I’m not a fan of the US cultural habit of turning political turmoil in faraway lands into a gawkworthy spectator sport. I came to this realization in the aftermath of the 1989 protests in Tiananmen Square, as it gradually dawned on me that sheltered, largely clueless people who had no stake in what was happening had little business pushing their intrusive, hungry gaze into such multi-faceted, multi-context, volatile, dangerous matters.
The most disturbing aspect of this habit is, in my opinion, the undercurrent of bloodlust, which of course underlies all US “news reporting”, best summarized by the cliche “if it bleeds, it leads”. In the 1989 protests in China, organizers explicitly stated amongst themselves that the world’s eyes were watching and those eyes wanted blood. Protesters knew that if the demonstrations simply ended peacefully, the previously enthralled Western media would be disappointed. They knew that they had to push matters to the point of violence in order to make a lasting point. The Western gaze got what it wanted. As usual, it wasn’t Westerners who paid the price.
I’m not making any particular statement about uprisings in Tunisia or Egypt or Yemen or Lebanon or Xinjiang or Tibet or Myanmar or Thailand or Kenya or South Africa or Indonesia. And I’m definitely not saying that people should not be paying attention to important world events. As I often make clear in all my writings, I vehemently believe that US Americans need to pay much, much more attention to political events throughout the Third World — but not just when there’s a media melee to gawk at and cheer on, in the manner of kids rushing toward a crowd standing on cafeteria tables shouting “Fight! Fight! Fight!”
been thinkin’ about this a lot lately. thanks! it’s unfortunate that most americans, and even most radical americans don’t, as a whole, focus on or legitimize day-to-day organizing and struggles until such efforts aggregate into a generalized social revolt such as in egypt and tunisia. this idea that we mostly only do solidarity actions or share news stories with our friends when people start smashing shit is kinda problematic and representative, as the previous poster put well, of the same shit the media perpetuates.
not that i don’t love me a riot. or find the images of rocks being thrown at riot lines(only to bounce off their armor) or images of the burning cop cars, the vehicles of those who violently suppress every revolutionary movement and protect oppressors- and images of people smashing everything in sight; whether in toronto, in greece, egypt or any other place. these images share some universal sentiments and i think we can find a point of commonality and collective strength among them.
however, it is really important that the similarity of the images that we (definitely myself included) fetishize- doesn’t oversimplify the complexities of the situation. i didn’t know anything about what was going on in egypt before 2 weeks ago. i’m not saying that we shouldn’t watch videos of people tearing shit down in egypt. but we should be focusing just as much attention on how the actions are being organized, what people want, what the background is for the revolt, and realizing that (i’m speaking to my own experience here) sitting in front of a computer screen, safe in my house with heat and plenty of food and a new petite-bourgeoise job on the way, i am extremely detached from the conditions which caused this revolt and the affects it’s having on people on the streets and am viewing the situation from a point of serious privilege. especially when my privileged lifestyle funds the regime in egypt, who is the second largest recipient of u.s. aid next to israel
WHAT IS IT?
Femme Femme a Film (provisional title!) is a documentary about femmes. Featuring interviews, footage from femme events and footage of femmes performing, existing & collaborating.
I want it to be about femme as both a performative and gender identity. I want to find out what femme means to different people, how it works for them, how they think about it politically and personally, why and how they identify as femme. I want to find out the different ways people perform as femme. I want to make visible and heard all the different types of femmes and show all the different ways femme identity can be presented, performed and lived. I want to look at femme collaboration and break down how people perceive that working to see how it actually happens. I want to celebrate femmes and femme identity.
HOW CAN I BE INVOLVED?
This is going to be a documentary made up of your voices talking about your experiences and identities. If you’re interested in contributing please get in contact! From there we can work out a time to do an interview.
If you are organising or attending a femme-centered event sometime soon, let me know the details of what it is as I’d love to come and film it.
If you’re feeling camera shy but still want to be a part of the film there are heaps of other ways this can happen! Let me know what your worries are and we’ll talk about ways around them.
If you think this project is a neat idea but don’t identify as femme but do know heaps of other amazing femmes you think will be interested please feel free to pass this on.
I really, really, really want to represent the diversity of femme identity in this film. This is not about showing just one type of femme or one type of femme presentation/representation. If you identify as a femme some of the time, most of the time or all of the time then I want to talk to you. If you are a flamboyant femme I want to talk to you. If you are a secret femme I want to talk to you. If femme is only one fraction of your identity I want to talk to you. If femme is your life I want to talk to you. I’m not interested in policing femme identities, I’m interested in finding out what femme means to femmes.
WHERE IS THIS AMAZING THING HAPPENING?
Melbourne, Australia! Unfortunately I don’t think I can currently travel interstate to interview or film people there. But if you are interested in the project and in being interviewed or having your femme-centered event filmed then please do get in touch. I’m sure that later on/pretty soon it’ll be totally possible for me to film outside Melbourne and include femmes from all over Australia.
check it out and get in contact! caitlin [dot] ate [at] gmail [dot] com.
please reblog even if you’re not from Australia, it’ll be interesting to watch regardless and you most likely have followers who are.
Caiti, you should get in touch with the Sydney Femme Guild! They’ve had a conference & they do some regular events (sometimes associated with Mardi Gras).
I went to a ‘transnational feminist seminar’ today, where for the phust tyme I wasn’t the token lady from the ditches, it was nice. But because I am such a badbad reverse-racist, I noticed some notverynice racism in my own dusty peeps. Here’s a list:
- For the phust second third last tyme, INDIA HAS FEMINISTS TOO! I know! Who would have known, no? So constantly referencing white feminists is not necessary. At all.
- Any duty feminism that doesn’t take into view caste issues is not a very good one, considering we’re only talking about Upper Caste Hindu Womminz and that gets boring in 0.1 nanoseconds, considering the leetal thing that ALL we have been doing is talk about Hindu feminism all these years.
- Saying things lyke, “Now Muslim feminists have their own battles to pick, we can’t support them on “their” issues” is horrid and discriminatory. Also, the Partition happened in 1947. Just for fyi and other side-side info.
- Not talking about migrant workers and farmers while talking about ‘class issues’ is lyke being lyke Marx who said, “Well, India should remain colonised because after capitalism has infiltrated their feudal system, they will rise to the level of the European proletariat” which is totally complete marxist epicphail, no?
- Referencing Marx without talking about his colonialism makes you a douchefuck. This view is non-negotiable.
- Indian hijras are NOT the transgender community. Hijras are class-caste-religion based sect of intersex individuals, who are sometimes forcibly made intersex to keep the ‘tradition’ of hijra going. Transgendered peeps sometimes choose to go against the gender norm or sometimes it is in their innate chemical set-up. If you STILL don’t see the difference between the two, then you’re kinda sorta a douchefuck also.
- We CANNOT talk of “those poor Chinese farmers” without doing adequate research or references. Other cultures of the third world don’t exist for us to homogenise.
I know, I’m the third world phust number one epicphail, I shouldn’t have all these problems. Wattodo? This dusty lady was born with a mouf that opens a lot.
Any paternalistic moral panic about “trafficking” too? Sounds like the kind of place they’d come out with that stuff…
So that when the fluffy vegetarian talk started (nothing against vegetarians, I was one for ten years) about how humans are arrogant to think of themselves as better than animals, I said, “You know what, my people have had to fight to get themselves considered to be not animals, so I will categorically say that yes, I am better than a horse, I am better than a cow, I am better than a bird.”
Googling has brought me next to nothing useful, but a friend of mine (clownyprincess on tumblr) who’s a long-term Batman fan, assures me that comic continuity (including in the Catwoman series) has established her as Latina. Her mother is Puerto Rican. I’m sure I’ve also seen this online somewhere, but I can’t remember where.
CATWOMAN CATWOMAN CATWOMAN! NEW MOVIE! NEW MOVIE WITH CATWOMAN!
When I was very small, and was exposed to “Batman Returns,” I wanted to be Catwoman when I grew up. Pretty, resilient, cool outfit, got to be in the fight scenes, got to do stuff in the fight scenes, not one to let go of a grudge: This was a positive role model. My mom had to sit me down and explain that Catwoman was the villain, in that movie. And you know what?
MY MOTHER WAS WRONG.
While Batman swans around in his fancy cave being attended to by a butler, Catwoman gets pissed the fuck off about workplace discrimination (and workplace secretary-tossing), trashes her apartment, then full-on starts whipping dudes in the face for picking on ladies. She has a strong stance on violence against women, Catwoman. Also, she apparently has a taser. CATWOMAN!
I started reading comics, as a kid, specifically because it was my understanding there might be Catwoman in them. Unfortunately, I soon found out that not every issue of “Batman” contained Catwoman, and they were actually about the morose dude with all the cash, so, you know. Sad emoticon.
And yes, there are things to say about Christopher Nolan, and the MANY ways he is very probably going to fuck up Catwoman, but in the meantime:
CATWOMAN! CATWOMAN CATWOMAN!! CATWOMAN MOVIE! YAYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!
Catwoman #0 was my first ever comic. The one drawn by Jim Balent. Unfortunately, it was difficult to get every single issue of Catwoman and I just didn’t have the tenacity to keep hounding down comic store owners, and figured comics were not for me. I don’t have patience for stories which never end like that.
But a new Catwoman would be AWESOME.
Except that they whitewashed the character.
Catwoman is a Latina. in both Batman Returns and the upcoming film (with Anne Hathaway announced to play the role), she’s played by a white actor.
But I wouldn’t expect a white feminist to really think that was important. Or care.
Heh, thanks to you, yiduiqie and clownyprincess, I now know waaaaaaay more than I need to about Batman, for someone who isn’t even a fan!