Fighting with the Sky

Posts Tagged ‘disability

this ain’t livin’: Before You Criticize the Food Choices of Others

Food policing is an area in which all sorts of assumptions are made about class and ability status. It goes hand in hand with the idea that people have an obligation to be healthy, that all bodies are the same so there’s only one way to be healthy, and that there is virtue in eating “right” as dictated by current authorities in the food world. Like, say, Michael Pollan, who is editorialized fawningly in numerous publications all over the planet for his “simple” and “helpful” food rules.

Here are a bunch of great posts about International Women’s Day:

Womanist Musings: In the Shadow of Hattie McDaniel Stands Monique

Ms. McDaniel won her award for best supporting actress in the movie “Gone With the Wind” in 1939. At the Atlanta premiere, not only was she banned from attending, her name was stricken from the souvenir program along with all of the other Black actors. Segregation meant that no matter her achievements, she was not worthy to be counted alongside the White actors. She was the first African American to be invited to the Oscars as a guest rather than a servant. What an accomplishment for the daughter of a slave. The Blame and Shame Game

I don’t doubt that the motives here were well-intentioned, but I think that the posters that the students developed are a prime example of how we talk about sexual assault, rape, and domestic violence in our culture.

Criss writes: International ALL Women’s Day: “Feminista”

I was excited to read Erica Kennedy’s FEMINISTA mainly because of the title. I happily bought the book, not just because I could put it on my shiny new eReader but because buying it I was supporting a fellow Latina writer.

The story and characters have turned out to be not be my particular cup of tea, but I wanted to read it anyway. Until the word “tranny” appeared — and didn’t go away.

Also make sure to read Criss’ follow up post: ” ‘Feministas’ and the T-Word: The Aftermath”


Guess what!  I have a tumblr now! You should read it.  It’s for a combination of shorter posts, personal stuff, and things that don’t quite fit into the themes of this blog.

this ain’t livin’: Female Celebrities Behaving Oddly?  It Must Be Mental Illness!

You are, literally, not in control of your own body when you are a female celebrity. Hollywood is sometimes called a fishbowl, especially for women, and it’s a very apt comparison. No place is safe. There is no escape. Private phone calls, emails, conversations, all can potentially be used against you and all of them are.

Equality 101: As a survivor of sexual assault…

Then let’s factor in the amount of people who have close friends, partners, or family members who have been sexually assaulted– now you’re talking a good portion of the classroom. Then there are the rest of the students, with various levels of exposure to discussions of sexual assault, and multiple opinions thereof. As the teacher, the compelling question becomes: how can we 1)have a discussion about this without serving as a trigger for those who have been assaulted, 2) respect the personal relationships many students may have with survivors of SA and 3) talk about it in a way that is relevant to the subject of the class?

Womanist Musings: Monstrous Musings: Patriarchal Baddies and Smokey Goodness? Musings on the Monsters of Lost

While Lost is certainly an improvement on most television shows in terms of diversity (and certainly 200x better than Disney), it seems white male privilege still rules the island. The show gives the most narrative attention to LWMs – or lost white males – and people of color are often presented stereotypically (Republican Guard/torturer Sayid, over-controlling and “English-challenged” Jin, simpleton Latino dude Hurley, folksy wisdom Ruth, oppressed Sun, etc).

Bitch Blogs: Need another reason to love Johnny Weir?

In response to two Quebecois commentators who spoke derogatorily of Weir and said he should take a gender test, Weir responded by issuing an awesome statement that touched on identity, free speech, life in the public eye, and the changing acceptance of gender, saying “I think masculinity and femininity is something that’s very old fashioned.”

FWD/Forward: Why I Am Not Riled About Every Instance of Crip Drag

This argument comes up in response to critiques of disability in pop culture. It’s often accompanied with the assumption that the writer doesn’t think that it’s ok to portray disability in pop culture ever, or that the writer thinks that only disabled actors should be in disabled roles. This line of thinking, which focuses on which representations of disability people happen to be critiquing at a given time, ignores the structural nature of the critique. It is also accompanied by the implication that it is necessary to do everything at once when it comes to critiquing pop culture.

FWD/Forward: The Island That Heals: Lost, John Locke, and Disability

We were introduced to Locke in the pilot as the man in the wheelchair who walks again as soon as he lands on the Island. This becomes a recurring theme in the series; the Island heals people who are meant to be there, evidently, so John is rewarded for reaching the Island by being cured. At several points in the series, Locke experiences a recurrence of his injury, almost as a warning, before recovering the ability to walk again without any explanation.

The Sexist: Sexist Beatdown: The LOST Women of LOST Edition

In this edition of Sexist Beatdown, Sady Doyle of Tiger Beatdown and I reconvene to solve the enduring mystery of ABC’s LOST: Why have all the compelling female characters been systematically eliminated from the plot, while Jack is allowed to live on as Dr. McFixALot, a character who exists only to fail unspectacularly at everything and shoot enduring looks at Kate?

Viva la Feminista: Women Olympians Face Unique Challenges

The only Winter Olympics event in which women cannot compete is ski jumping. Why? Apparently it’s because women are “too fragile,” along with an outdated system of rules that allow the International Olympic Committee to keep “American Lindsey Van, who holds the world record for the single longest jump by anyone, male or female” from competing for a gold medal. When the IOC tries to explain that women can’t compete because there aren’t enough women jumping, the conversation circles around to, How can we increase interest and participation if women’s ski jumping isn’t allowed at the Olympics?

This was a very big weekend for me.  We sold our house and bought a new one.  And then I found out that I got into the University of Michigan School of Social Work.  So all in all, a good weekend.

I have been noticing in myself that Thursdays are really not a good day for posting for my schedule.  So I think I am going to change link love posts to ones on just Sunday and Wednesday.

Equality 101: Gender Equality on College Campuses

Leaders of such institutions, the editorial notes, are responding to students’ interests in having relatively equal numbers of men and women on campus. However, as the dean of admissions at Kenyon College puts so well, “What messages are we sending young women that they must . . . be even more accomplished than men to gain admission to the nation’s top colleges?” Why are good women students being turned away so that more mediocre men students can attend college?

FWD/Forward: The Opposite of “Disabled” is Not “Employable”

According to the United State government, disability is “the inability to engage in any substantial gainful activity by reason of any medically determinable physical or mental impairment(s) which can be expected to result in death or which has lasted or can be expected to last for a continuous period of not less than 12 months.” Or, in non-regulatory terms, disability is when a physical or mental impairment will last at least a year and will make someone unable to work. The ability to work is right there in the definition. A person who cannot work is disabled. If that person can work, they are not disabled. Disability and employability are mutually exclusive states of being.

Gender Across Borders: Equality in Marriage. Is It Possible?

In college I swore I’d never get married (The Sexual Contract by Carol Pateman is to blame/thank). These days I find myself fighting for equal access to the very institution I once denounced.

Bitch Blogs: Race Card: From Adopting Haitian Kids to Giving Them Your Breast Milk

Moreover, in recent days, the adoption community has expressed its concerns about Americans clamoring to adopt Haitian children following the quake. reports that a group called Adoptees of Colour released a statement asserting that desire by those from privileged nations to adopt Haitian children “contributes to the destruction of existing family and community structures in Haiti.” In addition, group members, many of whom were adopted under questionable circumstances themselves, are alarmed to hear that “Haitian adoptions may be ‘fast-tracked’ due to the massive destruction of buildings in Haiti that hold important records and documents…”

Bitch Blogs: The Transcontinental Disability Choir: Pride & Prejudice & Ableism

Which makes it all the more unfortunate that clear notes of ableism were introduced into both of the monster mashups released in 2009. Ableism is not really necessary to the plot (original or new), and it certainly doesn’t add anything to the books. It pushes both books from being playful romps into being something different entirely as they subtly reinforce ableist social and cultural values.

FWD/Forward: Depictions of Disability That Make Us Happy

And I think it might be interesting to have a larger discussion about what makes a depiction of disability “good” by our standards, though I assume that people may have some differing views on this subject. Personally, I think of a well-rounded depiction of a character who happens to be disabled, with a characterization which is not necessarily centered around disability. Where the disability is integrated well into the identity of the character, and acknowledged, but the character is not the embodiment of the disability. I think of characters who avoid common disability tropes, such as the Angry Bitter Cripple or the Telegenic Sick Kid. I think of characters who are rich and complex and who are allowed to have emotions (which can even vary from day to day!). I think, also, of plots which manage to avoid disability-as-tragedy, miracle cures, Empowering Experience for Able People, and other dehumanizing tropes.

Womanist Musings: 7 Year Old Gets Hair Cut By Teacher As a Punishment

Even with all of these concerns, what is not being discussed is Cammon’s race. Black women exist with very little social power and as a result it is extremely easy to devalue a little Black girl. It is already a known fact that in the states in which spanking is legal, Black girls are subject to the most corporal discipline. This is not because Black girls are any more unruly than any other child but that they exist as a group with no social power. Race and gender combine to make them valueless socially from birth.

Feministing: New Moon and domestic violence

However, I was not prepared for the way the movie portrays physical relationship violence, particularly in Native communities. For all the talk of Edward’s abusiveness throughout feminist blogworld, I’ve seen much less written about domestic violence as it relates to the film’s competing love interest, Jacob Black — a 16-year-old Quileute boy who can turn into a werewolf.

fbomb: A Feminist Analysis of “Fifteen”

I love country music. I love it with a burning passion. And inside of my love for country music also comes a love for Taylor Swift. I like her because she is my age, her songs are extremely easy to play on the guitar so I feel like I have some musical talent, and I can relate to most of her songs. Her song Fifteen is now climbing the charts. This is a fine song, and some of the things in it were true in some degree to my life. When I was a sophomore at a new school, I just wanted to be wanted (“when all you wanted was to be wanted”) instead of feeling isolated and friend-less. However there are a few lines of this song I disagree with.

As much as I enjoy my Taylor Swift songs, this one really bothers me.  I’m contemplating a post of my own.

Blizzard ’09 is underway!  And by blizzard, I just mean continuous snow.  It’s not really a blizzard but that’s what I’ve heard on the news.  And I don’t care if it’s not a blizzard, the roads are still bad and I have to drive to work soon.  Don’t forget to leave links to what you have been writing/reading in the comments!

The Undomestic Goddess: 9th Feminist Blog Carnival

Hello, all! I’m Amanda, aka the Undomestic Goddess, and I’m your ringmaster for this here 9th carnival of feminists. Thanks to all who submitted, and to Lindsay for her guidance. And now, grab yer popcorn and step right up – the carnival has begun!

Small Strokes: On Body Image: How Confidence Affects Body Image

I never thought that something like this affected my body image, but now that I’ve been thinking about it pretty much constantly since my original post a few weeks ago, I realized that it had more of an effect than I thought. Since the issues with my thesis came to my attention, I came home every day and put on my pajamas and crawled under the covers, not wanting to be seen by anyone. I didn’t want to blog or tweet or answer my phone. I went to work in bulky sweaters, and there was no way Tim was getting me out of the apartment this weekend. I just didn’t want to see anyone. I didn’t feel worthy of seeing anyone.

Womanist Musings: Feminism is not a dirty word but it is exclusionary

The issue with feminism is that by locating gender as the singular site of oppression in the lives of women, it ignores the ways in which class, sexuality, disability and race also form the basis of marginalization.

FWD/Forward: Needs Are Not Special

“Special needs” is one of those phrases that just kind of irks me.

I see it most commonly used in reference to children or developmentally disabled adults; the implication in both cases is that the “special needs” individual can’t function without someone else’s help. That this person is totally dependent. And it carries, to my ears, a subtle note of disability-as-tragedy and hardship. Because, of course, if someone is “special needs” that means that someone else must need to meet those “special needs,” right? And that person must be sacrificing so much to get those “special needs” met.

Women & Hollywood: Women, Hollywood and Money

Women are second class citizens in Hollywood and the best way to illustrate it is to look at the money — how it’s earned and how it’s distributed.

00029130This week’s episode of Glee is all about the glee club members trying to fit in…still.  Sue gets the principal to take away the glee club’s yearbook picture, which the glee club is surprisingly ok with because a yearbook picture might bring more unwanted, negative attention to them.  Except for Rachel, who desperately wants the yearbook picture.  She ends up getting the glee club a commercial for a local mattress store.  But what they don’t know is that accepting payment for a singing job would get them disqualified from sectionals.  Mr. Shue ends up taking the blame for them so that the team can go to sectionals without him.

The day has come.  We all knew it was around the corner.  In the most dramatic scene that Glee has ever seen, Will finds out that Terry is not actually pregnant.  There was yelling, Will got mad, and Terry looked like an emotional, irrational woman.  I’m really glad that Will has finally found out because the whole Terry-hiding-her-pregnancy-from-Will storyline was probably my least favorite.

This episode did mark a return of the Will/Emma storyline, which I am also not a fan of.  Just thought I’d throw that out there.  Emma also proclaims that she identifies with Terry’s decision to fake a pregnancy because losing Will would just be too hard.  Yet another example of how the show paints women as irrational and out to get the men.  And speaking of that…has anyone else noticed how fickle Rachel’s emotions are?  First she’s into Finn.  Then she’s into Puck.  Then she’s in love with Mr. Shue.  And now she’s back to being in love with Finn.  Because high school girls will fall in love with anyone who gives them any attention, obviously.

Honestly, I didn’t think this episode had a whole lot of storyline outside of Will and Terry’s fight.  But one thing that really stuck out to me was the performance for the mattress commercial of “Jump.”  Throughout the entire performance, everyone is jumping around on mattresses…except for Artie.  But how could he, he’s in a wheelchair, right?  Artie was just propped up in a mattress in his wheelchair off in the corner not really doing anything.  And then there was a shot of him laying on a mattress while people jumped around him so that he bounced.  Just another example of Glee portraying people in wheelchairs of not being capable of doing much of anything.  I’m sure they could have worked some better, more active choreography into the number for Artie instead of him sitting there doing nothing and then having people bounce him.

I do have to say, though, that I did really like the Lily Allen song, “Smile.”  I love Lily Allen, so it was great to see one of her songs in the show, even if it did catch me off gaurd.

Sadly, these are really the only comments that I have for this episode.  I just wasn’t that impressed, positively or negatively, by much of anything.

Update: meloukhia brought up a really good point in her review.  I can’t believe I didn’t talk about this originally, I remember being shocked about it when I was watching the episode…I guess I was so shocked that I forgot to write it in my notes.  But I need to bring it up now.  When Will finds out that Terry isn’t actually pregnant, we see him as an abusive husband.  He yells and throws things.  He even grabs her arm quite forcefully and backs her up against the counter with no way of escape.

Ok, yelling I get.  He’s upset.  I yell when I’m upset.  But there’s no reason to be physically or verbally abusive.  What she did was a pretty horrible thing (and I am glad the storyline is over because I hated it), but there’s never an excuse for abuse.  I think this situation could possibly be grounds for divorce, but it would have been nice to see them talk about it rationally and without physical or verbal abuse.  I can even understand Will leaving for a while.  It was probably a good thing to cool down so as to not escalate the level of abuse.  But can we ever see a mature, honest relationship based on communication in Glee?  Apparently not because they can’t even show Will and Terry talking about the situation.

Again, I’m sorry I didn’t include this originally.  MAJOR mistake on my part.

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