11 July 2010

Linkspam for the ages: The politics and ownership of bodies edition

My favorite from this week, Jessica Valenti writes about how people treat pregnant bodies like they're public:
•Stop touching my stomach without my permission. It’s presumptuous and it creeps me out. You wouldn’t touch a non-pregnant person’s belly without asking, so what makes you think it’s okay to just lay hands on mine? I know you probably mean well and are excited about the baby and all, but please just ask first. (Especially because there’s no socially acceptable way for me to tell you to stop without sounding like a killjoy.)

•Please don’t comment on how small or big I’m carrying for how far along I am. It’s weird enough having your body change in such dramatic ways without having strangers tell you that you’re not normal. (I’m talking to you, bra-store lady! Your skeptical frown after I told you I was 6 months and comment that I’m way too small was not helpful nor welcome. I’m nervous enough about shit as it is.)
Sing it, sister!

In the It's About Damn Time Category, South African runner Caster Semenya has finally been cleared to compete again after the debacle in which she was subject to a battery of gender tests. From Feministing:
I'm glad Caster will be allowed to compete once again, but this ruling by no means clears up the underlying issues at hand with gender based sports.

I've argued before that the gender binary is not as black and white as our society would make it seem. This point, in my opinion, is further elucidated when someone tries to "prove" gender. There are wide variations that exist, which poke holes at our attempts to simplify everyone into an either or category.
Lastly, Amanda at Pandagon discusses the archives of Larry Rivers, an artist who died in 2002. After his death, Rivers's work was acquired by NYU, but his daughter is asking the archive to turn over some pieces to be destroyed, because they depict the sexual abuse of her and her sister. From Tracy Clark-Flory via Pandagon:
Rivers [...] filmed his daughters, starting at the age of 11, every six months for five years, asking them “about their breasts and whether boys have started noticing them.” There are “close-up shots of one daughter’s genitals and detailed commentary by Mr. Rivers on the girls’ changing bodies.” In some scenes, his wife, Clarice Rivers, “appears with her daughters, displaying her own breasts and talking about them.” The clips were edited into a 45-minute-long film. He titled it “Growing.”
And instead of just handing the damn thing over, everyone is discussing whether the pieces are or are not Art. Which is fucking stupid, because child abuse is child abuse. From Pandagon:
NYU is wanting to hang on to these films in order to release them after the subjects pass away. That’s not enough.  Rivers abused his children, and NYU shouldn’t cooperate in the abuse, even in the name of art.  They should let Tamburlini destroy the videos if she wants.  After all, she was part of the making of them; they belong to her as much as they do her dead father.
Have a good week!