“Knocked The Bottom Out of Me”? Knock it off, PETA.

Oh, PETA…


(via SigKate)

Can’t you folks create any campaigns that don’t hinge on some form of insipid, othering, sexist objectification? It shouldn’t be that difficult, considering your stated aims. Here’s an idea: rather than euthanizing a vast majority of your rescues, how about hiring ‘em to come up with some new marketing and promotional material for ya? Argh… I’m halfway serious. It’s entirely possible that a golden retriever could provide something more palatable than the dehumanizing dreck you keep churning out like, well, sausage.

Seattle Stranger commenter CrankyBacon puts it well: “This isn’t a sex-positive vs. prude situation. Women can be engaged in policy issues, make coherent arguments, be persuasive, protest, etc. They have more to offer than standing naked outside a butcher shop, or pretending to give a blow job to a cucumber and titty fuck a carrot.” Female activists have more to offer than going nude to titillate for the cause. Women can aid your agenda in ways that don’t require them to be depicted as battered, pantsless-in-public, grocery-buying/fanny-flaunting fuckholes for ubersexed males. (Sure, naked men sometimes feature in your campaigns, but not nearly as often, and never presented in a remotely similar context.)

“Chicks Agree”? No, actually. Not this “chick”. Not with the persistent, lazy, women-as-meat misogyny, anyway. C’mon, PETA, don’t you owe it to human beings and animals alike to try to encourage more responsible and respectful discourse?

Compare and Contrast: Teen Girls Talking About Gender on YouTube

Two very different videos of teenage girls airing our their grievances on YouTube have gone viral in the past two days. Here they are. Compare and contrast:

On the uplifting side, we have a 13-year-old vlogger named astrorice articulating the concepts of slut shaming and rape culture. “While I am fully aware that this is a bit of an unorthodox topic for a thirteen year old virgin to be talking about, it’s an important issue to discuss, and a great topic for girls my age to know about,” writes astrorice.

As Aaron Muszalski noted on Facebook, “This is the most inspiring thing I’ve seen this year. Seriously a must-watch. An amazing young person speaking out — eloquently and forcefully — about a topic that many people much older than her still have a hard time wrapping their heads around. Or indeed, even acknowledging its existence. Major props. As unfortunate as the issue of slut shaming is, this video and its maker give me great hope for the future.”

And on the dark side, there’s this: a 14-year-old girl calling for the boycott of Girl Scouts due towards their inclusive policy towards transgendered kids: in particular, a 7-year-old transgender child who was allowed to join Girl Scouts in Colorado. Richard Metzger writes, “From what I can make of her argument, young Taylor here seems to think that high school age boys are suddenly going to want to wear drag and join the Girl Scouts so they can rape her or something? Taylor, there are far, far easier ways for teenage boys to get laid! … Do you really want to be the Rebecca Black of intolerance? For the rest of your life?” Audrey Penven adds, “Shame on her parents for sucking so hard. Shame on her community for nurturing this kind of close-mindedness.”

These children, they are our future.

“What would a modern wizard wear?” Mother of London 2012.

Clothing designer Mother of London (previously on Coilhouse here and here, and many times in the print magazine) is getting ready to release a ready-to-wear line of clothing and an online shop. The new collection consists of the designs seen here, as well as limited-edition leggings and t-shirts that have not yet been photographed. The inspiration for this line, says designer Mildred Von Hildegard, comes from wizards. “What would a modern wizard wear?”

Much of the collection is unisex. “Gender plays a little bit too much role in the outside world,” says Mildred, “so I’m kind of dismissive of it [in my own work].” Some of the pieces are specifically cut for men or women, “but the men’s stuff in particular can be pulled over by either gender.” Like much of Mother of London’s past work, much of the clothing has a past-meets-present, out-of-time quality about it. There are feathered jackets, bad-ass biker-babe dresses with sleeves that resemble medieval suits of armor, skirts that look like they’re made out of a dozen belts, and wide-brimmed sorcerer’s hats. And if that wasn’t enough, Mildred is also working on a more elaborate, couture collection for 2012. No photos have been released, but Mildred refers to it as “Mother of London… on crack” and alludes to the fact that it’s highly tailored and detailed.

After the jump, more final images, concept sketches, and “making-of” shots from the new Mother of London collection. It’s amazing how much the concept drawings match the final pieces.

Transphobia is Tasteless: An Open Letter to Hell Pizza

EDIT: (Mon, Dec 5th, 6:45 NZT) Hell Pizza’s webmaster has just remarked on their Facebook page: “We’ve taken what you and others have said onboard and realised we crossed the line with some of our biggest advocates. We apologise.”  Thank you for taking responsibility, Hell Pizza.

EDIT (Mon, Dec 5th, 6:15 NZT): Hell Pizza Admits “Sense of Humour Failure“. 

Hell Pizza is an international food chain that started here in Wellington, New Zealand in 1996. They’ve since expanded within NZ and brought stores to the UK, Australia, Ireland, Canada and Korea. They’re no strangers to controversy. Entirely depending on your perspective, they’ve made some really shocking dick moves in the past, and pulled off some  darkly satisfying campaigns as well.

But the following “Misfortune Cookie” stunt seems especially mean-spirited, even for them:


Photo by Tamsyn Clemerson

Tamsyn Clemerson uploaded the above picture to Teh Book ov Face earlier this weekend. She has since confirmed to me in email, and to NZ NEWSWIRE, that this is a “Misfortune Cookie” she ordered from the Hell Pizza franchise:

I bought [it] on the 26th of November. I just got around to opening the last one last night, 2 December, and that was the “misfortune” that I received. I resized the photo to post it online, but aside from that have not manipulated it at all. I still have the original packaging and the misfortune, though not the cookie as I ate it because it was delicious. Please spread this as much as possible, Hell Pizza need to know that this sort of thing is not okay.

I’ve since made some calls to Hell Pizza. Two days ago, I spoke at length with a Strathmore shop manager, as well as their Wellington division marketing manager. Both employees denied knowing anything about that particular message. The latter, a very professional and lovely fellow named Jason, assured me he’d look into it, and we should keep in touch. Today, he was able to confirm that yes, this is a product Hell Pizza sells, which was signed off on by their marketing department. Apparently, they’re already getting a lot of complaints about it. And they should. Jason tells me Hell Pizza is working on an official press statement which should be out shortly. I’ll update here when it does.

I’m hardly a humorless hardnose. But for many reasons, the thoughtlessness of a product like this, especially placed in context, really fucks me off. So here’s my open letter to Hell Pizza. If, like me, you’re weary of seeing at-risk minorities be treated as the butts of hateful “jokes” (and then often further insulted by “it’s just meant to be funny; lighten up” backlash reactions) please feel free share this letter, and to join me in boycotting irresponsible franchises who stoop to this level of pandering cruelty.

Dear Hell Pizza (NZ),

If you check your Strathmore location’s online order logs, you’ll see that I’ve spent several hundred dollars on your food over the past couple of years. I love it. I love YOU!  I love how yummy your many dishes are. I love that you take chances. I love that you root for underdogs and outcasts. I love your creativity. I love that you hire inked up, pierced up people with funny-colored hair. I love that you’re so irreverent and cheeky, poking fun at overbearing religious traditions and obnoxious public figures. (Granted, those Hitler and “Brownies” billboards were bullshit, but you took ‘em down after enough people said “oh HELLS no”, and all was forgiven.)

Which makes this letter a bummer to write: I can’t buy your food anymore.

Transgender Day of Remembrance


Photo by Hans55, from last year’s Beacon of Hope vigil in Manchester, UK.

Today (Sunday the 20th of November) is the 13th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. Memorial events are taking place all over the world.

According to GLAAD, there has been an alarming global increase in brutal violence against LBTGQ people in recent years. More specifically, nearly two hundred transphobic murders were documented last year by the Transrespect vs Transphobia project. Statistics compiled by Trans Murder Monitoring assert that approximately every 72 hours, a trans person is murdered somewhere in the world. The countries with the most transphobic murders last year were Brazil, the United States, and Honduras.

These numbers only show us parts of a far bigger and more disturbing picture, as there are many countries where little, if any data, has been recorded. Nor do any of the statistics above include the gut-wrenching number of people who have been driven to take their own lives. Something to bear in mind: according to a National Gay and Lesbian Task Force / National Center for Transgender Equality survey posted at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine earlier this year, in the United States alone, “a ‘staggering’ 41 percent of the more than 6,400 respondents said they had attempted suicide, compared to a rate of 1.6 percent for the general population.”

Take a moment.

The Praise of Motherfuckers

Another thoughtful article by guest contributor Jeffrey Wengrofsky, “The Praise of Motherfuckers” looks at intergenerational warfare and the use of the word “motherfucker” in counterculture. NYC readers, take note: Jeff’s latest film (with the Syndicate of Human Image Traffickers), “The Party in Taylor Mead’s Kitchen,” is an Official Selection of DOC NYC 2011, the documentary film festival of the Independent Film Channel. It is scheduled to make its premiere on November 6 at New York University’s Kimmel Center at 7:30 and on November 7th at the Independent Film Center at 3:45. The film depicts the romantic beauty and squalid dereliction of the bohemian life as embodied by Beat poet and Warhol Superstar Taylor Mead. It’s being shown with “Girl with the Black Balloons.” Grab your tickets here. Congrats, Jeff! – Ed


“WALL ST. is WAR ST.” Photo by Larry Fink. More photos here.

There is a … sort of madness… which the furies bring from hell; those that are herewith possessed are hurried on to wars and contentions… inflamed to some infamous and unlawful lust, enraged to act the parricide, seduced to become guilty of incest, sacrilege, or some other of those crimson-dyed crimes…  ~  Erasmus

Not long ago I attended a lecture on youth rebellion in the 1960s.  The presenter noted with disdain that the word “motherfucker” was used by some of the speakers at the notorious demonstration against the 1968 Democratic National Convention.   Use of this term, so the argument went, was emblematic of a movement that was politically inept if not inherently self-destructive.  And the most immediate casualty of the unholy coupling of “mother” and “fucker,” it was alleged, was the candidacy of Hubert Humphrey, who lost to Richard Nixon.  For those outside the Convention, however, Humphrey’s nomination – pre-ordained by party insiders – offered a continuation of the Vietnam War and seemed to make a farce of our democracy.


The Motor City Five get it on (and duck stray bullets)

Well, it got me to thinking, and I soon made the personal discovery that Motherfuckery was all over America in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  No, not literally, of course.  The phrase was, however, in conspicuous currency among New Leftists in a way it had not been before or has been since.

On that fated afternoon in 1968, Rob Tyner of the MC5 had, indeed, shouted his shibboleth – “It’s time to kick out the jams, motherfuckers!” – to ignite his band’s performance, as he did for nearly every show.  After hours of peaceable, if raucous, assembly and rock’n’roll (the MC5 were the only band with the gumption to perform), Chicago mayor Richard Daley dispatched 23,000 police and National Guardsmen to beat and gas the protestors.  And when Connecticut Senator Abraham Ribicoff noted, on the floor of the Convention, that Daley was using “Gestapo tactics,” Daley himself fired the epithet of the era right back at the rostrum: “Fuck you, you Jew son of a bitch! You lousy motherfucker!”

Just a year earlier, Everett LeRoi Jones decorated a poem celebrating the race riots that would permanently cripple Newark: “All the stores will open if you say the magic words. The magic words are: Up against the wall mother fucker this is a stick up!” Magic words indeed, but the “joosh stores” did not “open,” they closed and remain shuttered to this day or marked only by empty spaces in their footprint.

The phrase “motherfucker” had already been in circulation in hip, African-American lingo long before Jones tapped it, referring to someone who may be evil, a passionate musician, or simply a force to be reckoned with.  It is important to note here that mainstream African-American society, ever-struggling for respect, was possibly even more hostile to the use of the term in polite company than America as a whole.

In New York City, Ben Morea, a ballsy street urchin whose totalizing, uncompromising politics was wedded to a phrase befitting his society of self-proclaimed “suicidal sidewalk psychopaths” known as “Up Against the Wall, Motherfucker,” “The Motherfuckers,” or, most simply, as UAW/MF – though they referred to themselves collectively as “The Family.”  Perhaps significantly, Morea “did not know his father [and] did not want to tell his mother he was a Motherfucker because he did not want to disappoint her.”  Osha Neumann, another Motherfucker, also had a twist in his family romance: his father’s best friend, a man who had lived in his house like an uncle (Herbert Marcuse), married his widowed mother.

The Motherfuckers declared war on “the totality of reality as shaped by” the financial, military, and cultural elites by disrupting the suburban commute at Grand Central Station and high mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral.  In the middle of the garbage strike of 1968, Motherfuckers dumped bags of rotting garbage from the scummy streets of the Lower East Side onto the pristine promenade of the newly-minted Lincoln Center.  They “ran free stores and crash pads…organized community feasts…[and] propagandized against the merchandizing of hip culture…” And, in the middle of the attempted “exorcism of the Pentagon,” only the Motherfuckers actually got inside the five-sided hole of power.   Puritanical Roundheads on the frontline of America’s “cultural revolution,” they fought the police and sometimes against other radicals, criticized both the war and the naive embrace of the Vietcong by the left, shot blanks at poet Kenneth Koch (who may have fainted or told them to “grow up”), printed and distributed fliers in solidarity with fellow traveler Valerie Solanas after she shot Andy Warhol, and forced Bill Graham into letting them use the Fillmore East for free once a week.

When Detroit’s MC5 came to play New York’s Fillmore on one such night, free tickets had not been distributed to the Motherfuckers and their ilk, unbeknownst to the band.  The sight of the MC5 pulling up in a limo provided by Electra Records the Motherfuckers then took to be a sign of bourgeois bedfellowship, so they trashed the Fillmore and sent that otherwise courageous band into rapid retreat under threat of grievous body harm.   The Motherfuckers were so feared that they once closed the mighty Museum of Modern Art by simply revealing their plans for it.  Their slogan was put to music by David Peel and Harold C. Black, lo-fi renegades calling themselves “The Lower East Side,” in a feisty ditty on an album whose cover demurred from disclosing the word “motherfucker” although it was otherwise brash enough to be titled Have a Marijuana. More than a regional phenomenon, the Motherfuckers were the only non-student branch of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), were admitted to and then purged from the largely French Situationist International, and had their slogans scooped up by San Francisco’s Jefferson Airplane for their song, “We Can be Together.” (Jefferson Airplane would actually voice a parricidal fantasy in a different song: “Hey Frederick.”)

Hail To The V: A Vaginal Journey Through Time

There are, on this staff, any number of people who are, without a doubt, more well spoken and better qualified to comment on this subject than me. Many of them are in possession of the biological equipment that this product is, uh, aimed at. One of the staff has even commented on this brand’s questionable advertising only a few weeks ago. I must apologize in advance then. In the end you are not getting the insightful, well-reasoned and well-informed commentary that you, the loyal and erudite Coilhouse reader, deserve. Instead you are getting the blathering of the Catacombs’s most puerile and juvenile prisoner occupant.

“Hail to the V” is a new commercial for Summer’s Eve “cleansing wash and cloths”. It features an authoritative sounding voiceover by a woman with an authoritative British accent. (Which is redundant, really, because as any American and, of course, Summer’s Eve knows, a British accent is, by its intrinsic Britishness, authoritative. That is why it is in this commercial.) Anyway, this voice leads us through a number of different “historical” scenarios meant to illustrate just how gosh darn important vaginas are. Especially your vagina. Yes, you there, miss.

So, first we are shown a Neolithic woman, clothed in the skins of animals, holding aloft a neonate (also clothed in animal skins) while British Lady intones stoically about the cradle of life. Flashing forward in time, we are presented with another woman, costumed in order to suggest Egyptian royalty. Looking out over her subjects, she throws up her arms in a massive V (like the one in vagina) and British Lady refers to “it” (also, your vagina) as “the center of civilization”. Do you see where this is going, ladies? Do you? “It” (or, your vagina) is pretty damn important. But how important? Relax, we’re getting to that.

Now we come to the longest part of the ad. We find ourselves in a bamboo forest. There are two Asian gentlemen in this forest with us. One has a sword, while the other has a long, rubbery looking staff. They are fighting in a manner that Americans associate with Asia. There is also an Asian woman in the background, looking on, dressed in a manner that Americans associate with Asia as it was long ago. British Lady begins to pontificate on how, throughout history and all over the world (hence the excursion to Asia), men have “fought for it”. Quickly, we cut to Medieval Europe. There are knights on horses. They are jousting. They drive their horses towards one another, their immense, phallic weapons undulating angrily in front of them. There is a woman here, too, looking on. Some men, British Lady informs us, breathlessly, some men have even died for it. One of the knights falls, which pleases the woman who has been watching. As the victorious knight raises his visor to look at her, British Lady concludes with “One might say, it’s the most powerful thing on Earth,” which is true, I suppose; one might say that. But, then again, one might say all sorts of things when trying to market douche.

Finally, we are approaching our terminus, the payoff for this weird trip through time and space. We have, at last, been returned to the present. Inside a store, a woman is thoughtfully pondering a Summer’s Eve product. She nods her head and mutters to herself, presumably to signal her agreement with that last line from British Lady when, suddenly, American Lady — familiar, jovial, and friendly — cuts in and gets to the point, saying, “So come on ladies, show it a little love,” which, again, is something you might say when trying to market douche.

I’m just not sure it’s something you should say. I’m not sure how comfortable I am with a full minute of advertising that repeatedly references disembodied genitalia. “It” is the cradle of life, but isn’t “it” attached to someone? “It” is the center of civilization, but “it” isn’t the one throwing up its arms. But the strangest, most uncomfortable section is that last part, the longest part, the part where men are fighting for “it” — killing to possess “it”. That section is really weird because what I get from that section is that men have made war upon one another for your vagina. They have killed each other for your vagina. They have leveled cities and razed the land for your vagina.

The least you could do is ignore those damned health warnings and make sure it doesn’t smell.

Tilda Swinton, The Woman Who Fell to Earth

This month, timeless alien beauty Tilda Swinton (the polyamorous, gender-defying star best known for starring as the hero/heroine of Orlando, based on the Virginia Woolf novel of the same name) appeared in a photo shoot for W Magazine by Tim Walker inspired by David Bowie’s The Man Who Fell to Earth. In the interview accompanying the shoot, Swinton cites both Bowie and her father as figures who influenced her style. “They are individuals with whom I share the same planetary DNA,” she says. Of her father’s uniforms, Swinton says: “from childhood, I remember more about his black patent, gold livery, scarlet-striped legs, and medal ribbons than I do of my mother’s evening dresses. I would rather be handsome, as he is, for an hour than pretty for a week.”

This is not the first time that Tilda Swinton has appeared in a David Bowie-inspired shoot. Previously, she emulated Ziggy Stardust-era Bowie in a 2009 shoot with Craig McDean.

I don’t know if I’ll ever understand Tilda Swinton being a Roman Polanski apologist, but these photos sure are stunning.

“IT”: A Poem Confronting Trans-Hate

This is poet Kavindu “Kavi” Ade from Philly performing a spoken-word piece called “IT” at the Brave New Voices 2010.

The poem deals with gender identity and anti-trans hate (trigger warning!), and watching Ade perform is an intense, emotional experience.

Amazing line: “they wanna paint you the color of smashed hymens.” Holy shit.

[via DarkSKIN]

Something Old, Something New: The Vintage Lesbian Tumblr Blog

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue: the Vintage Lesbian Tumbr Blog.

“Vintage lesbians, affectionate women, Boston Marriages, lesbian innuendo, antique erotica, [and] women who may not be lesbians but we wish they were.” Something for everyone. Collette, Marlene, Bettie, Renée, Anna May. NSWF.