Ami De Groot FP

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Return to Feminist Praxis

Reading Responses

4/21

Thinking about language of the oppressor/language of the oppressed, Hortense Spillers wrote an amazing paper on "American Grammar" or how slavery and the oppressive structures born from it form the "grammar" of the American story. The paper goes into the separations of body from gender, and child from family, giving insights into the trauma remaining in black families and black gender identity. Really amazing and tough read, I highly recommend it.

Mama's Baby Papa's Maybe: An American Grammar Book


4/24


Reclaiming Our Lineage: Organized Queer, Gender-Nonconforming, and Transgender Resistance to Police Violence By Che Gossett, Reina Gossett, and AJ Lewis

quotes:

There is, in significant respects, nothing new about making police violence central to a queer agenda—indeed it is perhaps only relatively recently that police violence has been seen as anything other than one of the most flagrantly apparent manifestations of LGBT oppression.

....as the United States became more conservative over the ensuing decades this single-issue approach eventually came to be predominant.

In this respect, Queer Nation exemplifies a trend noted by Christina Hanhardt that, in the decades following Stonewall, gay vulnerability to antigay violence came to be perceived as the “vulnerability of the crime victim.”

Fears about the “prostitute” are often augmented by hysteria over the presence of people of color in public space who may be simultaneously eroticized, considered “dirty,” and security threats.

notes:

-Remembering the "Stonewall" riot as a moment of radical opposition to the police; not as an example for single issue legislation or an attempt to institutionalize LGBT issues through conservative frameworks of marriage, military inclusion, economic inclusion, or hate crime policies.

-LGBT grassroots organizing always has ways of addressing police violence, while more visible activism has been lacking in it's intersectionality and critique of the police and state.

-policing of queer colored bodies as threats - prostitution free zones (PFZ)

-police targeting of transgender POC: execution style murders demonstrates the acknowledgment of police perception being that these non-conforming bodies pose a threat to nationhood.


Transfeminist Kill/Joys Rage, Love, and Reparative Performance T. L. COWAN

quotes:

the transfeminist kill/joy works both to spoil feelings of political and social well-being or pleasure that are contingent upon the tacit absence or explicit exclusion of trans women in feminist conceptual and physical spaces and to restructure, claim, and repair feminist happiness

reorients feminist happiness toward rather than against trans women,6 “exposes not only the unreliableness of the body as a source of their identities and politics, but also the fallacy of women’s universal experiences and oppressions” (Koyama

the crossing between structures, between systems, between selves.

This transfeminist kill/joy affect might be understood as a trans (re)structuring or disorienting affect, as it holds antitrans and anti-sex-work feminists accountable for the violences and lack of love of their politics, while offering a repaired love as a model of trans- formative resistance and demanding that audiences feel implicated in this ten- sion and feel the potential of rage and love not as irreducible affects but as a full politics.

We can “understand ‘love’ as a hermeneutic, as a set of practices and procedures that can transit all citizen-subjects, regardless of social class, toward a differential mode of consciousness and its accompanying technologies of method and social movement” (139); love is a methodology through which we become that “drifting being . . . where political weapons of consciousness are available in a constant tumult of possibility” (140). As an expression of love and pleasure, Sandoval reinscribes jouissance as a political position: “It is coming to a utopian nonsite, a no-place where everything is possible—but only in exchange for the pain of crossing” (140). Ross’s Yapping Out Loud performs this pain of crossing, reveals the political damages of denied love, and unanchors the possibility for love and pleasure as a social-justice methodology.

This opening scene is a kill/joy moment: it promises the big reveal, both naming and rendering ridiculous the cultural power of this expectation, making an absurdly extended joke about what each cast member is hiding.

notes:

T. L. Cowan renames and transforms "feminist killjoy" into a name, which challenges feminist trans-erasure; trans kill/joy. The separation of kill/joy makes visible the violence of feminist exclusionary practices, and the perceptions of a murdered gender through tropes of surgical procedures and the acknowledgment of violence and murder of trans bodies; while at the same time, opens spaces for radical love, love which is ""italic"trans"italic"formational." (505) Cowan exemplifies the transformation of transfeminist killing and jouissance (508) in Ryka Aoki's narrative of a transwoman's experience of exclusionism from her feminist cis-woman friend; a series of monologues by Mirha-Soleil Ross role-playing anti-trans and anti-prostitute feminists; and the "italic"Fully Functional Cabaret"italic" exhibiting "the big reveal" of gendered violence of trans bodies and transformative love of loving the “crawled out of the muck and evolved” (511) kind of beautiful. I found the movement of disorientation to joy really remarkable; their is comfort is surrounding oneself with familiar faces and supposably familiar stories, but a space is not truly feminist if pleasure is only present in inclusion through exclusion. To really be radical feminists must bring the rupturing of assumptions of unified bodies and unified feminisms in order to cross the threshold of a whole but ever shifting, ever transforming politic.



Leanne Betasamosake Simpson - decolonial love: building resurgent communities of connection

quotes:

-stories as a coming into, coded messages from another realm. -Binoji(sp?) the two spirited child discovering (outside settler knowledge) wisdom through observation, self-determination, innovation, love, trust, listening, from and with the land

-disruption of settler gender, education, land privatization, and gender violence, time and space

-Open heart as a liability

-Indigenous future!! (woo!)

-Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg love story - going back to ancestral lands. What is up with the inaccessibility? Akiden Boreal - could not find anything about it through initial research, its light is hidden under graphs maps and data, and a few forcibly "virgin" landscapes; inaccessible in more ways than one. Leanne making things visible.

-compassion empathy, love, community

-rape of indigenous women/trans people not seen as rape

notes:

I was so moved by these stories, so beautifully written and gently and powerfully spoken. kill/joy seemed prevalent in these words as well, bringing awareness, but hoping for joy in the future, the joy of her being the ancestor of children left whole, children without settler colonialism writing in their blood. I want to imagine a future where governments desire to build relationships, not appropriation and exploitation. A future where in the Americas, the indigenous people hold all major positions of whatever form of government is left when we burn these patriarchal racist and colonial systems down. A future that does not exclude spiritual places from the people who are part of their holiness. A future where all the Binojis(sp?) can sip on sweet syrup.



4/28

Alternatives to Alternatives: the Black Grrrls Riot Ignored by Gabby Bess

Le Tigre's Johanna Fateman confirms this descriptor. It wasn't all white she explains, but "how could girls--drawn from punk's predominantly white demographic, who relied on that scene's resources and aesthetics--forge a truly inclusive, revolutionary agenda?"


White kids in general, regardless if they are punk or not, can get away with having green Mohawks and pierced lips 'cause no matter how much they deviated from the norms of society their whiteness always shows through. For instance, I'll go out somewhere with my friends who all look equally as weird as me, but say we get hassled by the cops for skating or something. That cop is going to remember my face a lot clearer than say one of my white girlfriends. I can just hear him now... 'Yeah there was this black girl w/pink [sic] hair and two other girls.'


Don't get me wrong I am totally for revolution grrrl now... but maybe it shouldn't just be limited to white, middle-class, punk rock grrrls 'cuz there's no denyin' [sic] that's what it is.


MEET NYC'S LATINA SKATE CREW BRUJAS by Xatherin Gonzalez

“The skate park might no longer be a man cave of refuge anymore,” Gil explains. “Less and less spaces exist that are just places for men to get together and let their misogyny go unchecked.”

bruja spiritualism

policing of young skaters of color


Riot Grrrl manifesto: "we need to build lines of communication so we can be more open and accessible to each other." different approaches ... could be editied to be different beginnings/origins

"connectedness of all forms of oppression"

"racism, sexism, classism, homophobia, etc"

"we ARE revolution"


Some more Downtown Boys videos :)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6vQHtICr8w

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9A4UGtM4hDQ - partying + music as protest!


Intersectionality in punk culture:

Sneaking out of the house when I was 15 to go punk and noise shows in Olneyville was kind of a revelation to me in it opening my eyes to a community of artists and musicians that seemed to have no rules, no landlords, no bosses, and no parents haha. The occupied warehouses were full of crazy living spaces with giant hammocks, sinks full of dishes, or really sweet kitchens filled with jars of tea, skateboard ramps, old factory machines, and rooms all connected like a village inside the empty space. I went to shows where naked guys stage dived from the rafters, or where my non-binary friend Xavier would wear a coat of mirrors and croon into some looping eerie distortion pedal. Looking back on these experiences always brings awareness to the white saturated, and mostly male music scene, however Downtown Boys and What Cheer? Brigade definitely offer exceptions to the rule, and my queer lady and trans friends have been making some waves since my time at college. Despite the mainly white dude performances, the spaces seemed inclusive to people of color, transgender, and queer folk, considering there wasn't really any other space in the Providence where we could all gather. A lot of the people who live or lived in these buildings are activists, social workers, artists, and musicians; I think having the energy created by those who live there and work there was important, a lot of them are truly radical people with politics that go beyond the mainly white middle class punk girl image that has become sort of mainstream these days. The Riot Grrrl Manifesto speaks to this intersectionality in its words, however as Gunk creator, Ramdasha Bikceem, mentions, the Riot Grrrl convention was full of white middle class women, and only one issue of the Riot Grrrl zine talked about black Riot Grrrls. How can each of us go beyond aligning ourselves conceptually, or through words, with intersectionality and translate it through action? I feel like part of it is through creating a space that exists beyond institutions, where you can alter the energy of partying and shows by encouraging those at the "margins" to come on stage and play, or for those at the "margins" to organize wellness groups, art projects, film screenings etc. Having all the "brujas" or black riot grrrls, or trans kids gathered in one place really alters the energy and what can come out of it, it's magical. We need to foster more of these kinds of spaces, or support the ones that do this in your own communities.




5/1


Closing the Loop - Aria Dean

quotes:

However digital and radical this brand of feminism is marketed as being, in taking up the mantle of second-wave feminist cinematic and visual theory, selfie feminism most unfortunately takes on its baggage as well. Selfie feminism is guilty of extending the violence and ignorance that plagued its forbears.

the selfie soon was written of as a “sign of life” — as the ultimate tactic toward #visibility.

Selfie feminism likewise claims a universal female experience located in “the female body."

self-documentation of Black life still seems unable to contend with the “mass of images” produced by anti-blackness’s aggressive and distributed media campaign.
The black woman, on the other hand, has largely been expected to bear the multiple scars of racism and misogyny — misogynoir — in silence. And among these scars is an objectification that surpasses the image of the body, treading over it and into the realm of sheer, unprotected flesh.

Rather, we must devise a new politic of looking and being looked at.

In the work, Piper looks and demands to be looked at in a most specific way; she is both the black female body in the frame and the maker of the picture at once. Lorraine O’Grady calls it “the catalytic moment for the subjective black nude.”

“None of this is as simple as “identity and representation” outside of the colonial gaze. I reject the colonial gaze as the primary gaze. I am outside of it in the land of NOPE.”

In this land of NOPE, there is refusal, there is an oppositional gaze, there is multiplicitous sexuality, there is desire, there is protection. 

notes:

Aria Dean critiques the political possibilities of the selfie by uncovering the absents of the black female identifying body, or transwomen, in selfie culture. Selfie culture reproduces second wave feminist dialogues between the white male voyeur and the white female body. I would argue with Dean, that the proliferation of black and trans selfies do have an effect "as the ultimate tactic toward #visibility". With the visibility of murdered black bodies (who on the mainstream media are usually male identifying) on Facebook feeds and in the news, selfies counter the weight of death in black and trans communities with "a 'sign of life'." Self representation for black and trans people is of great importance, due to the culture of surveillance and violent misrepresentation by the mainstream media and governing bodies. However, her critique of white feminist selfie culture holds true; white selfies do not offer much of a critique of capitalism, racism, or even the patriarchy; yet black and trans selfies rupture erasure and the anonymity of the bodies on the cement. The bodies are there and need to be seen, but so do the faces of the living.

Makes me think of Alice Walker's Coming Apart


Cybertwee Manifesto

Cybertwee celebrates the feminine and cute in order to counter the constant devaluing of girl culture. The future is female, I hope, but we should also be aware that anger and grit are certainly female as well. The Angry Black Woman, the Butch Lesbian, and the Transman stand as shadows of this manifesto, does cybertwee proliferate gendered tropes by enforcing gender norms, even while celebrating the feminine? The three shadows represent people who's existence counters patriarchal gaze while transcending gendered categories. Being cute is a survival tool, just as being angry can be. The Angry Black Woman is vilified, subdued, tranquilized, silenced. Being angry and black makes gives reason for oppressors to erase her.


Thinking about Closing the Loop and the Cybertwee Manifesto together is kind of confusing; at the same time that erasure is happening, there is also such a need for the holding up of girl culture as strong and worthy. It's sad to constantly be pulling each other apart when the reality is that feminine bodies (whether they white, of color, are cis or trans) are constantly measured with a yardstick, critiqued for all the ways they are, and devalued. Their needs to be a balance of self-preservation, and representation of all those who disrupt the racist patriarchy. "romantic is not weak, feminine is not weak, cute is not weak, we are fragmented and multifaceted bbs." This line in the manifesto comes closest to intersectionality within cybertwee feminism, how can this be expanded?


The Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto - Martine Syms

quotes:

An awakening sense of the awesome power of the black imagination: to protect, to create, to destroy, to propel ourselves towards what poet Elizabeth Alexander describes as "a metaphysical space beyond the black public everyday toward power and wild imagination."

The opportunity to make sense of the nonsense that regularly—and sometimes violently—accents black life.

The electric feeling that Mundane Afrofuturism is the ultimate laboratory for worldbuilding outside of imperialist, capitalist, white patriarchy.

Since "fact" and "science" have been used throughout history to serve white supremacy, we will focus on an emotionally true, vernacular reality.

notes:

This is kind of a weird comparison, but I was thinking about the question of utopia or no utopia in terms of Christianity versus Judaism or Buddhism. I don't know much about any of these religions, yet I find some relevance in the perception of heaven as being a place to go towards, versus making it on earth, and similarly Buddhism's notions of the good already surrounding us. There is an escapism inherent in Afrofuturism, however does having a dream of a better world actively create energy towards manifesting at least parts of those dreams? Does Afrofuturism's imagining of an alternative bring clarity to how things are and how they might be if things were different? Never the less, I have been thinking a lot about the Mundane Afrofutrist Manifesto, and how acknowledging the realness of people of color in realtime does something truly revolutionary; rupturing othering through the mundane. It's about finding utopia within the mess, in the realness.