troy Game, is sympathetic.

I remember my own emotional response when reading these novels. I was disgusted with the rapes and abuse, and nearly stopped reading. But as the woman's emotions changed from fear to love, mine did too. I remember rooting for Cornelia to love Weyland--afterall, his was a sad story and he just needed to be loved--she had to love him to change him. And the Cornelia-Brutus relationship (I use this word loosely) was equally depressing--why couldn't they both love each other?

These were my thoughts (which I didn't challenge or confront for a long time, so oblivious to the rape culture I was (am) in) despite the crimes of Brutus and Weyland. Weyland especially, since he also raped and beat Genvissa in one body, then came to her as the Minotaur and offered kindness until she no longer realized that the two bodies were the same person. In another life cycle (The Troy Game takes place over several time periods, where the main players are reborn) Weyland rapes Genvissa the first time before she's a teenager, then sells her body to other men. And still I actually wanted Cornelia to love him.

This all reads as rape apologism. These men are portrayed in such a way that their abusive tendencies are just their "flaws"; flaws in heros serve as a grounding, something that makes them more human. In this case, what makes these heros more human is they participate in the rape and abuse of women. In the case of the victims in these novels, rape is inevitable, and the only thing they can do is accept their task to "fix" their rapists by loving them.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

There are other issues I have with Douglass' novels. I'll try to be brief:

  • The Icarii are male-centric, so much so that the very births of them are dependent on the father, or should I say the life of the woman giving birth is dependent on the father of her child. If the father is not present to sing to the baby as it's born, then the mother will die in childbirth.
  • Though the women are powerful, the stories are often hinged on that one male hero: Axis (Starman); Maxel (Lord of Elcho Falling); DragonStar; Brutus; etc. Axis couldn't have won his battle against Gorgrael without Azhure, yet he's still the hero.
  • The heros are not just conflicted with their tasks: they also have lady troubles. Axis is torn between Azhure and Faraday; Maxel between Ravenna and Ishbel; Brutus with Genvissa and Cornelia. The man uses both women for his gains, casts one off, loves only one. There's also a clear virgin/whore dichotomy in them, the "good" one being the one the hero keeps (though Azhure and Faraday are both sort of good, so that doesn't really work here--but it's understood that Faraday is expendable in the first half of Wayfarer). However, Genvissa and Ravenna are the more "treacherous" women, using their sexuality for their own gains.
  • In The Twisted Citadel, the One represents perfection incarnate, and is gendered male.
  • The Lealfast are a race created by the Icarii mating with Skraelings, but this is pinned to one father and one mother; one "mating" created an entire race. This "mating" is really the brutal rape of SummerStar, who then bears more than 200 Lealfast before dying from exhaustion.
  • Events often depend on taking or not taking a woman to bed (as in the case of Maxel and Ishbel). Trusting women and sleeping with them is risky because they could be the hero's downfall.
  • Unrelated to gender, the irritating word "literally" appears 12 obnoxious times in Citadel. I'm not sure if it's in the other novels, since it's been some time since my reading of them, but due to the prevalence of the word in Citadel, I'm sure it's there too. I think this has something to do with why I hate that word so much.
Sara Douglass' novels are riveting stories. The reader is made to experience what the characters experience. However, the portrayal of women and the rape and abuse of women to progress the stories is a damaging sort of apologism--nothing more than a tool for the stories. The uplifting of abusive heros is equally damaging.

Links to this post: Racialicious