Embodiment: A Portrait of Queer Life in America
1. Ducky and Her Friends, Cedar Rapids, IA. 2007
2. Ashley, Jackson, MS. 2009 I think about my life and how hard it is to be a loud mouth, out of the closet, black lesbian living in the south and how I wouldnt change it for the world. - Ashley
3. Cat and Brittany, Iowa City, IA. 2009 I gave you my heart six years ago and you have cradled it more gently than I have. I promise to hold your heart, your hand, and your body with love and respect and joy yesterday, today and tomorrow. - Cat speaking to Brittany during their wedding ceremony which was held the day after this photograph was taken.
4. Charlie and Honey, Seattle, WA. 2005
5. Cooper, Oakland, CA. 2009 At the second this image is captured, however, I am beaming from the inside out. Cant recall what nudged me toward this moment of joy. But I am grateful for the reminder. - Cooper
6. Gary and Jeremy, Brooklyn, NY. 2005
7. The Jentlemen of Distinction, East Saint Louis, MO. 2009 Being a Jentlemen is about hard work, dedication and being a family. These are my BROTHERS, no matter whatâ?¦. I am PROUD to be a Jentlemen. I hold my head up high and proud! - Dusty of The Jentlemen of Distinction
8. Nomy, Oakland, CA
9. Chickadee and Her Family, Concrete, WA.
10. Jesus, Dallas, TX. 2009 Thank you so much for doing this project as well as allowing me to become a part of it. You guys came into my life during a chapter of my metamorphosis where I felt that I had no chance at life and I have found an immense source of inspiration from you alls presence. - Jesus
A mix of classic, retro, and different Halloween Songs
- This is Halloween - Nightmare Before Christmas Soundtrack
- Monster Mash - Selebrities
- Day of the Dead - Voltaire
- Thriller - Michael Jackson
- It’s Terror Time Again - Scooby Doo on Zombie Island
- Brains! - Voltaire
- Ghost Busters Theme - Ray Parker Jr.
- Feed Me (Git it) - Little Shop of Horrors
- Grim Grinning Ghosts - Disney’s Haunted Mansion
- The Greatest Show Unearthed - Creature Feature
- Time Warp - Rocky Horror Picture Show
- Oogie Boogie - The Nightmare Before Christmas
- Friends on the Other Side - Disney’s The Princess and The Frog
- Worst Pies in London - Sweeney Tod
- I Put a Spell on You - Hocus Pocus Soundtrack
- Dinner with Drac - John “The Cool Ghoul” Zacherle
- The Devil Went Down to Georgia - Charlie Daniels Band
- Welcome to My Nightmare - Alice Cooper
- The Headless Horseman - Disney’s Ichabod & Mr. Toad
- Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps) - David Bowie
- The Addam’s Family Song - The Addam’s Family Soundtrack
- Witch Doctor - Peter Pan Records
- Grave Robber at Large - Creature Feature
- Spooky Scary Skeletons - TheLivingTombstone mix
LISTEN HERE (X)
1. All those people screaming cultural appropriation at her are ignoramuses who are basically saying, “Wow, you don’t look like my ill-informed, narrow-minded stereotype of what people from this region actually look like!” and “I actually subscribe to horrible, reductionist stereotypes that Indian people can only have dark hair, skin and eyes. Light hair? Green eyes? European (origin) only!”
This is gonna be a tad long, because it’s gonna delve into biology and history- and it’s because I hope people realise how artificial the US paradigm of race is. It’s woefully incompetent at understanding the biological diversity of our species because it is a social construct. Modern scientists and historians generally refuse to categorise people on the amount of melanin they have because it’s just reductionist and oversimplistic- what they do is classify people by their geographic origin, linguistic and cultural ties.
2. India is an EXTREMELY diverse country. The Indian subcontinent is so genetically diverse that the only place more genetically diverse is the African continent, aka, the birthplace of humanity. And this is a big deal. I’ll explain why.
Surprise! People inhabiting an extremely large country that has more than 2000 ethnic groups, members of all the world’s religions, been the site of multiple ancient civilisations, been on the major crossroads of human migration and trade for thousands of years come in multiple colours!
- Presently, the most widely-accepted theory of our origins is the Recent African Origin, or Out of Africa Theory. This holds that originally, humans first appeared in Africa, thus all of us have African ancestors. All modern non-Africans are descended from much smaller groups of people who migrated out of Africa, anytime from 65,000 to 125,000 years ago. How do scientists know this? By looking at our DNA, in addition to fossil and archaeological records. They discovered that the differences in the DNA of non-African peoples like say, a German a Japanese and a New Zealand Maori was far less than the genetic differences between people from different African ethnic groups. (Somali, Dinka, Yoruba, San, Kikuyu, Luo etc- I’m BARELY scratching the surface)
- What this meant was that Africa had to be the original, diverse genetic pool where modern humans first appeared. Everybody else outside of Africa today is descended from much smaller groups of people who left Africa at various times- and that ancestral genetic “bottleneck” is why people who appear to have very different heritage (e.g European vs East Asian) actually have far less genetic variation than the various African peoples.
So, India being the second most genetically diverse place on this planet is a big deal- it’s basically second only to THE CRADLE OF HUMANITY. That’s why I’m pretty convinced your friend can have blonde hair and green eyes and still be 100% Made in India.
3. Now, the genetics of India itself.
Genetic studies have shown that if you take a modern Indian from any part of India, no matter how dark or fair they are, his or her lineage will consist of mixing from two main ancestral groups. One is the Ancestral Northern Indians (ANI), and the other the Ancestral Southern Indians (ASI). You may have heard of the ancient Indian caste system which put a lot of social pressure that prohibited marrying outside your caste. Caste discrimination is banned today, but old attitudes do persist. However, even this caste rigidity wasn’t so 4000- 2000 years ago. ANI people married ASI pretty freely, so that’s why every modern Indian has heredity from both groups. So, already to start off, you got quite a fair bit of diversity hidden in people’s genes.
- And the next interesting part to explain why it IS possible for Indians to have features stereotyped as “European” is because while the ASI seemed to be genetically unique to the Indian subcontinent, the ANI people are genetically related to Middle-Easterns, Europeans and Caucasians (and I mean this not in the sense of “white” as often used in the US, but the actual region of Caucasus, which borders Europe and Asia).
- You mentioned she looks “white”- and the American-understanding of “white” being hurled at her by those people screaming cultural appropriation are actually ignorantly treating “white” as synonymous with “European-origin”. In reality, it’s completely useless in the realm of biology. Biologically, there is actually no real dichotomy where “European” suddenly ends and “Asia” begins.
- As I earlier pointed out, well, we’re all kinda related. And it’s not at all earth-shattering that some people from India look like they’re of “European-origin”. Because modern Europeans, Central Asians and the Ancestral Northern Indians are all believed to be descendants of a group of people called the Proto-Indo-Europeans. It’s believed they lived around 6000-7000 years ago. Some modern people that are descended from the Proto-Indo-Europeans are French, Germans, Iranians and Pashtuns (a major ethnic group in Afghanistan). It’s even been found that Europeans and Indians shared a gene for fair skin from a common ancestor- which is why there ARE people who look like your friend. Naturally, fair skin is just relatively rarer in India vs Europe because more parts of India are located in hotter regions. Therefore, there’s more selection pressure for darker skin which has more melanin to protect from the sun- making fair skin rarer, but still possible.
(This is a map of the Kurgan Hypothesis, which is currently the most popular theory for how the Proto-Indo-Europeans migrated from their homeland to settle Europe, Central Asia, Iran, India and Turkey etc)
- Saying Indians are descendants of the Proto-Indo-Europeans is NOT the same as saying they’re of “European origin”. For example, think of the Proto-Indo-Europeans as like the “mother” of Europeans, Central Asians and the Ancestral Northern Indians- they’re like “sibling” groups, not descendants. The original Indo-Europeans were not “European” in the modern sense. I am clarifying this because plenty of colonial-era scientific racism tried to attribute ancient India’s achievements to “European who left Europe for India”- you might have heard the phrase “Aryan” thrown around in Nazi Germany, which was used to mean “blonde hair, blue eyes”. Nazi scientists and historians also abused it to explain away the sophistication of non-European civilisations in Ancient Egypt and India. In reality, ”Aryan” is derived from the ancient Sanskrit word “Arya" which means "noble". Sanskrit is an ancient language still used in classical Indian texts, and is of Proto-Indo-European origin. For example, the name of the country “Iran” actually means “land of the Aryans”- it was the name ancient Iranians (another people descended from the Proto-Indo-Europeans) gave to what others called the Persian Empire for more than a thousand years before the Third Reich.
- Furthermore, many languages we often separate as “European” and “Asian” like German, English, French, Italian vs. Hindi, Farsi (Persian), Gujarati, Punjabi, Pashto, Sanskrit etc are ALL classified by linguists as belonging to the same Indo-European language family- which all evolved from the original language the Proto-Indo-Europeans spoke. See how artificial the Europe/Asia dichotomy really is, in terms of human genetics and origin of cultures?
4. Finally- there’s plenty of modern proof that the region we call Europe today does NOT have a monopoly on producing people with blonde hair, fair skin and green eyes.
This is Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, a popular Indian Bollywood actress who is also known for her striking blue-green eyes. She’s 100% Indian- she was born in Mangalore, India to Indian parents.
This is a girl from Darfur, Sudan- an area that has more than 30 ethnic groups.
5. And in the first place, what makes up a person’s identity IS NOT JUST HOW MUCH or HOW LITTLE MELANIN THEY HAVE.
- Tell your friend she is 100% Indian, because what makes up her identity is not just how she looks. Identity is what feels most natural to her, and if that identity is indeed very intertwined with major aspects of Indian culture- then well, she IS Indian and noone can say otherwise.
- Those people had no right to make her feel awful and “not-Indian enough” because it’s clear she identifies as such due to actually being born there and also practising major aspects of Indian culture. The best example I can think of to explain this is how in the US, people sometimes use the term “Latino” as a race category, with the stereotype that all latinos must have tanned skin and dark hair. In reality, it’s more of a cultural identity. There are fair haired-latinos and darker-skinned latinos whose ancestors included the African slaves brought to the Americas four hundred years ago. But what really makes them “Latino” or “Hispanic” is their upbringing- growing up in the environment of Latin America, which is culturally a syncretic fusion of Amerindian, African, Spanish, Portuguese and other European influences.
(This is the Brazilian football team that won the 1970 World Cup- you can see Pelé- second from the bottom right. He is an Afro-Brazilian. If you look at his teammates, you can see how latinos come in ALL COLOURS.)
6. Your friend should not be questioning her identity, but those people attacking her should be questioning their utterly myopic worldview. The history of human genetics and migrations makes it abundantly clear how DIVERSE India is- so it’s perfectly possible for her to be Indian but have blonde hair and green eyes, even if it may be less common.
7. On a more general note, I cannot stress this enough to everyone- DO NOT GO AROUND ATTACKING PEOPLE for “cultural appropriation” when you are NOT even from that culture in question and/or don’t actually know in detail the history and genetics of that region.
- If you suspect cultural appropriation: DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST or ASK SOMEBODY you know who actually belongs to that group. You may be attacking mixed-race people or people like the anon’s friend, who simply has features that are less genetically dominant- blonde hair shows up less easily in countries with a bigger pool of people with dark hair because dark hair is dominant. Even if her parents had dark hair, it’s possible they both carried a recessive gene for blonde hair that was suppressed by their dark-hair gene. Their child would be blonde if she happened to get both copies of the blonde gene instead of the dark hair gene.
- Also, even if you think the person isn’t of that group, please bear in mind they might have been invited to dress in that clothing by a friend, or because they’re at an event. (I.e let’s say, at an Indian wedding)
- I can’t stress enough how infuriating this “white knight” complex is. Speaking as someone pretty familiar with colonialism, I’ve had people who didn’t grow up in my culture condescendingly insist that if I’m okay with somebody doing something from my culture, it’s “self-internalised oppression”. I’ve studied African colonial literature, and the way people insist on defining what people should be alright with is very reminiscent of 19th century imperialists high-handedly saying, “oh, we have to bring the light of civilisation to save those backwards colonial subjects from themselves!”
This is Reese Witherspoon, wearing a kimono in Japan, where she is being taught by JAPANESE people how to perform the traditional tea ceremony. This is not reducing a culture to a caricature because she’s actually learning stuff respectfully and wearing a bona fide kimono.
- Fighting against cultural appropriation is to prevent cultures from being cheapened, made into jokes, sexual fetishes or ugly caricatures. Part of returning power to people to define themselves is ALSO by allowing them to set the parameters of what they want to share with others- and many cultures are perfectly willing to share aspects that are non-sacred or do not have to be earned. So, for example, do not go around insisting a Japanese person should not be allowed to teach non-Japanese people to wear a kimono- because a kimono, unlike a
Navajo(my bad! the Navajo were not a Native American people who traditionally wore such headdresses. Thanks to tumblr user nativepeopleproblems for pointing it out!) Sioux or Cheyenne war bonnet (akin to veteran’s medals), is something anybody can wear. Recognise this difference.
Clementine: This is it, Joel. It’s going to be gone soon.
Joel: I know.
Clementine: What do we do?
Joel: Enjoy it.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2004 (dir. Michel Gondry)
Artist: Chiara Fersini
“Chiara Fersini, AKA Himitsuhana is a self taught surrealist photographer. Born February 14, 1986, she is from Lecce, Italy.”
Ladytron - Seventeen
sometimes tumblr’s US-centric social justice makes me so fucking frustrated. Right now sweden’s third biggest party are literally neo-nazis and our elections couldn’t even get onto trending tags today, goddamit.
Okay, so the post is gaining notes and people are confused, so to explain what the hell is going on:
Swedish elections held were on last Sunday, 14th September. We’ve had a right-leaning government the past eight years and after this there will be a change of power. The new party, Socialdemocrats (S) gained a total of 31% percent. The old party, Moderaterna (M) gained 21%.
Sverigedemokraterna (SD) gained a total of 12.9%. Their policy is racist, Islamophobic, anti-immigration, anti-refugee, anti-diversity, anti-LGBT+, and anti-feminist. Basically, they tick every box on the douchebag lottery.
If you’re here to argue that they’re ~not actually~ Nazis: 1) Fuck you. 2) Fuck the horse the you rode in on. 3) I hope you get stepped on by a moose, you ignorant asswipe.
- they literally started as neo nazis. They have used a Neo-Nazi movement as campaign slogans,
- party members have assaulted immigrants with iron pipes (tw for racialised violence),
- worn Nazi symbols
- supported and helped build Neo-Nazi group SvP.
There’s probably more, but I don’t have links on hand.
They’ve been having rallies and demonstrations all over Sweden, and people have shown up just to turn their back on them and protest (this post explains it better).
In the 2010 elections, SD were pretty much considered no better than neo-Nazis and only got 5.7% votes - it put them in 6th place and was just enough to get them into parliament. In the elections before that, they got about 2.9%. In the past four years, they’ve grown exponentially in Sweden.
They’ve also run extremely extensive PR campaigns, appealing to the youth, kicking out members “exposed” of being racist, (note: these members often end up in SvP) and picking up buzzwords from the Socialdemocrats’ ideology.
29% of votes they gained this year were from swing voters who previously voted M, and the biggest gain have been in the south, in small towns and the countryside:
This is not something that’s just going on in Sweden. Europe has seen an influx of extreme-right parties over the last decade or so, often thinly disguised as a party that puts ‘traditional values’ and ‘national interest’ first.
In Greece and Hungary they’ve already been in power. In Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Greece, Finland France and UK, extreme-right-wing parties have been voted into the EU.
Because here’s the thing: we’ve forgotten what it looks like. We’ve gotten to the point where we’ve turned Nazism into a cartoonish lampoon of goose-stepping, uniforms and moral lessons that “we’ll never be like them~”, ignoring the fact nationalism is not as cut-and-dry two ends of an extreme but exists on a scale.
People have been apologising for SD’s actions for a while now because they’re not considered “extremist enough” to be neo-Nazis, because they don’t share the same beliefs, because they’ve “publicly denounced” SvP.
But the same people still get hurt. Still SD has the institutional and systematic power and privilege to oppress, degrade and humiliate people of colour, which they already have done. Stop making excuses for them. Stop making leeways for right-wing-extremists because that is how they gain tract.
Please spread this.