Monday, March 29, 2010

words of wisdom: embodied resistance/oppression

photo by anja, cross-stitching by amelia (who both have awesome blogs you should read)

march has been a whirlwind and i've been trying to think up ways to update this blog on a more regular basis without getting caught up in not having the time to edit my 3,000 word essays every time i try to write about something. so here is a new little feature that i'll try to do from time to time, sort of like feministing's weekly feminist reader where i suggest some links and you can comment with your own favourite things you've read as of late. i'll start with some quotes that have really caught my attention lately.
The theme of rescue through benevolence underpins power relations and gives expression to those relations in a way that "makes sense." Thus difference, which is threatening, can similarly be recuperated through its conversion into exotica, or its neutralization through containment. In speaking of the exotic, it is apparent that imperial literature was replete with representations constructing women from the East and other parts of the wolrd as exotic Others who need to be unveiled so that their hidden natures could be consumed by the colonizers.
- Mapping Race in the Media by Yasmin Jiwani in Discourses of Denial, entire book available for download in pdf form here.
Sympathy or even empathy that is not coupled with power-sharing is meaningless. Any story that purports to show solidarity or uplift marginalised groups, but is not willing to let us tell our own stories in our own way, is not a friend.
- Stories that Ally versus Stories that Appropriate by Thea Lim, via Racialicious

I am a woman, and present myself as such. This does not mean I am anybody else’s expectation of what a woman is, but my own. I’m always reinventing the meaning of womanhood by just being myself, and knowing that whatever the result of being myself is, it is being a woman. I think that goes for everybody and any gender identity they may have.

- Anonymous, via Genderfork
There is no automatic or axiomatic relationship between a particular sexual act and the identity of the person performing it.
- Anonymous, via fuckyeahfemmes

...When we appeal to some notion of an unmodified or undecorated body, we participate in the adoption of a false neutrality. We pretend, in those moments, that there is a natural body or fashion, a way of dressing or wearing yourself that is not a product of culture. Norms always masquerade as non-choices, and when we suggest that for example, resisting sexism means everyone should look androgynous, or resisting racism means no one should modify the texture of their hair, we foreclose people’s abilities to expose the workings of fucked up systems on their bodies as they see fit.
- Dress to Kill, Fight to Win by Dean Spade (you really need to read the whole thing)

and last but not least, a little less about fashion and more about decor (which has been on my mind a lot these days), a quote from the Globe and Mail: Russell Smith's A lament for the bookshelf:

Bric-a-brac is generally unfashionable now. Designers see apartments full of amusing memorabilia – the matchboxes from Berlin, the Soweto tin car, all the stuff that children love – as dust-gathering and space-consuming. We no longer respect the Cabinet of Wonders as a guiding principle of decoration. So we lose forever the pleasure known to humanity for 500 years of taking a stroll up and down the aisles of someone else’s brain by perusing their bookshelves. Gone will be the guilty joy of spending a rainy afternoon at a cottage with the remnants of someone else’s childhood: their Nancy Drews, their 1970s National Geographics. Without bookshelves, you will never know the warning signs contained in the e-reader of your handsome date – you will not know for months that he is reading The Secret and Feng Shui for Dummies, even if you stay over. You will never be able to ask, as casually as you can, “Did you like this?” as you pull down, as if fascinated, Patrick Swayze’s autobiography.

hopefully that gives you some food for thought! share any great quotes you've stumbled upon lately in the comments.

to end off, a lot of people ask me how i find all of these awesome things on the internet, and wonder if i spend every waking minute of the day online simply googling "awesome things." sadly, it is not that simple and i really don't spend that much time in front of my computer. thanks to people i know both in real life and online, we share our favourite things with each other via emails, our livejournals, our tumblrs and our blogs. (unimportant sidenote: i know lots of people would argue that lj, tumblr and blogs are all "blogs" but i always feel the need to differentiate) and since most of these quotes came to my attention via some of these wonderful people i will give you some links so you can cut out the middle (wo)man! i'm posting their tumblrs because those are their most public places and where they most often share awesome quotes like the aforementioned ones.



iris said...

though, i would read patrick swayze's autobiography, likely.

Andi B. Goode said...

Love this post. I especially like the quote about bric-a-brac (so true!) and the anonymous one from genderfork. I can't think of any quotes that I've liked lately...but I think I should start saving some.
-Andi x

julia aka garconniere said...

iris: i totally went through an autobiography phase a few years back; esther williams, liv ullman, charlie chaplin. it's even more fun when you read their autobiography and then the unauthorized biographies. like, charlie chaplin never really even mentions sex in his and he is notorious for his adventures!

andi: lately i feel like quotes have been replacing the solidarity and support i found in livejournal community comments since they've been dwindling. sometimes it's just really nice to know that you're not alone in feeling how you feel, and lately books and theory have been providing that for me.

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