Monday, October 4, 2010

RTÉ Ireland - I Want to Hold Your Hand.

                          "A radio documentary about gay relationships in Ireland (broadcast 1996)"


So, yeah. I neglect this blog a lot, but whatever. As anyone will tell you right now in my life, I'm currently obsessed with all things Ireland. Taking this Peoples and Cultures of Ireland  class is so relevant to my life and research right now (Ireland's Repro Rights, Magdalene laundries/asylums, study abroad, LGBTQQI in Ireland, &c).

This particular podcast addresses so many things, the silence of Irish culture, the avoidance of anything that isn't normal, or contamination. One gay man on this describes the feeling of being in a country where no one is out, but him and like 9 other people. (keep in mind, this is 1996). The woman at the beginning of this has such interesting experiences, she describes going to a lesbian bar/club/disco and feeling so out of place (I've had a similar experience). She also describes walking in Dublin with her partner and seeing friends who don't acknowledge her, friends that are now afraid of her. She reasons that they don't talk to her for fear of being labelled as gay by association.

There are many other issues and intriguing discussions on this podcast, but I really just wanted to be brief (and lazy...).
To me,
Documentary on One (RTÉ Ireland Radio) = This American Life (NPR), and maybe...
Documentary on One (RTÉ Ireland Radio) > This American Life (NPR).

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Suburbs

Sprawl I & II, The Suburbs (Continued) complete my life.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Picture-heavy awesomeness (i.e. the Women of Arcade Fire)

1. Sarah and Marika from Arcade Fire. Both sporting new haircuts...really its like NewHaircuts!ArcadeFire for this tour and album. Two to Three band members in fact have hipster-mullets. Regine (below) has a shorter, cuter, curlier (if possible) haircut.

2. White dress is a wedding dress concoction. Sequins on the bottom, swirly cream white mess on top. I kind of love it, despite also being repulsed by it at the same time. But, its Regine, who can and will wear puffy, rainbowed, sequined, rhinestoned, polka dotted dresses...not to mention the fingerless gloves.

What are these made of?*

3. The actual music. I avoid this, because I can't really explain why I love their music. I don't ignore that there are only three women in the band, but to me...they hold it all together. I would not be that into this band without Regine, Sarah, and Marketa. Frankly, I don't think this band would exist without Regine, it wouldn't be Arcade would be Win Butler, his brother and some other dudes. Regardless, The Suburbs looks and sounds like something amazing and...its rumored by Win Butler on NPR that Regine will have more songs.

4. Sarah is a lesbian.**

*Duct tape, magic, and Hurdy Gurdys.
**I have no proof, just my own fantasy.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Feminist Critique on Women’s “spiritual achievement” as a denial of the self.

(from my Religion & Feminism final essay test)

There seems to be a moment in a young girl’s life when she changes. There is this time period between childhood and adolescence when she becomes something she’s not. She will look back on this time and realize she changed herself for some unknown reason. She stopped raising her hand in class, she never spoke unless spoken to, she made all A’s without any feeling of accomplishment, she was quiet, she wore the accepted clothing and makeup, but never so she would stand out or cause waves. There it is…this is the time when I lost myself. I knew who I was before middle school – I was boisterous, sometimes annoyingly smart, a tattle teller, a budding feminist, and I proudly wore a sash in fifth grade that entitled me to boss around kids who misbehaved. I was the girl who stood up to my younger brother’s bullies and gave them a referral. Who was this girl and where did she go?

This is my life setting, my background in this issue of self denial, even though I believe my own annihilation of the self stemmed from media images and general peer influence (which ironically is irrevocably the same as the media). I don’t generally believe a lot of influence came from this idea of “spiritual achievement”, but in way it does, in the sense that it is peer acceptance and this media-approved image. It may be called then, “secular achievement”. In reality, though “spiritual achievement”, religious views of women affect the media, affects how I viewed myself and the girls and women around me. Something that stands out to me is being “quiet”, to be “quiet” in church while my brother loudly burped and played with his star wars action figures. I resented this demand from my parents (my dad more than my mom). My dad was religious, but my mom could care less. She was there, stuck in a marriage she hated because of her kids, my brother and me. My mother got of it, she refused to be silenced, she refused to be abused – and she kicked my dad out. This image of her as strong, as loud, as entitled to her happiness will stay with me – forever. My mother found her self, again. Despite going to church every Sunday, she broke the cycle…guaranteeing my brother and my own decisions with our lives, our religions (or not), our sexual orientation, our ideas and –isms.

In the idea of women’s “spiritual achievement”, women are not given the opportunity to “find” themselves like men are. Men’s selves are cultivated, nurtured in the center of a garden while women’s selves are abandoned to the coldest, barren corner – abandoned and designated for the trash bin. She is left there to find some source of nutrients, some ounce of protection, some form of love. She grasping for it with all her strength – she cannot think of anything else. Her mother, her mother’ mother cannot help her, she’s trapped in this cycle, a circle maybe, with false ideas of womanhood, of “spiritual achievement”. If only she was quieter, smaller, married to that guy who raped her, kept her opinions to herself, or had no opinions at all. If they could take away all her thoughts, they would. To wipe the slate clean, erase all messages, to cultivate there a succinct order of womanhood. A woman who cooks, who cleans, who submits, who lies on her back and does not move.

Women are told, are ordered to believe that in acknowledging the self, in seeing that they are in fact, gay, that they don’t fit into the gendered stereotypes, and they don’t want a nuclear family structure – all of these feelings are wrong, they are to be banished elsewhere. These are “sins”; these are “deviations” from the norm, from the Virgin Mary ideal. With women’s “spiritual achievement”, they can only hope to be mothers, baby incubators, their husband’s personal slaves, and in short – property, property to be owned, to be borrowed, to be sold. What self could possibly be found in a woman like this, a woman who finds all these requirements in religious standards? What human being could live, could possibly thrive in an environment that told her she was property and wasn’t important enough to be given a name?

These ideas of women’s experiences, or rather molds in which women should fill, are further proving androcentric assumptions that promote male experience over female experience. Ideas of women’s “spiritual achievement” promote the male experience as the only real, valid human experience. Women’s self development is relegated only insofar as it accommodates the male self. As long as she fits into the gender norms then a woman can have a “self” whether it is really “her” or not is a question not bothered with. Giving into natural born feelings of self should be snuffed out, considering most of these “impulses” will be considered “sins”. While males are only “experimenting”, women are always seen as destroying themselves and all they really need is salvation and Jesus. As if a little hold water over the forehead or Hail Mary’s could really save anyone.

So, all of this, all of this destruction of self is to be reconstructed as a woman grows older and sometimes this doesn’t happen. Some never have epiphanies about who their real “self” is, some never even knew who that little girl was, that girl who sat in front, eager to answer all the questions, that little girl in all of us. Can we find her? Is it even possible to find her in all the debris of years and years of oppressive buildup, of suppression, of conformity, of denial of this true self? This little girl answers yes, she hopes to be found, she gives hints, she pokes you every once in a while, she’s calling your name right now.

Friday, April 23, 2010

My First Vlog post -- Ever!

My video response: (Little Wows of Feminism)

to Courtney E. Martin's video: (Happiness)

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Why do you torture me, Arcade Fire? No news on a new album in months (more like years..) and then you release an ambiguous photo and expect me to be content?
(I love you anyway)
(see, how could I be mad at that? It's a HURDY GURDY!)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Magdalene Laundries and other asylum musings...

(from The Magdalene Sisters)

Okay. So...

I have this weird fascination with institutionalization. I find myself looking at books like The History of Women in Asylums Since 1500...or some such title. This idea of putting someone in these institutions just because they didn't "fit" into society neatly is enough to infuriate me. Because without even trying, if I was born in certain times of history I would have been institutionalized.

Scary, scary thought that someone (your family, even friends) could put you into these asylums which were typically run by the government. Specifically, the Magdalene Laundries/Asylums of Ireland, England, Australia, even America at one point, are perfect examples of these institutions. Institutions that were run by both the state and the Catholic Church. Frightening.

So, what makes Magdalene Asylums so different from other asylums? Most of the time a woman was put into one because she was seen as "sexual" and did not fit into the neat idea of Motherhood (usually unwed mothers ended up there) or they were suspected of having sex. In some cases, women were put into these asylums as "preventive" in they might have unwed sex some day.
Or even just because they were already institutionalized through state-run orphanages or schools, they stuck girls and women in there if they didn't want to deal with them anymore.
They did this especially because they had to find "jobs" for these people when they got out of these, they decided to make it easier for themselves and put them into another institution where some of them stayed for the rest of their lives.
The Magdalene Laundries was a place where women were shamed, silenced, and beat (literally, in some cases) into submission. They were not paid to clean the church's laundry, the town's, cities', other institutions, hotels. But they were controlled to, not getting an education, or allowed any real social interactions with the outside world. Similar to getting out of jail (if they were able to get out), getting out the asylums was alienating...some of the women hadn't been into the real world for years, maybe even decades.

I'm currently reading this very well-written book about these Magdalene Asylums - Ireland's Magdalen Laundries and the Nation's Architecture of Containment by James M. Smith. This book, the documentary Sex in a Cold Climate, and the film The Magdalene Sisters are great starting points to learn about these asylums/laundries.
(probably more on this subject later...I haven't even touched on the sexual abuse rampant in these instutuions....crazzzzzy.)