Saturday, February 19, 2011

Mazel Tov to Lorca Cohen, Rufus Wainwright, and Deputy Dad Jorn Weisbrodt on the birth of their daughter Viva Katherine Waiwright Cohen!

photograph of Lorca Cohen, new parent, and Martha Wainwright, new aunt, is from here
Who says I'm anti-dad? I'm all for gay men being able to raise children. (And lesbian women too!)

Congratulations to the man I once wanted to marry: Rufus Wainwright. Alas, he's taken--and busier now than ever. I'm only sorry his mum, Kate McGarrigle, didn't live long enough to get to meet the little girl. But, maybe, on some other plane of existence, she has and is getting to know her granddaughter. At least she'll have a wonderful Aunt Martha to know on this plane of existence. Years ago I saw both sibs perform together in Montreal and they were each fantastic.

I once called out Tim Wise for promoting the idea--and reality, no doubt--that his daughters are 'beautiful'. (He got quite pissy about it.) This word 'beautiful' MUST be used to describe girls. It MUST. It's a social law as entrenched and intransigent as any. To NOT call a girl baby 'beautiful' is to insult her and parent(s). This imperative doesn't exist for boy-babies; they can be cute, or "daddy's little bruiser" or whatever. Not 'pretty', maybe. But they can be beautiful too. They just don't HAVE to be. This is not just sexist and heterosexist. It is discriminatory on many levels, often functionally racist and classist, as only people with a collection of privileges tend to be identified as 'beautiful' once grown up. It's most often blond white thin young women who society-at-large assumes are heterosexual.It is part of what instills in girls a sense that their value is their physical appearance--whether or not it is pleasing to others, particularly to men who hold the most power to name beauty and punish those who aren't seen as beautiful. Of course women named beautiful by men are also abused by men. There is no socially safe option for girls and women.

This repetitive, ubiquitous, compulsory calling of girls 'beautiful' is done in a society in which girls, increasingly younger and younger ones, are trafficked and sexualised for men's entertainment and predation. Hopefully Lorca Cohen, Rufus, and Deputy Dad Jorn can keep those predatory het men away from their girl-child. Please note how emphatically the term 'beautiful' makes an appearance in the announcement below.

I pray that Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen, and all newborn girls, and all little girls will a know a life free of het men's intimate abuses. Tragically, no one will be able to avoid the institutional abuses.

On a cheerier note, how wonderful that Viva gets her mother's last name! That's a nice matrilineal touch. Far too little of that going on in my family and life experience. But maybe this'll catch on in the white Christian patriarchal West. This ethnically Jewish child is of Canadian, Lithuanian, and Polish heritage; and, specifically, she is a Cohen/Kohen. For those who don't know what that means, please see *here*.

My blessings and best wishes to the new family. Mazel Tov!!

[Source website for what follows is, *here*.]

Rufus Wainwright Welcomes Daughter Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen

Like Elton John and Neil Patrick Harris before him, Rufus Wainwright managed to sneak his new fatherhood beneath your prying eyes. The singer announced on his website that he and partner Jorn Weisbrodt are the proud new fathers of daughter Viva Katherine Wainwright Cohen, born Feb. 2. "The little angel is evidently healthy, presumably happy and certainly very very beautiful," the note reads. "Daddy #1 would like to offer everyone a digital cigar and welcome the little lady in with a French phrase from his favorite folk song, A La Claire Fontaine : 'Il y a longtemps que je t'aime, jamais je ne t'oublierai.'"

A reader relays that Rufus actually dedicated a song to Viva at his sister's concert last Friday while appearing on stage with Martha, who was performing an Edith Piaf collection, though he didn't mention at the time who this Viva person was. And the fourth name Cohen? That would belong to Lorca Cohen, who carried Viva and is the daughter of Leonard.


Dark Daughta said... were in love with rufus wainright? ;) i can't stand the whole "beautiful" thing. not even for adult females. it's so...strangling. i like to assign all sorts of pretty, beautiful, lovely names to boys and men, not as a way to sexualize (boys) but as a way to re-assign to them what patriarchy has stuffed down the throats of us wimmin. my son is always my lovely, my beauty, my pretty. both of my children have my last name and the other names i alone gave them. funny how we're still encountering people who want to prioritize their father's biological relationship to them over mine by attempting to utilize his last name in conjunction with theirs. i think the habit is passing, though, as it's mostly older people who tend to do this. i'm thinking of writing something about having children - a girl and a boy. i want to talk about humaaans who are political who hate children themselves, rather than hating the capitalist, white dominating, patriarchal, monogamist, heterosexist regime that compulsorily imposes child bearing and child rearing and child nurturing on wimmin regardless of what they need or want or envision for themselves, their relationships, their lives. hating those interlocking systems is really different than hating children. we were all children. we all grew from egg to babe to child to teen to adult. hating children is like hating ourselves. hating children is different than not wanting to be an incubator, cow or brood hen. rufus wainright?

Julian Real said...

Thanks so much for this comment, Dark Daughta. And, well, all the others too! :)

I wouldn't go so far as to say I was IN LOVE with Rufus W. ;)

I'd say I had a big crush on him; I did fantasize about him being my boyfriend and life partner (I'd have probably had some forms of sex with him to keep him around); I certainly have found him to be "beautiful" (wink wink); and I adore his music.

I'm not sure I can be in love with a man I don't personally know. And men I know personally aren't men who evoke in me an experience of being in love. And the ones I know who are most pro-woman are not gay.

I value the respect that is allowed to be a part of friendship more than the romantic dispossession and loss-of-self that is, for me, typical of "R"elationships. (I did say "for me". I know many other people negotiate those feelings and experiences differently than I have done.)

Like you, I'm VERY pro-child and not a fan of patrilineal and patriarchal child-rearing practices. I'm very supportive of women who raise children. God/dess bless them and you.

I'm also VERY supportive of women who are able to refuse to have children. Or women who don't want to or won't raise children, for whatever reasons, as long as those reasons aren't oppressively imposed on women, such as through practices of forced sterilisation or battery.

Many of the pregnancies that have happened in my family-of-origin weren't planned or chosen. Many were a function of compulsory heterosexuality and mandatory sexual intercourse along with a refusal by males to be responsible about using birth control. None of the women in my family-of-origin felt that abortion was an option.

I am very supportive of women who do not want motherhood thrust upon them, literally and figuratively. God/dess bless them too.

Julian Real said...

Too often, in my experience, whether or not girls and women have children of their own, they are forced by circumstance to care for other people also, to put themselves second, third, fourth, or last. I've seen this up close and personal in my family. Few women have gotten to be people-not-moms or people-not-wives.

This isn't saying moms and wives aren't people. It is saying there are other dimensions of being beyond those very enforced roles and celebrated institutions. (I'll note, again in my own experience, that the institutions are celebrated: the moms and wives often are not regarded with respect or regard at all, except maybe annually, on a holiday.)

And, also in my family-of-origin, mostly poor and working class and white, the gender stereotypes are thick as concrete but not as porous. The boys' inner emotional lives are destroyed, systematically. (As is the emotional life of girls, but often through different means.)

Many of the males are substance abusers in part as a result of not knowing how to express themselves in any vulnerable way and these males have generally rejected their female spouses invitations to be more vulnerable.

The girls are systematically made to be VERY anti-lesbian, anti-butch, anti-woman, anti-girl and pro-boy and pro-man.

I hope Rufus, Lorca, and Jorn--if they all raise Viva Katherine--raise her to be a child without oppressive restrictions based on misogynistic beauty standards and relatively free of hetero/sexist values and practices. She is among a few very privileged children in being able to have care-givers who are not pro-heterosexism.

No child in my family-of-origin stands a chance. I was the lucky one--an exception, in some regards. The male care-givers in my family, who are no longer alive, weren't too invested in "boys being boys"--didn't buy me plastic soldiers or guns ever. These men were into classical European music (I wasn't--it was British pop rock for me). They welcomed me to do things that were not butch or masculine. I got praised for cooking, for example. I knew how to sew.

Here are the movies, which I hope most people who can get access to movies will get to see, if they haven't already.

The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros

Breakfast With Scot

Ma Vie En Rose

This last one has a good presentation of a girl who refuses patriarchal femininity. I'd like to see more films depicting girls who reject patriarchal imperatives for how to be a girl, with parents and care-givers who support her doing so as a girl, as a young woman. If you know of any, please let me know.