Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Real Allies Don't Expect Cookies

Latoya Peterson at Racialicious (awesome blog!) has been doing a piece called "On Facing Your Bias, Owning Your Predjudice, And Allies." (part one here, part two here). I am feeling this quote she excerpts from Synecdochic speaking on the nature of being a (feminist) ally:


Being an ally is not a destination. It’s a process. Everyone fucks it up sometimes. I have made some spectacular fuckups myself, and that’s with trying to be very, very careful and aware. There is no get-out-of-jail-free card; there is no Magical Incantation. If you catch yourself thinking that of course you’re not like those men, stop and take a good hard look at yourself, because statistically speaking, chances are good that you might be patting yourself on the back and forgetting that you have to walk the walk as well as talking the talk.

If you consider yourself an ally, and you wind up doing or saying something that gets a really strong negative reaction, and you see one of your friends saying something along the lines of “it’s okay, he’s one of the good guys, it’s not like that”, that should be a warning sign that it’s time to immediately apologize. A real apology, not an “I’m sorry if you were offended” — because that kind of language isn’t an apology at all. You clearly did offend someone, or else the dogpile wouldn’t have happened. “I’m sorry that I offended you, and I’d like to make sure I understand why, so it doesn’t happen again; what I’m getting is that it was such-and-such, and I’m sorry I did that, and if that wasn’t it, I’d like to listen to anything else you have to say…”


Good talk! I also believe that being an ally is a journey, not some place with a finish line for sure. Scared of those folks who think they have gotten to some finish line. Angry Black Woman also touches on a particular dynamic concerning allies, and fine tunes it even more with her post,
Things You Need To Understand #9 - You Don't Get A Cookie. I quote:

When a person or group does something to address the biases and imbalances in our culture, whether it be on a grand scale, in their own sphere of influence, or in themselves, this is a good thing. But doing so isn’t cause for celebration, congratulations, or a party. Why? Because it’s basic human decency. And people shouldn’t be over-praised for doing something they should have been doing in the first place. That leads to them doing the right thing for the wrong reasons — personal or professional accolades. i.e.: Cookies.

Important reads! Been navigating the cookie minefield myself... Been super appreciating the love i have been getting for doing the Walk Against Rape, and for doing this blog, but been feeling antsy around whether it may be perceived that that is the driving impetus for my actions, or that it is expected. For the record, of course i appreciate the encouragement and love, and it does add to my inspiration to do this work, but it is not the primary force driving me to do this work. A sense of responsibilty, accountability, social justice, knowledge that i can do constructive things with my privilege, AND a burning, revolutionary love come from within and moves me forward.

Say Word!

Actually... you don't need to say anything.... :)

.

For The Record, I Think "Metrosexual" Is A Really Silly Term.

Truly. Maybe I am sensitive because it can be argued that i am included in this group. To me it sounds like a whimsical joke, like isn't it cute how it rhymes with "heterosexual". I also think the term misses the point because what it should be referring to is how these hetero men inhabit gender, not reiterating about their/our sexuality. To me, it would make more sense to call hetero men who are androgynous to femme (or embodying a stereotype of gay male behavior) metrogendered. But maybe that would be too radical for most hetero men to take on, like maybe we aren't "sexual" beings anymore, or perhaps the associations with the transgendered community might make some hetero men want to distance themselves from this term. hmm.

Just a little ranty rant.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Report Back From The SFWAR Walk Against Rape


Wow.

That was a powerful experience.

Of course.

Thanks and Money Raised
First of all, I have exponential gratitude to those of you who pledged, passed on the info, and supported in so many other ways. Because of you... I was able to blow away my goal of $250, and i raised :::$700::: y’all. That is going towards helping out the only community based rape crisis center in San Francisco, its something to feel really good about. so many of you were apologetic about “only” pledging $10 or so, but clearly, it added up! Almost 50 people donated to this cause. I was gonna list your names to big you up, but a) i handed in my forms and don’t have copies of them and b) its possible some of you would prefer to not have your name listed for some reason or the other. But it felt so good to walk up to the check in table at Embarcadero with a phattie phat envelope. And i glimpsed other funds that others raised, and got more of a perspective... I would say that the average amount that most people handed in was $75. The whole Walk made $35,000 (record breaking amount for the walk so far in its 3rd year!!) and a couple hundred people participated. So... THANK YOU for contributing such a sizable percentage to this cause!

Men and the Walk
I was pondering the place my maleness had in this, so many people gave me money based on their enthusiasm around a man doing this walk. It was pointed out to me that since I have such an awesome and loving community, and that i do organizing work, that those factors definitely make it add up too. But i am still pondering how to utilize my maleness to get real counter-patriarchal work done.

I did end up walking alone (ie, not a part of a team), which was a powerful experience.
I would say that a couple hundred people walked, and i saw less than ten men. Middle school students walked too, and i would see young boys walking, but in terms of grown men, not many were to be seen. The fact that no other men walked with me intersects the personal and political in complex ways. Men definitely contributed to the cause financially, by forwarding my emails to other folks, and in other supportive ways. At least one male friend declined walking because he was actually already engaged in time consuming feminist work. Also, i had less than two weeks to mobilize folks, and sent out mass emails instead of being able to call and talk to people. Also, heads are busy, a lot already contributing to an array of good causes. But after seeing how much i can contribute to this cause as a man, and how not visible we are in this important issue that affects everyone, I take this as an indicator that i now have a whole year to mobilize men of color to show that we care about these issues, and break stereotypes that some of us are more likely to be perpetrators than activists.

I was definitely welcomed by many, curious women approached me and asked me questions. I was even interviewed with a DV camera and mic by SFWAR documentarian Amal Kouttab. I was a little flustered, gathering my thoughts at times around this intense subject as to “why i am doing this”, but what came out felt real, and was received well. I will definitely post a link to the SFWAR documentarians when they finish editing!

The Walk Against Rape
Before leaving my house, I did my morning meditations, prayers and honoring of my ancestors. It was in that meditation that I realized that I was walking for my ancestors/egungun, acknowledging the legacy of rape that was intrinsic to slavery. It deepened my purpose immensely. I left my house breathing deeply, and took BART (walking under the ground...) with this new drive in my consciousness pulling me towards this walk. I could feel them with me, and some of you know that i have already done walks for ancestors. A familar sense of intent and connection suffused me.


At the walk, the SFWAR director of counseling Lisa Thomas-Adeyemo (pictured above) started us off with more meditations and centering, and she too evoked the ancestors. I opened up my bottle of water, and poured a cooling and honoring libation on the ground.
And then, we walked the 3 miles from Embarcadero to Dolores Park in the Mission, chanting “End The Silence, End The Violence, Walk Against Rape!” and “Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Yes Means Yes and No Means No!” and many other chants, done in call and response form with a woman leading from a bullhorn. We even did chants in Spanish when we walked through the Mission.

Highlights:

~It was a GORGEOUS day. Not a cloud in the sky. So many of us felt really blessed by that.

~Intervening when construction workers couldn’t hear what we were saying, so i walked over and told them its a walk against *rape*. One commented in that “lets bond over misogyny” kinda smirky way that if there were more prostitutes on the street that there wouldn’t be any rape. It was said a lot more derogatorily than that. I kinda let it go through me, and said “but whatever the case, no still means no, right?” He looks at me, pauses and repeats back to me “No means No.” I said yes. I smiled and walked away- and then heard him start chanting NO MEANS NO! awesome.

~Another intervention where a pre-teen schoolboy put a pre-teen schoolgirl in a headlock *while in the flow of the walk*. It was clear that they were friends, though the girl was visibly in pain, and shouting for him to stop, and also saying “why do you think we are doing this walk stupid??” He smiled, enjoying his power over her. I walked over as he released her and simply said to them “Is everything ok over here?” The boy shot me an annoyed “don’t try to school me” look. I repeated, “Is everything ok over here?” The girl nodded and looked down. The boy looked away. I continued walking close to them, and saw the girls' mom pick her up at a gas station. I lost track of the boy.


~Loved the people who would wave from buses, fists out of windows, male and female, the bus drivers who honked with fists of solidarity, and all the other cars who honked... we would all cheer so loudly! felt good.

~Walking under the highway overpass, and having our shouts and cheers amplify and echo tenfold :)

~Running into my really cool neighbors during the walk. Also, running into people who only recognized me as dj fflood :)

~Reaching the finish line at Dolores Park. The shared sense of accomplishment was really beautiful and powerful. The park welcomed us with applause, and there was a finish line banner with balloons, and a dj pumping Kool and The Gangs “Celebration” :)

~Amazing testimonies and art was shared on a stage... what was really impactful for me, and remains one my more profound moments at this event, was when one woman shared that she was the product of a rape. She went into poetry sharing how her mom went into labor pains, experiencing joy and rage with each contraction. She then referenced her own survivorship. The layers were intense, almost too much to even hold. I salute that woman for sharing her story. Other acts included song, spoken word, dance, and closed out with Lisa Marie Rollins (you go girl!!) backed by Paul Edward Hunt Jr on guitar and Shark Marius on bass... and the crowd on handclaps! It was tight. They kicked it off with a cover of Nina Simone’s “Funkier Than A Mosquitos Tweeter” (peep some of the blazin' original here). man. Definitely the most fun i had at this walk. :)


In Closing

So yes, that is more or less my report back. Thanks for reading this far! And like I said, I am looking forward to doing this again next year, and galvanizing brothers around this too. I think it is important for all men to model to other boys that violence is not okay, that there are healthier ways to exhibit strength, and that no means no. There’s a lot of messages out there that we are competing with. Thank you all so much who sent me notes of love and support in the mail, with emails, and encouraging words. and thanks for the donations, the hugs, and the smiles. I feel really connected to this work, and I am thankful that my ancestors spoke to me about the depth of this issue. It became clearer. I was walking for the healing of survivors and perpetrators. I was walking to give more resources to those in crisis. I was walking because if i say i love women, then it must be more expansive than the realm of romance. And I was walking to honor my ancestors. Ashe’.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Kelis-ology

hey everyone, thanks for all of your support and linking and forwarding of my posts. Much appreciated! Thought i would close out the week with a bit of scientific study of the fierce r&b siren, Kelis.

also, i would like to debunk the myth that feminists don't have a sense of humor.

have a great weekend, may your milkshake reign supreme.

Rape Crisis Counseling for the 21st Century: Introducing Online Counseling

The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN), the largest anti-sexual assault organization in the US, launched an online counseling service last week. According to RAINN's press release, the organization has already helped over 1.2 million victims of sexual assault through its National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-HOPE). The National Sexual Assault Online Hotline will reach a new generation of people who are often more comfortable online than on the phone. This event was covered in Ms Magazine, article here.

Related to this is news about a problematic new phrase, "grey rape" which was featured in an article in the September 2007 issue of Cosmopolitan. The phrase is problematic because it posits that sexual assault can be ambiguously "grey"... even if the word "no" is said. "No" sounds pretty clear to me, not grey. (This is one of the many reasons i am doing the Walk Against Rape tomorrow!!) This article is reported in the wonderfully progressive and sex positive blog, Doin' It Well (Thanks for pointing me towards this, Aimee!).
Be sure to look at posts besides this permalink! includes blogs like It's So Titilating! Exploring Nipple Play.


Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Men's Story Project - Call For Submissions

heh... isn't that called his-story? on the real tho, it sez its a progressive event, and seems to be directed by a woman. i am thinkin about entering and making sure to bring the fem.man.ist flava... check it out! (thanks for letting me know Nazbah!)

~rmw

.........................................................................

CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS: MEN'S STORY PROJECT

Men of all ages and backgrounds are invited to participate in the Men's Story Project! This project will bring together a diverse group of men's real stories to create a local performance, similar to the Vagina Monologues (but different!) -- about men's life experiences. We're looking for stories from men of a variety of race/ethnicities, sexual orientations, social/cultural backgrounds, life histories, etc.

The pieces can be poems, monologues, prose, raps, just a few powerful sentences, a dance piece, music, etc - on subjects such as lessons you were taught about what it means to be a man, social/cultural expectations, learning on your own what it is to be a man, experiences of violence, experiences of promoting peace/healing, relationship with your body, sexuality, gender, power, transformation, taboos, etc. Pieces should last a max of 5 minutes. It may also be possible to exhibit visual art in the space.

Contributions of all kinds are welcome -- funny, serious, vulnerable, risk-taking, triumphant, etc - the main theme is REAL. We will present them to an audience in a Bay Area venue TBD, in late May or early June, with the lofty goal of helping to move society forward in conceptions of what it can mean to be a man.
´
If you want to create a piece but would prefer to have someone else read it, that's fine - authorship can be anonymous. If you have a story in mind but want some coaching to get it on paper, we have folks who can help you.

This is a progressive event and will be a safe space.

*Submissions will be accepted until May 10.* (This is somewhat flexible)

Participants will be paid $50.

This is an independent project getting off the ground, and is not affiliated with any organization.

Please feel free to contact me with any q´s.

thanks!
Josie
jlehrer1@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nostalgia for the Gender Fluid 80's



Ah the 80's. Even in Jamaica we were enjoying Boy George. Do you remember the androgyny of the musical icons back then? Annie Lennox of Eurythymics. Michael Jackson. Grace Jones. Prince. Ready For The World. Duran Duran. And glam rock was all about men with long permed hair, tights and makeup. I remember being a teen in the 80's, and brothers were rockin neon clothes with cut off midriff shirts, a dangling cross ear-ring and a jheri curl. And that was ok!! What happened? Now black men can only be 50 Cent look-alikes?

I mean, at least before, there was more of a spectrum. Public Enemy was showcasing an aggressive, butch masculinity that was channeled towards spreading black consciousness. And there were many femme acts like Bananarama and Jody Watley (been seeing some of that fashion around...). But now? Especially with black folks, the only acceptable portrayals of us are mostly as thugs or "video vixens", to use the popular G rated term.
I look at foundational soul groups like Earth, Wind and Fire, and wonder if they could make it today, if they were to just drop right now. Talented and soulful Black men displaying vulnerability, gentleness... and a flair for sequined jumpsuits. Not quite 50 Cent.

I think I can unofficially chart the shift with the rise of TLC. When they dropped "Ain't Too Proud To Beg", in 1992 they were carrying over some of that 80's neon.. and were basically some fun havin' tomboys/bois, with T-Boz coming in with that sexy, deep gravelly voice... in case you don't remember...

and then, an album or two later, they looked more like this:

-don't get me wrong, i ain't hatin on TLC! Never. And for real, they are looking fierce in this picture. I just wonder if there could have been any room for them to have continued in their original vein, and now be rockin' men's suits and fedoras.


Where are the Ya Kid K's (from Technotronic)? Where are the Jermaine Stewarts with vats of cherry wine, singing about non-penetrative intimacy? House divas like Adeva demanding respect? Bring 'em on, we need ya!!



"You're a shining star, no matter who you are.
Shining bright to see what you could truly be."
- Earth, Wind & Fire

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Mark Anthony Neal, Author of "New Black Man" speaks on being a Black Feminist Male.

In an NPR interview, author Mark Anthony Neal talks about his book, his personal journey to becoming a Black Feminist Man, and how being a father of two little girls further galvanized him on this journey. He also comments on the impact of some pop culture phenomena. Audio clip here.

The link for his blog, NewBlackMan, is in the "resources" links of this blog... as well as some other great new links... this section is growing more and more almost daily! Another link relevant to this post (which is also listed under the "resources") would be the Dads And Daughters link, which i think every dad who has a daughter really should peep. Think i might actually forward it to couple people right now...

While we are on the subject of links, holla and let me know if you link me to your site! and thanks to those of you who already have, much appreciated! :)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Staceyann Chin "Feminist Or Womanist"

After my last blog where I walk through various identities and experiences as a Jamaican man, it seems appropriate to feature Staceyann Chin in this post. In one of her signature pieces "Feminist Or Womanist", Jamaican poet Staceyann Chin navigates her various identities as well, touching on being a queer woman of Jamaican and Chinese heritage, an ex-Catholic, and well, a fierce woman who has survived a lot. Go Staceyann!!


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thoughts on Jamaica, Masculinity, Performing Gender, Orishas & House Music


**This is a discussion I have had many times with close friends, its good to actually be blogging this, finally putting it in writing!

Besides growing up with two sisters, an awesome mom, and a super conscious dad, I really must attribute a lot of how i inhabit my gender to house music.

I was born in New York City, but I went to high school in Jamaica. In Jamaica, gender roles are made even more rigid by the homophobia in the culture. The box of acceptable masculinity is tiny. Dancehall music further frames manhood with images of men conquesting women with one’s “womb turna” with which you “pump up her pum pum”, and then seals off the box with tunes like Assassin’s hit last year “Dem A Sissy” (lyrics), evoking gradeschool taunts to keep men in check. The “rude bwoy” image is held up as the rock of masculinity. Of course, like hip hop, there isn’t just one kind of dancehall, and there is also roots reggae, soca and other traditional forms of Jamaican music that doesn’t necessarily enforce hegemonic masculinity in so aggressive a manner. But indeed, we were and are flooded with these messages as young boys.

I moved back to New York City in 1988 when I was almost 18. I had started deejaying in Jamaica when i was 15. My love for music made me search out new sounds and scenes. House music anthems like “Break For Love” was on the radio, mixed with Rob Base & EZ Rock, New Order, Public Enemy, Information Society, and much more. I used to spin freestyle in Jamaica (as well as dancehall and 80’s) so house grabbed me instantly. Working at record stores in the Village opened me up to more music- and also introduced me to meeting visible and out queer folks. I was fascinated. I’m sure I must have offended a couple of gay people with well intentioned curious questions that could have sounded like someone white sincerely asking me if I found watermelon particularly tasty. But I managed to make friends.

It was going out to house clubs that was life altering.

I would go to mostly to Red Zone to hear DJ Dmitri from Deelite spin. It was a mostly people of color crowd, and people would just be there to DANCE their asses off, go to the bathroom to wash their faces and gulp water from the pipe, then go back and dance some more. Then there was the dancing itself. Gender became a blur. Drag queens would go from voguing to uprocking and breakin. Girls in baggy pants and baseball caps would do the same. There was a large diversity of gender. And men who i knew were hetero would have fun busting into a runway strut and a fierce vogue. And it wasn't done in this apeing, making fun way that a lot of black comedians do (i think they enjoy that too on a deep level, much less to be able to have it witnessed), but was done in a way that just shone of absolute freedom. After living in Jamaica, to see such a celebration of gender fluidity was stunning- and more importantly, liberating. Judith Butler theorizes gender to be performance, and we all tried it on, supported and ritualized fluidity, away from the gender police. It gave me permission that i had never had before as a hetero man to try on various masculinities, to be more comfortable being andro, and trying on movements where i could explore being more butch or more femme. I had officially escaped the confining box of hegemonic masculinity, and wore my fluidity naturally with pride.


The element of spirit and community was also strongly present at these parties. It was the only POC party scene that was such a static-free celebration of bodies and love. Gospel house would elevate the vibe more, and tribal house tracks like "Koro Koro" would evoke ancestral rhythms that became like essential life blood for me. (one of my first dj monikers was iTribe. this is before iPod people!! Nowadays, "tribal house" has become a slightly problematized and passe term... i have been adopting the term afropercussive house) I would participate in the circles/dance cyphers that formed where all the fierce solo dance improv and dance battles would go on... circle children they called us... and you could feel spirit suffuse the space. Only later in life did i start to recognize movements associated with certain Orishas (West African deities/energies/principles). In my minds eye, i now see fierce queens evoking Oshun, the tempramental river Orisha of Love, Abundance, Healing and Honey. The fan is one of Oshun’s accoutrements, symbolic of her cooling and healing rivers... and i have lost track of how many drag queens i have seen workin it with a fan in their improvisation. Also click here to see some amazing vogue battles done with umbrellas, another accoutrement in the tradition. Male warrior Orishas like Chango, god of Thunder and the Dance, and Ogun, God of War and Iron were imitated as well, concsiously or unconsciously. Proud chests, arms held elbows outward at shoulder level, with stomping feet mixing in with lighter, nimbler movements and twirls echo dances to these surviving ancient ancestral energies. Indeed, Orisha worship celebrates fluidity as well because in the tradition we have ALL the Orishas inside us, male and female. And there are aggressive female warriors like Oya, Whirlwind Orisha of Transformation, and male orishas like Chango who has been known to wear a dress in the folklore.


I am noticing that at some of the house parties I go to now, that the more masculine improv circles are becoming the norm. Its good for men to get their dance on (butch on?) together for sure. But I am clearly noticing the absence of the fluidity. No stretching of the gender box as much, just safe, “gender appropriate” dances... that can take up a lot of space on the dance floor if its not big enough! Then it becomes men taking up space as well. I think it is important for men to stretch themselves in this culture. And in my experience, this stretching is in roots of the tradition of house music. Also the more fluid the circles, the more inclusive and communal it is. Whatever your level of dance proficiency is, pretty much anyone can “strut” a runway and look fierce :)


At this point, i consider house music and house music culture to be a healing force on many levels. I feel like it builds community unlike any other music culture I have experienced. I feel like it destroys the box of gender in a safe space. I feel like it is a spiritual experience. And there are virtually no oppressive messages in the music. Or at least MUCH MUCH less than a lot of contemporary musics. And while i feel it is helpful for people of all genders to jump outside the prescribed box, I would prescribe real house music culture to our men as a ritual to loosen the asphyxiating hold of the tiny box we have.


I leave you with the late, great, and fierce Willi Ninja, House Mother of the House of Ninja, as he breaks down some of what voguing is about in an excerpt from the classic documentary “Paris Is Burning” (1990). I was blessed to meet him almost 15 years ago (dayum!), and I can still see his black cap with the word NINJA spelled across the front in large, block mirror letters. Rest in Peace, Power, and Fierceness! Ashé.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Five Ways To Be A Trans Ally.

You know, its pretty hard to find comprehensive resources for transfolk on the web. Just sayin. Luckily I came across this helpful and very REAL list that was featured in the Trans issue of Out Magazine. What are peoples thoughts about this magazine anyway? I've never read it before perusing this issue. It seems... rather Anglo and male centered... I digress.

Five Ways To Be A Trans Ally.

The Roots Of Xicanisma

Poet, Writer and Chicana Activist Ana Castillo breaks down how and why she found it necessary to create Xicanisma.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Thoughts on the Isolation of the Feminist Man and the Trajectory of this Blog.

Hey peoples! Thanks for all the comments, links to your webpages, passing this link on to friends, and also thanks for all the encouragement. :)

At this point, I am wanting this blog become a place where one can find resources and community around anti-oppression. more specifically around anti-sexist, anti-heterosexist and anti-racist issues, but definitely also integrating issues of class and global political perspectives. And to be clear, ANYONE is invited to get involved in the discussions on this blog, the comments are open to people of all genders and colors.

I had envisioned this blog to be phase one to starting a social networking site where one could connect with gender-conscious men, and at this juncture i feel i may be backbenching that idea and focusing on letting this blog grow for now.

Personally, I would like this blog to be a place where I could meet with like minded men of color. I hope to go to the Walk Against Rape with at least a small contingent of such men. My hope is that white allies would help us to connect, and that we could make plans to build alliances between the POC men and white men too. But I am definitely feeling the need to connect with conscious black, brown, yellow and red brothers. Perhaps a lot of us are. And again, i invite any men to share perspectives on this blog.

I have a feeling that there are many men out there who are like me: have one or two close male friends, most of our friends are female, and we have some trouble bonding with men because of rigid gender codes and male rituals that usually involve denigrating women and queer folks. I feel like the secret to us building community is... through all our female friends! I feel that women know more men like us than we do. It is my hope that you can help us find each other so we can have community and do good work. Not asking you to educate us, just to help put us in touch, and simply forward this link. If you value us in your communities, imagine how much good work we could do if we formed the fem.men.ist Voltron! aw yeah... fem.men.ist Voltron vs. the Babylon Patriarchazoid! hee... i'm such a boy sometimes. :)

okee dokes, that’s my kickoff for the week. bless up y’all.

~richard

Friday, April 11, 2008

SFWAR: Walk Against Rape, Saturday April 26th, San Francisco



San Francisco Women Against Rape present the 3rd Annual Walk Against Rape. This Walk is an opportunity for the communities of San Francisco to come together and raise awareness around sexual assault. Statistics show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 11 men will be raped in their lifetimes, and it is estimated that less than 20% of rapes are reported to the police. The silence and taboo around rape in our society cause survivors to feel isolated and unsupported. The goal of Walk Against Rape is to empower survivors, their friends, families and supporters, to break that silence by walking together on the streets against rape, and declare that San Francisco will not tolerate sexual violence.

Walk Against Rape is a 3.1 mile walk starting at Justin Herman Plaza at 10am and culminating in a rally at noon in Dolores Mission Park. Besides raising consciousness and visibilty around these issues, this Walk also aims to
raise money for San Francisco's only community based rape crisis center.

so, who's walking with me? here's how to get involved.

http://www.sfwar.org/walk/index.html

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Creativity, Black Feminist Roots, and Human Revolution

Wow. I highly recommend saving this for the end of your day, kicking back and checking this out. Dr. Akasha Gloria Hull breaks down Black Feminism and Human Revolution through our survival of slavery and the essential ingredients of Politics, Spirituality and Creativity. She gets into theory after reading from her novel in progress, which breathes new perspective into the slave narrative; she shares a vignette of a young black woman enjoying her body as her own. Here is one of my favorite quotes from this clip:
Politics. Spirituality. And Creativity. Any recipe for truly effective social transformation, and human revolution, needs to include these three ingredients. Not practiced separately, but intricately interwoven. - Dr. Akasha Gloria Hull
I will have to give her credit in the novel i am writing, i am truly inspired, and consider myself schooled! Enjoy.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Male Privilege Checklist

Found this link in my cyber-meanderings. The author admits it is pretty US-centric, and i find it to be mostly heterocentric and eurocentric as well. Its still a great idea, and the author has included people's amendments and suggestions. In the grand tradition of Peggy McIntosh's "White Privilege: Unpacking The Invisible Knapsack" essay, I present to you, The Male Privilege Checklist.

Monday, April 7, 2008

"Feminist Men" vs. "Pro-Feminist Men"

After launching this blog, it as come to my attention for the first time that there is a semantic debate over men calling themselves feminists, and that for some the term "pro-feminist" is preferred. Here is some of the logic behind that, taken from Michael Flood's FAQ about pro-feminist men:

Feminism is a movement and a body of ideas developed primarily by, for and about women. Men can never fully know what it is like to be a woman. If we call ourselves "feminists", we run the risk of colonising feminism or looking like we're saying we've got all the answers.

Some feminist women argue that men CAN call themselves feminists, as long as they live up to the same standards as women who are feminists -- to support the equality of women and men. Nevertheless, most pro-feminist men use the label "pro-feminist" rather than "feminist". We believe that there is plenty men can and should do to support feminism, and we don't need to call ourselves "feminists" to do it.

That whole FAQ is pretty helpful by the way. (and check out some of the new links too!)


I am curious to hear what people think of this. I know that my intention around describing myself as feminist is not to co-opt women's experiences, but to align myself with a movement and critical way of thinking. For me, it is already inherent within the canon of feminist thought that men cannot fully know what it is like to be a woman living under patriarchy. And I am crystal clear that we men don't have all the answers. So... though I understand and respect the *intention* behind these distinctions, to me it seems a little redundant and overly semantic in a kind of tip-toe-ing liberal kind of way. I would liken it to people describing themselves as "pro-Marxist" instead of "Marxist" because the ideas of Karl Marx have not necessarily been successfully duplicated in society, so we haven't lived it. I would also be annoyed if white folks started calling themselves "pro-anti-racists". Ha! Ok, before i get too defensive, let me say that i am still open to listen and change, but at the moment, i am like... huh?

I am also not sure if this term is coined by "profeminist men" or feminist women, which i think might make a difference for me.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Femme 2008 Call for Submissions

Femme2008: The Architecture of Femme is a multi-threaded conference and forum for those who think about, talk about, and create Femme as a queer gender and identity.

Call for Workshops, Papers, Performance, and Art
Femme2008: The Architecture of Femme
Chicago Wyndham O'Hare
August 15th - 17th, 2008

We are soliciting contributions from anyone interested, including (but not limited to):

• Workshops
• Performances
• Research presentations
• Skill shares
• Activist & organizational topics
• Visual art
• Video or film

Submission deadline is May 1, 2008.
To submit a proposal, please submit the following to us at

http://www.femmecollective.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=27&Itemid=42

*For research presentations, send a 300 word abstract
*For workshop and skillshare proposals, send a 300 word description of
your workshop or skillshare ideas
*Visual artists should send samples of work and a 300 word description
of their artistic vision
*Performers, filmmakers and other creative artists should contact us
for more information

for details:

www.femmecollective.com


Thursday, April 3, 2008

welcome to fem.men.ist

hello people!

wassup. around a week ago, i sent out an email to folks asking questions around their thoughts on a social networking site (for all genders) where one could meet "feminist men" for activism, friendship, dating, etc. i have gotten some good responses which i will paraphrase (hopefully doing them justice, correct me if i fall short!). A couple friends suggested that a blog would really open up the dialogue, so this is my first blog! exciting. :)

looking for feedback on this project, some of my original email said:

"a good place to start would be what the profile would look like- "favorite feminist icon" "favorite feminist book" etc... also pointing out inherent problematic things such a site could have would be helpful, or how to deal with the fact that there are so many places within feminism that one can locate themselves, etc etc. a structural question is whether it should have a questionaire/quiz that is the entrance test, or whether it should be open to all, and people just gotta represent, and get kicked out if they get trollish. thots?
"

and here are anonymous paraphrases (that you should feel free to claim, correct or bounce off of) of suggestions/perspectives left by some of the women who responded:


-it should be clear that "feminist man" does not mean "no longer sexist man"

-these men need to define what feminism means to them, and what they actively do to resist a sexist culture.

-the definition should include input from women in their lives, it should be a connected convo with people affected by it and those who benefit/are on the other side of that experience.

-men should share about how they relate to their masculinity and sexuality.

-sexism should be cross-referenced with racism, since they are both visible oppressions, and race clearly influences women's experience of sexism.


...and now, the floor is open! i invite all genders to contribute to this space, bring your experience and knowledge, and hopefully i can give something back that people feel good about. Thank you in advance, bless up!

in solidarity and ffloods of love,
richard