Monday Evening Linkage: moustaches and Michelle Obama

by on 2013-12-02 in Duck- 2 Comments

Well it is officially December- and you know what that means…all the hipsters and single dudes can finally shave off their Movember moustaches (those are the only men who participate, right?). Movember is a fundraiser for testicular cancer that has gained traction (in 2012 the campaign raised 29 million in Australia, where the idea originated) to the point where the moustache has become a symbol for cancer awareness.
But is Movember racist and sexist?
According to Arianne Shahvis at the New Statesmen, Movember is not all it is cracked up to be. She notes that the campaign’s call for “real men” to grow “real moustaches” is “divisive, gender normative, racist and ineffective against some very real health issues.” Read more on the debate here and here.

There has been a heated debate on whether Michelle Obama should be seen as a feminist. A recent Politico article called ‘Leaning out: how Michelle Obama became a feminist nightmare‘ (pretty clear title) calls feminists to ‘get over’ the idea that the First Lady will, or has done much for women. Author Michelle Cottle says “enough already with the pining for a Michelle Obama who simply doesn’t exist” and laments her focus on children, dancing, and fitness rather than women’s rights. Brittney Cooper at the Salon responded with ‘Lay off Michelle Obama: Why white feminists need to lean back.’ Here she argues “Black women have never been the model for mainstream American womanhood, and to act as though she takes something away from the (white) feminist movement is intellectually disingenuous and historically dishonest.” She goes on to note the value in the First Lady’s role as a mother and wife, and agrees with Kirsten West Savali’s statement that, “In my feminism, we understand that raising intelligent, confident Black children in a loving family is one of the most revolutionary acts a Black woman can commit in America.”
Finally, the University of Vermont is leading the way in efforts to allow students to choose their preferred gender prounoun. University forms allow students to choose from ‘she’, ‘he’ and ‘ze’ as well as the option to be referred to only by their name.

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2 CommentsAdd yours

  • Ronanfitz - 2013-12-02

    I’m not really buying Arianne Shahvis’ argument tbh. Immigrants have mustaches and therefore are excluded from taking part? I doubt that’s empirically supportable, or even a logical argument for racism (That’s not snarky, I really dont get the argument)

    I guess 2 things need to be kept in mind about movember (1) its highlighting mens health – so will attract male participants engaging in male activities (2) it’s going to be run by rich white dudes, b/c rich white dudes have a disproportionate amount of free time and access to media, I’d think. Is that racist and sexist? Maybe, but for what definition of racism and sexism?

    Relatedly, I recently heard that a fishmonger I used to buy fish from has written a book (a memoir) about his life(father dying, mother taking over the business, him getting it as she aged, turning it from a stall to a well known fish shop etc) I really, really wondered how this got commissioned, or why he felt the need to write it (although Im not pre-judging it, it sounds alright)

    But then I saw all proceeds were going to hospice in memory of his father,so I let it go. Not trying to be smartarsey or anti intellectual or shut down debate..but isnt that the most generous stance?
    (ps this isnt meant to be a defensive pseudo mra post, I just dont really see the argument for sexism and racism, rather than white male hegemony – which is different I guess?)

  • WB - 2013-12-02

    I wish the Movember piece had been published by the Weekly Standard or American Conservative. Because then it would be brilliant satire, and not an embarrassing, far-left, 1990s-style diatribe.

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