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I like this article about bodily autonomy a lot.

I'm scared to enforce my boundaries, most of the time. I try to use body language to communicate to people when touch is or is not welcome, but some people think they have a right to my body, or any woman's body, I suppose.

This one time when I was living in Spain I was introduced to a guy who really creeped me out. He had a skeevy way of staring at the women present, and I saw him copping several feels when he was introduced to another woman, so I resolutely gave him my hand to shake rather than allow him to kiss my cheek. He made a huge embarrassing stink about it, until his friends finally started giving him cold and mean looks. I was glad to have the silent support of the others, and when I asked after he left, they all said that is was completely okay with them that I had said no to him.

Unfortunately that is not usually the reaction I get when I stick to my limits. Admittedly, I do have a tendency to touch people who touch me, for example to push men away from me if they hit me or grope me, or to slap groping hands or kicking legs off me. And for a woman to raise her hand against a man, and invade his personal space is a huge offense. I've been accused of being insane and violent more than once because of it.

I know I should use my words, but it's hard to keep protesting verbally once you've been completely ignored or dismissed already, and sometimes I'm scared and want to make a gesture to shock them out of their complacency. And I can live with being called names, when it means they stop touching me :-)
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It's horrible that it even got that far in the Spanish parliament, but I'm glad that respect for women narrowly edged out the islamophobia, and wearing the burka was not prohibited by law in Spain.

If you think islamist men are forcing their female family members to wear the burka, and that that is wrong - how can you defend the state mandating how women can dress?

I'm not a fan of any sort of socially mandated "modest clothing" or religiously symbolic gender-specific clothing. But you know, Spain: You have an awful lot of nuns wearing restrictive habits to be starting with the Muslim women. Just saying.
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Siumut member Malik Berthelsen suggests making women pay for abortions.

I am completely shocked that a member of Siumut, a supposedly socialist party, could suggest something so horrible.

If half of pregnancies in Greenland are terminated voluntarily, then there are serious social problems to be dealt with. But we already knew that. So why not try to do something about the rampant mental health problems, substance abuse problems and unemployment problems, rather than punish these women for suffering?

What exactly does Berthelsen think these women would do? What if they don't have DKK 2000 (approximately USD 400)? That's a lot of money for anyone, but especially for someone on public benefits and/or with a substance abuse problem. Are they supposed to give birth, and then neglect the baby? No one chooses to have an abortion for fun! These women have damn good reasons for preferring to go through that traumatic procedure rather than having the baby.

Berthelsen says that the threat of an expensive abortion would encourage people to use birth control. I say that he has a completely messed up view of what women are, and what kind of bodily integrity a woman is entitled to, if he thinks that the threat of going through an abortion is not a huge big deal in itself.

There are reasons for unwanted pregnancies, and those reasons are not typically a careful cost-benefit analysis of the inconvenience of stopping for a few minutes to get a condom versus the inconvenience of getting pregnant or getting an STD.
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Sure, I like to minimize my environmental impact where it's convenient for me, but using cloth pads first and foremost is about my comfort and health, and I wish the critics would acknowledge that.

There is a taboo about women's bodies that makes talking frankly about different options difficult )
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I'm furious that there are so many families who think that women should shut their whore mouths when men are talking that some schools can't hold satisfactory parent teacher conferences.

Why are these women not involved with their children's schooling? Why do the male heads of family who attend the conferences not discuss the results with their wives at home, since presumably mothers have the main responsibility for child rearing in traditional patriarchal families? Are the fathers so removed from the feminine/child-rearing sphere that they do not attend the conferences either?

Why are local women's organizations not organizing these mothers and empowering them to speak and act even if these patriarchal women will only do so in woman only spaces? Feminism FAIL.

I don't think that public schools, which by law are required to teach democracy and gender equality, should reinforce the patriarchal families in their beliefs. Of course not.

But holding a few mother teacher conferences, which will in no way detract from the normal course of parent teacher conferences, is not only the only practical solution for the affected children right now, it is also a great opportunity for the teachers to tell these mothers that their voices are valued and desired, and that they wield an enormous power over their children's schooling and future which must be used constructively. When the mothers learn this, they can find ways to participate which do not require them to speak in mixed groups.

I am disgusted that this whole debate is being derailed by islamophobia. The affected children, and society as a whole, need these mothers mobilized. That a comparatively high percentage of families with patriarchal beliefs are Muslims is not relevant, and finding practical ways of working with these families is not bowing to islamist pressure. I sincerely doubt that radical islamists would be pressuring public schools to involve wives and mothers more in decision making, for fuck's sake.
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Sam sure is generous and kind! )

That really is so wonderful and thoughtful of Sam. It's good to know that even when Supernatural makes gentle fun of geek boys, it's always with love! Because geek boys deserve all the sex in the world.
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I don't understand the concept of the "guilty pleasure". What does it mean? Is it something only or primarily women have?

Sometimes I do things I've resolved not to do, or fail to do something I've resolved to do, and sometimes it's serious enough that I feel guilty about it. And then I don't tell anyone, because, you know, I feel guilty. I might tell an especially close friend under implicit condition of silence if we're discussing guilt and feelings of inadequacy and how we deal with it, but generally speaking, I don't go around telling people what I feel guilty about.

There are things I like and enjoy which have flaws. For example I like the Star Trek reboot! I like it a lot. And I think it has way too many dicks on the dance floor, and I think it uses its female characters in sexist ways. So when I talk about Star Trek I might say "Even though I have some reservations about its sexism, I loved the new Star Trek, it was true to the spirit of the original series and it was funny" just so no one thinks I'm ignorant of or approve of the sexism. But I don't feel guilty for liking it. Does anyone think I should? If I should, does admitting my guilt publicly mean I deserve a lesser punishment?

If people are so worried about being judged for stuff they like, why don't they talk about the problems with what they like, instead of just using the vague "guilty pleasure"? Does this have to do with Impostor Syndrome? Does this have to do with the thing where you're not allowed to criticize anything you like, or to like anything you criticize?
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I don't know why some commenters would say my first entry was "overwhelmingly negative", or that it seemed like I didn't enjoy episode 101 - chicks are hot, and WC totally delivers the eye candy. In 102, it was wall to wall foxes, we only had to look at that one old hag for like 2 seconds :-D
Am I not allowed to feel good about that?

I was kind of worried the lesbian was going to be all intrusive in this episode. I realize that the pilot has to set up the premise and all that, but episode two should really be dedicated to getting to know the characters better, and it would have sucked if the lesbian and the wife had to be shoehorned in so we got less dialog from Neal, Peter and Mozzie. In the end, I liked the way they used them. Sports bra and bare midriff, hello! She can wrestle me to the ground anytime ;-)

And it was good character development for Neal. It really showed his confidence, and the way he's fitting into the team when he put her in her place by winding her around his finger, when she gave him attitude for not remembering her from the airport. Girls just can't resist compliments on their looks from a real man. It was really funny the way he didn't remember her again at the party, and she was all smirking at him. Ha, the joke's on you, lesbian! Like you matter enough to pay attention to and remember.

And they used the wife okay too. Peter was so nice to pretend to like that stupid watch she gave him. Like he doesn't know for himself which watch he wants to wear! And she was just so in his face about the party planning, being all "I'm a professional and you're not!" Neal rocks for standing up for Peter, so he didn't lose face to his wife because it wasn't him who came up with the venue. And in the end, she admitted she was wrong to impose her taste in watches on him, so that was nice. And it just goes to show, Peter is a good husband, and he's a good agent because he knows how to use the contacts he has, even if one of them is his wife.

Anyway, another great episode! I really liked it, and I look forward to next week's. Hopefully we'll see some more of Mozzie and Jones, because I don't like the way they're so back-grounded to Neal and Peter. It's like they're just there to show Neal-the-con who has a friend who is a con, and Peter-the-fed who has an underling who is a fed. But I bet they have some interesting stories of their own, and I'd like to see Mozzie and Jones do their jobs, or during their free time in a storyline of their own.
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What I learned about women from watching WC 101:

Women are there for you to enjoy! One of the good things about getting released from prison is that you get to use women. You can stare at them all you want, and if you put in the effort and flirt a bit with them, they'll try to please you and do stuff for you. Because that's what women are for.

Women's emotions don't matter, except for when they become a problem to you. A good wife will keep her emotions from bothering you, that's what makes her good. Sometimes women are just too emotional though, and that's when you have to solve the problem. If you just apply yourself to the problem, you can make it go away. You don't need to waste time during your marriage on getting to know your wife, because if she's a good wife, most of the time she won't trouble you with her emotions. On the rare occasions when you have to deal with the problem, you can just search through her possessions, and buy her a luxury item she wants.

Women are yours. If you're considering dating a woman, you should stalk her to see if she's good enough. She'll thank you later. If your wife is being problematical and having emotions, you should stalk her to try to solve the problem. She'll thank you for it. If a woman leaves you, you should stalk her and try to take her back. If a woman suspects you wouldn't stalk her if she left you, she'll think you don't value her as a possession, and then she might get emotional.

Women are at your disposition at all times. The only reason a woman has to turn you down is if she's a lesbian. Lesbianism is a waste of a sexy woman. Lesbians are lesbians just to thwart you. Lesbians want to be like you and wear hats and suits, because they know that you are better than women, but they also want to look sexy for you, as is only right. Even though you don't get to have sex with lesbians, they are there for you to stare at as much as you want.

Women come in two types: One type of woman is young, slim, has long, shiny, straight hair, wears a lot of make-up, wears figure-hugging clothing, wears high heels, flirts with you, and is there for you to stare at. The other type of woman is invisible, except when doing you a favor.

Women care about dumb stuff. You wouldn't care about your wedding anniversary, of course. The thought of a wife giving her husband a present on their anniversary, or a couple making plans together is just ludicrous, because why would you want to celebrate your relationship? But women sometimes have emotions for dumb reasons, and you need to solve that before it becomes a bigger problem.

Women, I tell you. They're a nuisance to deal with, but we still want to fuck them. Ammirite?

I also learned a politically correct tip from watching WC:

Don't say the d-word, it's offensive to little people! But it's okay to say "enano", because Hispanics don't watch TV, and if they do, who cares what they think anyway.

Oh yeah, you better believe I'm going to be watching this show for the ho-yay.
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I was catching up on the spnkink_meme just now. This time there was a lot of noncon and dubcon, as there often is. And noncon and dubcon can be really hot and enjoyable to read. I like it a lot both when it's treated strictly as a sadomasochistic and/or D/s fantasy and when it's emoporn teasing out all the nuances of the experience. I don't like it when it's presented as not being noncon/dubcon, and the wonderful thing about kinkmemes is that the prompters and writers own their kinks and don't try to sell them as the natural or ideal way of interacting sexually and romantically.

Then there was this fic: J2 AU, happy ending massage, and much as I like noncon/dubcon sometimes, I just want to hug and squeeze this fic and tell it that I love it.

Anyone adult can read this fic, it does not depend on or refer to any canon, and it'll take you two minutes, since it's quite short. Go on.

Now that you've read the fic )
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Hand-Painted Blue Periwinkles by [ profile] curia_regis, written for [ profile] thelittlebang.

Elizabeth is worried about Hyacinth when Richard leaves her after 35 years of marriage. She starts making an effort to see Hyacinth more and be there for her. She remembers how they first became friends, how fascinating Hyacinth is, what she likes about her, and the fun comes back into their friendship.

The whole cast of characters from the show is here, everyone totally in character with his or her charming quirks. Elizabeth's gradual awakening from apathy is wonderful and engagingly written, and it's suspenseful and heartening to see her taking baby-steps in standing up for herself.

I particularly liked the description of female friendship in the lives of two women whose lives revolve around men, and how the presence or absence of those men affect the friendship. The backstory of how Elizabeth first became friends with Hyacinth, and Elizabeth's relationship with her husband John is subtle and thought provoking.

The sex is tastefully non-graphic and alluded only in the degree necessary to understand what is going on, since it is Elizabeth narrating after all.
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I just saw the new Star Trek movie with [personal profile] ximeria. It's great! I feel that this is my Trek, much more so than TNG or any of the other movies ever was. The only fly in the ointment was that there was only one female main character, but what a character she was!

I remarked to Ximeria after we had seen the movie that Uhura seemed like L. A. Graf's Uhura: smart, competent, and with an actual, sensible job description beyond switch board operator.

Then I read this article about a possible sequel, where the script writers explicitly state that they read Trek novels and fanfic for inspiration.

I miss the old Trek novels, back when they were written by fans, and were often gen-ified slash or shipper fic. There was such love, such loyalty to characterization, and such inspirational and fun dedication to Trek as science fiction, as speculative fiction. The copyright owners killed the novel franchise when they started insisting on canon-repercussion free plots and following the party line.

The new Star Trek movie brought back the good old days, and made me want to read and write some fic. I used to be a McCoy/Spock slasher, and I still am, I guess, for time line #1 obviously, but also a tiny bit for tl#2, since they kept the snarky/flirty tone between Spock and McCoy, and McCoy was so quick to stand shoulder to shoulder with Spock when it served the purpose of needling Kirk.

I've never been much of a K/S'er, and this movie hasn't turned me into one. I didn't think new Kirk and Spock had any sexual chemistry at all, but I caught a real spark between new Kirk and old Spock after the mind meld. Not necessarily a sexual spark, but a strong emotional spark - it seemed like Kirk could barely hold himself back from reestablishing physical/mind contact when Spock broke it, and Kirk could still feel his devastation. It was very fine acting from Chris Pine, I think.

Mostly I just really love the Spock/Uhura relationship, and I don't want any slash pairings to mess that up. Kirk can keep hooking up with sexually voracious Orions. (BTW, love the Orion woman being in Star Fleet! Maybe that Orion slave girl was not an actual slave, but a liberated woman who knows what she likes, having a fulfilling BDSM lifestyle? That's a retcon I can get behind.)

Oh, and Chekov! So cute. Sulu, not as handsome as George Takei, but seriously hot with his intelligent face and bad-ass fencing moves.
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When I was in Smallville fandom, back in 2001-2002 I used to hang out with some fellow fangirls in an AIM chatroom. We were all slashers, and all pretty open minded about slash pairings, including incestuous slash (Lex/Lionel). However we disagreed very strongly about the character Lana, to the point where we had to stop even trying to discuss her. The general consensus was that Chloe was everything that is awesome (and if anyone disagreed, they didn't dare say so), but Lana was continuously bashed.

I think there were several reasons for this )

I wanted to look beyond the poor writing and uninspiring acting, suspend my disbelief and just go with who Lana supposedly was, taking it as a challenge to flesh her out, since she was a key figure in Clark's life, and I needed to make her worthy of his love in order to respect Clark, rather than out of any feminist desire to have a realistic girl on TV, but I gave up when my attempts were met with indifference or even rabid fury by other fans. I left Smallville fandom shortly after, and since then I haven't bothered rolling that particular boulder up the hill.

A lot of the women others have mentioned in their celebration of female characters are more or less of the same type as Lana. Their onscreen lives revolve around male characters, they're there to comment on male characters; to be sexual opportunities or challenges for male characters; to show that male characters are so wonderful that they can hang out with women, often two-fers; to be damsels in distress; to be mother-figures; to be the loving child figures without the tension of the expected power-struggle between sons and fathers (because girls never grow into women, at least not until they reach menopause or if they're ugly); they're there to unsettle male characters, lead them into temptation and attack them with their foul sexuality, etc. etc.

Often someone will say to me, isn't so-and-so a kick-ass heroine? I'll probably politely and not very convincingly agree, all the while going "meh" on the inside and feeling disgruntled. I don't want to have to do the leg work on fleshing out those characters! I'm done with that, and I'm done with being satisfied with substandard writing like that. I will not be silenced by a sop like an idealized, beautiful, smart, courageous, bantering kick-ass lust-object for fanboys like the hateful Lady Christina de Souza in Doctor Who. "But, but... she kicks ass?!" All the more to be a good trophy for the Doctor when she begs to accompany him, my friend.

The female characters I'm going to celebrate use their powers of awesomeness for their own good, rather than for the good of a male characters. They are the heroes of their own lives, not the supporting characters in some dude's life. I don't care how smoking hot Zoë Washburne is (very in case you're wondering), she is not the kind of character I want more of. I say that as a bitterly disappointed fangirl who was thrilled about Zoë after watching one episode of Firefly, only to realize the evil bait and switch Joss was playing on female Buffy fans.

Mehitabel Parr
One of three main characters in Sarah Monette's books Melusine, The Virtu and The Mirador. I came for the delicious slashiness, I stayed for the humor, suspense, and vivid characters and settings. The books are narrated from each of the main characters' POV, with very strong and individual voices. They overlap often, leading to interestingly contrasting views of the same events, but each character has their own life and subplot. Mehitabel grew up in a traveling circus, but ran away from home to become a classical actress in a respectable theater. She's good at her job, interested in other people, and in many ways just an ordinary single woman struggling to make ends meet in a stressful world and maybe find some happiness along the way. Because she's one of the main characters in a fantasy novel, of course she has to deal with a lot of challenges along the way, and she proves to be vulnerable, but with an unbendable spirit; unfair and kind of distant to her friends sometimes, but loyal and good when it comes down to it; funny, but kind of mean... she's totally awesome. She has believable flaws, and is no superhero, and when she triumphs or gets in a good zinger, it's impossible not to cheer for her.

Cordelia Naismith
The main character in Lois McMaster Bujold's books Shards of Honor and Barrayar, and an important supporting character in the rest of the Vorkosigan saga. Shards of Honor reads like slash. Cordelia is the captain of a survey ship who crashes on a planet where the only other person is a fearsome warrior from a paternalistic, very traditional culture that has recently been at war with Cordelia's people. In Cordelia's culture, sex and gender are a matter of personal preference, and many different sexual and gender orientations are recognized and celebrated. She happens to be female and a woman, but mainly identifies as a scientist and the leader of her crew in this context, but she is aware that gender roles are rigidly defined by society, not individual preference in Aral Vorkosigan's culture. Now the bookish geek must win the respect of and form an alliance with the aggressive and very physical warrior in order for both of them to survive. It's the perfect union of action adventure and a respect -> like -> love story free of icky gender roles.

To be continued
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Josh Frühlinger writes the very funny and clever The Comics Curmudgeon blog, which often pokes fun at gender-stereotyping and male-chauvinism. I think he's actually more feminist than I am, considering his loathing of and contempt for the comic strip Cathy, with its premise of Men are from Mars, Women are Hysterical and Irrational which, I admit, often gets a chuckle out of me.

He's written a very interesting article about gendered marketing of gadgets, especially netbooks, and how it works to a certain extent, but can also offend and put off potential customers.

When I needed a portable computer, I chose to buy a netbook rather than a laptop. I was aware that netbooks are girly, but I think they're girly in the functionality-over-small-penis-compensator way, not in the form-over-function way marketing people seem to assume. My netbook is ultra portable, cheap, uses little electricity, and has a normal sized keyboard. It does not have extra unneeded RAM or a powerful graphics card, or whatever else men get shamed into paying for though they don't need it.

When it comes to form over function, I think both men and women appreciate beautiful design. A cell-phone which you always have lying on the table next to you, or keep in an outside pocket is just as likely to be blinged out as a wrist watch is. I used to work in a store where we sold lots of tacky plastic stick-on jewels and rhine-stone danglies for phones, and both boys and girls wanted to customize theirs, but there was hardly any "decorations" aimed at boys. Adult men of course, just buy a new phone in the latest chrome detailing look, but the school boys can't afford that. (What do they do, anyway, just stick to having the latest sock and ring tone for it, or do they paint them with speed markers?)

One of my female co-workers bought a phone in pink chrome that almost looked like a make-up compact to go with her pink purse, but regretted it when it was impractical to use. One of my male co-workers bought a pretty white laptop with softly curving edges, even though he was studying computer science and it didn't actually have the technical specs he needed in order to do his homework on it, but he just couldn't stand the idea of having some ugly, clunky, black computer. Most people, both men and women, of my acquaintance put function over form, but do value form. Men are often willing to pay extra for function they don't need, and both men and women are willing to pay extra for form.

I didn't pay extra for my netbook's color, but I did settle for a demo model in black, rather than buy the hot pink they had in stock, because I don't want a fugly computer when I have a choice.

This has been another gender-stereotyping post from yours truly. Please feel free to correct me, I'd love to know that I am wrong about how men think.
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[ profile] ximeria forwarded me a link to a recent discussion about female characters and how some people just don't find them appealing on fandomsecrets.

I love women. In real life almost all my friends are women. Though I'm bisexual, I tend to fall in love with women much more often than with men. I feel a greater emotional connection to women, find them easier to communicate with and get along with, and I tend to respect them more than I do men. In fact, I often have to remind myself not to be such a man-despising sexist, that a person is not his gender, and I should drop the prejudices and get to know a guy and judge him solely on himself.

When it comes to fandom, I prefer male characters and read m/m slash almost exclusively. This is because male characters are written much better than female characters in the sci-fi/action/fantasy genres I prefer, and because I set the bar for male characters *much lower* than I do for female characters — I quite honestly have lower expectations of men, and find it easier to sexually objectify men.

There are a few wonderful exceptions to my male character oriented fandom experience: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Veronica Mars, and The Vorkosigan Saga. I have read several sci-fi/fantasy novels by female writers with enjoyable female protagonists, but none that I have liked strongly enough to inspire me to any fannish activity.

When it comes to my writing, I write women and non-gendered persons. I am far from prolific, in fact I've only written three (3) fics by myself (not counting drabbles):

  • One femmeslash fic focused on the friendship between Willow and Anya in BtVS,

  • One gen fic focused on the friendship between Lana and Chloe in Smallville, and

  • One m/m slash focused on Lex's feelings of frustration when he fails to connect emotionally with the guy he's in love with. Lex is not effeminate in the fic, but the writing style and subject matter are definitely feminine and actively distasteful to my one male test subject. I think the emotions Lex expresses are part of the common human experience, and there are absolutely no explorations of either the specifically male or female experience or gender role, unlike my two fics focused on women and how female friendships can be.

I have never read a slash fic written from a male perspective about the male experience. I have read a few gay porn style fics written in a masculine tone, and feel that they were mislabeled as slash, but even then, had they not been so poorly written, I would say that they were about thoughts and feelings and experiences common to all human beings. (I've also read a few more traditional style slash fics written in a very masculine tone, by writers identifying themselves as male, so please don't take it that I think slash can only be written by and for women!)

To summarize: I am a slasher, but I have no particular interest in men, nor do I dislike women. I use slash to avoid dealing with poorly/offensively/superficially/stereotypically characterized female characters that do not live up to my real life experience of women, and to have guilt-free fun perving on and objectifying characters.


Aug. 24th, 2008 05:11 pm
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Wonderful movie, enjoyed it very much!

And of course it teaches a good moral lesson too: if the girl you're interested in doesn't want to be with you, just do it with her while she's unconscious/in a coma ^_^ She'll probably thank you later!

Oh, and don't bother learning her name. Eve, Eva, whatever, once you slip her some roofies she'll stop jerking away or trying to shoot you every time you clumsily grope her.

Hmmm, edited to add: I noticed the 2001 homages while I was watching the movie, but now I wonder if tearing off her arm was a nod to Boxing Helena?