Sunday, April 26, 2009


I am busy and will be busy for a while.

In the meantime, watch this:


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Buddha, Eve, Victim Blaming

The Boy has voiced his own comparison brought on by my shaved head, and I'm downright tickled by it. He thinks my state of hairlessness (or at least, near-hairlessness) resembles the Buddha! He added, "But the one you see... on the internet... do you know what I mean?"
Not really, but maybe he was talking about the body art forms logo:

Hmm. The labret, the plugs, the squinting grin, the thick brows... I can actually totally see this one.

So this post has some meat, let me mention a discussion I had about a different religious icon this past week. After reading excerpts from Paradise Lost, my literature class split up into two teams for a mock trial. It wasn't the devil being tried, it was Eve, and to my surprise, the vast majority of the class was on the team condemning her.

So, I hesitate to explain or label my religious inclinations, but I'd say I'm more Christian than your average liberal arts college bear. But this Eve being responsible for the fall thing? I think it's bullshit. We were going by Milton, not the Bible, of course, in which case, this Eve being responsible for the fall thing is even BIGGER bullshit.
She is so clearly deceived into biting the stupid fruit (the devil as a serpent tells her: you need to do this, I did it and I'm fine, I'm better than fine I'm great, it will really be OK with God, heck, he'll probably be proud of you, and so on), and then Milton makes it so clear that Adam is making his choice freely, with full knowledge of the consequences. Basically, Adam was capable of informed consent and Eve was not.

Can you already imagine how the "trial" went?

Instead of arguing that, say, Eve should have followed the commandment of God above the advice of a snake (a shaky argument, but the only valid one in my mind), these are legitimately the kind of questions I got on the stand:
-Why did you want to go out by yourself?
-Didn't Adam warn you not to go out by yourself?
-Didn't you know that there was an enemy in your midst?
-Weren't you suspicious of a talking snake?
-Didn't you know you would be tempted?
So, they sort of acknowledged Eve was deceived, but it was her fault for getting into the situation because she was reckless. Sound familiar?

Yes, this fake trial of Eve was a cornucopia of victim-blaming language. After a few minutes of this all going unquestioned, I asked to speak out of turn to say "If you knew theres a robber in the neighborhood, it's still not your fault you got robbed."

This is not misogyny in the Bible, or in Paradise Lost. This is misogyny straight out of the mouths of my college peers, who think these kinds of approaches are valid legal maneuvers. I'm sure they didn't make the connection to rape trials, but the logic is appallingly similar.
In seventh grade or so, we spent a whole day learning about and discussing consent. I still remember most of it - we were given a lot of scenarios, some sexual and some not, and asked if the victim or the perpetrator was to blame for the crime. The number of people who, totally or partially, blamed the victim steadily decreased throughout the day.

At the time I thought that, like learning about puberty or drugs, this was the standard.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Oh, About Habeas Corpus.

Obama, you're off my trust list.


I Was Going to Post Something Curmudgeonly

About the tea parties, and/or habeas corpus (fucking, fuck). But then I remembered buzz cut loves:

No one has drawn these comparisons yet, which is surprising, considering the musical tastes of my loved ones.

I should be bothered by people wanting to touch my head, but honestly, I feel slighted when people DON'T want to touch it. Guh. I love my head.


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Almost Too Good to Be True

Right-wingers love teabagging, and NOM (who I can only assume are I Can Has Cheezburger enthusiasts?) have created Two Million For Marriage (2M4M), a campaign against gay marriage (apparently, no one tried googling m4m before the launch).

All of this has me itching to create the Board for the Defense of the Sanctity of Marriage (BDSM), just to see how many join up.


Thursday, April 09, 2009

Some Things I Needed

So. It might be redundant to say gender issues are a theme of my life right now, but the past few days have just been... you know when you're reading a book, and you get to the chapter that uses the title in a bunch of sentences? It's been like that.

I had dinner with the wonderful Jennifer Miller on Tuesday. Here's the short youtube version of the documentary Juggling Politics about her political Circus Amok:

On the way to see her screen the film and perform that night, I got harassed for the first time about my buzz cut. Nothing traumatic - a gang of ten-year-olds shouting. I didn't hear most of it. A friend told me later that they asked if I was a boy or a girl.

The next day, we workshopped a short story in a fiction class that had a scene implying rape was justified/healed by pregnancy. I wish I was surprised that some other people didn't understand why it was upsetting.
Later that day I watched the single most disturbing film of my life. There were multiple graphic rape scenes. My professor apologized afterward for not warning us about them. I was trying not to break down for the rest of the three-hour class.

Today in another class were talking about Alison Bechdel's Fun Home. That's always a little bothersome because I'm practically a Bechdel fangirl, but also because the book deals with sexuality and gender a lot, and I'm constantly being reminded that my understanding and experience with these topics (and therefore the connections and reactions I have with the book) doesn't match the majority. There's a lot of examples I could pull out, but what affected me today was Bechdel's story about seeing a pornographic wall calendar and feeling inexplicably exposed and ashamed, and then telling her brothers to call her Albert instead of Alison. Other students assumed it was just another example of wanting to be butch and masculine, but I think the inclusion of the calendar points to something else - the inherent vulnerability of being female.

So my head is swelling with all of this and more. Shaving my head has spurred some thoughts on where I fall on the gender spectrum. The other day a friend online posted something I really needed to read: she, like me, was wondering about her gender identity, and she, like me, had the thought, "Who the fuck am I to be transgender? How dare I?" I have this feeling, like, if I wasn't strictly female, I would have figured it out by now. Which is, of course, bullshit.
I also found Alison Bechdel's coming out story online this week, and this scene was really significant:

Speaking of shaving my head, I posted some photos on my facebook account, and somehow the whole of my extended family knows about it now. I expect this entry itself will be read by at least one or two family members that google me with enough intensity. I don't know if I can express this without sounding like a hypocrite, or self-important, but, the thing is, if I write publicly about my personal life (which I have, more in song than here, but I hope this blog is headed for a more personal tone), I don't do it for people that I know. I'd prefer if people that I know let me choose how and when I share things with them. I write publicly in the hopes that someone else needs to hear something that I have to say; just as I needed to hear about Jennifer Miller and Circus Amok when I came to accept that my body would never match ideals about hair (without much unwanted suffering), just as I needed to read that Alison Bechdel was still struggling with her identity at age nineteen as I'm still struggling with mine at age twenty-one, just as, in that fiction workshop, I needed to hear that one other person was upset by that scene before I could say it myself.

Today on Feministing, this song was posted:

I've been listening to it kind of non-stop all day. After a week of feeling drained the casual nature of misogyny and the normativeness of ignorance about gender's complexities, I needed this.

(edit: CocoRosie's history of racism has been pointed out in the comments on Feministing. Ugh. Their song made me cry, but, ugh.)


Thursday, April 02, 2009

Reflections on Head Shaving

After saying for years that I would do this soon, I hunted down a pair of clippers and just did it. I have never been happier. I have urges to fix my hair throughout the day, and instead I touch my fuzz and just smile. I feel like I've escaped somehow.

All of the attention I've received has been positive so far, but I haven't strayed far from my college campus. Here are some things I have noticed, though:
1. Several people have asked if I did this for charity, or gave my hair away. It wasn't long enough, but I didn't really think about that option. I don't think that's a bad thing, or a good thing, just neutral: didn't think of donating my hair. Just wanted to chop it off. No reason required.
2. I have been compared to every Famous Bald Woman I can think of, save Britney Spears (whose head-shaving incident, I maintain, was awesome). Natalie Portman, twice. GI Jane. Sinead O'Connor. Deb from Empire Records. Though I liked all the comments, since I like all of these women, it baffles me that shaved heads are still abnormal enough on women that this sort of thing happens (and that people focused on Britney's baldness as a sign of insanity). Also, thinking of fictional shaved women, I couldn't help but notice a trend: Portman's character was forcefully shaved. Demi Moore's character shaved for the military (I haven't seen the movie, but I imagine it's either compulsory or, more likely, to prove herself). Robin Tunney's Deb freely chose to shave her own head (a scene which really stuck with me and I've posted it below), but throughout the film she's poorly adjusted and in a place of desperation. I looked for more on the web - Sigourney Weaver in Alien 3 apparently shaves to avoid lice. Where is a happy well-adjusted fictional woman who ditches her hair?

The idea to write this down came from the popular What I Learned By Shaving My Head.

Share in the shaved head heaven with me:

There's a longer version of the following scene on youtube, with embedding disabled.

Watch more Empire Records videos on AOL Video