Quick Hit: DREAM Act 21

July 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

by SILVIA

via Citizen Orange

On Tuesday, July 20th twenty-one undocumented youth were arrested while staging sit-ins in Washington, D.C. I can’t believe there hasn’t been more coverage of these 21 brave individuals. But then again, there has barely been any coverage on the DREAM Act itself. In case you haven’t heard, the DREAM Act is a bi-partisan legislative effort to provide “qualifying undocumented youth” a path to citizenship by completing either two years of college or two years of military service. For more information on the DREAM Act and to find out whether you qualify, visit the DREAM Act portal.

(Photo from Citizen Orange)

DREAM Act 21 on Capitol Hill

Beyond Lindsay Lohan

July 21, 2010 § 4 Comments

by SILVIA

Right now Lindsay Lohan’s incarceration is all over the news. While most media outlets are obsessed with how much time Lindsay will be serving, it’s super important to remember the staggering and disturbing statistics of women in prison.

The following statistics are quoted directly from Women’s Prison Association’s Quick Facts Women and Criminal Justice — 2009. For more information, visit their website.

  • Over 200,000 women are in prison and jail in the United States, and more than one million women are under criminal justice supervision.
  • Two-thirds of women in prison are there for non-violent offenses, many for drug-related crimes.
  • Nearly two-thirds of women in prison are mothers.
  • 93 out of every 100,000 white women were incarcerated at midyear 2008. During the same time period, 349 out of every 100,000 black women and 147 out of every 100,000 Hispanic women were incarcerated.

According to Amnesty International’s Women and Prison: Fact Sheet, women in prison often experience sexual assault and misconduct due to the extreme power imbalance between officers and inmates, including guards’ ability to withhold privileges. In addition, women in prison experience medical neglect, including shackling during pregnancy, as well as severe discrimination based on gender, race and sexual orientation. For more information about women in prison and other issues of women’s human rights, go to Amnesty’s site.

So, this is gross

July 15, 2010 § 3 Comments

I saw a commercial for CW’s new reality show, “Plain Jane,” last night. This morning I found this preview on the channel’s website.

Ew.

The title “Plain Jane” alone should have been enough of a warning. I saw this preview and didn’t have the strength or emotional energy to continue looking into it. I think the most offensive part is at the end when the creepy announcer voice says, “Every dream will become real.” Thanks, CW! Thanks so much for realizing the only dreams young women have, to receive highlights, strappy heels and some lip gloss! How else can women become confident, self-loving individuals?!?

Actually, I changed my mind. The part where the “plain Jane” is strapped with a zapper and is LITERALLY ZAPPED by the hosts of the show when she “falls back into her plain Jane ways” is the most heinous. I don’t even know where to begin talking about how demeaning and dehumanizing that is. Thanks for the soulache, CW.

Loud Silence

July 14, 2010 § 2 Comments

Silvia has returned to grace us with yet another amazing post! Rejoice with me. –Miranda

I am supposed to be loud. When people find out that I am the daughter of immigrants from Latin America, they expect loud. They expect sass and then some. Maybe they get that from me and they are satisfied. I am supposed to be loud, but I am not supposed to be heard. I am supposed to provide the right kind of Latina loudness. The kind that is laughable, almost comforting to the people who can be assured that they are of a higher, more polite and less loud, class. They question my Latinaness, they wonder aloud why my English is so good. They exclaim: “But you don’t look Latina!” So where do I begin my lecture, my crash course on the history of Latin America and the presence of Latinas in the U.S.? How do I begin to discuss the politics of my very existence?

There are things I’m not supposed to be. Sometimes I take pride in my sass, my loud laugh and bursts of enthusiasm. Most of the time, though, I think about what these things cover up. The silence that is louder than the laughs and the Spanglish. The silence that we are forced to carry with us and use as a response to the injustices and the inequality we face everyday. Our silence is supposed to meet the overt sexualization we are subject to, the sass and volume stops when it is time to discuss the conscientious exclusion of our cultural contributions. The brazen charges of “show me your papers” are meant to go without a response.

That’s what’s been bothering me lately, this pressure to move away from the stereotypically contrived notions of what I’m supposed to be as a Latina. Not to mention the pressure to end the silence that I can feel weighing on me. This is why I particularly hate the unfortunately pervasive loud Latina label, or the similarly infuriating sassy Black woman stereotype. This isn’t to say that loudness, sass and enthusiasm aren’t wonderful, but I’m sick of ignoring the silence that we are relegated to. I am especially sick because of the atrocities we are supposed to be silent about. I will not stay silent about the murder of Oscar Grant and I will not stay silent about Embarizona. So I’m trying to learn to speak as loud as I laugh and live outside of the loud Latina paradox that social notions have created for me.

Who are you calling a ho?

May 8, 2009 § 5 Comments

So, I am a second-term high school senior. These are words that should be music to my ears, but I have actually been extremely stressed out with endless amounts of work. I am, however, having a great time working on a research paper about sex workers in Pakistan. The paper is still in its early stages right now (I will post it when it’s finished) but there is a really interesting issue I wanted to discuss here with all of the fabulous members of the women’s glib community.

The topic of sex work has raised many questions and debates both amongst feminists and in society in general. One major question that I am addressing in my paper is about how we, both as feminists and as members of the global community, should approach sex work. Within feminist approaches to sex work, there are two major view points that I’ve encountered. On the one hand, there are those who argue that sex work is an inherently abusive system that is based on manipulating women, especially poor women, and should be abolished. Then, there are the people who argue that sex workers should be viewed as just that–workers. They argue that the abusive and manipulating aspects of sex work would be more easy to address and diminish if the focus was on protecting the rights of sex workers through legislation and unionization. Personally, I would fall in the second camp because I think that if we treat sex workers as workers as opposed to bad people, their voices will be heard much more and the stigma that we associate with sex work would be less powerful.

I’m really interested in finding out more about what feminists, particularly young feminists, have to say about sex work. If anyone has any insight or opinions on sex work, both in the U.S. and internationally, please share them!

Homework Help

April 13, 2009 § 2 Comments

So, I have to write a 15 page research paper for my U.S. Women’s History class due at the end of May. Our research proposal is due next week, and I am kind of at a loss. There are so many things I want to write about, and I definitely want to write about something feministy.

Some ideas I’ve had so far are tokenism and feminism, (a post on this topic is in the works), the portrayal of Latinas in the media (based on the recent Dora the Explorer image controversy), or maybe researching the history of sexual assault.

I would love any suggestions for an interesting research topic.

I’m Guilty

April 2, 2009 § 5 Comments

Get ready for a slightly nonsensical and very therapeutic rant.

High school students are under a lot of pressure. But that’s not why I feel guilty almost all the time.

My mom works really hard. She works, providing for me and all, and she is a mom. I respect her, and women like her, so much because I know the shit she has to put up with on a daily basis. We all know the kind of guilt society places on women, particularly working mothers. My mom gets guilt from our family for not staying home, she gets guilt from the people she works with for leaving work early on parent-teacher conference night. If she works, which most of us need to do, she’s a bad mom, but if she doesn’t…well, that’s not really an option for her. It’s a pretty pervasive lose-lose situation.

Sometimes I feel so stressed that it feels like my body is breaking. A big part of this stress is because of the guilt I constantly feel. I feel guilty if I’m not doing my homework. I feel guilty if I’m running late to a rehearsal. I feel guilty if I don’t go visit my grandmother one Sunday. Almost every girl I know has expressed similar feelings to me. Of course, there are plenty of guys that are also constantly juggling three thousand things. It’s just that lately I’ve become really aware of how big a factor guilt is in running my life. What am I so guilty about?

There is constant pressure to be flawless. But what does that even mean? Sorry if this sounds like a whiny self-pity session, but it’s true, and it’s true for all of us. There are these unattainable standards that all women are expected to live up to, that just don’t make sense. I’m supposed to be smart, but not too smart or else boys won’t like me. I’m supposed to be pretty, but not too pretty, or else girls won’t like me. I’m supposed to be innocent, but naughty.

We’re faced with these unattainable standards and expectations to be flawless everyday. Obviously no one can live up to them, and yet the way they’re presented, it seems like you’re the only one who can’t. So many of the girls in the movies and on t.v. seem to fit this definition of what we’re all supposed to be. No wonder I, along with so many young women, constantly feel guilty.

Thoughts on America’s Next Top Model

March 15, 2009 § 18 Comments

I don’t know how many of you watch America’s Next Top Model, but the first episode of the twelfth cycle premiered last Wednesday and has sparked some controversy over the first official photo shoot. It involved the girls (all of whom are 18+ years old) being dressed up as and posing as little girls. As Tyra described it:

This issue is really important to me, the issue of teen girls and being what I call ‘out of control.’ I did a survey on my talk-show website, and I found that one in five girls that are teens that we surveyed actually want to be a teen mom. Purity and innocence is something that’s being lost and as you Top Models are doing this photo shoot, you guys are role models, too. The assignment was for you all to embody different little games that little girls play on the playground. (Emphasis mine.)

Silvia and I both watched this episode and cringed. Our thoughts below the jump, including pictures from the photo shoot.

« Read the rest of this entry »

Rihanna and Chris Brown Reunion

March 2, 2009 § Leave a comment

I have mixed feelings concerning blogging about Chris Brown and Rihanna, mostly because I think that Rihanna’s privacy has been invaded enough. However, I do think it is important for us to discuss and to provide an alternative to the way this has all played out in the media. I’m writing this post in response to the “Chris Brown and Rihanna reunion” that is already all over t.v. and the internet. From the little that I have heard and read about the “reunion,” it seems that they are getting back together.

The responses of other celebrities and of the media to the domestic violence allegations against Chris Brown have been more than disappointing. And while the recent news that Rihanna and Chris Brown might be getting back together has sparked some responses that emphasize the message that the move is sending to girls, there are still huge problems with the way the media is covering Rihanna and Brown.

Throughout this ordeal, there has been way too much pressure and scrutiny placed on Rihanna and now is no different. I think that whether or not she decides to get back together with her alleged abuser, she will be portrayed as having made the wrong choice. The media coverage might as well be a crash-course on victim blaming. Of course personally I hope she uses her image to become an advocate for victims of domestic violence. However, I really just hope we lay off of Rihanna for a while and that we get up the courage to call the media out on the way they have portrayed the entire situation.

Horror Story in Creative Writing

February 25, 2009 § Leave a comment

This semester I’m taking a creative writing class that has been pretty enjoyable so far. Earlier this week, we received an assignment to write the first two pages of a story focusing on setting. There were two prompts we could choose from: a love story on the subway or a horror story in a mall. I wasn’t surprised that as we went around the room reading excerpts from our stories almost every love story was between a man and a woman with the woman being approached by the man in a patronizing and sometimes outright creepy way. However, I was surprised when one of my classmates read his “horror story.” The story was about a cross-dressing football player and the excerpt he read came from the end of the story. It was about a paragraph, describing the main character’s desire to wear women’s clothing and feeling trapped by his gender. The story was supposed to be humorous, he read it out loud while choking back laughs. I was extremely uncomfortable considering the prompt was to write a horror story. To be fair, he only read an excerpt so I don’t know if there was something in the story that actually merited the horror genre. I squirmed in my seat thinking that there could be a student in the room who was struggling with his or her gender identity, and that writing a “funny horror story” about it could not be very encouraging.

What more could I expect considering that the topics of gender identity and GLBTQ issues are so rarely discussed, and when they are it is in a similar vein to my classmate’s story? After he was done reading, all I did was say “really?” I couldn’t think of anything else. Should I have said more? What would you have done?

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