It’s an open thread! Pleeeeease feel free to chat, blogwhore, and link-share in the comment thread… Emoticon: Autumn Sandeen, snarkily shifting her eyes right-to-left-to-right

Image: Bookworm Bob, the cartoon 'sockpuppet' of Autumn Sandeen'sSo, this is what my cartoon sockpuppet Bookworm Bob have been looking at since our last This & That post.

• Do you remember Ceara Sturgis? She is a young, Mississippi lesbian who sued her former school district (Copiah County School District) over their leaving her photo out of the senior section of her High School’s yearbook.  The school left her photo out of the yearbook because she was we wearing a tuxedo instead of the drape mandated for female students; She is suing the Wesson Attendance Center (her former high school) and the Copiah County School District over this. The ACLU is arguing that the school and school district violated Ceara Sturgis rights by removing her photo from the yearbook.

Bay Windows has an  update to the story, in their aritcle Miss. school: Bikini photo negates lesbian’s suit:

A Mississippi school district hopes photographs of a teenage lesbian in a bikini will help lead to the dismissal of a lawsuit claiming her rights were violated when a picture of her in a tuxedo was left out of the yearbook’s senior section.

…The district, which is asking the court to dismiss Sturgis’ lawsuit, contends that the teenager had maintained the drape was offensive and a form of sex discrimination. Yet, Sturgis chose to wear a bikini to the senior party, which is a school function, according to the documents. Pictures from the pool party also appear in the yearbook.

Sturgis has said she likes to wear masculine clothes and that’s why she donned a tuxedo instead of a drape to appear in the 2010 Wesson Attendance Center yearbook.

The district, which is asking the court to dismiss Sturgis’ lawsuit, contends that the teenager had maintained the drape was offensive and a form of sex discrimination. Yet, Sturgis chose to wear a bikini to the senior party, which is a school function, according to the documents. Pictures from the pool party also appear in the yearbook.

“Indeed, it is hard to conceive of an item of clothing more sexualizing and feminine than a bikini,” the district said in the documents.

The ACLU responded by pointing out that Ceara Sturgis was also wearing long shorts in the photo the school district is citing. I’m trying to understand this — the school district is arguing that if she were really uncomfortable in women’s clothing she would have exposed her breasts? Or are they arguing that she had to be dressed in male clothing 24/7 for some unspecified length of time to make an argument that she was uncomfortable in women’s clothing?

I hate it when the sex and gender binary is enforced on those of us who don’t quite fit into that binary.

Image: Jenifer Ringer as the New York Ballet's Sugar Plum Fairy• Alastair MacAulay, a New York Times dance critic, on November 30th reviewed a New York City Ballet production of The Nutcracker. In the review, entitled Timeless Alchemy, Even When No One Is Dancing, claimed that the dancer who played the Sugar Plum Fairy — Jenifer Ringer — well, let me just quote him:

Jenifer Ringer, as the Sugar Plum Fairy, looked as if she’d eaten one sugar plum too many…

In other words, he called the dancer fat. Tara Parker-Pope in Well — the New York Times‘ health and fitness blog — had this to say about the dance critic’s commentary in her blog entry The Ideal Ballerina:

In a now infamous review, the New York Times dance critic Alastair Macaulay criticized the body of dancer Jenifer Ringer, who is cast as the Sugar Plum Fairy in “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker” at the New York City Ballet. The dancer, Mr. Macaulay wrote, “looked as if she’d eaten one sugarplum too many.”

The comment triggered a storm of protest among readers and on the Internet. Mr. Macaulay defended his remarks with a thoughtful essay entitled “Judging the Bodies in Ballet.

While I understand the general point made by Mr. Macaulay about the role of criticism, I am still searching for the extra pounds he spotted on Ms. Ringer, who clearly isn’t overweight by any standard. More important, I’m troubled by the suggestion that an emaciated dancer is somehow more pleasing to watch. To my eye, Ms. Ringer, who has talked openly about struggling with disordered eating, looks like the ideal ballerina – an athletic, graceful woman who dances with strength.

The ballerina in question, Jenifer Ringer, responded to the reviewer’s comments:

It’s a physical profession. We’re dancing all day long…. But if you’re too thin, you can’t do the job. That’s where people run into trouble. When I went through my eating disorders, I went through anorexia; when you’re weak, you can’t do the job, and you can’t perform it well.

As a dancer, I do put myself out there to be criticized, and my body is part of my art form. At the same time, I’m not overweight. I do have, I guess, a more womanly body type than the stereotypical ballerina, but that’s one of the wonderful things about the New York City Ballet. We have every body type you can imagine. We have tall, we have petite, we have athletic, we have womanly, we have waif-like. We have every body type out there. They can all dance like crazy. They are all gorgeous, and I think dance should be more of a celebration of that – seeing these beautiful women with these different bodies all dancing to this gorgeous music, and that’s what should be celebrated.

I agree with Tara Parker-Pope and Jenifer Ringer on this. Just as I don’t like rigid sex and gender binaries, I also don’t like rigid body weight/body type binaries.

Pink News‘s UN secretary-general says culture must not override gay rights:

The secretary-general of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, has called for homosexuality to be decriminalised globally.

Speaking last Friday on Human Rights Day, Mr Ban said that people were “not put on this planet to live in fear of their fellow human beings” and that human rights must trump cultural attitudes.

He was speaking on a panel with US ambassador to the UN Susan Rice.

The panel condemned violence against LGBT and the continued criminalisation of gay people in more than 70 countries worldwide.

Ms Rice said that the US would seek to reinstate reference to gay people in a UN resolution condemning executions. Arabic and African countries successfully amended the measure in a vote last month.

Pink News has a copy of the whole speech up at their website. It’s worth the read.

AOL‘s Harvard: Urine on Gay Books Was Accident, Not Hate Crime:

Those gay-themed books that were soaked with urine at a Harvard College library were not a hate crime after all, the school says, but a simple accident caused by a staffer who spilled a bottle of liquid waste on 36 tomes.

Why a bottle of urine was sitting on a library shelf in the first place has yet to be explained.

“This incident was initially reported as vandalism and characterized as a hate crime,” Evelynn Hammonds, dean of Harvard College, wrote Monday on the university’s website. “We have learned this morning that the books, while indeed damaged, were damaged by our own library personnel accidentally spilling a bottle of what was reported to be urine that had been left on the shelf.

“I believe this is an important new fact in the investigation and warrants my sharing it with you immediately.”

The prestigious college’s announcement last week that vandals had destroyed three dozen gay and lesbian books by dousing them with urine created a stir on the Internet, with blog site Gawker weighing in with the headline “Homophobic Pee Vandal Haunts Harvard.” …

Metro Weekly has a piece up on the story of the urine soaked books too, with the headline of Urine-doused library books at Harvard leave gay students pissed off. Emoticon: Blank Face

• Our Wiener Story Of The Day: MTV‘s Kim Kardashian Weighs In On Kanye West Baby Rumors, Music Project; ‘[In] New York [I] put on like 10 pounds and then I’m pregnant with Kanye’s baby!’ reality star laughs.:

Motion graphic: Cartoon of Mustard being applied down the length of a hot dog; Link To Pam's House Blend Tag 'Wieners'Kim Kardashian had everyone talking when she was spotted hanging out with Kanye West in New York last month. Kardashian’s face time with the rap superstar was documented for the upcoming E! reality show “Kourtney and Kim Take New York,” and it also has generated a lot of rumors. Many gossip blogs began speculating that not only were Kim and Kanye dating, but that they also were expecting a little bundle of joy. The reality starlet laughed off the allegations when MTV News caught up with her at Z-100’s Jingleball in New York on Friday night.

“My reaction is, ‘God, I’ve got to stay away from those hot dogs and nuts on the street corner and the ice cream!’ ” she explained. “Like those trucks, I’ve never seen that before – trucks of ice cream. You have to stop and eat! I couldn’t control myself, so [in] New York [I] put on like 10 pounds and then I’m pregnant with Kanye’s baby, so whatever! What can you do?! Hit the gym!”

As always, “The weenie tempts you! … and apparently Kim Kardashian too!”

So anywho…It’s an open thread! What are you thinking about today, or what books or articles have you been reading the past few days? Wanna share?

And again, please feel free to chat, blogwhore, and link-share in the comment thread because…it’s an open thread! Woo-hoo! Emoticon: Dancing happy face character  

Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen