Wash your Hands

Blurb by Sage Reynold (content creator), Poem By Dori Midnight

If I had to tell myself a few months ago that our state, our nation, our world would be united through washing our hands, I really wouldn’t get it. But here we are, dry knuckles and all. Even though I have the time, I haven’t been reading many books or poems or prose. But, I found the time to read this poem and I think it helped me in some subtle, weird way, so here is if you want to read it too.

–Sage Reynolds

Read the entire poem here: https://dorimidnight.com/uncategorized/wash-your-hands/

“We are humans relearning to wash our hands.
Washing our hands is an act of love
Washing our hands is an act of care
Washing our hands is an act that puts the hypervigilant body at ease
Washing our hands helps us return to ourselves by washing away what does not serve.

…..

Wash your hands and cough into your elbow, they say.
Rest more, stay home, drink water, have some soup, they say.
To which I would add: burn some plants your ancestors burned when there was fear in the air,
Boil some aromatic leaves in a pot on your stove until your windows steam up.
Open your windows
Eat a piece of garlic every day. Tie a clove around your neck.
Breathe.

My friends, it is always true, these things.
It has already been time.
It is always true that we should move with care and intention, asking
Do you want to bump elbows instead? with everyone we meet.
It is always true that people are living with one lung, with immune systems that don’t work so well, or perhaps work too hard, fighting against themselves. It is already true that people are hoarding the things that the most vulnerable need.
It is already time that we might want to fly on airplanes less and not go to work when we are sick.
It is already time that we might want to know who in our neighborhood has cancer, who has a new baby, who is old, with children in another state, who has extra water, who has a root cellar, who is a nurse, who has a garden full of elecampane and nettles.
It is already time that temporarily non-disabled people think about people living with chronic illness and disabled folks, that young people think about old people.
It is already time to stop using synthetic fragrances to not smell like bodies, to pretend like we’re all not dying. It is already time to remember that those scents make so many of us sick.
It is already time to not take it personally when someone doesn’t want to hug you.
It is already time to slow down and feel how scared we are.

…..

Those of us who have forgotten amuletic traditions,
we turn to hoarding hand sanitizer and masks.
we find someone to blame.
we think that will help.
want to blame something?
Blame capitalism. Blame patriarchy. Blame white supremacy.

It is already time to remember to hang garlic on our doors
to dip our handkerchiefs in thyme tea
to rub salt on our feet
to pray the rosary, kiss the mezuzah, cleanse with an egg.
In the middle of the night,
when you wake up with terror in your belly,
it is time to think about stardust and geological time
redwoods and dance parties and mushrooms remediating toxic soil.
it is time
to care for one another
to pray over water
to wash away fear
every time we wash our hands”

**We do not own or claim to own any part of this poem. This poem and artist is not associated with the Monthly Rag or the FGS program and all credit goes to the rightful owner, Dori Midnight.

 

 

 

Vexy Thing and the Matrices of Domination

By Annie Zlevor

As part of the Abbott Memorial Lecture Series, Dr. Imani Perry’s presentation sought to resurrect the patriarchy by exploring mechanisms of oppression from the Enlightenment to now. As written in her book, Vexy Thing: On Gender and Liberation, Dr. Perry reexamined the ordinary conception of the patriarchy in an attempt to distinguish between a common place understanding and how it actually manifests itself.

She identified three main pillars that help form the legal and economic relations which make up the foundation of the patriarchy: property holding men, personhood, and sovereignty. All these pillars have essentially been written into law in the United States, especially a person’s ability to be recognized as a rights bearing person. To better understand this, Dr. Perry described the “reasonable man doctrine,” which has been the standard for law making. The “reasonable man doctrine” symbolizes a dispassionate and measured man, who consequently allows for the flattening of human complexities. The conduction of legal interpretation based on this standard ignores the particularity of the individual experience and forms a banner of legitimacy under a legal institution.

In Dr. Perry’s critique of feminism, she examined the controversial “entrepreneurial woman,” or the woman who is considered to formally be a part of the citizenry. They symbolize the appearance of inclusion based on apparent political and economic power, however this signifier for feminist progress is often misguided and false. These women continue to uphold conventional masculinity and do not contribute to the unhinging of mainstream feminism. Dr. Perry’s goal is to see past the idea that feminism is simply bringing women up to par with men. Instead, she attempts to study the subject of relation between men and women as opposed to resorting to simplistic forms of representation. She encourages people to read beyond seeing men “on top” and hoping for a time when women join men in this superior position. She attempts to ask what it means to be “on top” and what the implications of that include.

Although broad in her analysis of the patriarchy and feminism and receiving criticism that her form of feminism is the analysis of everything, she argues that liberation feminism must include the reading of everything around us. Dr. Perry encourages feminists to read the layers and pay attention to the matrices that exist in our world. As a result of seeing these structures as a matrix, we can develop a sense of intimacy and ethical remapping. We can stop viewing ourselves as outsiders trying to solve a problem, but instead assess our relationship to these issues. Dr. Perry argues that although an intersectional approach is important, in order to understand forms of domination, matrices are more applicable. Specifically, they allow us to see past the notion that we all have a clear conscience. She hopes that we can make liberation irresistible by seeing the complexities in which the patriarchy exists and identifying how we can critically engage ourselves and the world we live in.

Reproducing Patriarchal Power Structures in the Name of Feminism

By Katie Trinh

Dr. Imani Perry believes that feminists need to grapple with the complex structure of the patriarchy. Patriarchy includes the exclusion and suffering of women due to the domination of men. She claims that legal and economic relations in society are the foundation of patriarchy. There are three components that define patriarchy in the past and present: property holding men, legal personhood, and the privilege to appeal to the sovereign authority. Legal personhood refers to the fact that an individual is recognized as a right-bearing human being. One of Dr. Imani Perry’s main points is that women only have access to these benefits when they are attached to a patriarch. The system of the patriarchy is written into the law. Every aspect of feminist theory involves dismantling the patriarchy, and the patriarchy demonstrates how legal and economic institutions hold the most power and privilege. 

Perry also discusses how although entrepreneurial women signify female progress, these women are perceived to be successful because of their “masculine” traits. There is a narrative that men fail professionally or economically because of the economic success of women. According to Perry, feminism is a complicated concept that many people do not grasp. Many people believe that feminism means having women replace men as the dominating gender. However, Perry takes the stance that women, especially feminists, should not try to dominate men; instead, feminists should take on ethical positions that are based on their understanding of oppression. 

One of Perry’s main points is that patriarchy manifests as an entitlement that needs to be protected. She says that sexual allegations against men in power demonstrate how patriarchy is an entitlement. Many people argue that sexual allegations against men in power will “ruin their lives,” implying that their patriarchy and the privilege that comes with it needs to be protected. Perry also notes that any type of privilege acts as an entitlement for people. She provides the example of a white woman who accused a young black boy of groping her. Because the woman had the privilege of being white, she felt as though she was entitled to accuse a young black boy of sexual misconduct. Perry argues that we need to “read the layers” and look at how other factors besides gender, such as race, can contribute to relations in power. Perry’s point about adopting a language of intersectionality directly connects to Feminist and Gender Studies because this study revolves around the changing relationships between power and different factors of identity. 

Overall, Perry asks us to recognize our own positions of privilege. She acknowledges that none of us have “clean hands.” Everyone is at a certain position of privilege at the expense of oppressed and marginalized people. Sill, Perry asks everyone to examine how their position of privilege can play a role in affecting change. To Perry, feminism means looking closer at how economic and legal institutions enforce this patriarchal system, and how we must take ethical positions to address these systems of oppression. 

Video

Breaking Patriarchy

PatriarchyThis video, written and produced by Andra Metcalfe, Hunton Russell, and Emma Singer during the First-Year Experience (FYE) section of FG110 Introduction to Feminist & Gender Studies at Colorado College with Professor Heidi R. Lewis during Block 1 2018, explores how youth can better understand and address patriarchy.

 

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Top and then Bottom L to R: Abigail Turner, Skye Guindon, Jane Hatfield, Professor Heidi R. Lewis, Hunton Russell, Emma Caligor, Sam Lovett, Skylar Owens, Emma Singer, Andra Metcalfe, Jasmine Linder, Avia Hailey, Nathalie Reinstein, and Sakina Bhatti

Tosh.N0: Challenging the Hegemonic Humor of Tosh.0

Original Print A“‘Rape jokes are never funny,’ shouted a woman in the audience at a comedy show in Los Angeles in 2012. Daniel Tosh swiveled his body and gazed at her, then looked back at the audience and asked, “Wouldn’t it be funny if she got raped by, like, five guys? Like, right now?” Daniel Tosh, the host of Comedy Central’s popular show Tosh.0, frequently toes the line on sexist, racist, classist, and overall exploitative commentary.”
—Ally Nagasawa-Hinck, Ariannis Hines, Jules Feeney, and Njeri Summey (Block 5 2016)

Original Print B“Tosh’s success in the industry can be explained by David Nylund’s assertion that ‘the media industry, therefore, often mobilizes measure around conservative ideologies that have oppressive effects on women, homosexuals and people of color’ (232). Tosh’s jokes often adhere to traditional gender roles, classist attitudes of superiority, racists stereotypes, and narcissism […] The images that advertise Tosh.0 consistently portray Daniel Tosh as a funny, powerful male through conventionalized (normalized) indicators of masculinized body language.”

[NOTE: Due to difficulties with embedding, please click here to view the Tosh.0 clip.]

“While the vast majority of Tosh’s comments on the show are problematic, we focus on three specific examples that highlight his sexist and classist rhetoric. [This clip] illustrates Tosh’s use of assumption-driven, belittling, and problematic humor. When commenting on the YouTube video “Worst Prank Ever,” Tosh remarks on the family in the video’s living space, family structure, and the maternal figure’s appearance through embedded sexist and classist ideologies.”

New Print B“In order to accomplish our counter-hegemonic goals, we re-appropriate his jokes by mimicking their format and timing in a way that flips the power dynamic. By designating Njeri, a Black and Queer woman, as the Tosh.N0 host, we challenge Tosh’s authority and symbolically give power to a marginalized voice.”

“By replacing Tosh’s white male body with two Black female bodies, we invert the concept of ‘whitewashing,’ a phenomena that Lori Kito Lopez claims represents whiteness as ‘both invisible and dominant'(639). In other words, race in white male identities is often unacknowledged. Further, white men are overwhelmingly represented in mainstream media, while women of color are marginalized. The act of photographing Njeri and Ariannis in this way granted their identities true representation.”