Category Archives: Andrea Plaid

A Shift In The SBF Schedule

Hey, SBF community–

typewriter

First of all, thank you so very much for supporting our blog so far, even when our posts are late!

When we started this blog, we wanted to make sure that we gave you thoughtful–sometimes silly, sometimes saucy, but always going for thoughtful–posts about race, gender, sex and sexuality, class, dis/ability, and age, among other issues, as seen from our particulars views as Generation X feminists.

And we also know that those posts take time to write. Lots of time. And, between all of our life happenings–major life moves, day jobs and paying gigs, and families, among other things–we think it best to pare down our writing schedule in order to maintain the quality of posts you expect from Squeezed Between Feminisms. So, we’re going to post a regular writing on Fridays. If we have more posts during the week, we’ll definitely let you know on Facebook and Twitter.

See you next Friday, SBFers!

–Best,

Tami and Andrea

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MILFs, Perimenopause, And Silence: Jezebel Shows Its Ageism—And Ableism And Sexism–By Mocking The Cialis Ads

By Andrea Plaid

Cialis Is Here

Can I say that the more I deal with the rest of the ‘net, the happier I am that Tami and I started Squeezed Between Feminisms?

Two of the latest ageist microaggressions:

An online friend posted a great photo of actor Bill Murray dressed up as Jimi Hendrix sans blackface, which seems to be the new way to express how post-racial we are in the US. (/sarcasm). My online friend, a Black woman wrote: “Bill Murray slayed without a lick of blackface. [T]ake note, [W]hite people.”

A Black guy of indeterminate age posts: “lol, Bill Murray looks 138 years old.”

I replied: “Maybe his age gave him some wisdom to not do blackface, unlike the relative many 20-something and 30-something white kids who are?”

His response: “Co-sign with the above statement.”

Of course he does.

The second? From Jezebel–of course.

While founder Anna Holmes is on tour promoting The Book of Jezebel and some broadcast-media types are trumpeting the tome as, in so many words, online feminism writ in ink—even as some folks question whether the site itself is relevant as a feminist site anymore—some writer on the site had the mind to show how Jezebel stays losing that cache by going for cheap ageist, ableist, and sexist laughs over the Cialis ads.

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An Ode To—And A Complaint About–“White Boy Realness”

By Andrea Plaid

Charlie Hunnam, Actor/Underwear Whisperer

Charlie Hunnam, Actor/Underwear Whisperer

Latest report from my Interracial Mating/Dating Outpost: I’m catching up on my Sons of Anarchy watching—I’m near the end of Season 5–which was interrupted by my Superstorm Sandy displacement. Holding the center of this biker Hamlet production is Charlie Hunnam’s Jax (left), swaggering through this pile-on of a drama in his more convoluted and murderous attempts to aright the legacy of his father, the late John Teller, who wanted to get the Sons of Anarchy bike club out of the darkness of their lucrative illegal trades and into the marvelous light of some utopian, perhaps off-the-grid community.

Yeah, Sons is what that the critics say—great drama and all that. But I’m still looking at Jax’s swagger and some of the responses to it from Black women on Twitter.

Some of these sistahs—some of whom I admire for their brilliant takes on race, gender, class, and pop culture—I would consider “race women”: they love Black folks hard and sturdy, even as they lovingly critique The Community. And they profess to love the brothas hard, as comrades in the struggle and as companions, whether for the night or a lifetime of them. But when Jax saunters across the screen, those same sistas giddily tweet that their panties fly off.

And it’s not just Jax that “does it to them.” He’s the latest—albeit fictional—manifestation of “White Boy Realness (WBR).”

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Too Old For The Freelance Economy Fairy Tale

By Andrea Plaid

Image via virtuemarttemplates.org

Image via virtuemarttemplates.org

I’m tapping out of the full-time freelancing writing life. I don’t have the constitution for it.

Or maybe there isn’t a constitution—a binding structure or a shape—to sustain this life for me…and others who leave the profession.

Of course, we’re warned that the full-on freelance writing life would be very hard, to be prepared for “feast or famine” cycles by having so much money to cushion you, to buy things in bulk during the flush times in order to survive the fasting ones when our pitches for blog posts/magazine articles/ news stories aren’t accepted or the check doesn’t arrive on time, if at all.

But what these warnings don’t tell you about is, to really maintain a certain quality of freelancing writing life over time—to be able to pay for a mortgage or rent, food, transportation, clothing, utilities (including phone and some sort of internet access), and some “pocket money” in order to attend those networking events to buy drinks—one also needs to what I call an “invisible income structure.” SBF homie Deanna Zandt touches on this at Forbes, but what this entails is having a financial safety net in place that bolsters the freelancer’s income, such as a steady-paying gig, having roommates, having a partner who works a steady-income job, living on public assistance (from unemployment to food stamps), living off parental support or an inheritance (be it money, property, etc.), student loans, living in a geographically inexpensive place, and/or some other break with expenses or monetary supplement.

Without that structure, how many freelancers are really “making it”—meaning that they’re able to not only pay for the basics, including the aforementioned “pocket money”, but are able to live a comfortable  middle-class or upper middle-class life strictly on their earnings, when the market is demanding more from writers for less (and by less, I mean “free”) or, at least, six bottles of wine? Especially in a metropolitan place like New York City, which still is seen as the literary/artistic nexus of the US and still the most expensive city in the nation?

And this life isn’t relegated to New York writers, the usually middle-class US-educated–though so many are still, monetarily speaking, the working poor–creative class and the working-class day laborers, some of whom are undocumented immigrants. In fact, this freelancing life is the reality of US working life. What actors and writers and fine artists have been told (and frankly, we tell each other) is our lot—under the romantic myth of The Starving Artist for —has now metastasized. The economic uncertainty that undergirds the Starving Artist Myth crept into corporate and non-profit “office culture,” with the rise (and rising acceptance) of the temp worker. It also inhabits academia, with the increasing dependence on adjunct faculty. Unlike adjunct professors and artists, the temp jobs held at one point held out the promise of full-time work, if not a 40-hour work week for a certain period of time—which some companies took advantage of—then going from a “temp-to-perm” position in a company, complete with medical and other benefits for one’s self and one’s family (depending on the structure of the family) when hired. With that acquired full-time job—as so many others presumably have in the company—one could build a life, like a home.

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MILFs, Perimenopause, And Silence: Miley’s Ageism And 40-Something Sex

Tami: So, Miley Cyrus thinks people over 40 don’t have sex…from the video, I suspect Miley may simply be taking the piss out of the olds–the ones she imagines have been clutching their pearls over her twerking skillz. I’m not sure she really believes what she’s saying. Whatever Miss Miley believes, the notion that sexuality ends at 40 is prevalent in our society and I knew we had to tackle it.

And before we get started, we should acknowledge that we are approaching this issue from the perspective of cisgender, straight women. I would like to hear more views in the comments and on Facebook.

Andrea: ::files nails:: I think because I’ve had a variation of such ageist dismissiveness directed at me from someone about her age–a young gay Black man–I wouldn’t be surprised if she meant every word of it, as pissy as it is. My point is that this kind of thinking isn’t confined to 20-something white women who are former Disney stars.

Hey, Deanna Zandt! Welcome to our freewheeling SBF chat! You know the topic. Go for it.

Deanna: Whee! Thanks for having me.

Tami: Andrea, when we spoke on Facebook, you mentioned the idea of “parent revulsion”–that’s it’s hard for young people to think of people their parents’ age as being sexual. I agree. Miley Cyrus is 20 years old. Often, at that age, quite a few people still haven’t begun seeing their parents, or people like them, as fully actualized human beings. Part of that evolution comes with getting into the workplace and spending days alongside people of various ages. But Cyrus’ “workplace” is awfully youth-oriented.

Andrea: But I think that her workplace is a distillation of this society’s fantasies and sometimes attendant morality plays.

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The Squeezed Between Feminisms Dialogue: How We Got Here, Where We’re Going, And Benedict Cumberbatch

The following conversation appears this week on The Feminist Wire. Here, Andrea and I discuss why we launched this website.

women of color drawing

Tami: You had to work Benedict Cumberbatch in here, didn’t you? I’m beginning to think you’re secretly a bigger fan than I am! I’m no stranger to Andrea shenanigans. We’ve known each other, what, five or six years?

Andrea: Sis, I know Cumberbatch is your catnip, so I knew I could get you here.

As far as knowing each other, I think so. I remember so loving your old blog, What Tami Said, where I committed a few shenanigans in the comments section. But I think that where we realized that we were both born and reared in the Midwest, that we looooved Duran Duran, and that we watched Hee Haw (word to Porter Wagoner, Minnie Pearl, and Dolly Parton).

Tami: And, of course, like all good things, Carmen (Van Kerckhove) Sognonvi is behind our really cyber-meeting. We were both contributors and, eventually, editors at Racialicious. I’m still there, of course, working with Latoya Peterson. I was a huge fan of your work as a Sexual Correspondent there. And we both spent some time writing for Change.org’s short-lived site focused on race.

Andrea: And as quiet as it’s kept, you and I didn’t meet in person until this past Spring. Yes, shenanigans ensued.

We actually thought about starting a blog together about a year ago, but I guess we weren’t at the point where we were ready to do it.

Tami: Two weeks ago, we did it. We launched Squeezed Between Feminisms (SBF). What motivated us is that we both realized our relationship with online feminism is changing as we grow older. You did some research, and it hit us that we probably weren’t alone. A lot of Gen X women are online, which makes sense as the web was emerging as a communications tool as we were coming of age. Still, we both agree that the presence of women our age is not reflected in the content of most popular feminist websites.

Can you explain how you feel online feminism meets or doesn’t meet your needs a black, 40-something woman?

Feminists of a Certain Age

Andrea: I feel like what I’ve seen online really speaks to the concerns and interests of 20-something and 30-something feminists. This makes demographic sense, as stats can support.

But feminism is older than that; at 44, I’m older than that. I remember when, say, bell hooks’ book, Ain’t I A Woman, arrived on the feminist scene. I remember when Making Face, Making Soul first came to my women’s studies classes. I remember the National Women’s Studies Association fallout. But I also remember the seismic shift from Second Wave to Third Wave feminism, not as contested canon, but as a lived contested event. As much as I love talking with and learning from my younger feminist homies, I also wanted a space where I could talk all of those things as lived experience, not just as something learned in college. I wanted a place to talk about the “Porn Wars” and its effect and how the Riot Grrls weren’t the only way to be a feminists–in fact, the Riot Grrls weren’t relevant to me. Lisa Jones was.

Tami: I agree, Andrea. As Gen Xers–and Gen Xers of color–we bring a different context to feminism, but because we are outnumbered, that contribution is often erased.

I have learned a lot from online feminism, but lately I have felt squeezed out of the conversation. Society has long rendered women over 40 invisible. Feminism shouldn’t do that. But I find that spaces like The Feminist Wire, which digs into race and gender and sexuality and class through a feminist lens and speaks across generations, are rare indeed. Jane Pratt is 50, but even her XOJane preferences the voices of 20-somethings. If Lena Dunham and Zooey Deschanel are the pop culture centers of online feminist conversation, then I think a whole lot of people, including me, aren’t getting their needs addressed.

For instance, I want to talk about reproductive health care and that includes birth control and abortion, but I also want to talk about perimenopause and sexual health post-35.

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MILFs, Perimenopause, and Silence: What We Aren’t Saying About Gen X People And Sexual, Reproductive Health

*Editor’s Note: This post is the kick-off of SBF’s first weekly series, “MILFs, Perimenopause, and Silence,” about how media do–and don’t–talk about people, specifically female-identified folks, in our 40s and 50s in terms of sexual and reproductive health. The post below is the series’ introduction. –Andrea

By Andrea Plaid; originally published at RH Reality Check

Image via blackdoctor.org

Image via blackdoctor.org

Working with reproductive-health and reproductive-justice organizations and advocates, I’ve noticed that people like me aren’t included in the discussions.

Not so much women of color like me; by the definition of reproductive justice, women of color are centered in those conversations.

Not so much cisgender people like myself. To quite a few organizations and individuals, being cisgender is the default gender of what it means to be a “woman,” and the ability to conceive and give birth happens to the exclusion of transgender people and gender non-conforming people who are seen as suspect as Black cisgender women in terms of sexual behavior and motherhood.

No, it seems that people like me aren’t included too often because we’re of “a certain age”–40 years old and older, to be more precise.

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