If you ever think a trans person’s insecurities are too gender essentialist, I suggest you turn your ire on all the asshole cis people that police what makes us male or female, that the gender we didn’t want to be growing up to how we acted and what we did and what we wore, that continue to judge us now and misgender us if we don’t wear the right thing or look the right way, that would deny us the right to control our bodies based on us not passing their arbitrary gender role tests. Rather than telling us that we should magically break free of decades of training us to tie certain things to a gender we hate being assigned and a society that still threatens to strip away our gender based on gender essentialist thinking, work towards changing society and telling cis people to quit doing that shit to us.
The day I understood that trans people hate gender essentialism too was the day I realised a whole bunch of people were on the same side as me that I never knew. And those people have it rougher than me.
Listen to people in other groups. Listen, listen, listen.
What about those of us who remember the great Blackout of 2005?
You know, the time someone literally pressed the big red DO NOT PRESS button and turned LJ off.
… We are so old =(
I think I met 50% of the people I follow on LJ!
I’d say I miss LJ, but it’s technically still there.
I miss how LJ used to be prior to it getting fucked over by Russian hackers causing massive extensive DNS disruptions.
Oh man. I DO remember the Great Blackout…
#I miss lj mostly because interacting with people on here sucks #reblogging is no way to have a conversation
I still have a DW, though I abandoned LJ other than a few necessary places (like Bang signups). Tumblr isn’t at all the same. :(
*sings off key*
Those were the daaayyyyyssss
I still update mine periodically! Most of the RL stuff goes over there since you can’t f-lock anything on tumblr.
I do not miss the drama and loss of friendship that LJ enabled by ease of communication combined with a format that promoted outpourings of angst. I’ve mentioned that I like how Tumblr doesn’t encourage conversation, right? I think there’d be a lot more falling out on Tumblr if arguments didn’t swiftly come to dominate blogs in a fashion that makes them not worth it.
I miss my friends and the communities that I lost when LJ ceased to be a happy place for me. I miss having a use for my hundreds of artistic and amusing icons (I even won an award for icon making). I miss ready access to Doctor/Doctor slash.
So, Sam got a call from a ‘Carlos’ about weird goings on in this week’s ep. Maybe I’ve forgotten someone (in, you know, 9 seasons worth of bit parts) but I don’t think this is someone we’ve ever seen. Probably just A. N. Other hunter, right?
Except that no show has a closer relationship with it’s geeky, geeky fandom than Supernatural. Except, you know, maybe Welcome to Night Vale. And Carlos was like someone stumbling into the weird and wonderful world of Supernatural when he came to Night Vale. And, like, I know Night Vale talks about the World Government and stuff like that, but I have the impression that where Carlos comes from everything is a lot more Normal. Or at least, most people *think* it’s normal.
Also, they’re clearly playing with the mutability of reality in this episode, and reality is pretty mutable in Night Vale to begin with, so.
I’M JUST SAYING.
(Now someone do me the fanaaaarrrrrrt, pleeeaaaaaasssseeee.)
“I think it was time for men to see what it was like. And this video, on the set as well, made people a little uncomfortable. It was funny to see that. Even though the treatment was the director’s idea, when we were doing the scene where they wash the cars, right? You’ve seen this scene a million times with girls. They’re in a bathing suit, they’re pouring water on themselves — you’ve seen it in movies even. You’ve seen it everywhere. They’re pouring water and suds all over themselves, they’re rubbing their boobs on the car, the whole thing. When we were doing this with the guys, the crew, the director — and he’ll admit this too — and the guys who had to do it after one take were like, “Well I think that’s enough. I think, you know, that’s cool.” I was like, “No!” Because if a girl were doing this right now, we’d be shooting it for an hour! Meanwhile we’ve done one take and you’re like, “That’s good.” I was like, “No, it’s not good! Rub your butt on the car!” It’s supposed to be funny, people have to get the joke, but they also have to see what it’s like. How absurd it is to do things like that. I asked the guys, “You feel absurd right now? Yes? Good, then we’re doing it right. Now rub your chest on the car and let’s go.” [laughs]
For me it was like, I just wanted them to see what it feels like. I wasn’t trying to have some big political conversation about it, but I am trying to say think about what you do.”—Jennifer Lopez, when asked about “I Luh Ya Papi” in this interview (via yah-booty)
4.5% of the men in the United States is an incredibly high number – that translates into over six million men.
If you added up every US citizen who was officially unemployed or looking for work in 2001, that would be less than the total number of rapists.
If you added up every US citizen who is Jewish, that would still be less than the total number of rapists.
If you added up every teenage boy who had any sort of job – an afterschool job, a summer job, working full-time after dropping out, including all of those – you’d still have over a million fewer people then the total number of rapists.
There are twice as many rapists in the USA as there are single mothers.
For every drunk driver who is in a fatal accident this year, there are over 500 rapists.
If you take every doctor and nurse in the United States; and you added them to every librarian, every cashier, every cop, every postal clerk, and every bank teller in the whole country; you still wouldn’t have as many people as the number of rapists in the United States.
(Think of that a second – think of how often, in your daily life, you’ve seen cops and cashiers and all those other folks. Odds are, you’ve run into rapists more often than that).
To paraphrase Tim Wise: In short, “only” 4.5% of the male population is a lot of people, so that even by the most optimistic assessment of how many men are rapists, there are literally millions out there who not only would but have raped a woman. When combined with those who are less vicious – those who haven’t raped, but would be willing to in the right circumstances, and those who would make excuses for why other men rape, it becomes clear just how real a widespread a problem rape and rape-supportive attitudes are among men today.
And there are women who support rapists, who make excuses for them, who blame their victims. There are female rapists as well, child sexual abusers, prisoners, and the rare f-to-m rapist. Ours is a culture that tolerates sexual violence. It excuses it, it looks away, it throws offenders in prison and considers the problem solved. We never try to cure our culture.
I would urge writers to think about rape culture when they write about sexual attraction. I’m not talking about never having rape in your books, or never having morally questionable characters. I’m thinking about how often you characterise attraction (especially men’s attraction for women, but also more generally) in terms of domination, force, whether she would would resist or complain or ‘squeal’, how the objects of attraction are presented (i.e. as objects?), and how ubiquitous such attitudes are.
Check yourself on whether there’s a discrepancy about how often attractiveness and suitability as a sex partner is a part of the description when you first encounter a character, and when successive characters encounter the character. And whether this is different for male and female characters (again, in particular as this is usually the problem, but more generally, also).
I find it really disturbing how many books I read where every single female character is characterised for the reader based on her sexual attractiveness and ALSO WHETHER HER ABILITY TO FIGHT BACK IS OFF-PUTTING OR A TURN ON. And not just her introduction, but every male she meets. Every female character gets this, but men are not treated the same. Often the women are depicted as though they enjoy men looking at them whilst those men are, effectively, making a decision about whether they could force themselves on her.
Guys: this is not a kind of look or attention we welcome outside of your fantasies. But writing us as though we do encourages men to think that this kind of thinking is OK, and can’t be what women mean when we complain about harassment, abuse, rape, and rape culture.
This is not rare. Lots of writers who seem to behave as well-meaning, non-misogynistic, liberals, DO THIS. They clearly do not equate themselves with rape-culture, sexual objectification of women, or potential rapists.
So, just because you don’t think you do this, don’t dismiss it as an important check.
How do I treat my female characters? How do I treat the male ones? How about others/gender-queer characters? Is there a difference? Is it a difference in terms of how I describe or attribute sexual attractiveness? Are ALL your characters of one gender assessing all characters of another in the same way? Is it a way that at all involves physical dominance or the possibility of taking them aggressively?
This is also not the same as having a problem with BDSM. Some women like to be doms, some men fetishise female strength, some men are doms and some are subs, some women are subs. That’s all fine. The problem is having a sexual preference that is not checked by whether the other person would welcome being approached in that way, or where ALL people of a gender feel the same way about dominating women, and it’s the dominant thing they consider when meeting a woman.
It’s worth thinking about. Not thinking about it is how we tolerate rapists and teach them that what they do is not ‘really’ rape.
For the time I was writing somewhat regularly about comics, I was discouraged from writing about “uncomfortable” topics like sexism or feminism. This wasn’t for all the sites I wrote for. But I did get the feeling I was allowed to hang out in the special tree house with the boys as long as I acted like one of the boys and didn’t turn into one of those uppity feminists. And I get wanting to keep the focus on comics and the great things about them. Trust me, I would love to go back to the days of unabashedly adoring comics.
But that’s not enough anymore.
It’s easy to say women should be able to do everything a man can do: they can be astronauts and writers and scientists and the President of the United States if they work for it, they should be paid the same wages as their male counterparts, they should have the right to vote and drive a car and do everyday people things without hinderance, etc.
But that’s not where gender equality ends. People should be allowed to express a dissenting opinion on the internet without being threatened with rape; people should be allowed to have consensual sex without being labeled a whore; people should be allowed to wear whatever they want without being groped or demeaned; people should be allowed to express themselves in ways that do not conform to narrow, antiquated definitions of “gender” without being disrespected or physically attacked. And come on, people. This is obvious stuff.
So when someone gets catcalled or threatened or browbeaten, you have to stand up and say NO. And look, I get that’s uncomfortable and confrontational and hard, honestly hard, to do. I’m guilty of not saying anything, of plowing along with my head in the sand and just gushing over my funny pages. But like I said, that’s not enough anymore. We need to have this conversation; we need to call this bullshit behavior out.
Because ignoring the harassment is condoning it. It undermines the severity of the situation. It tells the victims that we care more about their attackers than we do about them. Not to mention, the instances when people flat out tell victims of harassment that they’re exaggerating the facts, or “that’s not what he meant” or “get over it and stop being so emotional.”
And that is fucked up. Seriously fucked up. We need to do better, people. We need to do a lot better.
Ali is the. best. And she makes a lot of very valid points here.
I’m so sick of continuing to need to have this conversation. But it’s not going to stop me having this conversation. If this conversation makes you uncomfortable and you want ti to go away, if you want feminism to not be a necessary intrusion on your life anymore, then guess what? The quickest way to make this conversation stop intruding into our enjoyment is to see that the conversation is HAD.
Because it needs to be had. And it will keep coming up again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again until we have satisfactorily addressed the root cause of the NEED for the conversation: the ingrained and constant and hurtful and often lethal sexism of our society.
The conversation doesn’t go away simply because you refuse to take part. It carries on inside the heads of the women (or other women, if you are a woman and you want to stick your head in the sand about it, or if you think that the patriarchy doesn’t particularly affect you, so your friends who are being hurt by it should just STFU) you know, endlessly and painfully, and when they stand up for themselves and get silenced or threatened or physically attacked for trying to have the conversation it doesn’t stop the need for the conversation to be had. All it means is that it still hasn’t been adequately been addressed.
And it’s going to be a long conversation and a painful conversation and a hard conversation. And sometimes the women you are talking to will end the conversation just when you’ve decided you want to find out more and wish they would explain it *better* to you, and you have to let them do that. Because we are exhausted and having to continually start this conversation in a hostile environment takes it out of us, and sometimes we can’t face telling you the whole truth because we feel the deep pit open up between us that says ‘I know how this goes. You don’t really want to hear the whole truth. You want to hear the kind truth, the friendly truth, the mittigated truth. And you’re not going to like my truth and I just can’t deal with the backlash right now. Or maybe you’ll even let me speak, but my voice will have been stifled for so long that my words won’t come out right - they’ll tumble over one another in the rush to be said, and I’ll forget to reak it down enough for you into the steps you can understand, because I’ve been thinking about this for *decades* and you’ve only just started to dip your toes in and there’ll be really basic stuff you don’t GET yet, but if I screw this up you may think that what I’m saying to you right now is all of it, or the best case I can give of it and that’ll be it. Not just for me, but for all the women you’ll talk to in the future. It’s just a lot of pressure, OK, and I’m not up to it right now.’
And you need to listen to us when we say ‘Ugh, I can’t do this right now, can we talk about something else?’ and accept that it doesn’t mean that we don’t want to have the conversation - rather, you have to be open to having the conversation on our terms and when we’re ready for it, and you have to give us reason to trust that you won’t treat us like a representative for all women or all feminists and make all the efforts of our sisters hang on this one conversation. And you need to not be insulted that we don’t trust this about you, because our trust have been broken So. Many. Times.
Have the conversation. Support the conversation. Spread the voices of women when they are comfortable talking about it, on their terms. Amplify us, and don’t seek to dominate the conversation yourself. But DO, reiterate what we say and raise it again and again with other men. If you do this enough you might even begin to understand why our conversation is so stilted and dogged. Both why it won’t go away, and why it is so coloured with anger and despair.
Just remember: the awkwardness and discomfort of the conversation doesn’t go away simply because you refuse to engage with it or try to shut it down. Only be having the conversation and by listening to what women have to say - over and over and over and on our terms - will the conversation become eqasier, and less fraught, and, maybe, one day… go away.
“A man once asked me … how I managed in my books to write such natural conversation between men when they were by themselves. Was I, by any chance, a member of a large, mixed family with a lot of male friends? I replied that, on the contrary, I was an only child and had practically never seen or spoken to any men of my own age till I was about twenty-five. “Well,” said the man, “I shouldn’t have expected a woman (meaning me) to have been able to make it so convincing.” I replied that I had coped with this difficult problem by making my men talk, as far as possible, like ordinary human beings. This aspect of the matter seemed to surprise the other speaker; he said no more, but took it away to chew it over. One of these days it may quite likely occur to him that women, as well as men, when left to themselves, talk very much like human beings also.”—
Dorothy L. Sayers, Are Women Human?: Astute and Witty Essays on the Role of Women in Society
I’m still mad about the (in many ways lovely) senior academic I was talking to one time who *genuinely* thought that writing from the perspective of another gender was a matter only for serious Literature, and very rarely attempted or achieved. He persisted in this opinion even when I listed a number of books, looking more and more perplexed, but still insisting on his reality over the facts.
Eventually he conceded that women might write from the male perspective - that was only natural - but the reverse was incredibly unlikely.
What became obvious was that, although he couldn’t confront his assumption outloud - because he’s a nice man! An intelligent man! He’s not sexist! - that men were the default human, so it was understandable that women might write from a male perspective, but women… well. They were an unfathomable, foreign species. For a man to write *women* well was an achievement of true Art.
At that moment I vowed never to ask him to recommend one of these High Art books he regarded as the only acceptable examples of men writing women well. It was clear that he thought women fundamentally different from men in some unfathomable way, and - here’s the thing, guys - if you only regard writing another gender as good writing when it confirms a prejudice that men and women are startlingly different from one another, there’s a very, very high chance that the writing is actually rubbish and insulting.
But yes, men who share your prejudices will probably give it prizes.
A white professor runs up to me from halfway down the hall.”I like your hair,” he says, without introduction. I have enormous curly red-blonde hair that has an obvious African texture.
"Very Irish."As he says this, he reaches out and touches it without permission. I almost gasp at the forwardness of it. I catch myself, smile weakly, and say nothing.
My hair is not Irish — I am light skinned and blonde, but I am Ethiopian and Turkish. I smile and say nothing. I am passing and that knowledge feels filthy in my head.
Don’t touch people’s hair. People have sometimes touched my hair without permission - people sometimes do this to blonde people - and it’s awful. I can’t imagine how much much worse it must be with the racial overtones and the frequency with which people do this to PoC. The extra layer of ick here added by issues surrounding ‘passing’ is just… I don’t even.
Don’t do this, people, it’s super, super gross.
Consent: it’s for all kinds of touching. And even then, asking to touch someone’s hair simply because it seems different an unusual *to you* is weird and is going to make them feel uncomfortable. So maybe not?