Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Trepidation About Fuzzies

I'm leaving for a week's vacation in the Frozen North tomorrow. As excited as I am to see my partner (and have sex for the first time in three weeks), I'm uneasy with the idea of leaving both Loki and Haven with my mom. What's she going to do the first time Loki pees in a corner? (Ahh, the wonderful world of ferrets.) I'm leaving a copy of Ferrets For Dummies; whether it'll get read or not is anyone's guess. Hide, ferret! Hide in fear!
And I don't even want to consider poor Haven. When I'm gone for a few hours, upon my return she yowls as if she'd been tormented the whole time. How she'll sound after a week without me, I daren't contemplate. And the litter box! Oh, my poor kitten.

And yet, I have to go. The plane ticket's nonrefundable. Besides, I need a vacation.
"Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die!"
...No arguments there, dude. I'm heading for some booze, munchies and a detachable shower head.

Tee, Tee Em Eye

So because I fascinate you endlessly (whoever 'you' are), I thought I'd share some highly personal shit that's been on my mind. Mostly about me, how I think, what I identify as, and how this affects me as a feminist, a person, in my relationships, my writing, ad nauseum.
So, for the political. I'm left-leaning, favor Hilary over Obama just a bit, and believe we need legislation that will help us achieve equal rights in regards to race, gender, and sexuality. (I also believe in legalizing marijuana, but that's another story.) I want the laws to change but secretly I dream of La Revolution and say things like "break out the pipe bombs!" even though I don't usually advocate violence.
The educational- I'm a recent graduate with a BA in Liberal Arts (essentially). I know, not too useful, but I plan on going back for a graduate degree in something and it's helpful for that, if nothing else specifically. I'm a bit of an intellectual snob.
The physical- I'm short, curvy and technically overweight. Yeah, I'm a fat chick. I've been brainwashed my whole life to think that I needed to be thinner and at this point, I'm comfortable with myself the way I am. I'm both functional and attractive, and the former is way more important. My purple hair makes me wildly happy, and my style is broadly defined as "practical/blue jean femme". Makeup is a rarity, as are skirts or heels. I've become girlier of late, partially because feminization is necessary to look 'presentable' or 'professional' at most companies, but also in response to the butch/femme dynamic. More on that below.

And now, the sex. I'm... sex-positive, in that I think sex is great and anyone who wants to, should be able to, with whom they want. A few caveats apply, such as: so long as you are careful of your health and safety and that of your partner (meaning, use protection, and use a safeword, pick whichever apply); so long as you are both/all consenting adults (should be obvious); and so long as you are aware that your right to have sex ends at someone else's right to not have sex. If you want sex with bananas and a feather boa and 3 guys and 2 girls and a birdcage, go to it. I'd love to see a video of that logistical feat if you do. But I digress.
I think women have the right to be protected in their sexuality, meaning: I support the Twisty definition of consent, and I believe that abortions should be safe, legal, the choice of the woman to make and not anyone else's, paid for by health insurance and if need be, financially assisted by the state.

I don't identify as a sex-positive feminist. I think we are so entrenched in the Patriarchal society that until we are truly seen as human, most sexual aspects of women will continue to be seen as both only part of and less important than men's pleasure. And so porn, strip joints, Suicide Girls, and prostitution aren't things I think are good. This does not mean I believe in demonizing or looking down on sex workers; I think we all try to navigate the Patriarchy as best we can. The problem is drawing the line between where the Patriarchal brainwashing ends and a woman's choice or agency begins. I don't know where to draw that line, so I try to stay out of the debates until I know more. I do know this: anything that degrades and dehumanizes a woman is not good for women as a whole.

I'm into BDSM. I know, I fail the Twisty RadFem litmus test. I'm unapologetic. I choose to see this as my choice, something I do with my (female) partner that we both enjoy and take pleasure in. It's not something I take lightly. I do a lot of reading and research and a lot of introspection on the subject, and my partner and I spend as much time communicating/talking about it as doing it. I'm a sub; I'll top if I need to, but that's about it. Part of why I do it is that I'm a bitchy, bossy, takes-no-shit type who's all about being in control of my own life. That's stressful as hell sometimes. I also have trouble releasing that emotional stress. Engaging in BDSM with my partner allows me to give up that control in a safe space where I can release the stress if I need to. I don't think it's a perversion, it's just something we do. We like it, it works for us, it's private and doesn't hurt anyone (unless there's a safeword involved, LOL).

I'm into what I call the butch/femme dynamic. I could write for pages and not cover this; for that I suggest you go check the Sugarbutch Chronicles- on whose creator I admit to having a massive crush. My partner is butch. That's the way she's been, from the day I met her about 10 years ago. She was butch even before she came out. I tend to be a bit andro-dyke, believing in function over form (read: jeans and comfy shoes, and screw the makeup most of the time). I'm not, however, butch; therefore I became the default femme. I found I enjoy the balance of our energy- hers is very masculine, and mine is, well, female. Feminine seems to me be about heels and skirts and pretty stuff, and while I'm not all about that, I love being a woman, usually. I love having long hair and lady-parts, I love having a clit, for damn sure! I love my curvy body and my sultry voice and the way my brain works. So I just kind of... started to be femme-ier. No pushing from the Ferret, though- she loves me and thinks I'm sexy, brainy, and fabulous no matter what I wear or how I act. We've had to talk about her butch traditionalism meeting my feminism, though. Which is a whole 'nother post. Suffice it to say, we've come to an agreement.

How, you ask, can I be a feminist and still let my honey squish my spiders and carry my groceries? How can I be against porn but into BDSM? How can be against traditional gender roles and still enjoy butch/femme?
I don't know, except I have to believe in my own agency. I chose these things because I enjoy them. In fact, they run counter to a lot of the things women and feminists are supposed to do. But really, I don't know. I don't condemn them for anyone else, either.
As long as it's not hurting anyone, do what turns you on.
"An it harm none, do what ye will, but know that every act comes back threefold, for good or ill"- The Wiccan Rede
...Did I mention I'm a Wiccan, too? ^_^

Sunday, July 20, 2008

A Waste of Makeup

So I went out the other night, looking for a nice little hole-in-the-wall dyke bar where I could sit and drink rum and coke and maybe do some harmless flirting. Fail. Out of 2 bars, one was dude-oriented and the other... well, the friendly bartender told me it's usually mixed (only guys in there when I went in, awww). So no dykes for me last night. That was disappointing, but not a big problem.

The problem was the skeezy, underage dude who immediately started hitting on me as soon as I walked in. I didn't realize at first he wasn't gay. "You know this is a gay bar, right?" I asked him. "Yeah." So why, then, was he in there? "They serve me beer here. I'm 20." The legal age here is 21. Some bars'll card you and some don't bother.
But this muy suave dude kept talking, couldn't believe it when I told him I was gay, I guess cause I don't look butch. Eyeroll. "Really, you like girls?" "Uh, yes, for many years now." I generally tell the truth about being bi in a gay bar, but with dudes like that, admitting you occasionally like the penis = you want their personal penis. And they keep trying to convince you of this. He's already way too close to me, getting into my personal space (which I hate). And then the fucker leans over and puts a kiss on my cheek!

I sound so outraged. It's not like he groped me or anything, but still! How fucked up is that? I immediately push him away and say "Hey! Don't do that." He laughs and says now he believes that I don't like guys. Because, you know, the actual words out of my mouth weren't good enough. So I proceed to finish my ginger ale, walk to my car with my knife out (Some folks say I'm paranoid. I say yes, I am, but I'm cool with it.), and drive my ass home.
I'm annoyed by this. I took pains to look both bad-ass and femme, and was pretty pleased with the results. I go out, specifically avoiding regular bars, and get hit on by a penis anyway. Fuck.

So a word to all straight guys who go to gay bars to hit on girls: Stop doing it. The gay girls there do not want you, they don't 'need a man to straighten them out', and they will not think it's cute if you try. If there are straight girls at a gay bar, they've come there to get away from guys hitting on them. If they wanted to meet a guy, they'd have gone to a straight bar. So just fucking stop it.

Sigh. Maybe 3 nights a year I go out drinking. This one was an epic fail. Who's a girl gotta grope to find a decent dyke bar in this county?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

College "journalist" sez: Mocking Rape is Cool! We're cool, man!

"Regardless, dude, yes, many people commenting here do menstruate. I suggest you flee in terror lest someone menstruate at you through the internet. Feminists can do that, you know. They have powers."
...Holy crap, that's funny. It was from a post over at Feministe on John Petroski and his truly awful editorial in the CCSU rag, The Record ("but it was meant to be SATIRE!") on how rape is "a magical experience", wherein he goes on to blather about how the Romans raped the Sabine women to increase their population, and how "fat girls would never know the joys of intercourse with a man who isn’t drunk" if not for date rape.
He then went on to say
"But if there is one bread and butter reason for why rape should not only be accepted, but even endorsed, it is because our news editors are in dire need of interesting stories for our front page. Bookstore stories? Fossils? One dollar coins? Please. Now, some saucy circle-jerk rape action? Yeah, that’s the ticket."
Yeah, rape should be endorsed because it'll make a good front-pager. This guy must not have been reading newspapers lately, being too busy writing them with his deathless wisdom and all.
But hey, he's a real charmer. He's the same guy who wrote another piece about abortion which included gems like “As soon as you get pregnant you no longer have a right to your own body...Once a child grows in your womb, ladies, it should no longer be a question of your right to privacy or your right to choose.” I won't even go into that, except to mutter things about chainsaws.

So, I think we can safely apply the label "priveleged, whiny, misogyinst douchebag" when it comes to this guy and his writing. And what the rape piece means, translated, is: "Even though I'm entitled to sex with any girl I want, they haven't gotten the memo about my wit, charm, and HUGE weenie. So I'll make a bunch of jokes-that-aren't-really-jokes to trivialize rape, which is totally sensationalized anyway, because none of these uppity bitches'll fuck me."

Well, Sparky, a few problems with that. To whit: satire is funny. This wasn't. It was douchebaggery, plain and simple. I had to invoke Poe's Law on this one. Even if rape were an acceptable subject to satirize, you'd have to do it well, and carefully, and in such an exaggerated manner that no one misunderstood. This genius has done none of the above; Jonathan Swift he really ain't.
(For a comparison that's pretty good, check out this post.)

But Johnny-boy still doesn't get what these Humorless Feministstm are getting so upset about, I can tell. So let me make it clear to him, and to all the guys who don't get why rape jokes aren't fucking funny. Here it is, John.
There are- let me bold this- there are men out there who really think like this. Who will read this and feel validated to go out and commit a crime that you trivialized. And it's your fucking fault, John.
If a woman had written something similar about the joys of mass castration (and don't think I haven't been tempted), not only would it not have made the paper, she would've severely disciplined. But this is different, cause we all know rape doesn't really happen to real people.

And of course, there were the usual trolls commenting on how Feminists Can't Take A Joke. Right. Like the way black folks don't think lynching jokes are funny. They just have no sense of humor about being abused, oppressed, and treated as less than human for hundreds of years!
...Oh, wait.
Well, butter my ass and call me a biscuit. I think I just made a point! I should write for The Record!
Anyway, the above comment is a reply by commenter ako to one of said trolls who said something like "chill out and put your tampons back in ur[sic] pockets". Not a complete quote, but close enough for morons. Way to raise the intellectual level of the discussion, moron! And thanks to ako for that reply, which had me LOLing all over my keyboard. It got messy for a moment.

Also coming in for lambasting is Mark Rowan, the editor of the paper, who actually printed that shit instead of placing it somewhere it could be appreciated, like the bottom of a hamster cage.
I'm happy to report that from what I hear, most students are outraged, or at the very least, not supportive of the guy. And Petroski did give an apology. A crappy, CYA type apology. In which he called rape a "pseudo-subject". Is that even a word? Seriously? Can we have some real journalists at a college paper, please? Ye gods, my cat could meow something that made more sense than this dipwad's "bold" and "gifted" satire.
I'm sorry, Connecticut. If these guys are yours, I hope you kept the receipt.

...And now I totally want to menstruate on someone through the internet! Where do I sign up for that feminist power?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Because You Know You Love The Backstory

My blog name is a little weird. There are lots of cool, weird blog names out there. Just on my blogroll you'll find Hell On Hairy Legs, Shakesville (which used to be Shakespeare's Sister), and The Curvature. All fairly random names for feminist blogs- memorable, funny, and cool. So, why did I pick a name that sounds like a punk-rock band? Screaming Lemur is a nickname I picked up back in the day, inspired by this:
I always thought that was great. And the mystery was: was it the mouse, or WAS there really a screaming lemur in there? Also it was kind of a cool metaphor for me, cute-little-thing-hiding-wicked-bitch-personality. And yes. Yes, I like Garfield. I respect his ability to sleep, be sassy, and kick idiots off tables (sweet as Odie was).
So yeah. Not a great backstory, as it goes, but there it is. I felt the need to share.
Questions? Comments?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Don't Call Me Babe!

So, you know what I hate? (Aside from, like, everything.) I hate strangers who call you pet names. Honey, sweetie, doll, babe, cutie, little lady, the list goes on and on. I usually encounter it on one end or the other of customer service. I don't really get it. But I hate it. Hate it hate it fuckin' hate it.

So let's break down the arguments I've heard when I mention my annoyance: "Oh, Lemur, you're too sensitive/it's the South/they don't mean anything by it/I do it all the time /so you don't let your boyfriend call you pet names?"
I know, it's terrible. I'm just an Angry Humorless Feminist™ and I should just calm down and stop thinking so much. You know what? I think most people don't think enough. No matter how strident I sound bitching about this, it's still not as obnoxious as calling a total stranger "babe". So here are my responses, as I vent about this anger-trigger of mine.

-"You're too sensitive": Fuck you. No, really. I'm "sensitive" if you stick a dildo in my ass without lube. Being belittled because I happen to have tits is friggin' aggravating.
-"Oh, it's the South": First, south Florida isn't the South. It's a combination of several foreign countries, several New York boroughs, and Mars. Second, just because it's culturally acceptable here doesn't make it any less friggin' aggravating.
-"But but but they don't mean anything by it": Which makes it worse! They don't even notice how patronizing they're being. It doesn't even cross their mind to consider that for one, I'm not your fuckin' sweetie. Ew. And for another thing, I wouldn't do that to you. Especially older guys who do it- not only is it creepy to begin with, it would be wildly inappropriate for me to call a 50 year old man "honey", so why is it ok for him?
-"I use it all the time (to people I don't know)": Well, you might reconsider this, since you might meet someone like me who may well bite your head off for addressing them in a condescending, infantilizing manner. Consider: is it really "people", or just women? And if that's really the way you normally interact, well... I say again: yes, intent counts for something, but just because someone doesn't intend to be a dick doesn't make it ok when they, you know, act like a dick.
-"So you never let your bf call you pet names?": Well, setting aside the fact the my "boyfriend" is female (you're just assuming like crazy, arent'cha?): Sure. I get mushy and adorable with my lover, and my close friends, and that's about it. If I know you and am comfortable with you, I will allow you to call me pet names or silly nicknames. If you're my friend, you can hug me and sit on my lap if you wanna, but we don't allow strangers that privilege, or at least I don't. It's kind of the same principle. If I don't know you, have some fucking reserve and respect for goddess' sake.

How did I get started on this? I don't know, I was just thinking about it and how, while I worked at the vid store, I had to put up with a lot of rich old white dudes and Chanel-clad WASP wives calling me cutesy names. Even the regulars who presumably knew my name or could have asked it. If you don't know me and need my attention for something, I would rather be called "miss" or even "ma'am" than "hey, sweetie" or "doll". It sets my teeth on edge with the injustice of it: I have to smile and take it, and it's utterly inappropriate for me to say it back, or even ask them to stop. So I don't do that shit, not only because I choose not to, but because it's socially incongruous. It's an opportunity for both sexism and classism! YAY!

To me, it's right up there with the customers who would stand too close and put their hand on my shoulder or arm while talking with me ("So, what're the latest movies, hon?"). It drove me nuts and I was inching away the whole time, trying not to let it show. Because, even in America where we've got one the biggest "personal space bubbles", if you ask someone to back out of your space or stop touching you during conversation as it makes you uncomfortable, even if you're polite about it, they usually look at you in shock. As though you're the one that's been unspeakably rude. Yeah. I'm rude, not the person who's been infringing on my personal space or autonomy without so much as a thought.

I don't generally call people on it when it's a casual encounter and if they're not obviously creepy- mostly because then I immediately get slapped with the "bitch" label and it can be not only tiresome (excuse me for not wanting to be addressed like a two-year-old, you priveleged douche), but hindering. I will, however make exceptions for: 50-year old waitresses in diners and certain swishy gay men. They say that shit to everyone. Their mom, their congressman, their customers, their pets, their priest, everyone. Can't argue with that kind of egalitarianism. So fine, they slide by.
But creepy old dudes who call you "little lady"? A) Are the reason I never want to move to the REAL South and B) Are likely to get a new asshole ripped if they call me that.
Anyone else hate this?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Shameless Thievery

I was wandering the blogosphere again, and found something so awesome (again, on Menstrual Poetry- Holly rocks my socks!) that I felt the need to bogart it for my own blog. This educational video from India may be the coolest thing I've seen all week, up to and including the Engineer's Guide to Cats.
I'm far too lazy to embed it in my own blog, but I found it to be both progressive and adorable. Who doesn't love dancing guys dressed like contraceptives? Also, it's nice to occasionally blog about the cool stuff, as opposed to spending my time pissed off (even though now I know I'm not crazy, or the only one who feels this way. Thank you Blogosphere!).
Eventually, I'll start doing my own research. But hopefully until then I'll be forgiven as long as I give credit where it's due.
Go watch. Giggle. And pray that we start educating people soon, and that we're half as catchy as that.

So Where's My Fence?

Let's put it out there right now- I'm a bisexual. Sorry if it ruins my street cred, but I've dated both, been with both men and women. Forgive me if I sound defensive- I am.
I get so tired of the views on bisexuals. Fence-sitters is one of the kinder things we're called. Also, experimental, "just a phase", gay-lite, sluts, greedy, indecisive, "not really" one thing or the other. Bi folks are depicted as opportunistic, or evil, or nymphomaniacs in movies. Drunk college girls in bars kiss each other to give the guys a show. (Performative bisexuality bugs the hell out of me. I guess what people want to do is their own business, but my sexuality isn't about thrilling anyone else. I don't want my life- any part of it- pornified for some tool who thinks "OMG grl-on-grl! Sooooo hawtt!!")
All this attached to little old me, and the whole time I'm standing here asking why? Why is it so weird to most people?

I admit to feeling marginalized by everybody- gays and straights. I feel bad when my partner is uncomfortable with it, or when my parents are, or when my coworkers are. I say I'm gay when asked, because "bisexual" is a mouthful, contains the word "sex" which subconsciously puts people off, and "bi" conjures up this flaky chick kissing everyone without discrimination. But it feels like a lie, like how I'd evasively answer "I like guys" when I was still in the closet, or when I just don't want to get into a shouting match with someone about my sexuality (which was none of their business in the first place).

I love being bisexual; actually I can't imagine being attracted to ONLY men or ONLY women. I'd feel so... limited. Before I get flamed: I absolutely don't think being bi is "better" than being straight or gay; I think everyone should be what they are without having to take shit about it. But it's something I have to tell people when they ask "why don't you just choose one or the other?" As if, of course I must. Because they've never heard of the Kinsey scale, and how most people aren't 'only' anything.

I'm not indecisive, nor greedy, nor do I sit on any kind of fence (because that implies refusal to commit to one thing or another). I'm not experimenting, it's not just a phase, and though I love to have sex, I still don't like being called a 'slut' as if it's bad to enjoy sex with whatever willing partner you choose. (This is fairly hypothetical, since I've committed to monogamy with someone. I don't think monogamy is the answer to everything, but it's how our society works, and it's hard to combat that brainwashing.)
I don't have to commit to one sex, to limit myself, to pretend to be someone I'm not. I'm attracted to or love someone for all of them, all of who they are, genitals included. I don't want to immediately discount someone as a possibility or put them in the "friends only" box just because they've got the 'wrong' set of bits.
I love being what I am. I don't want to hide it. I just want the world to keep its narrow mind out of my bedroom.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Oh Gods No, She's An Angry Feminist

*Because of my situation, this is an older post-but still relevant- that I've tweaked and posted here.*

So I was out having dinner with friends the other night, and the conversation got onto Feminism. Specifically, on paying for dinner. Should the guy do it, why should they, why do they, why do they like to, and why don't I like it when they try?

Sigh. I love being a feminist. I came to it slowly but surely and although I'm notoriously lazy, I'm looking for something to actually DO to further the cause. Blogging, I hope, will be part of this. (That's right, not just content with furthering The Gay Agenda; I'm lobbying for Vaginal Autonomy, too!) It's part of who I am, I'm proud of it, I think it's worthwhile. Duh.

The thing is, I don't always like to talk about it with people. Somehow, they always feel the need to argue with me about it. I do, believe it or not, get tired of this constant struggle to get people to understand things that, to me, are simple and universal truths. I have to reduce everything to simplest-possible, explaining things such as: no, sexism isn't subjective; and yes, even though everyone does it, putting women in bikinis to sell razors or beer or pie or whatthefuckever is not cool.
I'm left gritting my teeth whenever anyone says they "hate all that PC bullshit" and "whatever happened to freedom of speech". I end up arguing, or lecturing, or worse, being lectured myself. I find it wildly irritating to have the beliefs I've considered and researched to some extent be scrutinized and condescendingly dismissed by people who, in general, just aren't as well versed in feminism or feminist history or theory as I am. Aradia knows, I don't claim to be an expert, but still. Feminism 101, people!

So yes, I know that things are better for women now than they were. In some ways. In some places. Yes, I know that we can't expect change to come overnight. Yes, I know that people, the world, etc... aren't perfect. I've heard it.
But so many arguments I hear come down to "That's the way it always has been and always will be, amen, and women should be grateful for what we have now, and jeez why do you make yourself so angry about it?"

At this point I have to bite my tongue hard to keep from telling this well-meaning and oh, so, enlightened and progressive person to go fuck themselves. With a chainsaw. Because they don't know shit about feminism, or me, or my anger.
I've written this before, but it bears repeating: Intent counts for something, but just because someone doesn't intend to be a dick doesn't make it ok when they, you know, act like a dick.

I do not accept this world as it is. I do not accept its injustice, its patriarchal porntastic megatheocorporatocracy, its rape culture or the misogynist assholes who allow it to thrive. I do not accept that we should take the crumbs the patriarchy gives us and then shut up. I do not accept the nearly-worldwide and longstanding treatment of women as "lesser". I refuse anyone but me the right to dictate the disposition of my body or mind. I refuse to accept that this is how it has to be. And the opposite of anger and social outrage? Is complacency. Fuck that, too.

So yeah, I will call out your bullshit. I will get annoyed if you say something is "gay" even if you don't mean it "that way". I will not laugh at your sexist/racist/whateverist jokes. I will not listen to any arguments based on evo-psych (evolutionary psychology, or "Why menz must wants to haz sexx0rs with all teh wimminz!" or "Don't blame me, it's my genes/penis/biology!"), because evo-psych is a bullshit excuse. I will not argue with you about sexism being relative/subjective, because it's really not. I will get mad when I see women being objectified in culture. I will call it rape if it's rape, and I will call a rapist a rapist (I don't care if you know him and "he's really a good guy"). I won't care if you tell me I'm a bitch. I am. It doesn't make me wrong.
Gods... I meant for this to be a short post. I meant not to rant. Really. But frankly, nothing makes me angry like being told I shouldn't be so angry.

Please go read the belowlinked if you want to understand a bit more about my position on anger, written by the awesome Melissa from Shavesville.

And about paying? I may like you, but I don't have to explain why I don't want you paying for my drinks/dinner/movie ticket/whatever. If you want to, and I let you, fine. If I don't want you to, or if you don't want to, then Dutch it is. Funny how if you don't want to pay I'm expected to be fine with it- and I am- but when you not paying is MY idea, it's "damn, that bitch is crazy!" On occasion, I may even pay for you. Shocking, I know.
Don't, please don't, fucking tell me I should be grateful, or not complain "when someone wants to be nice to me". Nice, to me, is someone respecting my wishes and letting me carry shit on my own if I want to. Your reasons and my reasons for doing things are based on entirely different worldviews, strongly predicated on the fact that I don't have a penis. And I’m ok with that.

I've heard the reasons for wanting to "do [whatever] for me"... Great. As well-meaning as you are, they just sound kind of patronizing and um, full o' Dude Privilege. Because I can do it for myself. I'm not even going into the old "he pays, she puts out" equation. I'll optimistically assume that most guys in this decade don't subscribe to that thought line. But just in case, I'd rather pay my own way and not owe anyone anything. Not a hug, not a kiss goodnight, not a second date or "the pleasure of my company". A rotten prick who pays for my drink is still going to be walked out on. And my response to the Nice Guy who says, "But it makes me feel good to [be able to] take care of you!" is usually: "Yeah well, it makes me feel good to take care of myself! And by the way, it's not my fucking job to stroke your ego!"

I worked hard for such independence as I currently have. To ask me to give up even a little bit- even temporarily- when it suits you, because it makes you feel powerful, or warm and fuzzy, or you just feel entitled... it grates on me. Until men and women are really equal, I take my equality where I can get it. So shut up and let me spend my money. I worked for it.
And don’t tell me not to get so angry. Because women are brought up to nurture, not to be loud, to compromise, to be liked, to not create discord, to make everyone happy, and to be "ladylike", whatever that means... I'll be angry if I fucking want to.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Kitty/Ferret Relations Continue Strained

Right now, cause of moving preparation and other things, blogging will be unpredictable. Not that it was predictable before now. But possibly less frequent. I still have a lot to say, though, don't worry!
In the meantime, I'm posting this pic of my kitty Haven and my Ferret's ferret Loki trying to get along. (Yes, my partner Ferret owns a ferret. And yes, Loki is bald. Don't question me.) So far not much progress yet. Haven is disgusted by the intrusion on her territory. I'm guessing world peace isn't in my purview, then, if I can't even prevent BBT (Bottle Brush Tail).
Just felt the need to say something. Posts this weekend maybe, between studying sessions.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Clinging Like Hell To Your Prejudices Must Be Hard Work

This is probably going to be more of a rant than anything else coherent. I have a coworker, let's call her M. Now M is an okay person, a little bossy and overtalkative, but fine. Work is boring and she's nice enough. We don't have a lot in common, but we talk. Unfortunately, she angered the hell out of me by saying two different really awful things, and when I told her that I was offended by them and why she shouldn't use terms like that, I got told in no uncertain terms that I'm too sensitive and she has the right to her opinion, among other things. Oh, and "that's just the way people talk/that's how it is". I did not scream at her, "BUT YOU'RE FUCKING WRONG!!"- I could sense that it would be a bad move. Give me credit for that I guess. So, the things in question:
1. She's describing a female coworker of her husband, who works in a traditionally male-dominated field. It's outdoor labor and the pay is okay but not great. Apparently, this woman's suspect behavior includes taking this job (even though she's a non-butch girl) , being attractive, flirting with men although she's married, and having a bad relationship with her husband. These last two are pretty iffy- how does one verify this, other than "Well, I heard..."?
M states that "She just took this job because she can hang around with men all day, because she's desperate for male attention. She's a whore and a slut. I mean, she's married and I hear she flirts with all these guys. How pathetic."
At which point I needed to *headdesk*.

There are so many things wrong with this statement (which wasn't terribly papraphrased, either) that my head starts hurting. I try to gently explain to M what slut-shaming is, that's she doing it, and why she shouldn't... and it's like talking to a wall. The ideas that: maybe the woman does actually just like the job and it has nothing to do with men, or that her marriage or the state of it is no one's business but hers, or that how she acts isn't M's business, or that she could be banging every guy in the department and lingustically, unless she's getting paid for it it doesn't make her a whore, or that even if she was an actual whore (sex worker?) it's not M's job to give approval or scorn, or most importantly that calling women sluts or whores is degrading to all women and we shouldn't fucking do it... none of these ideas take. And yes, it's wrong if she's cheating, but again, has nothing to do with me OR M. I finally say, "We shouldn't be making judgements about someone else's life, either way." Her response: "But everyone does it anyway." Yeah, obviously you've got it down solid. Glad I've never just gone around willy-nilly, having sex when and with whom I choose to; that'd be really slutty! (Oh wait...)

2. She said a phrase I hate with a fiery passion: "That's so gay". And Ceiling H Cat, I just want to smack people who do this. Also using "fag" as an insult. (Unless you're British and you think calling someone a cigarette is just scathing. Brits can ignore this.) I explain to her that I hate it because it's equating the word "gay", as in, queer/lesbian/bi/wev, with something that's bad or stupid. Please see this excellent post about it from Shakesville. Her response was textbook: I have no problem with gay people, I'm not using it THAT way, it's just a slang term, people can say what they want, why are you so sensitive, it shouldn't bother you, blah blah blah. Fuck you, it shouldn't bother me. You know what? Too much rum in my daiquiri shouldn't bother me. Hate speech should, and does. fucking. bother. me.

My not-overly-bright 18 year old brother does this as well, and I take issue with it with him too. I hated it before I came out, which is something else she asked (as if it mattered). I compared: If someone says "Oh, he's such a Jew", in reference to someone being cheap (another thing my bro does that I hate), and a guy standing nearby says "Hey, I'm Jewish and that's offensive", you'd hope the speaker would apologize, feel like an ass, and consider his words more carefully in the future. You'd hope at least, if you were wildly optimistic.

When I made this comparison to M, she considered "Jew=cheap" a totally negative and hateful stereotype and would never say it. But "gay=bad/stupid" is totally ok, because, actually, the word "gay" really means happy, so it's all good. Um...no, I explain, that hasn't been common usage for Americans since the 50's. So far as I know, the LGBT community, me included, prefers "gay" to "homosexual", which is I guess the 'technically accurate' term (as she argues it is). We don't like 'homosexual' because creepy fundies and right wingers have taken that word and infused it bad connotations. (See here, wherein Christian news websites fuck it up hardcore, to the amusement of many.)

But never mind what the people who are actually IN the group you're trying to label want to be called, as long you don't have to give up your straight privelege.
Anyway, the point is, I couldn't win, she didn't apologize for shit, didn't see how anything she was saying was the least bit wrong, and refused to see how maybe it could be. What to do, what to say with someone like this? Someone who thinks they're a good person but talks like an asshole half the time? She's also said once something to the effect that "girls who got pregnant cause they were irresponsible (ie, didn't use BC or force their partner to use a condom) or who've had too many abortions should be forced to have the child to teach them responsibility for their actions"... Which is another post about "wrong on so many levels".

I'm so glad I'm leaving this job soon. My partner Ferret is job searching in the Frozen North-Midwest so we can start fresh up there, cause the economy here bites. I'm not thrilled at the idea of the MidWest, but I'm sure as hell not thrilled about staying here either. People like this make me think I'd rather work alone.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Obama Sez "Check With Your Religious Representative Before You Go All Krazy"

So I was reading this post from Shakesville (Jeff is awesome). I have been commenting all over the blogosphere lately, it feels like. Coming out of my lurker status to actually put my opinion on the Inter-webs, where people can possibly *gasp* criticize it! I know, that's what I'm doing here, I guess. So... maybe it's good practice for being criticized? I'm hoping some of it will make me, if not a better feminist (although I do acknowledge it as a possibility), at least a better, clearer and more concise writer.

But that whole late-term abortion thing is just annoying. Obama's yapping about mental health issue not being a valid reason for a late-term abortion just sounds like a patronizing and dangerous "We'll allow you to have your evil abortion if your physical health is threatened, but not your psyche, because who gives a shit about your useless mind and feelings unless you might not be able to pump out more of the precious babiez! Also, we can't have women running around willy-nilly deciding two days before their due date that, wait, that baby would really screw up their manicure. But uh, hey, girl power!"
Wow, that was a lot of interpretation on my part, there. But hyperbole aside, it really does feel like that to me.

And yes, while the chance of women having 'frivolous' abortions is vanishingly unlikely- rarely, I would think, does a woman say "Hey, think I'll abort this fetus at 8 months, cause it'll be fun!"- it may happen. The thing is, just because a few women are stupid, irresponsible, selfish or even sadistic enough to do something like that, doesn't mean we should deny late-term abortions across the board.

Again, I stress options. Per example: Irresponsible use of alcohol kills a hell of a lot of people, but after the first attempt at Prohibition, no one's saying "Okay, you irresponsible douchebags have ruined it for the rest of the country. NO BOOZE FOR YOU!" So how come this is different?

I was just angry, especially at Obama's "Abortion is a woman's decision to make with her doctor, family, and pastor" trope. And that's not really paraphrasing. Yeah, fuck that. Either it's a woman's decision, she's a big girl and can think about how to handle her uterus all on her own, or she's incapable (cause of those tiny little wimmin-brainz) and has to have other people make the decision for her.

Ah, Obama, I had such hopes for you! I thought you actually got the "woman as human being" decision! What's a feminist to do, other than bitch, moan and complain. Yeah, I know... but hey, I'm feeling a bit discouraged. It's my party blog and I'll bitch if I want to.

And that song reference makes me think back to one of my first feminist moments. When I was a little kid riding in the car with my mom, she listened to the oldies stations obsessively. And there was a "sequel song" to 'It's My Party' called 'Now It's Judy's Turn To Cry'. You know, the first song was about her boyfriend dumping her for some other chick? This song's about how it's this girl's turn to cry (maybe at a party?) because "Johnny's [dumped this bitch and] come back to me". My thought about this, even as a kid, was: "Why the hell isn't she mad at the guy who dumped her in the first place? What's so great about this guy? Isn't she mad? And isn't it kinda mean to be happy that some other girl's crying cause this guy did to her what he did to you? WTH?" What can I say, I wasn't a terribly articulate feminist at 8.
Does anyone else have a First Feminist moment they remember?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

In Which I Use Profanity

And it won't be the last time, for sure. So there was this blog from a while ago at Menstrual Poetry (which I totally intend to add to my blogroll now) about the coolness of same-sex marriage legalization in California. A great post on what marriage is and should be. And disallowing certain kinds of marriage is, yes, unconstitutional. Limiting marriage to "one man and one woman" seems a little unenlightened at this point. People don't always pair out that way. (Sometimes they don't make pairs at all, but that's several different posts.)

And yes, if we break the "man/woman only" rule, people are totally gonna marry their pets, or kids, or furniture, or something, now. Because that's the same thing as two consenting adults who are committed to and care for each other. Like, oh, Britney and K-Fed? /sarcasm
Now on the one hand, I think marriage is definitely patriarchal and fairly heteronormative, two things I try and avoid. On the other hand, until the Twisty Revolution totally reshapes society, it's the best way for two people to be together with as much protection and help as the laws can give them. As a clitoriste with a partner I someday hope to entangle on a lifetime level, I'm all about giving us more options. And as with abortions, whether you intend to do it or not, it should be an option for those who want or need it.

But one of the comments on there was... well, conservative. From a guy who apparently posts often on there. I think I may have broken some netiquette rules with this reply to his comment, but the guy was such a smug, arrogant jerk (and making some fairly broad and unfounded statements, by the way), that it pissed me off.
Yes, I know. I posted angrily. On a post that was last commented on a month ago. Bad Lemur, no pingbacks. Some gems from this dude include :

"Marriage is and should always be between a man and a woman. The purpose of marriage, which is a religious tradition, is for procreation."
"There is no separation of church and state in the Constitution either. Our founding documents are all based on Christian doctrine."
"They [the ACLU] are only about promoting the liberal agenda to include holding up homosexuals and pedophiles as examples."

Oh, and this whole bit (emphasis mine):

"The problem with two people having the same sexual organs who want to “conjunct” as you put it is a perversion, it’s un-natural, and its immoral. The problem is that there is a congenital defect at birth where there is an abnormal hormonal imbalance. Rather than treat it medically, people like you have accepted it as natural rather than correct it medically as with all other congenital defects that are treatable.
The problem is that it is not “politically correct” for medical practitioners to speak out, yet there is plenty of peer reviewed studies and documentation that proves what I have stated. It is a liberal agenda to allow this to continue rather than do what is right for these people to lead normal lives by providing them the medical treatment they need rather than allow them to continue this way. The APA was forced to remove homosexuality from the DSM-III because of political pressure - but - the APA still feels it is a medical and psychological condition that is treatable."

My response to this upwelling of genius:
Yeah, BoBo, have you considered that you (and conservatives in general) wanna tell other people how to live? You can't just leave people alone? What's it matter to you if two guys in Maine wanna get married because they're in love, or a woman in Florida would rather have her partner visiting her in the hospital than her (possibly hostile) family? But no, if you can't understand something, it's gotta be a sickness, or a perversion. Because of course it has to fall under your definition of "normal and natural", or it's perverse and evil.
That, to me, is the mental illness, and "people like you" have "accepted it as natural" and think it's the normal way to be.
I'm perfectly natural- a human being like everyone else, and not evil, and certainly not mentally ill. (By the way, we've been around since recorded history, and we haven't eaten all your babies and ass-raped your pets so far). And if, as you say, the APA still feels that all gay folks are crazy and that it's reversible... cite your sources. Tell me where the APA specifically states that. 'Cause I think you made that up.
You freakin' panty-sniffers are more concerned with checking genitals and sticking your noses into bedrooms of consenting adults around the country than letting its citizens- ALL of them- lead normal lives. On their own. Without your input.

I know, not exactly on a genius level myself there, but I was mad as hell! People like that generally reduce me to the "frothing at the mouth" stage within minutes. I mean, I don't know a single feminist/liberal/queer who doesn't hate that pairing of "homosexuals and pedophiles". Like it's the same. Like if you think the former's ok, you must be sick enough to think the latter is.
Ugh, assbags. It's all I can do not to metaphorically key their cars. Am I immature? Maybe. But sometimes I wanna say: screw the nonviolence, I do NOT have time for this shit. Break out the fucking pipe bombs and let's just get on with it!

Deep breathing. Yeah, right.

Friday, July 4, 2008

"You Have Too Many Thoughts."

It's been said to Willow and it's been said to me. I think too much. If I'm not thinking, I'm asleep. Or, you know, having the evil sex. So now that I've gotten that overshare out of the way, I'm thinking about why I want to write this blog. I think it's BECAUSE I think too much. Because I get so damn angry about the shit that I see and hear and read everyday, and everyone means well, but they keep telling me how I shouldn't get so angry. That I'm too sensitive. "Oh, Lemur, the patriarchy doesn't run the world! Strippers are well paid, so saying their job is degrading is a negation of their [empowerful] choice! Budweiser comercials commending the maker of the push-up bra aren't at all offensive! And by the way, clenching your teeth like that is really bad for you."
I look at the blogs that I admire: The Curvature, run by Cara. I stumbled across this blog doing a random Google of something like "sexism in Disney movies"... because I randomly Google shit I find interesting, and I know I'm not the only one. So one of them randomly linked to a Curvature article, and my life was different. Which sounds really stupid, I know. But who the hell knew there were feminist blogs? With well-researched articles, and ideas that were new, and opinions and insights on stuff that mattered? For that matter, who knew the Patriarchy was so well-entrenched? Not me. Not then. I mean, shit.
Just a month or so ago I ran into The Sugarbutch Chronicles, and aside from immediately developing the biggest case of the vapors over the sexiness of Sinclair Sexsmith, I was struck by the intelligence and thought that goes into this blog on sex, gender/queer theory, and butch/femme relationships. I also read some of her erotic posts- short stories, I guess, some true and some fiction- and have immediately developed a case of writer's envy. Aaaand a severe case of horny, every time I read them.
So yes, while I'd love to eventually have a blog that's as intelligent and relevant as some of the ones I admire (and half as acidly fucking funny as Twisty Faster's IBTP), for now I'm developing my own style, thinking of stuff I wanna say, and debating what I SHOULD say.
Should I talk about my personal stuff? I research a lot of stuff here on the big scary Intar-webs, and I guess a Blogger's 101 course is in order. Going to do that now. Til then, I'm guessing... some ranting, some personal shit, and some questions that I feel need to be asked.
Like, OMCC what do I do now?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Poste the Firste...

This is my first official public blog. I'm a little freaked. Not affiliated with MySpace or anything like that. I started this blog cause I've seen a lot in the Blogosphere in the last few months that I've admired. I admire a blog's ability to cause comment, thought, dialogue, and sometimes anger. I love the idea that people might wanna read the thoughts in my brain (and they are many, varied, and fairly depraved), the way I read the thoughts from the brains of some of MY favorite bloggers. I'd like to try and be serious-ish; discuss real issues and real thoughts, although I can't promise not to blog about my cat occasionally. I have a DeadJournal, so I don't need yet another place to whine. All I have to do is figure out this linking thing, and I'm golden!
Oh... and I have to have some deep thoughts to blog about. So, maybe I'm just vaguely metallic.
Any comments will be... shocking, actually, cause no one knows about this thing yet.
Ninja Blogger!