In lieu of making any decisions about my life, I have made a blog. I haven't been using live journal very much in recent months, and I have been wanting a more public space to talk about Issues that wasn't so inexorably tied to my private life and fandom and choir and so on. Not because those things are shameful, but just because they complicate things. I'm sure they'll come out eventually anyway.

Anyway, the blog is currently pretty basic and only has one post, but it's here:

So apparently I am a Blogger now.

Apr. 16th, 2012

Seen it around and haven't been on LJ much for ages, so why not?

I think everyone is curious about what others think of them. It's a natural curiosity and one that we rarely get to indulge in. So, let's indulge. Comment on this post with the three words that you think best describe me. They don't have to be complimentary. They don't have to be anything but honest. Post this in your journal and find out what three words others would use to describe you.

Go on and post anon if you like. IP logging is off for a limited time :)


Sadly I don't think Katara has got much chance against Hermione, because Hermione IS pretty ace and Harry Potter is obviously wicked popular, but vote Katara anyway! Katara is excellent!!

Mar. 9th, 2012

I slept until 4:30pm today. What. The only way I can explain it is that I got stuck in a dream and couldn't wake up. Does that ever happen to anyone else? Anyway, when I woke up the dream was still incredibly vivid in my mind so I wrote this. It's part of a much bigger story, obviously, but I don't know the rest. It has a sort of fairytale quality. Hmmm.

Six SistersCollapse )

Let's Talk About Sex.

Trigger warning: this post talks about consent and obliquely references sexual assault. It's pretty tame, but be advised if these are triggering issues for you.

Geeks are tinkerers who constantly try to improve and innovate, and geeks are not bound by many mainstream social rules, and these two things combine to create some fucking hot sex.
From The Pervocracy blog

This line, at the start of a blog post I just read, got my hackles up. As most readers of this journal know by now, I've had some really fucking awful sex-related experiences with geeks, and so as soon as I hear anyone even hinting at saying that geeky/poly/kinky sex and relationships are so! awesome! I start feeling snarly. I think it's because the unspoken part - or sometimes the actually spoken followup - of superlatives about geeky/poly/kinky sex and relationships often seems to be that mainstream/monogamous/vanilla sex and relationships are rubbish and doomed to failure and enjoyed only by narrow minded, unimaginative twerps. And that's pretty obnoxious (and also not true!)

But then I kept reading and the post turned out to be pretty much all about that feeling I get, and a very cool and useful post. If you're familiar with the Five Geek Social Fallacies, the title will give you an idea of what to expect; this is the Geek Social Fallacies of Sex on The Pervocracy blog. Go read it, I'll wait!

So, back to the so! awesome! thing. It's GSFS #2, and it's crap. I mean, hey, I have a poly relationship that is so! awesome! but that's because of we who are in it and the ways we have all worked damn hard to make it good, and because we've been lucky enough to find each other at the right times and under the right circumstances, not because it is poly and therefore magically perfect. All relationships are a little bit of luck and a lot of work. Just as I always want to remind monogamous people who say "oh, I knew people in a poly relationship once and it ended really badly" that I've known of dozens of monogmous relationships that "ended really badly" because that's what happens to relationships sometimes, I would rather not hear anybody suggest, in anything even approaching seriousness, that my relationship is somehow better or more egalitarian or more open minded than my straight, monogamous married friends' relationships just because it is relatively unusual. What rubbish! I don't measure other people's relationships on how similar they are to my own. Being "weird" should not be considered inherently bad, but why should it be considered inherently good either? Different strokes, etc. etc.

Anyway, I really like this blog, The Pervocracy. It's ace. I like this slightly older post about Consent Culture in which author Holly talks about what a consent culture (as opposed to a rape culture) would look like, and offers suggestions on how to make it happen in your own life and relationships (intimate and otherwise).

The one concern I have with this idea is that it means you have to trust other people to be on the same page, to be actively seeking consent and to respect dissent when they come across it, and to answer honestly when you ask for their consent. Sometimes people don't answer honestly, and "consent" to things they don't want or prevaricate about whether they want it or not, because they're worried about how you'll respond. And I don't just mean they're scared you might rape them anyway, or scared you might get angry and punch them, although that is sometimes an issue. Far more common, for me anyway, is being worried the person I turn down will be crushed and make a big deal of how sad they are that I won't kiss them/fuck them/hug them/whatthefuckever. Saying no, in some situations, can be really hard, especially when you're saying things like "please ask before you hug me" to someone who repeatedly ignores or "forgets" that request and looks hurt and miserable every damn time you repeat it. Hell, the one time someone actually asked for my consent to a sex act and my answer was "no" it was one of the hardest things in the world to say so, because he was my friend and he had been talking to me just recently about how depressing it was when people he fancied didn't find him attractive. And if passive aggressively moping and feeling sorry for yourself were an Olympic sport, that guy would win every medal. In the end even though I did say no - the actual word no! - he'd been well trained enough to know that "no means no" but he did other stuff to me anyway, because I only explicitly said no about that one thing. And thus we see the importance of seeking enthusiastic consent! Wouldn't you rather hold out for a "hell yes!" than a limp silence or an awkward "er...okay"?

The big thing about consent culture, the only way it can work, is if we all learn how to deal with rejection calmly and gracefully, at least in public. Even if you feel so crushed by someone saying "thanks, but no thanks" that you want to crawl into bed and not come out for a week, you should try not to show them that. Guilt is a powerful motivator. And do you really want someone to have sex with you, even though they don't want to, because they feel guilty about making you cry or they don't want to listen to you whine about it? Because people, there's a word for emotionally manipulating someone into having sex with you when they don't want to.

ETA: A note on insecurity, anxiety and intersectionality!

I love intersectionality! I think it's a super important idea that working towards a better world has to happen on a lot of different fronts at once, and that different areas of thought, discussion, theory and activism can benefit a lot from listening to each other, sharing ideas and working together.

A few people have commented mentioning the issue of insecurity and how it can interfere with the ideal consent culture scenario in Holly's post. Namely that sometimes you can feel too anxious about being judged to say yes even when you want to, or to ask for something you want. I can relate to that. Social anxiety, crappy self esteem and/or experience with bullying or abuse can make you worried on some level that the question might be a joke, or that if you ask for things you want people might judge you or laugh at you, or that you might make someone else upset or uncomfortable. I can totally relate to that.

So consent culture as an antidote to rape culture needs other social changes to be happening at the same time if it's going to work. Consent culture doesn't work, for instance, in an environment where slut shaming and homophobia are normalised. It doesn't work where people are stigmatised or made to feel ashamed about their appearance or their race or ethnicity or gender or disability or anything else. It doesn't work if there are culturally normalised reasons to be ashamed of asking, or ashamed of saying yes OR no.

Fic Rec

I haven't read fix in ages, but this one (short and sweet) was too awesome not to share:

Title: Changeling
Author: lydiabennet
Summary: Fred wants a dog more than anything, and he'll do anything to get one. Anything at all.
Rating, Length: PG, 2060 words


Julie Goodwin still Awesome

BRB, going off to buy all of Julie Goodwin's cookbooks ever.

I wouldn't say I agree with every single word here ("of course obesity is unhealthy" made me raise an eyebrow) but it is so refreshing to see a fat person in the public eye pointing out that you can't tell how healthy a person is by looking at them!! OMG!!!

The obsession with health that seems to go hand in hand with some (certainly not all) approaches to HAES is a bit problematic, since what "healthy" means is obviously going to vary from person to person, and people should have autonomy over their own bodies and the right to be treated with respect regardless of size even if they are unhealthy. Not only do various health problems have quite demonstrably and uncontroversially nothing to do with being fat (see my ulcer and my mother's shockingly low iron, for example) or actually cause people to become fatter than they otherwise would be, but saying people only deserve to be treated like human beings if they are lucky enough to be well is pretty fucking obnoxious. People with disabilities and chronic illnesses are sometimes fat people too, and they should still get to decide what they do with their own bodies and should be able to live without body shame.

All that said, I am very impressed with Julie, who also turned down an offer from Jenny Craig last year because she just wasn't interested in losing weight. She's speaking out about anti-fat messages in an industry (entertainment, not food) where it seems like every fat woman around eventually succumbs to the weight loss pressure. Magda Szubanski, Chrissie Swan and Rebel Wilson are all funny, talented fat women in the Australian entertainment industry and they've all been, or currently are, affiliated with Jenny Craig. I can completely understand why they've chosen to lose weight and of course bodily autonomy means being able to do anything with your body, including try to make it smaller! But Julie Goodwin is a really refreshing counterpoint to the ever-repeating story of fat women getting big (so to speak) in Australian showbiz and then being snapped up by Jenny Craig.


Like a righteous blade of equality
Style Therapy

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