Watch out, here I go about Cesar Chavez

popgoesthegrrrl:

I saw the Cesar Chavez movie tonight and I have a lot of feelings I’m working to process here. I saw it opening weekend like any good San Antonio girl would, while eating a giant dill pickle (if you know, you know; if you don’t, you ain’t San Anto). 

Cesar Chavez is a complicated historical figure, as all of them are, because making someone a deity or a saint or a demon is rarely the right way to frame anyone, including the best of the best or the worst of the worst. The movie of course isn’t as bound in nuance because that’s not generally what mainstream movies do. I have a real thing I talk about constantly as a history teacher that no one is perfect. MLK, Gandhi, they have hella flaws. Hitler loved children and animals. That’s ok. The moment someone has to be a saint to make a difference, we’re all off the hook for working for change and we can take a seat. (Spoiler: no one’s off the hook). The moment someone has to be an obvious monster to be wrong, we’ll let anything slide because even serial killers are so nice and normal when you ask their neighbors after the fact. Life isn’t black and white. We’re down here in the muck and the grey and the nuance. That’s not so much where my complicated feelings lie. That’s an easy thing for me because I accept it going into the story.

1) I’m gonna throw it out there first because it was my overwhelming feeling of neglect throughout the movie. When do we get a Dolores Huerta movie? She was a co-organizer in the campaigns, and while we see her flit in and out courtesy of the formidable and incredible Rosario Dawson, the main focus of the story is the singular bravery of Cesar Chavez. His wife, who I’m not sure is ever actually identified by name in the movie (Helen), was featured more prominently, and she is also a force to be reckoned with, but c’mon. Huerta. Let’s make it happen. She’s not a sideline figure in this story. She is front and center. 

2) I spent a good part of the movie a little weepy because it hit me so hard how rarely I see people that look like me, like my family, like my students, like my city, in stories where they are brave, smart, organized, and fighting against injustice. Latin@s are so often seen as pawns in bigger stories, or as peripheral characters, or as one-dimensional characters in a generic anti-racist story. It was more powerful than I was expecting it to be to see that story on the big screen, and I was much more emotional than I suspected I’d be. I went in a little wary, as I am of all civil rights story movies because of the above mentioned tendency to deify people rather than speak to their complicated stories with nuance. But it made me want to show my (mostly Latin@) students this film because it made me think that if I, someone who seeks out stories of activism and revolution and civil rights, have so rarely seen myself up there on that screen, there must be many fewer opportunities for the average kid, and how powerful that is. They’ve all heard of Cesar Chavez, but it’s different to see yourself on screen. Representation matters in so many ways. We can’t picture what we can be if we never see it in front of us, and there’s a much bigger system working to keep us from seeing that than there is to encourage us to see power in our struggles. So that makes the erasure of the Filipino union alliances rough, too. 

3) It’s in an interesting balance to see this specifically Chavez-centered picture in a story about collective bargaining, organizing, and striking. Labor is by definition, a movement that only works when all the people work together. It must have been difficult to center this story while still focusing on the collective appeal necessary to the story. It makes me wonder if we might be seeing a new era of union organizing and fighting back in the face of what is historic economic injustice in our world. Can films like this play a part? I hope so. It’s heroic to see people working together in this manner, because if we wait for one single perfect hero, there’s no such thing, and it lets us off the hook for ever doing anything. Collective organizing is the only hope for any justice issue. 

4) That being said, I wonder about the angle that is in all these movies that show how much your family suffers when you stand up for what’s right and work for justice. In some ways it’s true. The hours I put in organizing definitely leaves me less time for my partner and family and things I could be doing in every day leisure life, but in other ways, the people I work with are kind of my family. But let’s be honest; I don’t know any feminist organizers who also have perfect feminist organizing partners that do as much as them right next to them (at least in the area I’m familiar with). I also thought it was interesting from a gendered perspective that it showed his female partners as being supportive and on the front lines with the men, whereas often in these stories (though not always in real life), the most supportive thing partners can be shown to do is give them their blessing and get out of the way. Usually the woman is not the focus, and so she is able to stay home and take care of the family while the male hero is out fighting for justice. I wonder how many more women we’d see as centers of stories if that wasn’t the case. There’s not generally too many movies focused on same sex couples so it’s harder to extrapolate lessons there. And I have no data here, just a feeling I get. But it’s almost that object lesson we see in movies about career women. You can care and work and do something important, but generally it means you’re going to sacrifice your family for it. I don’t think that’s true, and I also think it serves to disincentivize people from getting involved. I mean, who looks at a movement and says they want to give up their family for it? Not many people. It’s used as a plot tool to show the intense sacrifice someone makes because they believe in a cause, and in fairness many families feel strain at the level of a Chavez organizer, but it also just makes them look like martyrs instead of people. This is not a problem with this movie, it is an issue with all social justice movies.

5) What businesses are supporting the candidates in Texas that are supporting anti-abortion legislation? Or other harmful legislation? We’re in a more connected, multinational capitalist world, which makes things complicated, but it’s not impossible to do these things. Texas orange shirts, how could we organize in the face of what we’re up against in a way that hurts wallets? And allows people across the country/world to support us?

6) ^^ this plus maybe a hunger strike. We could do it. Some of us could do it. How pro-life are you if you let people starve? Throwing it out there. It might be an organizing practice that’s usable. 

8) The big bummer of it all is, honestly, we study these people as anomalies or change makers throughout history, but these organizers have always been around, and though they are important to change, it gets exhausting to see the same fights over and over, and often time, to see what ground we’ve actually lost. Economic justice, gender justice, racism, all those things are still problematic, and in many ways have gotten worse and more slippery to deal with as time as has gone on. Things become micro aggressions, or isolated incidents that are more difficult to prove as it becomes more unsupported to be a generally awful racist, sexist person publicly. And these issues are systematic, so if we can attribute them to one person (or more often, not attribute them because that’s a nice guy! he can’t be a racist/sexist/asshole!) we can avoid dealing with them systematically. Not being around during the civil rights movement, I can’t say for sure, but it seems that the focus has come away from focusing on systems and instead, trying to prove individual wrong-doing, which is just a chip away at the system, not a fix. How many people are forgotten that do this every day, and have been for years? decades? centuries? That part is depressing. 

7) I’m still working through all this. There might be many more things to say as I process. 

The Permanence of Children and Tattoos

Resonated with me for multiple reasons, not the least of which because I am going to get a tattoo this summer at the NNAF Summit in Oakland to mark my pride about being someone fighting for gender equality. The actual tattoo and design? Still deciding.

The Panochamps want to raise $1k for abortion access before next Sunday !

If you were planning to donate, now’s the time! BAKE-A-THON IS BACK ON. Last time I sent a box of blueberry and cream, chili lime corn, chocolate chocolate chip cornflake, and birthday cake marshmallow  cookies. I want to put them in your mouth. Send the Panochamps some cash, y’all! 

Pop Goes the Grrrl: Commencement by J. Courtney Sullivan

So, 3 years ago, I set up a blog to crit/discuss/review/whatever pop culture stuff I consume through a feminist lens. I finally wrote something on it for the first time tonight. It’s not good, but it’s just stretching my thinking/writing muscles before I tackle something else. 

popgoesthegrrrl:

I just started Spring Break this week, and I’ve been looking forward to spending the week catching up on reading. I set my goal this year as 50 books, and while I think it’s attainable, Goodreads tells me I’m 8 books behind where I need to be. That’s ok, because I make up for it when I overdose…

Senate Passes Boxer Amendment to Prevent Felony Sex Offenders from Joining Military

fuckyeahfeminists:

(Trigger Warning: Sexual assault discussion)

I was unaware of the military giving sexual assault waivers in the first place. The very idea of this makes me feel sick to my stomach. I hope the Boxer Amendment helps prevent sexual assault in the military. I wonder what changes this will bring to the military’s overall culture… - FYF Jacquie

The Senate has passed the Boxer Amendment, which would prevent anyone convicted of a felony sexual assault from joining the military. This amendment is crucial in the protection of victims and potential victims of sexual assault given the recent exposure of the massive problem of sexual assault in the armed forces. In 2011 alone, 3,192 sexual assaults were reported in the military. That number only includes reported sexual assaults; the Department of Defense believes that the number of actual assaults is much higher, around 19,000. Furthermore, it was found that service members who receive a sexual assault waiver to join the military are more likely to commit sexual assault.

It is surprising that someone felt the need to conduct an investigation to figure that out, but it is even more surprising that sexual assault waivers were issued in the first place. Rape in the military is not some sort of new phenomenon, and victims have been trying to speak out for years. The Boxer Amendment may be able to make serving in the military a bit safer, especially for women, but will it help combat the pervasive rape culture present in the military?

I think of myself as pretty clued in to matters of rape, rape culture, abortion, feminism in general, but the fact I find out every day some new fuckery still surprises me. I knew about the problem of sexual assault in the military, but I did not know they were literally telling convicted rapists “no prob, bro. c’mon in.”

newyorker:

Why does a President need a wife? France’s “First Girlfriend”: http://nyr.kr/KE5iJ7


très intéressant (I don’t actually know if that’s the correct French)

newyorker:

Why does a President need a wife? France’s “First Girlfriend”: http://nyr.kr/KE5iJ7

très intéressant (I don’t actually know if that’s the correct French)

(via ayse)

"i was looking desperately for clues, because if there were no clues then i thought i might be insane."

adrienne rich, “when we dead awaken: writing as re-vision.”

i used to have this argument with my ex-boyfriend in which he would accuse me of “looking for different things” in art than he did. by which he meant: i was looking for clues, or i was looking for myself, or, as adrienne rich says, “she goes to poetry or fiction looking for her way of being in the world, since she too has been putting words and images together; she is looking eagerly for guides, maps, possibilities; and over and over in the ‘words’ masculine persuasive force’ of literature she comes up against something that negates everything she is about; she meets the image of Woman in books written by men.” 

i found his argument to be profoundly patriarchal, coming from a privileged while male who could find powerful images of himself everywhere and always had, who had never been an 11-year-old jewish girl in catholic school in the 1980s who read ms. magazine instead of doing her homework and who didn’t know anyone almost for two decades with similar emotional, intellectual, and political affiliations—who only knew, in the meantime, ani and tori and liz, and that wasn’t even until the 1990s—who didn’t need to look desperately for clues. not to mention that his desire to identify with male artists who are not privileged white men has its own long and politically problematic lineage. 

i also found the implication that i privileged content over form, and that such a privileging was unsophisticated, to be deeply patronizing. first it wasn’t true: i absolutely enjoy misogynistic music; it’s just that i don’t “just” enjoy it. my favorite part of this ongoing argument was when he would talk about a black female friend of his who loves rap because she is ”moved by the beat” or “listens with her heart as much as her head” or something like that and i was like: you’ve got to be joking if you think one woman speaks for all women and you’ve got to be joking if you think you know everything about the way she experiences this music and you’ve got to be joking if your argument is basically what ellen willis said in the 1960s. which is all a long way of saying that there is nothing aesthetically or intellectually immature about being the kind of person who, in their experiences of art,  looks for clues, because we still need to. if you don’t, wow, what a privilege.  

(via karaj)

yes to all of this.

(via emilygould)

(via emilygould)

pantslessprogressive:

Worthy Twitter hashtag of the day: #feministwishlist

I have A LOT of feelings about this, specifically ones I’ve been kicking around in my head about women that I really admire and respect. Something I’ve noticed is that a lot of the teachers I work with have their email signatures set to “Mrs. Blank Blank.” Obviously, none of the male teachers do that, and of course none of the unmarried female teachers say either Miss or Ms in their signature line. And I’m hard-pressed to think of any office where someone, including married women, signs their correspondance this way. Because it’s not really relevant, right? It doesn’t have anything to do with your professional credentials. 
So then why is it so prevalent in schools? I’m genuinely boggled by this, and I don’t really want to bring it up, because a) I get the feeling that I’m already seen as kind of a shrill feminazi who doesn’t “get” what their lives are about, whether that’s true or not, and b) I feel like people will think I’m attacking them or questioning their judgement, and that’s really not a place I want to go. I’m just genuinely very curious, and maybe I’m missing something that is positive about the situation, because all I see is negative.
Here’s why:
I feel like teaching as a profession suffers because people don’t see teachers as professionals. They see them as people, usually women, who are there because they love kids and wearing wooden school bus necklaces and finger painting and teaching songs about the alphabet and are generally like babysitters. We get short hours. We get summers off. We’re just there until we have families and kids of our own. If we had real experience, skills, and professional integrity, we’d be out DOING instead of TEACHING.
Because of these assumptions, it makes it easier to pay teachers less, to cut benefits, to pack upwards of 40 kids in a classroom and demand success. It makes it easy to forget that most teachers are there in the morning when it’s still dark, and take work home with them and work on it until it’s dark again. That we don’t “get summers off”; that we actually have unpaid time during the summers so that we have to spread out 10 months salary over 12 months. That most of us are passionate about our subject matter. That we all have education, and that we have mandatory continued education every year to maintain our licenses. Even people who support teachers and education can look down on teachers a little patronizingly. 
Teachers should be doing everything we can to demand the respect that should come with our positions. A not insignificant side note to this is the fact that when education and teachers are not respected, we end up with an education system that is broken. Like the one we have. Like the one that’s getting worse, not better. We have communities where education funding is cut because it’s seen as less important than almost anything else. We have one of the highest levels of drop-outs and kids that aren’t prepared for the outside world, for college and jobs. Well, some of them. Some of them get to go to much better school than others because education money is doled out in a racist and classist and segregated way.
My students ask why I go by “Ms” and I tell them, “Is there a difference between what you call you married and unmarried male teachers? If not, why does it matter whether your female teachers are married? Do they do their jobs differently? Do you listen to them differently? If so, why?” I feel like it’s a fair question.
I also feel like adding Mrs to your name the way you might add MA, MBA, MS to the end of it is saying it’s an accomplishment. It’s not relevant to your job in any way, unless you feel like it is. Why would you feel like it is? Genuinely? Because then you can say all you want about choices people make, but it still seems that if you feel Mrs is an accomplishment, it looks like you think Ms is someone who is unaccomplished. Someone who hasn’t done something they’re supposed to. Someone who isn’t quite there yet.
It just shocks me some because I’ve been working a long time, and this is the first instance I’ve ever seen where this is widespread and not unexpected. It feels unprofessional, but maybe I’m overanalyzing it. But if you were in an office, and someone started doing that, you might think they were a little regressive and retrograde. Why do different rules of professional etiquette apply to teachers if we are so desperate as a group to be taken more seriously? Not just for our sake, but for the sake of the kids we teach. I’m confused by it all. Any insight would be much appreciated, because these are amazing, strong, vocal, opinionated women who I just love and respect and admire like crazy. I feel like I’m missing something.

pantslessprogressive:

Worthy Twitter hashtag of the day: #feministwishlist

I have A LOT of feelings about this, specifically ones I’ve been kicking around in my head about women that I really admire and respect. Something I’ve noticed is that a lot of the teachers I work with have their email signatures set to “Mrs. Blank Blank.” Obviously, none of the male teachers do that, and of course none of the unmarried female teachers say either Miss or Ms in their signature line. And I’m hard-pressed to think of any office where someone, including married women, signs their correspondance this way. Because it’s not really relevant, right? It doesn’t have anything to do with your professional credentials. 

So then why is it so prevalent in schools? I’m genuinely boggled by this, and I don’t really want to bring it up, because a) I get the feeling that I’m already seen as kind of a shrill feminazi who doesn’t “get” what their lives are about, whether that’s true or not, and b) I feel like people will think I’m attacking them or questioning their judgement, and that’s really not a place I want to go. I’m just genuinely very curious, and maybe I’m missing something that is positive about the situation, because all I see is negative.

Here’s why:

I feel like teaching as a profession suffers because people don’t see teachers as professionals. They see them as people, usually women, who are there because they love kids and wearing wooden school bus necklaces and finger painting and teaching songs about the alphabet and are generally like babysitters. We get short hours. We get summers off. We’re just there until we have families and kids of our own. If we had real experience, skills, and professional integrity, we’d be out DOING instead of TEACHING.

Because of these assumptions, it makes it easier to pay teachers less, to cut benefits, to pack upwards of 40 kids in a classroom and demand success. It makes it easy to forget that most teachers are there in the morning when it’s still dark, and take work home with them and work on it until it’s dark again. That we don’t “get summers off”; that we actually have unpaid time during the summers so that we have to spread out 10 months salary over 12 months. That most of us are passionate about our subject matter. That we all have education, and that we have mandatory continued education every year to maintain our licenses. Even people who support teachers and education can look down on teachers a little patronizingly. 

Teachers should be doing everything we can to demand the respect that should come with our positions. A not insignificant side note to this is the fact that when education and teachers are not respected, we end up with an education system that is broken. Like the one we have. Like the one that’s getting worse, not better. We have communities where education funding is cut because it’s seen as less important than almost anything else. We have one of the highest levels of drop-outs and kids that aren’t prepared for the outside world, for college and jobs. Well, some of them. Some of them get to go to much better school than others because education money is doled out in a racist and classist and segregated way.

My students ask why I go by “Ms” and I tell them, “Is there a difference between what you call you married and unmarried male teachers? If not, why does it matter whether your female teachers are married? Do they do their jobs differently? Do you listen to them differently? If so, why?” I feel like it’s a fair question.

I also feel like adding Mrs to your name the way you might add MA, MBA, MS to the end of it is saying it’s an accomplishment. It’s not relevant to your job in any way, unless you feel like it is. Why would you feel like it is? Genuinely? Because then you can say all you want about choices people make, but it still seems that if you feel Mrs is an accomplishment, it looks like you think Ms is someone who is unaccomplished. Someone who hasn’t done something they’re supposed to. Someone who isn’t quite there yet.

It just shocks me some because I’ve been working a long time, and this is the first instance I’ve ever seen where this is widespread and not unexpected. It feels unprofessional, but maybe I’m overanalyzing it. But if you were in an office, and someone started doing that, you might think they were a little regressive and retrograde. Why do different rules of professional etiquette apply to teachers if we are so desperate as a group to be taken more seriously? Not just for our sake, but for the sake of the kids we teach. I’m confused by it all. Any insight would be much appreciated, because these are amazing, strong, vocal, opinionated women who I just love and respect and admire like crazy. I feel like I’m missing something.

(Source: pantslessprogressive, via niceandradical)