Mid-Week Musings: feminist sci-fi, new music videos, toplessness, and Nina Hartley

Howdy, folks! The past few weeks I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by all of the stuff that’s pertinent to this blog, and that’s a great thing! There are a lot of very public conversations going on about things that are important to me, mostly in the arena of sex-positivity, body-positivity, street harassment, and feminism in general. Hooray!

Here’s a round-up of a a few that have come to my attention in just the pasta few days.

1) First of all, you need to read Ursula K. le Guin. Like. Yesterday. I just started The Dispossessed, and. Yes. Feminism and social commentary and so much more… in space! So good.

Hardcore awesome, right here!

2) Toplessness for good causes: Last week, queer comedian and survivor Tig Notaro did the second  half of her on-tour comedy set topless, baring her post-double-mastectomy torso for the crowd to massive applause and media circus-ness, making a tacit and very powerful point about the taboo nature of breasts and the lack thereof. She was then rushed to the hospital over the weekend with “massive internal bleeding” from a cyst that had burst, and while she hasn’t said for certain, it’s likely that said cyst was ovarian in nature, since they all too often cause hospitalization and horrendous pain for women. It seems like her female body is out to get her, and yet she is blazing through it with fearless intensity and panache. I want to take a moment to salute this brave woman, whose public life has been one episode after another of courage and humor, all of it tied up, inevitably, in boobs and body. As a woman, it’s scary and sometimes dangerous to talk about changes and illnesses of the body–we are too often labeled “dirty” or “broken” when our bodies betray us through no fault of our own.

Bad. Ass.

Meanwhile, it appears that Keira Knightley agreed to go topless for her September 2014 Interview Magazine photo shoot on one condition: no retouching. Although it appears the topless photo has been online since August, it just started generating major buzz when she recently revealed the “no Photoshop” rule behind it. It’s a gorgeous, bold, and beautiful shot of the actress, and I’m immensely gratified to notice that her breasts are noticeably different in size–like those of many, many women. It’s great to see that someone who’s widely considered to be one of the most beautiful women in the world has normal, undoctored, uneven breasts. And she’s still beautiful.
Thinking about both of these brave, beautiful, bold women made me wonder, though: if either of them were a woman of color, how would the public’s reaction have differed? Would it have? There are many hurdles between women of all races and body acceptance, but I feel as if those hurdles are often much  higher for women who don’t match the thin, white standard. And yet, and yet, let us all be glad that women are fearlessly sharing their perfectly imperfect bodies with the world, regardless of their racial makeup. Starting somewhere to publicly show love for one’s body is better than not starting.

Life is hard for Taylor Swift… and her… deer…? Lol wut.

3) Feminist and still kinda problematic music videos: Taylor Swift and Lily Allen both recently released new music videos. Both are quite empowering for women, in their own very distinct ways: they’re both totally over-the-top displays of tongue-in-cheek skepticism about how women are perceived in a patriarchal culture. In “Blank Space,” Taylor Swift goes after the “women are crazy” angle by destroying extremely expensive art, clothing, cars, and more…in the most WASP-y environment I’ve ever seen (occasionally surrounded by animals, idk). In “Hard Out Here,” Lily Allen takes down the exploitation of women in the music industry by… surrounding herself with twerking women… who are mostly… of color. I mean. I get the snarkiness factor in both videos, but still… really? Well. At least she’s trying. See paragraph above. Sigh.

Srsly, take a good look at the clothing differences here. I love you, Lily, but…

4) And Nina Hartley kills it in this video from Buzzfeed about enthusiastic consent from the dungeon to the dorm room, to a queer couple. I’m in heaven. Buzzfeed, yes more of this kthxbai!

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