Tuesday, January 20, 2009

let's feel good about sweatshop labor

i've been thinking about this article i read in the nytimes a few days ago titled, "Where sweatshops are a dream," by op-ed columnist nicholas kristof (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/15/opinion/15kristof.html). kristof's arguement is that in many countries the demand for labor is so high that people are forced to rummage through garbage for plastic and aluminum in order to sell them for 5 cents a pound. in these areas, people dream of having factory jobs. kristof says:

"Mr. Obama and the Democrats who favor labor standards in trade agreements mean well, for they intend to fight back at oppressive sweatshops abroad. But while it shocks Americans to hear it, the central challenge in the poorest countries is not that sweatshops exploit too many people, but that they don’t exploit enough."

and later...

"I’m glad that many Americans are repulsed by the idea of importing products made by barely paid, barely legal workers in dangerous factories. Yet sweatshops are only a symptom of poverty, not a cause, and banning them closes off one route out of poverty. At a time of tremendous economic distress and protectionist pressures, there’s a special danger that tighter labor standards will be used as an excuse to curb trade.

When I defend sweatshops, people always ask me: But would you want to work in a sweatshop? No, of course not. But I would want even less to pull a rickshaw. In the hierarchy of jobs in poor countries, sweltering at a sewing machine isn’t the bottom." (bold emphasis mine)

i don't think we can categorize oppression in a descending fashion. poverty is poverty. people do not want to end sweatshop labor so that those employees (the majority, 90 percent, of whom are women aged 15 to 22 according to feminist.org)can search for equally or less exhausting work. the goal is to reform labor, to reform sweatshop factories, and to make these environments livable. it is not that sitting at a sewing machine for 14 hours for 56 cents an hour without a bathroom or water break is easier/harder than searching for plastic in dump yards in the sun, it is that jobs need to be created with hummins in the center--not corporations. afterall, the point of reforming NAFTA is not to eliminate trade, but to make it fair.

it seems like this article was trying to make people feel good about exploiting people of color in developing countries through free trade and through their $5 shirts at wal mart. "sure the shirt i'm wearing came from a sweatshop, but at least i'm helping to give a person a job!" ignoring labor standards and the essentials of living wages shouldn't make you feel good about the fact that a person has a backbreaking, often in cases disease-causing, barely paying job.

Monday, January 19, 2009

lemme holla atcha for a hot second

the l word is in its last season, which i guess means it's time to forget about characters, plots and integrity. seems like ilene scrolled l word chat sites, gathered that most people hate jenny, and decided the most creative way to say au revoir was to drown her in a pool. but that's old news; what really bothers me is that the characters feel different this season. shane's edgy and headstrong personality goes limp to jenny's secret love(we get that you messed up, but i don't think dating her was really in the stars). and then there's this:

shane and tasha throw down their levis 501's and christian dior homme for that little black dress every girl dreams of. why couldn't tasha have worn that dashing suit from season 6 ep 2? i bet the police academy didn't nearly appreciate it as i would have. and high heals!?!? the l word has always been lackluster at portraying any lesbian outside of the male fantasy stereotype, and at the end they take their two characters who hang two notches to the right of the femme spectrum and turn them into showtime's barbie dykes. not to mention, on one of the season four l word dvds max is wearing high heals. just like in the first episode of season six when tina and the cast get upset that marketing has changed the movie's ending to appeal to men, so have certain characters' appearances been altered to bring a rockettes consistency to the cast.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

I <3 WeHo dykes

i came to the door after riding home from work today, and as i'm dragging nimbus up the stairs i notice a small black object between the screen and the door. i kneel down to pick it up and as soon as i see the crooked "hugo boss" lettering my heart kick flips, ollies and grinds. i spend the next hour racking my brains to figure out what kind of guardian goddess brought my wallet back to me with all parts intact, minus the cash. all cards have my phx address listed except for the l.a. public library card, but would someone really go through the trouble of calling the library to figure out my address? long story slightly shorter, my downstairs neighbors found the wallet and the landlord recognized me and dropped it off. looks like someone is getting a six pack thank you prezzie from a lezzie tomorrow.

the stork's gift came just in time to catch the tail end of pride, which was still in full swing on sunday night. the abby had a cirque de soleil theme with acrobats and wall to wall gays. i caught a glimps of gregg the trainer from work out and yelled his name. he turned around and searched my face, politely trying to recall where he knew me from. "oh... you don't know me. i just watch work out... a lot," i admitted. he gave me a hug and i moved on only to see mimi, jackie's ex from work out, dating a slightly less hot version jackie circa season 1 (back when she still had the shirt dykey hair). i'm getting low on psuedo celebs from work out that i can still run into, but i'm holding out for rebecca.

listening to: blanco by ana laan

Saturday, June 7, 2008


i just shaved my legs. it had been six months, my longest relationship. hair holds emotional baggage and i'm feeling exhausted. my legs feel weird. but so fresh and so clean. hair cut to follow. it's been two.5 years since i've last had a trim, much less a cut. i thought about just shaving my head, but that's so second wave. tomorrow after work maybe? there's a boi in weho i'd like to visit--justin teal. i hope he's gentle; they usually are.

the museum of natural history hosted a rockin first friday finale last night. for the student rate of $6.50 (you can't even get a drink in this town for that cheap)indieheads from the greater usc region trecked to hear the stringings of the annuals and the mountain goats. while it wasn't really my type of musique, the museum vibe was genius. reconstructed dinasour bones and model bison provided fabulous accoustics, while robotic ankylosaurs strutted and mingled with the crowd. there was even a p.diddy inspired booze room of white&black decor. who knew the museum was so rico suave?

this, of course, came at the price of missing the dyke march. which i'll probably never forgive myself for. we feminists love marches. '

listening to dance dance dance by lykke li

Sunday, June 1, 2008

WRNNG: this may ruin your opinion of M.CHO

margaret cho is most known for her self-proclaimed sluttyness, hilarious critiques of republicans, and, of course, her cameos in kelly's music videos. it's no secret that homegirl is genderblind and enjoys relationships with people of all shapes, colors, and genetalia. so it comes a quite the shocker to me to find out that bitch is hiding her male Significant Other whilst filming her new reality tv show. she's brought her SO to events, parties, and fundraisers and it's known that she's off the market to this lucky lucky man, so why is he renting a hotel room for the duration of the filming? sources tell me she doesnt want to lose her core "lesbian" audiance by flashing heterosexual priviledge in their faces. cause, of course, we lez-bots will only find her funny if she is single or dating a wommin. that's queird.

listening to: blanco by ana laan

do womyn have to be naked to get into the getty, too?

only in la can a super and her tennant have a conversation that goes like this--
super: i'll take care of the bathroom next weekend
tennant: no, you said you would fix it today and you need to come today
super: yeah... well... you smoke marijuana in your room and i can smell it!
tennant: right, and i have a permit and thanks to h.r. 5843 you can't do anything about it.

and, what?!

the highlights from the getty

and "black out," (2004) a video by cathy begien where she sits in front of the camera, blindfolded, and retells the events of the evening as beers, cocktails and cigarettes are shoved into her hands while the scene unfolds around her.

with a view remnicent of new york's empire state building, the getty is rich in gardens, architecture and map guides. the trams provide the theme-park-like atmosphere and the gift shops, restaurants, and tours only add to the disney feeling. but if you can get past the smell of corn dogs, the five buildings packed with monets, renoirs and a special exhibit on "imaging christ" are america's version of the louvre.

Saturday, May 31, 2008