Big Project Update

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Hello! I am about to go to a Vegas-themed bday party, and, now that I'm all decked out in glitter and feather-boa, I thought it would be a good time to write. : ) As some of you may remember, I, like Sophie, decided to start a blog for the big project. So in January I began "rebel grrl academy: revolution in the shoproom, the classroom, the streets & the hips." One of the aims was simply to start and maintain a blog "to process and reflect on issues relevant to my research and activist interests, [and] also be a space to share reflections on the more ostensibly banal elements of everyday life." More specifically, I wanted to feature "Queering Labor Showcase"'s to help me explore my research interest of the intersection of queer and sexualized bodies in organized labor. So far my entries have included:

1. "Troublemaking at the U: AFSCME Local 3800 "Chop from the Top" Rally"-a report back on the protest

2. "twenty-five (&the trouble with futurity)-a reflection on turning a quarter-century and pondering the scripts we are given or not given, and how to queer-world-make inspite of it all.....Draws on Butler.

3. ".a people's history of [my relationship with] Howard Zinn."-a reflection on the late, great HZ, on the day he died.

4. "saturday night at the supermarket."-reflecting on grocery shopping at 1am on a saturday

5. "to putting more energy into dreaming/building the future, than being pissed off at the present."-an analysis and response to a Robin DG Kelley article that really, really spoke to me. discusses tension between activism and academia

6. "a post about naked lady bodies in honor of V-day."-response to a new law in Australia that bans A-cup breasts and female ejaculation from being seen in porn.

7. "troubling personal space: the bus ride home."-reflection on personal space on the bus and be-longing. 

8. "High Priestess of Trouble, Judith Butler, on "Critique""-reflection on the Butler piece we read about critique.

9. "Education is under attack! What do we do? Stand up, Fight back!"-reflection on March 4th National Day in Defense of Public Education rally

10. "Girl Interrupted? Let's Hope So."-the Shiloh Jolie Pitt is turning into a boy moral panic response. Draws from Clare and Butler.

11. "Queering Labor Showcase #1: Sleep With the Right People UNITE HERE campaign"-my first foray into analyzing the queer/labor stuff. in-depth look at rhetoric and media.

12. "SEWSA Conference Report-Back."-just as the title says! : )

13. "Queering Labor Showcase #2: Sex Workers Outreach Project and Erotic Service Providers Union."-analyzed rhetoric, media, contrasted to sex-negative sex work research, etc. Draws from Butler. 

14. "FEMME-SUBVERSION!: Smashing the State in Stilletos and the Political Potential of Femme Desire."-an entry i'm particularly pleased with. also submitted to a zine called Femme Means Attack. discusses femme identity, brings in Lugones, Munoz and Butler.

So what have I learned/processed/realized through all this? Blogging takes a lot of energy and, Sara, I have even more admiration for the thoroughness of your blog after embarking on this project!  Sometimes it's so much easier to post a clip on facebook and write nothing more than "OMG!", but the blog forced me to articulate responses to things. It's time-consuming, but, ultiamtely, so fulfilling.

It has also made me feel incredibly vulnerable. I decided to post the link on my facebook page, and every once in a while I will post specific entires on my page. On days I post, I get upwards of 100 hits (wordpress tracks how many people look at your site); days I don't advertise on FB, I get between 10-40. But to know my friends and family are reading what are reading my thoughts, and then responding to them (I often get more comments on my fb posts of the links than the actual page) is scary! Especially because at least two of my posts are pretty explicit about my sex-positive politics (and sexuality and desire).  I have also gotten comments from folks I don't know; one that stuck out was someone who found my blog because he was a labor/UNITE HERE guy. He called my analysis "silly." It's crazy how making yourself public just totally opens you up for criticism--both constructive and otherwise! But it's been good, and the feedback I got (again mostly on FB) about my Shiloh Jolie Pitt and my latest Femme-Subversion post has been productive and enlightening (and very exciting to be promoting dialogue!). 

The only disappointing thing about this is that I've had more fun with the non-Queering Labor posts than I have with those that are focused on that. It's discouraging me from turning this into a larger project, only because I'm not sure how much I can do with it, nor how productive it is to the sorts of issues I'm interesting in negotiating (tensions around identity politics, exclusive rhetoric and organizing tactics from unions, etc). I dont' know. I still have at least two more showcases to do before the end of the year (Lusty Ladies Union and Queers for Economic Justice).

This has also reiterated for me taht I need to be doing more community-based work. I did field work and community-based/participatory-action-research for my whole master's program, and since coming to the U of M, I've been locked in the ivory tower. : ( Blogging about my activism makes me feel more exhilerated than non-community research (which I do love, but not without a community element). Anyway, this has been a good thing to realize.

So, I guess that's it for now. I do plan to keep the blog up. It's fun. I used to have a livejournal that way fewer people knew about, but it was definitely filled with more personal reflections than academic interventions...I prefer this new format, but I do miss the creative-writing the former enabled me, so this summer I hope to do some more creative non-fiction-y reflections on this blog (which there are some of now, but not as much).

Okay, off to my vegas party! 

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