Sunday, October 21, 2007

The Rules

Alas and Feminist SF (I got a minor Heroes spoiler on that thread, oh noez) are doing an excellent job of saying 'Nice, but not good enough' in JK Rowling's general direction. This comment had me running to the Indy archives, because I recalled that I've heard this conversation before.

I first read this wonderful Hari piece in a newspaper I picked up on the Tube nearly two years ago, and it's sharp enough to have stuck in my head. It's about the laws of depicting gay men in Hollywood, and boils down to this:

"There are two types of Acceptable Gay Man: you can be a sexless sissy who is fairly happy with his female friends and waspish one-liners, or you can be masculine and actually have a sex drive - in which case you will die."

[an aside: Hari missed one of the rare exceptions, The Wedding Banquet, which was Ang Lee's first gay film. It's a comedy, but a serious one with a lot of cultural smarts to share and a lot of real troubles to talk about, and the sexuality is masculine and the ending is cosy. Back when I was at university, I once had half a gender seminar dissolve into an argument about whether we liked Simon or not.]

That's Hollywood, and Hari explores the particulars in splendid detail. The underlying rule - that men having sex with men and enjoying it and enjoying life cannot be shown to the world - also seems to drive Rowling, who has gone with celibate, tragic and dead, and added silence atop of that. Gay relationships in SF/F have a distinct leaning towards tragedy; Iron Council we spoke of yesterday, China Mountain Zhang can be shelved beside it, and the LHM goes without saying (um, that's when it is shelved, rather than in the guilty sop pile next to my bed). Meanwhile in ILLUMINATUS! (and I feel in The Year Of Our War too), teh gay is a sort of comedic, pornic horror. Interview With The Vampire skirts both, looking for shock, tears and erotic frisson. (One sometimes-glorious counterexample is the Authority, though most of what I know about that I learned from reading Alis Dee).

Lesbians, from Sandman to Discworld, are better at getting away with it, but I can't help but wonder if that's because everyone knows that if there's no cock, it's not real sex. Then there's distractions like Inara - and most of the queer in the Vagina Monologues, come to that - who are just doing it for the men, because the men are so mean, and the men never let us 'be ourselves', oh wah wah, because gay has to be a 'choice', a justification, a negative rather than a positive. Sex has to have a cock. One cock. Even if you're just hiding from it. And more than one cock just can't be good.

Addendum, which I can't believe I forgot earlier: Daurizre (see #8 specifically) once wrote on the same topic, but took it in the opposite direction. She calls it 300 Syndrome, and says it thusly:

"There is, among conservatives and Republicans, what I might dub 300 Syndrome. It's been pointed out before that many Nazi leaders were homosexual, and people have pondered why it is that gays would run to a group of people that would try to kill them--the obvious answer being summed up in the phrase 'self-defense'. But there's a flip side to it, when people who otherwise loathe gays embrace certain gay men, or bisexuals, as the epitome of Manliness, all without acknowledging that they were, in fact, gay or bi. For example, the movie "300" stars three hundred Spartans, and the Spartans, like most in Greek society at the time, subtly encouraged gay relations so long as they strengthened the bonds between fellow soldiers. However, the righties who want to hold the movie up as an example of all that is white manliness ignore this--not because they're stupid, but because being gay is forgivable if you kill a whole lot of people. Alexander the Great loved Hephaestion, and slept with Bagoas, but this is okay--he killed a whole mess of folks, too, which balances the gayness out. That sort of thing. This is Don't Ask Don't Tell in action, where men and women are allowed to fight and die so long as they don't admit their sexuality."

300 was, of course, based on a book by Frank Miller. Ho hum.

Saturday, October 20, 2007


[NB: I originally wrote this to let of steam, but both this post and the FMT are now very slightly Internets Famous, and have thus been Criticised by Smart People. I'd therefore like to add C A Monteath-Carr's suggestion for an alternate FMT equation:

If (# of Female Prostitutes) > (# of All Other Women), then [WTF?]

I would like to propose a measure called The Frank Miller Test. It will test how much male sci-fi writers are obsessed with whores; if the proportion of female sex workers to neutrally presented female people in his story is above 1:1, he fails.

I said, alonglongtimeago, that I'd get back to the whole general mess of how sex work gets portrayed in sci-fi & fantasy. It's a happy coincidence for me that Yonmei recently wrote about this vile story CS Lewis penned in 1958 because if she hadn't, I would've had to search it out and reread it, ewwww. It's a short exploration concerning sex on an exploratory mission to Mars. 'Sex' meaning to Lewis exactly what it often means in sci-fi and in videogames - sex between the male adventurer and the female prostitute. Go read Yonmei's post, because I can't bear to rehash this vile example. Gist is, women can only come to Mars if they're going to be prostitutes. (The really cringlingly awful part is that when I first read it - I think I was 14 or 13 - I swallowed this shit whole.)

There's a lot of supposedly 'speculative' fictions where it's still 1958.

I am going to start with the ones I love the most, because they're the ones that hurt; China Mieville remains my writer of ultimate worship (and not just because of what he called Charles Clarke that one time on Lenin's Tomb), but there's this moment in The Scar where one of the minor characters, Carrianne, tells a story near-identical to that of Lewis's 'ministering angels'. Even on a first, frantic readthrough of a book I was badly in love with, this stood out as the weakest thing he'd ever put on paper.

We were sailing our whim-trawler for Kohnid in Gnurr Kett. That's a long, hard journey. I was seventeen. I won the lottery to be figurehead and concubine. I spent the daylight strapped to the bowsprit, scattering orchid petals in front of the ship, spent the night reading the men's cards and in their beds. That was dull, but I enjoyed the days. Dangling there, singing, sleeping, watching the sea.

Yeah. Great journeys are for penises, but vaginas can tag along and put out for us and that makes them winners! This isn't normative, I know, it's descriptive, he has an anthropology background, I shouldn't be so quick to smell a rat. And yet.

Carrianne is only one woman, but in male-authored sci-fi, the whole stupid prostitutes-only thing more often follows that 1958 pattern of the organised group. Iron Council is such a self-aware commentary on socialism, on industrial organisation, on the politics of objects (both technologies and bodies), on revolution, that I'm hesitant to rip at any one moment. It's a journey, a circle. The bit that involves prostitution is that wild present-tense 150-page book-within-book that some people hate and I hopelessly adore: Anamnesis ~ The Perpetual Train.

Mostly, it's about technological determinism with sociological determinisms piled atop that. (Beautifully. It's probably the best book in the entire world). A company sponsored by a wealthy coastal city-state is building a railway line across a continent, out from their city toward places they have never been. The Perpetual Train follows Judah, one of the Transcontinental Railway Trust's surveyors: he watches as the construction of the railway changes the land and the communities that it passes through.

The villages they pass become rich and murderously violent - decadent, liquor-swilling, whore-filled and lawless - for the few days or weeks of the railroad, and then die. The towns live mayfly lives. Sex is as much part of the iron-road industry as spiking, grading, herding and paperwork. A tent city of prostitute refugees from New Crobuzon's red-light districts follows the rails and the men that set them down. The men call it Fucktown.

It's 1958 again. The men have a quest, and the women are the questers' prostitutes. (Anonymous homosexual intercourse is suggested as the cash-free alternative). There's also, of course, this narrative about how 'vices' of all kinds are brought by the evil capitalist enterprise to the virgin wilderness -

- but not quite, I fucking adore this one:

There are several like her, some boys but mostly young women, utterly charged by the arrival of these tough roustabouts and the breathing pistons of the trains. Their families lament while they let their flocks run, or sell them for meat to railroaders for scrimshawed trinkets from the tool-rooms. The goatkeep young men join the grading teams and fill the rivers. The young women find other outlets. [...] There is bad blood among the camp followers. The whores who have dutifully followed these men, splitting from the perpetual train to work with these mountain diggers, are affronted by their new rural rivals, these farmgirls who expect no pay. Some of the workers themselves are threatened by these newly voracious young women who do not sell sex or even give sex but take it. They know no rules. They have yet to learn taboos...

Part of me adores that bolded line, and the energy of the passage in general. The other part is saying waitacottonpickingminute, you're appropriating vaginas to demonstrate your philosophy of technology? You're using the gender-neutral word 'worker' to mean 'man who pays for sex'? You're drawing lines between 'untamed' rural amazons and prostitutes who are Slaves Of The Patriarchal-Capital-Whatsit? Prostitutes who (as the story goes) 'corrupt' those women through violence, enforce their taboos and turn them, vampire-like, into prostitutes themselves? The shit?

There are only four sorts of women in The Perpetual Train: these village sluts, these whores, monsters and a few passing gamblers. The only ones that organise are, naturally, the whores.

Mieville is a materialist revolutionary - the (male) workers unionise, and the (female) sex workers unionise, not for ideology but because the TRT's wage money dries up; the two unions then unite and eventually do things their own way, a way in which no one is being paid for anything. So women get to stop being prostitutes AFTER THE REVOLUTION! and not before. That's all the women he's writing about, by the end of The Perpetual Train, excepting a few nameless Remade (class-critical monsters). It's not like this in The Scar: there, where a small group of women gather together, they're usually librarians.

[Addendum: I spoke to him about this after the Weird symposium - see here for his response to some of the points raised.]

I've done Firefly. The circumstances are murky, but the only reason Inara was able to be part of the quest while retaining her class privilege was because she was a sex worker.

I said I wouldn't do Frank Miller himself. It's the writers I love that I want to unpick. We're going to Discworld. We're going to the fandom-splitting nadir/zenith of Discworld, Night Watch. It has two things in common with The Perpetual Train; firstly it is a fold in time, set about thirty years before the rest of the series around it; secondly, all the women in that time-fold are prostitutes, excepting only two, who are both addressed as potential prostitutes. In the past, all women were bought and sold, geddit?

There are the prostitutes. There's the cat-owning figure at the back, Madame, and at one point a man asks if that's her title or her profession. There's the real seamstress, for Discworld regulars. I can't recall another woman in the entire thick of the book: Sybil and Angua creep in only at the temporally flat edges. I can't excerpt *listens to collective sighs of relief* because I can't find a copy anywhere (fact: he once posted my copy of Night Watch to Australia, but then gave me one of the other zillion we had sat about just-in-case), but I swear to god it's true. And again, as in The Perpetual Train, the unionising of the prostitutes is their key issue. It's an entirely realistic concern. And yet.

It's not like this is how he usually 'does' gender; Pratchett adores toying with female stereotypes, and has made us see eye to eye with the bitter one; fall in love with the fat, forty-year-old virgin; awaken the inner babysitter. He's franchised the Tooth Fairy. He's done an entire book about the orphaned servant-girl not getting married to the handsome prince. He's followed the queen from beehive to chessboard to mountaintop kingdom. Do not ask us about Mrs Cake.

Thing is, outside of the agency-worker Tooth Fairies, the only organised group of that union, a guild no less, of prostitutes. There is this whole thing about how the witches do not have a hierarchy, or a leader, because Esme Weatherwax would never allow it; there is this other whole thing about how only three city guilds will even accept female members; the whores, the beggars, and the detested Night Watch (but only long after the revolution, even then). In other words, women do not form organised groups, but prostitutes do. And in Night Watch, the revolution demands 'reasonably priced love', because the only women the author has welcomed on board are whores.

[Here there could've been a word or two about how prostitution is brought into videogames, but it's just more of that cock-coddling I mentioned here, with the occasional added touch of slut-shaming or poor-little-victiming. I do think it makes me feel less comfortable presenting as a female PC in a gameworld, just because it makes it overtly clear that this invented society, otherwise little resembling our own, is programmed to cater specifically to the cock. Bioware has been known to proffer an occasional rentboy. It doesn't work, because I am not really a potential consumer of sex. It just looks like mapping male sexuality on to that afterthought that is the female PC, which is what it is.]

I'll say it again; when male sci-fi authors write about trade unions for sex workers, they do not do so out of the goodness of their bleeding liberal hearts. One fascinating thing about sex work that I would never have known without reading the words of sex workers themselves: the johns are sometimes organised. (The immensely readable PeridotAsh has written about this here and here). The sex industry impinges more on the average man's life than the average woman's - few women are potential customers or potential employees, while a sizeable minority of men are consumers of sex and all will find it marketed to them at some point. Is this why male sci-fi writers circle the topic like vultures, appropriate it and sometimes use it as their only discourse on women at all? By fantasising about organised sex workers, are they becoming an organised community of sex consumers? Are they already that, and just acting it out on paper?

Um, I think Mieville doesn't even like vagina, and I know Frank Miller has never spoken to a woman in his entire life. But hey.

[addendum: the angry black woman assures me that Mieville does like vagina. I am more than cool with that, because oh god would I ever hit it.]

Does this matter out in the real world? Only in that it makes it harder to hear real sex workers because of all the male-invented versions getting in the way, and putting fanrats like me off the topic entirely because I've seen how these guys use it.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

always christmas and:

[in my next post, I will take the piss out of CS Lewis more directly, I promise.]

Alis Dee: breaking my heart and winning the internets.

A related aside; when replaying RPGs, it's really interesting to gen a character of the opposite gender to the one you took in your first trip. Firstly, I find it subtly changes the way you see social tone of the gameworld. (This is particularly so in BGII: Throne of Bhaal - standing there between Sarevok and Imoen, whether you're representing yourself as male or female does make a slight difference, if only in my head.) Secondly, it makes you aware of how the gameworld doles out [relentlessly heteronormative] sexual comfort to each gender. I usually, but not always, go with female characters on first playthroughs, and regularly wind up shocked when situations that were rendered neutrally in that first playthrough are directly, deliberately sexual when I'm playing a man.

I've just got done replaying Neverwinter Nights and it's pretty stunning how much cock-soothing there is thrown in there - everyone from both the two female henchmen to many minor NPCs to one of the major villains is at it. I'm fond enough of Aarin Gend, but after trying it in gamer drag, he feels like famine. Solanas was right; a female PC is asexual, desireless, but a female NPC is an object, a fucktoy. [We will forgive NWN, but only because of Valen. Valen!]

You can always reinterpret a book, but in videogames misogyny is hardwired, right there in the 1s and 0s. It's made invisible to female gamers except in the ultralight of drag. Weirder still is the experience of playing one of those games that were written before gender; I played a little of Final Fantasy I last year, and was confused at the excess of random lesbianism until I realised that the game was assuming that all my self-genned, neutrally presented characters were male.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Human life isn't sacred.

Somebody had to say it.

I'm not speaking of religious tenets about the status of human life; what I'm talking about is policy. There are no leaders anywhere (well, except just maybe Bhutan) who put human life first when making the rules. Life wasn't sacred when we invaded Iraq. It wasn't sacred when we decided that it's worthwhile to have all these death machines on our streets, either - cars kill 67 people each week in the UK, and 825 each week in the USA. Life isn't sacred when we talk about climate change - zillions of reports on the human cost of the crisis resulted in mere hand-wringing, while the Stern report on the economic cost of inaction was what made climate change a political priority. When the hell do we ever talk about the importance of human life when we're deciding on policy?

Oh. Yeah. Here. (a link I totally stole from here). Why is that, I wonder?

Honestly, there's no need to invoke conspiracy theories there - it just looks like a vicious cycle of silence. Because human life is sacred, celebrating the economic and social boon of free, legal abortion is a supposedly icky thing to do. (All the while, we're meant to cheer on those lovely liberated Iraqi statue-squishers while a million of their compatriots lie dead at their feet. I'm just saying.) Maybe this silence stops people from seeing it in the same way they do road deaths. Or maybe it's because the benefits are bound to the 'ending' of life in a way that's more obvious than - no, no, wait, it's pretty bloody obvious in the case of that stupid war. Or maybe these losses are seen as preventable by other means - which often isn't true. (More to the point, why were you even driving that car? Why didn't you take the goddamn train?)

So as a political position, it's very hard to consistently defend the right-to-life. As a religious view, that's your call, but it's not mine - I don't think life is simply created and destroyed, I don't see human life as being intrinsically above other forms, and I think personhood is of far greater importance than life. (By 'personhood' I really mean presence in the world, physically, socially, intellectually and spiritually; being part of a great structure of things that touch you and relate to you. Everyone engages at their own level, but that of a 24-week fetus is negligible - certainly when compared to that of a newborn baby, in my totally uninformed and liberally-biased view.) Were I to become troubled about the needless killing of persons, abortion would be a long way down the agenda.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


Who said this?

"The Armenians were subjected to a genocidal campaign that defies comprehension and commands all decent people to remember and acknowledge the facts and lessons of an awful crime in a century of bloody crimes against humanity. If elected President, I would ensure that our nation properly recognizes the tragic suffering of the Armenian people."

I think you know who said that. In a letter written during his election campaign seven and a half years ago. Hats off to Irving Washington for the heads-up.

A later addendum for further paydirt:

What happens when a mass-market magazine prints a topless photo of an unconsenting 14-year-old? They get a slap on the wrist. Because they can't possibly check that the material they make oodles of money from is consensual, let alone legal! They're far too busy making money for that. So they get a slap on the wrist. Meanwhile, of age women who consent to appear in porn get three years inside, if the Home Office doesn't like their porn, but they can't know if it's okay or not until the Home Office has watched their porn. The law makes so much sense. But it is good to know that I agree with APRFs sometimes.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Kissin' trolls

Just when you're thinking the world is a decent place, up pops an idiot CiFer reminiscing about the good old days when it was cool to rape your spouse. *le sigh* I've got a lot of cynical enjoyment out of leaving youthful, uninformed comments on that thread. I'm not quite there yet myself, so I'm free to see it as a bundle of things (religious/cultural rite + legal arrangement + domestic situation) that do no need to be related, all of which have immensely dodgy histories, and which it is wrong to reward people for bundling together because on the whole those who do it are already winners.

Something everyone should know about: Warner Bros have decided to never again make a film with a female lead. Fine. Fine. That's their prerogative. I'll just never pay money to see one of their films again.

These may be the coolest people in the whole wide world. There's this beautiful idea in ILLUMINATUS! that one can only ever be the caretaker of a space, not its owner, because you are fleshy and temporary while the space, the land, is eternal. By that measure, these 'artists' are probably better caretakers than those who claim to be 'violated' by their squatting in spite of never finding a sign of their presence in four years of occupation.

But wait, no, these are the coolest people in the world. (the sparkly person showed me that.)

and !! Extraordinary place-games indeed. Shame I missed it, but hey.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Ten Things I Have Discovered About Rugby Union.

[I made this up on the touchlines four and a half years ago. The brat is 18 now. And not scrawny, though still pretty short, and very mad about rugby union. I'm mostly putting it here because <3 Alas. My opinion of rugby has refined in the years since, and now includes far more slash.]

1. There are either not many rules, or so many rules that it looks as if there are not many rules.

2. It is possible to keep running with two people bigger than you hanging off your ankles. I have seen it.

3. The best bit is where they fall in the mud and sit on each other. In rugby, there is a lot of mud. This is a requirement. I think you get points for pushing people over in it, but I am not sure about this.

4. There are a lot of people involved. Thirty boys and only one rugby ball. This is perhaps why people who do not have the ball tend to sit on each other in the mud a lot.

5. To manufacture the all-important mud, you need rain. A lot of rain. This is something I do not like about being a Rugby Mum.

6. It is funny when scrums collapse. You get two big heaps of upside-down boys in the mud.

7. My scrawny fourteen-year-old kid can take other scrawny fourteen-year-old kids in both hands and drop them in the mud with one flick of his wrists.

8. Rugby backs are scrawny. Rugby forwards are not scrawny because they are in the scrum, and there is no point being in the scrum if you are not going to make a big "splat" when it all collapses in the mud. Apart from the falling in the mud part, rugby forwards do the same thing as football backs do.

9. Fourteen-year-old boys really care about rugby union. Really care about rugby union. There is a scrawny boy on my brother's team who is called Johnny, who shouts a lot about how much he cares about rugby union, and particularly about how badly his team is going about displaying its devotion to rugby union. He cares so much about rugby that he should really be playing in the under-fifteens team for al-Qaeda.

10. The winning team is the first team that wins. My brother was not on it. Perhaps he had not accumulated enough mud.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Piffle About Gender Identity

I think I am in love with this blog. Mostly just for articulating this in a way I never could;

A term coined by a good friend of mine is "Wendying", which is the process by which a masculine-identified person expects a femme (or a small group of femmes) to deal with hir problems and take care of hir without hir ever having to confront hir issues or actually acknowledge their roots. This ties in with the Peter Pan idea of not having to grow up, and the communal expectation that femmes will get masculine-identified people to settle down and become responsible adults. Which, of course, places the burden of encouraging adult behavior on femmes, assumes that all masculine-identified people are interested in femmes as partners, and that all femmes are interested in masculine-identified people as partners.

I've never lived in that sort of queer community (that most of my close friends are queer is more of a disparate, happy coincidence), but this applies well to many heterosexual situations I've seen, or been involved with. It also chimes with a phenomena I've nattered to Drew (Newfoundland separatist, PETA enemy and the nicest MRA in the whole wide world) about; the way young men are seen, and portrayed in the media, as being 'riskier', less stable, less adult, than young women. In some places - New York City and the UK as a whole are two - women in their 20s earn, on average, more than men of the same age. It doesn't outweigh the income plunge that begins in the 30s, but it's real. Another odd effect is that men who take arts degrees earn less than men who do not go to university at all. One could speculate that the man who goes to university for the same reasons many women go to university - transferable skills, learning for the sake of learning, a little freedom without too much responsibility - become that media stereotype of the wasted student who never gets up before noon. Meanwhile 20y/o men who are in a trade, or a career that doesn't require a degree, are considered to have passed The Great Masculinity Test and can be rewarded with man$s.

Marriage has a way of conferring adulthood on a man, and conferring responsibility for another life on a woman.

I have quoted SCUM on the subject of gender identity before now, on Deadjournal, but there is no harm in doing it again;

Being an incomplete female, the male spends his life attempting to complete himself, to become female. He attempts to do this by constantly seeking out, fraternizing with and trying to live through and fuse with the female, and by claiming as his own all female characteristics - emotional strength and independence, forcefulness, dynamism, decisiveness, coolness, objectivity, assertiveness, courage, integrity, vitality, intensity, depth of character, grooviness, etc. - and projecting onto women all male traits - vanity, frivolity, triviality, weakness, etc. It should be said though, that the male has one glaring area of superiority over the female - public relations. (He has done a brilliant job of convincing millions of women that men are women and women are men.)

(It's worth mentioning that the manifesto also supports asexual supremacy; Solanas is pretty clear about the fact that she'd had relationships with men and with women before settling into asexuality.)

As I've said before, that passage isn't about gender, it's about privilege and power. Any person with agency will exhibit those 'female characteristics', and any person without will exhibit the 'male' ones. (Like being a player character in life rather than an NPC.) It's as if Solanas is describing the shock of seeing women sailing under their own steam. What does this have to do with 'Wendying'? Simply that asking someone to be your supportive, empathic Wendy is going to steal from their objectivity, integrity and assertiveness in relation to you, while all the while allowing you to be frivolous and weak (not that those are bad things) through them, without ever facing up to it yourself. Wendying is that public relations job Solanas is writing about.

Wendying is also my worst nightmare, biggest heterosexual headache, and a skill base I possess that I insist on using only on my own terms. I fail at queer identity, really I do; I look very femmy ('Earth mother' more than anything, much as I loathe the concept), but I'm far more drawn to butch ethics/dynamics, esp. in relation to other queer women. I'm that girl who'll stay awake while you nap, or offer you her shawl when you're cold, or listen without getting empathically sucked into your problems, or being responsible for them in any way. I bake a lot and repair or mod my own clothes; I also love videogames, repel wasp/spider incursions for my insect-phobic flatmates, hitch-hike, enthusiastically do basic electrical repairs, and loudly lambast the (many, many) people who address me as male on CiF. I tend to admire butch women and fancy femme ones (but not always). I should possibly make a post about how I [emotionally/spiritually] get off on being hospitable, and why, and why it may be extremely fucked up.

I also, as ever, have giant issues with the way my father Wendied (wendyed?) me when I was a teenager and will take a metaphorical knife to the metaphorical bollocks of anyone who tries to do the same, except that I can't, for I am butch and thus fundamentally bad & passive at negotiating with my own problems. Back to RadMasc;

This idea that masculine folk take care of others to the exclusion of themselves goes far beyond sex. The stereotype is definitely of someone who does not openly express emotions, does not go to others for help with hir problems, and is protecting others to the exclusion of protecting hirself. In fact, the archetype of a butch is of someone who is a guardian of the community, has a job that enables hir to support others (despite the realities that many masculine butch and/or trans folk face intense job discrimination for being visibly queer and gender variant), shrugs off emotional and physical pain without complaining or asking for help, and in general giving constant support without ever needing any of hir own.

-that [excepting the difficulties of visible queerness - I get the much more benign, but sometimes suffocating, difficulties of invisible biness instead] is the kind of ideal I have for the sort of lifestyle I'd like to lead. (I am made of fail, so atm not, but it's what I'm after and I'd be mildly surprised if I don't wind up there sooner rather than later).

One last thought; the other place I've encountered that 'butch woman', unable to reach out for help, but good at supporting others, emotional persona is in descriptions of the general behaviour pattern of the abuse survivor. I am reluctant when it comes to claiming that my teenage life involved emotional abuse, except that by most definitions it did. I like to think that I would've been like this anyway, but better at it.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Micah Is My Hero/a roundup of curiosities.

I'm just keeping up with Heroes on BBC2 - ie, only halfway through season 1, not nearly far enough to do a complete Heroes/gender lambast, but I do want to say that oh dear god do I love Micah this evening. Because he won't let single-daddy off the hook. Micah is a small boy who used to live with single-mummy, Niki, and now lives with single-daddy, DL (which I am still disappointed is not spelt properly, ie Dalziel, but hey). Transcript stolen from Shadow Anthology:

DL: It's not my fault you can't keep track of your own stuff.

MICAH: Mom always put my lunch in my backpack every single morning.

DL: Well, I'm not your mom.

MICAH: Yeah, that's for sure.

DL: Micah, this isn't easy.

MICAH: Well, it wasn't easy for Mom either.

Next, some extremely old news I only just stumbled across; an FAC complaint about the practically Aristotelian approach the BBFC has toward the female body. (Text-only, but NSFW). Censorship; it means that if you want to know something about a woman's sex life, you have to ask the BBFC, because women aren't allowed to make films about how it really is. It's a familar story.

I keep meaning to say a few words about a completely different thing that also has to do with governments not giving a shit about women's experiences; Form DS-157 (link is an evil, vile PDF). It should be familiar to anyone who's ever applied for a US work visa. It's included in every batch of paperwork the embassies send out for such ends; it asks if you've ever been in a combat zone, and if you've ever been a victim of war. It asks if you have specialised training in the use of firearms or explosives. This form is given to all applicants, but completed versions are only accepted from men. While I'm aware this is all weed-out-the-terrorists stuff, it's beyond odd to be asked such questions then, twice now, told 'nope, don't give a shit, you're a chick'; I'd imagine it would be odder if I had any 'yes' answers to offer, as many female applicants must.

If you didn't read The Monkeysphere the first time around, the Wong has relaunched it elsewhere. I've not a fucking clue how well it fits with Proper Primatology, but it's a concept I sometimes like to bear in mind; I think it does seem helpful to assume that one can only really be aware of 150 other human souls. Sendalin (the imaginary enemy/shadow side whatsit) says one should keep it to 149 at most, so there's always a clear place in your awareness for that someone you might meet on the highroad. (Sendalin also says that being sensible about love is like being turquoise about puppies, and that he likes his coffee desperate with two spoons of melodrama, so how much stock to put in his ideas is up to you.)

My last-but-one post lied, btw; the green person has told me she reads Marie Claire sometimes! I FAIL .__. But I can still find it creepy & misogynistic that Mr Moran says it's 'reassuring' that Suu Kyi reads it, right?

And the only thing worth reading that has ever been printed about Madeline McCann, ever.

Monday, October 01, 2007

point. laugh. *try* not to cry.

It's Ann Coulter, so I guess those are the only possible options. This was linked on a comment thread at Bitchy's place because of her hate-comments about SMers and their bodies, so don't follow the link if that would ruin your day. The bit that ruined my day was this bit of omg-who's-to-BLAME-for-this-DEBAUCHERY;

COULTER: Most of all the culture of children raised without two married parents.

GIBSON: You're blaming this on divorce?

COULTER: Well, let's take a poll of the members of that club and see how many of the girls in that club grew up sleeping in the same house as their father.


so, if married parents =/= 2, a divorce has occurred and the daughter now has no live-in daddy.

Yeah, all single-parent families are the same, all of them, and they're all so wrong and naughty.