Category: Politics


Banned Books Week 2014

Welp, time to read some banned books.

http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10#2013

Top Ten Challenged Books Lists by Year: 2001-2013

Find out if your favorite book has been banned or challenged by exploring the top ten lists of the 21st century below. For more information on how many books were challenged in a given year or for reasons why these books were challenged, please explore the top ten list by year.

2013

Out of 307 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

2012

Out of 464 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom
  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey.
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
    Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
  6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
  9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence

2011

Out of 326 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
  4. My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
  7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
  8. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
  9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: offensive language; racism

2010

Out of 348 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  3. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit
  4. Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  6. Lush, by Natasha Friend
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  8. Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
    Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint
  9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
    Reasons:  homosexuality and sexually explicit
  10. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer
    Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence

2009

Out of 460 challenges as reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: drugs, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  2. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: homosexuality
  3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: anti-family, drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group
  4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group
  5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
    Reasons: religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  6. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
    Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

2008

Out of 513 challenges as reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
  2. His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
    Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence
  3. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  4. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence
  5. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence
  6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group
  7. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  8. Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen
    Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group
  9. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  10. Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper
    Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

2007

Out of 420 challenges reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    Reasons:  anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, sexism, and unsuited to age group
  2. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, violence
  3. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit
  4. The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
    Reason: religious viewpoint
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
    Reason: racism
  6. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
    Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. ttyl, by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
    Reason: sexually explicit
  9. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
    Reasons: sex education and sexually explicit
  10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

2006

Out of 546 challenges reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    Reasons: anti-family, homosexuality, and unsuited to age group
  2. Gossip Girls (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, and unsuited to age group
  3. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: offensive language and sexually explicit
  4. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
    Reasons: anti-family, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  5. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  6. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons:  insensitivity, occult/Satanism, unsuited to age group, and violence
  7. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
    Reasons: homosexuality and offensive language
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  9. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and violence

2005

Out of 405 challenges reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health, by Robie H. Harris
    Reasons: abortion, homosexuality, nudity, religious viewpoint, sex education, unsuited to age group
  2. Forever, by Judy Blume
    Reasons: offensive language, sexual content
  3. The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger
    Reasons: sexual content, offensive language, unsuited to age group
  4. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: sexual content, offensive language
  5. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
    Reasons: racism, offensive language
  6. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
    Reason: sexual content
  7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: sexual content, being unsuited to age group
  8. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: anti-family content, unsuited to age group, violence
  9. Crazy Lady!, by Jane Leslie Conly
    Reason: offensive language
  10. It’s So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families, by Robie H. Harris
    Reasons: sex education, sexual content

2004

Out of 547 challenges reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  2. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, violence
  3. Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, by Michael A. Bellesiles
    Reasons: inaccurate, political viewpoint
  4. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit
  6. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: offensive language, unsuited to age group, sexually explicit
  7. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
    Reasons: nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  8. King & King, by Linda deHaan
    Reason: homosexuality
  9. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
    Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  10. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, violence

2003

Out of 458 challenges reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: sexual content, offensive language, unsuited to age group
  2. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
    Reasons: occult/Satanism
  3. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
    Reason: offensive language
  4. Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, by Michael Bellesiles
    Reason: inaccuracy
  5. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
    Reason: drugs, offensive language, racism, sexual content, violence
  6. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
    Reason: drugs
  7. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
    Reason: homosexuality, nudity, sexual content, sex education
  8. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
    Reason: offensive language, sexual content
  9. King & King, by Linda de Haan
    Reason: homosexuality
  10. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
    Reason: occult/Satanism, offensive language

2002

Out of 515 challenges reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling
    Reasons: occult/Satanism, violence
  2. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  5. Taming the Star Runner, by S.E. Hinton
    Reason: offensive language
  6. Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: offensive language, unsuited to age group
  7. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
    Reason: offensive language
  8. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
    Reasons: occult/Satanism, offensive language, violence
  9. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor
    Reason: offensive language
  10. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
    Reasons: unsuited to age group, violence

2001

Out of 448 challenges reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling
    Reasons: anti-family, occult/Satanism, religious viewpoint, violence
  2. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  4. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, sexually explicit
  6. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
    Reasons: offensive language, unsuited to age group
  7. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit
  9. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
    Reason: offensive language
  10. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
    Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
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obiwannabe:

thescreendoorslams:

Okay, since I’m STILL hearing people on the internet griping about the first Girl With The Dragon Tattoo poster, I felt the need to go on a little rant here. Bear with me.

Look at the image on the left. Now look at the image on the right. One of these images is of a “sexualized woman,” and the other is not. If you cannot tell the difference between a nude woman, and a sexualized woman, you are an idiot.

The fact that Rooney Mara is naked in the TGWTDT poster does not make her sexualized or objectified. David Fincher has not “missed the point,” he’s actually making a very insightful observation into the way nude women are portrayed in advertising and in films. Lisbeth Salander may be nude in this poster, but she’s miles away from the expected depiction of a naked woman. Rooney Mara said it perfectly herself:

There’s a certain way people are used to seeing nude women, and that’s in a submissive, coy pose, not looking at the camera. And in this poster, I’m looking dead into the camera with no expression on my face. I think it freaks a lot of people out.

The image of Katy Perry is clearly what Rooney is talking about here (I don’t have anything visceral against Katy Perry, I’m just using a picture of her to make a point). She looks sweet, coyly hiding herself from the camera, but still looking inviting and sexually available. Rooney Mara is the exact opposite. She is bold and uninhibited in her nudity, and she looks right at the viewer with a piercing glare that conveys an unmistakable message: come near me, and you’re dead. This is hardly in keeping with the conventional images of naked women that we are used to seeing.

Nudity and sexualization are not the same thing. Try to actually understand an image and look closely at it in relation to societal conventions and expectations before you make a judgement.

Reblogging, because I want to discuss this with Vicious.

There are a number of issues in this argument all being snowballed into sexualization: objectification, female nudity, society’s perception of female nudity, female nudity in pop culture, and David Fincher’s intentions behind the GWTDT poster.

There is a difference between female nudity and female sexualization and certainly a difference between female nudity and objectification, but when seen through the lens of pop culture and American society, those lines begin to blur.

(Note: I realize that because I can see Mara’s nipples that this is the European version of the poster, not the American. However as both myself and the author of the rant are living in America, I think we can safely take an American point of view on these posts.)

In the initial rant, Mara is not sexualized because she is not looking submissive, coy, sweet, or sexually available. Moreover, she is looking straight at the camera with an expressionless face.

The fact that in the image Mara is being held from behind by a clothed man in the darkness (as the heavy shadows show) with nipple piercings does not play a roll in the argument.

(Note: It is a topic of debate online whether or not novel Lisbeth has her nipples pierced. If anyone finds me a passage stating that she does, please let me know.)

Of the following images of blank faced nude models looking directly at the camera, please tell me which are sexualized and which are not.

All images via Ms Pussy Le Queer

Victoria’s Secret is huge into non-coy looking models. To argue that they are not sexualized is defeating a major point of the product they’re selling.

One can attempt to make that argument that Fincher is attempting to critique the way society views women and the way women have been portrayed over the past 120 years in the media, (with a focus on coy sexualization) but why would he choose to make this grand statement using the medium that he’s apparently contradicting?

More than likely, the graphic design team chose the photo and made the design of the poster. Yes, Fincher approved the design, but his producer or production team was there to remind him about the bottom line and MGM’s expectations. Mara’s role in this movie poster probably became about what most female sexualization in movies comes down to–selling tickets.

The Sex Trade

After reading PÖMZ‘s idea for building a better brothel via the video game system (The Happy Escort Studio), I began thinking that the problem he is attempting to solve transcends a simple brand reboot. While the idea of combining the oldest profession with one of the newest is sound, the root of the problem is not prostitution, but how society views the trade.

At the time of first watching the video, my views were also influenced by the New York Time’s The Disposable Woman by Anna Holmes about how Charlie Sheen’s abuses of women are written off due to the professions of and the way society views the women who accompany him. In the article, Holmes talks about Charlie Sheen’s abusive behavior toward women being ignored and somewhat condoned by society because the recipients of these acts were deemed lowly (i.e. “sluts”). There is a certain amount of dehumanization that we, at some point in time, have been trained to call upon when reacting to those women in the line of sexual business such as porn stars, strippers, or prostitutes. While there’s no doubt that there is a stigma involved with women who sell their bodies, the odd part is where we, as a society, draw the line. This mindset is much more removed in response to other realms of the industry such as lingerie models, cam girls, or your mainstream pop stars.

The part of this video that didn’t appeal to me was the focus on the youth of the girl in question. The fundamental issue of today’s sex trade is sex trafficking, which tends to prey on underage girls. One would hope that anyone who argues for the legalization of prostitution would be against such atrocious acts. Despite the glorification of youth that constantly pervades our society, there is no fine line between sexual titillation and pedophilia. An important part of legitimizing the sex trade would involve separating the trade’s image from all of the nasty stigmas it possesses, including its link to the young girls it currently victimizes. This would take place after the trade was put under strict regulation to ensure there was no longer any real world basis for these assumptions.

Vegas does it right. The porn industry does, too. To make prostitution a viable product in the United States, there needs to be strict oversight. Pimps would have to make a strategic move up in the world, as well–give up the pimp lifestyle and learn how to manage people and money in a respectable manner. STD tests and protection need to be commonplace. And, of course, paying for a woman’s services should not be the financial equivalent of going grocery shopping. For many years, a prostitutes talent was based on how much she charged, but the affection of a woman, be it real or faked is an expensive item and should be treated as such. Hell, maybe these women could even unionize.

I think part of the problem is the disassociation between the actual women and the hyper-sexualized beings they’re presented as. “Our job requirement was to be someone unreal, a hyper-sexualized girl who danced and deferred, but in the dressing room, we could be ourselves, neither distorted by fantasy nor brutalized by judgment. We could fix our makeup, wiggle our toes, count our money, goof around and just talk,” says Lily Burana in When we were strippers. The whore-madonna complex is so pervasive in our society, that it’s easy to marginalize women in the sex industry. Men are not the only ones at fault.

The only defense these women have against the fictionalized world society creates for them is their co-workers. “What made that dressing room so special was that it was infused with the sex industry’s scarcest commodity: trust….That trust fortified us against the seamier aspects of the job: the cover stories quickly conjured to sustain a double life, the burnout, the dirtbag customers who thought it was OK to show up for a lap dance with reeking hair and wandering hands, management favoritism, and ever-changing, ever-more-demanding club standards.” Through one another, these women are able to create a defense against the weapons their customers and jobs fire against them, but what happens when they leave the safe space they’ve created? In marginalizing this group of people, society has made it even more dangerous for these women once they leave the club, the street corners, the studios where they gain their reputation.

It’s no secret that violence happens in the sex trade, specifically within the field of prostitution. There seems to be a correlation between the perceived amount of regulation behind the deal and the amount of violence that occurs.  According to “Solicitation: Part Four,” by Rachel Rabbit White, both Scott and Atchinson [sex work researchers] report that violence is more common in unregulated venues, like the street.” The article is full of first hand accounts of violence against sex workers, as well as acts from tricks that hurt these sex workers business (bad reviews on Craig’s List, ect.). The sheer suggestion of someone regulating the deal that is being made cuts this type of behavior down, perhaps due to perceived repercussions.

But there are no repercussions. In a system with no legal repercussions, the only threats one faces are those enforced by those in charge, and those in charge care nothing about these women.

The Burqa

As we have just passed the ten year anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks, we might consider how civilizational-sartorial thinking has shaped recent cultural politics and military policies. In the immediate aftermath of the attacks, veils and veiled Muslim women were pathologized as passive victims in need of rescue from their oppressive religion, culture, and men. As I discuss in greater detail elsewhere, it was not just the fashion media but also the news media, politicians, and, yes, mainstream feminists who perceived the veil as the exemplary Other to fashion. Consider this statement by a Salon.com writer: “frivolous fashion is itself a patriotic symbol of America: You may never be able to afford that shredded Georgette Givenchy gown, but at least you aren’t forced to live underneath a burqa.” The veil, within this civilizational logic, is rendered the material symbol of not only Eastern tradition (as opposed to Western modernity) but a tradition imagined as brutally backwards and oppressive. This image of the victimized veiled woman played a large role in substantiating the humanitarian justification for the war in Afghanistan. Recall all the ways in which the U.S. State Department’s Report on the Taliban’s War against Women centered on the burqa and its perceived infringement on Muslim women’s freedoms. Civilizational thinking occludes the possibility that the burqa might be a fashionable garment that women wear to express their own identities, worldviews, and choices. In other words, civilizational-sartorial thinking denies Muslim women’s agency and in so doing, it negates important feminist histories of veiling such as the choice of some Egyptian women in the 1970s and 1980s to veil as a resistant act challenging Western and secular cultural domination.

Fraught Intimacies: Fashion & Feminism (The Director’s Cut)

I was dressed, in my car, and stopped at a red light, halfway to practice. Two of my friends had come over to my place before I left to hang out with my boyfriend (and me–they’d tried to convince me to skip practice). The plan was to sit by the pool and drink. I was reviewing a conversation I’d had the day before:

“How’s stuff with roller derby going?”

“Fine. I still don’t really have any friends.”

“Really?”

“Well, the girls are really into each other and a little bit clicheish. It’s like what Town&Gown must look like to outsiders, except we’re more open to new, cool people coming in. That’s assuming I’m ‘cool,’ though. I could be the Eric Davis of roller derby and have no idea.”

There was an unexpected, awkward pause, then someone mumbled, “woah.”

My friends were quick to assure me that things couldn’t be that bad.

There I was, stopped at a red light, thinking about this conversation, when Born this Way came on the radio. It occurred to me that I could die the next day, not because I was doing anything particularly dangerous. The art of living is known to be hazardous. Were I to die, I would have spent my last night alive doing the exact thing I didn’t want to do when I had woken up that morning.

I turned my car around.


My parents raised me not to be a quitter. It’s gotten me through a lot of tough times. The problem is, in my later  years, I’ve stuck with certain activities (that are supposed to be fun) long after they’ve made me miserable. No outside person would have thought of quitting competitive swimming after 10 years as being a quitter, but I did. It wasn’t until I was so miserable that hated the one sport I had loved more than anything that I actually switched to cross-country.

On this team, until you’re deemed ready to hit other girls or be hit by other girls in roller derby, you wear a blue shirt. You remember being picked last in PE? Well wearing a blue shirt at roller derby practice is like being in a permanent state of picked last in PE. Not only are not allowed to participate in half of the practice, but no other girl wants to work with you on the drills you can do. And why should they? You’re really just wasting their time.


I also skipped a practice after I failed check-offs. The day I went back was the closest thing to a walk of shame I’ve ever had. Every girl on the team said hi to me, and most of them told me (for the first time) they were glad to see me. They had thought I’d quit. The one worse thing than failing a test in front of the entire team is everybody actively pretending like you didn’t. But their intentions were good.

A teammate that I’d spoken to once before came up to me that day, as I was getting ready:

“Um, ____ was just telling me that you’ve missed a lot of practices. Come and see me after practice to talk about what we can do about this.”

“Okay.”

“Are you mad at me?”

“No”

“Would you tell me if you were?”

I take a moment to consider the question. She leans in closer to me.

“You wouldn’t, would you?” She shakes her head at me in a pitying manner, and stares at me. Eventually she goes away.

"I have always found conservative befuddlement over a lack of female candidates hilarious. At the root of American social conservatism is a drive to return to the imagined white patriarchal ideal of a 1950's sitcom, where men wear hats and carry matching briefcases to work at the factory and women mince around in pearls pushing a vacuum cleaner through their living room and then twirl together a pot roast and disgusting Jello dessert in their Dream Kitchen From The Future. Conservatives preach that the ideal expression of femininity is to stay home and have as many babies as your husband wants and then they act surprised when women who consider themselves conservatives actually do this. Why aren't there more conservative female candidates? Because you fucking told them to stay home, that's why."

in Hilariously Named ‘Smart Girls Summit’ Throws Support Behind Michele Bachmann on Jezebel

Pro-adoption?

Perhaps instead of “pro-life” the phrase could be “pro-adoption” to show that a party cares somewhat about a child’s well-being rather than just its existence.