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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 18,889

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"The Face of Rape Culture"

Yeah, I know that's just a red flag term "rape culture," simply ASKING to start a big fat semantic debate and bring the MRA wackjobs out from under their rocks.

Nevertheless, I want to share this quote from a commentin John Scalzi's blog:

Bill Cosby is a serial rapist. He’s raped dozens of women over his life. And at the center of that, by his own words? Bill Cosby doesn’t think he raped anyone.

We persist, in America, to think of rape as strangers in bushes with knives or guns. But Bill Cosby is the face of the most common rape in America — someone you know, armed only with pressure tactics and some sedatives (booze is a common choice). A guy who believes, until the end, that he just talked you into it. That he ‘set the mood’. That he did nothing wrong.

That’s the culture, the beliefs that feed into the most common forms of rape. The fact that he used pills rather than booze, that he was ‘famous’ and ‘connected’ somehow makes it easier to see than if he was just a guy you were on a date with, who kept pushing drinks on you and wouldn’t leave until you gave in.

Bill Cosby is the face of rape culture. A woman who was raped, and a man who thinks he didn’t do anything wrong.

And good lord, how do you stop THAT? If the criminal literally never thinks what he’s doing is a crime — what reason does he have to stop?

Because this validates my own rape survival and I think it does so for way too many other women as well.

And that's more important to me- that validation- than yet another tedious argument about semantics and legalities.

One more quote, also referred to in the post that comment is from:

"One of the most radical things you can do is believe women when they talk about their experiences."

And way, way, WAY too many of us experience living in a rape culture.

Deal with it.


The Post I Haven't Really Wanted to Make About BLM

I'm torn between two important bits of awareness.

The first is that affirming #BlackLivesMatter TO ME, is part of a process that's been somewhat-useful in the evolutionary process of social change, through the ages. That is, when you qualify as "mainstream" or "majority" or (quite frankly) "part of the problem," and you acknowledge the problem, take ownership of your share-by-default, and add your voice to the demands for change, you might-- just might-- raise the awareness of, and empower others like yourself, to make way for change.

And that's largely a good thing. So, there's that.

But here's the other awareness:


And trying to insert myself into the discussion as though what I say matters, perpetuates the whole "part of the problem" issue.

The voices that we need to be listening to, resonating to, responding to are not voices like mine.

Honestly, if I were a candidate-- caucasian middle-aged me? I'm not at all sure what kind of useful response I could make to a flash group of activists using the spotlight directed at me to get their message across.

A very important message.

A message I agree with.

A message I don't really want to dilute with well-intentioned platitudes, endorsements, affirmations, etc.

Because even though as a candidate, my voice would have some relevance, it could never begin to match the power of those speaking for themselves, their family members, friends, loved ones.

What would I say?

I don't know, I'm not a candidate, I haven't been in that situation. I might say something stupid, clueless, tone-deaf.

That wouldn't change the reality and the passion of my belief that those who are speaking need to be listened to, and that we need to change.


Damn' Straight, I Shouldn't Have to Work "Hard(er!)"

I posted this initially in September, 2010, but it seems like the right time to re-post it, in response to, well... you know.

Damn' straight, I shouldn't have to work "hard!"

Not when "hard" is defined by people who think that your ass is lazy if you're not gasping in misery at the end of the 10-hour work day.

Not when "hard" means standing on my feet on hard concrete surfaces without a break for hours, with a bare few minutes for lunch and bathroom breaks, and hot, smelly air choking me until the migraine is so bad I can hardly find my locker to pick up my purse at the end of the day.

Not when "hard" means that my "exempt" job "exempts" me from being paid overtime for the extra ten hours a week I routinely have to put in at a flickering computer monitor in an ergonomic nightmare of a chair, with sleazy supervisors telling me how lazy I am and denying me raises because the company's profit margin isn't inflated enough.

Not when "hard" means bending over in the hot sun, muscling a heavy piece of equipment intended to be operated by two people all on my own.

Not when "hard" means accepting shitty pay and constant disrespect, suspicion, and superior attitudes from people whose only "qualification" for the job is that their brother-in-law is a company Vice President.

Not when "hard" means getting a theoretical two weeks' vacation I never get to take because if I do, my job will have been disappeared by the time I get back, "re-organized" so that two even worse-paid part-time employees take over the work.

Not when "hard" means no benefits and barely enough pay to eat on and three months behind in the rent and no money to pay for the medication I need to keep breathing without wheezing constantly, but I'm still expected to be on-the-bounce, cheerful, willing to stay late and arrive early and take over the extra work required when a co-worker is out sick.

No, you fuckers, you're right. I DON'T want to "work hard," you piece-of-crap smug sleazy empty suited heartless amoral assholes. I DON'T want to "work hard" so that you can keep making payments on your Lexus and sneer at me because I'm behind on my mortgage and "not making good financial decisions."

I want to WORK.

I want to work with DIGNITY.

I want to work for a LIVING WAGE.

I want to work for the feeling that what I do is IMPORTANT and APPRECIATED and DECENTLY COMPENSATED.

THAT'S how I want to work.

That's what UNIONS used to be for: To keep you slimy, self-righteous, greedy, arrogant shitheels from being able to take advantage of my need for a job, my need to support myself and my family and feel like I'm pulling my own weight in the world by regarding me as a disposable commodity that can be pushed around, treated like crap, and ditched whenever your fucking profit margin drops below two hundred percent and your bonus or your stock options are in jeopardy.

And then you can justify your smarmy, hypocritical, vicious, parasitical behavior by sniffing superciliously about how I "don't want to work hard."





The Polyamorous Neighbors You Don't Know

The topic of plural marriage is heating up around here, and the ripples are slopping in predictable directions.

I've already said what I have to say on the topic in general, so I'm not gonna rehash the Bigger Picture.

But one issue I DO want to address is the numerous iterations of this argument that popped up in that thread and continue to pop up in other threads on the topic (Le Taz Hot's deeply-felt post on the difference between rape and polygamy, among others):

"There's a lot of exploitive, rapey, evil, misogynist polygyny out there. And I, personally, don't see a whole lot of healthy, wholesome, consensual polyamory out there. Therefore I must conclude that the exploitive, rapey, evil polygyny is a fair representation of "polygamy" and what would happen if plural marriage were legitimated and I DON'T WANT THAT."

Well, I don't want the positive sanction and proliferation of nasty exploitive rapey polygyny, EITHER, so can we at least start out with that as common ground?

Here's what I'm picking out of that argument that bothers me, though: The "I don't see a lot of healthy, wholesome, consensual polyamory out there, therefore there must not be much, therefore there wouldn't be much if plural marriage were legitimated," train of reasoning.

Consensual, thoughtful, intentional, shared polyamorous orientation and even commitment are pretty invisible for a damn' good reason. A reason very similar to why BDSM was relatively invisible until recently, and somewhat similar to why the "closet" was the primary habitat for LBGT folk until during my lifetime:

It's strongly, overwhelmingly, and near-universally misunderstood and negatively-sanctioned in our culture. (Yeah, one from the "duh" file, but it appears to need stating and re-stating, ad infinitum.)

Most polyamorists are STILL IN THE CLOSET, in other words.

Some "beard" as "swingers." (Not to be confused with the real thing-- monogamists who enjoy a little mutually-consensual variety in their sex lives.) Many live apparently monogamist lifestyles with one partner, just because it's easier.

Ethical polyamorous individuals sometimes accept a monogamous relationship because it's easier, too.

But some work out a clear prior understanding with their monogamous partner: There's no need for the monogamous partner to participate, but the polyamorous individual may have other, consensual, loving sexual relationships with other partners. In some cases, those other partners are welcome, albeit necessarily not permanent, members of the household. In some cases, the "household" the polyamorous person lives in, is spread over multiple dwellings.

These are not optimal arrangements, but they are required, because, remember that reaction you just viscerally had when I wrote about the "clear prior understanding with their monogamous partner?" Somewhere deep inside you hollered "bullshit! They just want permission to CHEAT, the selfish barstids!" didn't you?

The kind of people who are driven to pursue creepy exploitive nonconsensual polygyny usually associate themselves with whole subcultures of other sickos like themselves, and they're really not interested in living in the same culture as the rest of us, because, well, they know the whole "nonconsensual exploitation" thing is at the heart of why they do it, and it's a pretty big stretch to expect the rest of the world to backpedal into that swamp.

The kind of people who are ethically, thoughtfully, naturally polyamorous don't necessarily want to go live in a teeny little subculture with one another where they can be marginalized, stigmatized, prosecuted now and then, and generally made to pay a hellish price for the consensual expression of their sexuality with other adults.

So, you don't know them. But there are more of them than you think.

But they might live next door to you.


Plural marriage and its challenges

"Plural marriage" is a generic term for when more than two people decide they wish to form a family, create a lasting household together for mutual support and love, and obtain social recognition of their commitment to one another.

If you stop there, it's just possible to see the horizon where this is another Great Civil Rights fight, queuing up to change American consciousness and society.

And if you stop there, its easy to see why those who regard plural marriage as such get offended when various forms of plural marriage are equated to nonconsensual exploitation, cruelty, and/or criminal behavior. As in, the assumption that advocating the legalization of polygamy-- a form of plural marriage-- is being used to discredit same-sex marriage.

This is the same school of thought that wants to turn "You throw like a GIRL" from an insult into a badge of pride. (see: "Davis, Mo'ne" Fuck you people, you think assigning onus to a reference can MAKE it onerous? We'll show you.

I get this.

Partly because I think that sometime down the road, we'll achieve a redefinition of marriage big enough to include the triads, foursomes, even fivesomes-- who knows? More? Individuals who perceive the bond of love as the basis of creating a home and family, a unit of support and comfort, a growth medium for children and adults alike, independent of past assumptions about the "roles" inherent in one-to-one marriage.

I think we'll get there.

Maybe not soon, though.

Because for now, there are problems, inherent not in the present or the future, but in the ugly past of a particular variety of plural marriage.

Let's be clear: Polyandry has never been a problem. Partnerships that involve more than one member of more than one gender are such a vanishingly small percentage that they haven't even cracked the phenomenonological perception barrier.

Polygamy, however, has a very long, and very repulsive history as a tool of the patriarchy for the control of women. And in the case of some of our more fetid doctrinal interpretations of Guy God-dom, it remains exactly that tool.

How do we legitimate plural marriage, without enabling that vile practice?

I'm open to suggestion.

I think that discussion might be a more productive approach to the challenge than simply name-calling and/or demanding that we accept each others' points of view without acknowledging the problems inherent in both sides.

But... I recognize that here and now probably isn't the most likely place for such a discussion to emerge.

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