Re-post

Oct. 5th, 2010 04:28 pm
gaudior: (Utena fight)
So this is old, but I was reminded of it by Homasse's post. I feel like I've seen something similar elsewhere with different wording, but this one does the job. Source is Feminally

Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work!

1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.

2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!

3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!

6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!

10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

And, ALWAYS REMEMBER: if you didn’t ask permission and then respect the answer the first time, you are commiting a crime- no matter how “into it” others appear to be.
gaudior: (be the change)
About Patricia Wrede's new novel The Thirteenth Child.

But much more about the history of America, and First Nations people, and names, and emptiness. She's done that thing she does where she has a new and original thought and phrases it clearly and chillingly and eloquently. I love when she does that.

Go read!

--R

(My own thought on the book is that a book about an America which is not founded on generations of genocide could be fascinating in how it could point out the flaws in our own America, and how different our "white-washed" history is from one genuinely not built on bloodshed. But I am told that is not this book?)
gaudior: (Default)
So, it occurs to me that when I posted about Sassafrass several days ago, it was meant to be as much advertisement as update. Not just, "yay, I'm in a group!" but also, "behold, dear readers, music that you probably want to listen to because it's awesome!" And I revised the entry to reflect that, but like, a day later, so people probably didn't see.

So, at the risk of re-posting: these songs are great. Really gorgeous philosophically complex lyrics, really gorgeous musically complex harmonies. I muchly recommend it if you like folk or filk or Renaissance music or a capella or any of the above. Although, as Levar Burton would say, you don't have to take my word for it-- there are samples of a lot of the songs on the website. Go listen!

Also, some of my most favorite lyrics:

From "Tumbling Away": I need a cause for what I am/I need the world to have a plan/I need for man to have a Maker, but still be free.

From "Daughter of Apocalypse": I see her dancing through the crowd, a succubus among the flock/As graceful as a corpse's shroud and beautiful as Ragnarok.

From "The Earth and the Water and the Wind": For a moment, it's there; a single point where (the past and the present and the wind) times here and times done and times still to come (the earth and the water and the wind)

From "The Enepet Folksong": Take your West as a lover, tire of her, take another-- when you are dying, mine is the soul you name.

From "Wild Angel": Through the forest comes a crying across the crocused floor

From "All the Time in the World": His presence turned the greys to gold and drizzle to diamond.

From "Ideo Gloria": (translated from the French) On this day, Hell shall ring/With the songs damned sing/Cursing God, distant King/Who refused to save us/To damnation gave us.

...and pretty much just the entirety of "Threadbare Dragon." Because yay.

Enjoy!

--R

Reading: still Possession, by A.S. Byatt. Still enjoying it, tho.
gaudior: (utena/anthy)
So, I am deeply fond of Tales of MU, thank you [livejournal.com profile] weirdquark for pointing me at it lo these many months ago. It's a daily-updated serialized online novel about a half-demon and her friends' first semester at college. There's a tremendous amount of queer, kinky, poly sex, which is fun, as well as a pretty well-worked out magical system (the author seems to be having a great deal of fun with making a world almost exactly parallel to ours in most ways, but in which the basic laws of the universe actually make science unrealistic. She doesn't play as much as I might like with second-order consequences, because she's fairly bound by the parallels, but she also puts a good bit of thought into it, and that's fun). Interesting characters, very good character development (the gradual development of the golem's free will and sense of identity is really well done and made of awesome). The plot sprawls a bit, which I think has to do with it being posted as it's written, but overall, I'm hooked. (Also, she uses "non-human sentient species" in many ways as a metaphor for race-- but she also deals with racial differences among humans, and colonialism, and how race-relations among humans interact with the lives of non-human sentient species, and for that, she is made of win.)

The thing I don't like, though, is the comments thread. Because while the text itself strikes me as very awesome in regards to sex, gender, power, etc, the commentors come off, often enough, like frat-boys. And I am really sick of people calling the protagonist a "stupid slut," or hating the trans character or the very poly character while praising the monogamous straight white male to the skies. Because all of the major characters are, in my opinion, interestingly flawed, but also sympathetic. And it kind of sucks to see people reading about these people through lenses that they're not questioning. I mean, maybe they will question them a bit, after a while? But I'm not seeing it there. And it annoys me.

So: read the story. Skip the comments.

OMG my colloquium (dissertation defense) is TOMORROW OMG OMG OMG OMG GAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!!!

--R
gaudior: (Utena fight)
And so much of me should-be-writing-a-paper. But I wanted to repost a few things, mostly in reaction to the Open-Source Boob Project kerfluffle. For those who don't know about it, this all started when a guy named [livejournal.com profile] theferrett and a few of his friends had one of those cool moments that happen among friends sometimes, where you all let down your boundaries around physical intimacy and engage in a whole lot of mutual groping without any real sexual intent, just to enjoy each other's bodies. Which is, in my opinion, fine. The problem was that, being fans at a con, they said, "This is awesome! Let's get lots of other people to join in!" So they propositioned some random passers-by, who didn't object very loudly, and they decided they should make it a meme. They started wearing buttons announcing their participation in this "project," which basically said that anyone passing by could ask a person wearing the button whether the passerby could grope the button-wearer, without insult. There was a focus on breasts (see the name), but when asked, the people involved said that many types of touch were permitted, including grabbing guys' asses and chests (though not balls), by people of both sexes toward people of both sexes.

The major difficulty with this, in my opinion, is that it would have worked nicely in a culture which does not have a long tradition of violence against women, women's bodies being seen as property for the taking, women being pressured through a variety of means to see their bodies as property for the taking, and women's sole route to power of any kind being through the use and sale of their bodies. However, we don't live in a culture like that. And a lot of the discourse in the (1300 comment long!) thread was around [livejournal.com profile] theferrett and his friends saying, "No, I don't want to live in this kind of culture. So we don't! And you're all just being silly," and a lot of people saying "..." Only with lots more eloquence.

I recommend the comment thread, as it has a lot of interesting discussion, and only a few trolls.

Here, though, I'm posting two things. One is my comment, which is also up on [livejournal.com profile] theferrett's journal, but buried on the fifth page of comments, and I liked it, so I'm reproducing it here:

So, on the one hand, I'd disagree with people who are seeing [livejournal.com profile] theferrett and his friends as having done a Very Bad Thing. Everyone's descriptions make it sound like this was a genuine attempt, by a bunch of friends, to try for a moment to live in a world in which touch and sexuality don't have the baggage of fear and patriarchy that they carry in the rest of our lives. And that's a cool idea.

But there's something I've noticed in the entry and these comments which puts me firmly in the "the way this is being discussed is pretty damn objectifying" camp.

So, I don't know about anyone else, but my breasts are erogenous zones, chock-full of nerve endings. If someone is touching my breasts, one of two things is happening. Either a) I'm turned on, or b) I'm dissociating, trying hard not to be present and aware of the sensation and its impact on me. I don't have a trauma history, but I do have times (at the doctor, say) when I'm trying to be as unaware as possible of what's going on in my body, because it feels emotionally uncomfortable.

Now, a number of women have talked about being involved in this event, and, in the comments I've read so far, none of them have talked about feeling aroused. Instead, they say things like what [livejournal.com profile] zoethe said several threads upstream: "I felt empowered by the ability to say, 'Yes, I can choose to share my bounty with others.'" The focus is not on the women's physical sexual pleasure. It's on their pleasure at being able to have their bodies appreciated by someone else. [livejournal.com profile] ewin said it even more clearly: "I really dig on the idea of letting as many folks as possible appreciate these boobs before they droop, you know? They have a lot of pep left in them, and they're just SITTING there right now, doing nothing. It's a shame." That statement makes it sound like [livejournal.com profile] ewin doesn't see her breasts as being there for her pleasure except as someone else might enjoy them.

Now, I can see two possible reasons for this. One is that the women were sexually aroused by all of this, and didn't want to say so-- because that is embarrassing, intimate, and/or forbidden by the traditional view of women which forbids us from seeking sexual satisfaction for our own sake, not someone else's. But the other possible reason is that people actually weren't aroused, because they were dissociated from what they were experiencing physically, because they really were doing this only as breasts to be appreciated.

I wasn't there, so I don't know what it felt like from the inside. But I know that I'd feel a lot more comfortable with this idea if the women involved were saying "I enjoyed this because free petting feels really good!" rather than "I enjoyed this because it's nice to have my assets appreciated."



The other thing I want to re-post is, yes, a meme, but also a vow I'm taking seriously. And want it to spread. Because this is the point where talking on the internet turns into real action, that can cause real change.

The Open-Source Women-Backing-Each-Other-Up Campaign

Here's my pledge: if I see somebody groping you in public, and you're not moaning Yes! Yes! Yes!, I will break through your Somebody Else's Problem invisibility field and come over and ask if you're okay. If your situation looks dangerous enough I can't help on my own, I will call over friends or, if it's a situation in which I think the cops would be on your side, I will call the cops. If you're being harassed by a guy*, you can say so to me, even if you don't know me. I pledge I will distract him so you can get away, or I will tell him that he needs to leave, or whatever I can do to the best of my ability. I pledge that yes, actually, because you are a woman I will give you the benefit of the doubt. If you tell me that a guy just did something shitty to you I will not refuse to look at any evidence and tell you that I know him and he's a great guy and you must have been imagining things. I have great loyalty to my male friends but I will not allow that to blind me to the fact that none of us are saints and even my best friends can screw up and may need to be called on it. I pledge that I will walk you to your car if you don't feel safe walking alone at night, and then you can drive me to mine.

Yes, even at Wiscon. I pledge that even if I don't know you, if there is a creepy guy following you around, you can say so, and I will not say to you go hide in your room; I will say to him go find another party, or if necessary, go home. I will come with you if you need to talk to the con organizers. I will not make you feel like your right to control over your own body is not a big deal.

And I will do this whether or not I like you, or even know you. It's not about liking you. It's about the fact that we need to back each other up, and I will need you to do this for me some day.

--R

*Or a girl. Despite the statistics, men do not have a monopoly on sexual aggression.
gaudior: (Utena fight)
So, a little while ago, [livejournal.com profile] teenybuffalo posted the following link. It leads to an essay arguing that slash is anti-feminist. I disliked the essay in general-- I found the author, Dissenter's, sarcasm obnoxious, and I was very unimpressed with her disabling all comments except from people with whom she agreed.* But I think that it did make a number of interesting arguments. cut for (relatively old) theory. )More importantly, I think that any generalization about slash and why people write it is just that-- a generalization. So exceptions can be found to it, because we're talking about human creativity, and that's all about exceptions. What Dissenter has pointed out, I feel, is not the flaws in slash, but the flaws inbad slash. She's right that, in badly-written slash, you do find a fair number of things like weepy "feminized" non-consenting bottoms, bitchy or nonexistant female characters, etc, and she's right that these things are problematic. But I think her mistake is in assuming that these are features of all slash.

So... I've come up with a rating system, based loosely on her essay, of "how feminist your slash is." Because I believe that we can find a whole lot of stories which subvert the patriarchy in all kinds of fun ways.****

So: The Feminist Slash-Rating Scale

Give the story one point each if:

*the pairing do not fall into easily-visible "top/bottom=masculine/feminine" roles. Especially if they don't have a clear top and bottom.

*the female characters are fully-developed, admirable and three-dimensional, not "vapid, stupid, cold, calculating, grasping, unfairly demanding, physically disgusting, and generally lacking in any desire at all except for an overwhelming need to get married and have children."

*the female characters have sex drives, and are in no way condemned for this

*the sex is chosen and enjoyed by both/all parties, not forced on the bottom by the top.

*the characters actually deal with homophobia or the other social consequences of homosexuality in their context

*the characters think deeply about what this relationship means for their sexual and/or gender identities.

*the primary pairing is femmeslash (and is about the characters as people, not just for lezbeyun pr0n).

*the characters are actually canonically gay.

*the original source was written by a woman.

*the author plays with the characters' gender(s) in an interesting way (i.e., doing something other than simply recreating a heterosexual relationship).

*the characters raise a child together (without one of them simply being rewritten to take on the traditional feminine/mother role).****

Two points if the author is consciously addressing and playing with any of the issues raised by the above.

My own fic, Mercy of the Fallen, only scores a 5 or 6, depending on your interpretation of cannon. I think [livejournal.com profile] askerian's Teamworkverse gets a 6. The Sith Academygets 10 points, muchly because it gets a number of two-pointers because of its parodic playing with genre. E.E. Beck's extremely brilliant Vorkosigan fics, A Deeper Season and What Passing Bells****** together score 8 without any playing with genre at all, just because it's that good.

...but I'm actually surprised to realize that the fics I like aren't scoring higher. Hm. Can anyone find something that scores a perfect 11, or better? Does such a fic exist? If not, can people find other fics that score high (or, conversely, explain to me ways that the scale's no good)?

Yay, feminism.

--R

* because, in her words, "Clearly I am not in agreement with those who think slash is radical/progressive/feminist. Clearly, those who do think slash is radical/progressive/feminist are not in agreement with me. Going around in endless circles about whether it is or it isn’t does not, in my book, constitute a constructive or informative discussion." I find her dismissal of the idea that anyone (including her) might have logical or persuasive arguments, and might have something to teach each other... problematic.

** New Battlestar Galactica this week! YAAAYYY!!! Starbuck and President Roslin and SQUEE!!!

***I cannot overemphasize how strongly I disagree with the idea that Buffy the Vampire Slayer is not feminist.

****And besides, I'm almost done with my dissertation, and I want recs! Now!

****I'm not including two of Dissenter's criteria-- a slash pairing breaking up to marry women, and authors who defensively insist on their own heterosexuality and get very upset if anyone mistakes them for a lesbian-- because I've never seen them. I'm sure they exist, but not in the slash I read. Have other people seen these things?

*****I'd been planning to rec these anyway, because they are SO GOOD. Seriously, it felt like getting a new Vorkosigan book, and I've really been missing those. It's Miles/Gregor slash, but it works.
gaudior: (be the change)
In a comment to a recent post of mine, [livejournal.com profile] homasse described "White Woman Syndrome," or WWS, a phenomenon discussed on a lot of the minority-focused forums on lj. She said that the usual explanation people there come up with for why White women sometimes act like complete, entitled twits is that "White women, being considered the ideal for beauty and such, fully expect the world to love them and make everything perfect for them because they were the Perfect Little Princesses, and when it's *not*, they can't deal." She says she's not sure she buys this completely, but she can't deny the phenomenon.

Neither do I, and neither can I. But I think I have some ideas about where it comes from. )
gaudior: (profound)
So I know I'm days late to this topic, but it's finals time (they're going well-- one class completely finished, three more with only small bits of work left to do, one with only an optional class, yay!). But this post appeared a few weeks ago in the blog Reappropriate, "a political, current events, and personal blog written from the perspective of a loud and proud Asian American woman": "Fuck you Asiaphile": I'm Mad As Hell And I'm Not Going to Take It Anymore. Followed by tremendous discussion, both in her comments thread and in [livejournal.com profile] debunkingwhite and [livejournal.com profile] sex_and_race. (I got the link from [livejournal.com profile] homasse. Thank you, J.) Basically, Jenn is pointing out how annoyed she is, as an Asian-American, at White Americans who profess love for all things Japanese, or all things Asian.

Now, as an undeniable otaku (looking up, I can see eight pieces of anime merchandising without having to turn my head), I was quite bothered. I could see myself as definitely being one of the people she was talking about, and I felt dismayed and unhappy to hear that my taste in art could upset anyone that much. I could see myself pretty easily in many of the commenters to her thread who objected, and I didn't see what the deal was.

So I sat down to think it over. And, twenty minutes later, I think I understand. I think I've hit on the thing which was so obvious to Jenn that she didn't bother to say it, and the thing which all the objectors to her post had never thought of. I think it's about choice, and power. )
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