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.

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

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.

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.

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.

I’m scared and mad

I think I can now really identify as an anarchist. I mean, I’m supporting the marriage equality movement because I believe if there is law it should apply equally to all people. But I do believe marriage is an oppressive structure, so in a perfect world do away with it all.

but this marriage equality thing is important. it is so sexist to say a man can marry a woman but a woman can’t. It is sexist to say that a woman can marry a man but a man can’t. it’s all just bull.

And it’s looking like Prop 8 won’t be overturned. The case is about what is legal, not what is right. the result won’t really be known for a while, but I’m so afraid. And I’m MAD. If this is rule of law, fuck the law.

Like Michael Franti said:

Fuck the constitution
are we part of the solution
or are we part of the pollution.

People hold up this document as if it were perfect. As if as humans we should mold our lives for it. But how can we say this about a document that allowed slavery? 3/5 rule said black people were 3/5ths of a person for the population count needed to determine how many representatives a state would get in the House.

Yeah…. Fuck. That. Shit.

If the CA state Constitution remains intrinsically sexist. Fuck it. “when injustice becomes law, rebellion becomes duty” Don’t know who said it, but I agree.

when the case is decided. If it upholds taking away rights from citizens, how can there not be riots in the streets? and I’m usually the peacenick of the group.

omg! Sexism was in my life this week!

Just like every week. 

anyway, the great american show “Wipeout” has made it to NZ.  eeuuugh.

Its where people go on an obstacle course and they edit it to show footage of people falling down and hurting themselves.  Now.  there were some kick ass people, but showing them isn’t humiliating and fun, or something.  among the kick ass contestants were some women.  but guess what they showed?  not that. 

The voice over said “and now (so and so) is here representing the women”  and of course the girl was rubbish and disgusted by the mud she was walking through and she gave up half way through the course. 

because even when women do well at things like that they show the footage of the woman fullfiling negative stereotypes.  you suck american media.  but you knew that already.

and this morning I had to deal with people being dicks about the language  choices they make.  I was discussing tatoos with a 20 year old australian girl.  about what a commitment they are and how I’d want it in a place to show off, but be able to hid, and that I would be able to look at.  in the course of the conversation she mentions how she’s seen such awful tatoos like some big ones on girls shoulders make them look like “dykes.”

I mentioned she might not have meant that word.  That it was innapropriate and offensive.  and she replied “but that was just this image in my head like kinda trashy, you know?” 

so “dykes” = “trashy” 

Head, I’d like to introduce you to Desk. but she did seem embarased about getting called out on it, so maybe she’ll think better in the future.  i hope so. 

I’m hoping to move into a feminist vegan place soon.  mmmm vegan kitchen.