Editor’s Note: Hey friends! I’m pleased to bring you our new feature, Bookshelf. Each month we’ll hear from Acro Collective…
I’ve always loved dancing of any kind, but industrial and electronic dance music have a special place in my heart….
Just in time for back-to-school, three writers at ACRO who are involved in high school or college instruction unpack the rhetoric of the “trigger warning”.
Trigger warnings began as a way to tag texts that may provoke a reader’s PTSD, but they have become widely used in tagging texts that contain content that ranges from offensive to traumatic. What began in social justice forums in the blog-sphere has made its way into discourse about the academy at large, leading to a call for the re-examination of the pedagogical value of certain canonical texts, the role of the professor and student in a shifting higher-education system, and the ethics of certain kinds of representation.
This is an ode to my first summer love. The one that made me realize that my imagination made me powerful. It taught me that there were whole worlds rippling underneath the surface of my everyday life, that creativity, bravery, and love for others were the highest of all virtues. When school let out for the summer, it became my constant companion and I visited its house on Library Ave. several times a week. It was during these sweet summers that I developed my love of narrative and imaginative worlds that has informed every career-related decision I’ve ever made. With great pleasure I offer this post, an ode to the Fantasy Novel, to share and honor all the lessons it’s taught me about love and the real world.
Tyler is a lot of things: brilliant set designer and master carpenter, comrade-in-arms in various D&D campaigns, athlete and mentor-coach-athlete for the Special Olympics, dedicated employee and fiercely loyal friend. But last weekend, we sat down to talk specifically about allyship, his journey as a transman, and his role as an outspoken advocate for LGBTQA people everywhere.
Among the things to admire about Tyler is his iron-clad belief that his openness about his experience as a transman will make future transgender people’s lives a little easier. Two noble beliefs lie at the root of his advocacy strategies: 1) that when given the chance through education and dialogue, people are capable of being kind to and accepting of another and 2) that his willingness to discuss parts of his life outside of the realm of polite conversation will have real, tangible, positive consequences in the world. Tyler carefully considers the ethical dimensions of his decisions about his “outness” as he debates whether or not it’s “right” for him to stealth when he knows that his ability to pass as a man makes him less visible, which he recognizes is an option many transgender people, especially transwomen, don’t have.
Our conversation spanned a variety of topics but continually came back to the central theme of education and communication as ways, not to erase difference, but to render it at once more visible and more celebrated on all levels.
Fitspo’s assertion that we have the power to change our bodies takes for granted that people are not—and should not—be happy with their bodies unless they fit into one of a few “attractive” body types, and learning to love, care for, and revel in the body that you have is never a virtue. While we have the power to fight back against genetics, fitspo never tells us we have the power to rescript what “fit,” “healthy,” “attractive,” and “beautiful” mean in our world.
As someone deeply invested in both the health of my own body and the right of people everywhere to make decisions regarding every aspect of their physical, mental, and emotional selves, I want to highlight what I see as some of the underlying issues that make the fitspo narrative—as well as other narratives we see or read about obesity and sickness—so dangerous. While fitspo pretends to offer us agency over our bodies, it really serves to affirm and extend the belief that fatness is a moral problem, an issue of work ethic.
Some consider the original Mad Max films to be the originators of the current post-apocalyptic aesthetic that’s now a familiar theme in film, literature and video games: the world becomes a dirty, gritty place and the real villains are the humans running amuck in the wake of large scale catastrophe and institutional collapse. If you’re like me, the adrenaline rush of seeing Mad Max: Fury Road left you with the desire for more dystopian action and it’s going to be a long wait for Mad Max: Wasteland. Since you’ve probably already seen Divergent and The Hunger Games, let me humbly suggest another way to get your apocalypse fix: a few great summer reads that share in the Mad Max spirit by being gritty, raw, or beautifully self-conscious of their own genre (and all the campiness, hokeyness and playfulness that comes with along with it). What a lovely day!
So, I teach a college course about the zombie in popular culture. Well, actually it’s about academic writing, cleverly…
Last month, The Feminist’s Guide to Horror took you into the world of body horror where films focus on the human form as a bloody, suffering spectacle–this month we’re taking a turn into the realm of Found Footage horror, which is all about the power of suggestion. Found Footage horror is the land of amateur documentarians in pursuit of a supernatural mystery. It privileges local narratives and urban legends told from the first-person perspective of those who are most invested in discovering the truth behind these phenomena.
By now, Judith Butler’s idea of “gender performativity” is well established in feminist parlance and the idea that gender is…