Entries tagged "women"
Russia has just decriminalized domestic violence.
Women are harmed at an alarming rate from domestic violence here in the US too. And the Senate just voted to make sure contraception is not covered. Misogyny has long been apart of our culture. This is a moment in which patriarchy has put all its chips on red.
It is time for us to refuse. This means men too have to really get in your guts, what it means to have self-agency and control over your body handed over whether its forced pregnancy, the very common experience of rape and sexual assault and the de facto cultural and legal reality that there’s not a whole lot you can do about it without more pain and even with the pain there are almost never collective social and legal consequences for rape for the rapist other than affirmation of so-called “masculinity,” the dismissal and marginalization of womens experience (or these would be stories and experiences you’d be hearing about all the damn time in media), any random guy walking toward down the airplane aisle feeling like its no big deal to put his hands on your waist to move you aside.
This means marching and calling and insisting. This means making consent a reality and the norm. This means talking to your sons and students about what consent is. This means social norms and pressures that support girls and womens’ agency.
Sadly it is things getting much worse and emboldened that make people more aware of what has always been there. A good chunk of the country had to knowingly vote (though I am not persuaded it was just votes that put Il Dupe in position we need an open investigation) for someone who brags about sexually assaulting women. Sexual assault was voted for. We will see more like this as in Russia if we do not say and embody “no.”
As with all things, if you don’t get the lesson, it gets harder.
And for those doubling down on misogyny in the new regime and the emboldened culture of dominanace sold, like crack or a bottle, like it’s gonna make everything ok, they will continue to find there will never be enough to make them feel ok. Their desperation will only increase.
There’s no way out of this without learning to feel, without growing up.
I have issues with Ms Henein for her approach to defending Ghomeshi and the way she attacked the women who brought charges. So I recognize some irony in this extremely well-written op- ed of hers because I believe she professionally took plenty of advantage of the dismissal of women voices in public, adding to it. (Yes I get that it is a common tactic in her job. Yes I went to law school, I get how it works). BUT she is willing to say about Hillary Clinton what few mainstream media spaces are saying in the US today (yet another reflection of sexism), “She lost because she is a woman.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton wasn’t just opposed by the GOP and the industry of conservative and far right media. She was attacked by the FBI. Wikileaks went after her, Russia. This reminded me of my mentor law prof’s tenure review. Her feminism and femaleness and scholarship so flipped out so many men that Law and Econ profs across the country decided to wage a national campaign to Northwestern University to stop her tenure even when the law school recommended her and her work was unquestionable.
There is room enough for us all to speak and completely be ourselves in public. But we won’t live that reality until we women take, not request, our full rightful place in public and the men that are terrified by that deal with their feelings on their own. It is possible. It will happen. But it won’t until we stop the emotional labour and the stooping and smoothing over and just take our place over and over again. We will have to deal with the discomfort of male discomfort over and over and our fear of their fear. We have to let them be afraid and angry and stay focused for support on our own guiding star and our own groundedness, each other, and those who are able to hear and see us.
I know from coming out, eventually, the reality of the full you, when it does not move and go away, becomes more difficult to pretend and wish away.
I’ll admit it I’m very excited about this piece. It’s the biggest interview ever published with me and we got to talk about all kinds of juicy stuff I care a lot about.
I had a lot of fun talking with writer Lili Loofbourow for this interview for The Hairpin in which I discuss my approach to making interactive shows, gender, who’s in the “audience,” how the room never ends now in performance because of social media, and the work of Marc Maron, Louie CK, the whole ‘women aren’t funny’ thing, social media gender issues and all that “rapey” talk.
It’s always a delight to ge to give shout outs and voice to some of the women from whom I’ve learned and been inspired. Some are famous like Jennifer Coolidge and some are not, but are infamous but not so known, like Cynthia Szigeti and some like my Aunt Fraida never even got a chance to get on stage. My Aunt Fraida is the funniest person I’ve known. Who’s the funniest person you’ve known?
Great piece by the wonderful comic, writer and director Taylor Negron which captures the best of Sandra Bernhard and her impact. Sandra’s work had a huge influence on me and it’s fair to say that I wouldn’t be performing today if not for her groundbreaking solo show Without You I’m Nothing.
Like many innovators, much of what she did unique and edgy was rooted in the context of the time. Taylor Negron’s piece captures that beautifully. He’s a wonderful performer too. If you get a chance to see him live too, jump at it.
A lot of geek prayers were answered recently through geek statistical analysis by Nate Silver. He accurately predicted almost all the US election results and was dismissed for it by the Right, for his bewitching use of math because “Nobody knows anything.”
Nate Silver is a statistician taking on the job done before by pundits and experts who have been around the game a long time. He is quiet and nerdy and he bested them all. It’s exactly the story told in Moneyball (which is a great movie and an amazing book by Michael Lewis).
I was lucky to get a nerdy tour of Obama’s campaign headquarters when I was speaking at WebVisions in Chicago in October. (Many thanks to them for the tour and the above pic). Some of the people in our group who worked in UX (or user experience design) knew the Obama campaign’s head of UX. Obama’s HQ was full of old computer monitors propped on cardboard boxes for ergonomic help. There were huge numbers of young people editing video, designing sites, coding, making calls and designing all manner of posters which were all center justified and beautifully fonted (yes I made that word up and I like it). The posters and youthful environment felt like a Pride Parade organized by McSweeney’s smushed with a tech start up: Asian American Pacific Islanders for Obama, African Americans for Obama, LGBT Americans for Obama and so on.
It was a room full of true believers who were working their asses off. It reminded me of my brother who is an intense campaigner (he helped Canada’s Green Party leader Elizabeth May get elected and now runs Change.org campaigns in Canada) and it reminded me of myself in college and law school when I organized and worked fervently on feminist and progressive causes. I attended a rally for Jesse Jackson’s “Rainbow Coalition” back in the 80s when he ran for the Democratic nomination and it was dismissed as a political stunt and far-off, utopianism among naive students and wacko liberals. And it was easy to dismiss. The rally wasn’t very big, the speeches weren’t well-organized or confident and the most notable moment was one of my few out classmates throwing her bra onstage for the Indigo Girls. It was 1988. All of these different groups working together? They couldn’t stop arguing and all they wanted to do was compare their pain and oppression. A bunch of whiners.
Fast forward 24 years to last Tuesday and I’m at my nerd friends with a bunch of nerdy people of various races and sexualities and genders, many of whom work at tech start-ups and we’re taking photographs with our pocket computers of the High Definition television set of the results of incredibly well-organized, disciplined, grass roots campaign which had as its basic premise the reality that enough of us from all the hyphenated groups would matter and are of voting age that you could have enough votes to re-elect a Black and White President who supports the right to equal marriage.
And all 4 states with votes on gay marriage supported marriage equality.
And the first openly gay senator was elected. And the first Asian American woman senator.
And every politician who made insane comments about rape was defeated.
And the demographics show that the tipping point has happened. The electorate has moved toward amore diverse population and inclusive policies.
I’ve been waiting for this moment for the wake up call about the human cost of the “trickle down” economics and the playing to the religious right since Reagan, since I was a university student at Yale. That’s when identity politics was being mocked as official whining and it launched the career of many a disdainful, pithy writer (Katie Roiphe, Camille Paglia, Dinesh D’Souza I’m looking at you). And yeah the worst part of identity politics was and is the idea that feeling aggrieved is what you should lead with instead of what motivates you to lead. It took me many years to find that the theory you have about the world is just a feeling you have about your parents.
The best part of political correctness is the idea of consideration and respect for others who are different than you. The best part of identity politics is the notion that the reality of your lived experience informs your understanding of public needs and effective solutions.
And to have the best from these things combined with incredibly nerdy attention to detail and excitement about connecting with people is to re-elect Barak Obama.
To focus not only on what hurts, but to feel and acknowledge what hurts and then focussing on what *can* be done. This inspires me.
I just got an email from a conference that made me sad. It was only two sentences long. It was a dismissal in the guise of being a favour. It showed me that I didn’t matter to this person professionally anymore. We are done.
It hurt. It still hurts.
When I started out there years back I was just doing what was fun. I never thought of myself as in any kind of “in crowd.” Some people told me then that I was some kind of miniature celebrity in a miniature world. I didn’t see it. But I did feel like I belonged. I felt like I was with my people: the kind of people who were excited by ideas and who said to the new person who showed up at lunch “come on here and sit down.”
This is making me re-think how I learned that what I had to say mattered.
It mattered to me that what I had to say or who I brought together mattered to others. A conference or a show or an audience.
I’m having to learn over and over that what I have to say or do has to matter to me first. it sounds so simple and perhaps brain-dead to you that this is a thing to know or to learn. But it is for me.
In every world I’ve been in: artistic, entrepreneurial, or political everyone wants to know what people like. The truth is that even in the worlds that consider themselves “indie” they care. For me independent performing, publishing, creating business was about being able to follow the creative impulse you have. It was about an environment that preached and modeled empowerment.
You *can* do this.
You are allowed to do this.
I’m the kind of girl who needed to hear that. You can always tell who else needed to hear it: they’ll say it to anyone else, anytime.
Great encouragers of others always need encouragement.
People are always talking about themselves. Always. Whether we know we are talking to ourselves is another story.
I’ve never been a big triangulator of creative talent. Either I like your stories, your voice, your perspective, your jokes, your vulnerability or I don’t. I don’t like it because someone else does (no matter what any database, social media platform or popular kids table might say).
It never made a lot of sense to me to like someone because they were popular. That was true in junior high and it’s true when it comes to indie art too. I’m not interested in someone because they’re alternatively popular. Truth is, the people whose work I often love are often dismissed. But I don’t love someone’s voice or work *because* they’re dismissed. I love what resonates with my heart. That’s all.
It’s easy when I think about other peoples’ work: Justin Vivian Bond, Patti Smith, WhoopDeeDo.tv , Paul Mooney. The kind of folks I want to interview for my news upcoming subvert podcast (you can also follow @subverting on twitter). I’ll be subverting the SXSW conference live with impromptu gatherings. Add me on twitter and foursquare to join. I want to see what’s in your heart.
So why am I afraid of what’s in mine?
1. “No one will listen to me.”
2. “I don’t have anything to say that matters.”
3. Fear they will upset someone or that they will be criticized.
4. “These guys act as if they know everything, when they don’t. But I don’t know enough to speak.”
5. No one asked me or invited me.
Many women, not to mention anyone of colour or who does not fit into the the existing image of authority held by attention centre gatekeepers are invisible to them. And if you’re not just like those who “already matter,” you probably have to live in translation in order to gain attention from these gatekeepers.
6. Not having someone in their life (ie role traditionally cast with wife, girlfriend, mother) to encourage them and emotionally take care of them when they risk and fall working for public influence.
7. “I learned to shut up in public in grade 6.” (in order to be liked by boys-if they liked boys- or blend in)
8. “If I want to be popular or influential, isn’t that selfish and egotistical?”
This is a subset of fear of wanting. If you want, then you exist some way other than relationally. If no one is there to affirm your own desires and wants…do they exist?
9. “I have more important things to worry about.”
The profound satisfaction of strong and intimate bonds of close family and friends seem much more valuable to many women than trading this mode of connection for public influence. I believe the skills and most of all *caring* that make these strong bonds possible are actually necessary to create growing public influence now.
10. “This crap is obvious to me. Why do I have to shoot my mouth about it in public? I could just be doing something.”
Who is more likely to get something done without asking for public credit? Women or men?
Post other responses not included in the options in the the comments.
I’m trying to get stuff out and wondering if I’m the only one?
Where this came from:
The anger of the many female Hillary voters (of which I am not one) and the press following Hillary’s loss led me to a thought. Hillary is almost the only public representation we have of a woman with power in the public sphere. Not sexual power. Not power based upon making men comfortable. Even with her marriage to Bill Clinton much of her power now is her own and it is not presented as trophy wife power.
I issued a challenge on twitter yesterday and I repeat and will track it here:
Name me 10 other women over 30 you see who aren’t about sexually or emotionally supporting men in popular media.
Here’s what I’ve got so far:
Brad King condi rice, albright, 70 current representatives and 14 current senators.
Ok Brad, quick name 8 of those reps by name. And we’re talking *famous* here.
Nick Douglas: B’bra Walters, Anna Wintour, Arianna Huff’ton, Oprah, Tyra, Condi Rice, Nancy Pelosi, Marissa Mayer, Anne Coulter, Ruth Ginsberg?
Nick agreed to remove Tyra (fame by sexual appeal) and I am disqualifying (though he disputes my call) Ann Coulter for the same reasons. She used that strongly to start her national visibility.
Nick also notes “Of course the time it took me to think up that list speaks to the still terrible dearth of well-known powerful female figures.”
MulegirlPut up Arianna too. (While haters say Hillary only has power because of Bill, I don’t hear them saying Arianna only has power cause she was willing to be a beard for a green card. Personally I can’t wait to meet Arianna to find out when she knew Michael is gay and when and how her political change of heart happened and if it was done so she could grow her audience).
Here’s the challenge. See if you can do it off the top of your head in under a minute. Double points if you can do it while drinking. Challenge your friends. Send me the videos.