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26th birthday

Dreampepper

n: vb: the spice of imagination

Entries by tag: sexuality

TODAY'S REQUIRED READING: The key that unlocks shared safety
26th birthday
porphyre
TODAY'S REQUIRED READING: Stories Like Passwords, by Emma Healey

"A story like this is a password. Once you say it out loud, doors start to open. For the rest of that night, and the rest of my time at that residency, the women who’d seen those emails would tell me stories."

There's a minor scandal going on in Canada about a radio guy being fired because he's (potentially) attacked some women. The scandal will go away, the conversations are almost all very one sided, and it's all terrible. (A bit wag the dog considering Harper's speech on making Canada a police state). But this article struck a chord with me.

Because yes, there is a girl network and it hums in the shadows. We try to screen for security when we meet someone new, we try to keep other women safe from people we know are suspicious. We ask questions of other women when we're uncertain about an interaction. We tell each other about the missing stairs, because otherwise there's no way to know.

Are you a part of it? I am. Let's talk about this instead: Who do you tell these stories about and who do you tell them to?


"The men in stories like this always have just enough power, in their little worlds and in ours, that to confront them would be to court an ordeal, to invite others to question our own memories and motives. It’s always more trouble than it’s worth. If you don’t have hard proof, if you don’t have a police report, then what do you have? Only what you remember. Only what you felt."

As someone pointed out in a related thread on Facebook, it's "reminiscent of recent outpourings in the science communication community following revelations of ongoing harassment"

Which led me to this list, Mixed Up, a list of inappropriate things a woman in science has experienced, framed as things she wants "men in professional settings to know what they cannot do." She says, "The situations below are mixed up chronologically so you don’t know who did what to me. I’m not naming names. But please note: my name is on this. Life isn’t fair."

It's a powerful thing to read. I'm inspired to perhaps write my own in solidarity, but can't imagine where to even begin. How to put such a thing in order? There are too many.

TODAY'S REQUIRED READING: a look at Steubenville by Laurie Penny
misery
porphyre
Steubenville: this is rape culture's Abu Ghraib moment, by Laurie Penny.
"The pictures from Steubenville don’t just show a girl being raped. They show that rape being condoned, encouraged, celebrated. What type of culture could possibly produce such pictures?"

[...]Susan Sontag observed of the Abu Ghraib atrocities that "the horror of what is shown in the photographs cannot be separated from the horror that the photographs were taken - with the perpetrators posing, gloating, over their helpless captives. If there is something comparable to what these pictures show it would be some of the photographs of black victims of lynching taken between the 1880's and 1930's, which show Americans grinning beneath the naked mutilated body of a black man or woman hanging behind them from a tree. The lynching photographs were souvenirs of a collective action whose participants felt perfectly justified in what they had done. So are the pictures from Abu Ghraib."

The pictures from Steubenville don’t just show a girl being raped. They show that rape being condoned, encouraged, celebrated. What type of culture could possibly produce such pictures? Only one in which women's autonomy and right to safety counts for so little that these rapists, and those who held the cameras, felt themselves 'perfectly justified'. Only one in which rape and sexual humiliation of women and girls is so normalised that it does not register as a crime in the minds of the assailants. Only one in which victims are powerless, silenced, dismissed. It is impossible to imagine that in such a culture, assault and humiliation of this kind would not be routine - and indeed, the most conservative estimates suggest that ninety thousand women and ten thousand men are raped in the United States alone every year. That’s what makes the Steubenville case so very uncomfortable - and so important.

Here we have incontrovertible evidence of happy young people not only hurting and humiliating others, but taking pleasure in it, posing with their victims. The Abu Ghraib torture pictures were trophies. The Steubenville rape photos are trophies. They're mementoes of what must have felt, at the time, like everyone was having the sort of fun they'd want to remember, the sort of fun they'd want to prove to themselves and others later. The Steubenville rapists had fun, and they broadcast that fun to the world. They were confident that nothing could touch them, so baffled by the idea of punishment that they wept like children in court.

Pictures don't just record reality. They change it. They change us as we take them and consume them. It matters not just that we have photographic evidence of a girl being raped, but that someone took pictures of the assault happening to send to their friends as memories of a jolly night gone a bit hairy. The Ohio teenager who is now receiving death threats for reporting her rape is far from the only young woman to have her assault recorded for posterity. In the past five years, rapes and sexual assaults involving one or more attacker or involved bystander stepping back to pull out a smartphone have proliferated. What makes these men so sure of their inviolable right to stick their fingers and cocks into any part of any female they can hold down that they actually make and distribute images of each other doing so? Rape culture. That’s what rape culture is. The cultural acceptance of rape.

time again for lysistrata
26th birthday
porphyre
"This week the Georgia State Legislature debated a bill in the House, that would make it necessary for some women to carry stillborn or dying fetuses until they 'naturally' go into labor. In arguing for this bill Representative Terry England described his empathy for pregnant cows and pigs in the same situation."
The rest of the civilized world thinks this country has lost its mind. It's no wonder. Look at this list of frenzied misogyny:

1. Making women carry still-born fetuses to full term because cows and pigs do. [...]
2. Consigning women to death to save a fetus. Abortions save women's lives. [...]
3. Criminalizing pregnancy and miscarriages and arresting, imprisoning and charging women who miscarry with murder, [...]
4. Forcing women to undergo involuntary vaginal penetration (otherwise called rape) with a condom-covered, six- to eight-inch ultrasound probe. [...]
5. Disabling women or sacrificing their lives by either withholding medical treatment or forcing women to undergo involuntary medical procedures. [...]
6. Giving zygotes "personhood" rights while systematically stripping women of their fundamental rights. [...]
7. Inhibiting, humiliating and punishing women for their choices to have an abortion for any reason by levying taxes specifically on abortion, including abortions sought by rape victims to end their involuntary insemination, [...]
8. Allowing employers to delve into women's private lives and only pay for insurance when they agree, for religious reasons, with how she choses to use birth control. [...]
9. Sacrificing women's overall health and the well-being of their families in order to stop them from exercising their fundamental human right to control their own bodies and reproduction. [...]
10. Depriving women of their ability to earn a living and support themselves and their families. Bills, like this one in Arizona, allow employers to fire women for using contraception. Women like these are being fired for not.

You presume to consign my daughters and yours to function as reproductive animals.

This is about sex and property, not life and morality. Sex because when women have sex and want to control their reproduction that threatens powerful social structures that rely on patriarchal access to and control over women as reproductive engines. Which brings us to property: control of reproduction was vital when the agricultural revolution took place and we, as a species, stopped meandering around plains in search of food. Reproduction and control of it ensured that a man could possess and consolidate wealth-building and food-producing land and then make sure it wasn't disaggregated by passing it on to one son he knew was his -- largely by claiming a woman and her gestation capability as property, too.

privacy, sexism, the personal public
femme
porphyre
what is already yours
RECOMMENDED READING: Gratuitous: How Sexism Threatens to Undermine the Internet.

[...] Checking my Tumblr feed is like checking in with my friends, even if these “friends” are people I know very little about and will possibly never meet in real life. I met most of these people through friends of friends or via the social discovery that re-blogging affords. I somehow stumbled into their worlds, and they were interesting enough to make me want to come back. I interact with enough of them that I can pretty clearly say that when they post something, it is intended for me. I’m part of their small group, and I have no qualms about that.

Lisa, on the other hand, is a different matter. Lisa is a college student at a large university in the Midwest (and Lisa is not her name; I don’t know whether she would want a bunch of book nerds suddenly reading her posts or not, so I’m not going to link to her blog here, either). She seems pretty smart, and she blogs about her love life, her schoolwork, her friends, and all of the other things that matter to her. I find Lisa’s life very interesting, and her blog is great. But I haven’t completely settled the “is she talking to me” question. While Lisa follows me back, we don’t interact with each other. She uses Tumblr in a very social way, she isn’t really part of the crowd of people whom I otherwise follow. And I find this somewhat troubling. [...]

The pane of glass, and the contrast between the brightly lit casting room and the dim audience space, was enough distance to effectively dehumanize these girls. There were other factors at work, such as the blonde California girl’s status as marketing conceit and sexual totem, but I think a big reason we all felt free to dissect and dismiss these girls is because they couldn’t really see us. We were, more or less, anonymous. It was especially unsettling to turn around after watching for a few minutes and see one of the girls who had been in the call standing just behind us. How long had she been there, the girl in the leopard print shorts? And how did she suddenly become so real? [...]

Why are women treated differently than men online? I suppose the greater question is why they are still treated differently everywhere — online or otherwise — but since this post is about the web, I will focus on that. Surely there’s the garden variety sexism that permeates most of our culture, where women’s opinions are discounted or denigrated, and where the female form is used to sell everything from liquor to football. But I think there is something else at work online, and in many ways, it’s related to the strange feeling of watching all of those girls wait to have their pictures taken, as well as my conflicted feelings about enjoying college girl Lisa’s blog so much.

what a lovely idea
26th birthday
porphyre
Not for the first time a fantasy occurred to me: before people make pronouncements on what sexual behavior society should tolerate, they ought to make the clearest possible statement of their own sexual experience, what they have learnt from it, and how it might colour their attitudes. "I have a horror of penetration." "I am involved with someone who satisfies me sexually." "I would rather have a backrub than make love." "I'm only sexually attracted to other women." "I feel free only when I masturbate." "I have never had an orgasm and don't understand what all the fuss is about." "I was molested as a child and still see men's sexuality as furtive and monstrous." How would it change the way we talk about sex and power, if we had the self-awareness and the honesty to acknowledge psychological states as such, instead of passing them off as pure intellectual beliefs?

- Helen Garner, from The First Stone: Some Questions about Sex and Power.
Tags: ,

Consider Role Reversal for International Women's Day
geigerteller
porphyre
Penny Red: Objectification: what if the world were different for a day?:
Picture this. Every one of the men and boys whose images you see repeated thousands of times a day is impossibly perfect, hewn from some arcane piece of rock on the platonic plane. Not one of them is over thirty-three. In the shadow of their hard, robotic masculinity, the possibility of paunches and puppy fat and male-pattern balding is unthinkable. They rarely speak, and when they do speak, they ventriloquise; they implore you to look at them, to understand their silent semiotics of commercial masculinity; they threaten and seduce you in a boring parade of billboards, adverts, music videos.


...

What is the response of the government, of the media to this trend? They say nothing. These silly young boys don't know any better than to copy what they see. And anyway, women have to worry about what they look like too! Granted that it's the men, not the women, who are judged on the basis of their appearance in public life - but then, there are so few men in politics and in business that we're bound to look at them a bit funny, aren't we? It's all in good fun, isn't it?


Link via Alasdair.

Unbelievable, horrific behaviour. Washington state residents, go and vote Yes for human rights!
misery
porphyre
via Ellen Datlow:
A court case brought against Jackson Memorial Hospital in Florida for denying a dying woman's same sex partner and their children access to her in the hospital has found for the hospital.

Nicola Griffith urges us all to do something so that this outrage won't happen again, in her post Trembling with Rage.

you're dancing with myself
subtle feathers
porphyre
photo by cyber_kostyan



  • MMORPG Roma Victor is crucifying naughty players rather than banning them.

    Walking to work this morning, it occurred to me that I am very lucky that a good cross-section of the local youth have obliterated most of the more traditional means of seduction. Comfort drugs and the threat of sexual infection have granted me an equanimity that I would not have had before. We all pull hair, we all scratch backs, we absently rub out the aches in feet that find themselves near out laps. The hormonal ocean is absent, there's no confused motivations lapping at our hands or the words we apply to our situations. Sleeping is sleeping, usually, and staying overnight is fun, not a promise.

    I really like that. I appreciate the freedom it grants.

    "The most effective means for neutralizing the Other is the appropriation of their symbolic language."

  • Pirate Movie
    26th birthday
    porphyre
    Alrighty then - is anyone else having naughty pirate thoughts after watching Pirates of the Carribean??

    It can't just be me....

    I do it like a Girls girl.
    26th birthday
    porphyre
    gay girl



    You Do It Like a Gay Girl


    Even if you're not a girl's girl, you act like one.

    You tend to form deep, long lasting loves…

    And after you've gazed into one another's souls

    The battery operated sex follows!



    Straight or Gay? Guy or Girl? Who Do You Do it Like?

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