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WTF Wednesday

Behold, m’ladies. The latest ironic, gender-stereotype-busting, geek-affirming musical video designed to empower us, by showing the world: Fuck Yeah, We Are Women, We Are Bad Ass, We Like the Same Things that Men Like and We Are Good At Them, Too. Plus, We Have Boobs.

 

 

This video and this tweet from Nathan Fillon (yes, of Firefly fame) is why I should not be allowed to roam the Interwebs…

I find offense everywhere I turn and then burn a hole in my head because I agonize over things that, to most people, don’t matter. Look at me, here I am, trying to find fault with a musical video featuring female (supposedly) geeks named TEAM UNICORN. Come on, what’s the matter with me, shouldn’t we all love geek girls and Everything Unicorn?

I can never decide whether to rejoice and feel empowered or to throw up my hands and resign because of what is now considered to be “female empowerment”… by those who are on our side, men who are supposed to be more enlightened than most of their counterparts.

The top comment for the video is from a proud dad whose daughters watched JLA before Dora the Explorer. I am very happy for him and proud of his girls too for smashing gender stereotypes, crossing the boundaries. I loved ThunderCats & Transformers etc. when growing up. So people are liking and sharing this video NOT because of the gratuitous boobage?…

 

"Sexy Ass"=Sexy + Badass? Nicely done. All our feminist foremothers thank you.

It is getting harder and harder to be a modern woman.

In her seminal essay “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All“, Anne-Marie Slaughter, perhaps facetiously, wrote, “… women feel that they are to blame if they cannot manage to rise up the ladder as fast as men and also have a family and an active home life (and be thin and beautiful to boot).”

At the turning point when high heels are no longer tortured devices invented by men to force us to all sway our hips unsteadily in order to exhibit the fantastical, imagined femininity but rather a figurative pair of Samurai swords that we wear to demonstrate our resolve, and to dare men to face our sexuality and general badassness with respect, I became extremely confused and simply gave up.

Show your sexuality. BUT demand respect and autonomy. What the lady giveth, the lady may taketh away.

Be a diva if you’d like. Be girly and feminine if that’s your style. Accumulate wealth. Climb the ladders. Emulate men in all their power, glory and vice. Be all that you can be.

That’s exactly the problem, isn’t it? When everything counts in theory, nothing makes impact in reality.

We are not being allowed to be all that we can be. For starters, we are NOT free to be un-sexy, un-pretty, un-thin. Have you noticed the myriad of female empowerment icons all looking pretty darn hot? If they don’t look hot now, no worries, they will as soon as they take off their geek glasses and their hair pins. We are being (re)trained to (continue to) be the object of desire. Do your progress thing. Be a Super Woman. Better yet, handle everything. You’ve got the power. But make sure you look hot while you are doing it. The male gaze lingers on. Probably even more perniciously because now we are in on it.

Sometimes I just want to stand up and scream, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house!”

Then I reprimand myself for possibly (mis)appropriating Audre Lorde’s famous words and for being a defeatist. I also feel guilty for not being a feminist AND a sexpot AND a fierce warrior Ninja AND a genius mathematician all at the same time.

Sitting down now. But not before I post this:

Helen Keller FTW. Absolutely no boobage required.

 

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By now you probably have heard of “The Super Bowl commercial you probably did not see”.  Former Rep. Pete Hoekstra’s campaign advertisement aired during Super Bowl features a beautiful Chinese woman (or, as he called her later when he was made to explain himself, “a Chinese girl”), complete with a straw hat, bicycle, rice paddy, and “Chinese-sounding” music.

It’s like, HELLO! back to the World of Suzie Wong, Fu Manchu, and Dragon Lady.

 

 

The Internet, at least the part I frequent, was all-a-buzzing, criticizing Hoekstra’s campaign of insensitivity, stupidity, and flat-out lying. There are several areas about this ad that are under criticism:

1. The actress’ perceived accent, fake or otherwise: I was quite moved by people of non-Asian descent being offended by the portrayal of a Chinese person (purported in China even though the scene was actually show somewhere in California) speaking with an accent and “broken” English. I have to admit: I did not see this at all. We have all heard atrocious fake Asian accents, and compared to those, hers is actually subtle (regardless whether the actress is Asian American or Asian Asian).  And the “broken” English amounts to dropping the “S” after a verb which I sometimes do by mistake because, well, I am speaking a foreign language.

I would like to put this out here: Although I would rip anybody’s head off for attempting fake Asian accents, my children’s included, there is no shame in speaking English with an accent. Duh. I tell my kids, “Don’t make fun of people speaking with an accent. They all know one more language than you do. And their English is better than your [insert foreign language].”

2. Her accent is not authentic: Well, we will find out when the APB put out by Lawrence O’Donnell for this poor actress succeeds in tracking her down. Even though I do not like what she did, being a theatre person, I have to give her some slack: Do people understand how hard it is for actors of Asian descent to find roles that are NOT stereotypical in nature?  She actually sounded a bit like me. So now I am sitting here wondering: “Fuck. So people think MINE is broken English and my English sucks?”

I was once criticized by an audience for not having an authentic Chinese accent in the play I was in. I found it hilarious and thought it was a great compliment. What do people think a Chinese accent should sound like? It baffles me really.

3. She does not look Chinese: People say that to me all the fucking time. Well-intentioned criticism like this frustrates me to no end. What IS a Chinese supposed to look like? Is there an encyclopedia of Chinese people that we can look up like a bird watcher’s guidebook? Nope. Not Chinese. Angle of eyes all wrong. Not Chinese either. See? The nose is not in the right place. Coloring is all wrong too. Seriously?

Furthermore, who cares if the actress is Chinese or not? It does not matter whether she is American-born or not either. What matters is that PeteHaveNoClueHoekstra and his people approved an ad with rampant, racist stereotypes (and of course, shameless fear mongering and blatant misinformation regarding debt and economy).

4. Yes, the fear mongering alluding to the misconception about the debt China holds against the US [Remember the Chinese Professor ad in 2010? And the Yellow Peril trope populated by the Fu Man-Chu series in the 1930s?], and the relationship between the debt and the economy. Actually, it is rather insulting that PeteGetNotHoekstra assumes people would believe the line he’s trying to draw between US government spending and jobs being sent overseas. Here, allow me to quote Paul Krugman: [I know not everybody worships him but this article, Nobody Understands Debt, is spot on]:

Deficit-worriers portray a future in which we’re impoverished by the need to pay back money we’ve been borrowing. They see America as being like a family that took out too large a mortgage, and will have a hard time making the monthly payments.

This is, however, a really bad analogy in at least two ways.

First, families have to pay back their debt. Governments don’t — all they need to do is ensure that debt grows more slowly than their tax base…

Second — and this is the point almost nobody seems to get — an over-borrowed family owes money to someone else; U.S. debt is, to a large extent, money we owe to ourselves.

… …

It’s true that foreigners now hold large claims on the United States, including a fair amount of government debt. But every dollar’s worth of foreign claims on America is matched by 89 cents’ worth of U.S. claims on foreigners. And because foreigners tend to put their U.S. investments into safe, low-yield assets, America actually earns more from its assets abroad than it pays to foreign investors. If your image is of a nation that’s already deep in hock to the Chinese, you’ve been misinformed. Nor are we heading rapidly in that direction.

 

Ok. Now that we’ve got the air cleared, could I please start with my psychotic foaming at the mouth now? Thank you.

Nobody seems to be bothered by this. At least, they did not comment on it. My first reaction?

“O.M.G. Is she selling porn??!! Is she trying to get the good ol’ American white boys into her pants?!”

WTF is with the downcast eyes, the come-hither smile? What’s even more bizarre is that she’s supposed to be addressing  Debbie Stabenow, Hoekstra’s opponent in this race. I was seeing Lotus Blossom and Dragon Lady morphed into one right on my computer screen, on a Monday morning, in the fucking 21st century. It was such a visceral reaction that I had to grip the edge of the table to stop myself from screaming; I held my breath in fear because I was half expecting her to say “Me love you long time”… This is THE most offensive stereotyping I have seen so far in the 21st century. PeteMeSuckHoekstra did not even try to hide it. This “character” in his campaign ad is made up of everything that created “Dragon Lady” and sustained this stereotype over the decades. The ad, unapologetically, resurrected the stereotype of women of Asian descent as calculating, treacherous and manipulative a la “Dragon Lady”. Along with that, the ad invokes the fear of the Yellow Peril (originated in the 19th century when Chinese laborers were imported like cattle to the West Coast to build the railroads): only now they stay in China while taking away the jobs from the Americans…

 

Hello? PeteIamNotARacistHoekstra, Fu Man-chu called. He wanted his Dragon Lady back. He said that you could come over to the 1930s to visit her.

 

Thank you, indeed, PeteShowingYourTrueColorHoekstra, for reminding me and for proving to people who like to tell me that “It’s in your head. Racism does not exist any more. Grow some thick skin. Stop whining.” that idiots without self-awareness are still around us. Stay vigilant.

 

 

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I have been thinking that I should make this a weekly feature. There are so many WTF moments, don’t you think? But sometimes when I finally found time, it was NOT Wednesday any more, so I waited, and then I missed another Wednesday…

Anyway, 5 minutes before midnight. STILL Wednesday. And I always have the West Coast to count on when necessary. So quickly some WTF moments from this week and last week:

 

“Tea Party Groups In Tennessee Demand Textbooks Overlook U.S. Founder’s Slave-Owning History”.

Did your jaw hit the desk? Yup. Mine did too. But of course, the Texas Board of Education had approved of revisions to textbooks last year that include

the exploration of the positive aspects of American slavery, lifting the stature of Jefferson S. Davis to that of Abraham Lincoln, and amendments to teach the value of the separation of church and state were voted down by the conservative cadre. Among other controversial amendments that have been approved is the study of the “unintended consequences” of affirmative action.

Actually, you could have just stopped me at “the exploration of the positive aspects of American slavery”. I want to use this piece of sad news as a test stone to people I know: If you are not immediately outraged, if you even “stop and think about it”, you are out. It’s black and white in this case.

 

Newt Gingrich’s three marriages mean he might make a strong president — really 

This is written by a “DR” Keith Ablow so it must be true. The article is published on Foxnews.com so we know it is… *cough* *cough*. This is so quote-worthy so I have to share:

Warning: Don’t drink or eat when you read the following.

So, here’s what one interested in making America stronger can reasonably conclude—psychologically—from Mr. Gingrich’s behavior during his three marriages:

1) Three women have met Mr. Gingrich and been so moved by his emotional energy and intellect that they decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives with him.

2) Two of these women felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married.

3 ) One of them felt this way even though Mr. Gingrich was already married for the second time, was not exactly her equal in the looks department and had a wife (Marianne) who wanted to make his life without her as painful as possible.

Conclusion: When three women want to sign on for life with a man who is now running for president, I worry more about whether we’ll be clamoring for a third Gingrich term, not whether we’ll want to let him go after one.

And I checked, The Onion had nothing to do with this.  Daily Kos, on the other hand, had a lot of fun analyzing this. Good times.

 

Komen breast cancer charity severs ties with Planned Parenthood

Susan G. Komen for the Cure announced its decision to stop funding Planned Parenthood centers.  “Many suspect the move is a result of political pressure by antiabortion activists,” LA Times added helpfully. You think?!

The Internet was immediately set ablaze and some news reports are saying that donations to Planned Parenthood actually spiked. Yeah, us!

 

 

 

Before I go, let me share something that will make you smile. Thanks to Mary Lee. I have not stopped smiling since I saw it.

Janet Howell, Virginia State Senator, Attaches Rectal Exam Amendment To Anti-Abortion Bill

To protest a bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion, Virginia State Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) on Monday attached an amendment that would require men to have a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication.

The bad news is, yes, the ultrasound bill passed. The bad-yet-we-can-find-something-good news is, Senator Howell’s amendment failed (naturally) but it was lost by only three votes. 19-21.

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WTF Wednesday: So you think you are being a good Samaritan…

November 30, 2011 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

Hello, there. I thought I’d resurface with an installment of WTF Wednesday. I hope this serves as a nice counter balance to the holly jolly Christmas cheer, as manifested by the non-stop Christmas music ringing in your ears, that’s making you, even though you don’t want to admit it, a little bit dizzy. Or maybe […]

43 comments

WTF Wednesday: I will stab anyone who says “Boys will always be boys”

July 27, 2011 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

I wrote a post titled  I will stab anyone who says “Boys will always be boys”  in October 2010 at the height of teen (and preteen) suicides. With the nation coming together in the movement It Gets Better, I felt relieved. “People get it now.” I thought. “They are reaching out to our young people. People […]

24 comments

WTF Wednesday? Duh. Winning!

March 2, 2011 random

This is a cheap shot and oh so predictable. But I need to pay homage to the latest Interweb sensation and not only an awesome Internet meme in the making but a generous provider of meme material. Yes, my friend. I am talking about Charlie Sheen. My apology indeed. I know most of you are […]

77 comments

Double Whammy Wednesday – WTF and Wordless

February 23, 2011 a picture is worth a thousand words
24 comments

WTF Wednesday: These boots are made for walking

November 10, 2010 a picture is worth a thousand words
32 comments

WTF Wednesday vs. The Silverlining Man

November 3, 2010 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

As predicted, the midterm election results painted the map red. . . Yes, yes, we got bagged. It’s 5:30 am, and I haven’t slept. I have not packed for my trip overseas, nor have I finished getting the house ready for my absence. At a time like this, we need… The Silverlining Man! He will […]

39 comments

Jan Brewer: The New Face for the Fight Against Glossophobia

September 8, 2010 imho is just a polite way to say I know you don't give a hoot what I think but I'm going to say it anyway

Jan Brewer. We all came to know Jan Brewer, the current Governor of the State of Arizona when on the fateful day of April 23, 2010, against (and perhaps delighted in?) the rising controversy and media scrutiny, she signed the “Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act” (aka Arizona SK 1070), setting the record […]

45 comments