Body Image, Body Politics and Body Justice News
- National Public Radio’s Democracy Now reports on Jasmine Richards, a Black Lives Matter organizer is facing up to four years in state prison after she was convicted of a rarely known statute in California law known up until recently as “felony lynching.” “Richards was arrested and charged with felony lynching last September after police accused her of trying to de-arrest someone during a peace march in Pasadena last August. At the time, Jasmine was one of the key organizers demanding justice for Kendrec McDade, a 19-year-old African American who was shot and killed by Pasadena police in 2012. The arrest and jailing of a young black female activist on charges of felony lynching sparked a firestorm of controversy. In fact, the law’s name was so controversial that less than two months before Jasmine was arrested, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law legislation removing the word “lynching” from the penal code. As the Guardian reports the “California law was passed in 1933 to prevent mobs from taking people from police custody but case of Maile Hampton and others last year suggestst harsher attitudes toward those who speak up in the wake of Occupy and police brutality protests.” You can sign the Change.org petition requesting that Jasmine receive no jail time here.
June is Immigrant Heritage Month
- Immigrant Heritage Month is intended to remind us all that we are immigrants or the descendants immigrants, or should stand in support of immigrants in the fight against intensifying racist xenophobia and refugee backlash in the U.S. and truly around the world. Welcome.us afounded Immigrant Heritage Month, in 2014 and today they launch the #IAmAnImmigrant campaign launches to “encourage all of us to explore our individual heritage & recognize our distinct and shared experiences. We all have our piece in the American story, whether as a new immigrant, native to this land or a descendent of slavery or those who came to our nation seeking a better life. #IAmAnImmigrant honors each of our families’ sacrifices, struggles and successes – America’s strength is reflected in our diversity built over generations.” The founding executive director is Nigerian immigrant Tolu Olubunmi who arrived in the U.S at 14, went to college to become an engineer, but was unemployable in the field because she was undocumented.
- Feministing alerts us to “Islamphobin (an actual chewing gum) is part of Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR’s most recent anti-Islmophobia awareness campaign, and part of the group’s broader efforts to track and counter anti-Muslim bigotry in the United States. Considering the national (and global) rise of hatred against Muslims and the blatant fear-mongering at play this election season, it would be awesome if there were actually a medicine that could guarantee decent human behavior. But awareness campaigns like this are a good start.”
- The reality of undocumented immigrant families who are aspiring a better life can often lead to devastation. AJ Plus media’s video Don’t Deport My Parents talks to the kids torn from their loved ones, by America‘s broken immigration system.”
LGBTQIA Love, Pride, & Beyond
- The San Francisco State University Pow Wow, held annually in the spring, set a bit of history on May 15th as the first non Two Spirit
pow wow to include the Rainbow Gay Pride Flag. According to this year’s Head Dancer, Aidan Dunn (Osage), “the SFSU Pow wow committee has decided to de-gender their dance categories. For instance, the category formerly known as “Women’s Fancy Shawl” will now be simply ‘Fancy Shawl’. Most people probably won’t notice this difference, because it won’t cause any big changes in the way the dance categories work–but inclusive language matters a lot, because it can be used to include or exclude,” said Dunn. Dunn said that changing a few words would enable pow wow organizers to open the circle a little wider to embrace more community members. “This allows pow wow dancers to dance in whatever category they are called to dance, even if it isn’t what we might expect for their gender. SFSU is taking a bold step toward making Two-Spirit, LGBTQ, and gender-nonconforming pow wow dancers feel welcome in the arena. The Bay Area American Indian Two-Spirits(BAAITS) Pow wow took this step last year but, to my knowledge, there are no ‘straight’ powwows anywhere in the US or Canada that currently do this.”
“Kenyan writer and activist Tiffany Mugo has created a brilliant, shining corner of the Internet that you may not know about, but you should. It’s a place where queer African women can talk openly, candidly, and unapologetically about their everyday experiences. It’s a place where government-sanctioned murder and corrective rape don’t encompass the entirety of the queer African experience. It’s a place called HOLAAfrica [where]queer African women from all over the continent gather to share their stories, some anonymously. No matter what, it’s a safe space for all contributors. ”
- Typically, after-school conversations with my 6-year-old aren’t about my queerness. Most days we recap his day, who he sat with at lunch with and what he ate. He always asks about what I did at work and tells me about his own career dreams of building rocketships or inventing something. But this time was our conversation was different. I always knew that as a queer, Black woman raising a child on my own, I wanted to be open with my son about my queerness eventually. However, I never expected it to happen on an otherwise uneventful spring day riding home on the city bus. How I Came Out To My 6-Year-Old Black Son by Raina Johnson for Black Girl Dangerous
- “In 25 years, I had never wanted to have sex with anyone, of any gender, and I knew that would never change. I wasn’t a freak—I was asexual. And I wasn’t alone. An estimated one percent of people are asexual, which may seem like a small amount, but to me, that number felt huge. I read on and learned a lot of things that night, about myself and about the asexual community. I learned that asexuality is a sexual orientation, different from celibacy (the choice to abstain from sex). I learned that it’s possible to have a sex drive and to experience feelings of arousal, but for those things to exist independently of the desire to actually have sex with anyone. The same goes for romance and sex; the former can be experienced without the latter. This is a difficult thing for a lot of people who aren’t asexual to understand. But then again, I think most people in general would find it hard to explain why, exactly, they make out or have sex or even just like someone.” – No Sex Please, I’m Asexual by Keira Tobias for Bust
Acording to Buzzfeed the latest version of “The Sims 4” removes gender-specific clothing and accessories and is offering new menu options include allowing players to modify their sims’ appearance, clothing, hairstyles and tone of voice, regardless of selected gender. “Rachel Franklin, Executive Producer of The Sims 4 told Buzzfeed that the design team, … worked alongside LGBT advocacy group GLAAD to ensure the latest update would be sensitive to all players of the game — including transgender players.”
- “I’ve often been fetishized and sexualized because of my disability. Even in mainstream porn, you’ll see people with disabilities objectified and fetishized as if that’s all we’re good for. And when we aren’t being objectified, we’re seen as completely sexless. In reality, we can be sexy and we can have sex — but on our terms! Too often, we’re stripped of agency over our bodies. I’m tired of being reduced to a fetish or pitied. I wish people would see us for who we are: people. People who live happy, fulfilling lives in our own way.” If You Think All Disabled People are Undesirable, Check Your Ableism by Nik Moreno
- This week I talk about how I use masturbation for better mental health and integral to my self-care.
Art & Culture
- As a seriouscinephile and a not so serious list maker, I was psyched to come across The Black Film Canon. Slate’s answer to a post #Oscarsowhite that seeks to remind us that Black filmmakers have been here all along and somehow rarely if ever make into the greatfilmaking lists of our time. Their answer was The Black Film Canon, a streaming delight of the 50 Best Black Films, according to Black filmmakers, critics and scholars ranging from my love Ava Duvernay to Ava DuVernay to Henry Louis Gates Jr. I don’t agree with all of the choices, but I plan on watching and rewatching everyone of them.
- Oakland illustrator and video artist Stephanie Sarley “fetishises fruit for feminsim.” Her suggestive videos feature her fingers stroking and penetrating halved kiwis strawberries and papayas and were banned on Instagram. After she complained they her account was reinstated. According to a viral video by Insider Art Sthephanie’s intention is to “challenge society’s aversion to female sexuality”. I’m have a jealous curator moment where I wish I had thought of that!
- Jaime Grant talks is over the lack of intent behind the term Ally and shares a beautiful ode to the act of solidarity as self-love at The Body Is Not An Apology.
“The idea of nurturing your mental illness back to health feels like it should be a physical impossibility, like it’s cheating life. But that’s sort of how food works, isn’t it? There’s always been a beautiful alchemy to cooking—the way two ingredients inexplicably beget a whole new dimension of flavors, the way time and fire change everything. Making a complicated dish fills me with the same full-body thrill of having written; grateful and proud to witness the emergence of something beautiful and whole from so many sharp fragments, a rose from its thorns.” – Tracy Wan for How I Learned To Break Bread With My Mental Health on the Establishment