Friday, July 08, 2005

Whiskey, Writing, Link Dump

"Tableaux of women pounding grain decorate the dimly lit lobby of the Rwandan parliament, but in the debating chamber inside there is a less familiar sight: rows of women MPs are seated on the black leather chairs alongside the men."

Next up after God's War, I'm going to look into writing a novel that involves me doing a lot of research into the genocide in Rwanda. It's been an interest of mine for some time.

"Boys should be taught in single-sex schools with strong male role models to help a 'lost generation' of fatherless young men find their way in life, the Tory leadership contender Liam Fox says today."

I've never been a fan of the single-sex school idea. I think it helps form a really strict gender polarity that ain't good for anybody involved. In real life, we've gotta interact with many different people, of different cultures and genders. The sooner we get used ot it, the better.

And, to be honest, being a "lost generation" likely doesn't have much to do with whether or not you went to school with boys (note the implicit assumption that only men compose this "lost generation").

"Shoes," Sheila Jeffreys says, "are almost becoming torture instruments. During a woman's daily make-up ritual, on average she will expose herself to more than 200 synthetic chemicals before she has morning coffee. Regular lipstick wearers will ingest up to four and a half kilos during their lifetime." We are talking about Jeffreys' latest book, Beauty And Misogyny: Harmful Cultural Practices In The West, and she is in full flow about the horrors of what she calls "the brutality of beauty".

What I enjoy about really, really radical feminism is that I can pick and choose what I want to pull away from it, look it over, interrogate it, say "Cool, that's interesting, I can use that," or "shit, she's a dingbat," and move on.

You've got to have voices from the far side of every debate acting as anchors for the rest. Radicals are fun.

Ok, back to drinking and writing. Still behind. Got some good stuff done today, but... yea... still behind.

And feeling nicely buzzed.

Ah, Friday.

2 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

See, as a vet of single-sex education, I both agree and disagree. Growing up lesbian at an all-girls Catholic convent school was no picnic, but at the same time, I think single-sex high school education for girls can be a good thing. The misery of homophobic and misogynistic religon aside, I was at a very woman-centered institution. All my math and gym and science teachers were women (my physics teacher had a PhD). The school encouraged us to be both intellectual and athletic. We all wore uniforms so there was no pressure to conform to some beauty ideal; no boys to compete for; plenty of gossip, sure, but no harrassment or bullying from my peers. So there are advantages, but, at the same time, I think high school is the time for that, not college. And I don't think boys need single-sex ed; I think they should all be forced to take women's lit and history courses. ;-)
As for Jeffreys, she's definitely a dingbat in some respects (I HATE, HATE "political" lesbians who think sleeping with men is treasonous to feminism), but I agree with a lot of what she says about the beauty culture today. But then I'm one of those hairy-legged radicals, so there you go ;-) 

Posted by Andygrrl

Anonymous said...

Yea, oddly, I've always read that single-sex education was "better" for boys than girls. I still don't advocate it for women or men. I think there needs to be a cultural change in the reasons that it's not as great for women, so we can have mixed-sex education that's great for everybody.

I worry when the solution to things like sexism or racisim becomes "separate but equal." Always leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

re: Jeffreys. Yea, I think she's got some interesting stuff to say, as you noted, particularly about the beauty culture, but there are other feminists saying it who aren't in the "all hetero sex is evil" camp. And political lesbianism... eeeeek. That feels just as bad as a lesbian deciding she was just going to "force" herself to "be straight" so she could fit in with popular culture.

Denying your own desires, denying who you are, to "fit in" to a political movement, to "make a statement."... yea. I also tend to feel that it's disrespectful to women who have genuine same-sex attraction to go around "forcing" yourself to have sex with other women. In fact, it's a fucking rude thing to do to your partner.

I could be full of it, but it bugs me.  

Posted by Kameron Hurley