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April 14, 2008

"Cross Dressing" at a Wisconsin Elementary School

I can't decide if I'm offended or delighted by this news item.

Kids at an elementary school in Wisconsin dressed in drag for "wacky week", which their principal explained as just being silly. I'm delighted by the school's embrace of a little queer activity, but I'm not sure how I feel about the "wacky" bit. Yes, drag is supposed to be funny and it uses humor to exploit gendered stereotypes. So in that sense, the school was right on the mark. But since they're denying the activities relation to anything in the gender family, is the activity the costume equivalent of a double negative?
Meaning - if they're making fun of a form of subversive comedy, does it come back around to just making fun of the idea of dressing outside of one's assigned gender?

April 7, 2008

Heidi Montag is a Feminist Icon

I just threw up in my mouth a little.

Some idiot at the New York Times had declared a pseudo-reality star with a manipulative boyfriend and a bad music video to be a "feminist hero". Gross.

Her evidence that makes this case centers around the fact that Heidi Montag only allows herself to be pushed around sometimes. She stands up for herself, the columnist says, and Montag's shining moment of feminist glory “This isn’t, like, Spencer’s relationship and you decide what we do." Since when are our standards for feminism so low?

I thought that power-equal relationships were in (see democratic presidential candidates with smart, savvy spouses), and dating men that don't respect you and talk you in to plastic surgery (see Heidi Montag) was out. I guess not. Apparently, while I was in class or taking a nap, the New York Times writer decided to hijack feminism a-la Tyra Banks and use to to describe women who knowingly objectify and demean themselves. Yey!

I'm also moderately appalled that the writer brought Gloria Allred in to this mess. Rude. Refusing to elope does not qualify as fighting back against injustice or discrimination.

A Perfectly Good Noun

It's been a wonderful weekend for feminist news-makers.

To start things off, NPR's Peter Sagal made a wonderful point about Hollywood distortion of a perfectly good Dr. Suess book.

Librarians at John's Hopkins pointed out that "abortion" is a "perfectly good noun" and ought not to be excluded from search terms, especially not on a web site that claims to be a database on reproductive health.

And last but not least, Jezebel, a blog that I normally despise wrote a mostly good commentary, explaining, yet again, what a horrible sexist Rush Limbaugh is (in case there were still doubts out there) .