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Postmodern Parody as Political Intervention
by Kavita Kulkarni

Desobediencia Simbólica
by Victor Vich

The U.S. Voting Machine Debacle and the Machinery of Democracy
by Nina Mankin

Venezuelan Elections
by Fernando Calzadilla

Radical Cheerleading and Feminist Performance
by Jeanne Vaccaro

Multimedia Presentation: Billionaires for Bush

Multimedia Presentation: Superbarrio for President

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[Page 7: Give Me An F: Radical Cheerleading and Feminist Performance]

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Jeanne: Radical Cheerleading politics manifest in live demonstrations, zines, do-it-yourself style and community building, but politics are perhaps most visible in the writing and language of cheers.

Mary: The thing about an effective cheer, and most are effective, is that there's still an element of creativity and the creative process involved. So some cheers are stronger than others, like how some squads are really physical while others don't dress up or use outfits or anything. What's so strong about the cheers is that they're written in a language that everyone can understand.

Jeanne: The cheers trouble normative gender roles and women's passivity; for example, the cheer "Shoot the Rapist" exploits women's profanity and violence.

Mary: A lot of people react to the violence in "Shoot the Rapist."

Jeanne: Actually, when I initially presented my work on Radical Cheerleading for a class on feminist ethnography, the professor described the cheer as "pretty violent stuff."

Mary: So she judged the content of the cheer. That doesn't seem fair.

Jeanne: I'm reminded of your experience protesting Taco Bell in Auburn, Alabama – you said that you like the way Radical Cheerleading challenges mainstream notions of "sweet young women" and "all-American girls." In fact, young women can and do defy normative femininity by taking control of their own safety.

Click to enlargeMary: "Shoot the Rapist" is a little goofy, I mean it's a cheer so it's only a theoretical statement. But it's also a serious statement, that rape is violent. As a rape survivor, my experience of rape was very violent. You could turn the violence of rape around by responding with violence. You could take care of it. You could stop someone from raping you with a gun. I know a lot of women who would prefer to shoot someone than be raped. It's your choice to make. The statement the cheer makes is that rape needs to be taken more seriously as a violent act, not as the woman's fault or as a sexual act or as something that women can't stop. I feel so empowered by that cheer. I have to do it over and over and over again, because of what happened to me, because a lot of people don't understand. But some people do understand and back me up and understand the violence and the feelings of revenge. I know if you had to shoot someone or get raped, I know what the choice would be. It's all true what the cheer says, but hello! It's also just a cheer. We absorb so much violence against women in our culture, but we can't understand violence against men. It's more uncommon. There should be more violence against men. Can you put that in your paper? Can you title the paper "More violence against men, please?"

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