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Late! - Tactical Ninja

Oct. 12th, 2010

11:27 am - Late!

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Today is apparently National Coming Out Day. According to the Wikipedia article, its

"National Coming Out Day (NCOD) is an internationally observed civil awareness day for coming out and discussion about gay, lesbian, bisexual, asexual and transgender (LGBT) issues."

It's not that I didn't know what coming out day was about, I was just, as always, wondering which nation it was the National Day for. Apparently National Coming Out Day is international! Yes I think they should change the name, of course I do, duh.


Because if there's anything I've learned from Teh Internetz, it's that being heterosexual and cisgendered sidelines much of what I would have to say. But anyone who wants to tell me I'm not allowed to express my concern and disgust over the LGBTetc issues that have been in the news this past week can go fuck themselves in the ear. It makes me sad that at the moment, these issues are overshadowing positive stories in mainstream awareness. A friend of mine wrote a piece yesterday about what happened in New York in the context of the current economic downturn in the US, I'm hoping she'll give me permission to link to it because I believe it's telling, and it's also chilling.

I've also seen a lot said on both sides of the debate about the "It Gets Better" YouTube thing started by Dan Savage. On one side, people think it's great because it's offering positive stories to young people struggling with their sexuality and as Dan said when he dreamed up the idea, it's a form of mentoring in a society that (often still) disallows f2f mentoring of young LGBTetc people. On the other, Dan is white, cisgendered, male and middle class, which puts him in an advantaged position in terms of how much better it gets and how fast, and there is fear that the campaign is giving people false hope which may lead to further despair when the hope doesn't come to fruition. I can see both sides, and honestly don't know what to think. I say "It gets better" to my son quite regularly, because being a teenager is hard and being an adult, while still hard, is better than being a teenager. So I have no problem with the message in general, and don't feel qualified to speak to the rest.

Meanwhile, I won't be retweeting the thing that's going around Twitter. It's not that I don't have gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered friends in my life that I love & accept unconditionally - it's the implicit "jump on this meme or you are a bad person" subtext behind pretty much all the retweet/facebook status memes, that brings out the contrary apeth in me that goes "Shan't!"


And since beagl didn't link to it, I will:

Pregnant and menstruating women asked to respect Maori custom and reschedule visits to the Taonga Maori exhibition.

Kiwiblog labels this 'superstitious bullshit'. Yes, the man who wrote this piece actually did decide to speak on behalf of women (normally this blog is known for its somewhat backward views on women) and use us as a weapon for some Maori-bashing. How convenient. WARNING: that post is pretty incendiary.

Meanwhile, the debate develops over at beagl's. Not to derail or yoink, but I'm interested in hearing what people have to say on this, because I'm seeing a distinct gender separation of views on the feminism vs culture question over there.

Comments:

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From:megapope
Date:October 11th, 2010 10:37 pm (UTC)
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From one of the first comments on kiwiblog...

"Ah, now I understand why some Maori kids go hungry.. solo mum isn’t allowed to cook for them for a week."

I... wow. Holy shit, people. This is where Paul Henry supporters go to have online circle jerks, clearly.
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From:tatjna
Date:October 12th, 2010 01:10 am (UTC)
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Yeah, I'm really digging the assumption that women are the only ones who know how to prepare food in those comments.

Also, I really object to my rights, which they don't give a crap about normally, being trotted out as an excuse to behave in such a bigoted way.

pombagira has added an interesting perspective to it too.
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From:anna_en_route
Date:October 11th, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
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I think I'd find it quite hard to take if it was an absolute order but as a request, I have no problem with it and would.

I think the way it was initially reported was designed to stir up controversy rather than have an honest debate on the topic.

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From:phaetonschariot
Date:October 12th, 2010 06:48 am (UTC)
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Particularly since they really didn't have anything much from, oh, actual Māori. It's all man on the street pākehā shit.
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From:pythia
Date:October 11th, 2010 11:49 pm (UTC)
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I like the MAKE it better idea much more. Instead of just waffling on about how it got better for *us* we should be actively doing something towards making it better for other young people.
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From:phaetonschariot
Date:October 12th, 2010 06:50 am (UTC)
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At some point soon I'm going to write a post about what I think I'd say if I did one of those videos. I don't feel it would be particularly happy bouncy.
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From:anna_en_route
Date:October 11th, 2010 11:03 pm (UTC)
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Also on the subject of "it gets better" I think it's not causing active harm and might actually save some lives so it comes accross as an overall good.

That said, it's awesome to see non-white and non cis-gendered people posting their own videos on the site and they really really need more people who did not go to college because right now it's only aimed at a portion of people.

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From:pythia
Date:October 11th, 2010 11:25 pm (UTC)
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Well, for start, to be in a place to participate, you need to have acces to the internet, computers and recording equipment which instantly rules out many people for whom it *hasn't* become better. But they don't have a way to communicate that.
I guess what I'm saying is that it's only a small slice of society who are even in a position to make "It gets better" videos, and that slice is biased towards upper classes.
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From:pythia
Date:October 11th, 2010 11:16 pm (UTC)
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I find it interesting how many people are getting upset about a simple request to observe the customs of Maori culture and calling it 'superstitious nonsnese', yet we're *forced* to respect and honour so many Christian beliefs, like the 'no alcohol served without food' on Easter, etc.
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From:richdrich
Date:October 11th, 2010 11:35 pm (UTC)
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I'm not sure that's an actual Xtian belief, like. Unless you have an edition of the bible that includes the Book of Wowser.
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From:pythia
Date:October 11th, 2010 11:23 pm (UTC)

Also

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I kind of feel like the 'it gets better' campaign is almost saying "It's just a phase, you'll get over it when you grow up." Which is both dismissive and completely not helpful to a lot of young people.
But I also think that if it helps some people hold on for a few more years until they're more equipped and have more resources to deal with discrimination and hardships, it's doing some good. Of course, it would be great if those resources were available no matter your age, but they're not.
I guess it's a mixed bag.
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From:anna_en_route
Date:October 12th, 2010 12:05 am (UTC)

Re: Also

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Watching the videos I don't get that impression at all, it mostly seems to be dealing with the fact that under 18s lack a whole bunch of power in society (the powerlessness being compounded if your parents are actively part of the problem).

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From:syn_abounds
Date:October 11th, 2010 11:40 pm (UTC)
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On the menstruating/pregnant women issue, after a discussion on it with friends who are more educated than me, the general consensus seems to be that it's problematic and leaves us feeling a wee bit icky.

I, as a sceptic, would feel in no way in danger if I went to this exhibit while menstruating. I also have issues with it because of the historical context of isolating pregnant or menstruting women and looking on this process as being "icky".

However, as someone who tries to be generally considerate of other people's social mores and needs, I'd feel like a bit of a dick about ignoring their wishes afterwards. Of course, all of this comes from a white feminist's POV and I am sure there are strong feminist women in the hapu these taonga belong to who will think the exact opposite of me and my friends.

Overall, I feel it's problematic because frankly, my pregnancy or menstruation status is no one else's business and having to be all "YEAH GUYS, I'M CURRENTLY BLEEDING FROM MY VAGINA SO Y'ALL GO OFF AND HAVE FUN, I'LL BE OVER HERE" is a big pile of pooh. Also, what happens if a woman doesn't know she's pregnant. Or is currently pregnant but has a scheduled abortion coming up? Or has started menstruating but hasn't started if you know what I mean?


Also, an idea put forward by a friend of mine was this:

I've been to other exhibitions at Te Papa where they've done it much more sensitively - the Egyptian mummies, for example, had specific exhibits in separate areas with signs on the door saying "Please be aware that this area contains human remains". Why not just say "Please be aware that this area contains items which Maori culture considers spiritually dangerous to pregnant or menstruating women"?

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From:pombagira
Date:October 12th, 2010 12:09 am (UTC)
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""Please be aware that this area contains items which Maori culture considers spiritually dangerous to pregnant or menstruating women"?

this is an excellent way of handing the issue.. i like it.. much more sensitive.. and way less like a publicity stunt.. O.o

*smiles*
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From:syn_abounds
Date:October 12th, 2010 01:10 am (UTC)
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AND Stuff only ever allow comments on posts like this one, where they can guarantee bleeding heart liberals and frothing conservatives will come together in one giant dramafest.
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From:pombagira
Date:October 11th, 2010 11:56 pm (UTC)
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What if it is real? what if a woman, any woman who is menstruating or pregnant is in danger from the energy and magic and taup, in the sense of unrestrained mana, or malevolent mana/energy, from these artefacts from the Maori Culture. these artefacts have been used in ritual, and battle and at a time when the mana and energy that went into the making and using of them was strong? so what if even if you don't believe in this mana or magic or energy, and you are a woman menstruating and you go what then?
see now i am coming from the school of energy and magic is real, no matter what culture or framework that it comes from, magic and energy are real, they can have very really effects, on very real people, and these effects will not always be obvious to start with. So as you can guess i will not be going to this exhibition when i am Menstruating, and not because i am frighten, cause hell i’m, a witch thus have some experience with such things, but you know, often it is nice to know that this type of energy has a potential for harm, beforehand as it sure beats having to clean up the mess afterwards. Although i do have to wonder what or how that would work for someone who in on a hormone for contraception or other reasons. I suspect that the consequences would be more in effect for pregnant woman, rather than those who have their period. In many cultures and from what i understand of it, Maori culture when a woman has her period she has much stronger energy during that time, something to do with magnetism and blood as a life force, thus when a woman is bleeding she is exuding a lot more life-force than not. And if you take that a step further, when a woman is pregnant she is carrying around the life-force of two thus her power/mana/energy is strong during pregnancy.
Now, these artefacts also have their won life-force styled energy, which came about by how they were made, and what they were used for. Now it says in the article that the objects that they are most concerned about are in the Tohunga collection, Tohunga by is very nature is a scared thing, it is also something that probably once belonged to an expert of some sort, and given that the spirit world is a lot closer within the Maori culture, and was used, i suspect that it is not the just the women’s safety that the staff at Te Papa are concerned about, because the ‘safety of the artefacts, which were used in ritual, may well be at risqué if they come in contact with woman who currently have a stronger life-force that the artefact they are looking at. And once the energy or mana or magic of an object has been broken, loosed, or lost the artefact is no longer sacred as such but just and object. Hmm...clear as mud?

also i suspect that there may well of been some strange and odd occurrences down in the dungeons of our national museum, most probably related to these artefacts, thus a statement from Te Papa, stating a concern. "hey if you are pregnant or menstruating, then you probably should know about these risks" like a health warning.

however it seems that this topic has become a bit of a trigger for most people, for some it is cultural and nothing more, for others it is feminist, and for others still it is a secular verses magic and myth, to not go because a woman had her period would smack in the face of our safe secular world where science has explained everything and what it hasn't is pushed over to the 'not real myth, fantasy, and fairytale' corner *coughoppsrantcough*

from the magic is real corner, it is quite difficult to go against our western cultural training of some thousand or so years where it has been drummed into use that magic is not real, nor is magic energy, but more it is fairytale, and to believe otherwise is because you are not being real or you have your head in the clouds, or you are not quite right, or as my mother told Tats mother "she always was a bit different"

to believe in magic as real makes you that easy to hate 'other' thus obviously we should view this issue from the standpoint of culture and gender cause magic is not real mmk...

or is it?

what if it is real?

*ponders things*

gosh looks like i had a viewpoint.. i wonder if it is in the above.. *ponders this to*



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From:tatjna
Date:October 12th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC)
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This is one of the reasons I love you. Nobody else whose opinion I've read gives any credence at all to the possibility that it might be real.

Discounting that possibility seems to be the default, and that's a shame.

I think culture and gender are important, but in the end both are flexible. I think a rigid adherence to the idea that it's a dichotomy is a mistake because it prevents the opening of dialogue that could lead to understanding - and that dialogue has to include sharing of beliefs.
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From:phaetonschariot
Date:October 12th, 2010 06:59 am (UTC)
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I was thinking of it like magnets - all magnets have those forces, but if you put two magnets together they interfere with each other. Obviously it's different. Because they're different kinds of tapu, but in some ways that makes it more dangerous, because we don't really know how they'd interact.
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From:phaetonschariot
Date:October 12th, 2010 06:44 am (UTC)
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You white mofos just shut up and do what your told, you’re all racists anyway.

That is my thoughts. (Copy pasted from someone else.)

Oh, and,

FFS – they simply asked that women invited to go on a tour respect a custom. If they would like to respect a custom, an alternative time would be arranged for them to go on the tour. If they don’t believe in the custom, that is not a problem and they can still attend.

Its not a big deal. If you go to the general exhibit, the rule would not be in place. However, if there were people going on this tour and they DID believe in the tapu and weren’t informed about it, surely that would be equally horrific?

Also, sweet as to see that we’re all about respecting ethnic diversity, except when it comes to our indigenous peoples. Kia ora, New Zealand, kia ora.
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