Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Coining words-assistance please

The other day the Auntie was talking about the movie The Burning Bed. I have not seen it, but it made me think of In the Bedroom which was a great but horrible movie.

I am a big fan of the great but horrible movies, they are probably my favorite genre. These are movies that you NEED to see, that have important messages or give a concrete image to something horrific, that make you think and squirm and feel uncomfortable, but are well crafted, excellently acted and just incredible. Movies like Sophie Scholl: The Last Days or 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days.

We need a word or a phrase for the great but horrible movies. Help me out people? And please feel free to leave your favorite great but horrible movies in the comments.

On that note- I just watched The Last Enemy on Hulu last night and thought it was pretty good.

Monday, November 30, 2009

But you're not one of THOSE types

I'm still working on figuring out the structure of oppression. Once you can see the structure, you can break the structure. You can find it's weak points.

Today I am thinking about stereotypes and exceptionalism. Every group has its negative stereotypes AND an idealized form attached to it. For PWD it's the scam artist who is just trying to take our tax dollars vs the super crip who does everything perfectly well while still maintaining a demeanor of irrepressible optimism and cheer. For moms it's the Welfare queen with her 6 baby daddies vs SuperMom (now only available in hot bikini version).

Pick a marginalized group- any marginalized group. Think about it for a bit and you'll find the dichotomy. Be this, or be that.

This is part of the spectacle. For those of us who don't fall under default personhood (i.e white, cis, het, TAB, educated, wealthy and male)we have the choice of striving for the best we can do without those qualities- i/e the ideal form of SuperMom or Super Crip, or Articulate Black Man, or we become part of the stereotype.

Here's the thing though, we can never be the ideal. (See recent edition of bikini ready hot bod for new moms to the prereqs for SuperMomhood). And maybe we even fit some of the "negative" stereotypes of our group. I am, after all, a hairy legged feminist. I am a poor woman who would have had children by several different men if it weren't for the awesomeness that is abortion access. I have been and will probably be again soon on welfare.

Even for those born into the super privileged class, there is an impossible to meet ideal that changes just as soon people figure out the easiest way to obtain it. (See the rise in beauty products marketed to men). It is how the spectacle/kyriarchy keeps us working to "improve" ourselves instead of taking a good look around and working to fix our fucked up system.

But the negative stereotype is just as false. Even though we may embrace some aspects of the stereotype(like WTF is wrong with black folks like watermelon and fried chicken? Why does it matter to anyone if I shave my legs? )I have yet to meet an actual walking, breathing, fully realized negative stereotype. I have not met a caddy driving Welfare queen, and I have sat in many many welfare offices. I have seen PWD who receive Social Security from a system they paid into with hard work and people who should totally be able to receive it but can't because their disabilities are invisible. I've never met a TAB person who was getting a check for a non-existent disability, but if I did, by definition they wouldn't count as a PWD (being TAB and all) but as an asshole.

This system of positive and negative that we live within is false. It doesn't exist, even though occasional examples may fall onto one side or the other. What we have is a system of images pressed into our minds that have little relation to reality, but where every single slight dip into stereotype is used as proof to reinforce the spectacle and make us ignore the reality in front of us.

The title of this post comes from a sentence I've heard spoken to me over and over and over. "You're not one of those types of single mom, poor person, feminist" whatever. And it's funny because each of us can think of examples of people we like that don't fall into "those types". The gay man who loves football more than interior design, the lipstick lesbian in high heels, the PWD who isn't faking for attention or cash, the Asian who is bad at math and good at driving, the feminists who love men.

It is just one more way we divide ourselves up into deserving or other, in or out, right or wrong. But it's not real.

(ETA- this post was written at 8am. I have not yet been to sleep. Any unclear sentiments or typos should be blamed squarely on the gods of insomnia. Good night)