Blog in Review 2011: It Gets Better

•01/08/2012 • Leave a Comment

It Gets Better

 

This was a speech I gave at Sacramento City College. It was a moment that taught me how much I love public speaking. Even though it’s something I’ve only had a taste of this once, I miss it quite a bit. If I ever got a chance to speak again on this or any of my other life experiences, I’d be on it in a heartbeat. The only other time I’ve felt that kind of inherent ease is when I recorded my friends and I drunkenly talking current events, and I’m looking at potentially making that into a live internet talk show. It’s fun and awesome, yes.

Also, I am relieved on so many levels that I don’t go to my old college anymore. If you’re a Sac kid and you’re reading this … never go to American River College. Overhyped.

Blog in Review 2011: Spot on, Old Me

•01/07/2012 • Leave a Comment

Solutions to Porn’s Problems, Part Two

 

I still argue almost all of these points today. I’ll tl;dr it:

– It’s hypocritical to argue for women’s rights and their abilities to make choices for themselves when if they’re making choices you wouldn’t (anywhere from housewife to prostitute) you start “rationalizing” it with your opinions on their fucked psychology.

– Especially when if men make those same decisions, you “rationalize” it with “boys will be boys”.

– There’s lots of jobs I wouldn’t work in, you don’t see me fighting to outlaw them.

– Did you know that chimpanzees engage in prostitution? Pretty nifty.

– Obscenity laws are fuckin’ vague, yo. And if you’re bored read up on Miller vs California. I forgot that was my favorite lawsuit, until gay marriage is legalized by the supreme court.

– More porn needs to discuss consent and limits with the actors, as if it were a “legitimate” sex act (I think it’s totally a legitimate sex act, but I just mean I’m not often paid to fuck).

– Finally: why is it that when sex is involved we look to criminalize it instead of make it safer, like we did at the start of the industrial era?

Blog in Review 2011: Is It What’s Wrong with Porn?

•01/06/2012 • Leave a Comment

What’s Wrong With Porn? Part One

This entry was focused entirely on the fakeness of pornography. When I wrote and published this, I had no knowledge of feminist porn. I assumed that the sites I had seen myself – bangbros, brazzers, and kink – were a solid view of the pornography world. And yeah, I still think this is true. I’d estimate, with no research to back it up, 70% bangbros and brazzers-esue (bad thing), 10% kink-esque (good thing), 10% bangbros and brazzers-esque masquerading as kink-esque (bad thing pretending to be a good thing?), 6% other porn sites (likely weird thing), 4% feminist porn (very good thing, even better than the last good thing).

I have to acknowledge the criticism I’ve heard in my time being an active “fun feminist” – feminist porn exists, it doesn’t mean that it’s a majority or even that its making an impact on the bigger mainstream male-dominated porn scene. And yeah, hate to say this, but it’s probably true. I mean, those numbers aren’t pretty.

I think the blame lies on both sides, though (and I definitely don’t think – as the woman who argued this to me suggested – that the solution is to end porn completely). On the one hand, you got consumers who aren’t throwing their money down (I know I’m not throwing money down as often I should). On the other, you got these groups that just … aren’t fucking competing.

Free samples are simply common place in the porn industry. We give you a little slice of each episode, perhaps until you use up your five-a-day, and you know 1) that you’re putting your money into something good and 2) you can suggest this shit to your friends because you know it’s something good. Feminist porn sites just don’t do that, and I think this has bigger consequences than they realize.

Imagine logging into redtube, and finding a video of super awesome feminist porn sex. Fuck yeah, you think to yourself, this is a company I want to support! And you look in the corner and there’s the URL: superawesomefeministfucking.com. You go, you give them your money, you fap until your whole house GLOWS under a UV light, the end.

It’s not really *that* amazing a thought. It’s just simply what everybody else is doing, to have a chance to compete. And I think when your prices are at least double your competitors, you should be taking more opportunities to prove your product is worth it.

But I imagine myself being fifteen years old, the fifteen year old I described in this original post, and being able to find pro-women pornography, right off the bat, no special search terms needed. How might that have shaped my sexuality? If conversating with your partner before acts was just what I saw people do, would it have been so difficult for me later on? If I saw girls with more than a little flab, girls more my size, having sex and enjoying themselves despite their breasts being made of flesh and nerve endings instead of poisonous plastic, would loving my body seem so strange? I mean, it never seemed strange to me, but sometimes it did to the people I let in my bed.

Oh, and imagine being the fifteen year old version of the people I let in my bed! But there’s a point I need to touch on in my original post, a point that I now see was naive:

“If it was thought for a moment that [men’s] women were not having fun, they would no longer be having fun. Yet, they’re being taught how to pleasure us WRONG.

Men think they don’t need correcting, women don’t think they want correcting.”

As somebody whose been studying sexual assault for awhile now, this isn’t as true as I thought it was then or want it to be now. Sometimes, for what could be half of the male population (referencing a source in I Never Called it Rape), the force, the lack of desire, making her “change her mind” into finding it fun, that’s the game. And porn doesn’t help that, in the same way it teaches how to pleasure wrong. The dynamic of “she didn’t like it at first but she came around” is semi-common. In my opinion, it’s a great act for roleplaying sexual situations. Awesome to talk out first, and be like “ohh I’ll resist but then I’ll come around because hey it’s just a fantasy and if it goes too far I can say the magic word at any time; rubber ducky, see?”

It’s not reality, and it’s a terrible set-up for reality. And when you got companies like “realitykings” on the market, it becomes apparent – at least to me – that pornography is not being clear enough that it’s a fantasy, a script … fake.

Blog in Review 2011: The First Entry

•01/03/2012 • Leave a Comment

An Intro to My Pornographic Beliefs

 

Reading this now, two days to a year later, is fascinating for me. I had these beliefs, some of which are pretty unchanged; but I felt so alone in them. I know now that I live in a relatively conservative and sex-negative chunk of California, and I naively thought that this reflected the world. I was stubborn in my belief that certain areas didn’t as a whole have certain beliefs, that sociopolitical slantings didn’t change from city to city. I felt like Sacramento reflected the rest of the world.

What the fuck sort of Anthropology student was I? A young one, I suppose.

I also find almost amusement in the fact that I was so focused on talking about pornography. I had no idea that it was one point that would lead me into such a bigger picture.

My only true complaint in reading this is my stance on sex workers. It was a glorified presentation of my true beliefs. Because I felt alone in my beliefs, felt like I was the only non sex worker arguing for the right for people to be sex workers, I felt like I had to be an extreme in order to make a point. I know now that I presented my opinion as naive and short-sighted. I am completely aware of the fact that sex work can be an incredibly abusive and soul-crushing environment. I know that if people enter sex work, namely prostitution, for monetary circumstances that we’re not talking taking a flipping burgers job at a McDonalds we’re talking about some severe monetary circumstances. And I’m also aware that johns can be horrible people to prostitutes, because they feel they deserve that sort of treatment. I think the point I tried to make, albeit lazily, is that it’s possible to fix those scary circumstances. It’s not overnight, and it would be in part about changing culture as a whole, and it would be unbelievable amounts of work; but think of the lives saved.

Have Yourself a Closeted Christmas?

•12/25/2011 • Leave a Comment

I should start this story with a little rant at my ex. Because I tried so hard to prevent him from this situation, I told him almost exactly that this is what would happen.

My ex, I’ve referred to him as Cody here before, is a bisexual male. But really only in recent months has he found comfort in that. His father is a retired tough guy, borderline redneck, who despite being soft spoken often throws around a lot of stereotypical masculinity; he and his step-mom have an iffy relationship at best. His mom passed when he was young, and her whole family is very super religious, and thus homophobic. So, in his childhood, there was quite likely a lot of shame passed around at the notion of being gay. And, there’s nothing really “stereotypically gay” about him; he’s a big manly man with interests in working with big metal pieces and cars.

Considering the blog I keep and the desires I have with my life, we talk about sexuality a lot, and it often comes back to our own sexuality. I remember a day back when he wasn’t even considering letting another man into his life (he only had one boyfriend as a teenager who broke his heart pretty bad), but we were talking in his car.

“You have to come out to your parents,” I said.

“Nope. I’ll never have another boyfriend, it’s not a problem.”

“That is quite a naive attitude. What if you do? You should have something prepared with your family, you can’t just surprise them with a man.”

“They wouldn’t accept me.”

“Has your father actually flat out said, ‘no son of mine’?”

He hesitated. “Well, actually, he’s never really directly said anything.”

“The fear is normal, Cody. You have to push past it and come out.”

“I’ll do what I fucking want.”

“Whatever.”

Months later, we sat in my front yard and talked for a good hour. We had been broken up for a couple months, and he was hanging out on websites talking to men.

“You gotta come out to your family,” I said once again.

“No, they would reject me.”

“Look. Someday, at the rate you’re going, you’re going to meet an amazing guy, one you’re crazy about, one that means more to you than flirting and maybe sex. And he won’t want to be a secret, and you won’t want him to be a secret. You have to lay that floor work out of coming out, or else it’s going to be something painful you’re doing together.”

“I’ll deal with it then.”

Stubborn. Mother. Fucker.

So now, sure enough, he’s met a guy. An amazing guy. They’ve been together about a week now, known each other not much longer. As somebody whose outside looking in, I have to be careful with my language here… I can tell that there’s something about them together that’s intense and close. They haven’t known each other long, as I said, but they care about each other a lot, and it sorta feels like they’ve known each other longer. I find it amazing that in their lovebird haze either of them is still making logical decisions.

And now the painful stuff begins.

Cody spent last night with his family bursting at the seams to share his love with his family, but never gave himself the room to. Now instead of having to come out with just one fact, I’m bisexual, he has to come out with two doozies, I’m bisexual and here’s my boyfriend.

And finally, almost six hundred words in, the part that really grinds my gears and inspired me to write this post.

Cody was seeing a girl for awhile, not a relationship but getting to know each other for potentially later on. She, from description, seems like a really nice girl. He struggled the whole time with her inclination to religion, knowing the religious from personal experience to be well frankly pricks. But he understood that sexual violence led her there, and had to respect that it was her way of coping. And even if the last set of religious folks in his life sucked, she seemed like a really sweet girl.

So a couple days ago he had to break the news, and not really in a way he wanted to. She randomly appeared at his house to talk the future of their dating relationship. Which is when he had to say, “yeah … so I found somebody …”

Now, anybody would hate to do that to another person, especially somebody whose been pretty nice to you. And don’t get me wrong, I feel some level of sympathy for her.

But later that night they sat on the phone and talked about life. Up to this point, she seemed pretty understanding. He mentioned how crazy he is about his man, but how hard it is to be closeted. She didn’t understand and refused to understand. Then the crying began. For a half an hour.

“Because you’re … this way,” she said, barely disguising the tone of disgust, “my heart is broken.”

As me and him talked about it later, I had to hear about the psychological impact on her of people who are “bisexual but not really.”

So, here I am, attempting to recreate the *other* rant I had last night.

First off, there is no such thing as a “bisexual but not really”. All people deal with their sexuality in different ways, and when you’re bisexual, the easiest is to stay at the polar that is most accepting of you, because the prejudice comes from the straight AND gay community. Which, often, is about (intentionally or not) “disguising” as a straight person. All I mean by that, by the way, is ending up in a pattern of dating the same gender; or even denying your own ability to go to the other. Cody himself once said, “I am bisexual, but I’ll never be with a man.” He spoke from a broken heart, and he spoke from cultural insecurity. He wasn’t a “fake bisexual.” So, let’s stop blaming ourselves as the LGBTQIA for other people’s prejudices on us.

Second off, fuck her. Does she have a right to have a broken heart? Absolutely. It does not even matter that they didn’t have sex or really any type of sexual relationship. Love is a complex emotional journey. Sometimes there’s love before the first kiss; sometimes there’s love after the hundredth sexual encounter. There’s no real controlling it. And yeah, it’s cool to be upset about not getting your way in the game of love.

But the way she handled it, pisses me the fuck off. Perhaps because I get that it’s the start of something.

He expressed his fears and concerns and plights. He needed a friend, which she had been up to this point. But it got to somewhere weird that her religion doesn’t want her to understand. So she shut down and began crying about her own heartache, because obviously he was overstating the importance of his problems.

I think of it like the emotional equivalent to, “oh, I’m sure you’re just exaggerating the racism over your blackness at your job. Racism is old news! Now let’s talk about how I can’t get hired at places because of those stupid equality laws we put in place for you.”

Fuck her. Fuck her privilege. That is exactly what she played out right there. She has the one-up culturally in her religion and her sexual orientation, so fuck my agnostic bisexual friend.

Like I implied before, what bothers me isn’t really personally about her. It’s about an understanding of the world I live in that I somehow didn’t have before.

Seeing Cody and his man together, I see a fresh relationship. But I also see something amazing that I can’t put into words, something I’ve never seen in a couple before. Maybe it’s just because I have a history with Cody and, even if we don’t work as a couple, I want to see him happy. But there is something special about them together. And I’m realizing that the world might ruin that for them.

People Bother Me.

•12/19/2011 • Leave a Comment

Don’t forget to vote on my poll about what posts you’d like to see more of in 2012. (Note: one reader wrote in the vote “robots”. I don’t know how, but I will make this happen at least once.)

A man I know from my first college posted about a death. While I feel for his loss, like I would any person’s, his metaphor was weak, unfitting, and an excellent mirror to his often fractured mental state. It reminded me of the crazy I was relieved to push from my life.

A girl I know, in a happy relationship with an ex of mine, posted that he was one of the strongest people she knew. Her reply is what led me to his post in the first place. And this left an odd, sickly feeling in my stomach. For this man once attempted to rape her closest friend, and also an ex of my ex’s.

Not only did I question how strong the man really is (as I said, I consider him mighty mentally unstable) but I questioned why she even had a close enough relationship to him to deem him anything. As I think I mentioned the last time I spoke on this man, this happened early in his melding with our group, and he was never once rejected for it – except by me, and obviously the girl who barely escaped his actions.

What the hell is this? An implication that somehow she was lying? An idea that somehow his company is better than hers (I don’t know, do you enjoy spending time with rapists)? A notion that because the two girls are no longer close that he no longer need to be avoided “for her sake”? A belief that because it was only an attempt it was not so serious an action, thus forgivable? Or simply a development over time based on sheer apathy to the fact that a man sexually attacked a woman half his size with chronic health problems?

When I think about it, I realize that it’s pretty much the same in my own experience. None of my friends that know my violator think I’m lying, in fact one girl knows from her own experiences that it’s true; yet nobody desires to push him out of their circle or confront him on what happened (including the one girl herself). There was talk of immature revenge, but it didn’t even go that far. Just talks for a laugh, while meanwhile his actions have caused serious and not funny damage.

What is wrong with these people that they need to befriend known rapists? Does anybody have an answer for me? Even if it’s rooted in a notion that rapists are not necessarily serial rapists (a notion that is false, I might add) I still don’t understand it.

In a world where a person can be judged poorly based on their voluntary sexual conduct, their clothing, whether or not they wear make-up, their body size, their eating portions, their taste in movies, their taste in music, their parenting skills, their desire to not have children at all, their kinks, being a virgin, being a different gender, being a different race, not having a gender, who they marry, what they find attractive, their eyes, their nose, their tits, their fake tits, their piercings, their tattoos, their toes, their hands, and God knows what else nobody seems to be judging two men for their non-consensual and, in one case, violent act on a weaker human?! Fucking excuse me?!

(note: I made some edits based on conversation had after my posting here. Even though I don’t use names, I’m not comfortable with the fact that I specifically said something happen when it turned out to only be a close call. Much like we make a distinction between murder and attempted murder, there is a difference between being raped and somebody attempting to rape you and failing. No, it does not change the point of this post at all, but I changed some language so I’d feel like my bases were covered.)

Welcome to the End of 2011!

•12/16/2011 • 1 Comment

As school this semester left me unable to do much more with this blog than think about what I’ve wanted to do with it, I have some plan of action for the first month or so with this blog of 2012. I intend to go through all of my old posts, find ones I’d still consider good, give them an edit, and then re-post them along with a paragraph about them. I’d like this to be how I start every year, perhaps called something like “A Look In The Archives”. It’d allow new readers to get an idea of what I’m about here, and also a chance to reconsider my old opinions and how they’ve grown.

I also would still really like to develop my physical identity. It should be easier because now I know at least three photographers, versus one flaky one. I also am contemplating starting to vlog,  but I’d probably have to learn to accept for awhile that I don’t necessarily have the best camera on the planet (it is inside my laptop screen, after all).

But I’d really like to get your opinions on it, as blog readers. So here’s a poll, give me your feedback, let me know what you want. This blog doesn’t mean no posts between now and January; in fact, I hope to post here before Christmas my writing work from my Psychology of Women course. At the least, I wrote what I feel is a pretty good essay on sexual assault, and I’d love to share it with you girls and guys.