Friday, December 25, 2009

why ftq? ---entering 2010

So the movie mean girls is based on my high school, well not my high school experience, but Tina Fey's experience when she attended my high school. She has said in interviews that she based the character Damion on a boy who attended the catholic school down the street. When I think of the boys I know who attended that high school it makes me laugh, one in particular, we worked together, life-guarding at the Y near both our schools. The homophobia, sexism, antisemitism and racism he could poses was sometimes shocking at at the same time, we had a thing going on. Mutual flirtation, which worked out well until I told him that his personality made me not want to spend time with him and that ended things pretty quickly. I think about the life that I lead as a straight girl and what that was, the webs that I wove and the ways that boys hurt me.
Repeated patterns of what had happened before over and over. Spun me into cycles of pain and depression. Never physical violence when I was a straight girl; but oppression hurts.
The pain that I have spent years running away from I begin to confront in myself as I journey into the blury lines of transgender-whatever.
I say FTQ because I hope and pray and feel, that there is something out there that can fit me, without me replicating the pain that I have felt. There must be a place outside the borders and lines and divisions we create for ourselves that will allow me to find myself. Until then I don't know.

I have lived many lives, I have experienced things through viewpoints that now seem so strange and foreign, but at that point seemed the only answer. Moving foward I do what I have always done, I take the best parts of the lessons I have learned and the truths that I have found.

I move on in a way that respects the former aspects of myself, because I cannot turn my eyes on myself, I need to have my own back, or who else will?

And yet respect for the connections, between myself and others, the struggles that we share and the ones that others carry that I do not even know. If I only stand up for myself, then what am I?

There is no good time for me to come to an answer, there will never be a convinient time, the only way to live is to understand that we cannot wait for change, we must start it, within ourselves. It must be now.

The new year brings a new decade, it brings the end of a project that has taken me on intense and long journeys of self reflection, years of growth have changed me in the last decade and the new year brings a time of cleansing. For myself, for my community, for my country, for my people and for everyone, I hold out that there is something good that we can create.

to the next decade, and all that it brings.
to life, לחיים

If I am not for myself, who will be for me?
But if I am only for myself, who am I?
If not now, when?

אם אין אני לי, מי לי?
וכשאני לעצמי, מה אני?
ואם לא עכשיו, אימתי

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Upper Drive-by?

At a recent football game between my previous high school, Upper Darby High School, and another high school in the same league, Lower Merion High School, "spirited" chants turned in hate speech, the media portrays the incident as primarily anti-semetic; however, there are a lot more complicated issues going on here.

From what I have heard/read here is what happened:

The game started out with friendly chants the LM team shouting "Merry Christmas" at UD and UD responding with "Happy Chanuka". Things escalated when Lower Merion students began rhythmically chanting "SAT scores". A few Upper Darby students responded to this with "warm up the ovens". Additionally, a few parents overheard some students saying something along the lines of "we'll send you letters in Auschwitz". Lower Merion students have also been reported as having signs that said "Upper Darby", and chanting something to the extent of "you are poor" at students from Upper Darby.

My response to the situation is split.

I have been thinking a lot about growing up in Upper Darby lately, they just tore down the only synagogue in UD. It had been filled by a population that was old and dying 15 years ago when I was young, I am sure there are few left in Upper Darby who even knew of the buildings existence or mourn it's loss. Growing up as a jew in Upper Darby I understand the anti-semitism that permeates the school district and the students. From the truant officer who came after my mother for pulling me out of school for so many jewish holidays in 3rd grade to the ex-boyfriend who threw pennies at me. Not to mention countless more taunts and ways that I was made to feel my existence as a jew in a negative way over and over again. With this in mind I am glad to see the school district forced to confront it's anti-semitism.

On the other hand the media reporting of this incident almost exclusively fails to confront the classism and racism of the chants being spewed by lower merion students. The constant taunting of Upper Darby as a poor, dirty and dangerous place is also something I grew up with and continue to hear echoed to this day. The students in my jewish middle school thought that by opting to attend Upper Darby High School instead of applying for scholarships to a private jewish high school I was signing away my future and likely to get stabbed before my high school graduation. Even this past semester someone at Hampshire repeatedly referred to UD as Upper Drive-by and said that we were too dirty to get swine flu.

While I do not wish to excuse the chants of UD students, I find it despicable that while 4 UD students were expelled and 12 suspended and yet no action was taken against the students from LM. This is not a one sided battle of anti-semetic students from Upper Darby. But rather a larger problem between understanding, media coverage, anti-semitism but also jewish privilege, class privilege and many other factors that have been ignored in the coverage and response to this incident. Why did UDHS need to issue an apology while Lower Merion walks away to resume business as usual?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

working conclusion of queer gender research journal

men create impossible standards of beauty, seduction and femininity that pit women against each other in the struggle to achieve them and to gain the affection of the male. This competition among women is such that their power is undermined, which has the effect of strengthening the power of the man, or any of those folx who are benefiting from women fighting for sexual attention; which, includes not only cis-men, but also dykes, trannies and female bodied people who like to fuck female bodied people. Someone who participates in the system of laying back and watching/enjoying the benefits of over sexualized women is participating in the epitome of masculinity and is swimming in misogyny. The level of analysis that both sides possess can only go so far, the actual actions do carry significant weight. Within the society that we live in it is impossible to separate masculinity from it's connections to misogyny; unless the system of binary genders was to be destroyed and entirely new constructs were to emerge (in which case 'masculinity' as a word would likely have a different meaning.