Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Paralympics and Why I Didn’t Watch Them

I wanted to watch the Paralympics, but there’s no way for me to watch them. I don’t have a television, because it is too hard for me to watch things on a screen far away – but even more problematic than that, I live in the United States.

It is because I don’t have a TV that I didn’t realize NBC didn’t show the live footage of the Paralympics, even though they’re the only network in the USA that has the rights to broadcast it. Their 90 minutes of coverage didn’t air until September 16th!

According to the chairman of the IPC the United States is “ready” for the Paralympics. I have a question about that – is there a time when the United States wasn’t?

It’s fascinating to me how on the one hand, everyone calls disabled athletes “inspiring” and looks at them as reasons for able bodied people to not make any excuses (a rhetoric which I find extremely problematic) yet still we are denied any coverage of an important sporting event.

People complained about the lack of coverage for the regular Olympics, they did it all over the web, but I didn’t see much of anything complaining about the Paralympics coverage until very recently. From what I’ve seen from poking the internet, there *was* online coverage, but it wasn’t very well publicized. So with little coverage and even less publicity, I have to draw the conclusion that NBC doesn’t value disabled atheletes.

I am so glad that President Obama greeted Olympians and Paralympians during the reception this September. I only wish that the coverage had been more widespread, and that the publicity had been more widespread.

I wish I could have sat in the sports bar on my block, and watched blind swimmers, and wheelchair using fencers, and cheetah feet wearing runners while I drank a Magners.

But that’s not the country I live in.

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National Voter Registration Day

For those of you in the United States – please remember to register to vote! I’m going to be harping on this a lot in the next few weeks.

We cannot complain about things not changing if we do not participate in our own democracy. Please make sure you do.

National Voter Registration Day Website

I’ll admit that I’m frustrated by my state’s voting system. Why? Because they don’t give visually impaired voters the right to a large print or braille ballot. In order to vote in the state of WA with a visual impairment, you have to go to the ballot office and are given 2 representatives (one from each party) to help fill out your ballot. To me, that’s not accessible, that’s just irritating.

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Filed under Disability Issues, Politics

Why Teens Shouldn’t Read Twilight

Why Young Women Shouldn’t Read Twilight.

In order to verify this I went to the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s website and took a look at these fifteen criteria. Now you go read them.

In order to go further, I have to admit that I have read the Twilight series. I did it for my 7th graders. In undergrad I was an education major, and since all of my 7th graders were buzzing about Twilight, I wanted to understand what on earth they were going on about. I finished the series, because my friend’s daughter was super excited about the books. I felt I could give her better books to read if I understood the appeal.

Here’s the thing – the books aren’t just terrible, but they’re the kind of easy read that sticks in your brain. They’re candy. But from this piece of information I have to conclude that they aren’t just candy – but incredibly dangerous candy. Because the checklist checks out. It’s true. On all sides. 

The books young women read have to stop setting the example that being abused by men is OK. Authors need to set out to not treat their characters this way, with particular regard to YA fiction. We are already raised in a society where it is hard to learn how to have a backbone. We already live in a society where saying “no” is not okay. We live in a society where the scene in which Jacob kisses Bella against her will gets her father to give him a high five. (and is meant to be funny).

Consent, care, and personal autonomy are all missing for women in this series. Yet it is always the woman’s fault. Every time I hear a young woman say that she wants to be like Bella Swann, or that she wants to have an Edward, I cringe. Because I would hope that they want a relationship free of harm.

It should not be considered “romantic that a man you barely know watches you sleep. It should not be considered “heartwarming” that in order to get her man back, Bella has to risk her life.

These are not the role models we need. We need women who stick up for themselves, women who find good partners, whether they be men or women. We certainly don’t need all fifteen criteria popping up in young adult fiction. Not in a world where domestic violence survivors are asked why they didn’t just run, or how they could “let” it happen to them.

Abuse is never romantic. Don’t let it seem that way. Give the young women in your lives books they can look up to, and books they can live by. Books that will teach them how to love, not how to submit.

Do you have a favorite positive role model for young women? Please share in the comments!

 

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Reason to Vote #1: Protecting Marriage Equality

“Do things gradually will bring more tragedy. Why don’t you see it, why don’t you feel it? I don’t know, I don’t know.  You don’t have to live next to me, just give me my equality. Everybody knows about Mississippi Goddamn!” – Nina Simone, Mississippi Goddamn.

Once a week I’ll be covering a different issue of the election season. This week I’m covering an issue very close to my heart: Marriage Equality. I grew up raised by the queer community. At my own (straight) wedding I made it very clear over and over again, that while I was taking advantage of the rights afforded to me by the United States government, I would continue to fight for the rights of my fellow human beings to claim these same rights as married couples. This post serves as part of that promise.
Marriage is a civil right.  In 1967 the Supreme Court established legal precedent paving the way for the future of equality under the law. The decision repealed two laws established under the Racial Integrity Act of 1924, which discriminated against both people of color and people living with mental illness and other handicaps. What does this have to do with gay marriage?

Everything.

The process for the repeal of anti-miscegenation laws was a slow and tedious process, always fraught with the notion of going slow in order to make the change feel gradual. This is the same thing which the LGBT community has been told – go slow. Go carefully. Don’t trouble the waters too much.

While some states repealed their laws of their own accord, other states had to be told by the federal government that discrimination was unacceptable. The same will likely come of same sex marriage.

Which is why this election season is so important. With several states in play, voters need to make their voices heard. We need to stand up and say that we believe in equality, because the more that we make noise  the more likely that our federal government will listen.

We have a President who says he believes in gay marriage. We have to stand up for the rights of others in our community. Even if he says he supports it, his administration still enforces section 3 of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and thus bans same sex couples legally married from all the rights federally granted to heterosexual couples. That means that even if a same sex couple marries in a state where it is legal, no state other than their own is bound to recognize it, they cannot file joint tax returns, and many other federal rights. Ask more for President Obama. Vote him into a second term, and continue to push him to change discrimination in our country.

If you are a Washington State voter Approve Referendum 74.

If you are a Maine State voter vote YES on 1

If you are a Maryland State voter vote YES for question 6

We cannot change the system we live without speaking up about it. I know many in my generation believe that voting does nothing – but we need to put our votes where our beliefs are. That’s why I’ll be voting this year.

Why do I believe in gay marriage?

Because my marriage isn’t better than theirs. Because my role models for commitment are gay couples. Because I cannot call any love an abomination. I grew up raised by people who loved each other – not because of gender, or sexuality, or religious belief. They loved each other because of who their partners were. My father was gay, my mother is a woman. I don’t care. They loved each other. They loved each other enough that I am here.

If you love someone enough to commit your life to them, it shouldn’t matter whether or not you’re one man and one woman. It shouldn’t matter whether you can procreate or not. It shouldn’t matter what colors you are, or what religious beliefs you hold, or if you’re able bodied. What should matter is your love and your consent to be married.

I’m a heterosexual married woman. I see other marriages – gay or straight – as a testament to love and commitment, not as threats to my own. So let’s not stall any longer – lets’ not do this gradually. Let’s step into the 21st century, and give rights to all. Because you don’t have to agree with me: Just give my family their equality.

Photo by Caroline Hunton

E. S. Henry at the Prop 8 Rally in Spokane, WA. November 2008. Photo by Caroline Hunton.

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Filed under Feminism, LGBT, Politics, Sexuality

Internet Archive

Glimpses of Tanya Ransom
It isn’t often that I get to see my father perform. Actually, it’s a pretty rare occurrence. I think the last time I saw him perform was when I was seven years old. Maybe 8, I can’t really recall. The point, is that this is very unusual. yesterday I got to watch a video of my father performing at the Pyramid Club. It is where my parents met, where much of my extended family got to know each other. It is for this reason that I am grateful the internet exists, because without it I may never have seen this video. You can see my mothers response to the experience of finding this video here.
N. B – How to Survive a Plague comes out this weekend. I hope you’ll see it –  I plan to. It is a part of my history, and part of my life.

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The Truth Will Set You Free

Neil Gaiman shared a letter by a young, frightened actress today. I wanted to link to it, and also to talk a little about the nature of truth.
Anna wrote to Neil asking for his advice and he wrote back to Ms. Anna Gurji, and told her to send him her story. He said “The best weapon against lies is the truth, after all.” And he’s right.

Ms. Gurji was lied to, by the makers of a film. They intended to spread hate, and in doing so, they implicated artists in their argument. Telling the truth about this film is important, not only because there are people in other countries who are violently angry about the film she was in – and for this reason she has a right to be afraid. Telling the truth about this film means that she doesn’t have to stand for being a mouthpiece for anti-Islamic rhetoric.

As actors, when we do a play, we inherently lend our bodies and our images to the words and stories we are telling. Without the integrity of knowing what the stories are we don’t have the integrity of our work. I write today because I want to give Anna Gurji credit where it’s due, that she is willing to stand up, to ask for help, and to tell the truth. I applaud her willingness to stand up, be counted, and to speak against the hurt she feels.
I appreciate that Neil Gaiman wants to tell the truth about these sorts of things, because as a well known storyteller, his ability to be a trustworthy source only lends more credit to his name.
I thank them both for their integrity as artists, and their dedication to telling the story which is true, even if it is frightening.

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Why the new name?

Well, this blog has been in a work of progress mode since May – and now that I’m settled, I know what it is.

Feminist Sonar indicates what I do – I seek out things that need discussing, and I do the work that I feel needs doing. That’s what this space is for. So far, it seems like whoever’s reading this appreciates it, and I’m not stopping.
So, I’ll be here. Same snarkbat time, same snarkbat channel! Just a new name, and a new face to bring more people in 🙂

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