Femme FATale


fail: kanye west
February 21, 2009, 5:49 pm
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i’m going to start this off by saying that i love kanye west and his music. i appreciate a lot of the politics he incorporates into his tracks. i think he has an incredible knack for combining wit and truth and packaging it up with some beats that you never, ever want to leave your head. i’m a long-time kanye fan from back in early 2000 when an indie hip-hop boy from a neighboring college attempted to woo me with the promise of mix cds featuring “unheard of” artists. kanye was on there and i instantly fell for him and not the hampshire boy who thought i could be so enamored with the new music he was giving me, that i’d forget he was a male-born dude. it might have killed him a little to know that his very cds became the soundtracks to the makeout sessions with my handsome then-gf. oh, the irony and sadness of unrequited collegiate love!

have i convinced you though of my fondness towards kanye west? because i require this preface in order to say that he managed to piss me off this week and in a really backhanded way at that. i say backhanded because i initially found his praise of gay folks as “really, really extremely dope,” a nice show of allied support. this awesome tidbit is, however, couched in an article focusing on how kanye west is, single-handedly, taking steps to “reinvent” the word “gay” from one that is, supposedly only negative to one that is positive. as a response to mainstream straight folks’ use of the word “gay” to describe anything that sucks, again, i appreciate the effort.

but kanye west wants to do more than just make “gay” positive again. he wants to, as i said earlier, “reinvent” it to be a positive portrayal of good taste in fashion, specifically. why? because all us homos can dress ourselves well, apparently. he’s been quoted in a pink news article as saying:

“I haven’t gone to a gay bar, nor do I ever plan to. But where I would talk to a gay person, the conversation would be mostly around art or design, it’d be really dope. […] From a design standpoint, kids’ll say, ‘Dude, those pants are gay.’ […] If it’s good, good, good fashion-level, design-level stuff, where it’s on a higher level than the average commercial design stuff, it’s gay people that do that. […] I think that should be said as a compliment. Like, ‘Dude, that’s so good it’s almost gay.'”

i don’t know about you, but i don’t want any words that people use as identifiers, especially marginalized identities at that, to be “reinvented” by a) someone who doesn’t ascribe to that identity and b) detaches it from its original meaning and attaches it to something as, trivial in comparison, to fashion. truly being an ally would, in this case, be kanye west stopping after calling gay folks dope and speaking out to reclaim gay as positive and to thwart those who use it to describe something as stupid or bad. defining a whole new meaning and interpretation to an identity and distilling it down to a superficial quality of some gay folks, is not only arrogant and appropriative, but just insulting. i much more appreciate the ad council commercials (two of which feature wanda sykes and hilary duff!) that specifically target the bogus and rampant “that’s so gay!” with some wit and snark.

kanye, i heart you and your music and, as a queer, i appreciate you aligning yourself with queer struggle and calling out folks for repeatedly equating “gay” with “bad.” i’m thrilled to have such a high-profile powerhouse on our side, but dude, don’t be stealing identities, introducing new meanings, and simultaneously erasing an entire history of struggle for folks to proudly call themselves “gay.” you are the leader of the hip-hop world, but your reign doesn’t allow you to be appropriative. we’re not forever on the outs, kanye, but this week, you get a fail.

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Babeland Review: Womolia
February 17, 2009, 4:40 pm
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Being the third toy I’ve reviewed thus far for Babeland, the Womolia was my biggest success to date. Another toy from Emotional Bliss, the Womolia, like the Isis, is made of really good quality materials. There’s weight to it, substance, and a suggestion that perhaps orgasms will be possible with such a vibrator. Womolia is constructed of hard plastic, which I’ve previously warned against for toys meant to be inserted, but the Womolia seems more to be constructed for stimulating the clit and surrounding areas than for internal use (I suppose one could insert the tip of the toy 2 or 3 inches). The three or so inches of tip are composed of a softer, more slightly malleable material than the plastic of the handle and I really appreciated this part’s curve that culminates in a raised ridge that applies pressure and vibration perfectly. The head of the Womolia also has a number of grooves which aid in increasing pressure and creating friction when using it on your clit.

The other end of the Womolia, the one which you hold, is where the on/off button and increase and decrease vibration buttons are. I prefer this location so that increasing the vibration as needed is an easy and quick process. However, because there are three buttons and I was a Womolia novice, I kept accidentally shutting it off and then fumbling to turn it back on again. If my mind hadn’t been in other places and if I had been paying closer attention to how the vibrator was working and not say, the naughty nasty things my mind is capable of creating, I’m sure it wouldn’t have been so difficult to figure out. Though, when I think about it, the Womolia was a little hard to manage from the get-go.

When it arrived, I was so excited to spring it from it’s packaging and try it out that I was pretty disappointed it, at first, needed to charge a full *twelve* hours. I exercised all the patience I could manage and waited nearly 24 and then tried to turn on the Womolia without success. I spent a whole day thinking it was broken until I broke down and read the instructions and realized you had to press the on button twice for it to work. After trying this, the Womolia came to life and has been working well since.

At the end of the day, I really like the design of the Womolia (and appreciate its quality as well as, like all Emotional Bliss products, it comes with free lube!) and I found its shape and its three levels of vibration to get the job done. I also appreciated the fact that it was easy to hold onto and wasn’t all that noisy – virtually silent on its lowest setting. The buttons were a little difficult to navigate, however, and the fact that it needs to charge up can take the fun and spontaneity out of using the Womolia. Overall, though, it’s the nicest toy I’ve reviewed thus far for Babeland and the only one that I can see, at this point, staying a part of my repertoire…if I can remember to keep it charged, after all.





fail: jerry lewis.
February 8, 2009, 11:37 pm
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jack assi’ve been writing a post for the past 3 days, on and off, trying to articulate what i’m feeling these days about the overall reception/treatment of femmes in some parts of the queer community and trussing it to some experiences of my own lately that have left me feeling pretty raw and dissatisfied. i’m hoping to finish it up tomorrow and to hear back a bit from my extended femme family and allies about our experiences.

in the meantime, though, my very dear, very brilliant friend emily and i wanted to help get the word out on legendary problematic comedian jerry lewis and the petition that is circulating to protest the anticipation of his receiving a humanitarian award at the oscars on feb. 22nd. lewis is well-known for his telethons for kids with muscular distrophy, which are really, truly eye-raising (in bad, bad ways). here’s more on that from emily:

Jerry Lewis has long been protested by disability activists for his infamous telethons for “Jerry’s kids,” children with muscular dystrophy. Though Jerry Lewis may have good intentions, his telethons are deeply problematic, as they encourage pity for people with disabilities and paternalistic charity. Many in the disability rights movement have come together to protest the telethons, but Lewis refuses to listen to those he supposedly seeks to help, and Lewis once responded to a protest, “You have to remember they’re sitting in chairs I bought them…. These 19 people don’t want me to [raise money]. They want me to stop now? Fuck them. . . Do it in caps, FUCK THEM.” Yet, he will be honored this year at the Oscars and receive a humanitarian award. Check out http://thetroublewithjerry.net/ to sign a petition and find info about how to protest the event. Pity is not progress. It is especially relevant that people support this protest in the name of Harriett McBryde Johnson, a disability activist and writer as well as one of Jerry Lewis’s earliest and loudest protesters, who passed away this year. Here’s one more offensive Lewis quote to leave you with: he said that a disabled individual is “half a person,” and snapped, “[If] you don’t want to be pitied because you’re a cripple in a wheelchair, stay in your house!”

clearly, jerry lewis is the last person who should be receiving a humanitarian award. we’ll connect the dots some more by noting that as if his pity partying of disabled folks isn’t problematic enough (and oh, is it ever!), lewis is vehemently homophobic, having used the word “fag” derogatorily and repeatedly in on-screen appearances in the past few years. need even more? he’s also an old misogynist to boot, quoted as having once said: “women should be having babies or naked, oiling themselves up at home. they should be waiting with bated breath for their man, the rightful heir to the throne and ruler of all mankind. only a strong man in a bear-skin bathing suit back from a long night at the clubs can rescue the weak, docile, female of the species.” barf. go sign that petition, no?