* Just Saying *

That’s Not How Being a Human Being Works!!!!

So, in the wake of the Stuebenville convictions, and the pitiful sentences handed down, I attempted a conversation with my boyfriend this morning about rape culture…

Mayo: So now all the news outlets are going on and on about the poor widdle rapists and how their lives are ruined. UGH.

DB: Wait, Are you SEROUS?

Mayo: Yup.

DB: But that doesn’t doesn’t even make any SENSE!!!!

That’s my DB. He’s a good person. Not a “Nice Guy” but a genuinely good person. He’s also very sheltered by his privilege. Apparently this morning, in conversation with me, was the first time he’d discovered the sheer prevalence of rape culture. To DB, the adherents of such behavior are few, far between, and about as universally ridiculed as openly racist people shouting racial slurs on the street corner, rather than approximately as multitudinous and tacitly approved of as homophobes and transphobes, who still think they don’t “count” as bigots because they’re right, and God is on their side. But even as sheltered as he is, it took him less than half a second once provided a window into Rape Culture, to intuitively understand that it’s fucked up wrong. This is why he’s a good person.

Mayo: It doesn’t have to make sense, they’re MRAs.

DB: I don’t understand how they can even TRY and say that it was her fault. She was unconscious!!! How does an unconscious person agree to sex?

Mayo: They don’t understand the concept of enthusiastic consent. They’re on about how she didn’t clearly and firmly say “no” so it wasn’t rape.

DB: What’s enthusiastic consent?

Mayo: The idea that she doesn’t have to say “NO,” but the lack of a “YES” means there’s no consent.

DB: But there IS no consent without a YES!!!!!

At this point the poor dear is incredibly flustered and incredibly shrill. He’s never heard of enthusiastic consent because he’s never heard of any OTHER kid of consent. Either she said yes, completely in the absence of any type of coercion, or it’s not on.

Mayo: I know that, and you know that, but you’d be surprised the number of people who don’t get that, and that’s where you get these kinds of people on the internet moaning on about how the girl should take responsibility for her part in her own freaking rape, and be punished along with the boys who did it.

DB: But… that’s not how consent works! That’s not how being a DECENT PERSON Works!!! THAT’S NOT HOW BEING A HUMAN BEING WORKS!!!!

Now what’s the point in relaying this story, beyond the fact that it’s mildly amusing his brains breaking like this? The point is that even as divorced as he is from it, DB provides proof of the existence of rape culture. He and other children raised like him, somehow isolated from and blind to such influences, don’t even comprehend the idea. There is no overriding human nature that creates these ideas in the minds of men. They are not reacting as is “natural” to a society that has “stripped their manhood” or denied them sex. They are raised on the idea that they are somehow entitled to sex, and that women’s default position is not NO but YES, they are TAUGHT Rape Culture. It’s not something that just happens, and there IS another way.

And we need to stop teaching them that, and teach them how being a human being REALLY works.

8^/

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Everyone Shut Up. Shut up Now.

Dear Everyone,

What happened at Sandy Hook is terrible, awful, and incredibly hard to process. It makes people want to tear their newspapers, kick their televisions and throw their laptops, when these media deliver them the news, never mind the devastation and life wrenching calamity that it has caused to those close to it.

What it is NOT is a platform for you to get up on and soapbox.

Seriously.

STOP TRAGICRAFTINGSTOP SCREAMING FOR GUN BANS. STOP INSISTING WE ARM THE TEACHERS. STOP PROSELYTIZING IN POEMS.

And for the love of all things good and nice…

STOP DIAGNOSING THE KILLER.

When you tie shootings to mental illness you do a complete disservice to the public good. You are villainizing an already marginalized sector of the populace based on no good facts what so ever. You are making it harder to seek treatment and harder to gain acceptance for every single person with a mental illness or neurovariance.

As much as some people are trying to help, by pushing for easier access to mental health assistance, they are harming the very people they are trying to help by more or less implicitly stating that untreated mental illness is the root of criminal violence. That will only lead to more labeling of people who are DIFFERENT as people who are DANGEROUS.

Ms. Lisa Long, and her emotional confession of fear of her child, has not helped matters. Publicly likening your own mentally ill child to a spree killer is cruel to that child, and proports to speak for the dead. Don’t get me started on “mommy blogging” either, which seems to be some people’s defense for that terrible article. A mother’s need for support does not actually entitle her to publicly record all of her kids growing pains and wrongdoings in a medium (the internet) from which they can never be fully removed.

I see a lot of voices rising up with the idea that she’s somehow courageous for speaking up about something that might make others judge her… but since it seems to be done at the expense of her clearly already in pain child, no that is not courage. Courageous voices are the ones pointing out what it is really like to BE that scary kid, and how entirely unfair it is of the media to treat people in vulnerable groups as threats rather than the endangered people they actually are.

I can see that a few mainstream news sources have picked up on this issue, as regards the speculation (and that’s all it is) that the shooter may have had Aspergers syndrome, but it doesn’t matter what he may or may not have had. The problem is all this armchair psychology trying to link a horrible act to mental illness because no “normal” person could ever have perpetrated this crime. “Normal” people cannot be driven to these things. “Normal” people never snap and go on a spree. “Normal” people are nothing to be fearful of… just those crazy people.

Shut up. You’re not helping anyone.

X^0

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Thanks, but No Thanks

Dear Girly-Girls,

Now there’s nothing wrong with being a feminine lady if that’s who you are, but I’m not. I’d hardly class myself under any circumstances as ANY sort of lady. I’m female, that’s clear, but the gender role of “lady” is one I simply don’t fulfill nor do I have any compunction to do so. Gender is a spectrum and “Lady” is an extreme end of that spectrum. I fall closer to the middle. That’s who I am and how I live my life. I’m a female bodied androgyne, and I’m very comfortable there. Can’t wrap your head around that? Then I’m a full grown “Tomboy” or a “one of the guys” or what have you. That’s the space I occupy and I’m comfortable there, except when someone forgets this status and tries to enforce cis-woman behavior or dress on me… and that’s where this gets annoying.

See, a lot, not all but a lot of you Ladies, Girly-Girls, Pretty Women, seem to be under the mistaken idea that my more “plain” mode of dress is indicative of low self esteem, a lack of a feminine role model, or some other defect on my part, and that I can be taught to take “better” care of my appearance.

This is patently erroneous.

People tell me I should wear makeup. I would look so pretty. They want to put it on me, but after the first few times I let someone, it’s just a waste of my time. I’ve recently been asked to try on someone’s high heels, as if I’d never worn anyone, and I’ve done it. They’re always surprised that telling me how good I look up on stilts doesn’t make me suddenly want to wear them all the time. I still feel like I’m going to turn an ankle up here. It’s still not healthy. I still want my loafers back PLZTHX. Putting me in a dress will not make me feel like “the woman I am,” because who I am does not depend on what I wear, and I’m NOT a “woman.” Thanks.

So yeah. I’m not pretty, and I don’t want to BE pretty. Sometimes I want to be adorable… but that’s not gendered, and that doesn’t mean I don’t care about how I look, or that I look down on pretty people, or that I think I’m ugly or anything like that. There are just other forms of looking good that feel better on me. Thanks but no thanks on the pretty-girl lessons please. I’ll wear a dress when I please… and pants when I please.

I’m a damned dapper person and that’s exactly how I like it.

8^P

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The End of the World as We Know It…. or More of the Same

4 more years of Barack Obama.

It’s not ideal, but it’s a hell of a lot better than 4 years of Romney would have been. Say what you will about their economic policies and each of them being just as bad as the other and such, but as far as I can see, there is a clear lesser evil here, maybe even a neutral and an evil. I’m not saying Obama’s the bestest fellow in the whole gosh darned world. I mean, I do really enjoy him as a public figure, but also he makes some mistakes in running the country.

The one thing I can count on with Obama, that I cannot with Romney, is a decent human view on basic physical human rights. Obama is coming for my money. Romney was coming for my body. He talks a big game about getting government out of my business, but that’s not the GOPs actual platform and that’s a pretty big problem. You can’t compete on the economic issues if you’re busy trying to legislate people’s private lives into oblivion. Meagan McCain even gets that.

So yeah, enough running around the internet and the world screaming about how it’s the end of the world, or a great big democrat concipiricy, and everyone is out to get you and take away your rights and the librulz are going to ruin the world and yadda yadda yadda.

You lost fair and square, and if you can’t step into reality and accept that, then you’re the REASON you lost.

Chill out and get with the program, and maybe you’ll have a shot in 4 more years.

8^/

 

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We’re All Olive

So, I haven’t even finished reading the Hunger Games Trilogy, but I did decide to dress up as Katniss for Halloween, and in the course of this I was exposed to the fact that there’s more than a little consternation about the casting of Katniss, something I hadn’t heard about back when the movie first came out.

Needless to say, if you haven’t read it…
images

One thing that seems to keep coming up is an argument about what race Katniss is. There are those who are vehemently sure she is white, and those who state that the fact that her skin is described as “olive” indicates that she is clearly “of color” and frankly I’m not sure either of them have any claim to make a definitive stand on the subject.

Olive runs the full spectrum of dark to light. Check the makeup section and you’ll find things from “olive fair” all the way to “deep olive” because it’s not a descriptor of darkness but of the greenish yellow undertone that it has. It’s found in people of various Latin, Asian, African and Mediterranean descents.

That’s the point.

Leaving the racial makeup of the protagonist ambiguous is a common enough tactic in helping the audience invest in them. It’s an unfortunate fact that many people can only truly invest in a character whom they can personally identify with. People of all different races can picture an “olive” person not that dissimilar to themselves.

So the outrage over the supposed whitewashing of Katniss is…. completely understandable. In film we are unable to make her race totally ambiguous and so those whose vision of her was something other than Mediterranean Caucasian, were thrown for a rather unpleasant loop. The same thing happened with Cinna since his skin tone was never addressed and so people generally assumed he too, was similar to their own racial makeup. It’s not whitewashing when the palette is left blank for you to fill in.

You want to see actual racism involved in the telling of this story, and its conversion to film, then you’ll have to look to poor little Rue. Rue is explicitly described as having dark brown skin, dark eyes and dark hair. She can’t be anything other than of African descent, and yet somehow the readers need to have the sympathetic characters similar to their own race caused them to forcibly whitewash her in their mind, and then rebel when the film broke that magic spell and forced them to see her as she was intended. I don’t need to point you to their vitriol. I’m sure you saw it already. If not a quick Google should turn it up.

Now while there may have been some bias in the casting of Katniss I think they ultimately chose the right actress, particularly based on her performance in Winter’s Bone, which also took place in an Appalachian region with a girl looking after her family. Call it typecasting if you will, but she does these roles well.

And in the end, we’re all olive.

8^)

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