Solanin, at least for me in that moment, wasn’t about any of that. It was a single chapter, chapter five, that hit me the hardest. My grandmother passed away from stomach cancer and had been suffering from dementia; her husband passed long before I was born. In the chapter, there’s an old man who’s “got Alzheimer’s or something” and he mails a letter to his wife, who died in the air raids, every day for the past 40-odd years. There’s a certain poetry in that dedication to love and it made me wonder if my grandmother ever felt the same way. I never asked her, and I regret that.
WWE, Masculinity, Feminism: Scarlett Harris' "Queer New Day" is an interesting look at the current New Day gimmick, and how it can be read as subverting both the racist storytelling and toxic masculinity of pro wrestling in general and WWE specifically.
That New Day can still be over with performances so overtly challenging yet simultaneously so covertly queering the the dominant paradigm in wrestling is a testament not so much to the higher ups willing to push them but to an increasingly diverse legion of fans (the same fans that brought about the #GiveDivasaChance and #DivasRevolution campaigns, no matter what Paige or Stephanie McMahon tell us) willing to cheer them. And not only are they subverting the traditionally masculine archetype of a wrestler, they’re toppling the savage, out of control machismo of the archetype of black men and black wrestlers.
Trans, Language: 4 ‘Compliments’ Cis People Give Trans Folks That Are Actually Hella Cissexist by James St James at Everyday Feminism is a great look at the subtle (and not so subtle) ways we can be terrible allies even when we're trying to say something positive. (And some shitty responses that are not even trying to be positive, too.)
4. ‘You’re Trans? Wow! I Just Want You to Know That You’re a Gorgeous/Handsome Wo/man’
This is a tricky one, the Validation Response.
I know in my little heart that lots (lots) of cis people who utter this one have nothing more than good intentions in mind. They want to show their support for the trans person before them, and so they compliment us in the best (or, perhaps only?) way they know how: by telling us our physical looks achieve some of the highest marks possible in the gender we identify with.
But brace yourself, I’m about to get nasty.
A major reason the Validation Response is a problem is—well—because it assumes your opinion validates our identity. To be blunt, you’re still only seeing us through the cis lens.
Being True to Yourself: You're Braver Than You Think at FuzzyGalore.com hit me right in the feelings, with something I've been struggling with for the past year: being willing to try things that I will fail because I want to try them anyway.
Thankfully, there was a little spark inside of me that continued to whisper in my ear even though I’d worked at smothering it for years. Be quiet, wild thing. You’ll only get us in to trouble! At some point though, I realized that there is no trouble worse than self-deception; cutting yourself off at the knees by denying your passions, your potential, your thirst for living the life that you want. One of the unfortunate side effects of your self-deception and fear is that you leave a field of collateral damage in your wake.
After a long and torturous build up, I finally cracked under the pressure. I gave up the game, secret by secret and walked out of the prison I’d built for myself. I had to stop being afraid.
Trash, Recycling, Collectives: The Rise of the Trash-Picker Collective, in Latin America and Beyond by Vanessa Hua at Pacific Standard is an interesting look at recycling and the power of collectives.
As they organize, the workers likewise construct a new social identity by picking a name for their occupation that isn’t tied to trash and waste, according to Dias.
“The politics of naming matters,” Dias says. “It’s very important to help a given group get together and work toward their demands. How can you get people organized if they don’t see value in what they do?”
In Uruguay, they call themselves “classifacadores,” classifiers of materials, as opposed to hurgadores (“pokers”). In Argentina, they’re “cartoneros,” or cardboard collectors. In Colombia, scrap metal specialists are “chatarreros,” while those who seek out glass bottles are “frasqueros.” In Mexico, “buscabotes” collect aluminum cans.
Dulcey points to the lapel of his uniform, which is embroidered with the phrase “Gente Emprendedora” (Entrepreneur). “We want to touch the sky,” he says. “We are entrepreneurs.”
Rape culture, Politics, India: When Taking a Nap Is a Political Act by Chryselle D'Silva Dias at Broadly.
Hosted by the Blank Noise Project, an all-volunteer collective that campaigns against street harassment, this seemingly subtle protest event is called "Meet to Sleep," and it asks citizens to come together to reclaim public spaces and make cities safer. Started in 2003 by Jasmeen Patheja as part of her graduation project, Blank Noise mobilizes citizen "action heroes" through its projects, events, and campaigns, and it has played a major role in the snowballing discussion surrounding street harassment in India. The organization has been hosting Meet to Sleep events in cities across India since November 2014.
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