that’s funny!

Normally when I blog or generally talk about feminist things, the above is a sarcastic phrase used to indicate my dismay and precedes a description explaining, as gently as I can, why the joke was racist/sexist/homophobic/able-ist/etc.

But, this is not one of those cases. I want to talk about what is funny. That’s not true either, I want to talk about why I’m funny.

Shocking to believe, I am not a humorless feminist. In fact, I was the class clown, and now I’m the clown anywhere but class. (in a PhD program it is not recommended to crack jokes the whole time, but I digress)

I will retell stories in my head until I think they are funny enough to share, I make wise cracks when other people are speaking (so much so, I almost made the vita-mix sales man lose it with laughter when I was watching the demo and was standing near the front), and puns. Oh, how I love the puns. Other people don’t always agree, but trust me, they’re wrong, my puns are hilarious.

But people don’t notice. And by people, I mean what the patriarchy defines as people: men. Its not that they don’t get my jokes, they just forget I ever made them.

I can think of two reasons.

1. Men get told off by me when their shit is sexist, racist, etc. so they are associate me with killing THEIR fun at the expense of others.

2. “girls” aren’t funny.

This may be slowly changing, but in general womyn are seen as up tight, as adorable, as sperm receptacles. To make jokes, means you have agency, you are the one who is receiving attention for something other than what a nice looking object you are. AND worst of all, you have to be clever! You can be a little funny, but not as funny as a guy.

Well, Duh, I hear you cry.

What brought this up in my mind? It is related to how I met my first boyfriend. Why that came to mind, I have no idea. I was walking from the coffee cart to my office on campus, and I was thinking about those days gone by when I was in an improv comedy class. I was in high school, and I met my first boyfriend there. He was too old for me, and I was too young for him. When you are a high school student, age differences are bigger.

I thought he was so good looking, and he was younger than the last crush I had. Therefore, (I rationalized) it would be just fine. However, I did have to think about it. We were flirting for a while, and one night he drove me home and asked if we could date/be in a relationship/something. So I said I would call him the next day or so. (Should have been a warning when) he said, but you were flirting with me! As if that means I HAD to be in a relationship. Then he cited an example.

We were doing an exercise in class where we were speaking in unison and making sentences (groups of about 5 people). Sort of an oral Ouija Board. The teacher thought this man was leading the sentences, and we assured her he was not. She said, it must be that rich baritone voice.

Now if you’re a young woman in a patriarchal society, you want to marry well. Even then I didn’t want that, but I knew that it was true.

So of course I responded with near Mae West intonation: “I could use a rich baritone.” (nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more)

Not that this could not possibly be just a joke. It HAD to be for the benefit of a man (a real man not just an imaginary referent). It had to be flirting, or leading on, or something. It could have no reference to anything but how I felt about the man’s hot sexy sexiness.

It couldn’t, I don’t know, be a JOKE? Given how much people hurt others by saying “it’s just a joke” you’d think this would be given a pass. But, no, it was flirting, and If I didn’t go out with this man, I would be a dirty cock tease. right? Silly me, “girls” don’t make jokes. But my virginal lady bits were a flutter over his sexy goatee, and therefore did not notice the poisonous sentiment.

I can’t believe that it took me nearly ten years to notice that.

I’m not looking for it. It falls in my effin lap. (pt1)

I’m often told I “look for things to get angry about.” And I admit I look where some of these thing are highlighted, like feminist blogs, non-feminist blogs, twitter, google-reader feed, newspapers, television (well I don’t watch that, but it is where these things are), conversations with “liberal” friends, conversations with academics, conversation with fellow students, oh, and the rest of the world.

So today I have examples from twitter/liberal friends and my google reader.

First, recently on twitter one of the trending topics was #IHateWomenWho. I tweeted my dismay (with spaces and no hash mark describing the misogyny. ok, so far so good. But that is not what made my blood boil. I get a reply saying that if there were a similar post about men it would my misandry, and that wouldn’t be better, but it would be equal.

Because feminism is about equality even if it degrades all humans?  bah. also note there isn’t a similar trend. I’m sure people have applied the hash-mark to I hate men who. but would it have the vitriol as the remarks policing how much women should wear, what sluts they are, women who pretend not to be sluts? yeah. I think not. And there were not enough of them to be highlighted as the top 6 trends or what have you. and I know the reply is nothing new, but it came from someone I know. I don’t think I said anything controversial. its not like he responded to one of my more politically charged tweets. Really?

Plus it looks like one of my (other) friends is a junior MRA. I thought, at first, he was just coming to terms with coming out as a transvestite, but it is so full of bitterness. And he’s framing it as if he is a feminist. as if he is fighting against sexism. It’s NOT fair, he will(read has already) decry, that the dress code at a club does not allow men to wear sandals, but it allows women to.  So he HATES that sexism.  He also Hates that women get to look “pretty” (read policed every day about how fat they are, how much make-up they wear, clothing is to prudish, clothing is to revealing, just smile honey etc…)  Yeah, those poor men. I agree men should wear what they want, but saying you hate sexism, or a feminist is ridiculous if that is the only time you hate sexism. Just like sarah palin is a “feminist” because she likes title 9. (Nevermind that she is for forced pregnancy, and made women pay for their own rape kits, is against comprehensive sex ed…).

Never once has he commented on the sexism of advertising objectifying women, never once has he commented on the fact that a third of college women are sexually assaulted, never once has he commented about rape as a weapon of war in the Congo, never once has he picked up the torch for racism, or gay rights, or domestic abuse, the sexual salvery of undocumented women, or how men have been found not guilty of rape when they say, sure I kept going when she said no, but I stopped when she kicked me really hard.  He might agree these things are bad, but he only gets angry when he can’t be involved in a conversation with girls at a party, because they want to talk amongst themselves (he told me about this because I am a feminist and I would understand). this is the same thing as not letting women into conversations about healthcare, or letting them work in male fields, or into the philosophy department at college.  A conversation at a party.  Give me a break.  the whole point is that sexism is an opression that is institutionalized and systemic.  individual predjudice does not oppresion make.  Plus, the opressed class wanting to have a space where their voices are heard, and they can feel safe, is NOT the same at the opresser keeping others from participation as full citizens in society.

Anyhoo. Onto item three. It appeared in my google reader. The top item when I hit “explore.” It showed a blog which listed funny pie charts. some were more funny than others. the last one:

Pie chart "why women cry"

A pie chart in shades of pink. about 10% for "happiness" about 10% for "sadness" and 80% for "????"

(screen shot instead of link.  I’m not driving more traffic there) Um.  Yeah.  because women are emotional and cry for no reason.  Again.  see post title.  I was not looking for pie charts that reify stereotypes of irrational women or ask google to make my blood boil.  But don’t worry, I know, I’m sure it is a strange coincidence that I saw it and not indicative of culture at large.  I’m sure that the fact it was even made was not indicative of culture at large.

Bull effin shit.

One more thing. I’m not “not laughing” because I’m a humorless feminist. I’m “not laughing” because you are a douche.

Blogger is shocked that women are treated as objects

wait, no. I’m not shocked at all.

If you are naked at all, and a woman, it is only for the purpose of sex and men.

so many commenters on this Even the title of article lets us know that, silly women, don’t you know breasts are for men?

I doubt the women were “shocked” that men wanted watch them. They were making a point. Women cannot safely walk down the streets with the same rights as a man.

on woman say “We should be able to walk down the street and not have this many men taking pictures of us.”

I agree. Commenters of course say, “be realistic.” It is comepletely unrealistic to hope for equality. maybe it is, but I think that is too fatalistic. They are also accused of being “hypocritical biotches” because they are only doing it to get attention! (those slutty slut sluts).

It is not right that women may get naked for men. That his is acceptable and the only way for women to get naked. Why are we not allowed to be naked for ourselves? because it is hot? because we don’t like tan lines? because at that moment my shirt is tugging all weird like and the tag is itching me and I want to take it off?

but that’s right. either we are wrongfully distributing the property of one man, or we are now the property of all men. Yeah. I know, this isn’t shocking either. what’s it called again when men feel complete entitlement to women’s bodies? oh yeah… RAPE CULTURE

headdesk.

party in consent culture

I usually don’t drink because I’m afraid. I mean, I don’t consciously think, “I’m uncomfortable with this situation.” But last night I went to a party where I did feel 100% safe. It is only when I juxtapose this to other parties that I realized something was wrong.

Even around my nudist friends, I would not get drunk and naked. I was at a (clothed) party with the nudist crowed, and Rich started hitting on me as soon as he found out I did a shot of tequila. Um…. yeah…. (I use his name because I do not protect the identities of would-be rapists who think they just need a girl with beer goggles to get laid, and don’t consider that to have consent neither party’s judgment can be impaired)

But last night was amazing. I’d known some of the people for a decade. Others were new to me, but they were all screened by my friends. And they were all open and honest about sex and relationships, and lots of them had slept with at least one of my friends. (so not only personality screened, but personality in bed screened) My friends would not sleep with people who did not communicate with all their partners. They wouldn’t sleep with someone who used sex to control and gain power.

It was consent culture. I got really drunk for the first time in many many months. I was talking to this guy about everything under the sun. but I had no fears drunk and chatting. It was safe. When I mentioned I was feeling a little too drunk I handed him my drink. He brought me some water. I started to feel better so we bee-lined to the hot tub. Because of our influence the hot tub quickly became a nude space.

I was sitting in a hot tub in mixed company, naked and drunk. It was just hanging out. It wasn’t sexual towards me. There was sex at the party, there were lots of people who sleep with each other at the party. No one grabbed my ass even in jest.

But can you imagine the court case if I was assaulted in that context? she was drunk, why would you be naked if you didn’t intend to have sex? she regularly hangs out naked with old men that she has hugged! She has had sex more than once before! And she was at least a decade younger than all the other people at the party at a big house! She must have been LOOKING for a rich man or something!

I was drunk so I went to bed there, as many people did. I was half naked in one of the guest rooms (they have a Gi-normous house). But I have no doubt that if passed out completely naked on a couch or bed that I would have been perfectly safe. imagine doing that at a frat party.

It is so wonderful that that house is a pocket of consent culture in a wasteland.

It is fucked up that personal safety is remarkable. But I’m glad it exists at all.

monkey’s, porn and consent

Yesterday a(nother) liberal dood I know wanted to share how science totally rocks.  his evidence is that a study was done that shows monkey’s like porn and he read about it on the internet. now I don’t know if he read about it at ABC, but I figured if I was going to rant about it, I should look up an article about it.

Then he got really upset that i thought it was horrible. Later he even sent me an email along the lines of, “but I’m a nice guy why do you think I’m a horrible person?” Which makes the issue, not about my reaction to porn, not about rape culture, not about animal captivity, but about poor him and his feelings. Because my feelings hurt his feelings and that is so mean.

This means that I now I have to spend my time letting him know I don’t think he is a horrible person. Well I have to do this if i want to keep the peace. And I do want to keep the peace since I work with him, and we rely on each other to help each other out when studying, and things like that. GRRRR.

But on to the monkeys. First, the article is about how “The study is the first to show that monkeys appraise visual information for its social value and can then use this data to spontaneously discriminate between images of their fellow monkeys.”

but just like with humans the scientists understood “monkeys” to mean MALE BODIED monkeys.

Twelve adult male rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta) participated in the study

so already there was bias. that female bodied monkey’s don’t count and we don’t need to see how they think since they are the “other sex” anyway.

The monkey’s were given headshots of both males and females, and hindquarters of females to look at. The article does not discuss how the monkeys responded to headshots of the females. but high social ranking males and female hindquarters were “paid for” more often.

Did they pay for headshots of the women too? would they pay for hindquarter shots of the socially high ranking males? how do we know that “sexiness” of the picture had anything to do with it? Maybe social desirability of the subject was important regardless of the position of the monkey in the camera frame. (not to mention that heteronormative assumptions are made about all subjects in the test).  So again, bias about how humans (i.e. heterosexual male humans) view naked pictures comes into how the experiment was organised, and how the data is interpreted:

Camerer says it is “no surprise” that male monkeys “really like looking at female posteriors”. But he is puzzled that males would pay with juice to see high-status males, but would not look at them for very long.

so already we can see this is a problematic study, immersed in patriarchal structure. feminsiting has a post today about science being used to objectify (human) women.

But what about the monkeys? they were “housed in captivity”.  And someone tells me about this study and expects me to be thrilled because no monkey’s were “physically harmed”(quote from self proclaimed nice guy)? Um… vegan here, I’m for autonomy of creatures. that means I’m against captive animals as a slave class for experimentation, regardless of the nature of the experiment.

And onto the issue of consent. This is the biggest issue involved. I don’t know about you, but If I was hanging around and people took pictures of my genitals and butt, and then sold it as porn to someone else, I’d feel angry and violated. But we can do that to monkeys, and its no big deal. More specifically, we can do that to FEMALE BODIED monkeys and it is  SCIENCE.

But you know what? People do this to FEMALE BODIED PEOPLE too. and there is no recourse. If I’m at a nude beach, and someone takes a picture to use as porn, that’s sick right? but shit like this happens, and it is legal, since I’m in a public place. CREEPY. Even if it were illegal, I can’t go to the cops. That could close down the beach, and everyone would “know” its my own fault, and really I wanted it anyway because otherwise I wouldn’t have been naked and teasing men with my nudity.

so this whole taking pornographic pictures without consent issue is both personal and political.

Just more evidence that female bodies are the bodies of the sex class. To be used by men, for sex and porn whenever they want to.  Whether it is male scientists using female monkey bodies to observe monkey objectification, or male monkeys paying to view female bodies as a commodity. Or if it is male humans jerking off in public at a female body who is minding her business and just wants to enjoy the beach. Female bodies are only good for sexual gratification of men and to hell with what women think about it.  Guess what that looks like to me: rape culture.

but you know, getting upset about this hurts the feelings of all those liberal nice guys who really do respect women “both as a group and as individuals”, but who still find this study awesome. /snark.

because rape and tasers are hilarious.

This was linked to on facebook by a liberal dood friend of mine, and “liked” by a few womyn. The friend part is not sarcastic. Just shows that even people like my friends, who really do care about social justice and equality, don’t quite get what I mean by rape culture. Nor do I think they want to. Takes re-evaluating their lives too much.

Anyway, the end of this video, the obnoxious main character is anally raped with a taser. WTF? This is comedy. Because rape is funny if it happens to men.

But it is even more than that. it is raping someone with a lethal weapon. Normalizing violence. Normalizing police brutality.

And people tell me I’m the man hater? Look around. did you laugh at this video? do you think it is funny when a male prison rape scene is alluded to or depicted in a comedy? who laughs at this? I’m guessing some of the people who think I’m a “man-hating bitch” do. I’m guessing some faux-feminist men, who think that showing men weak is what feminists want to see, will laugh. (I actually had a male “feminist” friend of mine say a guy got what he deserved when a woman didn’t tell him she had and STD when he didn’t want to use a condom. ummmmmm wha…?)

Back when I wrote the post on why media depictions of sexual violence against men is a feminist issue, I did not have the benefit of having read Julia Serano’s Whipping Girl. While I don’t quite agree with every thing she says, I do like how she defines traditional sexism as against femininity instead of against women. This type of sexism can be manifest towards males and females. I think this is a case of that.

why do YOU have sex?

I accidentally came across this article. I skimmed as much as I could so I wasn’t ranting about something I hadn’t read. Now my head hurts. (though it does acknowledge cultural constraints on women’s sexuality)

My biggest problem with the article is that I don’t understand why we need such a study. Or rather, I DO understand why we need such a study and I think ugh.

I know why I have sex. so I’m guessing this article isn’t for me. Who cares why women have sex? oh. MEN. (and maybe lesbians but I’m pretty sure society still thinks that they only exist for men to fantasize about.)

Plus the whole article goes on and on about how women have sex to get back at people, or they are trading favors, or “simply to “keep the peace” at home.” (Um rape culture anyone? 84% of women report this. If saying no was easy and respected this wouldn’t be an issue…)

The article has a tone that implies that this behavior is female in nature. Men’s sex drives are mentioned briefly a couple times, but usually to uphold that men have sex for pleasure or because they are in love, (both in the top 20 reasons men have sex). See it’s those complicated women that make sex complicated!!

Actually, it is not the study itself I cringe at but how the analysis is used. if we looked at how sociologically we are programmed we might find that these results are consistent and indicative of a problem. but the patriarchal lens looking at this study could never make those connections: “More than half of women under 60 still suffer from low sex drive.” Low sex drive in women is a problem for whom? Who is suffering from it really? if I don’t crave chocolate one day am I suffering from lack of interest in chocolate? I mean eating chocolate does bring me pleasure when I do it. so isn’t this the same problem? no. why? because chocolate is just a preference.  And who decides what a “normal” sex drive is?  “Low” is BAD!  why???? If women aren’t interested in having sex whenever a male is, this is seen as problem. Why isn’t that just a preference?

And they only have what people report. People do things all the time without thinking them through, then piece together why. Also there are societal constraints on how we are expected to answer these questions. and women are not supposed to feel pleasure. We are supposed to lie back and think of our country. would that color how people report their reasons for sex? I think so. Its that whole ontological reality thing. we don’t have access to it.

When you have a relationship with someone, no matter how brief, is what 64% of the people do important? no. It is what you and your partner think and communicate. It is how you feel, about how you’re partner feels. Because no specific person will match up with the “general” person on everything, so you must still listen and react and be honest.

Or maybe I’m just being reactionary because this study shows I am in fact a freak of nature because I believe sex should be grounded in consent and pleasure. Plus I think that my body should never have to be used as a bargaining chip because I want to be seen as a whole person, even though I acknowledge that I don’t yet live in that world.

I’m still having trouble with not feeding the trolls

I haven’t written in ages and I still managed to get harassment as a comment on this old post.  The following is from rantfm:

You sound like a typical man hater with too many issues to deal with! You failed to mention that the same situations (men staring at women) happen in “clothed situations” ala the grocery store or in a city square. I’ll bet you never really had a boy friend growing up and you have built in issues with men.

What a shame! Now you want a seperate beach so we don’t have to see your ass? Let me know where it is and I’ll be sure to avoid you!

It still stings you know? Like I feel like I want to argue with the individual, but I know it is not worth my time. I want to point out the logical inconsistencies and defend my HAWTNESS. because even though I don’t want to be judged on my appearance I’m still a product of my culture and have an emotional want to to still be fuckable and attractive.

Fuck you society for twisting my brain.

I also don’t want to spend even MORE hours of my life telling everyone that I am not actually a man hater. (SHOCK! HORROR!) So the message below will have to do.

" I don't hate ALL MEN, just you.

" I don't hate ALL MEN, just you.

Because really, why do I want to convince people who don’t respect me that I don’t hate them. If i met them in real life it is quite possible that I WOULD hate them, or at least not want to talk to them ever.

defining sexuality

so. I generally identify as straight. but I’m at a place where I’m attracted to my good female friend. am I bisexual? maybe. And I know that people are going to be pissed with me, but I don’t think so.

I know there is a lot of bi-phobia out there, and I’ve seen a lot of reactions from people who feel betrayed by people who have relations with people of both sexes but don’t identify as bisexual. It is not my intent to distance myself from the queer community. In fact I’d feel guilty if I identified as bi.

I have straight privilege. I know that when watching movies or whatever that people will have relationships that have the gender make up of the relationships I’ve had. I’ve never dated a woman, and I’m not really interested in most women. I know, I know, that’s like labeling all virgins as asexual. Obviously you can have sexual feelings and know who you want to date even if you haven’t dated them. but this is different. I’ve always wanted to date men, with their hairy faces and penises. It is not just a response to being programed by society and not being true to myself. (Yes I have had people argue my sexuality with me before so I’ve thought about it and had to deal with this argument). I don’t want to co opt a culture and movement with my mostly straight voice.

I would be okay with being called my-specific-best-friend-sexual. because that’s what it is. I like her specifically. not that when I date boys I don’t like them in specific, but a large range of men stimulate me and the same doesn’t happen around women.

It feels like I should have this sorted out by now. not my entire love life, but my sexual orientation identity. I don’t even like that sexual orientation should be be part of my identity. I identify with much more important things. Thing I’m super passionate about. I’m a math educator, I’m a subverter of the dominant paradigm, I’m a feminist, I’m a nudist. but that’s part of straight privilege. I’m “normal” so I don’t have to deal with my sexuality as my identity as a part of me that others me from society. if I did date a woman then society would label and identify me. I would have to respond to that, or at least live with that, unless I moved to a cave.

in the post-everything-bad world the label would be meaningless. everyone would just date who they like. And what their genitals looked like wouldn’t be a big deal. but that is not where we live. sigh.

this is what I don’t get

some excerpts from a post my friend wrote about a conversation he had:

Pointing to the flowers on my table while I was working and then pointing at my computer he stated, ‘See this and see this? They are different and should be treated different. I wouldn’t water the computer.’ ‘See this,’ he said as he went for a stack of my business cards and began laying each one side by side. ‘They are the same – not the flowers and the computer but the cards.’ ‘We can’t treat them all the same if they are different.’

I stopped working and looked at my friend. I said they are the same and they are different and that when you really get down to it they are all made up of energy and matter… it’s all the same by then. No you would not water my computer or water my cards, but they all have value. Diversity and differences don’t mean that discrimination is necessary. They must all be cared for differently, but not treated with any less respect. The flower has value because it is a flower and we can appreciate that. It is different but not less than a computer. The business cards while each is almost identical will each serve out its own unique purpose that even while I may guide – I cannot control the outcome.

now, I think he tagged me so I would read it. I think he wants me to be more patient with people who say bigoted things. I think I’m as patient as I can be. I am willing to point out to people when they are being bigoted but I don’t have the time or energy to spoon feed them the information. Then pat them on the hand and say “its ok I know its so hard to deal with privilege.. you poor poor thing.”

I need to build my own community so I can feel safe. I want to be able to relax occasionally and not have to worry that on my day off someone is going to make a joke about forcing a penis into some orfice on a woman. (or whatever the hate that day)

but what really gets me. How can someone write the above be the same person who every time we mention food has to tell me how he “needs” his “bloody steak” (or other animal flesh).

they are the same and they are different and that when you really get down to it they are all made up of energy and matter… it’s all the same by then. No you would not water my computer or water my cards, but they all have value.

We are all different, all of us, each of us. None of us WANT to be discriminated against, none of us want to be less than, none of us want to be beaten, abused, harassed, killed, shamed, disrespected… NONE of us… none of us. (I began to tear up and paused for a moment.) We all – ALL of us – want love, and to be loved, and respected and at the very least left alone to live our lives freely.

except for the things it IS ok to kill. it is ok to consume the products of rape and of torture and of murder. because those lives are only there for our consumption. those lives only have value to us for what we can get from them.

The flower has value because it is a flower and we can appreciate that. It is different but not less than a computer.

I have value in the male gaze as an object. I can be beautiful as a flower and be appreciated. but that is not who I am or respect how I want to be treated. as the Dude said in the Big Lebowski “he treats objects like women, man” the comparison just doesn’t work.

yes partly I’m ranting because I’m still mad about everything else. And this note feels like it is supposed to be a lesson to me. I have been patient with the liberal bullshit. but I just can’t take the bigots anymore. because to them, liberal seems to mean, “I pretend I’m joking when I say bigoted things instead of saying them out right, then claim I’m pushing the envelope.”

I don’t want to work for equality with those groups because the I don’t want a world with their type of equality. Where we are all equal but some are more equal than others. I want to build a community that is loving and kind and supportive. I want a community based on personal responsibility. based on love.

I will just build a better life
where we will never feel the need
to chop down any kind of tree
or topple over gifts wrapped up in paper
I would like to see
stockings stuffed with things I can use
tips to prevent domestic abuse
all I want for christmas are the blueprints of community

my different friend’s friend’s band wrote that. fuck yeah.