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26 March 2017

Review: Ovarian Psycos on PBS

In the fifth grade a few of my friends & I wanted to feel connected. We decided to always were jean jackets and call ourselves a gang. Of course our teacher stepped in and said it was ok to want to band together, but not call ourselves a gang. She never fully explained it, or I have forgotten, but it was clear that as working class kids, most of us Latin@, that calling ourselves a gang was not cool.at.all. But while we couldn't call ourselves a gang, we still stuck together until we grew apart. Nevertheless I would continue to want to organize my groups of friends into tight circles.

That is why when I watched Ovarian Psycos I was emotional. While my working class upbringing is far from the life we see in this new documentary, that sense of wanting to create your own family struck me to my core. What we get in this documentary are tales of young women seeking to strengthen their community by banding together, riding their bikes around LA, and being bad ass. Ovarian Psycos is a tale of love and determination. I highly recommend this documentary.     

Ovarian Psycos is a documentary about a new generation of young women of color from the Eastside of Los Angeles who are confronting injustice, building community, and redefining identity through a raucous, irreverently named bicycle crew: The Ovarian Psycos Cycle Brigade. Produced and directed by Joanna Sokolowski and Kate Trumbull-LaValle, Ovarian Psycos premieres on Independent Lens Monday, March 27, 2017, 10:00-11:00 PM ET (check local listings) on PBS.

20 March 2017

Book Review: Body Horror by Anne Elizabeth Moore

http://www.curbsidesplendor.com/books/body-horrors-essays-on-misogyny-and-capitalismDisclaimer: Anne & I are friends. Not just social media friends. We've been in each others homes, have shared food & drink, and all that jazz. I continue to be honored to call her a friend.

Anne Elizabeth Moore's autopsy of our culture's obsession with bodies and how they define more roles than you can imagine is pure art.

Knowing that Moore fits the definition of a feminist may make you scoff at the revolutionary manner in which her latest book, Body Horror: Capitalism, Fear, Misogyny, Jokes, focuses on the body and gender roles. Yes, feminists are at the forefront of critiquing body image and our cultural obsession with perfection, but Moore stands at the front of that movement. WAY IN FRONT. So far ahead of the curve that some of the essays will leave you pondering, "What was Veronica thinking? This has nothing to do with feminism or bodies?" Then you'll turn a page and get smacked with what I'm talking about.

Moore opens many of the essays (most which were previously published, but updated for this collection) with personal stories, especially of her growing list of chronic diseases and near death experiences. Her reflections of her mortality and how once close friends abandoned her will draw you in. The sympathy you feel is a grand trap she sets that ensnares you faster than your favorite roller coaster drops your stomach. Before you know it her death bed musings turn into a lesson on the politics of table-to-farm restaurants, living wages for fashion models, and pondering the feminism of horror movies. One moment you question how people can abandon a friend in need (if you are said author's friend you wonder if you have done enough and realize you have not.) the next you are trying to find something in the world that is not controlled by big business.

The outrage over the current administration's budget cuts especially towards arts and the elderly creates an image that everyday people value art. That we value people for their own sake. Yet Moore's essay on people's reaction to her decision to not reproduce gives us a peek into what people really value. Time and again she is clearly told that her art and contribution to our collective intellectual knowledge base is not enough. Her contributions to humanity can only be calculated by the number of humans she produces. As the mother of an only-child, I feel for this as I have been accused of robbing the world of more amazing feminist-minded persons as if having children was as easy as making a photocopy of my fabulous teenage daughter.

What that essay does is actually scarier than tell people who do not have children that they are not contributing to humanity. What it does is call into question HOW we reproduce creative and kick ass people like Moore. Her parents were not creative public intellectuals, yet she is one of the best GenX will ever have. Moore's essay actually reopened my fear that my daughter will grow up to reject everything that I taught her. It questions the power of parenting in creating the next generation of anything. In the time of test prep and helicopter parenting, this essay is scary as fuck and liberating, if you have the courage to embrace it.

All that from her recollecting that one time a friend wouldn't let go of the fact she decided she did not want to gestate a human being in her uterus.

That is why you should get a copy of this book. Moore not only pushes us to question capitalism, but even ideas that make us secure in our progressive bubble when we brunch at the hip organic cafe and buy local. Don't get me wrong, she does not make you want to give up the resistance. Rather she demands that you question if you really need one more "Nevertheless, she persists" tee and Facebook algorithm generated coffee mug. Two questions I ask myself almost daily. She pushes you to value the work of not just the woman who made your t-shirt on the other side of our planet, but also the model who sold it to us. Moore connects the dots that you did not even think were on the same page. And if we are going to resist, we might as well go all the way.

[ Pre-order your a copy at Powells or IndieBound ]

Second disclaimer: I received a review copy from the publisher.

18 March 2017

Henrietta Lacks Trailer is OUT!!




Oh yeah...The trailer for the HBO movie of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is out! And if you read the book (if you haven't GO NOW!) you will find it emotional and gut wrenching.

OK, the cop buddy movie vibe I'm getting from Oprah and Rose Byrne is a bit grating, but the rest of the trailer punched me in the gut.

Now that I've sent you to find the book and read it, I must say that the movie is an adaptation. With that, while Skloot does talk about the family in the book, it looks like the movie will be focusing more on how the Lacks family reacts to knowing that their loved one had cells taken from her and a gazillion dollar industry has been built upon that theft while they stand on precarious economic space.

One two-hour movie seems too short to fully address the issues of giving consent to participate in medical research, the industry that makes gobs of money off medical advances (one reason I don't think NIH will be totally cut off - the economy depends on NIH advances), and the racism that continues to impact POC's access to healthcare today. The book was so powerful on so many levels. I hope the movie does the same so that Lacks' story is known to even more people.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
debuts on HBO on Saturday, April 22.




Oprah Winfrey and Rose Byrne star in this adaptation of Rebecca Skloot’s critically acclaimed, bestselling nonfiction book of the same name. The film tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, an African-American woman whose cells were used to create the first immortal human cell line. Told through the eyes of her daughter, Deborah Lacks (Winfrey), the film chronicles her search, with the help of journalist Rebecca Skloot (Byrne), to learn about the mother she never knew and understand how the unauthorized harvesting of Lacks’ cancerous cells in 1951 led to unprecedented medical breakthroughs, changing countless lives and the face of medicine forever. George C. Wolfe directs from his screenplay; Oprah Winfrey, Alan Ball, Peter Macdissi, Carla Gardini and Lydia Dean Pilcher executive produce. A Your Face Goes Here Entertainment, Harpo Films and Cine Mosaic production.

17 March 2017

Pence's War on Women to be rewarded with "Working for Women" Award

In honor of Women’s History Month, the Independent Women's Forum (IWF) is hosting Women Making History, an exclusive event on Wednesday, March 22nd, at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington, DC.

Vice President Mike Pence will be honored with the inaugural IWF Working for Women Award. The award recognizes an individual who values free markets, works to create a more dynamic and innovative work world, and celebrates the valuable contributions women make to society.
Yup...you read that snip of a press release right. The man who help cause an HIV outbreak in Indiana is getting an away for working for women. I'm surprised this press release didn't mention his possible influence in sending a hate group to the 61st annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. "The Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM) is a think tank that has been labelled as a “hate group” for their international anti-LGBTQI advocacy work and violent rhetoric by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a legal advocacy organisation which specialises in protection of civil rights." 

https://act.weareultraviolet.org/sign/trump-vp-pence/
 
I know that IWF is not a progressive feminist organization. They value the free market over feminism. But it still irks me that Pence is getting an award touting him as a champion for women when he is otherwise. He is so bad for women that many of us refuse to consider impeachment for Trump!

So Happy Freaking Women's History Month! At the rate this administration is going, it could be our last before we're all sent back to the kitchen.

16 March 2017

Call for Proposals: Race/Gender/Class/Media 4.0: Considering Diversity Across Audiences, Content, and Producers


Proposals are sought from scholars across all disciplines for the fourth edition of Race/Gender/Class/Media: Considering Diversity Across Audiences, Content, and Producers (Routledge, 2019). Edited by Rebecca Ann Lind, University of Illinois at Chicago (rebecca@uic.edu), the book will examine the consequences, implications, or opportunities associated with issues of diversity (socially constructed differences such as race, ethnicity, gender, class, etc.) in media. The fourth edition should be at least as wide-ranging in scope as prior editions. Most accepted pieces will present original scholarship.

There are three main sections: content, audience, and production.  Content focuses most closely on texts created by media  organizations. Audience includes media usage, effects of media, audience  interpretations of media content, and studies of user-generated content. Production includes studies of media organizations and the creation of content, as well as media activism, access, policy,  and regulation.   The book is designed primarily for undergraduates, although it has been used in graduate courses and in high schools. Final manuscripts will be about 4000 words, including pedagogical activities, and must be written in an accessible fashion. Contributors who meet the deadline will receive $100 payment upon publication. More details are available online , or email rebecca@uic.eduFor more information and to submit proposals, visit  http://go.uic.edu/rgcm .

The priority deadline for proposals is June 1, 2017; decisions will be announced by July 1, 2017. Completed readings are due January 5, 2018, with editing and revision through May 2018. Additional copyediting should take place in fall, 2018.

Disclaimer

This blog is my personal blog and is not reflective of my employer or what I do for them.

What I'm Currently Reading

I Thought It Was Just Me: Women Reclaiming Power and Courage in a Culture of Shame
The South Side: A Portrait of Chicago and American Segregation
Gabi, a Girl in Pieces


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