"Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That's their natural and first weapon." ~ Gloria Steinem

Monday, February 28, 2011

Surprise Ways To Perpetuate The Rape Culture: Things You Probably Didn't Know You Were Already Doing, Part One

Basic Definition Of Rape Culture: A culture in which ignoring and/or crossing the boundaries of others is implicitly understood to be normal, acceptable, and desired.

Venue: stand-up comedy show
When the comic asks for a volunteer to go up onstage for some reason, be
  1. that person who raises their hand and points to the friend they came with
  2. who clearly does not want to volunteer.
  1. the comic who seizes on the person who is being volunteered yet
  2. is slouching in their seat and 
  3. covering their face with their hand. 
Hey, it's my own fault if I fail to strike the perfect body language of indifference, right? My obvious discomfort is clearly fodder for your amusement! Also, I probably really do want to go onstage, I'm just too stuck in my head to know it, and I'll be thanking you once I pull the stick out of my ass.

Venue: drinking with your friends
  1. Buy someone a shot 
  2. after they've already explicitly stated that they're done drinking
  3. for any reason whatsoever.
Clearly, your need to avoid drinking alone trumps any need I might have for ceasing to drink! Also, I probably don't really want to stop drinking, I just don't want to spend any more money, so you'll pay for it, and I'll be thanking you once I pull the stick out of my ass.

Stay tuned for more installments of SWTPTRC!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Shit, Man

Apparently it was the hair post that was 100th. I fail, dude.

In Other News

Apparently, that last post was my 100th.

In, like, almost 3 years--I think.


Also, I added a pageviews counter, and am pretty sure most of those are from me, especially since I tend to copy-edit my posts after publishing them.

I had a new idea the other day while roaming around the Pawnee; it will be a series called "X Surprise Ways To Enable The Kyriarchy That You Never Knew You Were Already Doing" or something like that. Stay tuned.

If It's Not About You, Don't Make It About You: On The Unfortunate Privilege Of "Feminist Men"

I'm sure where, exactly, some dudes get off implying that being a feminist man is harder than being a woman, feminist or not. Neither am I sure, exactly, where these same dudes get off basically saying that since they're treating us way better than the rest of the dudely dudes, we should be nicer to them, regardless of whether or not we think they're treating us way better.

And that, my friends, is the key. As soon as a "feminist" starts telling you that you don't actually know how you feel, and they need to enlighten you as to how you actually do feel, that person kind of gives up some feminist street cred. And it's worse when that person is male, because, shockingly enough, kind of a big part of the advent of feminism had to do with women getting fucking sick of being told how they're supposed feel, think, and/or respond to stuff.

The thing wot has set me off can be found here; you'll have to click around a little to get the whole backstory.

Look, I appreciate feminist men. I do; I really, really do. But I'm starting to think back on a conversation I had with my boss/friend en route to New Mexico in October--the basic gist of which was his belief that there's no such thing as a "feminist man", because men will never understand what it is to be a woman, which is central to true feminism, and thus the best men can do is "feminist ally". He came to this conclusion after taking a women's studies course [sidenote: autospellcheck does not like "women's", which I'm not entirely certain of myself, but since the right-click-change options include "womenfolk's", I am so not changing it.] in college, and I'd actually never thought about it that way before, but after he explained his "There's no such thing as a feminist man", I agreed with him.

And now I think I agree even more. See, the trouble is, the patriarchy is insidious. You cannot fucking erase your privilege just because you want to, so even when you try, and align yourself with a marginalized of which you are not a part, your natural tendencies are still going to be coming from a position of privilege. Which is to say that it's incredibly easy to continue to expect women to listen to you just because you're a man, and the fact that you're aligning yourself with feminism lends more weight to your belief that you should be listened to, because you're way better than those other dudes, yo! and your natural privileged inclinations spin out of control, and it's like seven hundred times worse.

Just, like, think about it for a second. It makes me 700% more frustrated to be mansplained to about feminism by someone who claims to be a feminist than it does to be mainsplained to about how the patriarchy no longer exists by just a regular dudely dude.

And I know you are not doing it on purpose. But mansplainers never do, even the dudely dudes.

I don't have to read feminist books to understand how the oppression of women affects the world. And dudes who read every single feminist book out there will still never, ever understand that oppression in the same way I do.

I mean, go read Sady's post, but do anti-racism white people pretend to be anything other than an ally? Straight people, cisgendered people, able-bodied and neurotypical people, none of these pretend to be anything other than an ally. Why is "feminist" considered to be the one thing that you can be regardless of which side you fall on?

Seriously, you have to go read the post.
So now Freddie’s sulking that Sady Doyle is “telling everyone about how impressed with herself she is.” And I am. Because I knew that would piss him the hell off. Because I’m a woman, and I have accordingly been taught my entire life to view myself as lesser-than, to devalue my own accomplishments, to accept it when other people treat me as lesser-than and devalue me, which they (if they are men, especially) have been taught to do. And I refuse. I say no. I tell you I’m Sady fucking Doyle, and I expect you to believe it. Being a woman who likes herself, is proud of herself, is impressed with herself, in public: There might not be a more subversive act.
Maybe someday I'll have the readership that Sady does; I seriously doubt it, but she's also said she used to seriously doubt it as well, so, I don't know. If I ever do, I hope I will handle it just as she does (in my eyes, anyway): like a total fucking badass.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

On Women And Hair

So, I'm loving on Autostraddle right now, and I just found this post about haircuts (read the comments for more discussion). It's primarily about long hair vs. short hair when you're a lesbian, but it got me thinking about something I read somewhere the other day/week/month/year about long vs. short for women in their 20s. This second article I'm referring to was likely geared toward straight women, although of course pretty much nobody clarifies that because duh, of course we're talking about straight people, right?!? I cannot for the life of me remember where I read it.

Anyway, apparently I'm not the only 20-something woman feeling torn over long vs. short hair; this article claimed it has to do with age, and that since long hair is associated with youth, and short hair is associated with maturity, much like in the rest of our lives, 20-something women can't figure out whether we're adults or not.

The point is, why do women have to worry about their hair so much? Do gay men worry about what their haircut is "communicating"? Seriously, someone tell me. I don't know any straight dudes who care too much; for example, my boyfriend's qualifications for a haircut are as follows:
  1. Doesn't make me look like a tool
  2. Allows me to wear baseball caps
 He doesn't worry, in a specific fashion, about how people will interpret his appearance; he just doesn't want to look stupid. The biggest thing he worries about is whether freshly-cut hair should go above or over his ears (he only worries about this because he doesn't know which it's "supposed" to be; I solved this conundrum by accompanying him to his latest haircut and telling the stylist to cut it above). Of course, I'm not sure if this a straight dude thing or just an SBT* thing; SBT is, in general, astoundingly indifferent to the opinions of others (except mine, of course :D).

It just seems to me that women have to think more about how they present themselves to the world--but maybe it's just marginalized groups in general. I hear that some black people worry about natural hair vs. relaxed; I read something written by an Asian-American woman that discussed hair as a cultural signal. I'm sure haircut/style can be pretty important to those of non-"traditional" gender presentation, as well as to non-cissexual people; but is that different? Are those individuals who use their hair as communication glad of the opportunity to do so? More or less glad than a cisgendered white woman who loves using her hair as a tool?


If anyone read this blog, I could hope for some replies that would help educate me. However, the only readers I'm certain of are pretty much just like me, so, yeah. Such is life. Anyone?

*Strange Bearded Thing, which is boyfriend's newly adopted name on this blog

Friday, February 11, 2011

On Two Days Of Inattention And The GOP

I took a two-day break from the Internets this week. I went snowshoeing, drank tequila, saw my parents and sisters and brother, had dinner with my boyfriend's parents, drank coffee, and laughed until my sides ached.

I returned from my two-day break tonight, only to discover that, while I was out enjoying life despite all of the shit in it, Republicans want to "eliminate the word 'victim' from statutes dealing with stalking, rape, obscene telephone contact with a child and family violence and replace it with 'accuser'" and de-fund programs that prevent sexual assault and domestic violence along with oh so many more programs for women and children.

I wish I could say I'm surprised, but, I'm not.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

On Queerness And Wearing Men's Clothes

I'm wearing, quite literally, boyfriend jeans. As in, jeans that belong to my boyfriend. He's a good 11.5" taller than I, which means the inseam on these things is unbelievably long, and despite subjective appearances, he's only skinny for his height, which means that a belt is absolutely a requirement. But, they are comfortable as hell.

And I sure do love some butch in my outfits sometimes.

Here's the thing: queer, as I see it, can be both innate and constructed, all at the same time. From what my little sister has told me, if I said anything about queerness around a lot of the people she knew in college (she went to a small women's college in California), I probably would be laughed down, or accused of appropriation or something. When Little Sister returned to school for senior year in a relationship with a cismale, she was told she wasn't "queer enough" to discuss queerness; her boyfriend was referred to as "the bioman"; she was presumed to be heteronormative simply by virtue of being in a relationship that was, in terms of outward appearance, heterosexual.

Now, I don't presume to assign any labels to my sister's relationship, which is now a marriage, but it seems to me that a group of self-identified queers claiming to understand my sister's relationship better than she herself did seems terribly condescending and presumptuous. Haven't queers, and LGBT folk, fought so long for the right to define themselves on their own terms, without being forcibly assigned identities based on nothing more than guesswork--or cultural precedent?

Anyway, my point is, we all have a little queer in us--or so goes my opinion. Maybe I'm appropriating; I don't think I am. How the fuck do you know whether I'm "queer enough" or not, anyway? You don't even know me--not really. Who does? Being in a biologically heterosexual relationship and queerness are not mutually exclusive.

I had a discussion with Strange Bearded Thing (this is my new term for the Boyfriend) last night about my defensiveness; see, I'm used to people disagreeing with me. I'm used to saying things and having them questioned, or having myself questioned, or whatever; this is a standard experience for anyone female-coded in this society, of course. Used to be, my response to this was to back down--to doubt myself. I also began meticulously constructing my arguments before opening my mouth, in order to have everything all laid out, in anticipation of resistance. Bolstered by thoroughly thought-out thoughts, backing down gave way to bristling, to defensiveness.

So, my point is, I might be defensive about my claim to queerness; this is to explain why.

Back to queerness, and how it can be both innate and constructed. It's not really that difficult; just think about it for a minute. I guess all I'm saying is that when I do something to my external appearance that communicates culturally-understood queerness, that's a construction of queerness. I could do this regardless of whether or not I felt I was innately queer, but I think the desire to externally code oneself as queer kind of makes one queer, y'know? Even if you're heterosexual/heteronormative to the max, messing with your gender presentation is a queer action.

And I'm not heterosexual to the max; I just happened to fall in love with a cismale.

Incidentally, I love this Autostraddle Boyshorts 101 article.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Save Us From The OMGZ!Liberal!Media!

I just read an interesting article. Dated February 29, 2008, the headline is "McCain's Panama birth prompts eligibility probe by his campaign".

As precedent, the article describes the case of Barry Goldwater, who was born in Arizona before it became a state. He was allowed to run for president, losing to Lyndon Johnson. The main point is that John McCain was born in Panama while his military father was stationed there.
Jill Hazelbaker, a spokesman for the McCain campaign, said the request for legal help was purely routine, while The New York Times, the first mainstream news outlet to run the story, drew fire from conservative commentators for raising the issue at all.
At present, it appears Democrats have little interest in pursuing the matter.
(emphasis mine.)

Does anyone else find it odd that I'm only now hearing about this? Does anyone else find it odd that there are still members of the Tea Party railing on about "WHERE'S OBAMA'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE?" Does anyone else find it odd that the so-called "liberal media" picked up the Obama birth furor, yet didn't really seem to care about McCain?

Obama was born in a U.S. state. McCain was born on a U.S. military base in an area controlled by the U.S. at the time. But, oh, yeah, Obama is black. He must be a secret Kenyan citizen, or secret Muslim, or secret Enemy Of America!, but McCain is white, so he's obviously a Patriot!, or a MilitaryAmerican!

No On 3