Sisters of Resistance have long opposed the misogynist, negative portrayals of women, working class people and people of color in reality TV shows. That circle has recently expanded to include children, exploited in such shows as “Toddlers and Tiaras” and its follow-up, “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” We would like to call your attention to this clued-in article by Jennifer Pozner for the New York Times Opinion Pages in which she looks at this disturbing cultural phenomenon.
In the wake of the 2012 London Olympics, we are cross-posting Ashok Kumar‘s radical analysis of the elite-serving “tradition”/distraction of the masses that is the Olympic Games. You can read the complete article at Ceasefire Magazine.
We close with links to a number of articles from various sources who don’t all agree with our stance on the Olympics, but provide critical insight into the ways women athletes of color are scrutinized rather than celebrated for their accomplishments, a particularly ignominious trend in light of such overwhelming successes this year.
Hosting the Olympics is often presented to us as an ideologically neutral opportunity to boost tourism and sports. In a thought-provoking piece Ceasefire Magazine’s Ashok Kumar outlines a clear and consistent, yet barely noticed, pattern of the Games being used to fundamentally restructure the host City to the purposeful exclusion of its working class and ethnic minority residents.
As London prepares to host the 2012 Summer Olympics, startlingly little critique has surfaced in the mainstream press. With the exception of the trivial issue of ticket prices, most of the city remains transfixed, internalising the dominant narrative. This process precedes each Olympic games, one that is written and distributed by and for the real Olympic profiteers; a nexus of powerful interests that sees both short and long term gains in each host city.
This highly profitable, publicly subsidised, sporting event always attracts the major, and wannabe major, cities of the world, using any and all methods to entice an unaccountable Olympic committee, each flexing their political muscle to ensure theirs is the next chosen location. The Olympics take billions of pounds, yen, dollars of their host countries’ tax revenue to build magnificent stadiums and housing facilities, militarise the city, trample civil liberties and construct elaborate installations with shelf lives of a few weeks.
The Gabby Douglas Hair Controversy…Unwrapped [Sporty Afros]
And to anyone seeking to belittle the great feats of athleticism these women have achieved, we got one thing for you:
WHO SHE IS: Wangari Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011), Kenyan feminist, environmental and political activist.
WHAT SHE HAS ACCOMPLISHED: In the 1970s, she founded the Green Belt Movement, an environmental organization that empowers women by planting trees to restore their environments. She was one of the first to pioneer this practice among grassroots campaigns for environmental conservation. According to The Guardian, “Her disdain for the economics promoted by Britain, the World Bank, and the west was huge: ‘The people at the top of the pyramid do not understand the limits to growth and they do not appreciate that they jeopardize the capacity of future generations to meet their own needs,’ she said.
Her solution, to work with the poorest and most vulnerable women to repair their own degraded environments and empower themselves, proved inspirational. Planting trees became a worldwide symbol of hope and community regeneration. The Green Belt Movement she started evolved into one of the first truly worldwide, grassroots, self-help organisations.” (John Vidal, Guardian, 27 Sept. 2011)
Over the next 20 years, tens of billions of trees were planted by women as a direct result of her work. For this, she became the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize (2004) for “her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.” She is known as one of Kenya’s greatest heroes of the last 50 years.
WHY WE LOVE HER: Mathaai’s politics was on point and her principles were put into practice. She combined environmentalism and feminism; she built an ecofeminist movement that went worldwide, united female poverty and environmental concerns to fight against patriarchy and for climate justice. She was fearless, responding to extreme political repression with public acts of resistance, such as home barricades, hunger strikes and clashes with the police. Through it all, she wore traditional dress, repping for her culture. She remained defiant in her personal life as well, refusing to allow her husband to control her. Her passion, her example, and the grassroots model she used will continue to inspire women as we fight for revolutionary change.