I heart Lily Allen

June 17, 2007 at 9:35 pm (Bad Ass Women, Feminism, Pop Culture)

You go girl.

I wonder if someone asked her if she’s a feminist in an interview would she say yes?

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Friday Random Ten (day late edition)

June 16, 2007 at 6:17 pm (Friday Random Ten)

1. Interpol – The New

2. Franz Ferdinand – You’re the Reason I’m Leaving

3. Gwen Stefani – Serious

4. Tracy Chapman – Smoke and Ashes

5. Kate Bush – Experiment IV
6. Lamb – Cotton Wool (Fila Brazilia Remix)
7. The Mamas and the Papas – Do You Wanna Dance
8. Michael Jackson – You Rock My World
9. New Young Pony Club – Hiding on the Staircase

10. Bis – Protection

Whoa.  Not sure what’s going on with the spacing there.

Anyway, here’s a low-budget indie film that explicitly engages with Laura Mulvey’s theory of the male gaze. YouTube style.

Tell me that didn’t make you laugh.

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Pride and Prej

June 11, 2007 at 10:56 pm (Pop Culture, Random Musings of the Ginja Ninja)

One of my ongoing self-improvement goals is to read more novels. At the moment I’m struggling with the preliminary chapters of Pride and Prejudice. It’s good, but difficult to follow at times (especially when characters are repeatedly referred to by their surnames – there are FIVE Miss Bennetts, which one are you talking about this time?!) and sometimes my concentration span just isn’t up to it. But I am reliably informed by the members of the Book! club at the Panic! at the Disco threads (yes, I am a fan and proud of it, so shut up) that it gets much better after the first 100 pages. I look forward to that. I’m determined to finish this so that I can read The Happy Feminist’s review of Pride and Prej and know what she’s on about. I’m trying to read ten books over the summer – Zadie Smith’s The Autograph Man as well as Harry Potter 7 are top of my list. I shall keep you updated.

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Thoughts on motherhood

June 11, 2007 at 9:47 pm (LGBT, Random Musings of the Ginja Ninja)

It is my absolute pleasure to introduce you to Who’s the Grown-Up, a delightful mother-and-daughter blog that I had the serendipity to stumble upon this afternoon (I hope that’s the correct use of the word “serendipity”). I love reading parenting blogs (such as Offsprung) but what makes this one different is the fact that it’s a dialogue between a mother and her teenage daughter as well as the fact that the mother is a lesbian and lives with her partner of 25 years.

I have been fascinated with gay parenting issues for years now. I myself am bisexual and although my position on the Kinsey scale varies from time to time (as in, sometimes I have a slight preference for men, sometimes I have a slight preference for women) there is a good chance I might end up settling down and starting a family with another female.

I was brought up in a religious and homophobic family where gay is seen as wrong and gay parenting is seen as wrongness squared. Now, ever since I came out (to myself) at 14, I’ve worked hard to rid myself of internalized homophobia, and succeeded for the most part. However, this self-acceptance did not necessarily extend as far as LGBT parenting. I definitely want to be a parent some day (not for another fifteen years or so though!) and there’s no question about it:even if I settle down with a woman I’m still starting a family. But my parents’ ‘gay parenting is bad’ schtick was very deeply ingrained. I started thinking “yeah but what if they’re right? what if a child does need a father-figure?”. I guess since my parents are very happily married and have provided an almost perfect environment for me and my brothers to grow up in I figured this is probably the best way and anything less wouldn’t be right. So there’s been this ongoing struggle in my brain between the side that still hangs on to what my parents have taught me and the side that says there is nothing wrong with a same-sex couple raising a child.

Anyway, when I was 17 I went to my first pride festival. At the launch, there was this little three year old running around handing out fliers for a picnic for lesbian mothers. My reactions were (a) omigod he is sooo CUTE! and (b) I’m so going. So I went along on the morning, and it was one of the most liberating experiences of my life. There was only one actual couple with babies there, but their kids were so nice and so cool with their parents being gay that it completely dispelled any of my fears. The oldest kid, a 9 year old boy, was a bit shocked when I said my parents would be funny about me being bi. I thought that was sweet.

Anyway, I’ve got a particular interest in reading stuff about gay couples having kids, not least because it scares off any internalized-homophobia shiznit about not having kids, and renews my convictions. This particular blog is just adorable, cos it shows just how normal, and – dare I say it – outstanding citizens, kids of LGBT parents turn out. Another reason I like it is that it’s very American – the way those two argue in their video blogs reminds me of how my American friend Sarah and her mum argue. There seems to be a particular way that American ‘moms’ and their daughters debate things and it’s so cute.

Anyway, I urge you all to check it out, it’s a really cool blog.

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Two reasons why Laura Dern is bad-ass

June 11, 2007 at 8:54 pm (Bad Ass Women, LGBT)

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Friday Random Ten (Second Coming edition)

June 8, 2007 at 5:14 pm (Friday Random Ten)

Ten tunes at random from my mp3 player:

1. Annie – Chewing Gum (Mylo remix)

2. Muse – Map of your Head

3. Tracey Chapman – Fast Car

4. Garbage – Stupid Girl

5. Franz Ferdinand – Tell Her Tonight

6. Coldplay – Fix You

7. Jay-Z – Encore

8. Gorillaz – Last Living Souls

9. Klaxons – Golden Skans

10. The Mamas and the Papas – Dedicated to the One I Love

And a wonderful video of Bjork doing her thang:

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Yeah baby!

June 7, 2007 at 6:43 pm (Uncategorized)

Well, looks as though I’ve had my first goal for this blog fulfilled: my post on the word feminist has been included in the thirty-ninth carnival of feminists! Go me.  Some of these days I’ll get around to writing another post (I really need to build up content quickly in these early days). I’ve been busy doing preliminary research for my third year dissertation, which I want to do on something to do with gender and sexuality. I was struggling a bit at first, cos gender politics and the media is such a large subject area and I needed to narrow it down. But now I have a vague idea; I’m considering looking at Sex and the City and The L Word and comparing and contrasting how they reflect different concern within modern Western society such as women’s sexuality, third wave feminism, gender roles etc. I chose these two shows cos, aside from the fact that I love them both, they both explicitly deal with female sexuality and have been shaped by modern feminist discourses. I have about a million questions floating through my mind, which I’ll hopefully put into some cohesive structure soon. Any thoughts?

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Friday Random Ten

June 1, 2007 at 8:10 pm (Friday Random Ten)

I’m totally stealing this from Pandagon but hey. It’s fun.

Go to your mp3 player, set it on random and ‘play all’, and write down the first ten tracks that come up. I’m gonna try not to cheat if anything embarrassing comes up.

1. (Everybody Do) The Thingy – Gravy Train!!!!
2. 12/26 – Kimya Dawson
3. 40′ – Franz Ferdinand
4. Do You Love Me? – The Mighty Boosh
5. A Hazy Shade of Winter – Simon and Garfunkel
6. A Message – Coldplay
7. A Night in Tunisia – Ella Fitzgerald
8. Fired – Ben Folds
9. Someone Says – Editors
10. Drive Slow – Kanye West

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Why we should hang on to the word “feminism”

June 1, 2007 at 7:41 pm (Feminism)

Le me preface this post by explaining a few things I believe to be true about feminism:

1. Feminism has many different definitions and means different things to different people. It is a very broad subject area.

2. Damn right it is. Feminism is arguably the oldest and most successful social justice movement in the world (it goes back much further than the suffragettes, y’know). Moreover, it pretty much touches every aspect of our lives. So it had bloody well better be a very broad subject area.

3. This is why people often refer to feminisms, not feminism. It is not monolithic.

Now we’ve got that out of the way, let me explain something about my particular feminism.

For me, the more my feminist consciousness grows and develops, the more strongly I believe that feminism is not just about women, it is a movement for men as well. I believe there are as many restrictions placed on man by the patriarchy as there are on women, and no doubt I will elaborate on this in a future post.

But now, on with my main argument: Why we should keep the word ‘feminist’.

There have been a few times where I’ve found myself in discussion with non-feminist friends and acquaintances of mine about feminism’s relevance in the world, and I have explained that I don’t really consider feminism nowadays to be about “equal rights” so much as about liberating people from restrictive gender roles. Therefore, it is just as relevant to men as it is to women. The typical response goes a little bit like this:

“Then why is it called ‘feminism’? Why don’t you just call it ‘humanism’ or ‘equalism’ or something? ‘Feminist’ implies it’s only about females by virtue of its very name.”

My problem with this is threefold.

1. The word ‘feminism is important because it gives our thoughts, actions and ideas a context.

– Feminism’s history is colourful, varied, fascinating and inspiring. Feminists today may have shifted their focus, but they (‘we’, I should say), are part of a long and rich tradition of fighting for gender equality. It is important to see our struggles as part of a bigger picture.
– Changing the word ‘feminism’ to something else would rob us of this history.
– Feminists (as well as people with a burgeoning feminist consciousness who do not yet ID as feminist) often feel a strong sense of isolation – sometimes it seems as though you’re the only one who notices that there’s anything wrong with the world.
– Knowing that there are others who feel the same way is very important in combating this isolation.
– As such, the word ‘feminism’ unites us under a common banner and gives focus and meaning to our thoughts, actions and ideas.

2. Feminism is traditionally about women, hence the name. Do you have a problem with that?

– However much I feel that feminism benefits everyone, sexism has throughout the course of history disproportionately hurt women.
– Moreover, although great strides have been made in terms of legal and social equality, the fact remains that pretty much every society in the world sees females as inferior.
– Although many feminisms (such as mine) focus to varying degrees on how to benefit men, we should honour our history by keeping the female-centric nature of the word in acknowledgment of the fact that women have been, and continue to be, more negatively affected by patriarchy than men. And we should never, EVER be ashamed of it.

3. People who advocate a rebranding of feminism to something more gender-neutral are ass-kissers.

– Whether you realise it or not, your unwillingness to align yourself with feminism may have something to do with the fact that it’s predominantly associated with women.
– There’s a stigma attached to anything seen as overly female. Think about it. Boys and men who want to do traditionally female stuff are seen as ‘cissies’, whereas girls and women who aspire to do traditionally male stuff are either lauded or seen as over-ambitious.
– As a result, a movement which unashamedly benefits women and fights for their place within society (even though, as I say, it helps men too) is ghettoized. It’s somehow not ‘worthy’ enough.
– Much as I hate to generalize, chances are if you’re a guy and you disassociate yourself from feminism you are to some extent afraid of being seen as being ‘pussy-whipped’. And if you’re a lady who does the same, you’re kissing the ass of the patriarchy in order to get a pat on the head. Of course, this only applies if you support the general aims of feminism in the first place; if you’re a right-wing misogynist ignore what I just said.

So there you have it. If you want to read a much better worded, better structured and more interesting piece on a similar theme, try Catherine Redfern’s ‘Feminists are Sexist’. I promise you will be enlightened.

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Welcome!

April 28, 2007 at 3:12 pm (Random Musings of the Ginja Ninja, Uncategorized)

Come on in and make yrself a wee cuppa tea. This is a brand new feminist blog so I thought perhaps I should introduce myself. I started toying with the idea of starting up my very own feminist blog about three hours ago, literally. I have a mountain of coursework to hand in in a few days time that I really should be doing right now and I am forever trying to come up with new ways to procrastinate about actually doing it, so here I am with my new putting-things-off toy.

In all seriousness though, I wanted to start a blog because I have many thoughts and opinions about the state of the world that I don’t really get the chance to share with the world (I have very few feminist friends; moreover, very few of my friends are political in any way at all so I have nobody to discuss things with). I’ve been getting more and more involved with the blogosphere recently (delurking in some of my favourite blogs such as Feministing or Pandagon etc) and it’s been very cool to actually get the chance to voice my opinion on things that matter to me in a way that I don’t get to do in everyday life.

I’m a student living away from home, in my second year studying Film and French, and since starting uni I feel I have become depoliticised to a certain extent, partly because my friends over here are less politically aware than my friends at home and partly because I have ceased to do stuff such as discuss my ideas on political forums (such as the afterellen.com forums where I developed many of my opinions on queer issues). I wanted to get back into writing about and discussing my thoughts on the world, perhaps developing my views and my writing skills in the process as well. Most of all, I want a place where I can vent my frustration at the world.

My short-term goals for this blog are threefold:
1) I’d like a post of mine to be included in a Carnival of Feminists
2) I’d like to build asmall but dedicated fanbase
3) I’ll know I’ve made it when I’ve got my very own troll, so I’d like some abusive emails from misogynistic assholes!

What am I likely to blog about? I’m a feminist, so I hope to work on refining and defining my idea of feminism. I’m a pop-culture whore (and, as I say, currently majoring in film) so expect musings on pop culture stuff (including film reviews!) from a feminist point-of-view. Being bisexual (and from a homophobic religious background) I will probably natter about queer issues quite a bit too.

What else can I say about myself? I’m quite young (as in, fall just short of the “twentysomething” category), I’m from Northern Ireland but currently residing in South-East England, I am the oldest of three kids and come from a very close-knit family. I’m a very happy person about 90% of the time and have been pretty lucky in my life so far, but this happiness is tempered by the realisation that I am privileged in many ways insofar as I am white and middle-class. My main interests are film (duh) and music and someday I hope to combine the two by becoming a music video director like Sophie Muller or Michel Gondry (don’t know who they are? YouTube!)

Oh, and I’m a natural redhead, hence the name…

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