Saturday: Smash the Patriarchy, Extinct Political Birds, Blurred Feminism, and Mental Illness as RebellionPosted: August 3, 2013
Newsflash: Conservative dodo bird Jonah Goldberg finds Hillary Clinton boring.
(So boring, in fact, that recall Goldberg and/or his wife
ghostwrote fed stale old anti-Hillary canards about tea, cookies, and bra-burning for Palin’s America by Heart.)
In other news…
- Water is wetter than the tears on Boehner’s face.
- Breitbart editor-at-large Ben Shapiro echoes the dodo lament that Hillary just isn’t that fascinating.
Keep your popcorn bowls handy, newsjunkies, as we continue to watch the heads explode on all the dodos.
Next up… Two patriarchy-smashing parodies of the misogynist-yet-insidiously catchy earworm that is Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines.” I recommend taking the time to view the videos below at some point this weekend if you haven’t seen them already. (Especially after Thicke went on the Today show this week claiming his original track to be “great art” and a “feminist movement in itself.”)
First up, Mod Carousel’s gender role reversal “Sexy Boys”:
From the video’s description:
Mod Carousel, a Seattle based boylesque troupe, does a sexy parody of Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines music video.
It’s our opinion that most attempts to show female objectification in the media by swapping the genders serve more to ridicule the male body than to highlight the extent to which women get objectified and do everyone a disservice. We made this video specifically to show a spectrum of sexuality as well as present both women and men in a positive light, one where objectifying men is more than alright and where women can be strong and sexy without negative repercussions.
The other video is Melinda Hughes’ “Lame Lines”:
From the lyrics, as transcribed in Hughes’ youtube description:
You think I want it
I really don’t want it
Please get off it
You’re a douchebag
You’re a little ﬂacid
Your dance is spastic
Should go get tested
I hate your lame lines
You think I want it
I really don’t want it
Please get off it
You’re a douchebag
Hey don’t you grab me
Look at me, I’m classy
I said don’t grab me
There are a lot of other parodies out there, but these two had a distinctly gender bender vibe to them. So, what do you think Sky Dancers? Did these versions succeed?
Switching gears a bit, here’s an interesting piece from AlterNet by Bruce E. Levine, called “Why Life in America Can Literally Drive You Insane” with the byline “it’s not just Big Pharma” underneath:
In “The Epidemic of Mental Illness: Why?” (New York Review of Books, 2011), Marcia Angell, former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, discusses over-diagnosis of psychiatric disorders, pathologizing of normal behaviors, Big Pharma corruption of psychiatry, and the adverse effects of psychiatric medications. While diagnostic expansionism and Big Pharma certainly deserve a large share of the blame for this epidemic, there is another reason.
A June 2013 Gallup poll revealed that 70% of Americans hate their jobs or have “checked out” of them. Life may or may not suck any more than it did a generation ago, but our belief in “progress” has increased expectations that life should be more satisfying, resulting in mass disappointment. For many of us, society has become increasingly alienating, isolating and insane, and earning a buck means more degrees, compliance, ass-kissing, shit-eating, and inauthenticity. So, we want to rebel. However, many of us feel hopeless about the possibility of either our own escape from societal oppression or that political activism can create societal change. So, many of us, especially young Americans, rebel by what is commonly called mental illness.
Ah, yes, I believe I called it when I first coined the phrase, “Political Affective Disorder.”
It’s a long read, and not one I can yet say I fully endorse or not, particularly on the issue of diagnosis and the author’s attitude toward the DSM as nothing more than “pseudoscience.”
As a student of the psychological discipline, I am still taking my sweet time to form an opinion on the DSM-5 and the food fight between its proponents and detractors. The DSM in all its versions thusfar has been far from a perfect venture, but having gotten to hear directly from one of the Work Group chairs that was at the frontlines of changes for her respective category at a mental health conference last month, I have to say it makes a difference to hear from the horse’s mouth the reasoning that went into each change, as opposed to reading about it in an op-ed. That’s a rant for another time, though!
Suffice it to say, Levine’s essay is thought-provoking and raises important points for debate. I have long-thought there was a social rebellion aspect to mental illness. (Cassandra, anyone?)
Excerpt from the piece, with some relevant survey trends and research stats on the current state of the American Dream/Nightmare:
Returning to that June 2013 Gallup survey, “The State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement,” only 30% of workers “were engaged, or involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their workplace.” In contrast to this “actively engaged group,” 50% were “not engaged,” simply going through the motions to get a paycheck, while 20% were classified as “actively disengaged,” hating going to work and putting energy into undermining their workplace. Those with higher education levels reported more discontent with their workplace.
How engaged are we with our schooling? Another Gallup poll “The School Cliff: Student Engagement Drops With Each School Year” (released in January 2013), reported that the longer students stay in school, the less engaged they become. The poll surveyed nearly 500,000 students in 37 states in 2012, and found nearly 80% of elementary students reported being engaged with school, but by high school, only 40% reported being engaged. As the pollsters point out, “If we were doing right by our students and our future, these numbers would be the absolute opposite. For each year a student progresses in school, they should be more engaged, not less.”
Life clearly sucks more than it did a generation ago when it comes to student loan debt. According to American Student Assistance’s “Student Debt Loan Statistics,” approximately 37 million Americans have student loan debt. The majority of borrowers still paying back their loans are in their 30s or older. Approximately two-thirds of students graduate college with some education debt. Nearly 30% of college students who take out loans drop out of school, and students who drop out of college before earning a degree struggle most with student loans. As of October 2012, the average amount of student loan debt for the Class of 2011 was $26,600, a 5% increase from 2010. Only about 37% of federal student-loan borrowers between 2004 and 2009 managed to make timely payments without postponing payments or becoming delinquent.
In addition to the pain of jobs, school, and debt, there is increasingly more pain of social isolation. A major study reported in the American Sociological Review in 2006, “Social Isolation in America: Changes in Core Discussion Networks Over Two Decades,” examined Americans’ core network of confidants (those people in our lives we consider close enough to trust with personal information and whom we rely on as a sounding board). Authors reported that in 1985, 10% of Americans said that they had no confidants in their lives; but by 2004, 25% of Americans stated they had no confidants in their lives. This study confirmed the continuation of trends that came to public attention in sociologist Robert Putnam’s 2000 book Bowling Alone.
Oh dear, this makes me want to get into a dialectic with me and myself about Tonnies’ small town Gemeinschaft and big city Gesselschaft and Durkheim’s Anomie.
I’ll spare you and just quote another paragraph from Levine’s piece on Alter Net before I close:
The reality is that with enough helplessness, hopelessness, passivity, boredom, fear, isolation, and dehumanization, we rebel and refuse to comply. Some of us rebel by becoming inattentive. Others become aggressive. In large numbers we eat, drink and gamble too much. Still others become addicted to drugs, illicit and prescription. Millions work slavishly at dissatisfying jobs, become depressed and passive aggressive, while no small number of us can’t cut it and become homeless and appear crazy. Feeling misunderstood and uncared about, millions of us ultimately rebel against societal demands, however, given our wherewithal, our rebellions are often passive and disorganized, and routinely futile and self-destructive.
I can attest to that much personally, having gone through the self-destructive, passive slow suicide of anorexic rebellion in my adolescence and into my twenties and the process of recovery and trying to reclaim my identity now into my thirties (as a patriarchy-smashing-archery-goddess-witchy-woman-feminist of course!)
Give Levine’s article a read in full if you have the time. I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts, especially from Dr. Bostonboomer, our resident psychologist.
Alright, well that’s all I’ve got for you this morning.
What’s got your blogger juices going this Saturday, Sky Dancers? Let us have a listen in the comments, and have a great weekend!
I thought the Romney campaign had decided to give Ann Romney a time out after her meltdown last week in which she snapped at a radio interviewer:
“Stop it. This is hard. You want to try it? Get in the ring,” she said. “This is hard and, you know, it’s an important thing that we’re doing right now and it’s an important election and it is time for all Americans to realize how significant this election is and how lucky we are to have someone with Mitt’s qualifications and experience and know-how to be able to have the opportunity to run this country.”…
…“It’s nonsense and the chattering class…you hear it and then you just let it go right by,” she told Radio Iowa. “…Honestly, at this point, I’m not surprised by anything.”
But this latest one could be even more damaging. Today Ann told an interviewer that she is worried about her husband’s “mental well being.”
“I think my biggest worry would be for his mental well being. I have all the confidence in the world of his ability, his decisiveness, his leadership skills, his understand of the economy, his understanding of what’s missing right now. The pieces that are missing to get the jump started. So for me I think it would be the emotional part of it.”
WTF?! Is Mitt on the verge of a nervous breakdown or something? Is there something more we need to know? This man is running to be President of the U.S., Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, with control over nuclear weapons.
Honestly, I don’t know what to think about this. Mitt Romney faces his first presidential debate against President Barack Obama next Wednesday. Does Ann really think she’s helping?
NBC News Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff has learned that Marcus Bachmann’s “Clinic” has been receiving $137,000 in Medicaid payments in addition to the $24,000 in federal funds previously reported by the LA Times. Isakoff writes:
While Rep. Michelle Bachmann, R-Minn., has forcefully denounced the Medicaid program for swelling the “welfare rolls,” the mental health clinic run by her husband has been collecting annual Medicaid payments totaling over $137,000 for the treatment of patients since 2005, according to new figures obtained by NBC News.
The clinic, based in Lake Elmo, Minn., describes itself on its website as offering “quality Christian counseling” for a large number of mental health problems ranging from “anger management” to addictions and eating disorders. There is different types of treatments for addictions and maybe inpatient is right for you.
…state records show that Bachmann & Associates has been collecting payments under the Minnesota’s Medicaid program every year for the past six years. Karen Smigielski, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services, said the state’s Medicaid program is funded “about 50-50” with federal and state monies. The funds to Bachmann & Associates are for the treatment of low-income mentally ill patients and are based on a “fee for service” basis, meaning the clinic was reimbursed by Medicaid for the services it provided.
Smigielski added that these were not the only government funds that Bachmann & Associates has received. The clinic also participates in managed-care plans that are reimbursed under a separate state-funded Minnesota Health Care program. But the state does not have any records of payment information to the individual clinics that participate.
In addition to being a right wing nut and hatemonger who thinks god talks to her, Michele Bachmann is a sleazy lying liar and a hypocrite.
Photo: A wounded antigovernment protester joined fellow demonstraters for Friday prayer at Tahrir square in Cairo. Tens of thousands of Egyptians gathered for sweeping “Day of Departure” demonstrations to try to force President Hosni Mubarak to quit. (Mohammed Abed/AFP-Getty)
Good morning, news junkies!
So the story this week is still Egypt, and I thought I’d start off with a first-person account that Bloomberg ran yesterday from reporter Maram Mazen:
A policeman looked me in the eye and said: “You will be lynched today,” running his finger across his neck.
But, that wasn’t Mazen’s most frightening moment on Thursday in Cairo. Click over to find out what it was.
Next up, a youtube of the protesters in Tahrir square breaking into song yesterday, led by a guitarist off-camera, amidst cries for Mubarak’s immediate exit during Friday’s ‘Day of Departure’ demonstrations. It’s almost at a 100,000 views already. Please go give it another. It’s just plain enjoyable music too. Rough translation of what they’re singing, from the comments:
Let’s make Mubarak hear our voices. We all, one hand, requested one thing, leave leave leave … Down Down Hosni Mubarak, Down Down Hosni Mubarak … The people want to dismantle the regime …. He is to go, we are not going … He is to go, we won’t leave … We all, one hand, ask one thing, leave leave.
Photo: Iranian women participated in Friday prayer outside Tehran University (Behrouz Mehri/AFP-Getty)
Here’s the latest word from Secretary Clinton on Egypt, speaking at a Munich security conference this Saturday — Hillary characterizes the unrest that the Mideast is facing as a “perfect storm of powerful trends” and says:
This is what has driven demonstrators into the streets of Tunis, Cairo, and cities throughout the region. The status quo is simply not sustainable.
Al Jazeera English also reports that she said there must be clear progress toward “open, transparent, fair and accountable systems” across the region not to risk even greater instability.
While we’re on the Middle East, did you hear? Rand Paul wants to end “welfare to Israel.” Hey, don’t shoot, I’m just relaying the news here. And, before anyone on the other side of that issue goes goo goo over Paul following in his father’s isolationist footsteps, remember the libertarian catch that it comes with–Paul is also calling for dramatic education cuts.
There’s an interesting blog piece on Egypt, Obama, and Indonesia at the New Statesman that I’m still thinking on, but I thought I’d put it out there for Saturday reading. I have to say, I have yet to see any indication that Obama has much of a plan when it comes to Egypt. The deer-in-the-headlights look coming from this White House has been hard to miss.
This next item didn’t seem to generate much buzz, but I thought I’d put it in here and get your reactions… a Mississippi federal judge threw out a challenge to HCR on Thursday.
Here’s a story I’d been meaning to cover last week but didn’t get to, and there’s an update on it this weekend too. You may or may not know but Indian human rights activist Dr. Binayak Sen is facing life imprisonment. Here is the report Democracy Now’s Anjali Kamat filed from Chhattisgarh in advance of the global day of protest calling for Binayak’s release last Sunday. And, here is the update on Binayak’s wife, Ilina Sen, who has been under a witchhunt by the Maharasthra Police. An FIR against her has been reportedly thrown out:
Illina was named as an accused for her alleged failure to inform the police of the participation of foreign delegates at a conference of the Indian Association for Woman Studies ( IAWS) in Wardha.
Illina, who had termed the FIR an vindictive act of the state, told Mail Today on Thursday that she was unaware of the development. ” But if it is happening, it is a welcome step,” she said.
” The home ministry has intervened in the matterâ€¦ Illina’s name will be dropped from the FIR,” a government source said.
Looks like a bit of good news we can hang our hats on as the rest of the world spins out of control. Speaking of women’s studies…
This Saturday in Women’s and Children’s Health headlines
BYU School of Family Life researchers Sarah Coyne and Laura Padilla-Walker find that teen girls who play video games with their parents are less depressed (Truthdig), as part of the Flourishing Families project that began in 2007. Here’s the pdf to the actual study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health this month for anyone who is interested. According to Coyne, et al. (2011), for girls there is a link between playing age-appropriate games with parents and lowered internalizing (anxiety/depression) and aggression. There is no correlation for boys, and further studies are still needed to determine causality and long term effects for girls. Two years ago, the larger study that this research is a part of found a link between frequent gaming and relationship difficulties. This summer the project led to research that found having a sister may counter depression. Let’s hear it for sisterhood! Which brings me to…
Cinematherapy…in Feminist Perspective
A great op-ed last week on Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s documentary Missrepresentation, by Ashley Chappo in The Cavalier Daily — “Showgirls.” Here’s a teaser of Chappo’s piece:
As the American activist Marian Wright Edelman once said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Our national misconceptions about the value of women have contributed to the fact that the United States currently ranks 90th world-wide when it comes to women’s representation in politics. This year, Newsom’s documentary is a must-see because it challenges all Americans to reconsider their values and confront institutions that perpetuated inferior images of female capability.
Another film featured last month at the Sundance festival that you might want to take a look at is Lynn Hershmann’s !Women Art Revolution. Also, if you have a chance, check out: “Global Girls Go Sundance.”
This last one is really a review of a review of a book, but I’m sticking it here because it goes with feminist reads. Historiann: “Rebecca Traister on Stephanie Coontz’s A Strange Stirring.”
This day in history (February 5)
1871: Mary Sewall Garnder, pioneer of public health nursing, was born.
(If you click on Mary’s name, the link will take you to more women’s history trivia for February 5th.)
With all the upheaval going on in the world these days, I thought I’d share the Gayatri mantra before I go… I grew up on it, and though I’m agnostic and don’t believe in a “creator god,” this one stuck for me, perhaps because Gayatri is a girl goddess and the prayer is about asking her to dispel the darkness of ignorance. I like this translation:
Om Bhur Bhuva Swaha
Tat Savitur Varenyam
Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi
Dhiyo Yo Nah Prachodayat
Mother who subsists as all three Kalas, in all three Lokas, and all three Gunas, I pray to you to illuminate my intellect and dispel my ignorance, just as the splendorous sunlight dispels all darkness. I pray to you to make my intellect serene and bright.
And, to make this roundup even more cross-cultural…
La fin and merci beaucoup if you made it to the end. Let’s hear what you’re reading this Saturday in the comments.