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Blog Entries tagged 'gender'

Returning to Lorrie Moore.

What Is Seized

In the wedding photos they wear white against the murky dark oftrees. They are thin and elegant. They have placid smiles. The mouth of the father of the bride remains in a short, straight line. I don't know who took these pictures. I suppose they are lies of sorts, revealing by omission, by indirection, by clues such as shoes and clouds. But they tell a truth, the only way lies can. The way only lies can.

Another morning, I heard my parents up early in the bathroom, my dad shaving, getting ready to leave for school.

"Look," he said in a loud whisper. "I really can't say that I'll never leave you and the kids or that I'll never make love to another woman--"

"Why not?" asked my mother. "Why can't you say that?" Even her anger was gentle, ingenuous.

"Because I don't feel that way."

"But ... can't you just say it anyway?"

At this I like to imagine that my parents met each other's gaze in the medicine cabinet mirror, suddenly grinning. But later in the hospital bed, holding my hand and touching each of my nails slowly with her index finger, my mother said to me, "Your father. He was in a dance. And he just couldn't dance." Earlier that year she had written me: "That is what is wrong with cold people. Not that they have ice in their souls - we all have a bit of that - but that they insist their every word and deed mirror that ice. They never learn the beauty or value of gesture. The emotional necessity. For them, it is all honesty before kindness, truth before art. Love is art, not truth. It's like painting scenery."

These are the things one takes from mothers. Once they die, of course, you get the strand of pearls, the blue quilt, some of the original wedding gifts - a tray shellacked with the invitation, an old rusted toaster - but the touches and the words and the moaning the night she dies, these are what you seize, save, carry around in little invisible envelopes, opening them up quickly, like a carnival huckster, giving the world a peek. They will not stay quiet. No matter how you try. No matter how you lick them. The envelopes will not stay glued.

Excerpted from Self-Help.

December 9th, 2009

Sophia Loren in Libya, via Hollywood

Love the legs, light, rocks, cigarette, turn of her head, strong nose, throw-on dress, easy sexuality. Love the raw feminine power. The beauty.

September 20th, 2009

Yes, in fact, I do blame (F)eminism

So there seems to be outpouring of excitement about the Katie Roiphe piece on Double XX on motherhood as a narcotic. 

What frustrates about this "excitement" on Salon and all the other more "mainstream" blogs, is the way editors and many readers ignore the work of women outside of their "milieu" be they poor, black, Asian-American, gay, male, community-college educated or otherwise.

My book Baby Love, for example, is also about the subject of feminism and motherhood and making a surprising and seemingly "anti-feminist" choice, and yet received none of the nuanced treatment. In fact, Salon used my piece on this exact subject to excoriate me personally, running an ill-informed post by Phyllis Chesler in which I was labeled misguided, confused, and in the throes of some kind of misplaced mother-daughter drama. My work was dismissed as personal pathology.

Which brings us to Katie Roiphe. Good gracious, she and I hashed it out on Charlie Rose ten years ago. Her intellect is no more superior, her writing no more "eloquent," but her privilege is, truly, many more generations deep, and certain editors apparently believe she has much more in common with their readers--an unfair assessment.

The entire episode reminds me of one of the more insightful things my mother told me (and regardless of the current state of our relationship, my mother has told me MANY insightful things):

"We read them, but really, they do not read us."

Meaning, of course, that many white women of privilege and access think what they write is new because they don't really bother to read the work of women (and men) outside of their race and/or class. And yet we think nothing of reading theirs and weighing their contributions as part of our process of informing ourselves as we begin to do our own work.

And, really, truly, the bottom line? I blame it on (F)eminism. Why is it that women of privilege are able to do this with impunity in the name of (F)eminism?

Because this kind of racial and economic apartheid is built into contemporary, especially Second Wave, (F)eminism. This latest exchange of pseudo-philosophical banter is just one more line item on an exhaustive list of betrayals, insults, and selective dismissals of the work of many self-identified feminists and others who have long ago abandoned their affiliation.

This remains a breathtakingly short-sighted method of engagement. 

June 1st, 2009

Black in America, Pt One

 
 
 Black in America
 
As we approach the airing of Black in America Pt 2, I thought I'd pull out my post from the Root that ricocheted across the web last year in response to Pt 1, and was then erased entirely when the Root did their site re-design.
 
Black in America: Ain't I Woman?

It's not pretty, but I'm going to tell you what I think.

More

May 21st, 2009

Alice Coltrane's Journey In Satchidananda

 

“Direct inspiration for ‘Journey In Satchidananda’ comes from my meeting and association with someone who is near and dear to me. I am speaking of my own beloved spiritual preceptor, Swami Satchidananda. Swamiji is the first example I have seen in recent years of Universal Love or God in action. He expresses an impersonal love which encompasses thousands of people. Anyone listening to this selection should try to envision himself floating on an ocean of Satchidanandaji’s love, which is literally carrying countless devotees across the vicissitudes and stormy blasts of life to the other shore. Satchidananda means knowledge, existence, bliss."

Alice Coltrane -- Journey In Satchidananda
 
One of my all time favorites--Alice and her husband John Coltrane remind me in many ways of John and Yoko. Two powerful artists, together. Searching for a higher plane. 
May 11th, 2009

The One Thing

I just read a blog post about the importance of specifity on one's blog. You should focus on the one thing you do, the one message you have, the one idea you want your readers to take away.

Which made me think, and look down at all my blog posts to try to find the one thing, the big idea, the one message. 

What is it, exactly, I'm saying over here? Why do people visit? What are you looking for? How do I provide it? 

And it came down to a basic credo:

Clarity. Courage. Faith. Freedom. 

That's my message, told a million different ways. 

See your truth. Tell your truth. Believe in the power of your truth. And then, fly, fly away.

Be free.

April 13th, 2009

The Headscarf--Revisioned

I really love the way this discussion about the hijab is continuing to evolve in the midst of The Obama Transition.

From Huff Post:

As always, the nexus of the clash between the West and Islam is the role of women. The Turkish sociologist Nilufer Golë has put her finger somewhat provocatively on precisely what secularists fear might be taken away, but also on what Muslim women are gaining.

"In contrast with the West," she has written, "where the public sphere was first formed by the bourgeoisie and excluded the working class and women, in the Muslim context of modernity women have been the makers of public space. In the Muslim context, the existence of democratic public space depends on the social encounter between the sexes and on the eroticization of the public sphere."

The wearing of the headscarf in universities -- which the AKP sought to allow -- is the flash point of the conflict. To be sure, the headscarf issue signals changing private and public distinctions through the re-entry of religion into the public arena of modern Turkey. But since headscarf proponents argue that it will enhance the opportunities of women in higher education, it also serves as a critique of the idea that only secularism equals modernity.

"Women proponents of the headscarf distance themselves from secular models of feminist emancipation," Gole argues, "but they also seek autonomy from male interpretations of Islamic precepts. They want access to secular education so they can follow new paths in life that don't conform to traditional gender roles, yet they also seek to fashion a new pious self. They are searching for ways to become Muslim and modern at the same time, transforming both."

In short, the established meaning of Islamic veiling is undergoing a radical transformation -- from a symbol of Muslim female submission and seclusion in the private sphere to a badge of public, assertive Muslim womanhood. For Gole, this sign of stigma and inferiority is in the process of being inverted into a sign of empowerment and prestige.

More

April 7th, 2009

Today

April 1st, 2009

Stripping Your Way to Success, from the Wall Street Journal

Wall Street Journal

Great interview about I gave about strippers in blockbuster films reduced to one line mid-way. But I'm not complaining, it's a great article.

By Lauren Schuker

On Sunday night, actress Marisa Tomei could take home an Academy Award for her portrayal of a kind-hearted stripper in the critically acclaimed film "The Wrestler." In a tradition that dates as far back as the Oscar show itself, Ms. Tomei is the latest actress to win Hollywood acclaim for playing a character with a job in the sex industry, such as a striptease artist or streetwalker.

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March 7th, 2009

On Chris Brown and Rihanna, from ABCNEWS.COM

On Chris Brown and Rihanna, from ABCNEWS.COM

February 20th, 2009

ABC News

Black Community Bitter About Chris Brown (EXCERPT)

By LUCHINA FISHER

Monique Wright-Williams had always forbidden her three girls from watching hip-hop music videos because of the way they portray women as "hoochies or sex objects," she said.

"I don't ever want them to think of themselves as a sex object," she told ABCNews.com.

So when the Syracuse, N.Y., family learned that Brown had been arrested last week for allegedly beating his pop-star girlfriend Rihanna, the news came as a shock. "I'm obviously disappointed," Wright-Williams, a youth services agency director, said. "He was in a good position to serve so many young black children well. Whenever anybody who is in a good position to have a nice impact on my children, and children in general, tumbles and falls in such an important way, it's here we go again." Perhaps. The fall of a teen idol is familiar territory. But the swift and critical public response to Brown's arrest from the Williams family and other members of the black community has come as something of a surprise to some people.

Gayle King, editorial director at O, The Oprah Magazine, rejected Brown's recent apology in which he said in a statement that he was "sorry and saddened" and "seeking the counseling of my pastor, my mother and other loved ones." "Right now, I can't think of anything that makes me support anything that Chris Brown is saying at this time," King told the entertainment news show "Extra" Sunday. "And my heart just aches for Rihanna."

Kanye West told Ryan Seacrest last week, "I was completely devastated by the concept of what I heard. ... I feel like that's my baby sis. I would do any and everything to help her in any situation." Rap mogul Jay-Z, who discovered and mentored Rihanna, reportedly "hit the roof" when he heard about the alleged fight, according to Us Weekly magazine. "Just imagine it being your sister or mom, and then think about how we should talk about that," Jay-Z said of 20-year-old Rihanna. "I just think we should all support her. She's going through a tough time. You have to realize she's a young girl, as well. She's very young."

And it's not just African-American celebrities who are outraged. Actress Rosanne Barr lashed out at Brown on her blog Monday.

"Chris Brown's lies and excuses make me want to beat the crap out of him," Barr wrote. "You dirty bastard. I hope you go to prison for 10 years."

Author Rebecca Walker, who writes a blog for TheRoot.com, believes the focus should be on domestic abuse.

"I am more disappointed by the response to the incident than the incident itself," she told ABCNews.com. "It should be used as an opportunity to discuss violence in general, and domestic violence in particular. It's a good place to begin a conversation about how love shouldn't hurt, and how victims of abuse themselves often become abusers if they don't get proper support.

"Ultimately, this issue transcends gender, race, class, etc.," she said. "This is about relationships and what healthy ones look like. It's about intimacy and how little we, as a culture, know about cultivating and maintaining it. It's about love, what it is, and what it isn't."

Rihanna's father, Ronald Fenty, told People magazine that he expects his daughter to address the issue. "At some point, she will speak out," he said. "I hope she will stand up for women all over the world." As for Brown's salvaging his once clean-cut image and role model status, Wright-Williams said, "I think he could still be a role model for 'I totally messed up and I will never be accused of this again.' Or he could be found guilty and be the model of what you don't want: You hit women, you get arrested and lose endorsements. "Thank God we're not hinging on Chris Brown for our one and only role model," she said. "We can easily turn to our new president."

Full story here

Comments:

Comment #1 by affrodite on February 21, 2009 - 9:54am

Followed your twitter link here. You are spot on, in my opinion. We are caught up in the people and losing sight of the greater issue at large.

Comment #2 by Shane evans on February 22, 2009 - 10:04pm

That is the best that I have seen anyone put it... instead of getting caught up in the WHO DID IT'S look at the WHOLE and the LESSON... blessings.

February 20th, 2009