I’m not looking for it. It falls in my effin lap (pt.2)

Ah google feed.

Again. I did not start my day trying to find sexist crap. Google shows recommended and popular items to me. This one was popular. Anyway. The above video is a parody of an advertisement for a peice of cloth that covers cleavage. The parody takes offence at this because (ZOMG!!!) The Dude Nation needs to have boners, and their only joy in these hard times is to stare at women. Women are only here for the benefit of men.

of course if women did have low cut shirts then they would be dirty whores and need to be more modest. so yay for the gray area of not winning.

I skimmed the comments until I was disgusted. It did not take long.

Published in: on August 29, 2010 at 10:26 am  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , ,

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.

in which my dad is not completely fail.

my dad just got a new bass player for his band, which was a bunch of dudes. Now it is a bunch of dudes, and a woman. which is sometimes an untenable position. She is also trans*. I don’t know which ending to that word or if trans alone is her preference when she feels the need to discuss that part of her life.

anyway. I barely said hello to the band all night. I went to watch TV with my mom. I went to go get a piece of cake from the freezer (on the other side of were they were practicing), and noticed that almost everyone had left except for one guy. as I was passing by with my newly acquired cake, I hear the band mate say something out of earshot. My dad, in a moment of win, replies “she, SHE , it’s not easy for me either , but I’ll get used to it. it is important to respect peoples preferences”

It is not complete automatic acceptance, but it is good faith and respectful of the pronouns she prefers. not only that, it is standing up to someone who is not respecting the pronouns she prefers. (I would add identities not preferences is preferable, but it was such a leap forward I hate to diminish the achievement)

Of course I only categorize the evening as “not completely fail” because of an exchange after the last band member finally left.

I wanted to provide positive reinforcement so I thanked my father for correcting his band mate. and he said something like “I wasn’t sure how the band would react, but most of them feel like me, as long as it can play, then whatever”

I cringed! I might have literally done a facepalm. I informed my father that no one likes to be referred to as “it”. He explained that he wanted to say something gender neutral, to express the views of the band. I understand his intent and all, and I understand how annoying it is that there is not a generally accepted gender neutral tone (not one accepted enough so I can use it in a scholarly paper or anything like that) but, FACEPALM I say. So I informed him of zie and hir. so that was a bit fail. but not completely. My dad is respecting an individuals identity and wishes, even though they are foreign to him. so it is a step.

Ironically I was discussing various identities with my mother a few days prior (gender identities, sexual identities and polyamorous vs monogamous). I was saying that all of these were on a spectrum, and had to inform her of the Kinsey Scale to talk about the others having a continuous scale like that. (though I didn’t bring up asexuality) . My mother’s response was, “well, I’m not likely to meet any of those people, so I don’t need to know about this stuff.”

Granted she hardly ever meets anyone since she is introverted and mostly retired, so she can do what she likes. But she teaches a yoga class. you don’t know who in your class identifies as what. “those people” are everywhere!!!

It is privileged attitude that “they” exist somewhere else away from “us”. I was getting frustrated with the conversation because I was trying to “gently” explain the consequences of our various privileges. She understands the “I don’t get targeted for violence” part of privilege, but not much beyond that. It was getting really frustrating trying to explain that we need more positive lgbtqi characters in mainstream stories. she kept saying that “they” already have some gay films, so they should be happy with that. (headdesk).

So I gave up. I was about to get upset, and it would not have done any good.

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.

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.

San Diego Pride

I hate that gay men think that no matter what they say or do that it by definition is not misogynistic simply because they are gay. WTF.

It is NOT ok to grab my breast because you are gay.
It is NOT ok to touch me when I’ve explicitly said don’t touch me in that way. It is NOT funny.
It is NOT ok to make comments to womyn about how porta-potties smell like dirty vags’s.

I’m fucking sick of it. I have been fighting really hard for this community. For YOUR fucking rights. and I’m treated as an object. My voice and concerns are not respected. I find it increasingly difficult to remain an ally to the Glbt community. Cisgendered Gay men are pissing me off as a community. it is no longer a community I feel safe in.

and what is really annoying is I was moving house during dyke fest. so a day I could reach out and become a better ally to the non G part of the community I was moving a fucking mattress.

I don’t know what to do. I have male friends I like, but increasingly its just difficult to meet men who respect me as a human. I’m just so pissed. I need to protect myself first. I want to keep being involved in activism. its an important issue. but I don’t want to work with people who view me as just a woman. Privilege is nontransferable. you don’t understand being a “woman” just because you are gay and have your own oppression.

to quote Jay Smooth

We start acting as though coming closer together means not having to care how our words affect each other. We start assuming we can make any kind of joke or use any kind of epithet without a second thought because now that we’ve made all this progress, everyone’s always going to know that we don’t mean it like that. Right?

Nooooo. That is not how this thing is going to work. That’s not how any relationship works. When people come closer together, the boundaries change, but you never stop having any boundaries, in any healthy relationship. And the whole process of getting closer is based on becoming more aware of those constantly evolving boundaries and better at respecting them. That’s how people get to trust each other and be friends. In any healthy relationship, the closer you get, the more you care about how you affect each other. That’s like a basic rule of life.

He was talking about racial interaction. But it applies to all systems of oppression. You do not get assume what boundaries I have. You should not assume access to my body. you should not assume I will think “jokes” (??wtf??) about smelly vags will be funny or even acceptable.

fighting the fight with allies, shouldn’t be like this.

this weekend was, well, not so fun.

I think I need to find another cause. And this sucks. I believe in equality. so I can fight that on many fronts, so its not the end of the world. The problem is I don’t have the energy to fight it on all fronts, at the same time. Especially since I don’t feel like I have a safe space now that I’m back in the states. Especially when I have to fight the fight with very little support within a group that is supposed to be a safe space.

I’ve been doing a lot of work fighting for equal marriage. (that’s same sex marriage to all of you who aren’t clued into the lingo.) I’ve been having a few doubts about my involvement.

1. I would much rather abolish the word marriage from legal documents. fundemental unit of the patriarchy and all that.
2. the debate is phrased as any “TWO” people should be able to get married. that leaves out a lot of my friends and their relationships. Polyamorous groups should not be denied hospital visitation rights because only two of the people are really married. There should be a document that says, “hey we’re family, we take care of each other and we have the rights and responsibilities of being family”
3. this document should be available regardless of the sexual or non sexual nature of the relationships. If I want my best friend as my next of kin and we look after each other as family, it shouldn’t matter that our relationship isn’t romantic in nature.

now on top of these concerns, I’m getting fed up with the sexism in the movement. let me retarget that. I’m getting fed up with sexism in the group I’m working with. oh, and the racist comments, and the biphobia, and transphobia and other remarks I probably haven’t even noticed yet. (plus everyone likes to tell me about how they like bloody steak and other products of rape, torture and murder.)

I understand people aren’t perfect. I mess up all the time. I’m still learning about how to mindfully watch my language. But I’d like to think I’m genuinely trying. This weekend was the leadership retreat, so we had a lot of time with each other. We also, largely because i had earlier brought up my concerns, had a discussion about being more mindful in our speech.

It was a very useful discussion as it helped me identify who I wanted to work with more and who I wanted to avoid. I had been trying to take everything with a grain of salt, focus on the issue at hand, all that stuff. but there are some things I can’t ignore. a member of the “team” posted a racist remark on my facebook.

I updated my status to reflect that one of my friends is looking for a home for their dog. the Nice Guy(tm) NG commented and I commented back:

NG: I was going to type something really off message. *lips sealed*
me: you get a gold star for keeping it to yourself. I’m very proud of you.
other dudely man: But now I just want to know Nice Guy(tm)’s off-color comment about dogs. :(
me: I already deleted it. I don’t allow that type of thing on any page associate with me.
NG: You’re so silly Lauren. ♥

now you can guess that there was a comment by the Nice Guy that isn’t shown in this exchange. as i deleted I don’t have the original text, but it was something like: “Plus my Vietnamese friend would be upset if I started talking about how he eats dog”

wha…?

so I deleted. I would have removed the person from being my friend, but we work together. so I had a discussion with the chapter leader. and thats how we ended up with the discussion.

this is in addition to people slut shaming, constant use of the word “bitch”, gossip about how the bi-guy is really gay, (“I mean really.. he’s just sooo effeminate”). wha? in a group that is fighting for “equality”?

in the course of the discussion the racist Facebook comment was brought up by the Nice Guy(tm). he doesn’t get how it’s racist. “I mean, my friend really does eat dog, it’s a true statment!”

wha?

I start getting really upset. he feels upset and “victimized” because I didn’t explain it to him at the time. He doesn’t get it. It is obvious that I should spoon feed him the information. and he’s studied sociology, so he knows about this stuff.

I mean, come on. I call bull shit on that. actually bull shit can be useful as fertilizer, I call carnivore shit on that. because their poo is that much more gross and full of disease. (I love kitties, but they have super icky poo) The point is, if he truly believed it wasn’t “that” offensive, why did he self screen at first. why not just make the statement if its not racist?

so that was awkward for everyone who witnessed our heated argument.

The next morning at breakfast everyone was talking about how if we make everything PC then we can’t do anything, because everything is offensive to someone. the thing for me is, who are we offending. am i offending someone I am at odds with? am I offending the Mormons? because generally my existence offends a lot of people. and trying to not be hurtful to oppressed groups when our individual privilege gets in our way of being compassionate, is different from the “moral Majority” being offended that women want equal pay. (or whatever).

the burden should be taken up by the privileged. This is our way of dealing with our own biases and recognizing ways to improve ourselves as human beings. so the breakfast group completely diminished the impact of the discussion the previous night.

The leadership team is mostly gay men. there is one bi guy, me, another straight girl and a bi girl. could it be at all possible we’d have more women if there were fewer sexist jokes? maybe?

the moment that takes the cake. we go the the park, someone’s boyfriend meets up with us. He has volunteered and as the bf of one of the leaders so he is tagging along on the leadership retreat. At the park he decides to share a joke that someone sent him:

“a man is getting into bed with his wife, she says ‘I have a headacke’ he says, ‘perfect, i’ve just been powdering my penis with asprin, you can take it orally or anally”

what progress. I call him out on it. he tries to backtrack and apologize, “i’m not really sexist”, and “all my female friends thought was funny” because a man talking about forcing his penis in a woman’s mouth or anus
must be hilarious. wtf? yeah.

I get up and go for a walk and call a friend. I need to get away from this person. eventually I come back. I’m tired and I left half my stuff at the house where we are having the “retreat” I end up sleeping there a while, then meeting up with a friend. she lets me know, there are lots of causes, maybe there’s another way to be involved in the issue that is not with this group. those are probably true statements

I have brought in so many volunteers, I have raised so much money for this group. at least I know the money goes back into the community. I do think they use money well as an org. I think that the type of work being done is useful. but I’m too tired to fight all these fights at once.

someday’s I don’t walk my talk.. I just ignore it all and run away

Last night I went to a Landmark Education Forum introduction night.  I’m not sure exactly what it is, so don’t ask questions for me to clarify. 

what  I do know is that it is some sort of “life changing” motivational workshop thingy.  So yes they were trying to sell me their ideas.  So you have to be open to getting a breakthrough.  I’m really open minded (or like to think so, or try to be so) so I really atttempted the sample excercises with gusto.  To do this you must allow yourself to feel a little vulnerable.  This is all necessary to set the scene as they say.

Anyway………

The last excercise we did was to make a table with two columns.  We chose something in life that we weren’t happy with, or that we were avoiding.  then listed the cons of leaving this thing the same in one column.  In the other collumn we were to write how leaving the situation alone gave us some sort of benifit (i.e. the reasons we weren’t changing it). 

She then asked us to share what we chose as the thing we were avoiding.  A man from the back of the room yells out, “shrek in a dress.” 

what?  know one understands what he means.  Apparently he means some woman at his job is ugly and obnoxious or something and he refers to her thusly.  (once understood people laugh nervously).

I immediatly stiffen up.  under con’s he yell out, “I’m unable to see women as sexual anymore” (a little less nervous tittering including from the lady in charge who seemed unable to deal with the comment)

I should of jumped up and told him that women do not exist as objects to fulfill his sexual desires.  I should have at least walked out.  instead I stared at my paper thinking the excercise was not adequately explained because my choice didn’t have a solution I could put in place that would be effective in my lifetime and contemplating doing those thing I feel I should have done. 

not only was it innapropriate but it completely shut me down.  There was no way I was going to share and grow in a situation like that.   and after the lack of support from the people running the course, there was no way I was going to drop NZ$625 on a single weekend workshop.  (which I can’t afford right now anyway.)

just when I almost forget that many men don’t see me as human, I get reminded again.

 

My two cents in the vajayay “controversy”

As I don’t watch much tv and I hang out with the old folks, I did not hear the term vajayay until it hit the blogsphere.

 My first encounter with the word was praise of it on feministing.  From there I heard it was popularised by “Grey’s Anatomy” not because the writers felt it was something a woman would say, but because “vagina” is offensive. Another critique is that is sounds childish because of the repitition of sounds, (jayay). Then feminsiting points me to this article.

now Jessica did a wonderful job deconstructing the article at Feministing, but I have a few of my own comments I’d like to make. (and possibly repeat)

Personally I think the word is neither here nor there. It doesn’t offend me particuarly, but i’ve always been hard to offend with a single word out of context. It depends who says it and how that I might be offfended. No, the word itself doesn’t rile me up. it kind of reminds me of Poonani (sp?) which is what my sister and I used to call it. Yes I do think it is childish and if anyone said to me, “I want to stick my dick in your vajaya” I would find it disturbing, or funny or both depending on who said it. It seems like a very nonsexual sounding word. good for discussions of it when you don’t want to sound sexual, or for kids to say, or to relate funny stories about.

 But this guy is rediculous.  He makes me want to scream “vagina” at the top of my lungs over and over again.  

here he claims there isn’t a good word for the female anatomy:

Funny how we’ve never had similar trouble with our own plumbing: pecker, johnson, shaft and rod always seem to do the trick just fine. But things have always been more complicated when it comes to women.

And not just for what we guys call it, but women’s usage, too.

Vagina has always been out there, but it’s never been quite right. It’s uninviting, and seems to have an edge to it. There are plenty of other choices, including the dreaded c-word, which is nasty.

Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker counts at least 1,200 terms for the vagina in the history of the English language.

But we’ve never settled on any other.

Ummm right you’ve settled on exactly what for the male anatomy? He mentions 4 different words for penis then complains there isn’t a particular universal slang word for vagina.
He then makes euphamistic references to it throughout the article. He maked oh-so-punny references to “the female zone”, “but I refuse to beat around the bush”, “has got us thinking outside of the box”. So he finds nothing wrong with using these other words for vagina, but because there isn’t a universal word it’s just not good enough? Personally I find the idea of a universal euphamism for vagina to be more than disconcerting.

There is nothing wrong with a silly word like vajaya, but if that is the only word we are allowed to use that would mean there would never be a serious discussion of female anatomy again. How would men feel if they wrere coerced into feeling like they had to use the term “ding-a-ling” or (my personal favorite) “rumpleforeskin” to refer to their genitals? Especially if (in this fantasy land) we were allowed to say vagina as many times as we wanted in a tv show about medicince but had to resort to “ding-a-ling” after a couple times of saying the word penis.

Perhaps oppressed? We should not have to settle on a single euphamism for our genetalia, and we should be able to use the clinical term.

The feminists, it seems, have a proprietary interest in female genitalia.

Oh the horror I have a proprietary interest in my own genitals. It is my body, right? I guess he thinks it should be his body, as evidenced by this:

Unlike the starkly clinical vagina, I see a vajayjay as a happy and inviting place, with a warm and fuzzy connotation. Vajayjay says “hello . . . welcome” and “open for business.” “Vagina” screams textbook. “Vajayjay” says Facebook.

Personally I don’t want my vagina to say “open for business”. it is mine to with as I choose. (and I choose very carefully). I only want to welcome those I want. not the whole world, and especially not this writer.

There is one sentence I agree with (and i have to take it out of context to do so):

It has such a sense of taboo that nobody feels totally comfortable talking about it…

Yes it is taboo in this culture to say vagina. but that is why some people are upset with this new word. The word Vigina shouldn’t be taboo. If we use the term more, we can be free from taboo. And maybe the word vagina would be more “comfortable”.
Of course I cut the above sentence in half. in context it is:

Vagina is a tough word that refuses to roll easily off the tongue. It has such a sense of taboo that nobody feels totally comfortable talking about it – not even women, but especially men. So use of the word remains almost exclusively to the feminists

Because feminists aren’t men or women, we are not human. We are outside of humanity. This implication really irks me.

in the end i think that talking about vagina’s is a step in the right direction even if we call them something else. But we should not only call them something else and still need to work toward calling them by their proper medical name.

I’m afraid my screams give no voice to the silenced

I sent the following as an email to all my friends in the states:  

I got the heads up about this from here.

“On Monday, President Bush appointed Dr. Susan Orr as Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Population Affairs (a Health and Human Services Agency), placing Orr in charge of the nation’s family planning activities under Title X. In the past, Orr has applauded efforts to exclude birth control from health coverage for federal employees, stating that “fertility is not a disease,” and encouraged efforts to withdraw approval of RU-486.

Orr previously worked as an associate commissioner in the Administration for Children and Families, as well as for the anti-contraception and anti-reproductive rights Family Research Council. ”

That is to say that the person incharge of “Family planning” is opposed to the only known way of decreasing the abortion rate.  (which is access to birth control )

If you are Pro-Life, she is against the only known means of reducing the abortion rate and therefore against you.

If you are Pro-choice and/or think women should have reproductive rights, she is against you.

Please take a moment to sign the Planned Parenthood Pettition .

Thank you,

xxxxxxxxxxxx

feel free to copy and share or just share. I’m happy to get the message out.

of course this comes at a time when even democrats are continuing abstinence only sex ed. GAAHHHH!!!!  I could just scream.