A Man Is a Rape-Supporter If….

Chances are that if you’re reading this, you’ve been linked from someplace which isn’t a feminist website, and you’ve probably been told that this blog post posits OMG ALL MEN ARE RAPISTS.

That is because you were linked to this website by somebody who cannot read.

“Rape-supporter” may, but usually does not, equal “rapist.” A rape-supporter is somebody whose actions lend support to a culture in which rape is ubiquitous. This post is about how many “feminist-allied” men seem to believe that there are bad men who commit rape and every other guy has no responsibility in the creation and maintenance of a culture which defends sexual assault (against women in this context, specifically, but also in a broader sense).

Every time a man tells a rape joke, he is participating in and adding to a global ideology which states that sexual violence (and sexualizing violence) is normal, biological, acceptable, funny, or not that big of a deal. Every time a man hears a rape joke and says nothing, he is complicit – he is lending support to that culture.

You are not just a recipient of culture handed down from some unseen and unknown entity. You create and affect culture, daily, through your individual actions. Men who commit the actions on this list do not get a free pass as “not responsible” simply because they have never committed acts which fit the legal definition of rape. Every single item on this list contributes; for some the connection is painfully obvious, others perhaps less so depending on how much you’ve thought about the role of sexism in our society. A man cannot legitimately call himself “anti-rape” and still engage in actions which support rape.

The original post follows.

—–

This is a handy guide for women who involve themselves with men. I’ve recently received a bunch of comments from men who say that they aren’t rape supporters because they (1) have never “raped” a woman and/or (2) are gay. If you are around a man who claims to be anti-rape, see how he stacks up.

A man is a rape-supporter if…

  • He has ever sexually engaged with any woman while she was underage, drunk, high, physically restrained, unconscious, or subjected to psychological, physical, economic, or emotional coercion.
  • He defends the current legal definition of rape and/or opposes making consent a defense.
  • He has accused a rape victim of having “buyer’s remorse” or wanting to get money from the man.
  • He has blamed a woman for “putting herself in a situation” where she “could be” attacked.
  • He has procured a prostitute.
  • He characterizes prostitution as a “legitimate” “job” “choice” or defends men who purchase prostitutes.
  • He has ever revealed he conceives of sex as fundamentally transactional.
  • He has gone to a strip club.
  • He is anti-abortion.
  • He is pro-“choice” because he believes abortion access will make women more sexually available.
  • He frames discussions of pornography in terms of “freedom of speech.”
  • He watches pornography in which women are depicted.
  • He watches any pornography in which sexual acts are depicted as a struggle for power or domination, regardless of whether women are present.
  • He characterizes the self-sexualizing behavior of some women, such as wearing make-up or high heels, as evidence of women’s desire to “get” a man.
  • He tells or laughs at jokes involving women being attacked, sexually “hoodwinked,” or sexually harassed.
  • He expresses enjoyment of movies/musicals/TV shows/plays in which women are sexually demeaned or presented as sexual objects
  • He mocks women who complain about sexual attacks, sexual harassment, street cat-calls, media depictions of women, or other forms of sexual objectification.
  • He supports sexual “liberation” and claims women would have more sex with (more) men if society did not “inhibit” them.
  • He states or implies that women who do not want to have sex with men are “inhibited,” “prudes,” “stuck-up,” “man-haters,” or psychologically ill.
  • He argues that certain male behaviors towards women are “cultural” and therefore not legitimate subjects of feminist attention.
  • He ever subordinates the interests of women in a given population to the interests of the men in that population, or proceeds in discussions as if the interests of the women are the same as the interests of the men.
  • He promotes religious or philosophical views in which a woman’s physical/psychological/emotional/sexual well-being is subordinated to a man’s.
  • He describes female anatomy in terms of penetration, or uses terms referencing the supposed “emptiness” of female anatomy when describing women.
  • He defends the physical abuse of women on the grounds of “consent.”
  • He defends the sexualization or sexual abuse of minor females on the grounds of “consent” or “willingness.”
  • He promotes the idea that women as a class are happier or more fulfilled if they have children, or that they “should” have children.
  • He argues that people (or just “men”) have sexual “needs.”
  • He discusses the “types” of women he finds sexually appealing and/or attempts to demean women by telling them he does not find them sexually appealing.
  • He sexually objectifies lesbians or lesbian sexual activity.
  • He defends these actions by saying that some women also engage in them.

So, let’s see how many women reading this know at least one male over the age of 18 who does not fit this list. Anybody?

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Do I Feel Like a Cow? – Thoughts about Non-human Female Mammals

I’m going to be out of town (and possibly without internet access) until the middle of next week. I probably should be hurrying up and clearing my desk of work…. But instead, I’m using my breaks to write this happy little post.

A happy little post inspired by, you guessed it, another comment on Feministe. I found the whole thread pretty problematic – it’s chock full of people mocking animal ethicists in what is, ultimately, self-parody. Orwell wrote that one of the greatest indictators of an intelligent mind is the ability to wholly believe two contradictory ideas at the same time; if Orwell was alive today, he would no doubt be a fun-fem.

Sophia: I’m a feminist vegetarian who USED to be an avid reader of Feministe. Now I’ve seen your true colors. As a feminist, I stand against ALL systems that cause harm. How on earth can you, as advocates of the rights of females, ignore the suffering of female dogs in puppy mills who are repeatedly raped and have their pups taken from them? Or cows who are stuffed full of hormones and have their udders hooked up to machines?

Esti: Because a lot of feminists are not advocates for the rights of “females”. They’re advocates for the rights of HUMAN BEINGS.

I’ve posited in other contexts that the idea of ownership over female reproduction probably originated in the domestication of “livestock.” Historically, there has been very little difference in how we’ve been treated in most patriarchal societies and how society conceived of non-human female mammals. Though there’s a lot of emphasis in modern feminism on our use as sex objects, I’m not by any stretch convinced that has the universal significance it has sometimes been given (Spartan and Western Puebloan societies come to mind as societies which downplay females as sex objects, though I’m not an anthropologist and my reading in this area is pretty limited). However, male control of reproduction, either directly or indirectly – which means control of females – does appear universal.

In a sense, if you believe that humans can direct other animals’ reproduction for our convenience, then it’s not a far leap of logic to suggest human female reproduction can also be “managed.” People have spent thousands of years and countless reams of paper trying to tease out why we’re “different” than other mammals, but at the end of the day the reasons are pretty much, “Because we say/think we are.” I’ve heard mother cows cry for their calves when the calves are taken away (as occurs both in meat and dairy farming) – they cry for days. As a child, I felt a great deal of empathy for them, and during those times would occasionally dream I, too, had been taken away from my mother. If we accept that we can impregnate, breed, and slaughter cattle at will, then what is the rationale for excluding humans (or at least “other” humans, and we’re all “other” to somebody, and many groups of women have been that “other”)? Is there one? We are taught in schools since we are young children that humans are different from other animals, but that smacks of an attempt to hide the man behind the curtain.

Is it a coincidence that many of the terms used in English to refer to females – whether positively or negatively – are other mammals who are domesticated or live with/around human habitation? “I feel like a cow today,” “You ugly sow,” “Bitch!”, “Hey, foxy lady,” “Ugh, what a heifer,” “Horse-face,” and so on and so forth. I also don’t think it’s any coincidence that the tactics commenters in the Feministe thread were using to mock the animal ethicists were, in large part, the exact same tactics used to attack feminism and women in general.

I’m by no means the first woman to posit any of this. Much of the premise of eco-feminism is that females will always be associated with other animals and “the natural world” because of our capacity for reproduction, and that our attitudes towards other creatures are strongly tied up with patriarchal control over women. I haven’t read Carol Adam’s The Sexual Politics of Meat yet (it’s on my list), so I can’t speak to it, but from what I’ve read she seems to explore this idea more in her book.

In short, advocating for “females” in general is advocating for the rights of female human beings. What that means for feminism – whether we should advocate vegetarianism or veganism, what that means about the futures of “domesticated” species, how that should inform things like whether to spay your cat – are more complicated questions for which I don’t claim to have an answer. But are they valid and important topics for discussion? Absolutely.

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Truth is Stranger than Fiction Tuesday – Botox Your Pits

Are you female? Do you sweat?

Fear not – there is a solution!

You can inject botulism into your skin and the problem will disappear like magic! Or at least it will for six months, then you have to get a repeat “treatment.”

Within the past week I’ve had two different female co-workers tell me their doctors recommended they receive botox in order to prevent sweating. Both said they sweat “a lot,” but when I asked for clarification they described amounts of sweat which sound to be perfectly normal (“I’m sweaty when I wake up”; “I sweat in the winter”; “I sweat under my suit jacket”). I’ve never noticed either co-worker to be particularly odiforous or sporting sweat stains on their clothes.

“What?” I thought. “Botox for sweating?”

Yes, that’s right, ladies! (Apparently women on Corporette have known about this since 2009 – I’m out of the loop!)

Approximately 2-3% of people in the US are estimated to have hyperhidrosis, or “excessive sweating.” In women, hyperhidrosis is one of the few early onset symptoms of Fabry disease in females, which can become fatal. Hyperhidrosis can also be caused by a number of other problems including auto-immune disorders, thyroid disorders, diabetes, and certain cancers. In most people, though, if it onset during puberty then it’s probably just genetic, and there’s nothing “wrong” with them.

Because of social factors, women seek treatment for hyperhidrosis at a rate twice that of men. And for profitability’s sake, many doctors are willing to prescribe whatever bizarre FDA-approved “treatment” the pharmaceutical corporations can manage. Hyperhidrosis, of course, is one of those “disorders” which is diagnosed by comparing people to some arbitrary “average.” Anybody falling on the upper range of the bell curve is, by definition, going to suffer the “disorder.” Since we’re shown from the time we’re little girls that we’re not supposed to sweat (unless we’re in some guy’s bed, anyway, and then it’s a glistening sheen, right?) I suspect most women have a perception that they sweat “a lot.” We’re a ready made market.

At the Botox website on “severe underarm sweating”, of course, they don’t mention any possibility that somebody who is sweating might have diabetes and perhaps should get that looked at. (And of course if you take their “self-assessment” and put in that you never have any problems and sweating never interferes with your life in any way, they diagnose you with “minor hyperhidrosis” and suggest you talk to a dermatologist to Find Out If Botox Treatment Is Right For You!)

Here, from the Botox website, is About Botox Safety:

BOTOX® and BOTOX® Cosmetic may cause serious side effects that can be life threatening. Call your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of these problems after treatment with BOTOX® or BOTOX® Cosmetic:

Problems swallowing, speaking, or breathing. These problems can happen hours to weeks after an injection of BOTOX® or BOTOX® Cosmetic usually because the muscles that you use to breathe and swallow can become weak after the injection. Death can happen as a complication if you have severe problems with swallowing or breathing after treatment with BOTOX® or BOTOX® Cosmetic.
•People with certain breathing problems may need to use muscles in their neck to help them breathe. These patients may be at greater risk for serious breathing problems with BOTOX® or BOTOX® Cosmetic.
•Swallowing problems may last for several months. People who cannot swallow well may need a feeding tube to receive food and water. If swallowing problems are severe, food or liquids may go into your lungs. People who already have swallowing or breathing problems before receiving BOTOX® or BOTOX® Cosmetic have the highest risk of getting these problems.
•Spread of toxin effects. In some cases, the effect of botulinum toxin may affect areas of the body away from the injection site and cause symptoms of a serious condition called botulism. The symptoms of botulism include:

  • loss of strength and muscle weakness all over the body

  • double vision
  • blurred vision and drooping eyelids
  • hoarseness or change or loss of voice (dysphonia)
  • trouble saying words clearly (dysarthria)
  • loss of bladder control
  • trouble breathing
  • trouble swallowing

These symptoms can happen hours to weeks after you receive an injection of BOTOX® or BOTOX® Cosmetic.

These problems could make it unsafe for you to drive a car or do other dangerous activities. See “What should I avoid while receiving BOTOX® or BOTOX® Cosmetic”.

There has not been a confirmed serious case of spread of toxin effect away from the injection site when BOTOX® has been used at the recommended dose to treat severe underarm sweating, blepharospasm, or strabismus, or when BOTOX® Cosmetic has been used at the recommended dose to treat frown lines.

•plans to have surgery
•had surgery on your face
•weakness of your forehead muscles, such as trouble raising your eyebrows
•drooping eyelids
•any other change in the way your face normally looks
•are pregnant or plan to become pregnant. It is not known if BOTOX® or BOTOX® Cosmetic can harm your unborn baby.
•are breast-feeding or plan to breastfeed. It is not known if BOTOX® or BOTOX® Cosmetic passes into breast milk.
Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and nonprescription medicines, vitamins and herbal products. Using BOTOX® or BOTOX® Cosmetic with certain other medicines may cause serious side effects. Do not start any new medicines until you have told your doctor that you have received BOTOX® or BOTOX® Cosmetic in the past.

Hmm…. Sweaty underarms, or a possibility of asphyxiation because I can’t breathe. Decisions, decisions. Or should I say, choices choices.

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Wherein Eve’s Daughter Recalls a Dream

I had a dream the other night, which made me remember something I think I had almost forgotten.

I dreamt that I was working in a house with many people (female and male). At one point I went down into the basement, and heard two co-workers having an argument. One was a middle-aged woman who I knew to have many children, and the other was a man who was dismissing each point that she had brought up; she told him that he would never completely understand what it is to feel because he has never known a woman’s grief. She pointed at me and said, “You know, right? We all cry. It’s okay. Just cry.”

And I started bawling. Not about anything in particular. I just dropped to the floor and sobbed.

When I was done, she rubbed my back, and looked at him and said, “Every woman contains in her an ocean of grief.” He left then, and I turned to her in surprise and said, “That’s similar to something Germaine Greer said. You’ve read The Whole Woman?”

“Who’s that?” she asked, and left the room.

We began walking together through the house, with her making comments about women’s experiences and me asking if she’d read the author who had written something similar. She had never heard of them. “Dis-memberment, yes! You’ve read Daly!” “Who? No, what I’m saying is….”

Finally I asked her, “So you’re a feminist?”

And she said, “What’s that?”

Radical feminism is by and for women. Because it arises out of our experiences, to a large extent it is self-evident. It is simple. It is easily understood. QED. It gives us words to say what we already know to be true, it reminds us that we are not alone, and at its best it showcases how other women have found their way out of the maze and helps us recognize the background.

I’ve found that if I don’t call it “feminism” – if I don’t act the way that The Academy attempts to push women to act like men (to use convoluted terms, to “explain,” to direct the conversation) – then many women will agree with nearly all the principles of radical feminism, will relate their own experiences, and have great insights.

We need consciousness raising groups again. I wonder if one of the worst things that ever happened to feminism was that it became rooted in academia; that is not where it belongs, and this is not an academic discipline.

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Whoops!

Happy Mother’s Day to everybody who celebrates.

Saw the new proposed DSM rules for gender dysphoria children on GenderTrender’s recent post, APA Releases Proposed Revisions to Diagnostic Criteria for “Transgender Children”.

I’m going to bold the ones I fit as a child, around ages 4 through 8 inclusive.

Gender Dysphoria (in Children)** [1]

A. A marked incongruence between one’s experienced/expressed gender and assigned gender, of at least 6 months duration, as manifested by at least 6* of the following indicators (including A1): [2, 3, 4]

1. a strong desire to be of the other gender or an insistence that he or she is the other gender (or some alternative gender different from one’s assigned gender) [5]

2. in boys, a strong preference for cross-dressing or simulating female attire; in girls, a strong preference for wearing only typical masculine clothing and a strong resistance to the wearing of typical feminine clothing [6]

3. a strong preference for cross-gender roles in make-believe or fantasy play [7]

4. a strong preference for the toys, games, or activities typical of the other gender [8]

5. a strong preference for playmates of the other gender [9]

6. in boys, a strong rejection of typically masculine toys, games, and activities and a strong avoidance of rough-and-tumble play; in girls, a strong rejection of typically feminine toys, games, and activities [10]

7. a strong dislike of one’s sexual anatomy [11]

8. a strong desire for the primary and/or secondary sex characteristics that match one’s experienced gender [12]

As a child, I wasn’t uncomfortable with my physical body – only my assigned gender role. And I did experience a significant amount of discomfort over it; I can remember crying because I didn’t want to go to school. I don’t recall going into a dress without a serious fight until about the age of 10.

So, what do you know – I hit six. Apparently I was secretly a “boy” and never knew!

Kono Taeko wrote a great short story, “Toddler Hunting,” about a woman, Akiko, who cannot stand little girls but has a near obsession with little boys. (I don’t have a copy handy, so this is from memory – I may get a few points incorrect.) In the story, Akiko describes how she was a happy child until she began to feel a deep dissatisfaction about herself, like a cloying putescence which wouldn’t leave. She recalled once disecting a pupa in elementary school and, seeing the larva inside, recognized it as a reflection of herself. When she began to reach puberty, that feeling left, but from then on she could never look at girls of that age without a deep sense of revulsion. But, she began to become increasingly obsessed with little boys because they had a sense of “purity” about them. In the meantime, Akiko is involved in a “sado-masochistic” relationship with a younger man – she nearly ends up in the hospital at one point.

When I first read “Toddler Hunting” in college, I felt the same way that Akiko felt when she saw the larva. “Oh,” I thought to myself, “I’m a lot more normal than I thought I was!”

Apparently I’m not – according to the proposed changes to the DSM, I was suffering from a disorder. It isn’t because in an unconscious way I saw my assigned gender as oppressive and tried to rebel against it, it’s because I had a problem. These psychologists/psychiatrists are idiots – my five-year-old daughter can identify when young females are being “treated like dolls” instead of children, but grown men will not accept that there’s a huge difference between a girl wearing a frilly tulle dress with sequins and a boy wearing pants and a button-down.

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Thoughts on Feminist Inclusiveness, and Etc.

Recently, Jill at Feministe made a lengthy post on being “called out” (her words) for not reviewing the new book Feminism FOR REAL (a few chapter previews are at the publisher’s website). She explained that she is extremely busy, that she doesn’t have time to read every request that is sent to her, that Feministe is essentially her hobby notwithstanding that it takes up all her free time, and that if people think she isn’t adequately covering certain issues they should “fill the gap” themselves.

As the editor of Feminism FOR REAL, Jessica Yee, pointed out Jill didn’t discuss any of the racist structural reasons why she and some of the other “big name” (mostly white-authored) feminist websites didn’t mention the publication. Feminism FOR REAL is edited and contains articles by marginalized women, who discuss in various ways how (aspects of?) The Feminist Movement failed them. If feminism is default about middle-class white women, then yes, a critique by indigenous women, poverty-class women, and others are going to be a side “issue” for certain special interests. A book talking about women’s issues by indigenous women (or black women, or lesbians, or Asian-American women, or Latina women, or disabled women, or elderly women, or…) certainly isn’t usually going to be reviewed by the New York Times (neither, for what it’s worth, will radical feminist works). They’re not generally going to be picked up by “ethnic” or “special interest” press, either. Recently, a few works by Muslimah authors (Standing Alone in Mecca, Infidel, interviews by Amina Wadud, etc.) received some media attention, but that seemed to me mostly because people wanted to understand the “woman” angle on Islam and generally the books discussed the common narrative (omg is hijab oppressive or liberating?!?1 omg).

Feminism only gets positive media attention to the extent that its face is young, white, conventionally attractive, and sexually available. On media websites, your “typical” feminist as shown in pictures is a light-skinned college student wearing a NOW t-shirt, fighting for abortion (which to an extent can be legitimately reframed as “the right to engage in sexual intercourse with men”) or participating in a Slut Walk. Jessica Valenti gets interviews; Patricia Hill Collins, not so much.

So…it’s difficult to hear about the book. No shit. Part of the reason why sites like Feministe and Feministing, books like Yes Means Yes!, and protests like the SlutWalk get media attention is because they are total and complete distractions from women’s movements which are more dangerous to the Powers That Be. A woman goes online or to a local “Feminist” organizing, and she sees women up in arms about abortion rights, “empowerment” through sexual activity with men, and a preoccupation with economic power – in short, the same values of the patriarchal society she’s been stuck in since birth. Same shit, different day. “Here you go, ladies,” the Women’s Issues section seems to say at Borders, “go have your little movement. We’ll be here waiting when you get back.”

Telling marginalized women to “fill the gap” is the social action equivalent of saying, “Let them eat cake.” The white crowned queens of feminism are there for a reason.

By the same token, Jill is right about many things she said. It takes effort and research to locate marginalized women’s work, and sometimes people don’t know what they don’t know. It’s true that most of us have no choice but to pick and choose what we focus on. There’s a reason I have so many posts which in some way discuss immigration or refugee related issues; I know about it in a professional context. Issues faced by black women in the United States? Reading Womanist Musings, Jack and Jill Politics, and Racialicious do not an expert make.

I see that kind of self-awareness in most blogs and books written by women in marginalized groups. Renee at Womanist Musings is straight, and if you do a search for “lesbian” at the website you get zero results. Muslimah Media Watch is just what it sounds like, and Mona Eltahawy hews pretty closely to Arab and Muslim issues on her blog. So, Jessica Yee does work for her community at the Native Youth Sexual Health Network, and when was the last time she read Citizen Orange?

When Yee responded to the Feministe article about the Shameless article about the lack of article about the book, she wrote:

Several of the books contributors are Indigenous – so are people way too busy including and actively seeking out young Indigenous people to be part of what they’re doing that they somehow missed this? Have there been countless mentions of books written by Indigenous people on feminist blogs who are actively talking about how feminism is actually an Indigenous concept that this book would have been one too many? Didn’t think so. What isn’t being said is that so many people don’t know about our work – not because they didn’t get the message – but because they aren’t really invested in knowing about us to begin with, or at least to the extent of knowing we produced this book.

She has an expectation that people should be searching out works by indigenous women. This contains an implicit value judgment – of all the time a white feminist has, she has an obligation to at least spend enough of it focusing on indigenous women’s work that she can find this particular book. And works by black women? And work by lesbians? And work by Latina women, and disabled women, and immigrant women, and…?

It almost seems like a strange version of white solipsism – the idea that by her whiteness, a woman is made identity-less, clueless, a stand-in. A white woman is an empty vessel, and to be anything other than a tool of the oppressors she has to fill herself with other people’s experiences and knowledge. A woman’s whiteness is only the presence of privileges, or the absence of a meaningful identity. She isn’t many things, but we’re not quite sure what she is.

Though she doesn’t say it in these terms, what Jessica Yee seems to be saying is that young, white, straight, able-bodied feminists shouldn’t focus on their own interests, as doing so would be uninclusive given the relative media strength and power which such women possess. (Though she only mentions “white,” but I’m assuming she’d agree that people oppressed on other grounds have the right to work on their own behalf). In other words, that young, white, straight, able-bodied feminist bloggers like Jill build up a reader-base, get media attention, and then stand aside and let the women from marginalized groups take the microphone?

I’m okay with that. It sticks a little too close to the whole “women are meant to be helpmeets” and “women can’t advocate on their own behalf” aspects of Euro-descent culture for complete comfort (I don’t hear anybody demanding to know why The Daily Show isn’t inviting Yee to speak as a guest), but it makes complete sense. While white women do face issues which are particular to being white (or being primarily of Euro-descent, or from various Euro-origin cultures), it’s not as if most white feminist bloggers are exploring the scope of that (I can’t recall ever seeing a blog on being a woman of the Irish diaspora), what it means to be a white woman in the US or Canada, and quite frankly the issues we face are nowhere near as serious as the issues faced by women of other backgrounds. It makes sense that we would use what privilege we have, then stand aside and hand over the microphone.

Though, of course, there’s going to be the issue about who gets the microphone…. We don’t want young, straight, able-bodied, upper/middle-class, white women managing these “Feminist institutions,” though the Powers That Be have all but crowned them; but we ALSO really don’t want straight, upper/middle-class, able-bodied, white women being the gate-keepers for who gets to speak from the platforms they’ve been granted from the Powers That Be.

So what does that leave?

I suppose Jill could hand over control of Feministe, but then how likely is it the media attention and support (such as it is) will still be there? It’s a nasty Catch-22. I don’t know anything about their hit-rate, but since Valenti left Feministing, I’ve noticed that the amount of comments have dropped off, even though it’s pretty much the same tenor and topics which were there before.

What is a woman-centered, non-racist, non-classist community going to look like, and is it really possible while we have a patriarchal power structure surrounding us, controlling resources, doling out prestige, and pulling our strings? I still believe that liberation for women will only come by creating a society separate and apart from the male-controlled, male-planned “dominant” (and dominance!) society. I also believe that privileged women are incapable of somehow providing liberation to women who don’t receive those privileges, so that straight women cannot liberate lesbians, and white women cannot liberate women of color, and women of a colonizing society cannot liberate women in the colonized society. The privileged woman can help the struggle, but it has to be directed by the marginalized women themselves.

So how do privileged women use our relatively improved social status to help meaningfully? Or maybe we can’t?

Maybe we just fear irrelevancy too much?

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Now what have we here…?

Hot damn!

Matter of Dorman, 25 I&N Dec. 485 (A.G. 2011).

Pursuant to my authority set forth in 8 C.F.R. § 1003.1(h)(1)(i), I order that the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals (“Board”) in this case applying Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”), 1 U.S.C. § 7, be vacated, and that this matter be referred to me for review.

In the exercise of my review authority under that regulation, and upon consideration of the record in this case, I direct that the order of the Board be vacated and that this matter be remanded to the Board to make such findings as may be necessary to determine whether and how the constitutionality of DOMA is presented in this case, including, but not limited to: 1) whether respondent’s same-sex partnership or civil union qualifies him to be considered a “spouse” under New Jersey law; 2) whether, absent the requirements of DOMA, respondent’s same-sex partnership or civil union would qualify him to be considered a “spouse” under the Immigration and Nationality Act; 3) what, if any, impact the timing of respondent’s civil union should have on his request for that discretionary relief; and 4) whether, if he had a “qualifying relative,” the respondent would be able to satisfy the exceptional and unusual hardship requirement for cancellation of removal.

Maybe the administration is a bit more serious about eliminating the negative impact of DOMA than I gave them credit for.

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