xenologer: (do not even)
I can't help but wonder if there isn't something non-men can learn from discussions of how fragile masculinity is and how structurally flawed it makes people who build their sense of self on top of it.

Toxic masculinity says that men shouldn't have to try to cope. They shouldn't have to learn to process. They don't have to bear their own emotional burdens because the rare ones too heavy to be bootstrapped out of? Well that is what non-men are for.

Toxic masculinity says that some things are not to be tolerated, and to know about them is to be burdened by them, and it is a man's right not to be burdened.

Toxic masculinity teaches that either a man is impervious or he is a weakling without worth, because a man has to be invulnerable to conquer his lessers.

This desperation to be untouchably elevated, above struggle and self-adjustment and doubt, it wouldn't be so desperate if it weren't covering up a more fragile reality. It wouldn't be so frightening to fall short and lose value if men didn't know that one misstep could happen to them so so so easily.

But toxic masculinity teaches that to be aware is to be burdened, and to be burdened is to be attacked. So these fears hide where only everyone else can see them. That's a handy thing, since we have to see them to survive the panicked retaliation that kills so many of us. We need to know that not only does toxic masculinity create men who refuse to see our realities, it creates men who truly cannot endure them. It creates men who spend so much of themselves dodging that they have nothing left to soak the damage that does get through. And we suffer when the shocking experience of being wounded has them flailing in indignation, looking for someone else to lay the pain on.

Having power, having male privilege, leaves so much room to be personally weak. Structural shielding takes the place of individual sturdiness. Unfortunately, even though we should have every right to be just as brittle and do just as well, we don't have the free structural protection to compensate. Even great personal sturdiness is not truly enough, even is it is mandatory. It just doesn't add up to the kind of protection that comes from man-proofing the world by softening its corners and padding any steep drops.

I bring this up because when men act like they can't handle rough awakenings, they aren't being insincere. I really don't think they are. I think they really are overwhelmed and overloaded by even these weak secondhand shocks picked up and conducted through people who experience them every day at full strength. Don't get me wrong, they CAN GET STRONGER. They can. But before they get stronger and while they ate getting stronger, they act like they're weak because they think they are and they think they are weak because it is still true.

I watch men do this, and I see it in myself along other axes. I know there are non-men who watch this and see this in men but still personally blame their own less protected neighbors for the teensiness of their personal hit point bar. Cis women watch men do this and then lash out when they are presented with transmisogyny. White women get used as scratching posts by weak men faced with a reality they never accepted was real, and are aghast when a black woman brushes up against their own bubble.

White women in particular tell men to suck it up because this is our lives and they are choosing to abandon us to preserve a lifestyle that lets them stay lazily weak. But woe to anybody who suggests we take our turn. Like men, white feminists may have other struggles, but we like to remain weak when we can, too. Whiteness lets us be weak but buying into it is how we work to stay that way, punishing those who attack us by burdening us by being honest with us.

White fragility is real. We aren't faking. Nobody ever said we were. Everyone else can see, in fact, that we are not. It isn't wrong because it is deceptive, or directly malicious. It is wrong because it is both brutally corrosive and entirely preventable.

White tears are sincere. White fragility is a genuine frailty.

That is kind of the problem, because there is so much work to be done that only we can do. We do not exempt ourselves from that duty by remaining too weak to discharge it properly; we just guarantee we will be failures.
xenologer: (bye bye)
First things first:

1. Ableism is a real thing. It matters. It is absolutely ableist (and gaslighty to boot) to insist that people should be forcing themselves to experience different feelings than they are actually experiencing.

2. Disability can intersect with white privilege because they coexist without negating each other.

3. Legitimate access needs can conflict without any of the access needs becoming less legitimate as a result.

So, context.

Good Men Project posted White Women’s Tears and the Men Who Love Them, and a giant mass of white disabled people absolutely lost their shit. What they frequently read is, "Your emotions are inappropriate and you are bad to feel them, and you are even worse if anybody sees you cry for any reason, even out of empathy." This is a pattern of misreading and escalation that comes up whenever the phrase "white tears" is used, and it is uncool white people behavior. Possibly not always a preventable false positive, but uncool. It is, in fact, a white supremacist and ableist behavior.

Truly, there is plenty of ableism in assuming that all POC are abled and could fight for their survival and simultaneously take care of all white feelings and would do so infinitely if they weren't so callous and mean. If you indulge this, it becomes easier to see telling white people to be responsible about the impact of our theatrical mourning as yet more abled gaslighting, abuse, and unfair expectations. Considering, though, that you have to completely depart from the reality of the situation into an impossible hypothetical to support that... it's probably a poor hill to die on.

White people whose emotional disabilities reduce the quality of solidarity we are providing are not producing better solidarity and being better allies just because we have a more credible excuse than other white people. This matters, especially when you factor in the possibility of POC also being mentally ill. There are disabled POC in anti-racist spaces who could probably stand to benefit from a little of the emotional work white folks suck up when we assume our every emotional impulse is welcome and anybody who disagrees is ableist. There is only one reason we'd assume a conflict of identical access needs ought always be resolved in favor of the white person: white supremacy.

So here's my personal note to my fellow white neuroatypicals. If any POC want a white neuroatypical in a Pokéball to throw into these discussions, you can send this.

If a white neuroatypical ally's access need is "I need to be free to be as disruptive to POC's grieving process and activism as my every impulse would prompt," I think it's reasonable for people whose access need is to not be disrupted to say, "Okay then please do that elsewhere." I mean, has every defender of white fragility FORGOTTEN that mental disability happens to POC too? White people aren't the first and only ones being asked to consider the impact of our behavior; not even the only disabled people. What about disabled POC who need room in their own spaces? Where the hell are they in this "your access needs are ableist" screed? I get it. They come second. Again. Of course they do, right? But no, that's not y'all's depression or autism that causes you to put them second to yourselves when they have an identical access need to yours. That's white supremacy.

Whatever emotional disregulation or impulse control issues a white person may have WILL be COINCIDING with our whiteness! White people are prone to sucking up the emotional labor even of people they claim they're standing in solidarity with, and that doesn't stop being a destructive and corrosive pattern of white behavior just because some white folks end up reproducing it even when doing their genuine best not to.

It's hard to handle the fact that our allyship is going to be weighed and evaluated by the people with whom we're trying to stand in solidarity. I get that! It's hard! White fragility is a legitimately difficult thing to work past even for the sturdiest of us. And it sucks! And it's gonna be harder and suck more for people whose resilience or impulse control are struggling even with a whiteness-coated experience of the world. That is a fact. But POC need to be freely able to evaluate the job we are doing as allies, and that means not pretending we're producing better solidarity than we are just because our solidarity shortfall is happening for an understandable reason (and our all-important comfort means we need reassurance that they know that and love us anyway).

It is not ableist to say that POC are allowed to have access needs to their own spaces that may exclude people who cannot control their behavior. That is part of truly centering THEM. And remember, white people, for every minute we spend publicly weeping and gnashing our teeth and claiming we cannot possibly control ourselves, there is a disabled POC who has had to bite back their words and shut down their heart and turn away from their own grieving spaces because the WHITE disabled people sucked all the air out of the room and left none for disabled POC.

There is a limited amount of human energy and organizational power in the world. Every space is finite. Every single one. And I would caution all white disabled folks to consider how much time, energy, space, and emotional labor you are willing to wolf down when there are disabled POC who have to settle for whatever crumbs are left after you're satiated.

Signed,

a neuroatypical white person
xenologer: (human monsters)
POC, feel free to skip this. I am dead certain you already know it all. White people, I am going to explain why sometimes POC don't want us in their spaces, and why it seems like sometimes people dismiss our valuable insights about racism just because we're white.

My white cousins both distant and kin: If you don't know what white privilege is or that it is empirically demonstrably a real thing, go hit Google and come back.

Speaking as a white person, I emphatically do not see the point of white-led anti-racist spaces. I really don't. We have a lot of power, yes, and that can make us useful, but given our typical error rate (bc of white privilege) when it comes to not being callous and evil? I certainly wouldn't trust an organization run by us. It is a known bug of people who do not have to survive systemic racism that we are prone to errors in all estimates on the subject. It's not our fault but it's a thing. Just a known bug. I want to be effective, though, and that means I want to take my marching orders from people whose error rate RE: racism is better than my own.

It's just being pragmatic. Find the best people for every job. People who have to be aware of racism to survive are more reliable guides for anti-racist movements.

(Obviously none of the POC reading this need my validation here because my approval and endorsement is like the least relevant thing imaginable when it comes to combating white supremacy, but in case any of you feel it would be tactically useful to whip out Your White Friend Who Agrees, I volunteer as tribute.)

Every time POC mention not wanting to be in white-led spaces, though, white folks descend into total emotional crisis mode. For white men, this frequently turns into "well I was gonna ally but fine I guess I'll just have to join the Klan since you don't want me." For white ladies, the "nothing I do is good enough" learned helplessness blubbering waterworks start. What they both want is the same, though. They want to outsource their emotional labor onto POC, who are conveniently findable in anti-racist spaces. On a fundamental level, they want survival struggles to pause because a white person had a feeling. In what world is white emotional fragility more important than everybody else's survival? Oh right. In white supremacy.

Even beyond why that is crappy for ethical reasons, from a purely tactical perspective it makes us a bad investment.

White people in the grip of white fragility pity party meltdowns are exactly why white-led or even just white-saturated spaces are less efficient. So much energy wasted! We are adults and we can do our own personal work before we show up to make our own selves ready. White people who mean well still show up and go, "Aha! I found the people who will comfort and complete me." A gathering of POC fighting for their survival isn't a pack of idle servants waiting to be given purpose, but I see a lot of that mentality from white folks in anti-racist spaces.

Given that, I'm not at all surprised that our very presence is itself a red flag for many POC. We are more likely than anyone else to drain energy (emotional, time, motivation, etc) rather than adding it, and at that rate it actually is better for movement efficiency to not indulge us at all unless we prove we've invested our own energy in ourselves and won't be demanding it from the movement.

Even so, I've never felt unwelcome in an anti-racist space. The bar for "good enough" white behavior is tragically low, and just because 1 in 100 POC may say "nope we have basic standards so meet them or GTFO" doesn't mean we aren't still getting nurtured and eased 99% of the time. A mere 99% is nothing to throw a tantrum over.

For any white people reading this and really wanting to do the personal work it takes to become ready to at least not be a drain? Here's some reading that may help you hone your pattern-matching enough to spot our problem behavior.

On Emotional Labor

Brute Reason: Emotional Labor: What It Is and How To Do It (despite focus on gender, has many applications to interpersonal relationships in general)

Follow-up to the first Brute Reason post: A Vacation from Emotional Labor (you need to understand why people might refuse to do emotional labor)

The Toast: "Where’s My Cut?": On Unpaid Emotional Labor (specifically about gender dynamics, but applicable on other power gradients)

On White Fragility

Here's a pdf about white fragility by Robin DiAngelo that is fourteen pages of solid academic goodness.

Alternet: Why White People Freak Out When They're Called Out About Race

Good Men Project (also by DiAngelo!): White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism

Good Men Project: White Women’s Tears and the Men Who Love Them

OnBeing.org: Transforming White Fragility Into Courageous Imperfection

Reductress: http://reductress.com/post/i-dont-have-white-fragility-okay-get-off-my-back/ (this is satire so please make sure you do not ever sound like this)
xenologer: (human monsters)
If one more piece of crap white person asserts to me that their racism is actually an indicator that they care more about POC than POC care about themselves, I don't know what I'm gonna do but it's going to be loud and unpleasant.

Yes, black people care whether they die. Believe it or not, they are capable of loving themselves and others because they are fucking human beings.

Yes, Muslims worldwide care when other Muslims are oppressive and violent to them. Believe it or not, they don't particularly enjoy being terrorized and having their children stolen.

Yes, even subsapient animals can manage these sentiments. So the fact that anybody ANYWHERE might think that only white people know how to love is pretty much a clear goddamn sign that if anybody is deficient at it, IT IS US WHITE FOLKS. You do not get to claim superior compassion as you literally dehumanize entire categories of people BECAUSE they're being victimized and you're sure that if they really cared they'd have done something about it.

sdfgsdfgsdafsdadfsa this is why nobody likes us

THIS IS WHY NOBODY LIKES US

Today's actual mood:
xenologer: (objection!)
Either everybody lives in "the real world" or nobody does.

Work food service but never done black ops assassination missions? You don't know what life is really like.

Done black ops assassination missions but never worked in politics? You don't actually know how this game is played.

Work in an office but never changed your own tire? Get out and get your hands dirty you wuss!

Changed your own tire but have only worked one job your whole life? Come back when you've lived a little.

Worked fifteen jobs in ten different sectors of the economy but haven't raised a kid? Don't worry. You'll see it all clearly once you have.

Some poser hands you cake at a birthday party? Throw it on the ground! Welcome to the real world, jackass.

Nobody has lived anybody else's "real life" in the "real world." Baby boomers seem constitutionally incapable of learning this. Then again, when they were our age it was possible to work your way through college and then get a job and a house and a car and actually live, even on minimum wage.

I don't want to hear about "the real world" from people who still think success and thriving are as simple as "everybody who wants a minimum wage job will get one and be okay." I don't think they get to serve me that particular meal. Not anymore.
xenologer: (Ravenna)
My husband doesn't need to see your boobs, written by a woman who is emphatic that she doesn't need women with bodies she envies to stop showing them off, but just to realize that the visibility of their hotness is a stumbling block for her marriage because... well... hotness. Right?

At first I was annoyed. My brain went straight to, "Are you kidding me right now?" This is the kind of logic that results in so much ugliness toward and between women because of the bodies we live in, and here's more of it from a woman who describes herself as committed to social justice. At first I was angry. Then I read more, and the more I read the sadder I got. Honestly, look.
I know you don’t mean anything by it. But I need to share one more thing with you.

When your bare shoulders and stretchmark-less bellies and tanned legs pop up, I not only worry if my husband will linger over your picture. I worry how he will compare me to you.

As I wrap myself into his arms at night, I wonder if he is seeing you there instead of my mess of a body left over from pregnancy. I wonder if he thinks I’m lazy and that I don’t take good care of myself. I wonder if he wishes I looked more like you than who I really am.

And then the insecurity monster comes back to bite at our relationship again--me, begging for affirmation, and him tiring from saying the same thing over and over.

At the end of this I just wanted to sit her down and tell her that her worth is about more than how well she places in some kind of bullshit competition among women for Best Boobies Evar(TM), a competition in which every woman below 1st place loses all measurable value. I know what she's been taught, because we have all been taught it. All women know this stuff: the value of beauty above all, and one particular youth-worshipping fatphobic whitecentric standard in particular. We all know it. And you know what? We're all taught that other women are the problem, too.

I wanted to comment on her entry, but I don't have an account there and she probably requires one at this point because so many people are yelling at her for how ridiculously burdensome her message to hot girls is (which it is, yes) when quite frankly this woman is hurting from a lot of the same crap that hurts us all. Someone has to be the first to say, "Sister, this isn't a competition. This isn't a zero sum game. We're not enemies just because you envy my cup size or that girl over there has a thigh gap. We're not enemies."

So here's what I take away from her entry: What a painful way to live. It would never have occurred to me that my marriage extended into other women's shirts, and I've never worried about protecting it from competing bustlines.

I guess I'm not sure what other people could do to adjust for this stumbling block in your marriage. It seems like she doesn't want the women whose pictures cause such problems for her to throw on a niqab, but it sort of feels like she does want them to do SOMETHING. Is that accurate? What can anybody else do when the very shape of the body they live in is so upsetting to her? Would that really get at the root of the problem?

Her husband loves her and she is the one he wants, or else he would be with some 19 year old DD hardbody with a thigh gap. He's not with one of those women. She is the one he wants and hers is the body he has chosen out of all the billions of other ladybodies on the planet. He knew the hardbodies were out there, and yet he made an informed decision for himself that she was the one. Seeing another set of boobs isn't going to shake that, because he already knew those boobs were out there. He made his decision. He chose her.

If you have a hard time accepting that as the real truth of the situation, then I can't help but worry that even if all the hot young things covered themselves up and hid themselves away, these thoughts would still be eating at her because she'd know the skinny teenager boobs were out there somewhere, waiting to invade her marriage.

I hope she finds a solution to this. Doesn't seem like that's going to happen until she really names and locate the problem, though. I don't think it's that the existence of perky girlboob is a threat to her marriage. I think it's that she is having trouble reassuring herself that women have more to offer than perky girlboob, that she has more to offer than that. But she does. Look at her and all the amazing stuff on this blog! The best boobs in the universe couldn't undermine that, so I don't know why the owners of The Best Boobs Evar(TM) should worry about it happening either. Their boobs aren't hurting anyone.

I occupy a middle ground where I do compare myself unfavorably to other women, or even to myself at other times in my life, but other women also have told me outright that they use the way I look as a way to bludgeon themselves for not being good enough. I have to live with the knowledge that every time I am visible near them, they are picking me up and using me to hurt themselves, like I'm some kind of convenient psychological poison they can't even relate to except as an avenue to emotional self-harm. Do you think that feels good to me? Do you think I feel victorious and exultant at the defeat of another woman by my unstoppable invincible booty? No, of course not. In that situation nobody is happy! The whole thing is just one big perpetual misery machine and sometimes all you can do is look at those feelings, accept that they are there, be aware of the actual reasons they are happening, and don't try to get other people to accommodate the cruel parts of your brain in the hopes that appeasing the jerkbrain is even a thing that can be done.

Your jerkbrain is going to be a jerk. The women you are so toxically envious of? I can say from experience that their brains are definitely being jerks to them too, and saying it's because someone else is walking around having an enviable body shape. They aren't your problem. They aren't your enemy. The jerkbrain is our enemy. Not only does your jerkbrain not deserve to control all these other women, it doesn't deserve to control you. Nothing good comes of it.

“We can't hate ourselves into a version of ourselves we can love.” ~Lori Deschene


Jerkbrains gonna be jerks.

You cannot appease them.

The absence of visible hot young boobies won't appease them.

If your boobs are the most perfect perky boobs on the planet, that will not appease jerkbrains either.

They cannot be appeased.

So I'm not gonna listen to your jerkbrain, and I hope someday I can stop listening to my own. I hope you can stop too, Lauren, because this self-hate is going to dog your heels until you do (no matter what anyone else looks like or where they do it or whether your husband can see).

Trayvon

Jul. 14th, 2013 01:17 am
xenologer: (always shine)
I hurt. For people who see this and know that it's one more confirmation that your lives mean so little to the people who ought to protect and love you, I'm sorry. I hurt, but I cannot even imagine. I'm so sorry.

I encourage people to sign the ‪NAACP's petition to open a civil rights case against Zimmerman. 

http://www.naacp.org/page/s/doj-civil-rights-petition
xenologer: (Ravenna)
Okay, this is too long to reproduce it all here, but if you want a linkdump for all the clusterfuckery going down as a result of Ron Lindsay (apparently) being deeply ambivalent about the reason we all came together and expressing that in his introduction, here is what I have.
xenologer: (happy!)
I donated to the Kickstarter for this and it is doing super well and I am pretty excited about it, and I haven't gushed about it over here yet. So brace yourselves. I am gushing. Here is info from the Kickstarter page:
Most written chronicles of history, and most speculative stories, put rulers, conquerors, and invaders front and center. People with less power, money, or status—enslaved people, indigenous people, people of color, queer people, laborers, women, people with disabilities, the very young and very old, and religious minorities, among others—are relegated to the margins. Today, mainstream history continues to perpetuate one-sided versions of the past while mistelling or erasing the stories of the rest of the world.

There is a long and honorable legacy of literary resistance to erasure. This anthology partakes of that legacy. It will feature stories from the margins of speculative history, each taking place between 1400 and the early 1900s and putting a speculative twist—an element of science fiction, fantasy, horror, or the unclassifiably strange—on real past events.

Our plan is to include about 20 stories, or about 100,000 words. The anthology will be released in trade paperback and DRM-free digital formats in the first quarter of 2014.

These amazing authors will be submitting stories for the anthology:

Linda Addison
Jennifer Marie Brissett
Chesya Burke
Aliette de Bodard
Tananarive Due
Amal El-Mohtar
Andrea Hairston
Beverly Jenkins
Alaya Dawn Johnson
Kima Jones
Victor LaValle
Ken Liu
Sarah McCarry
Neesha Meminger
Nnedi Okorafor
An Owomoyela
Kiini Ibura Salaam
Veronica Schanoes
Rion Amilcar Scott
Nisi Shawl
Troy Wiggins
YOU!


So I am really jazzed and you should support this to make sure that you at least get an ebook sent to you when it is done, because that is what I did.

I am mostly posting here for another reason, though. Submission guidelines are up! I know plenty of writers on here, so please take a look at this and consider whether it is something you want to try to get involved in. I have already essentially bought this book and I would love there to be writing in it from someone I know, and given the people I know, I am sure someone on my list will understand why this is AWESOME and can contribute their own personal awesomeness to the project.

<3
xenologer: (do not even)
IT’S STILL DARK AT TWILIGHT: Scrubbing off the Whitewash of Urban Fantasy!

Come on, y’all…if you write a story and set it in a place like Broaddus’ Indianapolis, Chicago, Atlanta, London, or Las Vegas, basic demographic research will indicate the presence of people of color. To read and enjoy Urban Fantasy, I am expected to just accept that Black people don’t exist? You get the side-eye for that one.

Whether or not you like Urban Fantasy, the fact of the matter is that this subgenre of Fantasy has had an immense and global impact on people through literature, television and film.

It is because of this impact that we cannot ignore the messages that Urban Fantasy brings. Each time an author of this subgenre decides to tell a story, instead of working so hard to erase people of color out of existence, they should work just as hard to erase the problems that plague our society. And fanboys…do not say that writers should not have to be political; that they should be free to write merely to entertain. Every statement we make is political. Every sentence we write is potentially life-changing for someone. Such is the power of the word.

You cannot truly change culture without literature. We can pass a thousand laws saying that racism and sexism are wrong. We can make a thousand impassioned speeches to rouse the marginalized masses; but if everyone returns home after those speeches and sits down to read the latest installment of Twilight, or watch the next episode of The Vampire Diaries and their fictional worlds in which those same marginalized masses barely even exist – then how much change can truly be affected?

It is within the pages of books and under the light of the TV screen where we will reach people and change the world for the better…or worse.

Over and over again, we are told that our stories aren’t worth being told. We do not get to be the heroes. We are never “the one destined to come since man was young upon the earth”. If we are lucky, we get to be the “magical negro”; the “noble savage”; the sidekick; the Black person who doesn’t die in the first ten minutes of the film.

This is damaging to the psyches of people of color. And a devastating blow to the self-esteem of our babies.

So, don’t tell me writers just write to merely entertain, when entertainment has such a powerful, deep and lasting impression on the minds of us all.


My note: This obviously shouldn't necessarily be your primary motivation to seek out and support fiction that is inclusive of multiple kinds of people, but it's worth noting that ever since I started reading fiction by people who think critically about how real people in real cultures deal with and are dealt with by real politics, I have read much better fiction.

Or you can read urban fantasy about the same magical white people rehashed over and over again by people who learned everything they know about culture and politics from rehashes of magical white people rehashed from World of Darkness. Enjoy sifting through all that derivative crap; I quit.
xenologer: (vagina)
Friends, I was linked to the most amazing thing this morning. I can only hope you will be as delighted as I was. See, anti-choicers seem to be even more off the rails than I had suspected; if you know me at all you know this must be pretty impressive.

It is.

Kevin Swanson is amazing.
I’m beginning to get some evidence from certain doctors and certain scientists that have done research on women’s wombs after they’ve gone through the surgery, and they’ve compared the wombs of women who were on the birth control pill to those who were not on the birth control pill. And they have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb. And these wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.

RH Reality check explains why this is wrong but I feel like they are missing the sheer joy of it. This is nothing short of hilarious. If you have a uterus and have ever used birth control, you are the host of a teeming internal nightmare, an unconsecrated fetus graveyard!



This is beyond misogyny. Misogyny is ordinary. It's tired and boring and DONE. This is a brave new world and we are moving with the times! Misogyny is passé. Nobody cares anymore. It's 2013 and it's time for gynephobia. Wombs are scary and haunted! There could be anything in there!!! Sluts (by which we obviously mean any women on birth control) aren't just dirty and ruined, but they're probably full of disquiet fetus ghosts all up in their slutty slutslut snatches.

Kevin Swanson's account of the latest research into the eldritch terrors inside of women that we call wombs is like obstetrics and gynecology written by the authors of American Horror Story (spoilers) or Jim Balent.

xenologer: (always shine)
Trigger warning for discussion of suicide and self harm. Even so, I think it's important to keep in mind how often we give people the choice of being invincible or being nothing, and what we're really asking them to do with those options, and what they're likely to think of them.


suicidal ideation 2.0, queer community leadership, and staying alive anyway: part one of a work in progress
xenologer: (human monsters)
I stumbled across this interesting article that focuses on students firing on their own schools, but which might be generalizable to some extent to other instances of "suicide by mass murder." It's only fifteen pages long, but it's worth a read.

There is something wrong with our culture, and while the proliferation of guns determines the expression of it, the problem with our culture needs to be addressed for itself.

Suicide by mass murder: Masculinity, aggrieved entitlement, and rampage school shootings
In this theoretical essay, we examine school shootings that culminate in the suicide of the assailant(s). We do so to elucidate how the culture of hegemonic masculinity available to young American men encourages the use of violence to avenge a perceived challenge to their masculine identity. When these attacks to one’s masculine identity affect someone to the point of suicidal ideation, committing mass murder can be an instrumental way to achieve a sense of power; and framing one’s suicide with violence and aggression may serve to make it appear a more potent act.
xenologer: (human monsters)
Facebook is annoying me right now. Lots of sad people, doing a whole lot of nothing. In case you didn't hear about it, there was a brutal shooting in which a guy opened fire in an elementary school and killed 27 people. If I recall the breakdown properly, 20 were kids. 6 were adults. 1 was himself.

Here's a list of nonprofits that are involved in Newtown, supporting those affected by the shooting. If you can give to one of them, that's great, but if not please do pass this around so that the information will get to more people who can give. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/14/connecticut-elementary-school-shooting-how-to-help_n_2302760.html They're providing things like counseling, which you know that whole community's going to need.

Just to give you more options, since I know people like to do different stuff, here's another great project to support. http://www.nurserycrimes.org/

Nursery Crimes will be a film that examines the root cause of sociopathic and violent behavior in our society. We don't just go to the prisons or gun manufacturers, we go directly to the heart of the problem - the children who were trained to hate.

A PORTION OF NET PROFITS OF THIS FILM WILL BE DIVIDED AMONGST ORGANIZATIONS THAT ARE ON THE FRONT LINES OF SOLVING THIS PROBLEM.

Hope something in here is useful. I wanted to make sure I got these options some visibility. So yeah this one goes out to all you sad people.

Do something. One thing you can do is share this breakdown of nonprofits that are working in Newtown to help those affected so that more people will see the list and hopefully some more support will go their way. Give if you can, and if you can't, you can still do something besides cry or complain about (insert political party you've never liked).

It is a raw spot for me when people make a big emotional fuss over something and then don't do jack shit. Without action, all this talk about how sad we are about Newtown, CT and how we hurt with the victims of this shooting? Self-indulgent melodramatic disaster porn.

Share the links. Be useful. If your excuse before was, "I don't know what I can do to help!" you just lost it. Now is the part where you contribute constructively. If you're not willing to help the people affected, stop pretending to anybody that it's about them. If it's really about them, do something for them. Now.

It doesn't have to be one of the things I have linked, but do something or quit the hired mourner act. Nobody's paying you to wail and rend your hair, because nobody actually benefits from you doing it.

Weepy inaction is still inaction.
xenologer: (ooh!)
PSA: Your Default Narrative Settings Are Not Apolitical

Which leads me back to the issue of prejudice: specifically, to the claim that including such characters in SFF stories, by dint of contradicting the model of straight, white, male homogeneity laid down by Tolkien and taken as gospel ever since, is an inherently political – and therefore suspect – act. To which I say: what on Earth makes you think that the classic SWM default is apolitical? If it can reasonably argued that a character’s gender, race and sexual orientation have political implications, then why should that verdict only apply to characters who differ from both yourself and your expectations? Isn’t the assertion that straight white men are narratively neutral itself a political statement, one which seeks to marginalise as exceptional or abnormal the experiences of every other possible type of person on the planet despite the fact that straight white men are themselves a global minority? And even if a particular character was deliberately written to make a political point, why should that threaten you? Why should it matter that people with different beliefs and backgrounds are using fiction to write inspirational wish-fulfillment characters for themselves, but from whose struggle and empowerment you feel personally estranged? That’s not bad writing, and as we’ve established by now, it’s certainly not bad history – and particularly not when you remember (as so many people seem to forget) that fictional cultures are under no obligation whatsoever to conform to historical mores. It just means that someone has managed to write a successful story that doesn’t consider you to be its primary audience – and if the prospect of not being wholly, overwhelmingly catered to is something you find disturbing, threatening, wrong? Then yeah: I’m going to call you a bigot, and I probably won’t be wrong.


I want to enter into a committed long-term relationship with this article.

This is one reason I have a hard time finding fantasy settings that I really click with. Too many writers, worldbuilders, and roleplayers either A: don't want "politics" (read: minorities) in their pretendy funtime games, or B: really think that the only people who've ever led narratively interesting lives were straight white cisgender people, and that for the sake of realism they can have wizards and fairies but cannot have more than a couple token POC in their setting.

I console myself by reminding myself that if that's the level of thought they put into their writing and worldbuilding, they're probably pretty mediocre at both. Odds are I'm not missing much.

It's also worth adding that Tolkien didn't want to create the enormously racially-screwy and gender-backward narrative that he did with Lord of the Rings. When it was pointed out to him (by which I mean, sometime around when the Nazis wrote to him and said, "Dude we love you!"), he went, "Oh no, look what I did," and decided to use his future writings to undermine that a great deal and do better. Sadly, he died before he got to finish that, but the Silmarillion helps and he evidently had more improvement plans in his notes.

So I am kinda both saying I want worldbuilders to be less like Tolkien in how they worldbuild, and more like Tolkien in how they respond to criticism about their worldbuilding. Not all stories have to be about magical straight white people. Frankly, there are only so many stories to be told in identically-"medieval" whitewashed patriarchal fantasy settings.
xenologer: (everybody's aunt)
This is a really great post about what we're really doing when we divert attention away from the assholery of junk food corporations onto the people who commit the grievous sin of eating junk food. There are a lot of reasons why it's not particularly helpful to turn discussions of corporate evil into a moral referendum on the dietary habits of others.

This entry is great. It covers the class privilege inherent in failing to account for food deserts. It covers the obstacles for some people to cooking every meal themselves. It covers the use of junk food as comfort food as well as what it means when you say to someone who used to have an eating disorder that they're eating too much of the wrong things and need to pay more attention to their caloric intake. It just covers ALL KINDS of goodness.

The objective scientific reality that some foods are overall more healthful than others doesn't do anything to address issues of access, so for people who want to see others eating better, you'll be a lot more helpful if you acknowledge the complexity of the situation before you act.

naamah_darling on On bad food and bad corporate decisions and stupid things people say.
xenologer: (Ravenna)
My quote of the day comes from the comments to TheFerrett's "But If I Can't Buy You A Coffee, How Will Our Species Reproduce?": How To Hit On Women

You can claim all you like that “it’s not about fucking.” But realistically, what you want is to talk, and get to know her, and go on a few dates, and make it a very intimate relationship…

…and then fuck.

And if fucking’s not a part of it, chances are extremely good that you’re going to feel like she’s wasted your time. Which makes you a liar. It’s like you’re saying, “Oh, no, going out to a restaurant’s not about the eating! It’s about the atmosphere, the good conversation, the experience.” But if you got the bill and went home hungry, you’d be ripped off.

The point is that yes, maybe fucking isn’t your primary intention, but it’s certainly well in the mix. And they know that. And you going up to them and dancing around your boner, going, “No, this is about getting to know each other! It’s about conversation!” is the kind of sad tactic that makes women not trust you. Because yeah. You want other stuff, but all that is stuff you could get elsewhere. You could have many fine friends who you don’t fuck. Instead, you’re lying about the friendship, and what you really want is the sex.

And there’s nothing wrong with that, except that you apparently feel that it is wrong. Most people want sex. But you, you’re going, “No, no, it’s more than that,” missing the point that since all of this camaraderie is going to be worthless WITHOUT the sex, you’ve pretty much made sex the core of it. That’s a scummy lie you’re telling yourself, and it’s doing you no favors, because chances are good women know what you’re really after, and are turned off by your dishonesty.

You say it’s not the first thing on your mind. But I’m willing to bet that if you’re straight, you don’t approach guys like this for fun conversations, or angst about it this much if they reject your hand in close friendship. That means that you’re lying to yourself, because really… it IS the first thing on your mind. You just are doing a little dance to pretend otherwise.


We really can tell.

Ferrett's replying to a guy who commented and seemed to be in denial about what he's really after when he talks to women. What Ferrett is pointing out is not that it's silly to try to get anything out of a woman but sex, but that it's bullshit to pretend that sex isn't the point when to everybody else it's obvious that it is.

So it's less, "Stop wanting things that aren't sex," and more, "Stop pretending you want to get to know her when you'll lose interest if she fails to put out. You are not subtle."

I've never been romantically involved with anybody I didn't consider a friend first. This is not to say that I wouldn't ever under any circumstances hook up with someone I didn't know, but after a lifetime of this shit I actually do sort of need my potential partners to demonstrate to me that my sole winning quality is not in the promise of getting a leg over.

If I think that you would see me as a pointless waste of time without the promise of sex, I personally am done with you as a human being.



I think at this point in my life I would seriously rather have a man come up to me and say, "Hey! I was just noticing how gorgeous you are. Are you looking to hook up with anyone tonight?" Then I can just say, "Nah." I would prefer this over the unmistakeable experience of a man talking to me because he's heard chicks like that and he's sure if he button-mashes enough he will figure out the combination to the supermove that takes off my pants.

If you can't figure out how to talk to women, you need to start with the small stuff and learn how to be friends with women. I don't mean circling around her ankles like a needy cat waiting for her to rub your penis belly; I mean actually figuring out a way for women to feel like you are a good friend to them, and don't do it for the sex. Do it because women are people to you and having female friends is nice. Seriously, though, don't make it about sex, even in your head.

Is this you? Do you have many female friends? If you even have to think, "Do I have many female friends?" you don't. If you don't have female friends, you are probably doing something fucked up that women notice and you don't and until that is resolved, you are not ready to chase us for booty.

I am not kidding.

If you can't befriend women, you'll be a shitty romantic partner and your ass is not ready.



And AGAIN friendship is not some kind of half-romance that needs to evolve into Real Romance. If you have female friends that you value completely apart from the question of getting your dick wet, you have already won. You don't need to do anything else to those relationships. They are already good.

I know you are thinking, "If I can just get them to be friends with me, our relationship will evolve and I will finally be repaid for my investment with the sex I have earned."

You are wrong. You are so wrong that you will ruin everything.


Or less. If it saves you time, I hate you now.
xenologer: (human monsters)
Solitary in Iran Nearly Broke Me. Then I Went Inside America's Prisons: We throw thousands of men in the hole for the books they read, the company they keep, the beliefs they hold. Here's why. -By Shane Bauer

Solitary confinement is ruinous for human sanity, which makes it a crappy rehabilitation tool. Additionally, you can end up in solitary for pretty shady reasons.

As warden of San Quentin Prison in the 1980s, Daniel Vasquez oversaw what was then the country's largest SHU. He's now a corrections consultant and has testified on behalf of inmates seeking to reverse their validations. As we sat in his suburban Bay Area home, he told me it is "very common" for African American prisoners who display leadership qualities or radical political views to end up in the SHU. (...)

[A] judge ruled that "a prisoner has no constitutionally guaranteed immunity from being falsely or wrongfully accused of conduct which may result in the deprivation of a protected liberty interest." In other words, it is not illegal for prison authorities to lie in order to lock somebody away in solitary.


Read the whole article before you come say something in the comments. Yes, all four pages.
xenologer: (Ravenna)
It has rained for five days
running
the world is
a round puddle
of sunless water
where small islands
are only beginning
to cope
a young boy
in my garden
is bailing out water
from his flower patch
when I ask him why
he tells me
young seeds that have not seen sun
forget
and drown easily.

April 2016

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