Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Can't Bear It

So I broke down and went to the coin wash to do my laundry today, and it was like time-traveling back to the 70's- big washers, dryers with names on 'em, a soda machine from before I was born... It was actually a nice little place, except for one thing.

On the corkboard that all these place seem to have on a wall somewhere ( you know, with business cards and ads selling stuff with the phone numbers on rip-off slips at the bottom), there was a picture of a big black bear sitting at a picnic table.
Cute, yeah? Not so much.

The text underneath read: 
"This bear captures a disturbing trend that is beginning to affect wildlife in the US.

Animals that were formerly self-sufficient are now showing signs of belonging to the Democrat Party... as they have apparently learned to just sit and wait for the government to step in and provide for their care and sustenance. The locals in [Some Midwest Park] named this one 'Bear-ack Obama'!

Get it? Get it????  It's not just funny cause the bear is black! Its funny cause Democrats just wanna hand things out to all the lazy people and/or have things handed them, and now, animals will do it too! LOLZ, amirite???
I mean, it makes sense. I know I've never heard of a Republican who get his job/money/life handed to him by a rich, powerful father. No no, all those Repubs did it themselves!

[Insert sound of crickets chirping]

Yeah, I had a hard time keeping a straight face when I typed that.
What I really wanted to do was write underneath: "If this same bear had gone on a rampage and gotten several people killed, he'd have been nicknamed 'John McCain'.

Instead I folded my shirts and put my business card up on the corkboard. Sigh.
I comfort myself by vowing that if I get any Obama-hatin' racist misogynist homophobe potential clients, I'll tell them I'm a big ol' liberal dyke. Oh, and that I'd rather see my tax money go to helping people- whether they've "earned" it or not- than go to more war, more CEO's private jets and more campaign funds.

Fucking Conservatives.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Listening to Fear

So I was discussing things with my Ferret yesterday. Mainly guy culture, and why I get so sick of it. Most of dude culture annoys me- things like (1)the glorification of bodily functions- except when women's bodies are involved; (2) the ritual of "bullshitting"- i.e., lying for the the hell of it/to make yourself sound 'cooler'; and (3) the building of trust not by talking or sharing or anything that makes sense, but by doing (1) and (2) while hanging out with each other forever until somehow you just know your compatriot's an "ok guy". The thing I really hate though, is (4) "bros before hos"- that huge part of dude culture dedicated to "keeping the wimminz in their place". You've heard it- make me a sammich, give me a blowjob, iron my shirt, don't talk, hur hur threesomes, blah blah blah I'm an asshole.
And even the guys that aren't, individually, so bad, become like this when a bunch of them get together. It's like the small amount of entitlement that lurks in the hearts of otherwise decent dudes grows in direct proportion to how many (hetero, generally) men you get in one place.

Ferret, of course, takes my tirade rather personally and jumps to the defense of her dudely brethren, which is totally depressing. "Sure, there are some assholes out there. But how many girls only want a guy for his money... blah backstabbing catty wenches, blah blah psycho chicks, blah blah, upshot: women are just as bad as men."

I disagree. Not that I am excusing the members of my sex/gender from being assholes- anybody can be an asshole. But I point out to Ferret that, while it can happen, I am wildly less likely to be physically or sexually assaulted (axe-murdered, raped, jumped on the street, et cetera) by someone with lady-parts. In other words, I am not afraid of women. Freaked out by, confused by, amazed by, afraid for, and often proud of, yeah. But I'm not afraid of women. Men, on the other hand? Allow me at this juncture to chuckle and look away uneasily.

There are reasons. It's my personal life experiences, it's the statistics and stories in the news. It's the things we are shown in the media. We are called hysterical, bitches, and dysfunctional for saying it, but it's true. Women are still the sex class, second-class, not considered "real people", still oppressed. And the pervading feeling of the underclass is always fear. Fear when I walk to my car alone at night, when I'm around a strange group of men, when I'm alone anywhere. It's not a huge! obtrusive! fear!, but a low-level wariness in my brain, and it's always there. And I don't think I'm the only woman who lives her life like this.

And...I hate this. I try never to admit it. I don't want to be that woman. I don't want the fear to run me. I don't want that to be the reason for my feminism, and I don't think it is- otherwise my blog would probably resemble IBTP a lot more. (I mean in a separatist sense- I'm not implying Twisty fears the dudez.)

But here's the thing: we have a group of teenage boys in our house on a regular basis (please don't ask me how that happened). They're good kids, they really are. But I tend to be a bit of a control freak when they're there, because I'm used to being ignored/talked over/dismissed by guys, and I'm not letting it happen this time. I'm the boss, dammit! Me! And I'm worried about getting the respect I think I deserve- keeping in mind that respect for teenagers is relative. I worry about control. Also, what I always think about with dudes is: how do they talk about women when women aren't around?.
And Ferret asked me: "Do you really think any of those boys are abusive rapist bastards? Really, Lemur?"
"No! But I'm afraid one day they might be, and it freaks me out, and I don't know how to fix it." 
I don't know how to fix them, or me, or whether any of us actually need fixing at all.

And I get so damn angry when I think about the fear.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


So I got to thinking the other day. I was walking through Wal-Mart (I hate that place with a fucking fiery passion), and I saw a butch. An older lady, with her partner, which was a really nice thing to see. Yes. Butch sighting in the WalMart! Now those make my day any time, but more so here in this town where apparently you keep your 'mo on the down-low. So as she was walking by, I thought: I love when I recognize a member of the Family. But... how would they recognize me? If she heard me say "Day-um!" under my breath (I did, too), would she take it as a compliment or think I was just another uppity breeder? 

I have issues about my personal visibility because there are so many factors. (I have so many issues, I should just buy the subscriptions, but anyway.)
For one, I don't want to brodcast my identity to everyone because, well, I'm still not comfy being gay in this town. I still worry, and it makes me mad that I have to worry about losing clients or assholes accosting me, but there it is. Hell, it was a major personal triumph when I put a small rainbow decal on my car! 

Then, too, I'm sort of... in the middle when it comes to gender expression. I'm certainly not high femme, like the lovely SublimeFemme. But I'm also not butch, like the studly Sinclair. I'm a- Ellen said it perfectly: "I'm not really a lipstick lesbian. I'm more of a... Chapstick lesbian." Sometimes I feel like I'm not recognizable as much of anything. Someone tell me, is it just me? Do any other queer girls wish for a box, a label, a knowable and noticeable archetype, or even a stereotype? Anybody else wonder sometimes whether things would be different-- easier-- if you were a different flavor? Something simple like say, mint chocolate, instead of cherry-banana-vanilla-mocha-walnut? 
What the hell is a Practical Femme to do? 

So that's my issue for the week, kittens. I worry about not looking femme enough. I worry about looking too butch. I worry about being too visible as gay, and not visible enough.
And then my partner asks me why it is I get so stressed. 
Is it just me?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sparkly Beef Humor

So last night I took some meat out of the freezer to defrost (and yes, this Wiccan does eat meat. More on that some other time), and Ferret saw it in the fridge and said "Hey hon? Where'd we get this?" 
"The freezer, dear; I just took it out" said I.
"You're sure?"
I sigh in exasperation.

"No. I lied. The Magical Meat Fairy dropped it off. She magically left us some magical sparkly twinkly beef in the freezer."

My Ferret muttered something snarky and wandered away, but "sparkly twinkly meat" became my catchphrase for the rest of the night. Including at the top of my lungs in the store parking lot, much to her chagrin.

*snerk* Twinkly beef!

Hey, Look, I Got My Wish

I wished for something to talk about besides BDSM-bashing...Now I wish I hadn't. 

Oh, and by the way, FUCK cultural relativism. No really, one person makes that argument to me and I will invent a way to send a headslap through email.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Is It Over Yet? Cause Now I'm Pissed.

Is this whole "OMGZ BDSM can DIAF" thing over yet? Can we talk about something else? I swear to Gaia I would rather sit and discuss the Jessica Simpson Weight Nontroversy (thanks Liss) than hear one more comment about how bdsm'ers are pathetic or need therapy or what the fuck ever.

I'm starting to get righteously pissed about this whole thing- because while lying in bed with my partner (after some awesome sex that left me bruised and sore, since you're wondering), I remembered something, and have been given permission to post it on here. Ferret didn't really think about sex til she met me. When we started to be physical with each other, in our late teens, there was a memorable episode wherein she and I both came to realize that she was both Dom and a sadist. She, having not much experience or knowledge about the sexual randomness that's out there, freaked. She freaked completely and wouldn't come near me afterward, afraid she'd hurt me. Afraid she couldn't control herself, that I'd hate her and think she was a monster. Afraid she was actually an abusive bastard who couldn't love anyone without hurting them. 
We worked it out- I got over the shock fairly fast and had a talk with her about BDSM, about how it can be okay, and about how I happened to share some of her feelings about sex and pain. We managed, and happily we found we had complimentary desires, and ten years later we still do. 
But if there hadn't been someone with her who understood? If there'd been someone who held the same views as, say, ND there that night? 
And if someone in the same place Ferret was in- that place of being afraid of yourself, denying that you want these things, hating yourself, wondering what kind of sick freak you are- happens to read that blog, especially the part about how all "those people" "need serious therapy" and "get off on torture" and should just "kill themselves"? What do you think that will do to them? What the fuck happens to that person?
How cruel is it to blast not just strong adults who understand their sexuality, but maybe trigger those people just discovering that side of themselves? How many people have you hurt, ND- really, cruelly, maybe destroyed, because you had to make judgements on a lifestyle you don't fucking understand and haven't really bothered to research? Do you know whether your words have driven any confused teenagers to "fucking kill themselves"? 
Is it worth it, dammit? 

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Embrace the Pain, Dammit!

Wow... so this is kind of a scary discussion. There's a whole series of it, by the way, and I am not the only one who's taking offense, apparently.
ND, speaking as someone who generally likes your stuff, not cool. Why would you ask these questions if you don't think there's a possibility of changing your mind? Why, if you're going to discuss BDSM, would you only take on this one aspect of it? And I don't know how you can agree with your commenters who treat the sub (and dom) women (and men) who answer you as though their actual, lived experiences don't matter. As though they're crazy, brainwashed, anti-feminist nutjobs if they're submissive women, and sadistic misogynist serial-rapist bastards if they're men.
I mean hell, where do I even fit in with all that? What am I, chopped liver?
It's hard not to take it as a personal attack on my own agency and sexuality. I'm a bisexual feminist in a relationship with a Dom woman- so what does that make me? Deluded, abused, not actually extant? Is it better because Ferret's a woman, or worse because she's butch, so that makes her "like a man"? 
FFS, nobody "groomed" either one of us to like what we like. We just do. And yes, I've been in relationships that were strictly "vanilla" and it was fine. So? Just because I can be content with that, does it mean I should limit myself to only "plain" sex because anything else is "disgusting"? 
Just because I can enjoy sex and relationships with men, does that mean I shouldn't be with my Ferret, because Xtian fundies think it's "disgusting"?  
Because my partner enjoys being dominant, rough, and violent in bed with me, that makes her an abuser, sick, demented? Because she enjoys that dark side of herself, she should kill herself? Come the fuck on.

I enjoy the adrenaline rush that comes with fear during sex-- it's controlled fear like a rollercoaster, not the sickening helplessness of real rape-panic. I enjoy the endorphin rush that accompanies pain done well, and wouldn't do it with anyone I didn't trust totally. 
I love my partner and I'm sorry but I get a little offended at anyone telling me that what I like is "sick" or "abuse". I was in an abusive relationship, thanks. He never beat me, the sex was vanilla, and I was still miserable. Now I have a partner who sometimes whips me with a belt during sex and I've never been so happy. I've given a LOT of thought to BDSM and its feminist implications; thought about whether I'm defective, thought about whether I really enjoy it or whether I'm just doing it because Ferret loves it. 

Is it kinda weird? Yeah. Is it abuse? I'm gonna say no. Do I know the difference? I think so.

I can understand why ND feels the way she does; I get it. It's hard for me to watch a man tie up and flog a woman and NOT associate it with "actual" torture, even knowing the woman in question has not just consented but probably requested this treatment- because she enjoys it. Because yeah, women have been and still are abused that way and it's hard not to see enjoyment of it as a pathology. 
So I get how it would horrify her. 
But...but! It's not the whole story, and it is indeed a long and complicated story. And reducing it to a few sentences- leaving half the numbers out of the equation- means you get a flawed answer. And telling the multitude of men and women who swear they enjoy BDSM that they are sick, deluded, or brainwashed doesn't give enough credit to the agency or free will of strong, intelligent adults- myself among them.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Why Lemur Doesn't Make Lawyer Jokes, Part 2

Continuing from Part 1,  we have a very frightened Lemur, who finally managed to leave her abusive boyfriend. 

She was running out of strength. Her friends were distant, her family was losing patience, and she was becoming afraid to leave the house because every white truck she saw triggered fear. So as a last resort, she did what she'd been taught: she went to the police. She had called them before, but they never seemed to be able to help. This time, though, she had a goal: a restraining order. Something, anything, to make him stop! So she went- and got an interview with a bored-looking officer who not-quite-sneered at her lack of "hard evidence" and told her there was nothing he could do; a judge wouldn't grant a restraining order without evidence of threats of physical harm, which she didn't have. She walked out, feeling alone and helpless.

This was it. There was no way to stop him; the only other option was to try and avoid him- even though he knew her phone number, where she worked, where she lived, where her friends lived... even though he'd accosted her in daylight, in a public place, in his work uniform and seemed to have gotten away with it. There would be time to gather her strength and self-reliance and work out a plan later; at that point, Lemur was defeated. She sat in her car in the police station parking lot and gave in to misery and fear. As Lemur sat there and sobbed, there was a tap on her car window.
A lady stood there in the parking lot next to her car, looking concerned. Lemur opened the door and looked at her. "Are you ok?" asked the lady. At this bit of concern, Lemur lost her reserve and broke down, explaining that her ex-boyfriend was stalking and harassing her and that the police had told her there was nothing they could do about it. The lady's face darkened. "Like hell there's not! You come with me." Lemur followed the woman  across the parking lot toward a different part of the police building, at a complete loss. The lady explained as they walked that she was a public defender; when they got to her office, she sat Lemur down and told her in no uncertain terms that there were, in fact, laws for cases just such as hers, adding her professional opinion that the cop Lemur had spoken to "just didn't want to do the damn paperwork. Lazy ass. You realize if you'd gotten hurt, he's guilty of negligence?"

The lady looked up the laws, showed them to Lemur and gave her a copy of the relevant pages, and then asked for Jerkoff's phone number.
She left a message on his phone: "You should call me for some free legal advice, unless you'd like the first time you speak to me be when you're in jail on a felony charge." She hung up the phone and smiled. "Here's my card. Call me if he bothers you again, but I don't think he will."
She was right. Lemur waited anxiously for a day, two days, a week, a month. Nothing. It was like he'd disappeared. She was finally free, she could leave the house! (Still, it took several more  weeks before she stopped being afraid of white trucks.) She could drive by Jerkoff's neighborhood without detouring to avoid it. Several months later, she met someone nice and realized she was strong enough to try dating again. She grew, and she learned, and she mourned the things she had lost and the time she had wasted. And she held on to the lessons she'd learned, and swore she'd never be such a fool again. (So far, so good.)
But she never forgot the lady lawyer who saved her, gave her her life back, and gave her hope when she was on the edge of despair. Not the police. Not the system. One strong woman, one lawyer who cared about an anonymous wreck of a girl in a parking lot. She didn't forget.

And that is why this Lemur- badass irreverent feminist bitch- doesn't make lawyer jokes. Because a lawyer saved me when no one else would or could. Why did I tell this story? I don't know. Because I felt it important to share my experience. Because someone reading may recognize their own past or present; because someone may avoid that future. 

Because- thank you, Carol-  hope comes from unlikely places.

Friday, February 6, 2009

It Breaks My Heart

So I was going to post Part 2 next, and I will, but I wanted everyone who reads my blog- yeah, all 3 of you- to see this video, via Feministe and Shakesville. I cried like a baby and I wish there was a way to make everyone watch it. I'ma go post it on myspace, facebook, anywhere I've carved out a piece of the 'Net for myself. I want to marry my Ferret someday and I hope that when we decide to, we'll be able to.

"Fidelity": Don't Divorce... from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.

Why Lemur Doesn't Make Lawyer Jokes: A Long and Painful Story, Part 1

Let me tell you a story:

Several years ago, in a far-away place in the South, there was a young Lemur. This Lemur didn't consider herself naive or easily led; she was sexy and strong and confident. But one day through some friends, this Lemur met a guy when she was newly-single and rebounding. This guy, we'll call him Jerkoff, was in fact a handsome and charming guy, and Lemur soon found herself dating him, despite the occasional... difference of opinion. To make a VERY long story short, Jerkoff soon proved himself to be a manipulative, abusive bastard. Miserable and fearful, having lost many of the things in life most important to her, Lemur struggled with the relationship for nearly two years before she finally found the strength to leave him behind for good.
Jerkoff, however, was determined not to go quietly. Oh, no. He had her under his thumb (despite her repeated attempts at independence) and he knew how to make her cry. He knew how to make her angry and frustrated, and he decided to get his revenge on her for having the audacity to leave him. He began his campaign: he called her phone dozens of times a day. He tried to get into her car when she left him for the final time. He followed her to friends' houses and tried to see her. He began vandalizing her car, nearly injuring her twice. He called and threatened her, threatened her parents and threatened to kill the pet cats she'd been forced to leave with him. He cornered her at a gas station and threw soda on her car: seemingly not a big thing, but humiliating and demoralizing.

To be continued on Part 2...