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Firstly, HOW badly do I want to buy my child this shirt?! About as much as I want to dye my hair bright purple at the moment (READ: A Hel of a lot!)

Second, a post on Native Appropriation Bingo. It's geared specifically towards the appropriation of Native American cultures, but has quite a bit of relevance outside that sphere.
Cultural appropriation is something I run up against inside my own head and life a bit, lately. I LOVE fashion and clothes for instance, and love alternative styling, which means stuff outside the modern, Western, mainstream world interests and inspires me particularly. I can't pretend there's not some internal exoticisation going on there, but then some of it feels like it is a simple appreciation and notice of something different to what I'm usually exposed to.

More appropriately, I ruminate on the questions of cultural appropriation and exotification every time I go to bellydance class.
I LOVE this dance form. I don't want to give it up. It feels far more comfortable, easy and enjoyable to me than something more culturally relevant according to my heritage (ballet, for instance). But then, I'm aware that bellydance as it's performed today is a new danceform, sprung from a mix of ballet, appropriated traditional dances, various bits of stagecraft and ideas from all over. So although we learn about different styles and musics to go with those styles according to where the dances "came from" it's still a bastardised form of what existed there pre-Western invasion, and the version I learn is diferent again to what is currently being taught in those places (and others in Australia, for instance!). It's this weird mix of Western dance, appropriation of other dances, and fantasy. I'm not sure if that makes it "okay" though - especially when considering how my teacher stresses the importance of not dancing with Turkish moves to a Saiidi (Egyptian valley) piece/beat, and vice versa. And how the groups likely to be hiring those of us who dance professionally expect us to dance (i.e, matching steps with certain beats, etc). Bellydance is certainly more elastic than ballet, but it DOES have forms and rules.

Finally, today I am fucking sick of reading shit that assumes I am a heterosexual male. It fills me with rage beyond rage to be happily reading along an interesting, generally addressed piece of social commentary or joke about University life and find myself SLAPPED OVER THE HEAD with the idea that I a)want and/or have a girlfriend and b)Am a male/unconcerned with my looks.
It ruins totally decent and interesting thoughts just like this one.
aphrodite: (Default)
Ever since we finished that first package of plastic nappies (the hospital insisted we buy and use them) we've been a family with a cloth-bottomed baby. The nappies go out every day, and in those fifteen months, I have put the nappies into the machine maybe enough times to count on the fingers of one hand.
It began with a discussion about the division of labour pre-arrival, was reinforced by my inability to even sit up unassisted, let alone get down the stairs of our townhouse to the laundry in those first weeks (and then the enormity of attempting to lug a basket of washing down to the line without my two pieces of stomach ripping apart like badly hemmed chiffon) and has settled into a habit, part of our household routines.

It has ripple effects.
Like the box of new detergent sitting on the windowsill this evening. The one I didn't buy.

We are still a ways from perfect, from splitting things evenly down the middle. Even down the middle, given the strictures of an outside world and work imposing its schedule. But two years ago washing was something that happened... maybe. Maybe once a week. Never for anybody else. So that cardboard box is hopeful, to me. It's a sign of what has changed, what can change.
We're still a ways off perfect, but we reach for it anyway.
aphrodite: (Default)
My Londoner friend sent me a recent video from the BBC series The Trouble With Women (subtitle: Why can't a woman succeed like a man?)

Whilst I'm tempted to point out that the very title of the series is really as much a part of the problem as the issues the series purports to tackle (how very tired I am of being compared to the 'normal' male of the species. The ones without these useful ovaries and mammaries, poor things :p) I was just completely flabbergasted at the snippet she sent.

Maybe the trouble with women is that arsehats like Justin Rowlatt keep getting paid money to carry on like that in front of cameras?
aphrodite: (Default)

Created after a particularly frustrating facebook conversation with one or two people who should know better.

As a society, we HAVE to get over this notion that rapists wear glowing neon signs advertising their status above their heads.
Rapists are sons. They are husbands, fathers and brothers. They have jobs and pay the bills. They DON'T spend all their time plotting rapes (except in extremely rare circumstances). They're usually just people who took advantage of a situation - because they could, because they have never been taught to STOP. AND. THINK. about what they're doing, that other people do not belong to them, that coercion is wrong, that their desires do not take precedence over others', all sorts of small, damaging attitudes that add up to enormous landslide of sexual assault.


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The Evening Star

July 2011

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