Who really benefits from the pink ribbon campaigns: the cause or the company? In showing the real story of breast cancer and the lives of those who fight it, this film reveals the co-opting of what marketing experts have labeled a “dream cause.”
If you’re a woman, take the time to watch the documentary Pink Ribbons, Inc.
Watch it on
Youtube (for now…) (x)
Please take the time to watch this documentary even if you aren’t a woman. Everyone should know about the story behind these products. This is an amazing documentary.
watch the documentary, it’s well worth it.
Dear President Obama,
I am Ju Hong, the “heckler” that interrupted your speech at the Betty Ong Center in San Francisco last week. I spoke up not out of disrespect, however, either for you or our country. No, I spoke up — and am writing to you now — to ask that you use your executive order to halt deportations for 11.5 million undocumented immigrant families.
My family came to the United States from South Korea when I was 11 years old. Like many immigrants, my mother brought me to this country to seek a better life for her children.
I graduated from UC Berkeley, and am now pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Administration at San Francisco State University. I have lived in America now for 13 years. I consider this country as my home. During my senior year in high school, however, I learned that my family had overstayed a tourist visa. We are undocumented immigrants.
As an American without papers, I was not able to get a job, obtain a driver’s license, or receive governmental financial aid. When my mother was sick and in severe pain, she did not visit a doctor because she cannot procure medical insurance. And when my family’s home was burglarized, she refused to call the police because she was afraid that our family would be turned over to immigration officials and deported.
Like many other undocumented immigrants, I was living in the shadows and living in fear of deportation. However, I have decided to speak out and stand up.
Immigration reform is not only a Latino issue, it’s also an Asian and Pacific Islander issue — in fact, it is a human rights issue. Currently, two million of the estimated 11.5 million undocumented immigrants in our country come from Asia. Under your administration, 250,000 undocumented Asian/Pacific Islander immigrants have been deported. While we only make up five percent of the country, we are disproportionately impacted by your immigration policies.
Last week, I was formally invited by White House staff to hear your remarks on immigration reform in San Francisco. As I stood in the stands behind you, I was hoping to hear about your plan to address the lives of 11 million undocumented people living in this country, like my family. And while you expressed your support for comprehensive immigration reform, you did not address how an average of 1,100 immigrants are deported every single day under your administration. You did not address how you deported 205,000 parents of U.S. citizens in the last two years. You did not address how, because of your administration’s record number of deportations—nearly two million immigrants in five years, a record—families are being torn apart: spouses are being separated from each other, parents are being separated from their children, and our brothers and sisters are being separated from one another. You did not to address how your administration would end the anti-immigration deportation programs like “Secure Communities." You’ve deported more people than any other president in the U.S. history.
Interestingly, you talked about Angel Island during your speech. What you did not mention, however, is that more people are detained every single day in detention today than were detained yearly at Angel Island. You recognized Angel Island as a dark period in Chinatown’s history, but you failed to recognize that more Asians and Pacific Islanders are in detention today than were in detention under the Chinese Exclusion Act. In fact, your administration detains up to 34,000 people per day, a record number of detainees in U.S. history.
Because you failed to address these issues, I was compelled to address the concerns of our community.
You claim that the President of the United States has no authority to stop the deportations. And yet, in June 2012, before the 2012 election, which you won with the help of Latino and Asian voters, you implemented Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. With the stroke of a pen, you dramatically changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of young people like me who can now live without the daily threat of deportation, and can legally work in this country for the first time in our lives.
I know that you support comprehensive immigration reform. But I also know that you have the power to stop the deportations, and that you have the power to stop the suffering, fear, and intimidation facing millions of immigrants like my family.
Your fellow American,
tw:child abuse, sexual assault
Why Does Anyone Still Think It’s OK To Listen To R. Kelly?
R. Kelly is one of the most successful R&B artists of our time. He’s sold 54 million records…
And thank you! I refuse to listen to him if I have a choice.
The examples below are only illustrations of some of the ways people still benefit from racism:
- Your name. If it sounds Irish, Polish, French, Spanish, Belgian, Norwegian — no problem. Our names, if they sound “black”, are often reasons to toss our resumes without even calling us. If we resort to our initials, or names that do not “sound black”, then you can see the surprise on the interviewer’s face when they encounter a non-white face. It doesn’t matter that you didn’t pick your name, your parents picked it. It doesn’t matter that you don’t think it’s fair (and it’s NOT) that a Rebecca will get looked at before a Tamika; a Bobby before a Kwesi. You’re still benefitting from racism just by not being a person who can be identified as not-white by the name on your resume.
- Your pay. PoC, on average, get paid less to do the same job as anyone white (or white passing)
- The jobs themselves: Carnival’s failboat is a prime example. White-looking people get the good, customer interacting jobs, the ones that pay the most. PoC get the jobs that involve bussing tables, cleaning toilets, garbage, etc, and have to hope their meager pay is supported by generous tips. But any hotel or office building can shows the same breakdown.
- Your fashions: Your hair, whether it is curly, fine, thin, short, or long, is still considered appropriate for work. It’s getting to the point where even anime colours are not looked askance at anymore. Our hair, when not abused with chemicals and heat, is usually considered “political” if we wear it in a natural style. Or “unprofessional”. There are no less than 3 men on the supervisory and management teams at my job who cut off their locks because they knew that they would never progress with their ambitions unless they conformed to Corporate’s euro-style. That’s having to give up something with a cultural meaning to them in order to have a job they want and can do. I can’t count the number of women who, rather than go natural, have chosen to wear wigs to work, because either option is cheaper and less painful than bi-weekly trips to a hairdresser to chemically treat or heat treat their hair to make it look more like European hair. Little girls have been prevented from dancing in ballet class for having dreadlocks. They have been sent home from school for wearing “political” and “faddish” hairstyles.
- Shopping: If your skin is light enough, you can walk into a store and be treated like a customer. When the clerk, salesgirl, or whomever greets you with a smile and a “can I help you?” they mean it. They hope to find something you’ll spend your money on. And they will let you get on with your browsing. Not us PoC. When we walk in, we are often told, “can I help you?” with that same smile, but with practice we have learned to see the apologetic wince in the body language that means "sorry, but my bosses tell everyone to shadow you in the store in case you’re a thief". And since a lot of white people, or white-passing people know this, the store gets robbed by the ones they’re not looking at. Doesn’t matter if you’re not really stealing. You benefit by being treated better just because of how you look.
- Shopping: Walk into a drugstore, a Wal-Mart, a Target, or a supermarket one day and check how many products there are for “everyone” vs how many products there are in the “ethnic hair care and/or cosmetics” section. Doesn’t matter that you like shea butter too. You benefit in that all the products are assumed to be okay for you, and the products marketed to us are a niche. Diversity is an afterthought. In skin and hair and face, you benefit by being treated as the default and the first type any company considers when they choose to whom to market their product. Witness Dove’s indicating they have a product for “normal to dark skin”. Normal skin is normal — ie white. Dark skin is not normal.
- Driving: The term “driving while black” is shorthand for the fact that police, if seeing a black person — particularly a man — driving a car they think he should not be able to afford — he’ll get pulled over on suspicion of having stolen it, or only being able to afford it through being a drug dealer. You benefit bybeing able to drive your BMW or Mercedes home without anyone assuming anything about you. Real drug dealers benefit by being able to drive their cars full of cocaine home without being bothered by the police.
- Arrest: If you’re white, you can be as “fight the power” as you like. You benefit by the police being unwilling to knock around anyone white because you never know who has powerful relatives or friends. If you’re a person of color, you gotta go “yes officer” and loudly enough so onlookers can hear you cooperating; and you better do so politely and cooperate as noisily and clearly as you can, and you better pray somebody is videoing you, because if you sneeze, if you twitch, the police may decide you’re going for a gun and unload their entire clip on you.
- Just existing: Trayvon Martin is a prime example. He was visiting his father in the complex, but George Zimmerman didnt know that. And didn’t care. He also didn’t care that the police told him to not follow the unidentified Person of Color walking home with his hands in his pockets and his hood up (like anyone might in the rain). Mr. Zimmerman was convinced he was protecting his neighborhood from hoods and thieves and just bad black kids. And a jury acquitted him even though he has a history of being violent, racist and abusive. He has people who still vociferously insist that he’s a hero who was fighting for his life against a thuggish teen (despite the fact that GZ outweighed Trayvon and had the gun). There are people who dispute what was said on the actual phone call that was played during the trial.
- That Japanese college student who turned up at the wrong address for a Halloween party and was shot dead without the homeowner even asking him anything is another good example.
- And the person who recently shot a Latin@ for daring to use his driveway as a turnaround.
- Then there’s the esteemed Ivy League professor who got harassed by the police trying to get into his own house. As a person who is or looks white, you benefit by never, ever having to worry that this will happen to you or anyone who looks like you .
- Your education: You can complain all you like about a Black History Month when there are History Months for multiple other White ethnicities and cultures. A quick google search will reveal them. That being said, the shortest month is given to Black People for their history. And our history is ignored entirely except during our month, even though there are Black and African people who have made significant contributions to American Industry, medicine, and countless other fields of study. You benefit by continuing to look good while the accomplishments of PoC (NDN and Latin@ and Asians) all get downplayed, glossed over, or flat out not mentioned at all.
Reproduction: The issue of “choice” aside, white or white-passing people benefit from racism in that you do not have to worry that some doctor will decide to do a tubal ligation on youwithout your permission. White or white-passing people are not generally put on anti-choice billboards implying that white people are genociding themselves as PoC are.
Health: White and white-passing people will never have to worry about being told their conditions are a result of “ghetto booty”. Whites and white-passing people need not be concerned that their health issues will be scoffed at or ignored.
Entertainment: Whites and white-passing people can get any role in any film, play, or other medium they like. Jewish Henry Winkler played Italian Arthur Fonzarelli. The new TMNT movie has chosen a white actor to play the Japanese Shredder. PoC are relegated to the roles of villains, servants, and buffoons. And this is not a case of “they just chose the right person for the role”. Hollywood will advertise for casting calls, specifying they want “caucasian only” in so many words. They don’t offer the opportunity to anyone who isn’t white. And when PoC are cast in heroic roles, or roles that have previously been “white” roles, there is a huge hue and cry because those who are used to the privilege of being the first, the go to, are unhappy that they no longer benefit from that privileged position.
PoC usually show up in certain sports, and when they dare step out of their lane, they are mocked for it. Google “Jamaican bobsled team”. See how the Wiliams sisters are treated. Their response in victory is likened to making gang signs. White people can go into any sport they want and no one will question or challenge them for such audacity.
And oh, the reaction when a character is actually described in a book as dark skinned and then portrayed by a person of color. Look up the Hunger Games on Twitter, and the reaction to seeing one character as black, and all the white kids saying they no longer cared about her even though they cried for her death in the books.
And then there’s whitewashing. Stories that are about PoC, histories that have happed to PoC, are repackaged for the consumption of audiences by casting white performers in the main role unless you have a power player like Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Samuel L Jackson or Morgan Freeman to play the part.
No less a well known filmmaker than George Lucas actually went on record saying that if he hadn’t been George Lucas, Red Tails probably would not have been made, because it has no white heroes. Look white, be white, you are always benefiting by being considered worthy of being the hero and saving the day. You don’t have to be the sidekick.
In Devious Maids, some of the storylines were tossed as “unrealistic” because Latina women were having conversations that white writers felt sounded like “us talking with our friends”, and suggested instead that the Latina women “debate whether or not to date men in prison? I know that’s what Latinas talk about, just like it’s what black women talk about.” Look white, benefit by not being considered uneducated, and worthy only of a man in prison because all the men of your race are considered criminals.
Religion: Christianity in its many forms, as practised by white and white-passing people is another way in which white and white-passing people benefit from racism. Your sacred ceremonies and meaningful prayers are treated with respect. NDN people were forbidden from practising their religion until the 1940s. PoC churches, even now, in 2013, are treated as tourist attractions for white people with money. And voudoun and other PoC religions are treated as savage and incomprehensible.
City Life: Gentrification. By definition, it means “making fit for the Gentry”. The Gentry are those with high societal position, next-best-thing to royalty. So Gentrifying anyplace means pushing out anyone who isn’t as high, in order to make room for the gentry. That means building up corporate influence, and pushing out PoC from their existing and established communities. So in a gentrified community, whites and those who look white benefit at the expense of PoC.
Travel: Racial profiling is a fact of life for people of color. If someone “looks Muslim” or “looks Arab”, thanks to the security theater we embraced as a nation after 9/11, they get pulled aside. Women can be forced to drink their own breast milk to make sure it’s not some sort of dangeorus agent. Men can be removed from flights because speaking in Arabic frightens and upsets the white passengers. You benefit becausein the main, no one will suspect someone who looks white of being a criminal or terrorist out to kill God-loving Americans and destroy our Freedom. And that’s despite Timothy McVeigh, the Unabomber, and the Boston Marathon bombers, all of whom were white.
REAL LIFE Media Representation: So many examples. Indigenous women murdered and raped, but it never makes the news. Women of Color murdered and raped, but it never makes the news. Children of color, either sex, go missing or get kidnapped. It’s all but impossible to get an Amber Alert for them, never mind getting them news coverage. That’s why you often see missing child notices on Tumblr. The blogosphere is the only recourse people of color have to get the word out when we have harm happening to us. Local news stations don’t care. The press doesn’t care. The mainstream media doesn’t care. People who look white benefit by being considered important enough to look out for, to get upset about, to search for.
As if that weren’t enough?
When Chris Dorner, the former cop in Los Angeles went on a rampage because of how the corrupt LAPD had treated him, there was an immediate manhunt. The news referred to him as ‘an animal’ and the LAPD came after him with extreme prejudice, burning him to death so he would not have a chance to have his day in court and say what it was he’d already posted on Facebook. Yes, he was a black man. If he’d been white, he’d have had his day in court.
Those teenagers who shot the Australian for fun because they wanted to see someone die? There were three of them, but you wouldn’t know by many news outlets, because the third kid was white. Oh, and although they’re all teenagers? The two black teens are being tried as adults. The white kid is getting tried on a lesser charge, and being tried as a juvenile. Looking or being white benefits you in that the authorities will always go softer on you than they will on any PoC because the societal narrative is that PoC are violent and dangerous.
The Boston Marathon bombers? Their photos were recoloredin several cases to make them look darker than white. And their friends ended up on trial too because they “wanted to be good bros” and not rat out their friend.
White and white passing people benefit like crazy in situations like this. Looking white means you get an easier punishment, people will make extreme stretching out of reason to protect you and help you, and anyone black involved will get penalized far more severely.
This may be a long post, but this is also only the tip of an iceberg.
Nov. 20 2013
Bronx resident Kalief Browder was walking home from a party when he was abruptly arrested by New York City police officers on May 14, 2010. A complete stranger said Browder had robbed him a few weeks earlier and, consequently, changed the 16-year-old’s life forever.
Browder was imprisoned for three years before the charges were dropped in June 2013, according to a WABC-TV Eyewitness News investigation.
At the time of the teen’s arrest, Browder’s family was unable to pay the $10,000 bail. He was placed in the infamously violent Rikers Island correctional facility, where he remained until earlier this year.
Now that he’s free, the young man is speaking up about his experience.
"I spent three New Year’s in there, three birthdays…," Browder, now 20, said in a recent interview with WABC, adding that he was released with "no apology."
In October, Browder filed a civil lawsuit against the Bronx District Attorney, City of New York, the New York City Police Department, the New York City Department of Corrections and a number of state-employed individuals.
The official complaint states Browder was “physically assaulted and beaten” by officers and other inmates during his time at Rikers Island. The document also maintains the accused was “placed in solitary confinement for more than 400 days” and was “deprived meals.” In addition, officers allegedly prevented him from pursuing his education. Browder attempted suicide at least six times.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Browder’s current lawyer Paul Prestia summarized his client’s experience as “inexplicable” and “unheard of.” Based off one man’s identification, Browder was charged with robbery in the second degree, he notes. It took three years to dismiss these charges, even though it was, in Prestia’s words, a “straightforward case to try.”
"The city needs to be held accountable for what happened," Prestia said. "[Browder] had a right to a fair and speedy trail, and he wasn’t afforded any of that. He maintained his innocence the entire time, and essentially got a three year sentence for that."
Still, when Browder was offered a plea deal in January, he refused to take it, because he did not want to plead guilty to the crime, WABC-TV notes. (Had Browder been tried in a timely fashion and pled guilty to the crime, Prestia told HuffPost, he might have spent less time in prison.)
Prestia adds that his client has suffered lingering mental health problems, and though he’s currently going to school for his GED, he’s “clearly way behind from where he would have been.”
"We need someone to be held accountable," Prestia said. "This can’t just go unnoticed. To the extent that [Browder] can be financially compensated — although it’s not going to get those years back for him — it may give him a chance to succeed."
The District Attorney’s office said it was unable to comment, as Browder’s allegations are currently the subject of ongoing litigation.
Incidentally, Browder’s claims about his experience at Rikers Island are consistent with findings from a recent report commissioned by the New York City Board of Correction. The report, obtained by The Associated Press, notes that the use of force by prison staff has more than tripled from 2004 to 2013, from seven incidents of force per 100 inmates, to almost 25. Additionally, the number of self-mutilation and suicide attempts by Rikers inmates have increased by 75 percent from 2007 to 2012. According to the report, 40 percent of the city jail’s 12,200 inmates are mentally ill, and many of these inmates are placed in solitary confinement “holes” as punishment.
How Nonviolent People Are Sentenced to Die in Prison Because of the War on Drugs
In the United States, one can be sentenced to life in prison for the following crimes:
- Possessing a crack pipe
- Possessing a bottle cap containing a trace amount of heroin (too minute to be weighed)
- Having traces of cocaine in clothes pockets that were invisible to the naked eye but detected in lab tests
- Having a single crack rock at home
- Possessing 32 grams of marijuana (worth about $380 in California) with intent to distribute
- Passing out several grams of LSD at a Grateful Dead show
- Acting as a go-between in the sale of $10 worth of marijuana to an undercover cop
- Selling a single crack rock
- Having a stash of over-the-counter decongestant pills
These are not hypothetical. Every single one of these petty, nonviolent drug crimes have landed Americans in prison for life without parole.
Life in prison without a chance of parole is, short of execution, the harshest imaginable punishment. Life without parole (LWOP) is permanent removal from society with no chance of reentry, no hope of freedom. One would expect the American criminal justice system to condemn someone to die in prison only for the most serious offenses.
Yet across the country, thousands of people are serving life sentences without the possibility of parole for nonviolent crimes such as those listed above.
As of last year, 3,278 people were serving life in prison without parole for nonviolent crimes, according to a report released by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) last week.
And to no one’s surprise, about 79 percent of the 3,278 prisoners serving LWOP were sentenced to die in prison for nonviolent drug crimes in the federal system.
How is this possible?
Mandatory sentencing laws that stem from America’s fervent, decades-long crusade against drugs.
The vast majority (83 percent) of life sentences examined by the ACLU were mandatory, meaning that the presiding judge had no choice but to sentence the defendant to a life behind bars. Mandatory sentences often result from repeat offender laws and draconian sentencing rules. Such federal standards for drug convictions are what land nonviolent criminals in prison for LWOP.
The prevalence of LWOP sentences for nonviolent offenses is a symptom of the relentless onslaught of more than four decades of the War on Drugs and “tough-on crime” policies, which drove the passage of unnecessarily harsh sentencing laws, including three-strikes provisions (which mandate certain sentences for a third felony conviction) and mandatory minimum sentences (which require judges to punish people convicted of certain crimes by at least a mandatory minimum number of years in prison).
These inflexible, often extremely lengthy, “one-size-fits-all” sentencing laws prevent judges from tailoring punishment to the individual and the seriousness of the offense, barring them from considering factors such as the individual’s role in the offense or the likelihood that he or she will commit a subsequent crime.
Federal judges have long been outspoken in their opposition to mandatory sentencing laws. Judge Andre M. Davis of the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals wrote: "I say with certainty that mandatory minimums are unfair and unjust. These laws, created by an overzealous Congress decades ago … hinder judges from handing out fair and individualized sentences, while prosecutors are given unwarranted power to dictate sentences through charging decisions."
How do petty drug crimes add up to life without parole?
Three federal drug offenses can result in LWOP, even if the offenses are relatively minor. For example, a federal conviction for possessing 50 grams of methamphetamine carries a mandatory life-without-parole sentence if the defendant has previously been convicted of two other felony drug offenses, which can be as minor as selling personal amounts of marijuana.
A handful of states have instituted mandatory LWOP sentences for certain drug offenses. In Alabama, a conviction for selling more than 56 grams of heroin results in a mandatory LWOP sentence. Similarly, a person convicted of selling two ounces of cocaine in Mississippi must receive LWOP. To put these sentences in perspective, the average time served for murder in the U.S. is 14 years.
While laws such as these were enacted in part out of concern about drug abuse and drug-related crime, the penalties they prescribe have not succeeded in curbing drug use or addiction rates, which have essentially remained flat for 40 years. Instead, the laws have contributed to mass incarceration in the U.S.
The ACLU report contains the in-depth stories of 110 individual prisoners waiting to die behind bars for nonviolent offenses, along with more detailed information about mandatory sentencing.
Credit Card Debt
#1 Today, 46% of all Americans carry a credit card balance from month to month.
#2 Overall, Americans are carrying a grand total of $798 billion in credit card debt.
#3 If you were alive when Jesus was born and you spent a million dollars every single day since then, you still would not have spent $798 billion by now.
#4 Right now, there are more than 600 million active credit cards in the United States.
#5 For households that have credit card debt, the average amount of credit card debt is an astounding $15,799.
#6 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.
#7 The average interest rate on a credit card that is carrying a balance is now up to 13.10 percent.
#8 According to the credit card calculator on the Federal Reserve website, if you have a $10,000 credit card balance and you are being charged a rate of 13.10 percent and you only make the minimum payment each time, it will take you 27 years to pay it off and you will end up paying back a total of $21,271.
#9 There is one credit card company out there, First Premier, that charges interest rates of up to 49.9 percent. Amazingly, First Premier has 2.6 million customers.
Auto Loan Debt
#10 The length of auto loans in America just keeps getting longer and longer. If you can believe it, 45 percent of all new car loans being made today are for more than 6 years.
#11 Approximately 70 percent of all car purchases in the United States involve an auto loan.
#12 A subprime auto loan bubble is steadily building. Today, 45 percent of all auto loans are made to subprime borrowers. At some point that is going to be a massive problem.
#13 Total home mortgage debt in the United States is now about 5 times larger than it was just 20 years ago.
#14 Mortgage debt as a percentage of GDP has more than tripled since 1955.
#15 According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, approximately 8 million Americans are at least one month behind on their mortgage payments.
#16 Historically, the percentage of residential mortgages in foreclosure in the United States has tended to hover between 1 and 1.5 percent. Today, it is up around 4.5 percent.
#17 According to Dylan Ratigan, 46 percent of all mortgaged properties in Florida are underwater, 50 percent of all mortgaged properties in Arizona are underwater and 63 percent of all mortgaged properties in Nevada are underwater.
#18 Overall, nearly 29 percent of all homes with a mortgage in the United States are underwater.
#19 If you can believe it, the mortgage lenders now have more equity in U.S. homes than the American people do.
#20 Medical debt is a major problem for a growing number of Americans. One study discovered that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.
#21 Sadly, the number of Americans that are protected by health insurance continues to decline. An all-time record 49.9 million Americans do not have any health insurance at all right now, and the percentage of Americans covered by employer-based health plans has fallen for 11 years in a row.
#22 But even if you do have health insurance, there is still a good chance that you could end up with huge medical debt problems. According to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine, medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of the personal bankruptcies in the United States. Of those bankruptcies that were caused by medical bills, approximately 75 percent of them involved individuals that actually did have health insurance.
Student Loan Debt
#23 Total student loan debt in the United States is rapidly approaching 1 trillion dollars.
#24 If you went out right now and starting spending one dollar every single second, it would take you more than 31,000 years to spend one trillion dollars.
#25 In America today, approximately two-thirds of all college students graduate with student loan debt.
#26 The average student loan debt load is now approximately $25,000.
#27 After adjusting for inflation, U.S. college students are borrowing about twice as much money as they did a decade ago.
#28 One survey found that 23 percent of all college students actually use credit cards to pay for tuition or fees.
#29 The student loan default rate has nearly doubled since 2005.
#30 Student loans made to directly to parents have increased by 75 percent since the 2005-2006 academic year.
Cultures that endorse modesty and cultures that endorse hypersexualization are the *same* thing. Both define female sexuality by how it relates to the male gaze. In both cases the female body exists as an ornament either to be kept carefully hidden or put on display. Neither is an empowering feminist achievement.
This essay was written for one of my classes, I am not sure how well I did on this but I assumed it was something my followers would enjoy. I basically talk about the struggles of having natural hair, and why people with natural hair should receive more media…
Well it’s funny to think about, you’ve got the gays marching for the right to be cocksucking homosexuals, and then you have the asexuals marching for the right to not do anything. Which is hilarious. Like, you didn’t need to march for that right. You just need to stay home, not do anything.
- Dan Savage
I’ve been mulling over this comment, and the commentary of many other people, with regard to the inclusion of asexuality in queer and other support spaces for marginalized identities.
At first glance it strikes the average person as incredibly, well, reasonable. It seems to make sense. ”Why does there need to be an asexual section in the pride parade? It’s not like anyone’s taking away their rights on the premise of their asexuality.”
And that’s true, from a legal standpoint. Heteroromantic asexuals can still marry other heteroromantic asexuals - no judge will annul their marriage because of its lack of sexual contact or lack of children. Their marriage is, in every legal sense, no less valid than that of heteroromantic sexuals. And that’s nice.
But the crux of pride parades, the purpose of the LGBT movement, of feminism and of social justice in many respects, is not purely a legal crusade or a singular plea for ink-on-parchment legislative rights. These movements also exist in an effort to initiate a shift in societal thought that will allow their proponents to exist without the threat of harm, without invalidation, and without the social stigmatization that comes from being who they are.
If the expected lifestyle of our society were such that “staying at home, not doing anything” was our primary goal, there would be no problem with Dan Savage’s words. Yet this flies in the face of fact and stands utterly contrary to our known realities. Asexuality - neck-deep in a culture of expected monogamy, of centuries-old socially embedded narratives of human bonding, of the still-present stigmatization of “the spinster,” “the loner,” and “the virgin” - remains unacceptable, othered, and invalidated in a culture of hyper-sexuality.
We live in a society in which the human body (largely, the female body) is over-sexualized, and where the basic functional anatomy of a person is deemed inherently sexual. By virtue of being human and possessing these components, we are assumed to have sexual drives linked to these body parts, and we are assumed to have latent desires to express this sexuality with another human being. In moving through public spaces and by simply existing in the sight of another human being, we are conceived of as potentially sexual, and potentially available.
This is a cracking read and really elucidates why asexuality should be part of GSRM / LGBT*QUIA / queer spaces.