Peaches’ Fatherfuckers

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Fatherfuckers is Canadian recording artist Peaches’ third studio album released in 2003. Peaches penned and programmed all of the songs for the album herself, most of which are rock-oriented. Fatherfuckers spent eight weeks on the U.S. Top Electronics Albums chart and sold 40,000 copies. To promote the album, Peaches opened for Marilyn Manson in Europe.

This album was huge for Peaches in expressing her bisexuality. Most of the songs on the album have to do with sex in some way, and the ones that don’t still often refer to her being interested in both genders. This is why I chose to include this artifact in our digital archive— it’s extremely expressive of queerness and bisexuality. The album cover also includes Peaches with a beard, which shows her openness to gender fluidity.

In the first track on the album, “I Don’t Give A…”, the music and lyrics are both very repetitive. The beat seems to mimic what Peaches is saying, which is basically just her repeating, “I don’t give a fuck” and “I don’t give a shit.” I think this makes the point that she’s resolved to be herself and not care what anyone else thinks of her. Peaches’ song “I’m The Kinda” is also very repetitive in both lyrics and beats. This seems to be a huge trend on her album that I believe she uses to express how determined she is to let everyone know who she is. Her foul language has a feminist tinge to it, which is relevant to our class topic of lesbian feminism.

In the song “Shake Yer Dix”, Peaches asks both males and females if they’re with her, and if they are they should “shake their dicks” and “shake their tits”, another clear display of her sexuality in a very sexually explicit way. This is another song where Peaches displays her determination to be herself and be accepted for it. A line in the song says, “I’ll be me and you be you.” The beat of this song is clean and soft, giving it a sensual feel.

The song “Stuff Me Up” is a very sexual song. It alternates between the phrases, “eat a big dick”, “eat a big clit”, and “why don’t you stuff me up?” Not only does this display Peaches’ bisexuality, it also expresses her sexual desire. Another extremely sexual song on this album is “Back It Up”. In this song, Peaches uses phrases like “I like to lick it and suck it” and “I like to tease it and tap it.” The beat and rhythm of this track is very sexual with heavy bass and echoing notes.

In “I U She”, Peaches alternates between saying “I you he together” and “I you she together”, clearly displaying her bisexuality. She then continues to repeatedly say, “I don’t have to make the choice. I like girls and I like boys.” This is the one place on her album where she explicitly states that she likes both boys and girls, in a sort of gay liberation. This reminded me of a discussion we had in class about how men used to sleep with both woman and men and still consider themselves straight. Although it does appear that Peaches identifies as bisexual, she emphasizes that she doesn’t have to make a choice. She then continues to talk about crops and whips, showing us that she likes to be with both males and females in a sexual way. This song really embodies the entire idea of the album in the way it shows both her sexuality and her desire to express and be heard.

Only Straight Girls Wear Dresses Stereotype

Only Straight Girls Wear Dresses is a lovely song by CWA from a compilation album called Stars Kill Rock. About twenty different artists contributed to this alternative rock album. The album itself was released by a label called Kill Rock Stars in 1993 which was a “left-wing, feminist, and anti-war” label.

The lyrics of this song and even the title portray a certain stereotype for women in general. I feel as though in the LGBTQ+ community as well as in the cishet (cisgender, heterosexual folks) community girls who like girls are seen as badass and really butch. On the other hand, straight girls are seen as very feminine and into “girly” things. None of that is necessarily true. Straight girls as well as lesbians come in many different types. There are femme lesbians, butch lesbians, dykes, bull dykes, and many different more. Then on the other hand, there are different types of straight girls. They can be masculine or feminine or anything in between. With that said, what one identifies with can change at any time. The point I’m trying to make here is that physical appearance and sexuality don’t necessarily correspond. In some cases it does and in others it doesn’t.

I heard this song a really long time ago like in middle school (I was weird, okay), and when we began George Chauncy I thought about this song. The reason being was the discussion on the different types of homosexual men. When talking about the types of gay men, I thought about the different types of lesbian and straight women. I feel as though there there are a lot of expectations for lesbians but not nearly as much for gay men. That is how this song relates back to the class. Gay men and lesbians are similar enough in the types that there are. More feminine gay men are like femme lesbians. This song could really be switched around to say “you know, only straight men act very masculine and like sports and stuff” which again, isn’t necessarily true.

A Marine Story- Don’t Ask Don’t Tell

A Marine Story, is a 2010 drama film about a female marine officer, Major Alexander Everett, who was honorably discharged from the military. She unexpectedly returns home (a southwestern desert town) from the Iraq War due to the charged filed against her for “Conduct Unbecoming of an Officer”. She accosted a young woman, Saffron Snow, and her boyfriend for illegal drug and theft at a convenience store. Saffron, a disturbed woman turned out to be her neighbor’s granddaughter, who requested her to prepare Saffron for boot camp as the Judge gave her one week to prepare or else she was going to jail. The film is set in 2008 and was filmed in Los Angeles in 2009. A Marine Story is directed by Ned Farr and was premiered at the Frameline Film Festival on 2010. It also won the “Grand Jury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Feature in 2010.

I chose this film because the film is a good example of the United States “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy and the damage it does to the troops. The film focuses on Lesbian feminism and Native Concept of Gender and it targets audience of all gender and sexual orientation.

Lesbian Feminism: Everett reconnected with her old friends from past, Leo and Holly after returning. She could easily come out to Holly and explain why she was discharged and her sexuality and was accepted immediately with open arms. However, she couldn’t explain it to Leo until later and was surely not pleased to hear that. This shows she is not accepted anymore, because according to the society a “woman” has to be heterosexual. Also she is not a one dimensional soldier, even though she is tough she has a softer, maternal humorous side as well which is often seen when she is around Saffron or her close friends. This concept is also demonstrated by Monique Wittig’s “One is Not Born a Woman” where she says if someone if not heterosexual they refuse to be either a man or a woman and lesbians have to be something else, not-woman or not-man.

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Native Concept of Gender: J. Jack Halberstam said “In other words, female masculinity are framed as the rejected scraps of dominant masculinity in order that male masculinity may appear to be the real thing” in “An introduction to Female Masculinity: Masculinity without Men”. This concept focuses most part of the movie. There was a scene where Everett and Leo went to a bar with Leo’s friends. The egoistic males were criticizing women marines as ‘WM’ (waste of money). According to them they are only good for secretarial work. Someone then said, “Males are better at most jobs due to muscle mass and that females are only as strong as the weakest males”. Leo then suggested the weakest of them should arm wrestle with Everett, where she easily defeated him breaking the traditional norm of men being stronger and masculine.  Even Saffron, who was first shown as a disturbed, brooding woman proved herself to be a capable woman and endure all the pain and hardships to achieve her goal.

The movie goes back and forth between Everett’s present and future leaving the audience in suspense. The flashbacks were about her deployments, her drills and her pride for being an American Soldier. The present was mostly about how she trained Saffron to be tough and pushed her off of her limits to make Saffron like her and the about the conflict she had to face for not being enough feminine. When her Commanding Officer interrogated her, Everett lied the whole time by referring to her marriage (which was basically a sham marriage) to hide her identity. This shows how dedicated she is towards her country. Throughout her life Everett tried to hide her sexual preference in order to be a marine. Her commanding officer advised her to resign before they can find something solid against her, in order to be honorably discharged. This whole situation was horrible to me because for any soldier, regardless of their gender, goes through inhuman training at boot camp to serve the country are advised to leave their passion based on their sexual preference. She was an officer, a drill instructor and Amphibious Warfare School graduate, yet she was looked down as someone weak who could be a potential threat to the military family when it came down to her sexual orientation. The Commanding officer also asked whether she had an affair with any ‘male’ soldier. She replied adultery is also forbidden in military, however, her commanding officer replied it was lesser of the two evils. One of Leo’s friend Dyke was so angry at her that he secretly took pictures of her being intimate with other girls and posted flyers all over the town which jeopardize Saffron’s future of getting into the boot camp. As people assumed she was having an affair with Everett.

The script writer’s main point was we should support troops regardless whether they are homosexual or heterosexual. Everett was punished under the United States Military’s discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy for who she was. She lived a closeted life with secrecy throughout her life. The movie portrays what other queer soldiers have to endure unfortunately. The following statement was posted at the end of the movie which represents discrimination to a whole new different level. Discrimination against queer soldiers and further more discrimination against ‘women’.

“Women are far more likely than men to be kicked out of the military under the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Policy against gay personnel, according to government figures of 2010. Gender aside, more than 13,500 service members have been fired under the law since 1994”.

 

If These Walls Could Talk 2

The original If These Walls Could Talk is an HBO film divided into three parts, each with its own cast and time period. The parts are linked by content; each takes place in the same house and each protagonist has an experience with abortion. 2003’s If These Walls Could Talk 2 adopts the same structure but focuses on lesbian couples. The movie sets up each vignette with a year (1961, 1972, and 2000) and a new cast.

For a YouTube link for the full film, click the movie poster:

The 1961 plot features an elderly cohabitating couple, Abby and Edith. They venture out on a date to the theater and are engrossed in The Children’s Hour, but afterwards pretend that it was not in their taste. Upon returning home, Abby checks her birdhouse in the backyard and falls off a ladder. Edith stays in the hospital all night, though she is not allowed to see Abby. A fellow woman in the lobby attempts to comfort her by saying,

“[Never having a husband] is lucky… ’cause you won’t have the heartbreak of losing one.”

Abby passes away, and no one bothers to tell Edith, insisting that any information be given only to family members. Edith phones Abby’s only relative, a nephew, who brings his wife and daughter to the funeral and into the home. In preparation for their visit, Edith removes all photographs of her and Abby and makes it look as though they lived in separate bedrooms. The house is in Abby’s name, so the nephew and his family decide to take the belongings and sell the home, effectively kicking Edith out onto the street.

During all of this, Edith suffers but must maintain composure; to the outside world, Abby was just her “friend.” In one scene, Edith breaks down, crying loudly and clutching Abby’s pajamas in clear agony. She explains to Abby’s nephew and his wife who Abby was, and she remembers more about the one time the nephew came to visit than he did. She explains to the daughter that Abby was a caring, tender person. The anguish and adoration of this “friendship” is reminiscent of Fitz-Greene Halleck’s “On The Death of Joseph Rodman Drake.” When the last shot in this vignette pans out from the site of the ladder accident and into the now empty house that used to be a home, the audience does not know what happens to Edith. Despite another hour in the film, the audience never knows. She disappears, consumed by grief and stripped by a traditional legal system and heteronormative culture of anything she may have been able to cling to for comfort. This poignant message continues to relate to Halleck, whose work dwindled and ceased not long after the death of Drake.


The 1972 plot features the same house, this time occupied by several lesbian college students. They are going through a crisis because despite their devotion to the feminism movement, the student activist group they co-founded at their college is kicking them out. Why? Because the group “support equal rights for men and women,” so naturally, “there’s no room for you [lesbians].” The housemates proceed to get high and go to a lesbian bar, where they make fun of the butch lesbians. One girl from the house, Linda, is attracted to a woman at the bar named Amy.

The housemates reject Amy completely, saying she’s “worse than a man” and complaining that they “won’t be accepted as feminists with [Linda’s] little boyfriend around.” Linda retorts, “Wanna know why you don’t like Amy? It’s because you’re scared of anybody who’s not just like you.” The vignette ends on a note of self-acceptance for both Amy and Linda.

The overall feel of this vignette is very different from the first in that it portrays activism and angst rather than an internalized struggle. Second-wave feminism has taken root and is a loud and proud voice, despite some excluding drawbacks, which the movie points out clearly. The film has a different director for each vignette, which allows the audience to experience the different time periods in addition to merely viewing them. This part of the film brought a voice to the previously silent lesbian.


The 2000 plot features residents Fran (Sharon Stone) and Kal (Ellen DeGeneres), who are a lesbian couple trying to conceive a child through sperm donors. Kal regrets deeply that she cannot impregnate Fran herself, but they are sure that it will be a child resulting from their love. Ordering sperm online to be delivered is an option, but Kal declares, “I’m gonna pick it up. It’s the least I can do.” The agency the couple uses assures their sperm is “the cream of the crop,” and after months of trying, Fran gets pregnant.

The introduction of comedian Ellen into the film helps give a positive message to the film. In one scene, the couple retreats to the park and watches the children play. A mother notices them and asks if they have kids here. Upon hearing that they do not have children, she recommends that they give it a try. They find out Fran is pregnant in the next scene, which allows this part of the film to show acceptance and ability to the previously disenfranchised lesbians.

Overall, each vignette gets more progressive, and the house has all of their stories. It is an archive in and of itself of, representing multiple eras in United States culture. In each part, the house contains strife when visitors come. In 1961, when the nephew shows up, Edith has to pretend she never shared a room with Abby. In 1972, Amy is invited into the home but is pushed out and made fun of for the way she dresses. In 2000, a gay male couple who offer to donate sperm stop by. Fran and Kal insist that they want the donor to have no involvement in the child’s life, but the offering couple does not agree. The house therefore seems to accept its lesbian occupants and provides for them a place to be themselves; however, it rejects interlopers. It does not have enough power in 1961, and its own resident is uprooted. In 1972, it is split, and Linda and Amy wind up at Amy’s house instead. In 2000, though, Fran and Kal reject the gay males within minutes and get their happy ending in the house. Throughout the house’s journey, the viewer gets to experience snapshots of lesbian liberation in the United States.

#LoveisLove CondividiLove

If we take a look at at world map of same sex marriage, we can see how progressive western Europe has been. But there is one country on the map that has not had the same progression.

Since 1890 in Italy, for both males and females homosexuality has been legal, but same-sex couples and households are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex couples. Although discrimination regarding sexual orientation in employment has been banned since 2003, no other anti-discrimination laws regarding sexual orientation have been enacted yet. This is largely due to the influence of the Catholic Church in Italy.  The church has been strict with its laws concerning homosexuality. Even though Pope Francis has made efforts to reform the church and make it more open, saying that the church should support gay families, he has encountered resistance from some traditionalists. With the issue of gay marriage being talked about all over the world, a new campaign has been launched in Italy to get the conversation started in their country. CondividiLove is an internet campaign on Facebook, Youtube, and website. The name translated into english means “share love” and that is the main goal of this campaign.

This video features couples, gay and straight, embracing and showing their love with their arms and shoulders creating a heart. The video was also turned into posters that made their way to tumblr.

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Tumblr has a pretty substantial LGBTQ+ community and so photos and campaigns like this tend to get many “notes”: similar to likes, shares and comments on facebook. Tumblr’s format allows for users to blog anonymously and customise their blogs to their tastes and I think this is why many people in the LGBTQ+ community has found refuge in it. The users of the site consider themselves proactive for the most part with many issues like gay marriage, gender equality and racial issues.

One of the issues that several tumblr users brought up was that all the couples featured were white. The popular of Italy is largely white and the campaign was for the citizens there. A user spoke on behalf of this issue:

Not everywhere is as mixed as North America. You go to places like Japan and it would be really weird to see a white person in their ad, it’s no different for places like Italy and Germany where people are mostly white. In North American we seem to have a decently even mix in a lot of areas so it’s a little off-putting when there’s only a certain race -generally all white people- depicted, where it’s completely normal and would appear really strange otherwise for other countries. Like you wouldn’t go to China and demand they show white people in their ads there, so why would you do the same for a country that has very few PoC compared to it’s population?

One Italian user was very upset about that someone brought up the race issue.

Seriously, I am Italian, and FUCK YOU. Our country has huge problems with homophobia, there isn’t even one single law to protect homosexuals. Most European countries have legalized marriage and adoption (or at least talked about it), but not Italy. The Catholic community does everything they can to block the law against homophobia. Last month, a 14 years-old killed himself because he was gay. You have no idea how much that kind of thing matters in Italy, all you can fucking do is whine about Tumblr about the fact that they are all white. Yes, in Italy the majority of the population is indeed white. Not the rest of the world is like fucking North America.

I think this users harsh reaction shows just how important campaigns like this are to the citizens of Italy. It brings issues like gay marriage into the spotlight so that conversations can be opened up. Hopefully the CondividiLove campaign will continue to grow and will aid in allowing for more gay rights in Italy.

 

Portlandia

“Every time you point, I see a penis.”

This line from Portlandia’s genius sketch, Feminist Bookstore, is just one of the many outrageous exchanges between Toni and Candace, the two owners of “Women and Women First Bookstore” who happen to be the most extreme and comical illustrations of a feminist.

The Independent Film Channel’s Portlandia is a sketch comedy starring Carrie Brownstein and SNL’s Fred Armisen, who were also the creative minds behind the show. As assumed from the title, the show is filmed in Portland, Oregon and highlights many of the quirky landmarks around the city. Portlandia first aired on January 21st, 2011 and is going strong in its 5th season which is currently on air. There are several sketches that have consistent story lines from episode to episode, as well as some gems that only pop up once; but no matter the sketch, Fred and Carrie take the lead. This creates some very unique skits in which Fred and Carrie assume a somewhat unconventional character and or dress in drag.

Portland itself is a very notable location in queer culture. The city has adopted a fantastic stereotype of being the most alternative place in America, and is regarded as a safe space for any and all oddities. Natives have embraced the slogan “Keep Portland Weird,” which originally acted as a support to local businesses, however it has evolved into a mantra that encourages uniqueness and eccentric individuals. The city wholeheartedly falls under the category as a queer space.

It only makes sense that the show capitalizes on the alternative nature of Portland. Fred and Carrie, through the story they tell with their characters, truly bend the norm of our standard patriarchal society. One of the most extraordinary parts of the show is a sketch titled “Lance and Nina.” For starters, Fred and Carrie portray the role of a boyfriend and girlfriend, however Fred acts as Nina and Carrie as Lance. Besides being outrageously clever, this skit also highlights non-traditional relationships. Portlandia provides a really rare balance between bending the norms while still maintaining a realistic vibe that does not make the audience question the genuine nature of the sketch.

Portlandia uses stereotypes to its advantage in illustrating ridiculous customs. The theme of the “wedding” has made several appearances in the show, and essentially everything upper-middle class Americans know and love about weddings is thrown to the side. A clip titled “Gay Weddings” is the best example of Fred and Carrie ironically shutting down a heterosexual wedding for being too gay. This moment in the show ultimately poked fun at the bland standard for a “straight” wedding all in a hilarious one-minute video.

Portlandia is important in queer culture for many reasons already explained. But what makes the show stand out even more is that it aims to override many truths of our society through a light-hearted, comedic script. As Monique Wittig wrote in The Straight Mind, “(D)iscourses of heterosexuality oppress us in the sense that they prevent us from speaking unless we speak in their terms.” Portlandia uses a discourse that is fresh and does not seek to fit in any existing category.

The Fluidity of Gender: Sculpture

“With my androgynous forms I invite the viewer to seek diversity in unpredictable ways, to ‘try on’ new personal avatars and self definitions, knowing that every new experience changes the brain’s structure and inspires each of us toward a more authentic self.”

-Linda Stein

Activism and gender justice are the main concerns of sculptor Linda Stein’s “The Fluidity of Gender: Sculpture”. Stein was born in the Bronx, N.Y. in 1955. She earned her B.A. from Queens College, and her M.A. at Pratt Institute. She produced her first major artistic works entitled “Blades,” in the early 1990’s. “The Fluidity of Gender: Sculpture” is a touring sculpture exhibit that was created in 2007. Stein, who is a member of the Veteran’s Feminists of America, was inspired to create a work of sculpture that blended the femininity and masculinity.

“My goal as an artist is to use my art to transform social consciousness and promote activism for gender justice,” she said on her website.

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The exhibition has toured around the country since 2010, and will continue to move around the country until 2015. Stein hopes this will help increase awareness for body image identity, and provoke thought about gender roles.

The main goal of the sculpture is to blend traditional ideas of gender. In her colorful, rigid sculptures, Stein plays with strong and soft forms in order to create balance. The sculpture is meant to open the viewers up to new ideas of gender fluidity. Many of the sculptures incorporate superhero themes, to bring forth ideas of strength and powerful performance that are generally associated men. She then mixes these ideals with more feminine forms and colors, using interesting materials such as comic book pages and leather. The series rejects the idea that one’s sense of gender is static.

Gender identity has been widely discussed in the LGBTQA community. In her work “One is Not Born a Woman,” French Feminist Monique Wittig discusses ideas similar to Stein’s of gender fluidity.

“By assuming that there is a ‘natural’ division between women and men, we naturalize history, and we assume that ‘men’ and ‘women’ have always existed and will always exist.”

-Monique Wittig

The main inspiration for “The Fluidity of Gender: Sculpture” is the classic DC Comic book character, Wonder Woman. The character of wonder woman has been breaking gender barriers since her creation in the 1940’s. At the time her character was created, gender roles were rigid, but found new light during World War II when women were sent to the factories. Female independence and strength was a new idea, and at the time, created a new sense of gender fluidity. Stein draws on these gender-bending ideas for her series, as well as featuring images of the superhero herself.

Stein’s art embodies a complex concept with simplistic forms. By physically creating human bodies that resemble both of the biological physical sexes, Stein encourages to viewer to think more deeply about non-physical gender. In this sense, Stein uses art in order to promote activism for men, women, and anybody in between.