diriyeosman:

FEMININITY IN MEN IS A FORM OF POWER
BY DIRIYE OSMAN
When I first told my friends that I would be wearing a pearl-studded mock-Elizabethan gown for the cover of my book, “Fairytales For Lost Children”, they were doubtful. In the past I had flirted with androgyny by wearing women’s jewellery and a dash of perfume but I had never worn a dress. To my friends, though the notion of a man wearing a dress meant having an extra pair of balls, it seemed essentially perverse. But to me the idea made perfect sense. My book was about gay Somalis exploring their sexual identities and gender roles, so why not riff on these motifs by donning a jewel-encrusted queen’s dress?
I liked the flamboyant cheekiness of the concept, but when I went to the costumier for my first fitting that sense of cheekiness gave way to something more dynamic and surprising. As the costumier strapped me into the corset I didn’t feel constricted. Instead, I felt – and looked - ice-cool, sensual, striking, powerful, virile. In ‘Against Interpretation and Other Essays,’ Susan Sontag argues that, “What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.” To me, this is the most elegant breakdown of the Jungian theory of anima and animus – the feminine principle within men and the masculine principle within women.
Some of our most influential cultural figures – David Bowie, Grace Jones and Prince in particular – have straddled this dichotomy for decades. Miles Davis summed up Prince’s visceral sex appeal as such: “He’s got that raunchy thing, almost like a pimp and a bitch all wrapped up in one image, that transvestite thing.”
In Somali culture hyper-masculinity is the most desired attribute in men. Femininity signifies softness, a lightness of touch: qualities which are aggressively pressed onto young girls and women. When a woman does not possess feminine traits it is considered an act of mild social resistance. This applies equally to men who are not overtly masculine but the stakes are considerably amplified. If a Somali man is considered feminine he is deemed weak, helpless, pitiful: the underlying message being that femininity is inherently inferior to masculinity.
Variants of this thinking extend across most cultures, belief systems, races and sexualities: Western gay culture is as obsessed with exaggerated masculine traits as the patriarchs of Somali clans. Femininity is predominantly perceived as an unappealing quality, a cancelling-out of hyper-valorised masculine traits, with effemiphobia reaching its natural end-point on the online gay dating circuit with the infamous ‘No fems’ or ‘be straight-acting’ tags that pop up on most profiles.
In the case of gay men one could argue that decades if not centuries of stigmatization have created a culture of conformity fuelled by internalized homophobia: the accusation – and it is framed as an accusation – that same-sex-attracted men fail to be authentically masculine has left an enduring mark. But where does that leave everyone else who doesn’t fit the ‘straight-acting’ tag? After all weren’t the Stonewall riots, the birth of the gay civil rights movement, kick-started by the transgender community, drag queens and effeminate young men – the most outcast members of the gay community? Shouldn’t they be our heroes?
The case for effemiphobia often hinges on a threadbare argument against ‘camp’ overexposure. Prominent and popular performers like Paul O’ Grady, Graham Norton and Alan Carr are constantly cited as stereotypes of what an imagined mainstream society wants from their gay performers: flamboyant, with outsized, unthreatening and mostly desexualised personalities. But it takes a tremendous amount of chutzpah to be as charming, cheeky and exuberant as O’Grady, Norton and Carr have been throughout their careers. Each of these performers has mined his experience as an effeminate gay man into comedic gold, and each one is now giggling all the way to the bank. The position of these men as wealthy performers, however, obscures their outlier statuses, and their success is not an accurate representation of the daily stigma and abuse that many feminine men, whether gay, bisexual, asexual or straight, have had to endure from the straight community and certain sections of the LGBT community.
The American writer, Dan Savage, who co-created the “It Gets Better Campaign” to tackle the issue of suicides amongst gay teenagers who were being bullied because of their sexual orientation, put it succinctly: “It’s often the effeminate boys and the masculine girls, the ones who violate gender norms and expectations, who get bullied.“
I contemplated these issues as I toiled with my dress to the photographer’s studio. The outfit was heavier than I expected and I was sweating by the time I arrived. After I mopped myself down and gathered myself together the makeup artist helped me get into the dress. As she laced my corset I thought how strange it was that I, an African man living in the 21st century, would willingly strap myself into the kind of constricting garments that European women had fought so hard to resist a hundred years ago. I remained ambivalent until my makeup was done, until I glanced in the mirror and saw something I had never seen within myself before: a sense of poise, daring even. I had morphed from a shy, timid young man into someone who was bold, unafraid to take risks. I stood before the camera and gazed directly at the lens. There was no need for validation. The photographer didn’t have to give me directions. I knew what I was doing. I struck confident pose after pose, proud of the fact that there was a hard-won sense of power in my femininity.
Diriye Osman is photographed by Boris Mitkov.

diriyeosman:

FEMININITY IN MEN IS A FORM OF POWER

BY DIRIYE OSMAN

When I first told my friends that I would be wearing a pearl-studded mock-Elizabethan gown for the cover of my book, “Fairytales For Lost Children”, they were doubtful. In the past I had flirted with androgyny by wearing women’s jewellery and a dash of perfume but I had never worn a dress. To my friends, though the notion of a man wearing a dress meant having an extra pair of balls, it seemed essentially perverse. But to me the idea made perfect sense. My book was about gay Somalis exploring their sexual identities and gender roles, so why not riff on these motifs by donning a jewel-encrusted queen’s dress?

I liked the flamboyant cheekiness of the concept, but when I went to the costumier for my first fitting that sense of cheekiness gave way to something more dynamic and surprising. As the costumier strapped me into the corset I didn’t feel constricted. Instead, I felt – and looked - ice-cool, sensual, striking, powerful, virile.

In ‘Against Interpretation and Other Essays,’ Susan Sontag argues that, “What is most beautiful in virile men is something feminine; what is most beautiful in feminine women is something masculine.” To me, this is the most elegant breakdown of the Jungian theory of anima and animus – the feminine principle within men and the masculine principle within women.

Some of our most influential cultural figures – David Bowie, Grace Jones and Prince in particular – have straddled this dichotomy for decades. Miles Davis summed up Prince’s visceral sex appeal as such: “He’s got that raunchy thing, almost like a pimp and a bitch all wrapped up in one image, that transvestite thing.”

In Somali culture hyper-masculinity is the most desired attribute in men. Femininity signifies softness, a lightness of touch: qualities which are aggressively pressed onto young girls and women. When a woman does not possess feminine traits it is considered an act of mild social resistance. This applies equally to men who are not overtly masculine but the stakes are considerably amplified. If a Somali man is considered feminine he is deemed weak, helpless, pitiful: the underlying message being that femininity is inherently inferior to masculinity.

Variants of this thinking extend across most cultures, belief systems, races and sexualities: Western gay culture is as obsessed with exaggerated masculine traits as the patriarchs of Somali clans. Femininity is predominantly perceived as an unappealing quality, a cancelling-out of hyper-valorised masculine traits, with effemiphobia reaching its natural end-point on the online gay dating circuit with the infamous ‘No fems’ or ‘be straight-acting’ tags that pop up on most profiles.

In the case of gay men one could argue that decades if not centuries of stigmatization have created a culture of conformity fuelled by internalized homophobia: the accusation – and it is framed as an accusation – that same-sex-attracted men fail to be authentically masculine has left an enduring mark. But where does that leave everyone else who doesn’t fit the ‘straight-acting’ tag? After all weren’t the Stonewall riots, the birth of the gay civil rights movement, kick-started by the transgender community, drag queens and effeminate young men – the most outcast members of the gay community? Shouldn’t they be our heroes?

The case for effemiphobia often hinges on a threadbare argument against ‘camp’ overexposure. Prominent and popular performers like Paul O’ Grady, Graham Norton and Alan Carr are constantly cited as stereotypes of what an imagined mainstream society wants from their gay performers: flamboyant, with outsized, unthreatening and mostly desexualised personalities. But it takes a tremendous amount of chutzpah to be as charming, cheeky and exuberant as O’Grady, Norton and Carr have been throughout their careers. Each of these performers has mined his experience as an effeminate gay man into comedic gold, and each one is now giggling all the way to the bank.

The position of these men as wealthy performers, however, obscures their outlier statuses, and their success is not an accurate representation of the daily stigma and abuse that many feminine men, whether gay, bisexual, asexual or straight, have had to endure from the straight community and certain sections of the LGBT community.

The American writer, Dan Savage, who co-created the “It Gets Better Campaign” to tackle the issue of suicides amongst gay teenagers who were being bullied because of their sexual orientation, put it succinctly: “It’s often the effeminate boys and the masculine girls, the ones who violate gender norms and expectations, who get bullied.“

I contemplated these issues as I toiled with my dress to the photographer’s studio. The outfit was heavier than I expected and I was sweating by the time I arrived. After I mopped myself down and gathered myself together the makeup artist helped me get into the dress. As she laced my corset I thought how strange it was that I, an African man living in the 21st century, would willingly strap myself into the kind of constricting garments that European women had fought so hard to resist a hundred years ago. I remained ambivalent until my makeup was done, until I glanced in the mirror and saw something I had never seen within myself before: a sense of poise, daring even. I had morphed from a shy, timid young man into someone who was bold, unafraid to take risks. I stood before the camera and gazed directly at the lens. There was no need for validation. The photographer didn’t have to give me directions. I knew what I was doing. I struck confident pose after pose, proud of the fact that there was a hard-won sense of power in my femininity.

Diriye Osman is photographed by Boris Mitkov.

Sydney: vandalism, banners against Invasion Day

riserefugee:

RISE does not endorse any movement that claims to be pro-refugee but celebrates “Australia day”. To link our community to such events and white-wash this history is not just insensitive to the indigenous communities of Australia but also to most of us from refugee/asylum seeker communities who…

The art of heart by Ian Miller

Beautifully curated hearts, here’s just a small selection:

maxamillionracism:

Some people say I have “Minority Privilege.” Here is a list I complied of 50 Black Male Minority Privileges I’ve experienced in the twenty-four years of my life. Feel free to pick and choose from the ones you would like to possibly incorporate. There is enough to go around for everyone.

My…

Stay Safe, by Gukira

Stay safe.
Stay alive.
Stay with us.

We say these words as rituals. But never casually. For to be disposable means we can never be casual about our ongoing vulnerability. We can never be casual about our disposability. About the ease with which a killing world hunts for killable bodies and relishes the killing.

“The First Law of Privilege” Musa Okwonga

They make you ashamed of your rage.
They call you the angry black man,
The hysterical woman,
The paranoid Jew.
They make you stand in fire,
Then complain when you yell about the heat.
They say:
“What are you playing the race card for?” -
But I have never known a membership card
That has closed so many doors.
They cause or prolong your pain,
Then tell you how it should be expressed;
If you don’t do so politely,
Then your case will be dismissed -
They talk over you,
Talk over you,
Talk over you,
Talk over you,
Talk over you,
Talk over you,
Talk over you,
Talk over you,
Talk over you -
Then get surprised when you shout.
They don’t think:
“We ignored them,
So they had to scream it out.”
For this is what The First Law of Privilege dictates:
That what to you is daily strife
Is, to them, mere debate.

Walking While Black in the ‘White Gaze’ By GEORGE YANCY

"Black bodies in America continue to be reduced to their surfaces and to stereotypes that are constricting and false, that often force those black bodies to move through social spaces in ways that put white people at ease. We fear that our black bodies incite an accusation. We move in ways that help us to survive the procrustean gazes of white people. We dread that those who see us might feel the irrational fear to stand their ground rather than “finding common ground,” a reference that was made by Bernice King as she spoke about the legacy of her father at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

The white gaze is also hegemonic, historically grounded in material relations of white power: it was deemed disrespectful for a black person to violate the white gaze by looking directly into the eyes of someone white. The white gaze is also ethically solipsistic: within it only whites have the capacity of making valid moral judgments.”

[Eight years ago,] around five thousand people gathered in Cronulla on December to ‘Take Our Beaches Back’ or, as it was put less obliquely in other circulating leaflets and SMS, ‘bash wogs and lebs’. Slogans such as ‘ethnic cleansing’ and ‘Aussies fighting back’ were prominent enough, on placards, posters and scrawled on skin, given force with punch and kick. Draped in Australian flags, singing Waltzing Matilda, large parts of the crowd rampaged around the suburb beating anyone they assumed to be a ‘wog’ or a ‘Leb’, including one woman whose parents migrated from Greece and a Jewish man. Such is the populist version of racial profiling – officiated more recently by the phrase ‘of Middle Eastern appearance’ – that has become standard in Sydney and at a time of a global biowar. It might be noted here that the women who were raped in the most prominent of recent cases in Sydney would not so easily have ‘passed’ as Australian in Cronulla that day, and yet their attackers would not have been given such unprecedented sentences if they had not been identified in court and the media as a ‘Lebanese gang’ targeting ‘Australian women’. Indeed, given that migration officials have deported or interned over a hundred people whom they incorrectly assessed to be ‘illegal non-citizens’ – such as Vivian Solon, a permanent resident deported to a hospice in the Philippines from her hospital bed after being hit by a car – suggests that this moment in Cronulla was, despite all the denials, continuous with the normative inclination of public policy and the racialising demeanour of the rights-bestowing, and rights-denying, state.

 As border policing became central to the conduct of elections and government policy throughout this period, the border was bound to proliferate across social relations and spaces, and in circumstances both casual and administered. This is why the worst of the attacks occurred in the train station. That train takes people from Sydney’s Central railway station to the nearest beach and, given the composition of Sydney as a whole, this includes people from the suburb of Lakemba, which has a high proportion of migrants from the Middle East. Cronulla, for its part, is notable for being the most Anglo-Celtic of suburbs in Australia. The Prime Minister once described the area as ‘a part of Sydney which has always represented to me what middle Australia is all about.’ Responding to the events at Cronulla, he would quickly deny that it was racism at work, adding: ‘I do not believe Australians are racist,’ and going on to propose that those who did believe such a thing lacked a cheerful disposition.

Over the subsequent three nights, there were retaliations. Hundreds of cars were smashed, people beaten and shops destroyed, as Cronulla and surrounding beachside suburbs were made unsafe for those whose belonging there had never before been threatened. One of the calls to retaliate declared:

"Our parents came to this country and worked hard for their families. We helped build this country and now these racists want us out. […] Time to show these people stuck in the 1950’s that times have changed. WE are the new Australia. They are just the white thieves who took land from the Aboriginals and their time is up."

In the midst of this, the NSW Police Commissioner remarked that the Cronulla rally to ‘Take Our Beaches Back’ was a ‘legitimate protest’. It was, according to him, born of a ‘frustration’ with the failure of the police and the state to do their job, which is to say, to ensure the Australian border remained secure within Sydney. The Prime Minister insisted that the problem of ‘ethnic gangs’ – which he unequivocally denied those at Cronulla might be regarded as – should be left to ‘policy’, ie, the state. On the third day of rioting, the NSW Premier announced emergency laws to give police, among other measures, the power to ‘lockdown’ those beachside suburbs under threat. This was, he declared, a ‘war’ and the state would ‘not be found wanting in the use of force’. And so the task of the Cronulla pogrom was more smoothly accomplished by the police acting as border guards, refusing entry to the beaches to those who could not prove that they belonged there. [more]

(Source: border-ctrl-delete)

robothugscomic:

New Comic!
There’s not much to say here, I think a lot of us know what this feels like.
it’s cold and dark out there, now. I’m thinking a lot about hiding and never ever ever ever coming out.

robothugscomic:

New Comic!

There’s not much to say here, I think a lot of us know what this feels like.

it’s cold and dark out there, now. I’m thinking a lot about hiding and never ever ever ever coming out.