Personally, my problems with the asterisk aren’t of a nature of “this excludes trans women!” or whatever. It doesn’t. Nor are they based in an ignorance of the issues of non-binary semantic inclusion.
My criticisms are principally of…
a) the relative worth or value of the…
“Putting an asterisk on the end of “trans” is INCREDIBLY EASY. A lot easier than actually working towards making spaces, events, projects, organizations or instutions GENUINELY trans / genderqueer inclusive.”
• Trying/eating/making a culture’s food • Listening to that culture’s music • Watching that culture’s movies • Reading that culture’s books • Appreciating that culture’s art • Wearing that culture’s clothing IF in a setting where that culture is prevalent and IF people are okay with it and/or it is necessary to fit in and not stand out weirdly (i.e. If you visit Pakistan, you can wear a shalwar kameez so you don’t stand out as an American tourist. Or if you visit a specific temple or religious setting, you may need to/want to adhere to specific dress forms. Or if you’re invited to a wedding and they allow/invite you to wear their cultural dress to participate in the festivities). • Using that culture’s dance/physical traditions in specific settings (i.e. taking belly-dancing classes, or going to an Indian wedding and trying to dance with them).
What is cultural appropriation:
• Wearing specific items of clothing that may (and probably do) have deeper meaning as a costume. Like on Halloween. • Wearing specific items of clothing to be trendy or fashionable. • Trying to imitate their natural beauty standards and possible makeup/markings (i.e dreadlocks and bindis and mehndi/henna). • Taking their rituals, old-as-hell traditions, and dances and turning them into cheap, tacky everyday garbage for you to have “fun” with (i.e. smoking sheesha. Y’all turned it into this janky nonsense that looks so trashy and stupid). • Taking spiritual/religious ideas and traditions and subscribing to them to be trendy or unique • Trying to act like you’re an expert in their food, music, or art, and that you can do it BETTER than them • Basically trying to WEAR that culture’s skin, clothing, & beauty traditions as a costume/trend and turn old traditions into cheap garbage
And WHY is this wrong? Because, in our society, white people or non-POC can get away with wearing another culture’s clothes and identities and it will be “cute”, “indie”, “bohemian”, “trendy”, and “exotic.” BUT when a POC who actually belongs to that culture wears their own culture’s clothing, styles of beauty, or does things that are specific to their culture, they’re looked down upon, made fun of, sneered at, told to “Go home, get out of this country, we don’t do that here,” and laughed at.
white boys playing at government, without opposition i’m onto you. i know your refugee policies have nothing to do with refugees and everything to do with performing white sovereignty you can put on the biggest muscle parade in the world i know this is not your country
forget facts and figures, forget human rights forget the reassurance that only a reasonable number of adequately-persecuted UN-recognised hard-working polite civilised brown people contributing labour, gratitude, delicious foods and diversity but not transformation will arrive
remember that your authority is premised on a colony of lies
i know your nightmares the flood, looking back, the taste of salt your fear of invasion is a fear of retribution in 2013, still your solution is to put prisons on another country while this one remains colonised
the sun will set on british theft when justice comes you can’t stop it with oceans, bullets or laws borders won’t protect you from who rises within
i know your nightmares if everyone comes here the worst that happens is we live like other people learn what they know of survival
the best that happens is the weight of the world cracks open something unsettling
i know your nightmares and i hope your fears are right that all they/we who come threatens this way of life
i dream your nightmares the flood you fear i welcome i can taste the salt, look back see white foam on the crest, breaking and everything beneath rising with full force
Lia Incognita, 2013. First performed at Spoken Out For Refugees, on Wurundjeri land, Sunday 18 August 2013.
It is my intention to put together a non-western feminism course syllabus for submission to my Women’s Studies department. In that spirit, I have collected a list of texts on non-western feminism, mostly in the voices of non-western women, to serve as a starting point for developing this…
Many travel blogs are written by people who’ve sold all their possessions and have taken a huge plunge into the world of long-term travel. This can sound expensive at first, but when you consider that you don’t have rent or a car payment in this…
Warning: shitty unedited rant about first-generation migrant family life and things
Tonight, my mum let me in on the struggle behind the scenes of family life that only mums talk about between themselves. I became privy some things about my closest family friends, who are surrogate extended family for us. That struggle to build a family in a new cultural context, in a new environment where your skills are nullified, reduced by the barriers of language and assumptions. I saw my father struggling to maintain a paternal role of financial provider, protector of his partner, masculine parental figure to my brother, and stern advisor against radical thoughts that I might be gaining with some forms of education. I saw my mother struggling to support everyone else in the essential daily practicalities of preparing three meals a day, motivating and helping my brother with schoolwork, being an informal and unrecognised community leader her various support and mothers groups as a more fluent English-speaker, tirelessly working through her post chemo pains without little complaint or cry for help. I see my mum regretting that she gave the benefit of the doubt to my dad in his fruitless endeavours into the capitalist playing ground that is the stock market. I hear my mum telling me of a family friend who had the courage and luck to get training, look for jobs, support herself both financially and emotionally. I feel my mum hurting, physically from chronic lack of sleep and ongoing bodily aches – something she says is a manifestation of her negative energy.
All I could do was speak in English and broken Cantonese, thankful that my parents took every opportunity to learn the adopted language that I somehow call my own. All I can do to try and capture these moments, their struggle, my herstory, is to string together words of my second, yet more fluent language. It is not enough. It feels like it’ll never be enough.
“If you actually want to talk about racism and/or any other oppressions and dominations then you need to get out of the DEBATE mindset. There is no debating oppression and if you think there is then you truly are oppressive and you have no intention of changing that behavior.”—phdreamsanddenials (via misandry-mermaid)
Everything that has happened in the past 24-48 hours (actually make that the beginning of time) has made me realise that I should no longer be politically indifferent or complacent about the rights of women, people of colour and the LGBT community. I cried in frustration this morning and I guess that’s a part of growing up and realising that life does not go the way you want it to (unless you are a privileged white male). The thing is, I’ve probably grown up being a quiet person because my opinions were not worthy to people and that I should live my life not bothering people if my views did not match theirs. I remember hanging out with a bunch of guys in high school making kitchen jokes about women and I remember not saying anything because everytime I retaliated in the past, they would reply back with, ‘We’re just taking the piss. Stop taking things seriously’. I have never argued or debated in my childhood/teens because I didn’t want to bother anyone and I feel that once I start making posts that will be sure to ruffle the feathers of friends who think women should be silenced or should go back to the kitchen or are (closet) racists or discriminating towards the LGBT community, I will be lost. I will be lost for words because I don’t know how to argue eloquently without having to resort to calling someone a stupid fucking idiot. I am scared of being a hypocrite and that someone or myself will dig up a time that I have been sexist, racist or discriminatory towards someone and again, I will feel lost.
It is going to take time. But for the time being, I will take baby steps to make sure that my voice and other people like myself, who have lived with this frustration longer than I have, will be heard.
It’s like you’ve echoed the same thoughts that I’ve written down in my own diary not long ago.. Except my moments of (somewhat) self-doubt ridden resolve have been ongoing, between being stuck down potholes of being overwhelmed by so much inequality to the point of apathetic despair, being so paralysed by self-doubt that it took me 3 weeks to finally walk into a Wom*n’s Collective meeting at uni, being beet red flush-faced as a visible alert that I’m fucking nervous for having spoken a single word or challenged an assumption in class, at a meeting, with friends….
I’m so often lost for words, and fear that if I do try to speak, I won’t be able to articulate it well enough. I guess that’s why I keep reaching out, asking for others’ to speak, learning more, sharing more.. I get incredibly excited when I come across amazing, accepting, like-minded, but fucking honest people (on blogs, making Youtube communities, in Facebook groups, at protests, at uni) who have said something that resonates so much and that gives me an idea of how to speak.
It’s a hard slog for gender equality, LGBTI rights, an end to racism, a better society. But I think the fear of being a hypocrite, of being shouted down or cracking under scrutiny, I keep realising that it’s a common one for people who are self-reflective, considerate and respectful. Too often I’ve felt so intimidated, or guilty, for not knowing, for acting without thought.. but I’ve found that if you’re honest about your uncertainty, you question, you acknowledge and you do your best to listen and learn, you’re doing things right. We’re all still learning, and there’s always more to learn anyway.
The most fist-pumping sort of disclaimer I’ve read is one where people acknowledge that their voice, their story, their experience, is only one. Though one story might resonate with a huge community, It cannot be representative of a whole - one person cannot speak for many. For me, that’s just fantastic to be reminded of.. simultaneously acknowledging the diversity of experiencing oppression, and encouraging those who previously had little voice to speak, speak a bit louder.
“The human species was given dominion over the earth and took the opportunity to exterminate other species and warn the atmosphere and generally ruin things in its own image, but it paid this price for its privileges; that the finite and specific animal body of this species contained a brain capable of conceiving the infinite and wishing to be infinite itself.”—Jonathan Franzen, ‘The Corrections’
When I think back to my time at UTS, I immediately think of fried rice with curry sauce. Which, from memory, I ate every lunch for three years at the cafeteria downstairs.
Hugh Jackman has a Communications Degree from UTS. I will never mock my Communications Degree again. However I would very much like to know why UTS insisted on kicking off the semester with the Hoff when I would have much preferred to see Hugh…
A welcome reminder that there is hope in Commmunications. Also, tonight a friend who just transferred to Comms from a USyd glorified Arts course told me she loves the way FASS structured the subjects. I remember feeling that way. I swear I’ll fight for that feeling in Social Inquiry, even if it need be fuelled by naivety.
The Hoff was a UTS union decision and felt like a poorly thought out publicity stunt attempt, because really, what uni student would go to an o’day with Hasslehoff as the clincher. What is Baywatch even
It’s been a crying in the shower kind of night but Erik Satie, Rachmaninov, and St Vincent made music that I get the privilege of listening to so things will be okay for now.
Also what kind of genius sings these lines over a light fingerpicking guitar ditty and cute hand percussion..
‘Juliet, how you been? You look like death, like you sure could use some rest from this place, human racing, and the faces of people pounding at your door, they’ll always want more’
St Fucking Vincent, that’s who. I just can’t stop listening. I’m like 2 Years behind the curve. Should’ve explored her work after seeing that acoustic ‘What Me Worry’ flirting with Andrew Bird..
“Dear Prime Minister, You have done a great favour to us today, of which you are not aware. I’ve seen a Galatasaray (football team) fan picking up a Fenerbahçe (another football team) fan off of the street who fell against the police, to whom you have ordered to kill. I’ve seen students sharing their water and bread with each other; Kurds and Turks walking hand in hand. I’ve seen women, whom you call whores, coming out of the brothel to give lemons and water to those who were injured. I’ve seen people, whom you call transvestites, opening their hotel rooms for refuge; I’ve seen lawyers and doctors sharing their phones, medical students responding in emergencies. I’ve seen elderly ladies giving out clothes soaked in vinegar. I’ve seen shopkeepers sharing their wireless network passwords, hotel owners taking injured in to their lobbies. I’ve seen a bus driver blocking the road to prevent the panzer from entering. I’ve seen pharmacists opening their shops at night. And rest assured, tonight our eyes were filled with tears not because of the teargas you ordered to be fired but because of pride.”—