Sunday, February 28, 2010

Point of Hilarity...or maybe not

The ads that are showing up on my page are interesting to say the least. "Ukrainian Wives" up for sale. Mail-order brides are a big deal especially when they come from Russia, Ukraine, the Phillipines and various other countries in the world. Aside from the obvious reasons I can identify that would place a demand on such a woman, the normalization of this trend is profoundly disturbing. Women, of course, being commodified is no big deal. I tried to google the phrase "Ukrainian Husbands" and hardly anything on that topic showed up. In fact, what did show up was a mass of ads for the opposite as well as articles on the topic of mail-order brides. Hmmm. Anyone who tries to argue that our world is no longer sexist needs to open their eyes to small examples such as this one.

The tragedy is that women are all to eager to have themselves objectified because they are trapped in a system that normalizes and condones the sexist treatment of women. As George Orwell portrayed in Nineteen Eighty-Four, when there are no standards of comparison in one's mind, social injustice cannot be seen for what it really is. A dehumanization, a rape of the soul. Unless young girls and boys are shown a better way, they will only perpetuate this rotten system of male domination and female submission in all its forms.

Aversion: Mills & Boon

I have always had a latent aversion to this book series. The covers just put me off to begin with. Then their titles. Another thing I may not have noticed, which jump-started my aversion in the first place was the propagation of traditional gender norms upon which every single story line is based.

The books are highly branded and are often in a separate section of bookshops and libraries from the other paperback fiction and romance novels. Common themes are rich, ennobled and initially unattainable males (often of Mediterranean--especially Greek--origin), the desire of a character to have a baby (with this being thwarted by infertility or an unsympathetic husband), and the breakup and mending of a relationship.
Exactly. Why all the brothers have to be of European descent (and moneyed by the way) not only attempts to reinforce a notion that women are mostly in it for the money but also the idea that the heterosexual Caucasian male is the ultimate symbol for status, money and power.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Phallic Imagery E.g. 1

The more I understand about patriarchy and its many functions and manifestations in society, ads like this no longer seem to be much of a surprise.
The fact that even boys are included in this imagery is even more surprising to me. Yes, I understand misogyny plays a role in the sexualization of women, especially younger women in public media. That's also nothing new. But boys too. Really.
Aside from the latent homosexual rape theme, the ad seems to try and make analogous sex-slavery with the hold that a smoking habit takes on a person. Which is in a way making light of a very serious issue that cannot be viewed in a comical way no matter what the weather.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Party Time...Excellent!!

Some movies just never go out of style. I always laugh. Always. The Garth-look i.e. jeans, T-shirt of any random design and tartan shirt. Oh, it's the look baby. I rock it regularly. It's so comfortable. I fit right in with the science geeks rocking this one.

 Ashamed as I am to admit this. I am strangely turned on by Dana Carvey when he plays Garth. I think he's kind of cute, you know? No, you probably don't...LOL!

I Need to Get Four Wheels of My Own

Is it or isn't it a gender thing. Any time I see a couple driving out together, the guy is always behind the wheel. As I started to focus my attention on gender roles that are conditioned into the mind's of boys and girls growing up, I immediately began to tie this pattern to the way in which upbringing plays a part in all this.

In my own family which likes to hold true to traditional gender roles, there always seemed to be an underlying belief that driving is more of a manly thing to do. That this fact shows in the notion that boys start to drive, on average before girls do and are usually apparently "better" drivers.
Some comments at Freakonomics spoke
of how this pattern relates quite directly to how patriarchal ideas inform men that they should be in control as a means of properly asserting masculinity. So, in a sense, the car is quite clearly a strong phallic symbol. One which affords a boy or man a feeling of dominance and power. Seldom can you find a brother that is secure enough in his masculinity to let you take the driver's seat just because.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Pity the Fool...

That ever tries to take me to school...I been to school fool!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Gratuitious Violence

After enlightening myself about the different forms in which patriarchal ideas of masculinity show themselves, the senseless killing of a yet another UCT student has taken place. The reason why I look toward this as an explanation is owed to the fact that none of the boys that were attacked were robbed or mugged of any of their possessions. In essence, the murder was gratuitous. Yet these are the ways in which our culture encourages men to exert their masculinity. This if course being a more extreme form but a violent one nevertheless. The key word here. Even in its most subtlest forms when boys are raised up identifying a violent nature with their masculinity, they only become more violent as a means of asserting this especially when insecurities about one's self occur. No, I am no psychologist. But it makes plenty of sense to me for one who feels, at their core inadequate or powerless to find external means of expressing power to overcompensate enough to temporarily remove feelings of weakness. Gang violence is a wonderful example of this model of behaviour. A socially-disadvantaged underclass inhabiting forgotten, poor and dilapidated parts of a city will turn to the use of guns and various other weapons to strike fear into the hearts of their community. As a means of elevating oneself from the pangs of powerlessness in a system that does not care and does not seek to care for you as an individual, as a human being.

Guns, a phallic symbol in a patriarchal world will continue to be the main form of communication that men utilize to enforce power over others until these false conceptions of manhood that have been drilled into all of us are removed.

My deepest condolences to the Giddy family.

R.I.P Dominic Joseph Giddy

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Essential Literature for the Male Mind

It is my wish for every boy and man to read this book and come to fully comprehend the pathology of the false conceptions of manhood and masculinity which patriarchal notions continue to propagate...

on an endless tidal wave of bullisht.

The Power to Define

Many of the problems I encounter mentally with Men's Magazines ala FHM and Maxim, GQ, XXL blah-di-blah-di-blah-blah stems from the idea that women, in order to be considered attractive, must prime themselves up to look and resemble women that are considered "hawt" in these glossy tomes. Women begin to view themselves through the male gaze and alter their appearances in line with male expectations or standards of beauty.

I have to say, though there may have been a point in my life where I succumbed to this pressure. I no longer do and I make it a conscious point to consider my own opinions and wishes above external expectations. In essence, I have that devil-may-care attitude and dress with the intention of expressing all of what I respresent. The androgyny, the punk-rocker/hip-hop head, the's an outer representation of all that is within. It is awful to acknowledge that young girls mould themselves around the ideals of the male gaze. Why else would women appear in demeaning, sexualized videos, magazines, movies. Clearly they have normalized the idea of objectifying their bodies for the consumption of a patriarchal culture that condones fear, hate and disrespect of women.

This of course, was inspired by SWPD's err of a post which he eventually corrected after some commenters stated what would be obvious to a feminist woman but not so much to a man that has been raised in a culture of patriarchy that insists on evaluating women solely on their appearance.

These levels of superficiality usually annoy me. But what annoys me more is the fact that those who consider themselves privileged in society seem to think that they get to decide who's hot and who's not and that rest of us should just nod our heads in silent agreement. John Mayer is a great example right now. Talking about Kerry Washington and Holly Robinson Pete being attractive in the eyes of DudeBro X and how that justifies their true attractiveness. Man...these m'fers. So tired. Just so tired.

The Kind of White House I Like

When you have the President crooning alongside Smokey Robinson
for a Black History Month celebration and the whole stage is just filled to the brim with such an ambience of blackness. Man. It's just wonderful.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Just Couldn't Agree More

If only all of us could think a bit more in these terms (including me). We're all guilty. Each one of us. Eluding the forces around us that compel our minds to create divisions where none should exist is hard work. But it is a work that must be done. Consciously. Each day, each minute, each second. "I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me" - precisely.

Typical Attention-Seeking / Why Care Anyway?

Hello, 24 hours and what do I miss. John Mayer gives a ridiculous interview in Playboy and makes some iffy statements that nobody should actually be paying attention to because I feel as if he is being rewarded for his deliberate attention-seeking ways by being given attention. I did not even read the interview in full. But Black Snob offered some opinions and insight and so have racalicious

Why am I even bothering to talk about this guy. I don't know. This celebrity-obsessed culture of ours. Douchebags will always be douchebags.

But hold on...despite my embarrassment in the fact that I am paying attention to this absurd interview. I should say this. I am in no way despaired by the fact that he doesn't find women of African descent attractive. As Snob said, that is his business. We all have preferences anyway. This somehow kind of reminds me of the way in which black men will gloat it in your face that they are dating a non-black woman. As if some kind of vengeance is being taken on the collective black female population for reasons unmentioned. I take it they have past heartbreaks that cause them to hold grudges. Why everybody in everybody's business. I don't know that brother at the mall who is with a white girl. Who is he? Don't know. Should I be jealous for someone who I am not only not attracted to at all but do not even know? I don't know John Mayer. There's no reason for me to feel awful about his statements. It really is his business. As it always should be. Attraction to someone usually transcends the superficial. Someone can be attractive but have zero levels of class, zero morals, zero personality and zero character. would that person be suitable for a long-term or serious affair. Heck no. That's that. The opinions and beliefs of strangers on the street, on the telly or wherever bear no importance to my emotional, personal well being or sustenance.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Ngozi Adichie

I read The Thing Around Your Neck
last month. I found it beautiful. This woman is brilliant. So talented. Really don't know what else to say that could suffice to express the levels of admiration I have for her. She's going to go far. I can see it already. This is only the beginning.

For some reason, I only got the chance to see this now. But wow, she expressed this issue so concisely. "The Danger of the Single Story" is essentially that it inhibits us from seeing more of how things are. More of who people are. It limits us. She summarised this wonderfully in her closing sentence. 

"When we reject the single story, when we realise that there is never any single story about any place, we regain a kind of paradise."

There is so much truth in just about everything she spoke of. She makes me so proud to be an African today.

Haiti: Using Technology to Prevent Further Catastrophe

It's funny that humans only decide to begin taking stern measures against disaster-prevention after something catastrophic has taken place. It's taken this. The lives of almost 200 000 people to focus in on the danger of the fault line located near Port-au-Prince to bring attention to the fact that early earthquake detection is really needed for the nation of Haiti.As it looks, geologists predict that it is only going to worsen.

The earthquake has increased the stress on this eastern section of the fault south of Port-au-Prince and the section west of the rupture. This has significantly increased the risk of a future earthquake, according to a recent report by the U.S. Geological Survey.

False-color composite image of the Port-au-Prince, Haiti region, taken Jan. 27, 2010 by NASA’s UAVSAR airborne radar. The city is denoted by the yellow arrow; the black arrow points to the fault responsible for the Jan. 12 earthquake. Image credit: NASA

Taken from this NASA article discussing how scientists in this field will use radar image capturing to detect motions and pressures building up within the Earth's crust over periods of time. These satellite images will be fundamental for earthquake detections especially along fault zones such as that of what caused the Haitian earthquake some weeks ago.

This image will be combined with other images of the same area to be acquired later this month and in the future in order to measure the motion of Earth’s surface during the time between images using a technique called interferometry.The interferometric measurements will allow scientists to study the pressures building up and being released on the fault at depth.

Well. At least. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Changing Up The Scenery

It does wonders on the psyche. You feel better able to press forward, embrace the new and leave behind old inhibtors, negative belief-systems, mind-traps that were all the more difficult to escape from in that old place. But when your body now inhabits a new place, your mind seems to follow suit. You even see yourself differently, perhaps even begin to see things for what they are. Old illusions too are left behind.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Dear Mr President Why Can't You Keep Your D*** in your Pants?

Was not the least bit surprised last week after hearing that
Zuma has fathered his 20th kid out of wedlock
. In fact, I quite remember walking out of the house to take out the trash with the phrase "chronic babydaddy" running through my head. It's in his nature. He's part of that lame group of the populous that defends their debauchery and lack of self-discipline with power and privilege. They're a lot of them. Yes, all the US senators and mayors that have ever been involved a sex scandals. Sportsmen that take on any ole groupie that happens to be flashing her cleavage on their way out of the arena. Can't keep their c**ks away. Just can't do it. The poor babies.

After the trial, he apologized to the nation, saying: “I erred in having unprotected sex. I should have known better.”

You know? This one kind of goes without saying.

In an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Jan. 28, Zuma defended the practice of polygamy and said he treated all his wives equally.
“That’s my culture,” Zuma said. “People interpret culture in different ways. Some people think their culture is superior to others. That’s a problem which we need to deal with.”
And some people think that their GENDER is superior to others. Foolishness! (thank you Niecey Nash). Using the culture argument as usual. Typical African male chauvinist. Will protect your ability to sleep around as much as you want to instead of leading, governing and attempting to improve the state of the nation that you happen to be president of. Yes, I acknowledge that perfection does not exist. But try, just try like Obama does to uphold a certain creed of moral values. You are the leader, we are all meant to follow you. But how can we when most of us are of the opinion that given the chance, we could sure as heck do a better job than you and your sexist, power-obsessed crew are doing.