Learning Literacy from Drag Queens?

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A middle school in Colorado decided to invite Jessica L’Whor, a drag queen, to speak with kids about life, careers, and literacy. And then people’s heads caught on fire.

No, there wasn’t talk about sex. The name “Jessica L’Whor” wasn’t used, because it was admittedly inappropriate for the situation, so she was simply “Ms. Jessica.” And, the administration didn’t bother to warn parents about this scheduled appearance. After the fact, the school principal said that if the school ever decided to have such a controversial guest again, she would warn parents ahead of time so they could request that their precious little angels be excluded.

Now, this event has been mentioned in the press as a “career day,” which it wasn’t. It was a literary day, which presumably means that the guests were talking with students about the importance of literacy. One might question the point, and more importantly, exactly what a drag queen could contribute to these discussions, but c’est la vie. The reality of the situation is that we have yet another school getting into trouble over “sex” for reasons.

Sure, they probably won’t do this again. However, if they did and those warnings went out to the parents, yes the kids who would be excluded will either figure out a way to “forget” turning in that note from home or they will resent their parents. Why? The simple answer is the last thing any middle school wants to viewed as is “uncool” (or whatever term they’re using for the same.)

Let’s also be at least a little realistic here. Out of the parents who complained about this, one can wonder how many bothered to specifically block RuPaul’s Drag Race from their televisions. Well, maybe it wasn’t necessary, because maybe some of those parents are the ones who don’t allow television watching at all in the first place. The point is that no matter how much any parent wants to shelter their kids from the world, the fact remains that the world is still out there. It’s filled with good and bad things, hazards and helpful situations, and yes, it has drag queens. Now, if you’re thinking that your kids will suddenly decide to become a transvestite just because they saw one in school, you have some serious issues. First, you’re assuming that whatever you are attempting to teach your kids is being absolutely ignored. Second, you’re not giving your kids credit for being capable of thinking things through before they decide to do something. Finally, you’re assuming that every single interest your kids will ever have in their lives will last forever.

Now, if all of that were true, we really would be a great deal of trouble as a society. Otherwise, just remember, kids tend to want to do whatever their parents say they shouldn’t, and kids are naturally curious about everything. Freud and Jung figured that out a long time ago. Perhaps that should be a required lesson for all adults before they become parents.

Image: Facebook/Jessica L’Whor

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The post Learning Literacy from Drag Queens? appeared first on Subculture.


Source: Subculture

Learning Literacy from Drag Queens?

Molly Ringwald and Rethinking Her Films

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Of course, with the #MeToo movement, it was inevitable that many parts of our pop culture would be re-examined through the lens of today. Molly Ringwald decided to do that with her own films, while talking with NPR this past weekend.

One thing that was mentioned, not by Ringwald, but by the writer of the article, was a specific line from Sixteen Candles.

“I’ve got Caroline in the bedroom right now passed out cold. I could violate her 10 different ways if I wanted to.”

That was from Jake Ryan, the guy Ringwald’s character wanted throughout the film, and who was played by Michael Schoeffling.

Seeing those words absent context definitely is a little disturbing, however it’s important to note one word in that line – “could.” By that point in the movie, it was abundantly obvious that Schoeffling’s character wasn’t at all interested in the girl in question. Just that simple fact makes that troubling line far less menacing. Now, you can start having your issues about that same girl apparently taking the virginity of the “nerd” who drove her away from the party that night if you like.

The point is, even looking at this film through the hyper-sensitive lens we’ve created today, it is still really not that bad. Sure, Ringwald has her reservations, but she’s looking at it as a mother of teens now. Honestly, I’d be wondering if there was something very wrong with her if she wasn’t cringing at least a little, not over her own performance in the film, but over some of the drunken flamboyance in it.

John Hughes made films about the things teens actually did, after their parents and teachers told them not to do “all the things.” He depicted the choices among the taboos, knowing that whenever you told a teen not to do something, you were often begging them to disobey. That is what real teenagers did then, do now, and will undoubtedly continue to do until the end of the human race.

But, even when Hughes would hint at potentially terrible behavior, there was that recognition of limits. In this case, Hughes had Jake Ryan point out that he could do terrible things with his girlfriend, but that was all. Stating you understand the fact that you could do something terrible is not the same thing as actually doing it. If we’ve gone so far off the rails that even discussing potential bad ideas is verboten, we really are lost.

Image: 20th Century Fox

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Molly Ringwald and Rethinking Her Films

Dad ‘Breastfeeds’ Baby – Internet Burns Down

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New dad Maxamillian Neubauer became an internet meme of sorts when he posted photos of himself “breastfeeding” his baby on Facebook. Yes, it did involve fake nipples and a milk delivery system, so we’re not talking about medicine going crazy. But, the level of hate Neubauer has seen on social media is quite simply disturbing.

He was lucky, in the sense that his wife just had some complications that prevented her from breastfeeding. Of course, it’s fair to guess that the people who were calling him out for being unnatural at best, profane terms at worst, didn’t bother to think of alternative situations.

Would there be so much venom spent on this if the picture was of a father doing the same thing after losing his child’s mother in childbirth? It is a valid question, because this milk delivery system probably has been used in that kind of situation.

The point is to do something that most professionals agree is good for newborns – establish skin on skin contact with parents as soon as possible to aid in emotional bonding between parents and children.

So, babies born in situations where their mothers are unable to breastfeed shortly after birth should be denied this even if the father is willing to step in with the help of a milk delivery system? Further, those fathers are somehow “creepy,” “disgusting,” or any other negative term because they want to make sure their children sense from early on that they are loved? That is what we are talking about – parental bonding is love.

I’d like to think that all of that negativity is just the result of people not thinking through what they were saying before posting. That’s quite common. Maybe they just went with their gut reactions to just the photo, didn’t bother to read the story behind it, and may not have been so hateful if they realized Neubauer wasn’t doing a stunt to shock people. Perhaps there would have been fewer hateful comments if people would have read about the fact that his wife wasn’t physically capable of breastfeeding. Or maybe it’s just another sign of the rampant lack of empathy out there. If you’ve read this far and had initially been upset with the photo, where do you stand now?

Image: Facebook/Maxamillian Neubauer

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Dad ‘Breastfeeds’ Baby – Internet Burns Down

Prude Patrol Hitting Libraries?

NEWSFLASH: Libraries across the country are suffering. People just don’t go to them very often anymore. Google and smartphones are crushing the desire for people to use library cards to take out actual paper books. Even libraries with computers aren’t faring much better, because computers are much more affordable today (if you are willing to put up with ones that can’t play the latest games.) So, to keep from becoming completely irrelevant and having to close their doors, many libraries are offering programming that may seem off the wall or over the top to some people. That means they’re going to offer programming that will make anyone with a Victorian attitude toward life faint – or want to scream.

Now that we understand this, it’s time to address a minor problem.

If you don’t like the programming that your local library is offering, the appropriate response does not include trying to disrupt it.

Some folks in Maryland didn’t like the fact that their library was offering sex-ed for kids – with parental permission. They made a website to complain about it. Good so far.

Unfortunately, on that website is information about how these people tried to stop the programming by breaking the rules set by the library for the safety of the kids who were enrolled in the program.

Not good.

Also, there doesn’t seem to be any mention of this group trying to offer “acceptable” programming choices to the library. Remember, the library is trying to get people into the building, so theoretically they would be open to hearing suggestions from everyone.

Another option would have been to look into elected positions that have to do with library management. Is there a community member board position? A political office that has a permanent seat on the board? Although a little extreme, at least pushing for a member of your group to be in a position of power in the library is far better than forcing the police to stand guard outside the library like this group did.

I get it. Really, I do. Conservatives don’t like people talking about sex, especially not to kids (even if the parents are fine with the idea.) Sure, there are people who think that parents should sit in on sex talks with kids, because they believe that kids really want to talk about that stuff in front of their parents. (Not sure where these kids are, but who am I to question someone else’s logic?)

But, conservatives are also supposed to be big on law and order. They’re supposed to be upset with people who break laws, right?

So, why were they breaking laws against trespassing at the library? Libraries are community property, but when they put up clear restrictions on use of their facilities, failing to abide by those restrictions is trespassing (or a similar offense, depending on the local laws.) The library clearly stated that adults were not welcome to attend this program. Only kids could be there, and the kids had to have written permission from their parents to attend.

The argument that the library was doing something objectionable and should be forced to stop because it is a public facility doesn’t work here. Go back to the beginning on this. Libraries are trying to stay alive, and that means programming. It also means that a sex-ed class is probably going to hit the events calendar before a quilting bee. Getting kids into the library is a hard task, and it’s fair to guess that this conservative group isn’t going to come up with a single thing that will help to do that.

But, don’t worry. When the library has to close because of lack of interest, these folks will probably blame anyone but themselves.

The post Prude Patrol Hitting Libraries? appeared first on Savannah Snark.


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Prude Patrol Hitting Libraries?

In Praise of Cultural Appropriation

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As a girl, I would ask my mother, “Why can’t I have curls?” She’d always frown a little, and remind me that our hair is straight. My grandmother would get permanent waves, and my mother ended up nearly losing her hair to a truly disastrous chemical treatment – all in the pursuit of what we did not have from birth. The irony of this was that more often than not, the girls with the ringlets that I envied would have preferred to have smooth and straight locks like my own. It is that basic envy and admiration of what we don’t have that drives the imitation of styles we see on others – what some now call “cultural appropriation.”

The real problem isn’t the fact that people are “borrowing” from the styles of other cultures, because that has been happening from the time that people started wearing clothing and adornments. Today, we have an intellectual elite class that is teaching the masses that this act of imitation is essentially the same as being photographed was to some cultures that feared it desperately because they believed the images somehow trapped their souls. The problem is that people are being told that imitating style is equal to ripping something essential from their very existence.

These high-minded individuals have failed to recognize a very basic part of being human – as human beings, we engage in mimicry. In modern society, it is a very selective process, which means that we only choose to emulate actions (or in this case, styles) we highly admire.

There was an adage that applied to this phenomenon – “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Elvis Presley imitated music from black artists, because he admired their work not because he wanted to somehow keep those artists from advancing in the music industry.

The current targets of the intellectual elites are being told they can’t make certain fashion choices, like hoop earrings, because those styles are the exclusive property of minority cultures. Those same people are telling members of those cultures that they should feel insulted if people from other cultural backgrounds want to imitate them. The entire premise is based on two fallacies: first that anything in our collective culture is the exclusive “property” of a given ethnicity, and second that anyone who chooses to borrow styles from other ethnic backgrounds is doing so for malicious or racist reasons.

Every culture on the planet at this point has borrowed from other cultures at some point, so there is no such thing as “cultural exclusivity”. Humans have been migrating around the planet for millennia, and have picked up bits and pieces of their culture from the places they have called home over the years. The intellectual elites who are claiming that there is such a thing as “cultural exclusivity” must have skipped History, Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Psychology during their studies.

The claim that there can only be malignant or hateful reasons for people to emulate each other has no basis in reality. In truth, it is in direct contradiction with more than a few theories that these intellectuals should have learned in even the most basis courses on Psychology and Sociology.

So, this entire exercise is an anti-academic and anti-scientific social movement with the simple goal of causing outrage among minority groupings. Generally speaking, such activities have historically been used to control minority factions within a society. If the minority groupings are focused on being angry at a specifically defined “pseudo-enemy” that really isn’t a true threat to them, the ones telling them that they should be angry can then gain their trust on other matters. Those “other matters” are usually laws and policies that are truly a threat to those minority groupings. In America today, that could be the perpetuation of a permanent underclass for minorities, particularly in urban centers. Those intellectuals are also opposed to education reforms that could improve educational opportunities for that permanent underclass the government and intellectuals created.

But, it’s more important to be upset about the “wrong” cultural groups wearing the fashions inspired by minority groupings, right?

Image: Dr. Umesh Behari Mathur (CC)

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Source: Subculture

In Praise of Cultural Appropriation

It’s a Soap Ad – Not the End of the World!

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In case you weren’t aware of it, many women are very particular about the products that they use to take care of their own skin (and the skin of their babies.) The makers of Dove products have made a cozy home for themselves on the market for women with sensitive skin. In case you’re wondering what that means, when you go into a store with entire aisles of soaps and shampoos, the people with sensitive skin can buy maybe a handful of products on the shelves without fear of adverse reactions.

That means burning, stinging, rashes, break outs, and all manner of other nasty things.

There’s another little problem for many women when it comes to products they like. Manufacturers have a horrible habit of taking some off the market entirely, without bothering to even attempt to replace them.

(My aunt used to say, “Never say you love something, because someone in the factory will hear you, and they won’t make it anymore!”)

Dove is guilty of removing some products, but they’re really good about coming up with a “new and improved” option that often really is at least as good as what it’s replacing. Sometimes, it really is much better.

That said, when I came across people talking about boycotting Dove, I rolled my eyes.

Nope. Not happening in my household.

When I heard why, it was all I could do to keep from spewing coffee everywhere.

Seriously? People are upset about an advertisement about mothers that happens to include a transsexual?

I believe the argument was that Dove was somehow endorsing LGBT lifestyles by just having “those people” in the commercial.

Well, not exactly.

If you watched it, great. If not, just take my word for it on this one.

No, they were not “endorsing” anyone in their commercial.

Yes, they were saying that every mother is entitled to being able to make her own decisions about how she raises her own children. (It’s safe to assume that they aren’t suggesting that can include mistreating or abusing any precious children.)

If you really want to push it to the political end, this commercial was promoting the individual liberty of mothers everywhere, period, full stop.

Dove wasn’t telling anyone how to be a parent.

Dove wasn’t saying any parent is better than another.

Dove was saying all parents (especially mothers) are created equal, and are endowed with the right to raise their children how they see fit.

Oh no!

That’s terrible!

Let’s boycott them right now, for making the radical suggestion that everyone (from government down to in-laws) should stay out of the business of mothers!

Needless to say, this is just another case of people looking for a reason to be outraged.

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Source: Subculture

It’s a Soap Ad – Not the End of the World!