Askwith Recommends: Invitation to Dance

 

Video trailer respectfully borrowed for YouTube

“In 1971, Simi Linton was injured while hitchhiking to Washington to protest the war in Vietnam. Suddenly a young disabled college student, she confronted insidious forms of discrimination she couldn’t have imagined before. Over time she joined forces with a vibrant disability community, and realized that political engagement, love, and dance could once again be central to her life. Rock n’ Roll, dancing, and sexuality liberated Simi from the shame she felt as a young disabled woman. Invitation to dance traces Simi’s first reluctant foray onto the dance floor at a party to present day when dance has become a central theme in her social life, activism, and work. Ultimately, the film is a never-before-told coming out story of disabled people staking their claim to “equality, justice, and a place on the dance floor!””–Container.

Invitation to Dance: A Documentary film by Christian von Tippelskirch aqnd Simi Linton

Website

Kino Lorber EDU

Mirlyn Record

Askwith Recommends: SexAbility

There is precious little material on the subject, perhaps because as a society we’d like to imagine that the disabled don’t have the same sexual needs as the rest of us. Yet the first question a newly paralyzed man will ask his doctor is inevitably, ‘Will I still be able to have sex?’ Everyone has wondered at some point how a person with quadriplegia has sex. Or what leads an able-bodied person to marry a disfigured partner. Our society tends to dismiss the disabled as asexual, but nothing could be further from the truth. The human sex drive is a formidable force and a big part of our spirit. The disabled love—and lust—just like the rest of us. According to Dr. Shaniff Esmail, who specializes in disabled sexuality, “a positive sex life can actually aid healing. Audiences will be inspired by a myriad of characters overcoming their disabilities to enjoy their partners and explore the very limits of their sexuality. “Where there’s a will, there’s a way…” In order to overcome their body’s limitations, some disabled men and women have to go to extraordinary lengths. SexAbility’s subjects teach the rest of us not to take our abilities for granted.

Website

Mirlyn Record

We are aware..

 

..that there are many wonderful Police Officers. They are our neighbors, friends, family members and they are there when we need them. Police violence may be indicative of a greater violence in our society. It’s something we all must push against. There is so much rage, on the road, at work, at school, at home it is time to get a grip on our own need to lash out. We’ve raised a generation of soldiers whose first response is to do battle. As a citizen and as a government our first response to conflict is to fight. Our first response to disagreement is to fight. We have a fear of others. Where does this fear come from ? We need to reaffirm our empathy, our compassion and our caring for others. We need to raise our children not to be special, not to be the center but to value being part of the whole, helping those in need and lifting up those who appear weak. We all need to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. We should feel a part of a bigger society however we only feel abused by society. I don’t know why this is happening, my  suspicion is that it’s from all the media that we are inundated with twenty-four hours a day. We are reduced to our primal basics. It takes away our time to relate to humans. We only relate by text and that can’t be good.

Today in the diag in front of the Hatcher Library, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan there will be a silent protest against police brutality.  While we take our 5 minutes to lay on the ground and resemble the dead, let’s take a moment a reflect on our own tendencies for violence. It is not too late for all of us to actively pursue peace.

…Not Necessarily a Press Release…

In front of the Hatcher Library, the Diag, from 2p-4pm Today 12/10/2014

“A student-lead demonstration on the Diag.  Demonstrators intend to show solidarity with Michael Brown and Eric Garner by lying silently on the Diag covered in banners and signs between 2pm and 4pm.  They plan for many people to participate and take 5 minute shifts of laying on the ground.  In the event of rain or snow, organizers plan to move the demonstration to the second floor of the Shapiro Library.”

Posted by Mike

Photo Source: http://binaryculture.com.au/dmc/community (Link doesn’t appear to be working)

 

Along with other recipients of the Distinguished Diversity Leadership Award LDC’s very own…

Darlene Nichols! YAY!!!!

The University Record

Darlene you are an inspiration. You’ve lead us. You’ve coached us. Your dedication never falters. Your work and kindness have made lasting impressions on many. We look forward to your continued consideration for us at the Library Diversity Council, the Library, the University and humanity. As participants in our shared cause we are both honored and privileged to have the benefit of your insight and knowledge.

Thank you for your great work and here’s to many more years!

Huzzah!

Another non white man is being taken down by “the Media”

Trending by Mike…

It’s happening again. A non white American who is well loved, some may say beloved, who is thoughtful and smart, who has survived the “spotlight” for decades is now under attack. He is a comic, he has broken the race lines with his television shows, he has provided constructive criticism of both white and black American cultures. He has done more than most to make America a better place.

Now he is out of favor. Like China’s cultural revolution, like tyrannical purges, like the red baited witch hunts and recently like the attitude that you are a terrorist if you don’t support the American government Bill Cosby is being taken down. He is judged and sentenced in the press. He has no contemplative recourse. “They” tell us he’s done so many horrible things that he need not defend himself since he is already guilty.

We are not allowed facts. We are not allowed to hear a defense. We are only allowed to convict him. This sounds all to familiar. If you are a smart, successful non white you will eventually be taken apart by “the media”. It does happen once in a great while to some whites, if they criticize the machine.

This issue is indicative of America’s schizophrenic evil. That is you can do or go as far as you want but you better please the right people. If you step out of line and have the resources to be heard and loved you will suffer figurative disappearance. Your good work, your positive impact will be turned into cynicism.

I don’t know the facts. I don’t know Bill Cosby. I do know that Bill Cosby has been a major influence in my life, a hero if you will. Now to watch him under attack by every freak on a soapbox is disturbing to say the least. To watch this witch hunt, this burning at the stake, this spectacle at his expense is too much. No matter what, these issues should be handled with dignity and discretion. Innocent until proven guilty has been a long term lie in this country and the antics of “the media” are reinforcing that today.

If you care think first. When someone is being tried and convicted in “the media” take a moment and reflect.Take a moment and search out alternative points of view.

This is a link to Mitch Albom’s article on the subject.

Mitch Albom: Erasing Bill Cosby with the speed of light

 

University of Michigan Football player removed from program

Trending…by Mike

The story below is unfortunate for everyone involved. Sadly domestic violence rears its ugly head once again. To me domestic violence is a form of bullying and abuse and should not be ignored.  It should not be quieted, I’m not suggesting that it has, and the victims should be heard. Victims of bullying and domestic violence need to know they are not alone and they do have the support of the community.

We do not intend to overreact when a story first appears. Often it’s better to wait and see how the story transpires and to allow time for those involved the opportunity to have the truth heard. However the announcement that at Michigan the head coach of football has removed a player, due to domestic violence, from the program has opened the flood gates for the media frenzy. Here are two stories about the topic.

https://michigan.rivals.com/content.asp?CID=1705365&PT=4&PR=2

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/ncaaf-dr-saturday/details-emerge-in-domestic-violence-arrest-of-michigan-de-frank-clark-154651348.html

A Great Person You May not Know from American History: Benjamin Banneker

Benjamin Banneker (November 9, 1731 – October 9, 1806) was a free African American scientist, surveyor, almanac author and farmer. Born in Baltimore County, Maryland, to a free African American woman and a former slave, Banneker had little formal education and was largely self-taught. He is known for being part of a group led by Major Andrew Ellicott that surveyed the borders of the original District of Columbia, the federal capital district of the United States.

Banneker’s knowledge of astronomy helped him author a commercially successful series of almanacs. He corresponded with Thomas Jefferson, drafter of theUnited States Declaration of Independence, on the topics of slavery and racial equality. Abolitionists and advocates of racial equality promoted and praised his works.

Source: Wikipedia

 

Trending @ LDC

‘Massacre’ threat forces Anita Sarkeesian to cancel university talk

Anita Sarkeesian, creator of the popular Tropes vs. Women video series, is at the center of yet another death threat. The Standard Examiner reports that the director of Utah State University’s Center for Women and Gender, along with several other people, received an email promising a mass shooting if they didn’t cancel a speaking engagement for Sarkeesian, who was scheduled to talk at the center on Wednesday morning.

Sarkeesian later announced on Twitter that she had been forced to cancel the appearance because of security fears; requests for firearm searches at the venue were turned down because of Utah’s relaxed open-carry laws. A member of the Center for Women and Gender confirmed to The Verge that the threat was real, although she and campus police declined to provide more details.

THE LETTER REFERENCES THE DEADLY ‘MONTREAL MASSACRE’ OF 1989

The Standard-Examiner has printed what it says are excerpts from the letter, in which the unknown author (who claims to be a Utah State student) claims to have “a semi-automatic rifle, multiple pistols, and a collection of pipe bombs.” More specifically, they threatened to carry out a “Montreal Massacre-style attack” against Sarkeesian and anyone who attended the talk. “Feminists have ruined my life and I will have my revenge,” reads the email. The Montreal Massacre, carried out in December of 1989, was a mass shooting directed at engineering students in Montreal’s École Polytechnique. The killer, who also claimed that his life had been ruined by feminists, singled out women and murdered 14 before killing himself. Today, its anniversary is commemorated in Canada as the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

The threat is far from the first directed at Sarkeesian and anyone around her. Organizers of the Game Developers Choice Awards confirmed in September that they had received an email in which an anonymous critic threatened to bomb the ceremony if they did not revoke an award they were giving to Sarkeesian. Sarkeesian herself has been the subject of a virtually nonstop harassment campaign since 2012, and in August, she called the police and left home because of very specific and violent death threats.

SARKEESIAN ISN’T THE ONLY WOMAN IN GAMES TO HAVE BEEN HARASSED RECENTLY

Nor is she the only woman in games to have been harassed over the past three months. Game developer Zoe Quinn left home in August after an ex-boyfriend posted details of their relationship online, implying (intentionally or not) that she had started romantic relationships to get good press coverage. While these claims were debunked almost immediately, she’s remained a major figure in the “Gamergate” controversy that’s taken over large parts of the gaming community.

Gamergate, a loose movement whose members say they want stricter ethics policies for journalists and an end to “political correctness” in games writing, has nonetheless fostered a group of angry trolls who have prompted some people to leave the industry because of harassment. Most recently, game developer Brianna Wu left home after a series of violent threats to both her and her husband, apparently because she had tweeted images making fun of Gamergate. These messages have included personal details like addresses and the names of family members.

Some members of Gamergate have accused women in games of going so far as to fake threats in order to get attention, or others of carrying out “false flag” attacks to damage the movement’s reputation. But a police spokesperson confirmed that Sarkeesian had filed a report with them in August, saying that the case had been referred to the FBI (which neither confirms nor denies that it is investigating it.) Earlier in the summer, the FBI metwith the International Game Developers Association to address online harassment of developers, whether as a result of political differences or simply changing a game’s balance. So far, none of the messages to Sarkeesian and others have been acted upon, but this is unlikely to be the last time someone on the internet threatens to murder women who make or talk about video games — and anyone who supports them.

Update, 10:10PM ET: This article has been updated to reflect that Sarkeesian has canceled her talk

Source:  The Verge

 

Women as Background Decoration (Part 2)

August 25, 2014

This is the second episode exploring the Women as Background Decoration trope in video games. In this installment we expand our discussion to examine how sexualized female bodies often occupy a dual role as both sexual playthings and the perpetual victims of male violence.

The Women as Background Decoration trope which is the subset of largely insignificant non-playable female characters whose sexuality or victimhood is exploited as a way to infuse edgy, gritty or racy flavoring into game worlds. These sexually objectified female bodies are designed to function as environmental texture while titillating presumed straight male players. Sometimes they’re created to be glorified furniture but they are frequently programmed as minimally interactive sex objects to be used and abused.

In part 1 we discussed the concept of Sexual Objectification and looked at a specific subset of non-essential female characters which I classify as Non-Playable Sex Objects.

Press Image for Media Use: https://www.flickr.com/photos/anitasarkeesian/15034097635/

LINKS AND RESOURCES

ABOUT THE SERIES
The Tropes vs Women in Video Games project aims to examine the plot devices and patterns most often associated with female characters in gaming from a systemic, big picture perspective. This series will include critical analysis of many beloved games and characters, but remember that it is both possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of it’s more problematic or pernicious aspects. This video series is created by Anita Sarkeesian and the project was funded by 6968 awesome backers on Kickstarter.com

GAMES REFERENCED IN THIS EPISODE

Assassin’s Creed 2 (2009)
Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (2010)
Bioshock (2007)
Bioshock 2 (2010)
Dead Island (2011)
Dishonored (2012)
Dragon Age: Origins (2009)
Fable 2 (2008)
Far Cry 3 (2012)
God of War 3 (2008)
Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
Hitman: Absolution (2012)
Hitman: Blood Money (2006)
Kane & Lynch (2007)
L.A. Noire (2011)
Mafia II: Joe’s Adventures (2010)
Metro: Last Light (2013)
No More Heroes (2008)
Papo & Yo (2012)
Prototype (2009)
Red Dead Redemption (2010)
Saints Row (2006)
Super Mario Galaxy 2 (2010)
The Darkness II (2012)
The Witcher (2007)
The Witcher 2 (2011)
Thief (2014)
Watch Dogs (2014)

(more…)

Filed under: Video Games
Tags: Tropes vs Women, Tropes vs Women in Video Games
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Women as Background Decoration (Part 1)

June 16, 2014

In this episode we explore the Women as Background Decoration trope which is the subset of largely insignificant non-playable female characters whose sexuality or victimhood is exploited as a way to infuse edgy, gritty or racy flavoring into game worlds. These sexually objectified female bodies are designed to function as environmental texture while titillating presumed straight male players. Sometimes they’re created to be glorified furniture but they are frequently programmed as minimally interactive sex objects to be used and abused.

Sexual objectification is the practice of treating or representing a human being as a thing or mere instrument to be used for another’s sexual purposes. Sexually objectified women are valued primarily for their bodies, or body parts, which are presented as existing for the pleasure and gratification of others.

Press Image for Media Use: https://www.flickr.com/photos/anitasarkeesian/14431537812/

LINKS & RESOURCES

ABOUT THE SERIES
The Tropes vs Women in Video Games project aims to examine the plot devices and patterns most often associated with female characters in gaming from a systemic, big picture perspective. This series will include critical analysis of many beloved games and characters, but remember that it is both possible (and even necessary) to simultaneously enjoy media while also being critical of it’s more problematic or pernicious aspects. This video series is created by Anita Sarkeesian and the project was funded by 6968 awesome backers on Kickstarter.com

GAMES REFERENCED IN THIS EPISODE

Out Run (1986)
Chequered Flag (1988)
Snatcher (1988)
Super Off Road (1989)
GP Rider (1990)
Rise of the Dragon (1990)
Quest for Glory II (1990)
Sunset Riders (1991)
Eliminator Boat Duel (1991)
Lucky & Wild (1992)
Cruis’n USA (1994)
Rave Racer (1995)
Need for Speed: Underground (2003)
Ridge Racer 2 (2006)
Need for Speed: ProStreet (2007)
MX vs ATV Alive (2011)
Forza Horizon (2012)
Mortal Kombat (2011)
God of War: Ghost of Sparta (2010)
Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
The Witcher 2 (2011)
Deus Ex: Human Revolution (2011)
Yakuza 4 (2011)
Hitman: Absolution (2012)
Mafia II: Joe’s Adventure (2010)
The Darkness II (2012)
Dishonored (2012)
Fallout: New Vegas (2010)
Metro: Last Light (2013)
Just Cause 2 (2010)
Sleeping Dogs (2012)
Fable II (2008)
Watch Dogs (2014)
Max Payne 3 (2012)
Far Cry 3 (2012)
Binary Domain (2012)
Shellshock: Nam ’67 (2004)
Fable: The Lost Chapters (2005)/Fable Anniversary (2014)
Grand Theft Auto 4 (2008)
The Godfather II (2009)
Mass Effect 2 (2010)
Hitman: Blood Money (2006)
Red Dead Redemption (2010)
The Saboteur (2009)
Assassin’s Creed IV (2013)
Saints Row (2006)
Bioshock Infinite: Burial at Sea (2013)
Duke Nukem 3D (1996)
Dragon Age: Origins (2009)
Fallout 3 (2008)
Saints Row: The Third (2011)
Killer is Dead (2013)

(more…)

Source: Feminist Frequency

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Thank you “Ya Michigan”

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Eid Al Adha, the festival of scarifice, falls during the hajj season

 What do Muslims do during Hajj and what the festival is about?

Hajj

A look at some of the more interesting rituals and rites that Muslims perform during the annual pilgrimage of Hajj in Saudi Arabia

An aerial view of the Kaaba during the Hajj
Hajj is an annual Muslim pilgrimage that takes place in Saudi Arabia.

It is a religious obligation on all Muslims who are healthy, financially able, of sound mind and of age to perform this pilgrimage at least once in their lifetime.

It is one of the largest gatherings of humans in the world with more than 2 million people expected to take part this year from around 188 countries. Hajj season for 2014 falls between 2 – 7 October.

The pilgrimage rituals take place over a period of several days and culminates in Eid Al-Adha, a day of celebration enjoyed by Muslims around the globe whether or not they took part in the Hajj itself.

One of the philosophies of the Hajj is that of spirituality and unity. All Muslims perform the same rites and are encouraged to share in a spirit of equality.

All pilgrims are to remain in a state of purity and simplicity during the Hajj as much as possible. This includes wearing simple clothes, which for men includes two pieces of white unsewn cloth. Women are not restricted to a specific colour but are also encouraged to wear non-elaborate clothing.

 

Mina

Having arrived in Mecca, on day one pilgrims leave the city and head to an area called Mina where they spend the day in prayer. Here over 100,000 tents have been set up as temporary shelter and accomodation for the pilgrims in what looks like a huge tent city.
An aerial view of some of the pilgrim tents in Mina

Arafat

On the Day of Arafat, pilgrims spend the entire day on, or near, a hill known as Mount Arafat – the Mount of Mercy. This is considered to be a great day of forgiveness and the day is spent repenting for past sins.

Muslims believe that if you spend this day in a state of true repentance, all past sins will be forgiven.

Muslims around the world who cannot physically take part in the Hajj, also spend this day engaged in prayer, fasting and supplication.

Pilgrims converge on the Mount of Arafat

 


Muzdalifa

Pilgrims spend a night in an area called Muzdalifa, which is part way between Arafat and Mina.

Pilgrims spend their time here in prayer and also gather pebbles to be used in a ritual the next day called the Jamarat.

Pilgrims in Muzdalifa gather small pebbles to be used in a ritual the following day

 


 

Jamarat

The Jamarat is a ritual and symbolic stoning of the devil. Three pillars – small, medium and large – are stoned by pilgrims with the pebbles they collected on their route from Muzdalifa the night before.

The story associated with the stoning of the devil relates to the devil’s attempt to dissuade Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) from obeying Allah’s commands. It symbolizes the stoning of the devil within.

 

Jamarat is the ritual and symbolic stoning of the devil in which pilgrims throw pebbles at three walls

In past years, so many people gathered to take part in this ritual that people were crushed and trampled. That has led to the Saudi authorities attempting to modernise the walkways and access points to the area to make it safer for pilgrims.

 

Pilgrims on their way to perform the Jamarat ritual

 


 

Eid

Pilgrims return to Mina for the first day of Eid al-Adha, or the Feast of the Sacrifice. This is the second of the two annual Islamic holidays.

Muslim throughout the world celebrate Eid on this day. In remembrance of the wiilingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to make any sacrifice commanded of him by God, Muslims on this day sacrifice an animal – usually a sheep – and distribute a portion of that meat to the poor.

On this day pilgrims also cut their hair. While men may shave their heads or cut their hair short, women are only required to cut a lock of hair.

 

Vendors sell balloons to children as Indonesian Muslims gather to take part in special Eid prayers

 


Farewell tawaf

Pilgrims return to Mecca for the final tawaf – circling of the Ka’aba. The Ka’aba is an ancient stone structure in Mecca towards which all Muslims around the world face to pray five times a day.

Muslims believe that the Ka’aba was the first place of worship built on earth and that it was originally built by Prophet Adam, the first man created by God.

Pilgrims walk around, or circumambulate, it seven times in a counter clockwise direction.

 

The Ka’aba is an ancient stone structure in Mecca which pilgrims circumambulate

Although not a part of the Hajj itself, many people round off the pilgrimage with a visit to Medina and the site of the grave of the prophet Muhammad since, for most, this will be a once in a life-time journey.

 

Online research

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Askwith Recommends: Just Gender

Through the stories of transgender individuals and their spouses, friends, and allies, Just Gender explores the confusion, the isolation, and the fear felt by many transgender persons. It also reveals their growing awareness and acceptance, and ultimately their joy in blossoming comfort as transgendered persons.

Mirlyn Record

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