Monday, June 1, 2009

cultural sensitivity and all that

it's interesting the things that strike you. i'm working these days for a company that does email support and i just took an email from a person with a very Chinese name. i was not aware that two first names was a common naming convention, and apparently neither was the company i work for. but this person was not able to put their two first names into the first name box. and it occurs to me, this is something i would have never thought of. i will never have to deal with. and how much does this have to hurt, to not be able to write your name the right way on a fucking Internet form? to have some stupid company deny your name. and yeah, i'm sure there's people who would say, "so?" who would see this as a tiny deal that this person should just get over. but names hold power, and being able to own your name is to own yourself. maybe it's because our culture has come away from the idea that your name should stand for something, should be who you are in terms of honor and dignity, that you shouldn't do things that would dirty your name. maybe it's just the privilege of our culture running roughshod over others.

and maybe the reaction is what separates people who "get" it from those who don't. does this mean i "get" it now? on the one hand, i hope so. and on the other hand, i hope not. i don't want to be the smug asshole who thinks they get it and stops listening.

Friday, May 1, 2009

So then...

it's been a while, and i know it. early march saw me joining the growing leigon of unemployed and it all just made me intorvert. but, lucky me, i'm back to work and will probably have more to say in the near future.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

I Have No Words

i know i promised you the second part of my feminism and BDSM rant, but this image took my breath away. literally. i'm tearing up, looking at this beautiful woman, who's body looks so much like mine. and i don't know how i could have managed to miss the add campaign that produced it. apparently the body shoppe does this kind of thing regularly. next to it's slick shots of it's products. and i don't think i can ever bring myself to spend money at any other body product store again. this is profound, in a way i'm finding hard to express. she looks like i do. fleshy and folded and round and lovely. she is lovely to look at. and i look like her. is this what my beloved sees when he looks at me? i don't think i've ever felt, for all the hard won self love and all the hard won sanity, as though i could be simply beautiful. beautiful despite my size and shape, beautiful within my size and shape, sure. but simply beautiful? i find the words inadequate to express this...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

FemDomme Feminist? Part I

so this whole nine duce debate flare up and subsequent rad fem insanity has me wanting to bash my head against a wall. on my best days i don't understand or really have much tolerance for hypocrites. and maybe i'm judging too harshly by calling these women hypocrites. but i know that if these same patronizing words came from a penis wielding human, they'd be frothing at the mouth over it. news flash! i don't need therapy, i've never been molested, i don't want to hurt the world for fun, i'm not crazy, delusional, or incapable of analytically looking at the way i live my life. and neither are the women you have insulted by saying these exact things to and about with venom and vitriol in your every post.

and since no one there wants to even touch femdomme, and i have a fucking blog, i get to do it. so yeay for me i guess...

here's the thing, female domination as a kink is just as much a part of patriarical sexuality as female submission. the idea of the strong amazonian woman who will crush a man with her thighs, belittle his tiny dick, fuck him for her pleasure, and then stuff him in a corner until future use is pretty common. yeah, the thought of it is pretty hot for me. though generally those are not the fantasies i have. but not only do a whole bunch of submissive men have that fantasy, they get super amounts of shit for it. because patriarchal sexuality dictates that a man should be the dominant one, the penetrator, the one on top. and in femdomme, those are almost never the case.

but if you want to talk about sexual power hierarchies as aberrant to the norm, femdomme is where it's at. in my relationship i am in charge. i make the decisions about what we are going to eat, how we are going to spend our money, what activities we are going to participate in, when and how we will fuck. but i don't do this in a vacuum. no one i've known in a long term BDSM relationship does. and yes, there was a time when i was a bottom in a relationship so i can talk about that end of things too.

when i got interested in BDSM i took the submissive roll. yeah, part of that was because the majority of the women around me engaged in this kind of activity were submissive, that was just the tiny bit of the local scene i knew personally. i won't say that i didn't enjoy the activities, and the physicality of pain play, but i really quickly determined that submission did nothing for me. i did not feel fulfilled by it the way my women friends did. i started topping, realized that was where it was at for me, and that was that. do i think patriarchy predisposed me toward my initial submission in some way? maybe. do i think it brainwashed me into wanting it? not really, but then i didn't exactly want to be submissive. i wanted to participate and lacked the words or knowledge of how i wanted to do that, and so followed the examples of those around me to whom i could relate. do i think this means all submissive women everywhere are brainwashed? fuck no.

there is an equality in health BDSM relationships that is hard to see from the outside. most people have defined roles within their relationships. some people seem to have stronger personalities, are more aggressive sexually, and just tend to be leader types. when these roles are not firmly established you get all kinds of conflict and emotional turmoil. having those roles defined, clearly expressed and acknowledge within a relationship is liberating. the give and take is circular, despite outside views and opinions. but i'm getting into defensive mode here, and i want to actually discuss the idea of power exchange not just hash out a meme about why my relationship is fucking awesome. even though it is.

so, the main questions being asked are:
1. can BDSM and feminism exist and cohabitate? can a woman be a feminist, or a man her ally, and be into BDSM with it's sexual power hierarchies and it's emotional and physical activities?

2. is consent shaded by growing up in the patriarchy to the point where it cannot be reasonably given? and if so, does that negate a woman's right to do so?

3. and just how does all that apply to femdomme v/s maledom?

so, ok, i'm starting to get to the point where i'm almost ok with calling myself a feminist most of the time. as i define feminism as the quest for equality of the sexes, the quest to give women their own voice and agency, and a desire to dismantle the detrimental beauty myth that keeps women hating their bodies... that's where i'm coming from, and that's the label i'm willing to apply to myself. i'm still just testing the waters of how i want to participate in that, but for now we'll assume i have a somewhat basic understanding of the theories. so let's look at it.

*equality of the sexes: is there sexism within BDSM communities? yes, i can say there is. i don't think it's any more or less prevalent than in "normal" society, though i think there's a much better chance of someone backing you up if you tell someone they are being sexist. because the argument that women are all naturally one way or the other is held by a fringe minority that most folks in BDSM don't actually agree with. i would love to see the sexism pointed out more often within the community, same as i would like to see it pointed out in main stream social circles. but overall, in terms of equality... unless you hanging out with Goreans who believe in the natural dominance of men, or Female supremacists who are on the other end of things, most BDSM folks want and support equality.

*giving women their own voice and their own agency: there is a demand on almost everyone who practices BDSM that they express their wants and needs in their relationship and to a greater extent, in their life. the insistence that you self analyse, and that you communicate the fruits of that analysis, contributes to individual growth. being able to say "i want" or "i need" in a safe environment is hugely liberating. especially when it comes to emotions and sex. i cannot speak for all women, but i know i have seen and experienced the growth and ability of many women (myself included) to make those kinds of statements in their daily lives as a result of the work they have done to be able to make them within their relationships. i don't think it makes BDSM better than any other kind of relationship, but i do think there is a great deal to be said for the stress on communication within that relationship style. maybe it's small, one woman at a time, but if the personal is political i think it counts towards the overall movement.

*dismantling the beauty myth: this one is harder to see as an over reaching thing. there is still so much work to do with the main stream media and ideology, but i think being part of an alternative sexuality with alternative standards of beauty is a good thing. i wish more men and women could learn about self love and body acceptance. and that's something i think can be pushed for regardless of kink.

given the above, i think that yes feminism and BDSM can co-exist. at least the kind of feminism i understand and relate to. this is getting hugely long... so i'll be asnwering the second and third questions in another post.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

S&M and Me

so, one of the things that i've been rolling about in my head is the idea of the intersection of power both within my relationship and outside of it. and i've been wanting to write a post for a while about how i view BDSM in a feminist context. but i've been dragging my feet. until yesterday, when ren posted about some BDSM articles on Nine Duce's blog. and that there were more than a few comments telling submissive women that they didn't know how to do feminism, in fact pretty much hadn't a leg to stand on in calling themselves feminists, because of their sexuality.

now, i am not a submissive woman. but i have friends who are. and while i don't see submission as a feminist action i don't think that one negates the other. in fact, i think more submissive women should explore feminism. not because i want them to change, cause i really don't. but because i think the intersections of power and sexuality are profoundly interesting and can perhaps deepen an already meaningful relationship based on choices.

the thing that's pissing me off more than anything on the thread is the total denial of female dominants. now, i understand that femdomme doesn't fit into neat boxes of patriarchy and male domination of poor deluded women. i get that. but an honest discussion of power hierarchy in relationships needs to look at M/f and F/m as well as M/m and F/f and all other permutations. maybe i'm hitting my head against a wall thinking that anyone there wants to have a look, and not just have a bash the men party.

but the thing that this has made me realize is this: i love my lifestyle. and i've been neglecting my beloved. not sexually, cause we fuck like bunnies. we're young, he's hot, i have a high sex drive. but in those aspects of our relationship that are unique to us, i have been neglecting him. i have let things slide, while giving him his permanent collar. which seems wrong somehow. that's another post all together. but i think i've been trying hard not to create this cognitive dissonance in my head that i actually did. and that's not ok.

so, well and truly thanks radical feminist hate for making me defend myself and my beliefs. i'm not afraid of exploring the intersection of my sex anymore. and in fact i'm looking forward to it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

In which I face my fear of doctors

so the big accomplishment for the day..... wait for it..... i went to the doctor. yeah, i know people do it all the time. big deal right? except, it's been 5 or 6 years since i've seen a doctor for anything. unless you count the ones i used to see at work. and i was nervous, cause i'm not a big fan of doctors in the first place, and because i really didn't want to have a convo about my weight when i went in because my ears have been bugging me for a month or so. but it went really well actually.

the nurse took my papers and started heading for the scale, i told her i prefer not to be weighed. heart all a flutter, i expected to have to qualify the statement... but she didn't even break stride. just settled me into the exam room. seeing a new doc means loads of questions, and i have a family history that means i check off a whole lot of boxes. and we talked about it. about my grandfather who is the reason i check a good number of boxes. about my dad's mom. about my genes. and i told her, point blank, my family runs large and i'm ok with it. this is the weight i've been at for three years or so. that i do my best to eat well and get a decent amount of movement. that i want to have myself checked for markers of things to come, but that i wasn't really interested in weight loss. and she took some notes, and agreed i should make an appointment for a physical, and that was it.

and i am so relieved right now. i feel ok making the appointment for the physical because i'm not overly concerned about the conversation we'll have when the lab results come back. i went in feeling crummy and nervous, and left still feeling crummy (dammed ears) but much less nervous. and that's a great feeling.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

What Kind of Sex do 9 out of 10 People Enjoy?

Gang Rape! bwahahahahaha... *puking noises*

so, generally speaking i have awesome housemates. h is like a little sister and i enjoy her company, and she has a similar vibe to my own kid sister who's pretty much her same age. a is pretty awesome but our politics and worldviews are radically different and sometimes i'm astounded by the things that come out of her mouth and that she thinks are ok. like the gem of a joke referenced above.

a few nights ago we somehow got on the subject of that joke in particular and the use of rape, and can rape ever be a punchline for a joke of any kind. obviously the joke above falls into that, not ok, catagory. gang rap as a punchline, not funny. saying steven spielburg raped indiana jones... gray area. using rape in stand up to make a joke or satirise the way we view rape, the way the word is ubiquitous, the way we have a blame the victim mentality... i'm ok with that. and so a, my beloved and i were all having this discussion and it was interesting to say the least.

my beloved is a fervent believer in no censorship of any kind. the phrase, you CAN'T say that is one he will fight against. and while he agrees with me that base humor that does nothing more than make rape funny with no attendant social commentaries wrong, he doesn't think the word itself should be forbidden. we used the rape of indiana jones as his example, and going into it i was going nonononono... you can't say that. "but the word itself," he reasoned, "has a meaning that fits exactly what i want to say happened." Spielberg took a childhood icon and violated every precept, ripped away the things that made it great, and generally destroyed it. his argument is that rape is a word, a word we shouldn't use lightly or bandy about in a joking manner, but that it is a word we should use. and i can concede that point. if we use the word rape in a conscious way, perhaps that will give it back some of the power it has to be a serious word. and then statements like, "if you take the last piece of pie i'm going to rape you," won't be said in a flip sort of way.

another bit we talked about was the rape fantasy. which i'm ok with. fantasies about power, struggle, the erotic nature of that struggle are all concepts i can get behind. i think people should be free to explore in their fantasy life anything that gets them hot, including rape. i even think that a select few people with the emotional maturity to handle the realities of the situation should be able to enact said fantasy with their partner. because there you have consent. you have two people discussing the wants and needs and realities and how to recover and when does stop actually mean stop. it's something i toy with myself. from the perp end, not the victim end, but it's there in that dark part of my own fantasies. being able to acknowledge that, and relate to it on a fantasy level, is what makes it a thing i'm likely to never do. because i know the difference between fantasy and reality, and maybe if this type of fantasy were less taboo it could be talked about as opposed to repressed. i'm a big believer in repression of sexuality as a way to seriously and monstrously distort it. and distortion of this kind of fantasy can have serious repercussions.

but i want to know what you think, reader who stumbled on this lengthy post. is rape ok to joke about? is it ok to use as a word? do you think i'm off my tit?