02 9 / 2014

Nicki Minaj’s Feminism Isn’t About Your Comfort Zone: On “Anaconda” and Respectability Politics

It isn’t the male gaze, dominant narratives of sexuality, or hegemonic femininity which reigns true throughout Minaj’s work. It’s her own sexual state of being. And when Nicki Minaj struts out in a string bikini or exudes her own sexuality in the middle of something otherwise empowering, it isn’t an inherent contradiction or a cause for debate. It’s simply a reflection of how many women — women who, often, feel comfortable with and empowered in their choices — are living their sexual lives. As sexual beings, we’re allowed to indulge in self-directed pursuits of pleasure without shame. We’re allowed to be frank about our own exploits. We’re feminists who fuck, and a lot of times it looks like both things happening at the exact same time.
That’s what central to the revolutionary aspect of Minaj’s work: She’s never been shy about her own sexuality, nor has she been subtle or polite about it. Her lyricism has been consistently vulgar, shocking, and delightful — and often, has embraced a more realistic narrative about sex that songs which describe it using only metaphor. […]
“Anaconda” wasn’t an isolated incident, and it wasn’t Minaj’s first time articulating her own identity nor her last. Throughout her feminist declarations, however, has appeared the same specter of doubt. Feminists refuse to take Minaj’s statements seriously, continuously torn between embracing her sexually raw and eccentric persona with her own self-declared girl-power focus. It’s clear that when Minaj is making feminist statements in a language that resembles mainstream feminist discourse, folks are giddy to jump on the bandwagon — but her oversexualized state of being, her sexual aggression and occasional sexual dominance, often worry them.
This is hugely problematic.
It’s the impossibility to ultimately marry the image of a sexually empowered woman to her state of existence which allows for the distorted view of women’s sexuality to prosper. When feminists honor Minaj’s feminist lyrics, as they did with “Anaconda,” and then admonish her for expressing herself with sexually charged images and videos, they are playing into the same dominant narratives about women’s sexualities that perpetuate victim-blaming, slut-shaming, and the subordination of women.

omg, read the whole thing

Nicki Minaj’s Feminism Isn’t About Your Comfort Zone: On “Anaconda” and Respectability Politics

It isn’t the male gaze, dominant narratives of sexuality, or hegemonic femininity which reigns true throughout Minaj’s work. It’s her own sexual state of being. And when Nicki Minaj struts out in a string bikini or exudes her own sexuality in the middle of something otherwise empowering, it isn’t an inherent contradiction or a cause for debate. It’s simply a reflection of how many women — women who, often, feel comfortable with and empowered in their choices — are living their sexual lives. As sexual beings, we’re allowed to indulge in self-directed pursuits of pleasure without shame. We’re allowed to be frank about our own exploits. We’re feminists who fuck, and a lot of times it looks like both things happening at the exact same time.

That’s what central to the revolutionary aspect of Minaj’s work: She’s never been shy about her own sexuality, nor has she been subtle or polite about it. Her lyricism has been consistently vulgar, shocking, and delightful — and often, has embraced a more realistic narrative about sex that songs which describe it using only metaphor. […]

“Anaconda” wasn’t an isolated incident, and it wasn’t Minaj’s first time articulating her own identity nor her last. Throughout her feminist declarations, however, has appeared the same specter of doubt. Feminists refuse to take Minaj’s statements seriously, continuously torn between embracing her sexually raw and eccentric persona with her own self-declared girl-power focus. It’s clear that when Minaj is making feminist statements in a language that resembles mainstream feminist discourse, folks are giddy to jump on the bandwagon — but her oversexualized state of being, her sexual aggression and occasional sexual dominance, often worry them.

This is hugely problematic.

It’s the impossibility to ultimately marry the image of a sexually empowered woman to her state of existence which allows for the distorted view of women’s sexuality to prosper. When feminists honor Minaj’s feminist lyrics, as they did with “Anaconda,” and then admonish her for expressing herself with sexually charged images and videos, they are playing into the same dominant narratives about women’s sexualities that perpetuate victim-blaming, slut-shaming, and the subordination of women.

omg, read the whole thing

01 9 / 2014

Artist’s Illustration In Response To Ferguson Offers A Powerful, Sobering Perspective

Artist Mary Engelbreit is best known for her whimsical children’s illustrations, but these days she’s making headlines for a much more sobering image — one inspired by the shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown.
As a St. Louis, Missouri native, Engelbreit was struck by the unfolding injustice in the nearby city of Ferguson after Brown was shot by police officer Darren Wilson. She took that pain and turned it into art with an illustration titled "In the USA."
The print depicts a small black child posing with his hands up while seated on his mother’s lap. The text reads: “No one should have to teach their children this in the USA.” The illustration echoes the statement “Hands up, don’t shoot,” a refrain chanted by protesters in Ferguson as Brown reportedly had his hands in the air when he was shot multiple times. The print is for sale on Engelbreit’s website for $49.99, and all the proceeds will go to the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund.
[…]
Engelbreit was hit with an onslaught of criticism ranging from defense of law enforcement to name-calling and epithets, according to the Washington Post. When she responded to critics in a follow-up post, so many users reported it as offensive that Facebook removed it from her page.
[…]
On Saturday, Engelbreit said the print has already raised more than $25,000 for the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund.

Read more

Artist’s Illustration In Response To Ferguson Offers A Powerful, Sobering Perspective

Artist Mary Engelbreit is best known for her whimsical children’s illustrations, but these days she’s making headlines for a much more sobering image — one inspired by the shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown.

As a St. Louis, Missouri native, Engelbreit was struck by the unfolding injustice in the nearby city of Ferguson after Brown was shot by police officer Darren Wilson. She took that pain and turned it into art with an illustration titled "In the USA."

The print depicts a small black child posing with his hands up while seated on his mother’s lap. The text reads: “No one should have to teach their children this in the USA.” The illustration echoes the statement “Hands up, don’t shoot,” a refrain chanted by protesters in Ferguson as Brown reportedly had his hands in the air when he was shot multiple times. The print is for sale on Engelbreit’s website for $49.99, and all the proceeds will go to the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund.

[…]

Engelbreit was hit with an onslaught of criticism ranging from defense of law enforcement to name-calling and epithets, according to the Washington Post. When she responded to critics in a follow-up post, so many users reported it as offensive that Facebook removed it from her page.

[…]

On Saturday, Engelbreit said the print has already raised more than $25,000 for the Michael Brown Jr. Memorial Fund.

Read more

01 9 / 2014

Happy 127th Birthday to the Oldest Person Alive

Leandra Becerra Lumbreras was born on August 31, 1887, making her—at 127 years old—the oldest person documented to have ever lived. The keys to her long life are reportedly ”sleeping for days on end,” never getting married, and fighting. What a woman!
Metro reports Lumbreras’s granddaughter Miriam Alvear told Mexico’s El Horizonte, "She was always a woman who fought. She was still sewing and weaving until about two years ago." Lumbreras also reportedly fought in the Mexican Revolution as leader of the all-female group the Adelitas. 

Read more

Happy 127th Birthday to the Oldest Person Alive

Leandra Becerra Lumbreras was born on August 31, 1887, making her—at 127 years old—the oldest person documented to have ever lived. The keys to her long life are reportedly ”sleeping for days on end,” never getting married, and fighting. What a woman!

Metro reports Lumbreras’s granddaughter Miriam Alvear told Mexico’s El Horizonte"She was always a woman who fought. She was still sewing and weaving until about two years ago." Lumbreras also reportedly fought in the Mexican Revolution as leader of the all-female group the Adelitas. 

Read more

01 9 / 2014

28 8 / 2014

5,000-year-old ‘transgender’ skeleton discovered
Archaeologists have discovered a 5,000-year-old skeleton which they believe may be the remains of a transgender person.

The male skeleton was found in a suburb of Prague and is buried in a manner previously only seen for female burials.
The body is believed to date from between 2900 and 2500BC and is from the Corded Ware culture of the Copper Age.
Men’s bodies from that age and culture are usually found buried with their heads towards the west and with weapons.
But this skeleton was found with its head towards the east and was surrounded by domestic jugs – as women’s bodies from the time are usually found.
At a press conference in Prague yesterday, archaeologists theorised that the person may have been transgender or ‘third sex’.
Kamila Remišová, the head of the research team, said: “From history and ethnology, we know that when a culture had strict burial rules they never made mistakes with these sort of things.”
Read more

5,000-year-old ‘transgender’ skeleton discovered

Archaeologists have discovered a 5,000-year-old skeleton which they believe may be the remains of a transgender person.

The male skeleton was found in a suburb of Prague and is buried in a manner previously only seen for female burials.

The body is believed to date from between 2900 and 2500BC and is from the Corded Ware culture of the Copper Age.

Men’s bodies from that age and culture are usually found buried with their heads towards the west and with weapons.

But this skeleton was found with its head towards the east and was surrounded by domestic jugs – as women’s bodies from the time are usually found.

At a press conference in Prague yesterday, archaeologists theorised that the person may have been transgender or ‘third sex’.

Kamila Remišová, the head of the research team, said: “From history and ethnology, we know that when a culture had strict burial rules they never made mistakes with these sort of things.”

Read more

28 8 / 2014

I DRESSED AS A GOTH, A PARTY GIRL, AND A MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL — HERE’S HOW MY FRIENDS, PARTNER, AND OKCUPID REACTED

…I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how harshly we judge others based on their fashion choices. We all do it to some extent or another, and I admit to being guilty of it myself — whether toward the cheerleaders at my high school who packed on the foundation or the wannabe-hipsters of my university who pride themselves in their ability to recite Howl from start to finish (which I’ll admit is pretty impressive).
Because my “style” has changed so much from childhood to my early 20s, I’ve seen a lot of mixed reactions from both acquaintances and passersby to all of my different looks, be they punk girl, tomboy or anything in between. That in mind, I thought it would be an interesting experiment to revisit some past fashion choices and see how friends, family and perfect strangers reacted to them now. It’s been a while since I’ve totally re-vamped my wardrobe, so this experiment was fun for dress-up reasons as well as its more profound sociological implications. 
Read more (seriously, go check this out because it’s awesome)

I DRESSED AS A GOTH, A PARTY GIRL, AND A MANIC PIXIE DREAM GIRL — HERE’S HOW MY FRIENDS, PARTNER, AND OKCUPID REACTED

…I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how harshly we judge others based on their fashion choices. We all do it to some extent or another, and I admit to being guilty of it myself — whether toward the cheerleaders at my high school who packed on the foundation or the wannabe-hipsters of my university who pride themselves in their ability to recite Howl from start to finish (which I’ll admit is pretty impressive).

Because my “style” has changed so much from childhood to my early 20s, I’ve seen a lot of mixed reactions from both acquaintances and passersby to all of my different looks, be they punk girl, tomboy or anything in between. That in mind, I thought it would be an interesting experiment to revisit some past fashion choices and see how friends, family and perfect strangers reacted to them now. It’s been a while since I’ve totally re-vamped my wardrobe, so this experiment was fun for dress-up reasons as well as its more profound sociological implications. 

Read more (seriously, go check this out because it’s awesome)

27 8 / 2014

Meet The Generation Of Incredible Native American Women Fighting To Preserve Their Culture

Native Americans represent just one per cent of the US population and some languages have only one speaker left. Now a new generation is fighting to preserve the culture.
Meet the women leading that fight:  Read more

Meet The Generation Of Incredible Native American Women Fighting To Preserve Their Culture

Native Americans represent just one per cent of the US population and some languages have only one speaker left. Now a new generation is fighting to preserve the culture.

Meet the women leading that fight:  Read more

27 8 / 2014


The beatas and alumbradas of Spain were persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition, which was determined to stamp out “marvels” among unauthorized persons. Women in the Inquisition: Spain and the New World, 1999 (ed. Mary E. Giles, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U Press) has some extraordinary stories about them. The book refers to trance, visions, ecstatic practices, and healing by the beatas (“blessed women,” who gathered in beaterios and ritual prayer groups called oratorios) and alumbradas (“illuminated women”).
Inés of Herrera del Duque, known as the Prophetess of Extremadura, had visions and dreams, and counseled people. Francisca Hernández (1530) was “reputed to have extraordinary healing powers” as well as spiritual guidance.
Ana Dominga who was tried by Barcelona Inquisition and jailed for six months in 1610, was a “beata profesa” described by the author as “an itinerant holy woman whose exuberant prayer scandalized her companions.” (But she was also religiously very conservative, self-derogating, and into flagellation). A lot of these women were into fasting, which could be seen as either churchly mortification of the body, or an ascetic path to altered states.
María de Jesús de Agreda was a mystic renowned for her trances, levitation, and most famously, for bi-locating to New Mexico. She’d go into ecstatic trance after taking communion. Was tried several times by the Inquisition in its campaign aimed at “stopping individuals who publicly displayed trances, speaking in tongues, and other spectacular forms of behavior.” It also cracked down on “acts of unmediated [by the priesthood] contact with the Divine or the demonic.” (All depends on interpretation, there’s the rub.) In 1624 she underwent an auto-da-fe (not executed though) with six other alumbrada women, and three men, and one corpse.
One author in the anthology describes alumbradismo as “primarily a female transgression associated with women who reported visionary experiences.” Yet some clerics sought out such women as spiritual directors. One such was Maria Catalina de Jesús, a miracle worker who led a group of alumbrados in Seville with nearly 700 members; the Inquisition sentenced her to public penance and two years of labor as a hospital servant (a common punishment of the Sp Inq).
Another of these recognized leaders (not by the institutional hierarchy) was the beata Isabel de la Cruz, in the 1500s known “as the true mother and teacher of all the alumbrados.” And then there are into the syncretic cross-confessional ties of this movement: “Both Sufis and alumbrados underwent individual trances and group experiences that sometimes became extravagant expressions of emotion with dancing, weeping, ecstatic shouts, incomprehensible speech, and prophecies.” This threatened the powers that were, and they set about crushing the beatas and their oratorios (prayer gatherings).

Shown, Beata Francisca de Paula de Jesus, known among her Brazilian people as Nhá Chica (Aunt Francie), who died in 1895 and who unlike the women described above, received recognition by the hierarchy. But the beatas of 16th and 17th century Spain would have looked very like her.


source: 
Suppressed Histories Archives

The beatas and alumbradas of Spain were persecuted by the Spanish Inquisition, which was determined to stamp out “marvels” among unauthorized persons. Women in the Inquisition: Spain and the New World, 1999 (ed. Mary E. Giles, Baltimore: Johns Hopkins U Press) has some extraordinary stories about them. The book refers to trance, visions, ecstatic practices, and healing by the beatas (“blessed women,” who gathered in beaterios and ritual prayer groups called oratorios) and alumbradas (“illuminated women”).

Inés of Herrera del Duque, known as the Prophetess of Extremadura, had visions and dreams, and counseled people. Francisca Hernández (1530) was “reputed to have extraordinary healing powers” as well as spiritual guidance.

Ana Dominga who was tried by Barcelona Inquisition and jailed for six months in 1610, was a “beata profesa” described by the author as “an itinerant holy woman whose exuberant prayer scandalized her companions.” (But she was also religiously very conservative, self-derogating, and into flagellation). A lot of these women were into fasting, which could be seen as either churchly mortification of the body, or an ascetic path to altered states.

María de Jesús de Agreda was a mystic renowned for her trances, levitation, and most famously, for bi-locating to New Mexico. She’d go into ecstatic trance after taking communion. Was tried several times by the Inquisition in its campaign aimed at “stopping individuals who publicly displayed trances, speaking in tongues, and other spectacular forms of behavior.” It also cracked down on “acts of unmediated [by the priesthood] contact with the Divine or the demonic.” (All depends on interpretation, there’s the rub.) In 1624 she underwent an auto-da-fe (not executed though) with six other alumbrada women, and three men, and one corpse.

One author in the anthology describes alumbradismo as “primarily a female transgression associated with women who reported visionary experiences.” Yet some clerics sought out such women as spiritual directors. One such was Maria Catalina de Jesús, a miracle worker who led a group of alumbrados in Seville with nearly 700 members; the Inquisition sentenced her to public penance and two years of labor as a hospital servant (a common punishment of the Sp Inq).

Another of these recognized leaders (not by the institutional hierarchy) was the beata Isabel de la Cruz, in the 1500s known “as the true mother and teacher of all the alumbrados.” And then there are into the syncretic cross-confessional ties of this movement: “Both Sufis and alumbrados underwent individual trances and group experiences that sometimes became extravagant expressions of emotion with dancing, weeping, ecstatic shouts, incomprehensible speech, and prophecies.” This threatened the powers that were, and they set about crushing the beatas and their oratorios (prayer gatherings).

Shown, Beata Francisca de Paula de Jesus, known among her Brazilian people as Nhá Chica (Aunt Francie), who died in 1895 and who unlike the women described above, received recognition by the hierarchy. But the beatas of 16th and 17th century Spain would have looked very like her.

source: 

Suppressed Histories Archives

26 8 / 2014

26 8 / 2014