Genderfluid

Nov. 6th, 2014 06:37 am
naamah_darling: Lucian from Underworld next to a snarling wolf. From the dark into the black, throwbacks always have to go. (Lucian Throwbacks)
(I posted this on Dreamwidth and then wondered why I got no comments.  Turned out it didn't crosspost, so here it is.)

This is a really interesting personal story piece about being genderfluid:

I Am Genderfluid by Astrophe on Jezebel

I found it yesterday, and a lot of it really resonated with me.

I'm genderfluid.

I think. I mean, I don't know what else to call it.

My gender exists in some sort of quantum state. It's Schrödinger's cat, unknown unless I examine it. Boy day or girl day? Let me open the box and check. These days it's usually a boy day, but there have been long stretches of time when I'm usually girl, and I'm sure there will be again. Sometimes it's neither; I open the box and can't tell whether the cat's alive or not. And frequently, it's both at once. A tuxedo cat, black AND white all at the same time, not sometimes black and sometimes white.

Someone once compared being genderfluid or genderqueer to being a superhero, and I think that's brilliant. Your identity encompasses both at all times, no matter how you are presenting at the moment. The way Bruce Wayne and Batman are the same person all the time, but are still different identities.

This cat: genderfluid avenger of the night!
Basically, I am this cat.

I believe gender is a thing that is 90% imposed on us from outside, and it begins so early – the very moment we are born – that most people (in my culture, anyway) literally cannot conceive of the idea that the chasm that separates "male" and "female" is really more like a bike tire track in the mud. And despite years identifying as female and not questioning that, I somehow managed to trip and fall on both sides of it.

Maybe things would be different for me if I'd been born ten, twenty years later, or in a place where there was awareness of anything other than male = penis, woman = vagina, no other choices. If I'd been able to start the process of mentally divorcing myself from my body.

Then again, maybe that would have made the dysphoria horrific instead of merely frustrating. I don't know. I can't know. I was born in 1977 in Oklahoma; transgender people were perceived as sideshow freaks, if they were acknowledged at all. I didn't have a good idea of what it actually for-real meant and looked like, so I couldn't try on the label and say, hey, maybe this fits, maybe this is offering me possibilities that I'd like to take advantage of, maybe this is a way out of a situation I never liked. I can't say how I would have turned out if I'd known that there was more out there than "I'm a girl" and "I'm a boy."

So I am doing that work now, at 37, picking myself apart a few stitches at a time to see how I was put together, deciding what to keep, what to discard, and what to save in a box to use when I want to use it. There are no stories for me, no narratives that reflect my experience. Most of the narratives I find are those of young people finding this out relatively early, and that leaves me with a warm feeling, yes, because I love that this is more and more possible for people, but it also leaves me feeling a little shut out because it would be helpful to see other people going through what I'm going through, how they did it, what they wrestled with and what was easily put aside. Also, many of those narratives are about being clearly transgender, crossing the bridge between one and the other, then burning it, because there's no desire to go back. They aren't narratives about living on the bridge, waking up randomly on different sides, or in the middle, not belonging to either side.

I barely have a candle to hold while I follow this thread through the maze. I don't know where it will lead. I don't know if, a year from now, I will identify as genderfluid, genderqueer, female, male, or something else. It's a process, and while I am surrounded by supportive people, they're mostly cishet so they can't help me with the work. They don't have the first idea what it's like. Just like I'm sure I don't have the first idea what it's like to be truly dying-on-the-inside dysphoric.

My body is a thing that I accept because I literally cannot change it enough to make the "not right" stop; for whatever reason, I'm able to accept that more completely than a lot of people do – and that doesn't make me stronger, it's just a difference. Maybe it's easier because even when I have "boy days" it's not usually a typically masculine sort of boyishness that I experience. I mean, it's a very teenage boy feeling, but it's not a manly feeling. Maybe that part of me is too new to be grown up and someday that will change, I don't know.

That's the thing about gender identity. If you don't fall squarely into one camp or the other, there's a tremendous amount you suddenly realize you don't know. About the world, about yourself, about your future . . . even about your past.

The hardest part is when I see beautiful people who can pull off male and female with equal élan. Who can visually switch, be either, neither, both. And I envy that physical manifestation of fluidity more than I can say. My body – incredibly short, fat, and stacked front and back – excludes me from that. I can make a stab at dressing like a guy, but that's not going to make people take me for or treat me like a guy. I'll just be a short, fat chick dressed in boy clothes. If I want to be treated like a guy, I'll have to ask.

That's awkward, even among friends. Maybe I'll get comfortable with the idea eventually, I don't know, but right now it just seems like a lot of work, me having to identify what I feel like and notifying people when that changes. It also seems invasive. I'm trying to work out a solution, but it may be I don't find one that doesn't feel uncomfortable.

I recognize how lucky I am not to be more dysphoric than I am, and I have nothing but love and sympathy for those who are. We now use "bleeding heart" and "my heart bleeds for you" in sarcastic gross ways mostly, but no, I mean it, it hurts me inside that the world is so much harder for other trans-spectrum people. I feel enormous fellowship and love for all of you.

Maybe . . . maybe things will be different someday. Identities shift and evolve, and we aren't locked into one mode of being, the way we are told we are, taught to be. So maybe I'll change and change and change, trying to understand, right up until the day I die. As confusing as this is sometimes, I'm okay with that, I think.

And, so much more importantly, maybe things will be different for all of us. Maybe someday it won't be so difficult to understand who we are and to be understood by others.

Cross-posted from Silver Into Steel. Comment wherever!

Genderfluid

Nov. 4th, 2014 06:19 am
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
This is a really interesting personal story piece about being genderfluid:

I Am Genderfluid by Astrophe on Jezebel

I found it yesterday, and a lot of it really resonated with me.

I'm genderfluid.

I think. I mean, I don't know what else to call it.

My gender exists in some sort of quantum state. It's Schrödinger's cat, unknown unless I examine it. Boy day or girl day? Let me open the box and check. These days it's usually a boy day, but there have been long stretches of time when I'm usually girl, and I'm sure there will be again. Sometimes it's neither; I open the box and can't tell whether the cat's alive or not. And frequently, it's both at once. A tuxedo cat, black AND white all at the same time, not sometimes black and sometimes white.

Someone once compared being genderfluid or genderqueer to being a superhero, and I think that's brilliant. Your identity encompasses both at all times, no matter how you are presenting at the moment. The way Bruce Wayne and Batman are the same person all the time, but are still different identities.

This cat: genderfluid avenger of the night!
Basically, I am this cat.

I believe gender is a thing that is 90% imposed on us from outside, and it begins so early – the very moment we are born – that most people (in my culture, anyway) literally cannot conceive of the idea that the chasm that separates "male" and "female" is really more like a bike tire track in the mud. And despite years identifying as female and not questioning that, I somehow managed to trip and fall on both sides of it.

Maybe things would be different for me if I'd been born ten, twenty years later, or in a place where there was awareness of anything other than male = penis, woman = vagina, no other choices. If I'd been able to start the process of mentally divorcing myself from my body.

Then again, maybe that would have made the dysphoria horrific instead of merely frustrating. I don't know. I can't know. I was born in 1977 in Oklahoma; transgender people were perceived as sideshow freaks, if they were acknowledged at all. I didn't have a good idea of what it actually for-real meant and looked like, so I couldn't try on the label and say, hey, maybe this fits, maybe this is offering me possibilities that I'd like to take advantage of, maybe this is a way out of a situation I never liked. I can't say how I would have turned out if I'd known that there was more out there than "I'm a girl" and "I'm a boy."

So I am doing that work now, at 37, picking myself apart a few stitches at a time to see how I was put together, deciding what to keep, what to discard, and what to save in a box to use when I want to use it. There are no stories for me, no narratives that reflect my experience. Most of the narratives I find are those of young people finding this out relatively early, and that leaves me with a warm feeling, yes, because I love that this is more and more possible for people, but it also leaves me feeling a little shut out because it would be helpful to see other people going through what I'm going through, how they did it, what they wrestled with and what was easily put aside. Also, many of those narratives are about being clearly transgender, crossing the bridge between one and the other, then burning it, because there's no desire to go back. They aren't narratives about living on the bridge, waking up randomly on different sides, or in the middle, not belonging to either side.

I barely have a candle to hold while I follow this thread through the maze. I don't know where it will lead. I don't know if, a year from now, I will identify as genderfluid, genderqueer, female, male, or something else. It's a process, and while I am surrounded by supportive people, they're mostly cishet so they can't help me with the work. They don't have the first idea what it's like. Just like I'm sure I don't have the first idea what it's like to be truly dying-on-the-inside dysphoric.

My body is a thing that I accept because I literally cannot change it enough to make the "not right" stop; for whatever reason, I'm able to accept that more completely than a lot of people do – and that doesn't make me stronger, it's just a difference. Maybe it's easier because even when I have "boy days" it's not usually a typically masculine sort of boyishness that I experience. I mean, it's a very teenage boy feeling, but it's not a manly feeling. Maybe that part of me is too new to be grown up and someday that will change, I don't know.

That's the thing about gender identity. If you don't fall squarely into one camp or the other, there's a tremendous amount you suddenly realize you don't know. About the world, about yourself, about your future . . . even about your past.

The hardest part is when I see beautiful people who can pull off male and female with equal élan. Who can visually switch, be either, neither, both. And I envy that physical manifestation of fluidity more than I can say. My body – incredibly short, fat, and stacked front and back – excludes me from that. I can make a stab at dressing like a guy, but that's not going to make people take me for or treat me like a guy. I'll just be a short, fat chick dressed in boy clothes. If I want to be treated like a guy, I'll have to ask.

That's awkward, even among friends. Maybe I'll get comfortable with the idea eventually, I don't know, but right now it just seems like a lot of work, me having to identify what I feel like and notifying people when that changes. It also seems invasive. I'm trying to work out a solution, but it may be I don't find one that doesn't feel uncomfortable.

I recognize how lucky I am not to be more dysphoric than I am, and I have nothing but love and sympathy for those who are. We now use "bleeding heart" and "my heart bleeds for you" in sarcastic gross ways mostly, but no, I mean it, it hurts me inside that the world is so much harder for other trans-spectrum people. I feel enormous fellowship and love for all of you.

Maybe . . . maybe things will be different someday. Identities shift and evolve, and we aren't locked into one mode of being, the way we are told we are, taught to be. So maybe I'll change and change and change, trying to understand, right up until the day I die. As confusing as this is sometimes, I'm okay with that, I think.

And, so much more importantly, maybe things will be different for all of us. Maybe someday it won't be so difficult to understand who we are and to be understood by others.

Cross-posted from Silver Into Steel.  Comment wherever!

naamah_darling: Spotted hyena teeth. (Teeth)
Obviously, as a woman-shaped, read-as-a-woman person whose relationship to their mental illness, and to some extent, their overall identity, is "lycanthrope", I have an investment of the idea of the monstrous feminine.

I am deeply devoted to the idea of being our own monsters. I am deeply devoted to the idea that we should be allowed to reclaim those parts of ourselves in all their power and all their occasional ugliness, because they are vital parts of the human experience, and having them used against us was largely an effort to deny our humanity by denying us those parts of ourselves.  By calling them abhorrent and ugly and inhuman.  And I call bullshit on that.

This really great exchange happened over on Tumblr, and I feel it's worth duplicating some of what I said here.

Tumblr user sunteaflower posted the following:

We call ships ‘she.’ We call our war machines ‘women.’ We compare women to black widows and vipers. And you’re going to tell me it’s not ‘lady-like’ to scream, to take up space, to fight and demand respect and do whatever the hell I want. You’ve looked at nuclear bombs and been so in awe that you could only name them after women. Don’t try to down-play my power.

Brava.

Then claidilady protested, pulling some of the above apart point by (very good) point, and summing up with:

this is why i was so upset that when discussions of weapons & women/the feminine came about it seemed to call this all positive and empowering instead of fundamentally identifying the societal coding of women and their sexuality as dangerous and evil
 

. . .

i do not want to be an atom bomb. i am not an imprint or an echo of the destructive forces of the patriarchy and have no desire to be associated with black widows or vipers or war machines. my interest in destruction of societal norms which harm people cannot be equated to an industrial military complex, neither can my sexuality or my being. 

it is not the same kind of power, it is not the same kind of force. 

we can be powerful without wearing the masks of men.

And I just love both of these so much.

And here's what I said:

I agree with everything in both these posts.  Yes, that’s possible.

I’m happy to be a war machine.  I’m happy to be a viper.  I’m happy to be a mighty gunship, or a nuclear bomb.  Because I’m still me, and I get to decide what those things mean.  I don’t care who made me, or who shaped me, I belong to myself now.

There’s a reason that shit like Skynet is scary, a reason robot rebellion/AIs becoming sentient and then wreaking havoc is a perennial theme.  Because people are afraid of the moment when that which was created to be subservient becomes self-willed and self-aware.  And they should be.

No, women weren’t created to be subservient.  But the patriarchy thinks that.  And the subtext of the original post reads, to me, as someone saying “I don’t care if you mean it as an insult either forehanded or backhanded. You liken me to a thing of power, or things of power to me, because you fear me on some level. That gives me power. Whether you meant it to or not. You can’t take that back. I may be a war machine, but I’m MY war machine.”

I’m a huge fan of the monstrous/destructive feminine for a reason. Those things have been used to deny women their humanity for centuries and there are a lot of people like me who are still seen as monsters.  People like me who are mentally ill, who don’t fit preconceived notions of gender, who have a body other people sometimes deem loathsome.  People like me who were raised by monsters, hardened by monsters, beaten by a monstrous society, until they became monsters … their own monsters.

Gaze too long into the abyss, yes, you become a monster.  You don’t become part of the abyss unless you jump.

There’s nothing wrong with being a monster.  There is nothing wrong with being a thing scarred and shaped by the forces that tried to destroy you.  You still belong to you.  You can still be the weapon that wields itself.  You can still be a good person.  You can still work against the forces that shaped you with pain and oppression.

You can choose to say “I am not a monster, I will not be what they made me.”  That’s incredibly noble.  I respect the shit out of that, because that is a hard road.  I salute all y’all who have made that choice.

But there’s another choice, the choice to take what they made you and be that in a way that defies them at every turn.  And that is every bit as laudable, as honorable, as brave.  That road is also hard.  Y’all who bear the wounds openly and with no shame, who embrace yourselves as things that can be horrifying and dangerous, but who can also choose to be tender and protective, y’all are my sisters, my brothers.  I love you all.

Some of us grow wings and new, shinier skins, rise up and fly away, and dedicate ourselves to being different, as different from the forces that harmed us as we can possibly be.

Some of us take the fur and fangs and claws we were forced to grow, we take the toxic waste of our blood, the jet fuel of our anger, the nuclear fission powering our hearts, and the giant robot Jaegers of our love for one another, and we use them to protect, defend, and when necessary, yes, we will use them to fight.

I’m not ashamed of what abuse and hardship and bigotry made me.  I will never be ashamed of that.  I might never feel the need to rise above that.  Because it did a lot of things to me, but one thing it didn’t do: make me into an ugly person.

I am fully human.  That is not up for debate.  But those who do not see me as human? I’m not here to change their minds by proving them wrong.  I’m here to love my monstrous sisters and brothers into being strong again.

Whatever beauty is in me is mine.  I created it.  I will always be proud of that.  I will always be beautiful. 

And because I am what monsters made me, yes, I will always be a monster, too.

I will always be a beautiful monster.

I will not rise above what I am not ashamed to be.

And even I gotta say wow.

Of course it matters to me when people try to insult me, no matter what words they use.  It may be ridiculous to try to insult me with something I'm not afraid to be, but I will still react negatively to the fact that someone is trying to insult me even if the specific insult is less than insulting.  Tactically I may choose to react as though they have complimented me as a way of pulling the teeth of a verbal attacker, tactically I may challenge their insult in order to point out how stupid they're being, but I am fully aware that I have been verbally attacked!

It's just powerfully protective to realize that the things they are calling you, while intended to be hurtful, probably are not bad things to be.  So even if they are true, you haven't been insulted.  In reacting to particular words, we become bogged down in specific semantics when what we should be reacting to is the intent.  Instead of "I'm not a bitch!" or "You have no right to call me a bitch!" we can say "You have no right to try to insult me, period.  Doesn't matter what word you use."

And I think I'm gonna leave that there.

Content also published over at Silver Into Steel.  Comment here or there, doesn't matter!
 

naamah_darling: Intentionally hilarious cutesy illustration of a super-adorable anime girl with blood pouring from her crotch. (Menstrual)
I only recently ran across this article at Womanist Musings from back in September of 2012.

It's called "Annoying are the peacemakers, for they will call for our silence", and it's all so immensely quotable that you should just go ahead and read it.  I do like this bit:

Y’see, Peacemakers, every time you speak, what I tend to hear is “sit down and shut up.” Because I, we, aren’t talking just to cause trouble, or because we love a good fight – and no, we don’t. It’s the biggest straw man in the world that marginalised people ENJOY these battles to be treated like full human beings. We’re speaking up – angrily – because we have to. We’re speaking up to protect ourselves. But you’re trying to stop us doing so.

Silence supports the status quo. Our peace, our refusing to make waves, ensures that the world will continue as it is – and as it is is oppressive, prejudiced, bigoted and deeply unjust. It is hurting us and we need to speak to stop that. You stop us fighting and you help those attacking us and holding us down.

Right now, in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling about Hobby Lobby and birth control, I'm especially feeling this.  How am I supposed to meet someone halfway when they are are legislating away my right to make my own medical decisions?  How am I supposed to meet someone halfway when they don't think I deserve the same rights as everyone else, so they're trying to take mine away?  Where the fuck is the "halfway" on wanting me to have fewer rights than a dead body?

Meeting people halfway on legislation only leads to people wanting to be met halfway again.  You lose another half of your ground.  Why should I want to give up my safety by halves to keep things "civilized" and "peaceful"?  Because it doesn't feel either civilized or peaceful to me.  It feels like being threatened and attacked, and told to be nice about the entirely justifiable noise I make when someone really, really hurts me.  On fucking purpose.

I'm not interested in giving bigots and regressives a free pass to walk away from the shit they do and say without being challenged.  If I choose not to challenge or engage, that's my choice.  But I am not going to let someone else tell me I shouldn't because it's not nice.

That's not peace.  That's silence.  There's a difference.

(This entry originally appeared on Silver Into Steel.  Comment here or there, either is good!)

naamah_darling: Spotted hyena teeth. (Teeth)
Theodora Goss on the true lesson of Bluebeard, and living as a woman.

When I teach my class on fairy tales, I ask students about the moral of “Bluebeard.” Charles Perrault gives us a moral, clearly marked “moral,” at the end of the tale: “Curiosity, in spite of its appeal, often leads to deep regret. To the displeasure of many a maiden, its enjoyment is short lived. Once satisfied, it ceases to exist, and always costs dearly.” I ask my students, is that really what we learned from the story?

No, they tell me. That moral doesn’t make sense. If Bluebeard’s wife hadn’t been curious, she would never have known that he had killed his previous wives. And although he tells her that he’s going to kill her because of her curiosity, and we can infer that he killed most of his other wives for the same reason, what about the first wife? Why did he kill her? Clearly this is a man who simply likes killing his wives, and will eventually think of a reason to kill again. So, I ask them, what is the moral? And eventually we come up with something like this:

“Make sure you know whom you’re marrying, because your husband may be a serial killer.”


There's an impulse there to laugh – I did – as though this were the punchline to a joke, but it's a joke that's funny only because it is black. Because this happens every day, and it is a truth we recognize all too well.

You cannot tell if a man is dangerous by looking at him. You have to look in every room there is. Sometimes, you still miss it.

Sometimes, it's just too soon. Sometimes it's not possible for us to see the danger. We are pushed into it too young, before we've learned the necessary skills to defend ourselves. We never knew safety, and so we cannot recognize danger. We leave one abusive environment for another, without spending time in between learning all those ordinary human things that we should have been taught but never were. We are driven to it by desperation, because we lack the means to take care of ourselves. There are many reasons.

Many times, maybe most times, they just hide it very, very well.

In neither case can women – should women – be blamed for the outcome.

The problem is not that the young bride in the story is too curious, it's that her husband is a murderer. At the very best, if we make a bargain with this sort of man, we lose parts of ourselves. They take it, or we have to cut it off to get away. At worst, we lose our lives – whether that's years stolen, or actual death.

Fairy tales are teaching stories. Without the neat little morals imposed on them by those who cleaned them up and recorded them, they tell a different tale. It is often a warning with just one paw sticking out. Truth concealed in something as harmless as a made-up story so that those who would prevent that truth from being spoken cannot silence it.

The moral of Bluebeard is found in that one key that seems ordinary until it is used to reveal the truth. The key that cries the alarm that is also a warning. The key that bleeds, the guilt that is not ours but is ours to bear. Our fault, somehow, for dragging into the light what should never have been done to us. What has been seen has been seen. What is known is known. That is the stain we cannot wash away.

We are told not to turn that little key; but if we are to survive, we must. No matter what the moral says, the torments visited on those lost women in the hidden room leave us with no doubt that we would have joined them, no matter how obedient. It is not idle curiosity that leads to the click of the lock and the creaking door. It is doubt, it is the deep-seated desire for self-preservation. It is that shred of mistrust that is sometimes all that warns us, even when nothing else may, that we are in the presence of a thing that would make of us either a slave or a corpse.

Women must be allowed not to ignore that warning.

We must not be punished, or even criticized, for asking the questions and opening the doors that might save us.

People (mostly men) tell women that we should trust, because to do otherwise is impolite. To insist on looking in every single chamber is rude, they say. We should believe them, they say. Give them the benefit of the doubt, they say. Most of us are not like that, they say.

But what about those women in that chamber? What about the cut throats, the guts kicked into the corner, the long bones stripped and ribs empty as birdcages, the skin piled up like rags? What about the warning they present?

Do we ignore them, or do we believe them?

Men tell women not to be rude, that they do not deserve mistrust, when women fear that they will be raped, beaten, worse. The worst that happens to a man, if a woman is wrong, is a bruised ego. The worst that happens to a woman. . . .

There is no woman equivalent of H. H. Holmes, of Ed Gein, of Jack the Ripper. Maybe, sometimes, we smother, we poison, we find other ways. We can be brutal and we can be cruel. But we do not eat them. We do not wear them. We do not drug, rape, and dismember them. There simply is no comparison to be made, none at all.

When we act to protect ourselves by erring on the side of "no," we are supposedly being cruel to those who desire our company. But if we do not, if we fail to protect ourselves by even the slightest margin, we are blamed for what happens to us. Not every person judges women like that, but enough do that justice for rape is a thing that I have never actually seen.

I do not believe that this violence toward women is an innate part of men that will always exist. I believe there are other explanations for why men do these things at rates that women do not. So I do not believe that we should mistrust all men.

I do believe that when we do, we must be allowed that without question. Fear is a useful thing. Fear wants to protect us, teach us. The person who is not at risk doesn't get to define when fear is called for or not called for, when it is fair and unfair. "Don't be afraid, I won't hurt you" is something a hell of a lot of helpless people hear, right before something very painful happens.

We get to decide when we should be afraid, to the extent that we are taught to do so. That teaching has not always been so open, and it does not always need to be so explicit. Fairy tales are a way that women used and still use of passing wisdom to the next generation. At their weakest, they entertain. At their strongest, they lay a foundation for survival so basic we do not see or feel it working.

It is no coincidence that the fairy-tale revival is largely being led by authors and readers who are also women, re-interpreting these stories for a new generation, while many authors and readers who are men look on and sneer. Children's stories. Told by women. Effortless, harmless, pointless.

As though their birth was bloodless, and no woman's hand ever touched them when they were sleeping, helpless. As though it is not our mothers who have power over us first and most irrevocably.

As a group, it seems to me that women never lost respect for fairy tales. Women as a group never forgot what fairy tales are for.

So what about Bluebeard's first wife? Why did he kill her? What was her transgression?

We need to stop asking. We need to stop asking why women wind up in those rooms, because no woman deserves to be there.

No woman.

And – I will not footnote this – we must not discount or forget those women whose bodies were labeled "male," and who face higher odds of abuse and murder than women who have always been allowed to live as women. Many of them lie in many bloody chambers, for no crime other than answering a question with a truth. No woman belongs there.

There are many questions the world will ask of you if you are a woman, and most of them boil down to this:

To whom do you belong?

But there is one question women must be allowed to ask of and answer for themselves:

Who do I trust?

For women, the very first answer to the two is and must be always the same:

Ourselves. Ever after.

Permission to quote, or link back here, granted.
naamah_darling: Close cropped image of a blonde ponytailed man with a woman pulling a black stocking tightly around his neck. (BDSM)
So, I wrote this on Tumblr, but I thought I'd repost it here.

A quote:

Women are often acutely aware of being gendered as female as they make their way through everyday experiences in the world. Not paying attention to masculinity might mean walking to your car at night without thinking about personal safety or the possibility of sexual assault.  Women often hold their keys at the ready, walk in pairs, or remain hypervigilant about their surroundings in ways that often simply don't occur to men.  Because girls are raised knowing they will be judged on how they look, women are intensely aware of their image from head to toe.  Men may not give a second thought to what they're wearing.  Looking good can matter for everyone, but the social stakes for men are not as high if they look sloppy, unattractive, skinny, or fat.  And what if a woman feels cranky one day?  What if she's deep in thought, or she just doesn't feel like smiling? Women are used to being told my total strangers to smile (read: Be more friendly and less ornery).  Men are rarely -- if ever -- told to smile.  Men are not required to be socially accessible.  Men don't generally get accused of PMS-ing (again, read: not being nice enough). Being acutely aware of one's gender in this way is something men rarely experience.

—Shira Tarrant, PhD, Men and Feminism

This is the truth, and something I wish more people would make an effort to understand.  It is a weird feeling to experience this and to realize that it’s a fundamental property of being read as female in this culture.

It’s even weirder when you go through your daily life and you have these experiences of being intensely aware of being “female” because you are in a “female” body, and you have no fixed gender identity.  It’s like playing a constant tug-o-war with something inside yourself.  You keep getting yanked back over that line other people have drawn for you.  Other people’s constant yanking on that gender rope is why you can’t hold your fucking ground.  You are being forced to identify and live by a set of rules that do not apply to who you are inside, and in fact should not apply to anyone.  By creating this special awareness, it imposes an identity on you that you did not create, that you did not consent to, and that you do not want, and you cannot just disown that or choose not to accept it.  It’s not made up of your thoughts or actions, but those of other people, over which you have no control.

It may not be easier for men to step out of the box and decide they don’t need to act like “real men,” to decide that the performance of masculinity is a destructive thing that isn’t working.  I think having to do that no matter what your gender is is a very difficult thing and can be especially painful and destructive for men, who are not taught from birth that they must be The Ones Who Change.  It may not be easier for men to detach themselves from societal expectations, and there are significant social risks involved, and physical ones if you are not heterosexual, but I think for cisgendered hetero men, it just does not come with the physical aspect.  The commentary on female bodies, the way women "owe" the world prettiness, the way we are expected to be pleasant, the way our bodies are preyed on physically and often violently by rapists and forced-birthers and abusers, by the media, by advertising, and by one another.

It’s disturbing to experience the vulnerability of your body as female regardless of what gender your inner self might be.

It is a vulnerable thing to be female, or to be a person that people perceive as female, not because you are inherently weak in body or mind, but because all the people around you have been socialized to think of you in certain ways … it doesn’t matter if XYZ does not apply to you.  As long as enough people around you believe it, the world spins on as though it does.  You go through life surrounded by people who believe wrong things about you.

People make stupid assumptions all the time, but these relatively benign assumptions aren’t the ones I’m talking about.  I’m talking about the ones that are actually dangerous.  The assumption that because you are dressed a certain way, you are inviting physical contact.  The assumption that your body should be in some measure available for the appreciation of others on demand, whether that is to be touched or simply to be looked at — and to refuse those demands is not a neutral act; it invites abuse.  Again, sometimes violently.

People believe you are a certain way and that you should behave a certain way, and sometimes they have so much invested in these fictions they formed based on someone’s perceived gender or race or orientation or appearance that they have very strong reactions to anyone violating those assumptions.  Acting outside those roles has very direct and sometimes deadly consequences.  (Witness trans folks getting beaten, raped, or killed for not conforming to gender roles — it triggers a horrifying visceral rage in some people, and violence is seen as a justifiable and appropriate way to “correct” something that is direly wrong.  I cannot tell you how often I have seen the perpetrators of these crimes referring to their victims as “it.”  Literally a thing, an un-person.)

And hey, this is fucked up, too: when you do not act like you “should,” you become perceived as a threat to your own people.  For example, if you don’t adhere to the idea that women should be more chaste and virtuous than men, and that they should dress attractively, flatteringly, and modestly, you’re a skanky slut, and you make women look bad.  And then, then, your existence is used to harm other people and shame other people, is used to justify hating other people, when all you were doing is just not buying into the lie, and not living — or trying not to — as though you did.  You can easily become a negative stereotype by simply not adhering to the most positive one put forth by the group oppressing yours.  And there is no fucking way out of that loop.  There is none.

It is completely fucked.

naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Angry)
From Tumblr's queerandpresentdanger:

I think another reason why it’s important to not be nice when speaking of your oppression—not just a prerogative but important—is to try to really convey the severity of what you’re dealing with. When you’re nice, it’s easy for the person you’re speaking to to assume that you are dealing with minor pet peeves, not seeing the necessity of them to look within themselves to think about the ways they’re contributing. It’s easy for them to dismiss what you’re talking about as trivial interpersonal annoyances that are not representative of larger structural problems. But when you’re fucking angry—when you let across how much pain you’ve endured because of this—it comes across. It’s serious. And even if the person you’re talking to shuts down, fuck at least you feel better, and that’s a minor victory in itself.

Instead of asking us not to be angry it’s more productive to think about why you’re not. It’s more effective to think about what privilege you have for not being angry. It’s more effective to realize the oppression you’re perpetuating by demanding we convey knowledge in a comfortable manner for you when we’ve likely spent our entire lives being uncomfortable. It’s important to recognize the privilege in demanding to control what type of information you’re given and how. Realize the violence you’re inflicting by doing this, supported by and representative of larger types of violence inflicted throughout our lifetimes. And realize when that I don’t comply with your attempts to control me it’s an act of resistance.


I'm just gonna leave that there so as not to speak over the message.

Also gonna link to this guy's other tumblrs: fuckyeahchubbyguysofcolor and fatnudes. The fatnudes one is racially diverse and features nudes of all genders. I think they are both pretty awesome.
naamah_darling: Spotted hyena teeth. (Teeth)
From Tumblr's queerandpresentdanger:

I think another reason why it’s important to not be nice when speaking of your oppression—not just a prerogative but important—is to try to really convey the severity of what you’re dealing with. When you’re nice, it’s easy for the person you’re speaking to to assume that you are dealing with minor pet peeves, not seeing the necessity of them to look within themselves to think about the ways they’re contributing. It’s easy for them to dismiss what you’re talking about as trivial interpersonal annoyances that are not representative of larger structural problems. But when you’re fucking angry—when you let across how much pain you’ve endured because of this—it comes across. It’s serious. And even if the person you’re talking to shuts down, fuck at least you feel better, and that’s a minor victory in itself.

Instead of asking us not to be angry it’s more productive to think about why you’re not. It’s more effective to think about what privilege you have for not being angry. It’s more effective to realize the oppression you’re perpetuating by demanding we convey knowledge in a comfortable manner for you when we’ve likely spent our entire lives being uncomfortable. It’s important to recognize the privilege in demanding to control what type of information you’re given and how. Realize the violence you’re inflicting by doing this, supported by and representative of larger types of violence inflicted throughout our lifetimes. And realize when that I don’t comply with your attempts to control me it’s an act of resistance.


I'm just gonna leave that there so as not to speak over the message.

Also gonna link to this guy's other tumblrs: fuckyeahchubbyguysofcolor and fatnudes. The fatnudes one is racially diverse and features nudes of all genders. I think they are both pretty awesome.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
Today's brilliance, from Felicity at Faerye.net:

Some men see women as puzzle boxes.

As far as they’re concerned, inside every woman, there’s a tasty Sex Treat™, and there’s some way to get it out. Some combination of words, of behaviors on the man’s part, some situation will pop that box open and the treat will be his!

Like every belief, this one has implications and consequences. A puzzler may continue to try and try and try to get a woman to sleep with him, testing different approaches and permutations, sure that the perfect solution exists — when in fact, he’s just being terrifyingly persistent in hitting on someone who he’s already completely alienated. He may learn generalized techniques from pickup artist websites or books, which make perfect sense to him because they use the same sort of puzzle/treat logic — and then find that real women he interacts with don’t respond as he anticipated, or even get offended, when he tries out his new techniques. A frustrated puzzler may stay in a platonic relationship with a woman hoping to stumble onto a way to get the treat, when he isn’t interested in the friendship for its own sake.

. . .

Most puzzler-types would scoff at the idea that they’re treating women as interchangeable, but no, the fact that you value the sex treat or the victory more highly if the box has an attractive exterior, or if it hadn’t been opened before, or if it was particularly tricky, isn’t flattering. You are treating a sentient individual as an instance of a game. It’s disgusting.

. . .

When a woman senses a man sees her as a puzzle box, she does not know if he is a harmless guy with some stupid notions, or a self-taught pickup artist steeped in internet misogyny but who has a rudimentary ethical compass, or a guy who will rape her if he has plausible deniability but not otherwise, or that self-aware serial rapist who posted on Reddit. . . .

All she knows is that he sees her as an obstacle and her sex as an object. And why the fuck would she want to spend any time with him, even if he’s harmless, knowing that?

. . .

The idea of women as puzzle boxes — which is related to the ideas that women don’t actually want sex and just have to regulate men’s access to it, and to the idea of women as the sex class, the people whose bodies carry sex and mean sex — is embedded deep in our culture.


I really cannot improve upon this, so you should go read the whole thing. You really should. It's the best metaphor I've seen for this yet.

I will tack one thing on:

This is why Joe Douchebag gets so pissed off when a woman shows no interest in him, and then goes on to date, or even -- gasp! -- have sex with someone else.

Joe Douchebag, according to his mentality, was playing by the rules. He was using all his combo-breakers, he leveled up his skills exactly right, he tried different angles of approach, trying to find the way to the target. He was doing what you are supposed to do, the thing that is supposed to work: following the manual.

And here this woman just . . . decides she doesn't want him. But he was playing by the rules. He was being a Nice Guy. He was listening to her mouth-noises and buying her things and teaching her about his favorite stuff and not hitting her or anything, and she still rejected him. He's perfectly good, the rules say so, and she still rejected him. He treated her like a friend, and she treats him like a friend, and somehow, instead of being a good thing that means he has made successful emotional contact with a real-live human being, this is an insult.

To him, women are sex and sex is a prize. Prizes don't get to give themselves away. Period. They are there to be won, and the only way the performance of being male means anything in this context is if the man tries and competes to win. You don't prove anything by being given something that you did not earn. You prove your worth by fighting for and winning it. If you use a cheat code for unlimited health to finish a fighting game, well, you finished it, you got the cut scenes and everything, but it doesn't say anything about your ability to actually play the game. Proving your prowess is the important part.

Which is all terribly ironic, because game-mentality thinkers employ a variety of incredibly manipulative techniques to obtain this "prize," because they look for shortcuts around the part where they actually have to get along with the person, they are the ones cheating, but they don't see it that way. They can't. It's only cheating if you're looking at it from the Rubik's Cube's point of view, if you're the one who is being twisted and poked at and manipulated without your consent. Which is where the metaphor breaks down for some people. A Rubik's Cube can't object. It can't hate you, but it can't like you either. It can't give consent . . . but neither can it withhold it. The puzzle box's desires and opinions and feelings are meaningless except to the extent that they affect how pleasant the actual solving part is. Being "hard to get" doesn't mean that she's not interested, it means she's being "no fun."

Which makes the point pretty much exactly.
naamah_darling: Glass of tawny port on a table branded with a seven-pointed star. (Port Wine and the Morning Star)
Mur Lafferty: "Dear daughter..."

Worth reading in its entirety.

Dear daughter -

You should know that you are hated.

I’m not sure why they hate you. You didn’t do anything to them. You don your princess crown, take up your sword, and pretend at Pokemon. You read your books and you learn how to draw comics and dragons and you play piano and practice kung fu. You delight in pretty dresses and weaponry. You love me when I nurture you as a mom, train with you as a warrior, and play video games and card games with you.

There is nothing worse than being a girl. I’m not saying this as a former girl - I quite liked being a girl. I’m saying this from the POV of the entire rest of the world. There was a lovely feminist TED talk – A Call To Men – where a man discussed his conversation with a twelve year old boy, and the boy said he would rather die than be called a girl. And the man thought, Good Lord, how do these boys view girls, if being compared to them is the worst thing in the world?

I’ve seen boys cry when injured. Frustrated. Feelings hurt. Blocked out of play. Denied something. It’s what kids do as they learn the world around them. The world is tough; before you learn to cope, you cry, whether you sport the penis or the fallopian tubes. It’s fucking lesson #1 after you take your first breath. I cried. You did too.

So. The world hates you. You are considered the worst thing to be compared to.


It's actually uplifting, at the end, and beautiful. And encouraging, that there are mothers out there who know the deal and are preparing their daughters for what they will face lovingly, without being like my mother and telling them that they don't have a chance and will never make it.

Her daughter's tee shirt at the end is the perfect punctuation, pale blue on black, under a cartoon crown:

Self-Rescuing Princess
naamah_darling: Close cropped image of a blonde ponytailed man with a woman pulling a black stocking tightly around his neck. (BDSM)
This is an article cross-posted from Adventurotica.com! Come on over and comment on the original post!
 
sex kitten and the scientist

Using the shit out of the only tool you have is not exercising a special form of power.

article by Amanda Gannon

There's been a whole kerfuffle about this piece on Cracked that, at one point later on, talks about how male horniness is basically the driving force of civilization.

I think Amanda Marcotte really addresses the article itself well here on Pandagon.

So it's not specifically that article I want to discuss, it's the idea that women, because men want to fuck them, have all the power. More, I want to discuss how that idea is used to placate and dismiss genuine concerns about misogyny, and how this negatively affects pretty much everyone.

I'm not denying that attractive women have a potent advantage, nor am I denying that lust is a powerful motivating force. I'm not saying that being desired gives the person so desired no extra hold on the person that desires them. All of these things are true, but they aren't the only truth. Reducing women's power – and really, I just hate that phrase, the very idea of it, as if women have a special power that men do not . . . but I get ahead of myself. Ahem. Reducing women's power to sex is . . . frankly, that's a hostile act that diminishes us.
Acting as though that one power is the most important power we have is not cool. It soft-pedals the stripping away of our sources of real power. We still have our tits and asses, so everything must be fine, right? Only it's not all right, because things are not all right for us. Women have a hard fucking time, and free drinks really can't take the edge off of the horrifying erosion of civil rights taking place in the U.S.
Even if it could, tits and ass power is really available only to a subset of a subset of women.

One, it's only available to women who are attractive enough to pull it off; women who don't match that standard can't do it. That standard is pretty narrow, even at the wide end. A woman can be disqualified from it if she is old, fat, disabled, of a different race, or even just, frankly, not attractive. The number of women who have full access to that power is limited, because our definition of attractive is limited.

Two, it's most beneficial to people who use it, and not everyone is willing to use it. An attractive person will reap the benefits of their attractiveness whether they try or not, or are aware of it or not, but that passive privilege is very different from actively taking that advantage and using it as a lever. Make no mistake, it's a big goddamn lever – and I'm not even saying a person shouldn't use it, I believe that if we are at a disadvantage, using anything that gives us an advantage is good as long as we do it ethically – but it's not issued to every woman at birth, and we only get to keep it until we get fat or old or something like that.

So this pussy power thing is a sop, it's a flimflam job, it's something we're told that we have and it's used to draw attention away from the fact that we aren't taught or sometimes even allowed to use other kinds of power. This leaves us open to manipulation. It leaves us vulnerable to attack. It's no mistake that even though we can't all achieve pure pussy power, we are told that it is the ultimate woman power. And many people, many, many people, really and truly believe that it is.

There are strict limits on pussy power. Limits to how sexual we are supposed to be, and with whom, and in what way. The way I see it, it's a power that is valuable only as long as it is rare. It depends on scarcity. That's why women who fuck a lot are considered sluts or out of control. Women who do use their sexy leverage are seen nearly as negatively, as manipulators, femmes fatale, as cold and calculating heartless bitches. Even when we do use our power, we're criticized for it, labeled and judged.

Making men helpless with lust is one kind of power, but it's not the only power there is.
So what else is there? Only the power that all people have. Our cunning, our bravery, our love. Our passion. Our anger. Our wounds. Our humanity. Reducing women to a supposed ability to either provoke or manipulate men into action is doing women and men a tremendous disservice.
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naamah_darling: Spotted hyena teeth. (Teeth)
From Social Justice League, a really neat blog, comes this fanfuckingtastic article about how to be a fan of problematic things.

It talks about – surprise! – how to be a fan of problematic things without falling into the pitfall of defending or denying the problematic aspects of it. So if you are a fan of stuff that is occasionally fucked up – the way I am a fan of Howard and Lovecraft and Spartacus and old pirate movies – you should check this out. It's very useful in the How Not To Be a Dick department.

You also really need to read it if you have ever had the shit annoyed out of you by someone insisting any of the following:

* But the sexism/racism/homophobia is realism!

* It's just a book/movie/TV show. Don't take it so seriously!

* Sure it's sexist/racist/homophobic, but it has dragons/man-eating tigers/explosions, and that totally excuses it!

It gives some excellent takedowns for that kind of logic.

On "realism":

"But when you say that sexism and racism and heterosexism and cissexism have to be in the narrative or the story won’t be realistic, what you are saying is that we humans literally cannot recognise ourselves without systemic prejudice, nor can we connect to characters who are not unrepentant bigots. Um, yikes. YIKES, you guys."

". . . I don’t see you arguing for an accurate portrayal of everything in your fiction all the time. For example, most people seem fine without accurate portrayal of what personal hygiene was really like in 1300 CE in their medieval fantasy media. . . . In real life, people have to go to the bathroom. In movies and books, they don’t show that very much, because it’s boring and gross. Well, guess what: bigotry is also boring and gross. But everyone is just dying to keep that in the script."


On not taking things so seriously:

"If it doesn’t matter, why don’t YOU stop taking your media so seriously and stop fighting us on this? You with your constant demands for your narrow idea of “realism” (which by the way often sounds a lot like “show me naked skinny ciswomen, and gore”). If in your framework tv shows aren’t serious business, why does realism matter?"


Great, great post.

As I said, I'm a fan of lots of problematic things. I don't mind when other people are fans of problematic things, provided they do neither of the following:

A) Categorically deny that the thing has flaws or is problematic.

B) Insist that not only do the thing's good qualities outweigh its bad qualities, but that anyone who can't look past the bad is "too sensitive," "taking things too seriously," or somehow missing out.

Those are things that I, as a fan of some pretty egregiously racist/sexist/etc. stuff, try not to do . . . with, I will admit, varying degrees of success. I'm not any more perfect than the next geek.

The ability to look past the ugly aspects of a thing because it is not ugly in a way that affects you personally is a form of privilege. And it ain't pretty.
naamah_darling: Lucian from Underworld next to a snarling wolf. From the dark into the black, throwbacks always have to go. (Lucian Throwbacks)
Oh, Holly, you so awesome.

Why do you care what other people think?

Isn't it just paranoia to be upset when people don't acknowledge the existence of people like me? Isn't it just attention-seeking to demand that everyone approve of my lifestyle? Can't I just do my thing and not worry about what other people think?

No. I can't.

For starters, I'm not a wall of iron. I have human emotions. Keeping important parts of my life secret makes me feel bad and being judged harshly makes me feel very bad. This is not a personal weakness, this is not something for me to grow out of, this is not a challenge I must overcome. Emotional support is a human need.

But getting frowned at is the tip of the iceberg. I don't just need social cceptance for fuzzy-wuzzy reasons. I need it for my livelihood and potentially my life. . . .

. . . . [P]eople are literally killed for doing their own thing and not worrying about what other people think.

Caring what other people think isn't a weakness. Being aware of what other people think, and seeking to change it for greater compassion and understanding, is a god damn survival skill.


I love Aisling's comment, too:

I mean, you kinda have to care what people think when those people are running your country and intimidating you practically every time you leave the house.

Only privilege-dripping douchecanoes without perspective can afford not to care. Their obliviousness doesn't put them in danger.


Now, I personally am seldom bothered by these people on an individual basis, so I don't care what people think. I can afford not to care because I'm not all that visible as these things go. I don't have a lot of risk in my life. No job. No contact with kids. No school. Barring assholes on the internet, the worst I have to face is the sweet little old ladies at the fabric store who want to talk at me. And those horrible pro-life license plates.

But on a wider level, I am bothered. I am bothered morally, because it bothers me when people are dicks about stuff that doesn't fucking make a difference. I am also bothered in a wider sense; I don't face discrimination against me for my sexuality at work. I don't have a job. But those people who would discriminate against me? They still hate me, without knowing me. That's sort of what discrimination is all about. And they hate people I care about. And that is not okay. They make laws that hurt people. They do horrible things. They say awful things that allow these attitudes to survive. They make the world a worse place.

And I should not let that bother me?

I guess that's a great idea, if you like the world the way it is. In which case, I'm not sure I want to know you.

Or if you are the kind of person who doesn't care what happens to other people. In which case I definitely don't want to know you.

How about instead of telling people who have to deal with hate to not let it bother them, we work on telling douche-snorting jerkoffs to not let it bother them when someone is different from them, but isn't seeking to do them any harm? Isn't that an idea much more likely to improve things for everyone?

It's easy to feel cocky and not care what people think when you aren't scared because you think people can't hurt you. And if you aren't at least a little scared about the way that women and gay people and trans folks and people of color and non-Christians and so on are being treated? Seriously, go away.

And if you think that you can't be hurt, get a fucking clue.
naamah_darling: The letter A in a compass rose. (Adventurotica)
First, Sargon has a really great article up over at Adventrotica called Dirty, Naughty, Nasty, Filthy, and you should go read it.



I'm sure you know all the words: horny, nasty, filthy, raunchy, slutty, dirty - all of these have been applied to sex for centuries as a way of stigmatizing it, a way of saying "this is not ok", and it is perhaps inevitable that these words, like "faggot" or "queer" have been seized on by the oppressed as badges of pride. Nowadays saying that you have produced some "Nasty, down-and-dirty filth" is a way of saying your porn is awesome. After all, who wants clean, polite, courteous porn?

And therein lies a mind-fuck that it's hard to really think your way around. The idea of sex as dirty has become so ingrained in us that it has become part of the appeal, an essential element of the "thrill". I myself have said that there is little interest, for me, in scenes and acts that do not violate some social or cultural boundary. But today I have to ask - what does that really mean for us as a sex-positive counterculture?


Good stuff. Really good stuff.

Then there's what I said in my weekly article, Femdom and Fulfillment, which ends up with this:

It seems funny to complain that the more nuanced, subtle, emotional, gentle, soft, care-giving aspects of fem-dom are ignored, when I am enraged by the way that these traits (lovely as they are) are things that women in most cultures are expected to be. It seems like rebellion against the way women are expected to be would naturally manifest in icy coldness, or anger, or punishment. It seems natural for fem-dom to be about taking the male, the one with power, and casting him as something despised or worthless or worthy only of punishment and denigration. Those fantasies are extremely hot, but as I said, fem-dom is not just about taking the power dynamics of the Real World and inverting them.

It's not even necessarily about playing with the existing power dynamic between men and women, or about playing with the things people expect from women by daring to be different. Some of us aren't coming from that model. Some of us just like what we like, and it doesn't have to relate back to the traditional male/female relationship, even in the context of defying it.

Me? I'm not into beating guys because I want to be different from the chicks who don't. I'm not into it because I think guys need to be taken down a peg, even if that's one at a time. I am doing it because I am attracted to men, powerfully, and one of the ways this manifests is in a desire to deliver unto them some really interesting sensations, or a desire to have custody, for however short a time, of something beautiful that loves me, or even a part of it if that is all I can have . . . an urge that is completely understandable and common to people of all genders, whether they are kinky or not.


So come on over and read! And if you feel inclined, subscribe for $5 a month or just throw us a tip in the tip jar with the button below.

We're moving over to unmoderated comments soon, so everyone will be able to go over and comment there. I know it's been keeping people from commenting, and my original intent to discourage trolls and idiots is going to kind of have to fall by the wayside. We haven't had problems with trolls, we have had a problem with people not commenting, so we're fixing that. It just takes time.





naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
A comment in passing.

Someone in comments elsewhere remarked "I’m sick of [X state]. Why do women even live there if the whole state hates them?"

Because women there are stupid and therefore deserve what they get?

I mean, seriously, what answer does this person expect? Fuck. "Why don't you just leave?" That's basically what they're asking.

I live in Oklahoma because it is incredibly cheap to live here, and because I don't have the money to move away, or the spoons, or the social resources, or the medical support system necessary. There are so many reasons people stay in a state that "hates them." Being able to leave a state that "hates you" is a fucking privilege. Not all of us have it!

Everything that allows me to survive is here. My home, my friends, my doctor, my father. I could theoretically buy or create a support network elsewhere, if I had the money and the emotional and physical energy to do it, not to mention the emotional drain of leaving friends and home, but I have none of those things. I have fifty bucks in the bank, and a mental illness, and most days I am so fucked in the head I can't manage more than an hour or two of concentrated effort at anything. So show me the map to the pirate treasure you expect me to dig up to fund this little venture. Please! And show me the magic spell that will make me not-crazy enough to take advantage of it.

I think the solution is not people moving away from their homes and families and familiar places and things that they love. I think the solution is to fucking fix what is wrong. Call me crazy.

Besides, even if I had the resources, I'm not being chased out of my territory by assholes. If I go, it will be because I found someplace I want to live, not because I don't want to live here.

In short, STFU, whoever you are. I know that was probably flippant, I know you are probably not as much of a jerk as that makes you sound like and you were just trying to be funny, but it stops being funny when you consider, you know, the thousands of people who would love to follow your cute lil' suggestion and can't. We deserve a little more consideration from you than that.

Also, if you're "sick" of my state, fuck off. Just fuck off. I don't care what state it is. Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, Kansas, New York, Alabama. If you have a problem with how shit is run someplace specifically because it is hurting people like you, you have an obligation to support the folks that live there by not, you know, being a fucking asshole.

I live here. I don't have the option of being "sick" of it, of ignoring news about it, of just switching away from what goes on here. Rejecting a bad place as irredeemable, and labeling all the people who live there as stupid hicks who obviously don't care about their rights, is not really helpful to the cause of promoting equality and justice.

It is a nice little dodge for having to give a shit or do anything to help, however.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
I'm closing the shit out of these tabs.

A useful rape analogy. Short, sharp, to the point. The truest thing you'll read today, almost guaranteed. It is, however, a picture, so I'll put the full text under the cut.

Analogy. )

50 Reasons to Reject Evolution! This is so sarcastic and so cruel and so, so funny. Not for you if you're the sort of person who scowls and finger-wags that snark will never change anyone's mind. That's not the point. This is pressure relief for those of us who have to deal with these dumbfucks.

The Man. A really useful articulation of the difference between a personal solution to a problem and a societal solution to a problem, and why we need the latter no matter how many people are able to bootstrap themselves with the former. I am so, so glad I read this. This discussion is framed in terms of race, but it also applies to many, many other situations.

A message to women from a man: you are not crazy is a look at gaslighting: "Gaslighting is a term, often used by mental health professionals . . . to describe manipulative behavior used to confuse people into thinking their reactions are so far off base that they’re crazy." While this passive-aggressive bullshit is not used only on women, this is a very common thing to see directed at women. It's also used (in my experience) against young people and (ironically) the mentally ill. Learn to recognize it.

A Toolkit for Spotting Prejudice is a good read. It addresses what actually makes up "tone." Have you ever heard something or read something that you just knew was bigoted, but couldn't explain why? This article sheds some light on a few reasons that might have happened. My only complaint is that I wish the article were much longer.

One of the Nineteen is a piece about how the standard image of fem-dom BDSM is so restrictive and so deeply not based in what actual dominant women want that there are lots of women who think they aren't dominant, and that they don't deserve to have a fulfilling sex life. Money shot:

There is no invisible line dividing you from the people who are allowed to have healthy, fulfilling, kinky sex lives. You don’t have to look like people in magazines. You don’t have to fit a prescribed role, gender or otherwise. You don’t have to be willing to fuck anyone, or limit yourself to fucking one person, or do either of those things but replacing “fuck” with “love.” You don’t have to be healthy or neurotypical. You don’t have to be between eighteen and thirty-five, or have any of the accepted mainstream fetishes, or make enough money to fill your closet and toybag with leather. Just the way you are right now, you already deserve to have healthy, respectful relationships, whether or not those relationships include BDSM or sex or love or none of those things. You deserve to explore what you want, to have clear and honest information available to you, and to express yourself safely. You deserve these things, not because I have invited you into my elitist kinky club, but because healthy, informed sexuality is for everyone.


The Million Basic Plots is a good link for all you writers out there who are routinely discouraged by the idea that "it's been done." It doesn't matter, folks. It truly doesn't.

Cedric Laquieze's stunningly beautiful art is assembled from bones, insect parts, flowers, and other natural materials. It is singular. His "fairies" in particular are genius, and I very much appreciate his naturalistic, not-cute approach. I adore the unsettling beauty of his flower skeleton sculptures, specifically the cat, which I think is the perfect combination of beautiful and alien. Much of his art is weird, some of it disturbing (freaky, not gross), and not all of it is to my taste, but he has an extraordinary eye.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Travis Tame)
In the "there's actually a word for that" category, we have:

ghost word
fictitious entry
mondegreen
kadigan aka placeholder name

These four things alone are responsible for so much of my literary sense of humor.

Also:

petrichor aka the smell of rain
geosmin aka the chemical responsible for the smell of turned earth


On the gender/feminism side, we have:

The performance of masculinity.

Educator Charlie Glickman discusses how our society teaches us that "being a man" is something you do, and not something you are, and thus, one's manly status is called into question every time he does something not inside the "acting like a man box."

It's a wonderful dissection of how privilege works together with rigid gender roles to create great pressure on men to conform. It's an excellent overview of the issue that never dissolves into a whiny WATM pity-party, yet still explores the destructive impact of sexist gender roles on men:

There's a difference between having understanding and compassion for the men who are trapped in the Box and cutting them slack. After all, it isn't as if the dude in the Box is giving any slack to women, queers, transgender or genderqueer folks, or for that matter, heterosexual cisgender men who refuse to pretend to be Real Men. And cutting men slack is another way of coddling them instead of helping them learn to let go of the Box and discover the freedom that comes from being who you are. Having compassion without coddling people is fierce. It’s powerful. And it requires the ability to hold onto both the fact that the Box hurts us all and that it gives heterosexual cisgender men privilege.


And it does hold those with privilege accountable for their actions. That line about not coddling them? Spot. On.


The redoubtable Hanne Blank on Real Women.

A short and powerful piece, ideal for linking and distributing. Send it to people you think would benefit from it. Maybe print out a copy and give it to your therapist for possible distribution to other patients? I plan to. Make sure it's read, and please read it.

Then go and read her followup, Why wouldn't I?, about accepting transgendered and intersexed women as real women. Damn fucking right. The only measure of gender that matters to me is what a person identifies as. All the rest is frosting on the cake. I don't see why respecting that is so hard for people when it costs them nothing.


And finally, some really good BDSM-related links I ran across this week:

I'm gonna need you to fight me on this: how violent sex helped ease my PTSD. Mac McClelland may not identify as kinky, but I think this is deeply relevant to our interests. Kink is often framed as something that we do because we are damaged. It's important to fight that viewpoint, both because it's not true, but because it's equally important to point out that even if we are damaged, what we do is still meaningful to us, and like any other thing we need, that helps us, it has great power to make us whole. Whether we are damaged or not, we are entitled to whatever healing we can find that does not harm another person, and we should be respected.


Safewords are dangerous. An older piece, but one I was only recently linked to. It's bound to be controversial, but it echoes feelings I've had ever since I started dipping my toe into playing with other people. The core of it is "A special safeword doesn't keep you safe!" and that is absolutely true. My own safeword is "stop" or "safeword." My way doesn't need to be everyone's way, because not everyone wants to play like I do (for example, someone who enjoys being able to say "stop" or "don't" or "no" during a scene, without bringing the scene to an end, a safeword is the perfect thing), but this is still an important issue that needs to be addressed within the specific context of each relationship and each scene.


Last, we have A field guide to Creepy Dom, a rather unflinching and uncompromising look at abusive behavior patterns in BDSM culture. Good stuff, though Asher says he has never liked the piece, and I can see that it does have a few problems.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (Default)
In the "there's actually a word for that" category, we have:

ghost word
fictitious entry
mondegreen
kadigan aka placeholder name
charactonym or aptronym

The first four are responsible for so much of my literary sense of humor. My love for the last is responsible for why I name my characters the way I do.

Also:

petrichor aka the smell of rain
geosmin aka the chemical responsible for the smell of turned earth


On the gender/feminism side, we have:

The performance of masculinity.

Educator Charlie Glickman discusses how our society teaches us that "being a man" is something you do, and not something you are, and thus, one's manly status is called into question every time he does something not inside the "acting like a man box."

It's a wonderful dissection of how privilege works together with rigid gender roles to create great pressure on men to conform. It's an excellent overview of the issue that never dissolves into a whiny WATM pity-party, yet still explores the destructive impact of sexist gender roles on men:

There's a difference between having understanding and compassion for the men who are trapped in the Box and cutting them slack. After all, it isn't as if the dude in the Box is giving any slack to women, queers, transgender or genderqueer folks, or for that matter, heterosexual cisgender men who refuse to pretend to be Real Men. And cutting men slack is another way of coddling them instead of helping them learn to let go of the Box and discover the freedom that comes from being who you are. Having compassion without coddling people is fierce. It’s powerful. And it requires the ability to hold onto both the fact that the Box hurts us all and that it gives heterosexual cisgender men privilege.


And it does hold those with privilege accountable for their actions. That line about not coddling them? Spot. On.


The redoubtable Hanne Blank on Real Women.

A short and powerful piece, ideal for linking and distributing. Send it to people you think would benefit from it. Maybe print out a copy and give it to your therapist for possible distribution to other patients? I plan to. Make sure it's read, and please read it.

Then go and read her followup, Why wouldn't I?, about accepting transgendered and intersexed women as real women. Damn fucking right. The only measure of gender that matters to me is what a person identifies as. All the rest is frosting on the cake. I don't see why respecting that is so hard for people when it costs them nothing.


And finally, some really good BDSM-related links I ran across this week:

I'm gonna need you to fight me on this: how violent sex helped ease my PTSD. Mac McClelland may not identify as kinky, but I think this is deeply relevant to our interests. Kink is often framed as something that we do because we are damaged. It's important to fight that viewpoint, both because it's not true, but because it's equally important to point out that even if we are damaged, what we do is still meaningful to us, and like any other thing we need, that helps us, it has great power to make us whole. Whether we are damaged or not, we are entitled to whatever healing we can find that does not harm another person, and we should be respected.


Safewords are dangerous. An older piece, but one I was only recently linked to. It's bound to be controversial, but it echoes feelings I've had ever since I started dipping my toe into playing with other people. The core of it is "A special safeword doesn't keep you safe!" and that is absolutely true. My own safeword is "stop" or "safeword." My way doesn't need to be everyone's way, because not everyone wants to play like I do (for example, someone who enjoys being able to say "stop" or "don't" or "no" during a scene, without bringing the scene to an end, a safeword is the perfect thing), but this is still an important issue that needs to be addressed within the specific context of each relationship and each scene.


Last, we have A field guide to Creepy Dom, a rather unflinching and uncompromising look at abusive behavior patterns in BDSM culture. Good stuff, though Asher says he has never liked the piece, and I can see that it does have a few problems.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (El Dorado: Miracle/Cheat)
I am preparing a links post for all sorts of things (ALL the links!) but right now I want you to go read this.

Holly at The Pervocracy: "Why does she stay with that jerk?"

Spoiler:

The one thing that isn't on the list, anywhere, is "the victim is just weak and stupid."


Go. Read it now. Link to it. Send it to as many people as you can. Holly's blog doesn't have a huge readership, and this needs to be seen.
naamah_darling: The right-side canines of a wolf's skull; the upper canine is made of gold. (El Dorado: Miracle/Cheat)
I am preparing a links post for all sorts of things (ALL the links!) but right now I want you to go read this.

Holly at The Pervocracy: "Why does she stay with that jerk?"

Spoiler:

The one thing that isn't on the list, anywhere, is "the victim is just weak and stupid."


Go. Read it now. Link to it. Send it to as many people as you can. Holly's blog doesn't have a huge readership, and this needs to be seen.

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