kutsuwamushi: (FAIL)
Girl, 16, banned from school for wearing hijab in Spain.

She sounds like a remarkably ungrateful brat. Her school only has her best interests at heart. She should be down on her knees thanking them for taking such an interest in her freedom.

How can anyone, especially the beneficiaries of such kindness, fail to recognize that when the government forces women out of school, work, and public life for refusing to change their religious beliefs, they're liberating them from oppression?

The government knows what's best for her. By expelling her from school, the administration is breaking the patriarchal chains that have kept women in Muslim countries uneducated and unable to make their own choices. And they're also showing her classmates as well that these values--equality, freedom--are important.

Why she doesn't understand all this, I have no idea.
kutsuwamushi: (Default)
I haven't said anything about the Caster Semenya "controversy," because I felt like it's private, and I didn't want to add to the tempest. But that was naive, because people are

And, after reading tonight that Caster Semenya is in trauma counseling due to recent events, I was overwhelmed with the desire to say this:

To everyone who has denigrated Caster Semenya because she does not conform to your gender expectations - fuck you.

To late night comedians making jokes about hermaphrodites - fuck you.

To the people who decided that her private business was everyone's business - fuck you with a bargepole.

Caster Semenya is a woman regardless of the results of her sex test. All of you bigoted dimwits need to shut your fucking mouths, put away your fucking keyboards, and let her deal with this in private, without the worldwide humiliate-the-freak carnival you're gleefully participating in. It doesn't matter whether she has "unfair" advantages over other women; that could have been dealt with quietly.

Caster Semenya is a woman. More importantly, she's a human being who deserves to be treated with basic dignity.

You, however, are acting worse than animals. Try exercising that basic human trait, empathy, and imagine yourself on the world stage, being mocked and derided because it was revealed against your wishes that you are different in a very private way. Imagine having to assimilate this new information about yourself in that environment. You're not a freak, but how hard is it to believe that when the entire world is treating you otherwise?


I hope enough people raise their voices in support of Caster Semenya that she can hear us.


May. 13th, 2009 07:08 pm
kutsuwamushi: (don't make me come back there)
"...since there won't be any Native Americans to have already done a certain amount of prepping land for human occupation, nor to be exploited later..."

When The Thirteenth Child was still in the planning stages, Patricia Wrede discussed her idea on rec.arts.sf.composition -- and she said that. [personal profile] elynross has a much longer post about what she said here.

It perfectly illustrates what I meant in my last post about how Patricia Wrede is re-imagining a national myth that is about the discovery and settlement of the Americas by Europeans. Although she recognizes that there were Native Americans present, she can still write of them as "prepping land for human occupation" as if there were no humans already there.

Because Native Americans only exist for the role that they play in the European colonization.
Without Europeans to give them a purpose, they aren't part of the tale, and so Patricia Wrede makes a ridiculous logical contradiction and doesn't notice.

That you can read it as implying that Native Americans are subhuman, well, doesn't help.
kutsuwamushi: (don't make me come back there)
There has been a lot of discussion on [community profile] metafandom about Patricia Wrede's new book, which Jo Walton summarized thus: "This is an alternate version of our world which is full of magic, and where America ('Columbia') was discovered empty of people but full of dangerous animals, many of them magical."

I don't like it either, for reasons that other people have rather eloquently pointed out. Patricia Wrede is, like it or not, the cultural heir of a genocide. The beneficiary. Writing the victims out of existence, when their descendants still struggle for recognition and rights, is problematic to say the least.

Our colonial history is presented as a heroic adventure. Columbus, pilgrims, cowboys, pioneers. The Little House on the Praire. We learn about Native Americans as well - but as supporting characters, or worse, props. The national myth that many of us have instilled in us as young children is one of discovery, exploration, and settlement. That history is about the victors.

It's natural that some writers are drawn towards it. Re-imagining myths, especially ones that are part of your own cultural identity, is one of the oldest storytelling traditions.

But in no way does that mean it's okay to create a world where Native Americans never existed, freeing the Americas for your white characters to explore and populate without any resistance or raising uncomfortable issues about your own history.

There are other ways to write that magical exploration story. There are other re-imaginings. The first, and most obvious, is that white people don't have to be the protagonists.

That isn't as obvious as it should be, unfortunately.

God, I have so many ideas for stories I will never get around to writing as a result of this whole thing.
kutsuwamushi: (Default)
There's an episode in the Hikaru no Go anime where our heroes, Hikaru, Waya, and Isumi, follow the directions given to them by a "scary-looking but nice" man to a go salon that they haven't been to before. Isumi is the first to notice that something is very wrong when he sees the sign outside of the salon: it says "바둑 龍".

They enter the salon.

Ominous music plays as they survey the customers inside. This is what they see:


It's been a long time since I read the manga, so I don't know how this scene was drawn there, or how much of our heroes' overreaction is THE KOREANS ARE GOING TO EAT ME and how much is the anime's habit of making the characters react over-dramatically to everything.

It wouldn't be the first time the anime gave the entirely wrong impression. There's the relationship between Akira, the young go prodigy, and Ogata, an adult pro, for example. Ogata speaks with ridiculous intensity and Akira's reaction is nervous and over-the-top. It seems less like Ogata is inviting him over for a friendly discussion of go and more like Ogata wants sexual favors in exchange for the info that Akira is asking for.


kutsuwamushi: (Default)

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