Author Archives: gndsgirl11

A Look Into Feminism

Gender inequality has been a steady issue for as long as we can remember. It is the most widely talked about topic within the business industry, and it is a national known fact that women are not paid equally to men. In a video on Good4Utah, a reporter brings to our attention the controversy created by a bake sale held by Utah High School. The school’s Young Democrats Club held a bake sale, where they sold cookies to men for one dollar and to women for seventy-seven cents. This controversial difference in price was to represent the fact that for every dollar a man makes, a woman makes only seventy-seven cents. The hegemonic monetary difference among men and women is a growing concern among society, and feminists are working harder than ever to even out the wage difference, and to eliminate this androcentric gaze.

Probably the most frustrating part of the video was when the students who were not a part of this club were given the chance to speak out, and one young man took his claim to fame by saying, “I believe in what they’re doing, I believe in their standing for a cause, but I just don’t believe the statistics they are using are correct. I would love to have a debate with them, about what they believe in.” It is ignorance such as this among young adults today which is furthering the issue of misogyny.

The fight for equal women’s right has been an ongoing process since mid-nineteenth century. First-wave feminists focused their attention on voting rights, second wave feminists focused on sexuality. The second wave took place from 1960-1990s, and the movement’s energy was very much focused on getting the Equal Rights Amendment passed, which would ensure the rights of social equality among the sexes. Following that, the third wave of feminism began in 1990’s and is still ongoing. The wave focuses its attention on the destabilization of terms such as heternormativity (Rampton, M).

Waves of feminism are very important for today’s society, however there are still members of society who believe that being a feminist has a negative connotation, and that men who are feminists are not  ‘manly’. It is important in society for clubs such as the Young Democrat’s Club of Utah High School to continue to get the word out there about the continuous gender polarization that so clearly still exists today. Although there has most definitely been a noticeable decrease in certain polarities among genders, it is not good enough.

Not only is there misogyny among the business world, however it is very present within the media. It can be argued that the media is a very patriarchal system, where too often are women portrayed as objects, rather than subjects. The oversexualisation of women in advertisements and television shows only continues to poison the brains of viewers. With the climbing amount of young children focused on the media, they are growing up believing that women are nothing more than a sexual object. Successful, athletic women are shown on magazine covers with nothing cover their bodies except for their hands over their breasts, and people pass by, glance at the cover and have no understanding of why they are on the cover, they just notice that it is an attractive, naked female. “Sex sells” is a widely used excuse for using nudity to sell beer or Axe. What makes all of this worse is the fact that men, although occasionally nude or topless, are rarely shown in the same sexualized light as females.

I am not saying that men do not have the same issue, just that women face this issue in a greater light than men. Women are paid less because they are more often “interrupted” from their jobs due to children, or because they do not have as high of a degree as a man. These are not reasons, they are excuses. The business world is one that is very patriarchal, and the fact that women are being stripped from their rights to be paid equally is a growing concern, which needs to be put to an end before it can get worse. The world needs more Young Democrat’s Clubs, more awareness, and more people need to admit to and accept this polarity between male and female pay. However, it is easy to say that they will be more awareness, what truly needs to happen is for people to step up and work harder than ever to ensure this issue is evened out once and for all. It is a necessity to ensure that our voices are heard, for the society we live in is slowly progressing, and we need to be the society that changes the world for the better for future generations to come.

Thanks for reading,
gndsgirl11

Works Cited

Carlisle, R. (2015, March 17). Gender equality bake sale causes stir at Utah high school. Retrieved April 8, 2015, from http://www.good4utah.com/story/d/story/gender-equality-bake-sale-causes-stir-at-utah-high/10246/0gE6cCkPA0mvNkLZEjyO4Q

Rampton, M. (2015, October 23). The Three Waves of Feminism. Retrieved April 8, 2015, from http://www.pacificu.edu/about-us/news-events/three-waves-feminism

Social Media – A Tool For The Enforcement of Misogyny?

Twitter, Facebook, Instagram. These forms of social media, which have become entrenched within our everyday vernacular and daily routines, are in their infancy. The first forms of modern social media were developed less then 20 years ago and, though still in their juvenile stages, social media has had a profound impact on the nature of relationships, communication, and societal functioning. This newly fledged medium, centred about user generated content, has showcased and facilitated innovation and goodwill, spurred on change and reform and fostered relationships. However, social media is far from an autocratically positive innovation, but rather it is a tool that has been utilized by many to instill hate, perpetuate hetero-patriarchal, racist, cisgender and colonial scripts and to devalue personhoods. This phenomenon is not rare or isolated to a select few instances, but rather an issue that has been synonymous with the construct of social media from the get-go, and is only becoming more and more normalized within society.

This disparaging and innately harmful use of social media takes on many forms; however, the intent is analogous – cyber harasser’s chief intent is to exercise and gain power and dominance over the intended subject, through the infliction of psychological, sexual or verbal torment and insult via virtual forms of communication[1]. Such practices have become so ingrained into the fabric of society, and seemingly condoned, that such harassment is publically solicited to heighten the amount of damage inflicted against the intended target. One such example is the overtly hateful, disparaging and vile response and backlash that actress Ashley Judd received in response to a quip she posted to Twitter about the sports rival of her alma mater during March Madness[2][3]. The backlash was swift and severe, but out of respect for Ms. Judd and all others who have been victim to such forms of harassment, I shall not validate or award any additional reiteration of the comments themselves. The slanderers’ remarks were pervaded by misogynistic themes that sought to humiliate and embarrass her through the degradation of her personhood by leveling violent and overtly sexualized responses[4]. These responses further questioned her qualifications as a woman, and subsequently her capacity to comment on and have an opinion on sports[5]. More importantly, they are emblematic of the egregious institutionalization of the sexual violence, objectification and harassment inflicted against females, both verbally and physically, which has occurred at every level of society. That is, in today’s society, a woman’s character, physical appearance, reputation and identity, are seemingly all qualifications of her merit and validity as a person and key qualifiers of any act enacted by or against her[6]. The scrutiny leveled against Ashley Judd in response to her post were by no means limited to her knowledge and qualifications of college basketball, which may have been appropriate to question, but rather included responses that addressed her appearance, sexuality, intellect and age. It is here where the misogynistic and hetero-patriarchal rhetoric is overtly obvious, and the construct of hegemonic masculinities becomes evident – if a male had posted the same tweet, any responses leveled would have been contained to the realm of college basketball and not situated about the reduction of a person’s character. It is not until one critically evaluates, through an intersectional analysis, that the true nature and depth of disparagement leveled against women and other minority groups by social media users becomes evident.

This apparent institutionalization of language and conduct has thus conferred and established a quasi-pseudo status quo, which is situated about a phenomenon termed culture of humiliation[7]. That is, we live in a society situated about binary thinking and polarities, where social validation and acceptance comes at the expense of social humiliation, where such humiliation is ultimately puppets of misogynistic, patriarchal power structures[8]. The continual public and private verbal raping and disparagement of females’ qualifications across social media outlets are emblematic of the androcentric and gender polarization themes that pervade our culture. This culture of humiliation is thus utilized as a policing agent to dismember and abate any acts or qualifications that threaten the established hegemonic ideologies.

The semblance of anonymity allotted to social media has resulted in a vicious and damaging double standard, where the words spewed across the dark abyss of the Internet and social media sites are insults and slander that would never be spoken in the real world. However, there is a paradoxical disconnect on how we, as society, view the Internet versus reality. That is, we understand the Internet as being a space that is fluid, instantaneous, fleeting and thus nonpermanent, which seemingly is justification for some to insult and disparage[9][10]. This understanding is erroneous and obtuse at best, and there is a deep and urgent need for a transformation in understanding of the implicit and lasting impact that cyber harassment has on individual personhoods, as ones’ presentation across social media is now an analogous form of the public and permanent record.

To find out more about this story, read Ashley Judd’s articulately and eloquently penned essay, which you can access here.

~ Elin

Bibliography

[1] Nuccitelli, Michael. “Cyber Harassment: Internet Defamation & Internet Trolls.” IPredator. IPredator Inc, 1 Jan. 2014. Web. 1 Apr. 2015.

[2]Alter, Charlotte. “Ashley Judd Speaks Out About Twitter Abuse and Rape.” TIME 19 Mar. 2015. Web.

[3] Judd, Ashley. “Forget Your Team: Your Online Violence Toward Girls and Women Is What Can Kiss My Ass.” Identities Mic 19 Mar. 2015. Identities Mic. Web. 1 Apr. 2015. <http://mic.com/articles/113226/forget-your-team-your-online-violence-toward-girls-and-women-is-what-can-kiss-my-ass&gt;.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] Lewinsky, Monica. “The price of shame.” TED. March 2015. Lecture.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Judd, “Forget Your Team: Your Online Violence Toward Girls and Women Is What Can Kiss My Ass.” 2015.

Target Practice: The Unfair Treatment of Black Bodies and Institutionalized Racism By: Rosa Queen

After reading the BBC news article, “Virginia Governor Calls for Inquiry into Student Arrest,” which is dated March 19 of this year, I was overwhelmed by the increase in such race based violence within recent years. This got me thinking of whether this is truly an increase in such violent acts, or rather the increasing media coverage and reduced “hushing” of such incidents. Dating back to the days of slavery, violence against Black bodies has never really ended, with the recent deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Eric Garner a sore reminder that it still exists. It is theorized that this is deeply rooted in slavery, and has become amalgamated into modern culture as a result of long standing colonialism. Slavery provided non-government personnel with the ability to discipline and hold power over another person’s life, especially when these persons were considered lesser. This is easily translated in the inappropriate use of power in the case of Martese Johnson. Who’s safety is sacrificed to allow for this power?

The ongoing anti-blackness that has been engraved into society has reached a point where young Black men especially have accepted this discriminatory violence as a natural and rationalized part of life. There is an underlying dichotomy in today’s society even in the appearance and understanding of bodies. A young White man is seen as the safe, average Joe that we are accustomed to seeing on the streets every day. However Black masculinity is seen as animalistic and intrinsically violent, a constant threat. Black women are also dehumanized and overly sexualised, simply for the colour of their skin. This dichotomy of appearances is evident in the case of Martese Johnson, who according to witnesses was arrested by Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) agents with unfair and unnecessary violence. Although these White officers were witnessed, the only punishment they received was being placed on administrative duty. This begs the question, if the roles were reversed, would the Black officers receive more punishment for using unnecessary violence on a White young man?

This plays into a larger pattern of institutionalized racism, in particular, Black bodies being unfairly treated by law enforcement personnel. There have been numerous accounts of White officers assaulting or even killing unarmed young Black men, however although some of these cases have gained much media attention, the perpetrators of these crimes have gotten off scot free. It is also interesting to see that the victims of these crimes are then branded in the media as deserving of such treatment for being “sketchy.” This is not isolated to just violence in public, but also in arrests. Black males make up 40% of the male inmates currently incarcerated in the U.S., with more Black males in jail than in college. What does that have to say about the way law enforcement works? That this minority group is more likely to be arrested either through over-surveillance or through unjustified police work. We have reached a point in society where fathers of young Black boys must tell their sons to be afraid of the police force, is this truly representative of an inclusive and progressive society? This is in fact representative of a collective failure of a society to provide non-biased treatment of a group based on race.

In order to combat this, many White politicians and media personalities have brought up Black respectability politics as a method of combatting this inequality. The worrying aspect of this is the concept of White bodies informing Black bodies of how to dress and act in order to avoid being victimized. The way to do this is through acting and dressing “more White.” How is being or acting White automatically associated with being respectable? This ethnocentric view imparts these suggested improvements in order to avoid discrimination. These include practices such as not wearing saggy pants, not wearing kerchiefs on your head or using vile language in public places. This is based on the underlying truth that Black bodies are seen as broken and in need of fixing, although this “undesirable behaviour” may be rooted in poverty. How has society decided that undesirable behaviours, poor social class and Black bodies intersected and were punishable? Simple, systematic discrimination in order to maintain the race based division of the economy. The interplaying power structures allow for these kinds of racialized statements, with Black bodies and their cultural practices being seen as unrespectable. But even these methods have shown to be useless. Keeping your hands visible proved useless to Michael brown, visual proof through a body camera also proved useless to Eric Garner, even staying in your own home still resulted in the death of 7 year old Aiyana Jones during a botched police raid.

What does this mean in a broad sense? In relation to Martese Johnson, this systematic brutalization of Black bodies condoned for this young man to be unnecessarily assaulted without showing any sign of aggression himself. It condoned the murder of several Black bodies such as Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, and the victim blaming culture to brand these two young men as terrors to society in the wake of their deaths. Even the officers responsible for the assault on Johnson reported that he was “agitated and belligerent,” although this was not corroborated by witnesses on the scene. We live in a world where Black bodies are seen as lesser, animalistic and always dangerous, no matter if they are 20 year old men or 7 year old girls. What are the scary implications for Black bodies today? That their victimization has been engrained in society and that safety is not a right, but rather something that cannot be counted on. Until we as a society are able to analyse and reform the pre-existing power structures based on racial prejudice, we will be unable to neutralize this underlying threat to Black bodies. In conclusion, until there is mutual respect for all bodies, it will be impossible to live in the progressive and inclusive society that has seemed so elusive to us.

By: Rosa Queen

Works Cited

“”I Hate Myself!”: What Are Respectability Politics, and Why Do Black People Subscribe to Them?” A Line in the Sand. September 5, 2013. http://alineinthesand.com/respectability-politics/.

“Virginia Governor Calls for Inquiry into Student Arrest.” BBC News. March 18, 2015. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-31965856.

Abbey-Lambertz, Kate. “Charges Dismissed Against Joseph Weekley, Cop Who Fatally Shot Sleeping 7-Year-Old [UPDATE].” The Huffington Post. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/28/joseph-weekley-charges-dismissed-aiyana-stanley-jones_n_6566032.html.

Edwards, Breanna. “From Slavery to Ferguson: America’s History of Violence Toward Blacks.” http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2014/09/from_slavery_to_ferguson_america_s_history_of_violence_toward_blacks.html.

Mauer, Marc, and Ryan S. King. Uneven justice: State rates of incarceration by race and ethnicity. Washington, DC: Sentencing Project, 2007.

A Response to Laverne Cox’s Speech by gndsgirl11

Although society has come a long way from the days of segregation and the hatred of gay marriage, there are still obvious signs of old beliefs in the new age, which is seen particularly strongly among the LGBTQ community. As Laverne Cox informs us in a video where she explains the intersection of transphobia, misogyny and racism, transwomen (MTFs) experience 54% of all violence within the community (Cox). They will receive further hatred and violence if they do not conform to the ‘societal norm’s that come with being a women in today’s society. It is automatically believed that women must behave in a certain way in order to be accepted. Women are portrayed in advertisements as thin, sexual objects, and often times due to the brainwashing of media, if one does not conform to these beliefs their womenhood is degraded.

After the male-to-female transition a transwomen experiences, they are often treated with contempt. There have been cases in the United States where transwomen have been walking down the street and have been beaten or stabbed to death simply due to the fact that they are transgender (Cox). It is an unfortunate reality that even in our present society, transwomen experience gender harassment simply because that is who they truly are. Gender harassment is something that majority of transwomen suffer from due to the fact that they are no longer receiving the privileges one does from simply being a man. It can be argued that this is because men feel intimidated and unnerved by MTFs because that do not understand the meaning or reasoning of transitioning, and many of them refuse to even try to understand what MTFs feel.

Another thing that transwomen may experience after their transition is quite the same as to what women who are born as women experience through the act of misogyny. Misogyny is similar to contempt in the way that they are both aggressive forms of hatred towards an individual group, however misogyny is directly inflicted upon women. The fact that women are portrayed in such a poor light in media is only furthering the allowance of misogynistic remarks and unrealistic expectations towards women.

Laverne Cox is a MTF black woman. Being black and transgender is an ultimate form of intersectionality, and one that is most difficult for some people among society to understand. Black people are constantly discriminated against by the power structure that cisgender white men seem to have over black transwomen, and that white transwomen do not experience the same levels of violence as black transwomen (Cox). Laverne Cox provides us with an excellent example. One day when she was walking down the street, a Latino man and a black man were catcalling her, the Latino called her ‘momma’ and the black man tried to correct him by saying that she was an N-word. Cox had the two struggles among today’s society of being black and a transwomen, neither of which affects who she is as a person. It is unfortunate, again, that these women are exposed such degrading behavior just for being who they really are.

It is extremely important for all members of society to move past their fears of all members of the LGBTQ community in today’s society. There is no way violence and aggression towards members of the community; MTFs in particular, will come to an end until there is all around acceptance of the differences of others. All members of society need to be aware that just because someone is different than you are, does not mean they are a bad person, nonetheless do they deserve to be beaten or stabbed to death. The known violence towards the LGBTQ community often results in them being too afraid to be open about their preferred sexualities and gender which can result in an unintentional segregation between members of our society. If members of our society were more open about everyone’s sexual and gender preferences, it would create a more accepting society where all people could feel comfortable in their own skin. To further one’s education about the dangers the MTFs experience in their day-to-day lives, I would recommend everyone to watch Laverne Cox’s speech about transgender awareness. If more people were to educate themselves on this issue, it could very possibly lead to a more positive society for all.

Works Cited:

Cox, Laverne. “Laverne Cox Explains the Intersection of Transphobia, Racism, and Misogyny (And What to Do About It).” Everyday Feminism. N.p., 07 Dec. 2014. Web. 07 Mar. 2015.

The Insulation of Heteronormativity and Inequity By the Medical System

As a society, we are taught from a young age to believe that racist, classist, sexiest and other such acts of bigotry and discrimination have been purged from society and the public consciousness as a whole, and are rather remnants of a more primitive, less educated state. However, as ubiquitous and idealistic as this belief is, it is a romanticized construct established by the hegemonic power structures which have, in turn, established a false consciousness within society and an erroneous understanding of the discrimination and inequality that currently pervades culture. This construct is exemplified, with eerie eloquence, in the story of baby Bay, a baby girl born to partners Krista and Jami.[i] Upon Bay’s first check up at six days of age, it was discovered that their agreed upon doctor, Dr. Roi had decided to refuse to take Bay on as a patient as a result of her mothers’ sexual orientation.[ii] The birth of a child is generally an overwhelmingly joyous event, one that is pervaded by themes of exultation, jubilation and glee. However, in the case of Bay, her first exposure to the world was one riddled by overt heteronormative, heterosexist and marginalizing scripts.[iii] It is in relation and response to such overt and blatant examples of the detrimental and destructive influence that heteronormative and heteropatriarchal power structures have on people’s lived experiences that a critical analysis and adjudication of these systems is needed in order to bring about vitally needed change.

It is easy to look at this example as an isolated incident in which an individual doctor acted in accordance to her own personal beliefs, and by doing perpetuated heteronormative and heterosexist rhetoric. This example is, however, illustrative of the greater non-inclusionary paradigm and systemic issues which ruminate about the medical system. The case of Bay is illustrative of the systemic and insulated heteropatriarchal, heteronormative and cisgender rhetoric that is situated in the current medical system, particularly in the American Medical Association (AMA) ethos.[iv] [v] The AMA code is one riddled by ambiguity and seemingly apparent contradictions. On one hand, it actively prevents discrimination based on sexual orientation or preference; that is, a physician is unable to negate treatment on the grounds of one’s sexual orientation.[vi] [vii] However, a physician can withhold treatment if they feel that the patient’s character is at odds with their own ethical, spiritual or moral principles.[viii] [ix] First and foremost, this established clause in AMA rhetoric re-enforces the established power structure, and in turn neo-liberal, classist and educational scripts as it confers an unequal power relationship between doctor and patient. That is, in order to obtain treatment and help, at times in dire circumstances, one may be required to conform to normalized and standardized scripts, in order to obtain help. This apparent choice that a doctor has, in regard to being able to selectively choose who is eligible for care, further exemplifies the institutionalized nature of patriarchal, cisgender, heteronormative power structures in the medical system and culture as a whole. Continue reading

Fads, Fashion, and Fine Lines : A Look at Cultural Appropriation in Modern Society. By Rosa Queen

The fine line between cultural appropriation and cultural celebration has long been a point of controversy for those living in melting-pot nations, where foreign assimilation into Western culture is the norm. Cultural appropriation is seen as the adoption of elements such as symbols, artifacts and practices from another culture. This is especially true of dominant cultures appropriating parts of minority cultures. However, when this dominant culture uses these symbols without any respect for the historical, cultural and traditional concepts behind these artifacts, lines are crossed.

In Chelsea Vowel’s piece, “An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdresses,” the reader gets some insight into the separation between appropriation and appreciation of Indigenous culture. In her article, Vowel brings up the point that there are several restricted symbols in Western culture that cannot be mimicked without punishment, such as a doctorate degree, and in the same way, there exists several artifacts from Native culture that similarly should not be mimicked as they are symbols of achievement. However, even in light of this parallel, it is becoming more and more mainstream to see models adorning headdresses in fashion shoots, sporting Native style face paint and wearing Métis sashes.

From this article, one can see several patterns emerging in the appropriation of such a rich heritage. Firstly, we see the portrayal of Indigenous culture as wild, savage and uncivilized and the use of their symbols promote similar stereotypes. One can also ascertain that the appropriation of such emblems was not consented upon by the indigenous peoples from whom these symbols come from. And finally we see the utilization of these symbols to debase these cultures, such as the use of native headdresses in the 2012 Victoria Secret Fashion show, where these symbols are used to fetishize and exotify these peoples (CBC News,”Victoria’s Secret … headdress”).   All in all, we see that this stereotyping, theft and disrespect of Indigenous cultures in no way “appreciates” what these peoples have to offer.

But this kind of appropriation is not just linked to the use of Native symbols, we see the same patterns around the world. Western culture’s use and abuse of cultural symbols and heritage without any knowledge of their value only go to further cheapen their meanings. We see this in the appropriation of Maori warrior tattoos, Katy Perry dressing as a geisha for the 2013 AMAs, Urban Outfitters selling tights with Hindu gods printed on them and much more. This is clearly not a problem that has passed, appropriation has been reaching its peak as of late through the use of such cultural symbols for the shear purpose of aesthetics or sexualisation. Just a casual look at pop culture reveals examples such as Lady Gaga’s hyper-sexualisation of the burqa and its demeaning reception (Aimen, “Dear Lady Gaga, ‘… message”).

But what does this all mean? How is this not just examples of cultural exchange? Why is this a problem?

Cultural appropriation only goes to further marginalize minorities by taking their respected symbols and commercializing them. Turning these artifacts into items of fads and trends only go to further disrespect and degrade these cultures by disvaluing their symbols. On top of this, the use of cultural artifacts in this manner also goes to promote negative stereotypes of these peoples (Nittle, “What Is … Wrong?”). This of course plays into a common pattern of racism, and disempowering the beliefs of others by cheapening objects or ideas that are sacred in an ethnocentric manner. And like reverse racism, there is no such thing as appropriating Western cultures. The classic argument against cultural appropriation usually reads along the lines of “If natives speak English, why can’t I wear a warbonnet?” or “If Muslims can wear suits to the office, why can’t I wear a see-through burqa?” The main counter-argument lies in the reason behind these acts. Native Americans were forced through residential schools to speak English and wear European clothes which is still raw in the minds of many. And for other minorities, the way to find a place in white-collar Western society today is to wear a suit, as other cultural forms of dress are systematically looked down upon and considered “unprofessional.” These aren’t necessarily cases of appropriation, more so adaptation to fit into the ethnocentric Western cultural model. Once again, we must look at the power structure of these acts of appropriation. The general trend is white cultures (traditionally having more power) taking emblems from marginalized cultures in order to market them not as a celebration, but for commercialization.

These trends and fads are especially dehumanizing in the cases of appropriation from cultures with a history of colonialism and racist violence, providing more evidence towards white culture taking from other cultures that it deems is lesser. Cultural appropriation further highlights the imbalance of power between the previously colonized and their ex-colonizers, such as that of the case of Indigenous peoples (Uwujaren “The Difference … Appropriation”). Although some decolonization has occurred in the sense of nations and boundaries, the long lasting views of these peoples will continue to be overshadowed by Western perception and thus the effects of colonization lives on.

What cultural appropriation shows us is that melting pot nations have built their cultures, not on multiculturalism, but assimilation. In this way, Western culture is taken as the norm and standard. This enables Western cultures to single out the heritage of other peoples in order to sensationalize and commercialize, rather than fostering understanding. The significance of such a mindset being fostered in youth is that cultural appropriation allows for the propagation of racism, racial violence and white privilege. As Vowel mentioned in her article, acknowledgement and apology is what is needed now by society in order to start righting the wrongs of cultural appropriation. Unfortunately these are simply bandage fixes for an overarching problem of ethnocentrism. Mutual respect, the abolishment of Western xenophobia and cultural understanding offer us more long term solutions, but are much harder to accomplish due to the amount of time needed to heal these wounds. Perhaps in due time, we will be able to more easily navigate the line between appropriation and appreciation through ongoing cultural education and giving the respect due to these marginalized peoples.

Rosa Queen

Works Cited:

“Victoria’s Secret Apologizes for Use of Headdress.” CBC News. CBC/Radio Canada, 13 Nov. 2012. Web. 7 Mar. 2015. <http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/victoria-s-secret-apologizes-for-use-of-headdress-1.1130549&gt;.

Aimen, Umema. “Dear Lady Gaga, ‘Burqa’ Sends the Wrong Message.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 19 Aug. 2013. Web. 8 Mar. 2015. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/she-the-people/wp/2013/08/19/dear-lady-gaga-burqa-sends-the-wrong-message/&gt;.

Nittle, Nadra. “What Is Cultural Appropriation and Why Is It Wrong?” About News: Race Relations. Web. 10 Mar. 2015. <http://racerelations.about.com/od/diversitymatters/fl/What-Is-Cultural-Appropriation-and-Why-Is-It-Wrong.htm&gt;.

Uwujaren, Jarune. “The Difference Between Cultural Exchange and Cultural Appropriation.” Everyday Feminism. 30 Sept. 2013. Web. 9 Mar. 2015. <http://everydayfeminism.com/2013/09/cultural-exchange-and-cultural-appropriation/&gt;.

Vowel, Chelsea. “An Open Letter to Non-Natives in Headdress.” Âpihtawikosisân: Law language, life: A Plains Cree speaking Metis Woman in Montreal. WordPress. Web. 6 Mar. 2015. < http://apihtawikosisan.com/hall-of-shame/an-open-letter-to-non-natives-in-headdresses/&gt;.

Lilting: A Review

As a movie based on homosexuality I was looking forward to a revolutionary film about the struggles a mixed-race, homosexual couple face in modern society, especially when it is based around coming out to parents. Going into this film, I thought that I would be witnessing something very moving, which would inspire viewers not to be afraid. Instead, it was anti-climactic and slightly disappointing.

Lilting is a film which is based largely upon the death of a man named Kai, son of Junn and boyfriend of Richard. Kai’s death is a turning point for Richard, and on the day of his death Kai was supposed to come out to his mother. Richard befriended Junn and hired a translator to help with their communication, and the rest of the film was a waiting game. It was clear to viewers that Richard had wanted to Kai to come out from the beginning, but for some reason Kai was afraid to tell his mother because he knew that she did not appreciate Richard. Junn is a very strong woman, however she tends to struggle with cultural appropriation. She has a difficult time adapting to the elements of an English country after coming from somewhere so different. This is a large aspect to her character, as it often causes her to become frustrated at the lack of communication she is able to have with others. At the beginning she is made to seem as a very binary thinking woman, which causes viewers to believe that is the reason why Kai cannot bring himself to tell her the truth about Richard. This is where the film could be considered moving. Junn was unaware of who Richard was when he befriended her, and throughout the movie, we see Richard and Junn develop a solid friendship, where each respect each other equally. This is an interesting aspect of the film because it shows that homosexuals are not lesser than heterosexuals just because they are attracted to the same gender. By taking away the aspect of sexuality, viewers were able to see a deeper connection between two strangers which should never be altered based on an individual’s personal preferences. When Richard finally told Junn about his relationship with her son, her reaction was very calm, however left me, as a viewer, very unsure of whether or not she was okay with the news she was given. The scene was somewhat complicated and unclear and could have been more direct.

Although there is not much focus on Kai in particular, viewers could potentially feel more empathy towards him as his character is a clear form of intersectionality, given that he is both an Asian homosexual man. Both Asian’s and homosexual tend to be looked down upon by parts of society, and this therefore gives his character more of a depth and sympathetic vibe than others. As a viewer it would have been nice to be able to see the ways in which Kai’s mother reacted to his coming out.

However, there is not all bad to say about the movie. The synthesis of emotion and intersectional in this film come together to create something that is moving. It gives viewers a sense of reality, and that there is more to life than the material things. It is also a very moving look into what life is like after the loss of a loved one, and the ways social construction affect different groups of people. In a scene with Junn and her English lover Richard, it is clear how little effort her nursing home puts in towards ensuring her happiness, as there is no one around who speaks the same language as her to help them communicate. Richard has to hire his own translator so she can communicate easier in order to help her enjoy her time in England more. Overall, I believe that although this film was slow and lacking detail and inspiration, it was still very well done and proved to readers that there is still a lot of work to be done in regards to the acceptance of all types of people within society.

The experience I had at the film festival was something that I have never experienced before. Never could I have imagined being surrounded by so many people who were obviously so accepting and understanding of otherwise controversial topics. The audience was a certain crowd that one does not experience every day. The festival was definitely something that I would consider attending again.

– gndsgirl11