Sunday, December 28, 2014

PattiBlows: Shub-Niggurath Edition

Patti Stanger is not a fun person.

That's okay. Remember when she talked about her own thoughts and opinions as they related to herself for two whole sentences? Narrow-minded as those opinions may have been, they were hers, as they related to her life, and that was nice. I mean, her wants in life sound very limiting and boring to Clementine, but the beauty of not being Clementine is that you get to want different things from Clementine. Humanity is a lovely quilt of whatever and such.

Of course your right to be boring ends where my fun begins. Patti Stanger also thinks all non-straight people are slutty-ho slut sluts and that people with kinks are sick and disgusting. (Although I will cop to that one. Every time I get hit with a belt a little bit of my humanity slips out of me, leaving shards of the void to prepare my body to become the tainted vessel of the demon-mother Shub-Niggurath. It's a hoot and a half.)

It's always hard for me to put myself in the mind of a bigot, but here, I'll try: I think Patti truly believes that all of humanity is exactly like her. And that there's one little queer person. Just the one, running around all queer, streaking through her gender-segregated lockstep parade marching ever toward the endgame of marriage, laughing at her good soldiers and shouting about kyriarchy. She hates that little queer person. She thinks that little queer person is the jester to her court, the little wise fool who has kingly license to mock the world, and she doesn't remember inviting them.

So I thought she'd employed a little jester:

Actually, no, that does not accurately describe my thoughts upon seeing this title in the blog links. Here, take my gentle loving hand and let's walk you through my Cognitive Matrix Bullet Time Explosion, you and I:

  • Wait, what? What the hell? Patti knows trans women exist? YES! 
  • I mean, NO! Oh my god, she's going to be mean and reductive about trans women!
  • Ugh, I bet it's going to be one of those "here's what you need to know about trans people: they are very sick and deserve our pity" sort of dealies at best. She seems the type.
  • Oh, it's a guest contributor! A trans man maybe? Would Patti hire a-
  • Jester! That's it! She hired the jester to debase himself while speaking truth!
  • No, wait, that doesn't seem right. Patti doesn't hire the jester, she puts him in the oubliette. Medieval lord-kings were more enlightened than Patti Stanger. Wow. That's sad.
  • Maybe she doesn't run the site though. Maybe the people who do are smarter than her. That's a safe bet. There's factory runoff mutating at the bottom of a lake that's smarter than her. Maybe those people held her down and forcefully updated her site with something positive.

Spoiler! This content note might ruin the ending for you.

(Content note: transphobia, weapons-grade misogyny, gender-essentialism, MRA, racism, implied threats, kink, male entitlement up my fucking hooha, it's a bad one.)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Ain't I a Woman?

Hang on. I'm going somewhere with this. Bear with me for a while, okay?


Ever since I've got an iPad, I've been browsing the internet without adblock. I haven't done that for years. In that time I'd honestly forgotten just how badly the internet wants to keep me updated on the status of famous boobs, sell me Asian brides and enlarge the dick I ain't even got. Most of all it wants to tell me what I'm like. It's really, really invested in telling me who I am, what I do and why I do it. This is strange to me, because as well as I know the internet, I never felt like it really took the time to get to know me at all. If it did, it wouldn't keep showing me stuff like this:

It's really hard to ignore this sort of crap, because they shove it in your face as blatantly as they can get away with, hide it in legitimate content, trick you into clicking it or just holler at the top of their lungs by highjacking your tabs. If you're going online without adblock, dear lord, what's wrong with you? It's free. Takes like one minute to install.

So here's something you need to know about me.

All my life I've been told I'm doing this "being a woman" thing wrong. That's annoying enough as it is, but what made me extra angry is that this seemed more important to people than telling me how I was doing as a human. That's what I cared about at the end of the day. Genital and genetic configuration aside, how am I doing as a person? Good? Okay-ish? Needs work? What? Oh, I should get breast implants while tut-tutting women who get breast implants? That's not helpful.

It's like asking feedback on your short story and being told you're a terrible sculptor.

"Women" never seem to do the things I enjoy. It didn't take me long to get wise to the fact that men are people and women are women, and all women are basically the same. That's devastating news for a little kid like me who grew up with books and some fairly involved ideas about How To Be Good.

There's some trauma there. Which is why ads like that tend to set me off with the assumptions they make about my person. Oh, you're a woman? Well allow me to detail at fucking length who you are, what you like, what you shouldn't like, what you do, why you do it, how you live your life and what crawls and oozes in the deepest nethers of your soul.

Fuck off, internet. Y'all don't know me.

So anyway, this.

When someone starts talking about "we" and "us" without taking the time to verify whether there even is such a beast, it's called "forced teaming." I only bring it up because it's very common in abusive relationships.

Look, let's get one thing straight: I'm not here to pick on an inconsequential fluff piece on an inconsequential site. I'm here to illustrate a point. Because this headline makes me wonder about a great many things. For example, the fact that this piece isn't called "15 Things Some People Have Done on a Date," which is what the content is actually about. I know why. Because that one doesn't get clicks and the headline they went with does. I'm very hesitant to speculate too much about the tribalism and stereotyping and teaming underlying the fact that "all women" gets clicks and "some people" doesn't. I'm not an anthropologist, media expert, psychologist or anything. But I've been a woman for 28 years now. And I've noticed some stuff. Horrifying stuff.

The point is, I've been reading stuff like this ever since I was six years old. Men are humans, women are women. It's one of the first lessons I ever learned in my life. Women are women. Looking back now I understand why I was so focused on finding out what being a woman meant, because I was told it was my identity. Do not underestimate the tenacity of a child trying to make their way in the world and learn how to be either human or woman. (They're mutually exclusive.)

Steph Stephs, I am picking up this gauntlet you have thrown down. I bet you didn't even realize you wrote the phrase "every woman" and expect me to focus exclusively on the "dating" part. Well, my country doesn't have a dating culture like yours. Most don't. So right off the bat, your "all women" thing collapses like a fart souffle. I know we're never going to be friends, and I can proceed with abandon.

Tell me who I am, Steph Stephs. Or rather, tell that six year old girl that lives in the back of my mind who she is. Because she's the one I'm going to give the reigns to below the cut, and you've pissed her off something fierce.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Repost: Manhood Academy

Some context is going to be necessary here.

I used to have a (now hidden) general comedy blog where I just wrote about internet culture, all loose and breezy and hopefully funny. I wanted to write comedy. I wanted to be a comedian, because making jokes and making people laugh made me feel happy and in control of all the badness. That's what that blog was about. It was badly organized and I said a lot of things there that I regret now, but that's not the reason it's gone now. The reason is the post below the cut.

I was a little naive when I wrote it. I hadn't yet fully understood how MRAs operate, how damaging they truly were, what the social implications of their existence were and what lengths they would go to to defend their privilege.

I found out.

They found this post. After a flood of intensely abusive and scary comments, emails, tweets, posts on forums I visited and other communications, I folded and hid the blog, changed my online information, whatever it took to get these abusers off my back. I was scared and I was hurt. Most of all I didn't understand why this was happening to me.

I'm not scared anymore. I'm still hurt, but I refuse to let that rule me. So here it is. The old post that marked the beginning of my first stint as an online abuse survivor. I earned my stripes with this one. You're not a feminist blogger until you've been threatened with rape and murder fifty times in a day. It's like getting a badge of honor pinned right into your flesh.

It made me a feminist. Not just a person who hated sexism, but an active feminist wanting to learn and grow in that movement. It didn't make me a decent person right off the bat though. But there it is. I think this is what Jessica West was talking about.

"The real force that made the suffrage movement was the quality of the opposition. Women, listening to anti-suffrage speeches, for the first time knew what many men really thought of them."

Please note that I wrote all this a long-ass time ago, when I hadn't yet learned how to be a fucking person, let alone an intersectional, relatively-privileged feminist. I was still in the very early stages of scrubbing the kyriarchy out of my brain and this post reflects that mentality. I'm not proud of some of the things I said there. It does not reflect me as a I am today, but it does reflect who I was, what I thought and how I got punished for saying it. Posting this here is nothing more or less than a statement that I'm done being scared. I haven't altered a word since I first posted it, because that would defeat the entire point. But in the intervening years, I've really worked on becoming a smarter, more compassionate, more mature person.

With that said...

(Content note: ableist and homophobic language and slurs, many swears, many mentions of rape and sexual abuse, images and quotes depicting abuse victims, copious MRA language, mention of suicide... Look, it's just a big ol' triggery mess. Basically I throw a lot of groups under the bus to make fun of these people. It's allies behaving badly. I shouldn't have done that. I'm sorry.)

Comments are heavily moderated.


Everyone fucking brace yourself. There's a storm of angry white men incoming, and it ain't gonna be pretty. Bar your twitters and nail down your children. It's going to be a rough one.

Obama answers only female reporters' questions at year-end press conference

That's reverse sexism is what that is.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Let's Watch Flash!

So Flash is a pretty exciting but nigh-ungoogleable show in an otherwise dismal season. I'm into it. It's got everything I want from a superhero/genre show: lightweight drama, very good acting (absolutely great in some places), a diverse cast, a chance for me to rant about rarely acknowledged psychological theories and most of all FUN.

Flash is fun, which is a thing superhero fiction completely forgot to be somewhere along the line. They've got a villain of the week thing going on right now which I like very much, the drama is human enough to be engaging but doesn't take it's pretty silly premise seriously enough to slip into grimdark wankery (ahem), the palette is appropriately colorful, it's decently shot and often very funny. It skips over all the origin story nonsense pretty damn daintily (thank Christ) and moves right to the competent crime-fighting action stage of the superhero lifespan, a decision which tends to go over well. Granted, it's got 100% less sexy abs than I'm accustomed to (you're welcome), but I'll live. It's perfect popcorn entertainment, and I don't mean that in a dismissive way. I'm very, very happy we seem to be moving away from the angst-laden pop-psych era of genre fiction. It's a good show. I like it.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hey, Goldieblox, leave them kids alone

I want to root for Goldieblox. I really do.

I was with the Kickstarter from the day it came online. I didn't back it. I didn't have the money. I am very poor. But I followed it pretty closely. I got excited about it. Every time it popped up in the femi-sphere the news was hopeful and positive. I already talked about my hatred of gendered toys and the artificial gendering of little children which I hate just so very much. Goldieblox wasn't like that. Everything about Goldieblox was about excitement. It just oozed bright positivity and can-do attitude. Engineering is fun! STEM fields are something you can get excited about! It reminded me a lot of a grown-up, less flawed and less commercially tainted version of the grrrl-power movement I grew up in.

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