Human Rights Badasses

This is just really cool. Not like nose-thumbing-badass, but really cool. A prison in the Philippines started teaching dances to the 1500 prisoners, and it reduced the number of fights they’re having, plus it’s pretty entertaining. Several of the inmates are openly gay.  Look up the videos on youtube – my favorites are Thriller and Hail Holy Queen from Sister Act.

Prisons need a lot of work, I think. I get pissed when rapists and sex traffickers and johns don’t get enough prison time, but maybe I’m looking at it wrong to begin with. Maybe the amount of prison time shouldn’t be proportional only to the degree of shittiness of the crime, but to something more practical and more directly related to what will keep the crime from happening again. Because I don’t think prison actually works as a deterrent as much as it’s supposed to. I don’t think deterrents work very well in general. They work on people like me (not that I’m so great, just that I’m not into getting punished), but there are a lot of people out there who think they can get away with it and who want to do illegal stuff that badly, and they’re kinda right, you can get away with a lot of stuff.

Look at pedophiles, for instance. Their recidivism rates are pretty high, not like every one of them repeats, but like half do, I think. There’s a debate over whether it’s a disease, something they can’t help. Kinda looks like it is to me, at least partially. I don’t want to treat child abuse lightly at all, but I think we need to revisit our system and figure out stuff that WORKS.

I still get angry, though, when judges give rapists and child abusers short sentences because they don’t consider the crime very bad.

Another problem is prison rape. I think it’s disgraceful that prisons don’t do whatever is necessary to keep that from happening, and according to feministing, they don’t even watch out for trans prisoners, who are targeted more.

So anyway, there’s some good news coming from a prison, and something is working, or at least keeping them from beating each other up. : ) I’d like to see a trend like that.


I just finished watching America’s Got Talent with my mom. I’m not the show’s biggest fan, but watching those competition shows has somehow become a way for my mom and I to spend time together. So I’m going to talk about one of the groups in the competition: The Glamazons.

I don’t like everything about The Glamazons. They’re a singing and dancing group of women, and their singing and dancing are enthusiastic but not exactly impressive, especially compared to the talents of the other competitors. I also didn’t like the part in their act tonight where they pretended to push men down before implying having sex with them. Mixing violence and objectification with sex is not ok by me, no matter which sex does it to which.

But the thing about them is, they’re not skinny. And yet they not only are comfortable enough to perform in front of thousands of people on television, but they do it in sexy outfits. I wouldn’t call them feminist icons; something about the idea that all women should have the right to be sexually objectified regardless of their size fails to inspire me. But you gotta admit, they’re ovaries-y. I mean, there are a lot of women who more closely fit the mold of what our society says is hot who would be embarrassed to flaunt their bodies like that – not based on modesty, but based on shame over what they look like. And fat comes with a lot of extra body shame around here. By performing and declaring themselves sexy, they’re giving the society that says you’re not only not sexy, but even a bad person, the middle finger. And you gotta respect that. It was a risk, but the cool thing is, it’s working. They made it into the top 8, which means people are voting for them, and the two male judges (someone want to explain to me why male judges always outnumber female judges on these shows?) give them real praise, on their sex appeal most of all, which is great, because I was afraid they would get some patronizing, “oh isn’t that sweet” kind of crap.

So I’m not praising everything about them, but what they’re doing is still brave, and I hope it will make heavier people feel more confident and women of all sizes, but especially larger ones, to be able to block out the messages about how they need to “fix” their bodies in order to be worthy of love. (No, I’m not confusing love and sex, but our culture does, so that’s what I have to work with.) And despite my reservations related to the sexual objectification of women, their act tonight seemed to say that women like sex too and it’s ok for them to show it, which is important for feminism.

Ironically, this shirt from their store looks too small for most women to fit into. I guess the whole world hasn’t changed yet. Baby steps.

et cetera