A note about The Deviated Norm

This here is a low traffic blog on topics close to my heart. As such, comments and engagement on old posts are always welcome and will be responded to. Except! for comments on old posts telling me to lighten up, not take things so seriously, or let things go, 'cause that shit's just plain ironic. Those comments will get a suggestion to visit Derailing for Dummies.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fix her Flux Capacitor!

Now for something that made me smile.

And for those who can't watch it right now (though I really suggest doing so), click for a Transcript!:

And look! he didn't need to resort to fucked up sexist insults or slurs(*cough cough Perez Hilton, and all you others, I'm looking at you cough cough*). Which as we all know aren't extra bad because they're extra mean, they're extra bad because they use a person's status in an oppressed group as the sole reason that the insult works.

Job Discrimination

This post is inspired by a Shakesville guest post "We Matter".

Have you heard of Diane Schroer? That's ok, the name doesn't immediately ring a bell for me either, but she is a trans woman who was hired by the Library of Congress to do analysis for them. The Library of Congress is now being ordered to pay her close to $500,000. Why? Because as soon as they found out that she was trans/transitioning, the person in charge of hiring rescinded the offer.

As wonderful as it is for her, it isn't really cause for celebration. In Massachusetts RIGHT NOW there is a bill being discussed that will legally protect all trans people in Massachusetts from job and housing discrimination*.
Meaning that it still doesn't exist, meaning that at this exact moment I could be fired at will for my gender identity.
Meaning that every day I go to work, I have to remind myself to carefully excise any trans specific language from my vocabulary.
Meaning that I have to willfully repress any desire to have people use the correct pronouns about me while at work.
Meaning that I worry if my clothes today, yesterday, tomorrow, will be considered gender inappropriate, and what the hell should I do if they try to require me to wear women's clothes?
Meaning that when I go to work, I struggle constantly in how to talk about my partner Bluejay, do I gender him? If so how?
Meaning that any passing remark at work about my living situation is fraught with potential blunders.
Meaning that when talking about roommate drama (which as some of you might remember is/was often tied up in trans issues), I feel worried about mentionting that much of it stems from transphobia.
Meaning that people who don't understand the constant stress of hiding my gender feel free nonetheless to tell me that "it's important to be honest in an interview. More than anything else, not being honest (about anything) puts up a red flag, makes the employer think: If this person isn't telling me the truth about this (and clearly there's something fishy here), what else is she hiding, and is she going to try to cover up her mistakes on the job instead of talking honestly about them?" thus implying that my gender is just one more lie/that my deliberate choice to hide my trans identity is taken haphazardly.
Meaning that I didn't get a job in my actual field, with full benefits, because I'm trans (oh sure, I don't know that for certain, but when the person literally in charge of hiring you says: "I really like you, I want you working here yesterday, I've already told the HR people to send you a formal offer, maybe you can start in 2 weeks" and you don't hear for months, and then find out that someone there just happened to know you were trans, and that she also just happened to be the person who told everyone she couldn't work with you, it's a pretty damn safe bet), thus leaving me in a part time job with no benefits, on public assistance, because actual professional jobs clearly aren't within my utterly bad, no good, reach.

Even though Diane Schroer was awarded this decsision, it isn't cause for celebration because in New Hampshire just recently, a bill for housing and job and hate crimes protections was voted down unanimously (even the bill's sponsors voted against it).
It isn't cause for celebration because even though Angie Zapata's killer is going to spend the rest of his life in jail, Duanna Johnson's murderer is on trial, and I still won't be surprised if he walks.
It isn't cause for celebration because of all the other trans victims (and survivors) of violence, who will not only never see justice, but have their memories distorted with false pronouns and misleadings names.

I'm happy for Diane Schroer. But I'm waiting for the day when trans people don't have to shop around for an accepting work environment (which are few and far between), closet themselves, or sue/fight for their rights. And let's face it, Ms. Schroer is an exception to the rule.

*If you're from Massachusetts, and you have time/care (which really, I hope you all DO care), please please click on the link and think about submitting written testimony (I will be, just as soon as I figure out what to write).

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Breaking News...

Agreeing with me is like agreeing with HITLER!!!

Everyone may commence pointing and laughing now.

But seriously, it's nice to know that our resident troll thinks I'm as charismatic and persuasive as Hitler. A little creepy yes, but I promise that I will be a benevolent dictator when I use my army of atheist sympathizers to take over Europe through violence. Anyone want to buy me a plane ticket so I can get started?

Monday, April 27, 2009

My Atheism

A small quibble when it comes to the definition of atheist: "a theory or belief that God does not exist" (OED). When I say I am an atheist I do not mean that I believe there are no gods.
I mean that I do not believe that there are gods.

See the slight difference?
I am an atheist in the same way I am an a-unicorn-ist. Both of them are purported to exist, but I view all claims about this with skepticism. I don't need to actively believe in their non-existence, because there is no evidence that I have to dismiss.

This is in contrast to people who believe that global warming/climate change doesn't exist. See, there is quite a bit of evidence that says that it does. As such, refusal to acknowledge this probability requires a degree of faith.

And therein lies the rub. In our society, it is considered completely normal to believe in all sorts of wacky things, provided a plurality of people also do, and the wacky things you believe were in fact codified X years ago as a religion (X varies, according to some people Mormonism is a dangerous cult, as is Scientology. Some others view Mormonism as a valid religion, while Scientology doesn't get the pass, since it's too young, etc.). But say you believe in unicorns and people tend to assume you are either: very young, being sarcastic, or rather unintelligent/naive. Yet, of the two, unicorns are clearly more benign. In most cultures that used to believe in them, they were considered signs of good fortune, and were generally considered non-violent. Compare this to the history of gods, who almost to an individual are considered jealous and violent. Run into a god in most mythologies, and your life will be quite possibly turned upside down in an unpleasant way.

As a person, I see no reason to believe that there are external, supernatural things that exist and control any aspect of the world around me. I do not believe in gods, in spirits, in ghosts, or in souls. I also don't believe that there is an afterlife or a unifying (supernatural) force in the world. As a person, I see no reason to believe in all of that (since there is no evidence to do so), and so I call myself an atheist.

The beauty of life (to me) is that I was born and have this short time to experience it. Hopefully I enjoy the majority of the time, and it is also my hope that I will be able to make those around me enjoy a majority of their time as well. At the end, whatever I did matters to those who remember. This life isn't a test, and it isn't a gift, it just is. And that makes me happy.

Miltary Fairy

My partner Bluejay and I were discussing the normalizing of heterosexuality in our culture, in response to some readings that he'd been doing. It got me to thinking about humor, and how subversive humor can be, if done right, and how utterly not funny it can be when done totally wrong.

For instance: Miltary Fairy from Monty Python


Monty Python was active in the early 1970s. That's more than 3 decades ago. Yet watching this today it still packs a similar punch.
Why? Because it takes the assumed heterosexuality of men, and specifically, explicitly military men, and turns it on its head. The company is doing "precision drilling," of the campiest sort. This joke wouldn't be funny if the assumption of heterosexuality weren't part of our culture, and if machismo wasn't tied so tightly to that expectation.

For an example of totally unsubversive gay "humor", feel free to see "I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry". I certainly didn't, but surprisingly, feel no need to worry. After all, it has Adam Sandler, and the guy who plays the husband/father in King of Queens.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Square Butts

I hate this ad. I hate it so much, I'm not even going to link to it, but if you've been watching tv at all recently, you've seen it. It's for Burger King.

They have a spoof on Sir Mixalot's "Baby Got Back" song for a kid's meal ad.

Baby Got Back.

Kid's Meal Ad.

Song sexualizing women as objects?

Kid's Meal Ad.

Good job Burger King.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

NOM Parody. They Just Keep Getting Better

Loki, each time I think that I have a favorite parody, someone makes an even better one.

Check it out

[Sarah Chalke, from Scrubs]: There’s a storm gathering.
[Jason Lewis, Sex and the City]: That’s why there are these clouds behind me. They represent a storm that’s gathering.
[Lynne Stewart]: And it’s gathering fast.
[Alicia Silverstone, from Clueless]: (tearing) And I, am afraid… ‘Cause I have a fear of storms.
[Lance Bass, from *NSYNC]: I’m also afraid
[Liz Feldman, director and producer of this video]: And I am afra….wait did someone say that? Oh he did? My Bad.
[Sarah Chalke, from Scrubs]: Some who advocate for same sex marriage, take the issue far beyond, same sex marriage.
[Sophia Bush, from One Tree Hill]: Like, really far.
[Drew Droege]: They’re trying to force the issue into my life. And it’s just stupid
[Mike Hitchcock, from MADtv]: The storm is getting worser, and worser.
[Daniele Gathier, from MADtv]: Stop it storm.
[Alicia Silverstone, from Clueless]: Stop it storm!
[Mike Hitchcock, from MADtv]: STOP IT STORM
[Jason Lewis, Sex and the City]: I’m a California doctor, who must choose between my faith and my job. Because doctors hate gay marriage.
[Alicia Silverstone, from Clueless]: I’m a Massachusetts mother, helplessly standing by as the schools teach my children that Gay Marriage is OK. I also have an issue with their hot lunch program.
[Jay Lay]: I’m a Connecticut weatherman, and there’s a cold front coming in! And it’s gay people! ‘K they’re here, and we’re here, the Not Gay People. Ok. They ARE trying to get us, be careful, and wind chill will definitely be a factor, so bundle up.
[Erin Foley, from Almost Famous]: The storm is getting bigger.
[Daniele Gathier, from MADtv]: This storm is being caused by Gay marriage.
[George Takei, from Startrek]: That’s what’s up there, married gay people. And they’re doing all this!
[Sarah Chalke, from Scrubs]: Soon, gay people will start falling out of the sky.
[Lance Bass, from *NSYNC]: Onto our homes.
[Sophia Bush, from One Tree Hill]: Onto our churches.
[Lynne Stewart]: And onto our families.
[Jay Lay]: A downpour of gay people, threatening the way we live (falling gays)
[Sarah Chalke, from Scrubs]: And this gay rain army, won’t stop.
[Lynne Stewart]: They’ll come at us, marching
[Liz Feldman, director and producer of this video]: Not marching, more like a dance. They’ll dance at us
[Sarah Chalke, from Scrubs]: And it’ll be choreographed, it’ll be good
[Daniele Gathier, from MADtv]: But they won’t stop until all of us, AND our children, are gay married
[Mike Hitchcock, from MADtv]: I’m so angry!!!!
[Actually, no idea who, was it one of the earlier guys?]: The storm, is, coming (fake accent)
[Jane Lynch, from fucking everything]: But we have hope. People of every creed, race and color are coming together to build a giant umbrella of faith, morality, and righteousness. That will protect us from this gay, rain, army. And that’s not just a metaphor, we’re actually building um, an umbrella. So if you want to protect marriage, and if you have any experience building a giant umbrella, join us at www.giantgayrepellentumbrella.com

I'd love ya'll's opinion on which are the funniest bits, right now I'm leaning towards the weather-man.

Oh, anyone else love how the gay actors are just sprinkled around in there. As in, lots of straight allies. WOOOO go you straight allies, go!

Rectifying the Atheist Problem

So... I've been realizing that we have a small little problem on this here blog.

In order to fix the overly atheistic slant of this blog, I give you my side project: http://www.thedeviatednorm.blogpsot.com/

HaHA. Just kidding. Even though it says up at the top that I identify as an atheist (and then again in the little red atheist A on the right, and in the textbox at the bottom), I'm clearly not doing enough to shout it to the world.

I mean look:

In 22 posts: only TWO have been about my atheism. Damn, I'm losing grip on reality here, posting so much about gender and feminism, racism, and transphobia, and my life, and music, why straight culture makes no sense, and television. It's less than 10% of what I crankycrankypants about! What was I thinking? This should be angry atheist 24-7!

In order to TRULY rectify that, I give you "Dear God" by XTC.

Lyrics are on the actual video.

Now, now, some may say this means I wholly support their message. But I gotta say, every time I watch it, the end always irks me. The anger directed at god seems silly even. I hardly get pissed when the tooth fairy doesn't visit, do I? Why should they be so frustrated at a social construct not fixing the world. However, I do rather love that opening line:

Dear God, Hope you got the letter and I pray you can make it better down here. (I don't mean a big reduction in the price of beer.)

It certainly would be nice to be able to ask to have the world get fixed and have it happen. Oh well, since there doesn't seem to be anyone who can do that, guess I'd better wade in myself and do it.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Cure for the Blues

This song [Edit: Grace Kelly, by Mika /Edit] is the PERFECT pick me up. There are songs that I like, there are songs that I love, and then there are songs that I fervently wish I had been the one to write. Because they are just so damn good.

And because I love you, Lyrics!
[Mika Speaking/Voice Over]: I wanna talk to you

[Little Girl Voice Over]: The last time we talked Mr. Smith you reduced me to tears, I promise you it wont happen again

[Singing]: Do I attract you? Do I repulse you with my queasy smile? Am I too dirty?
Am I too flirty? Do I like what you like?
I could be wholesome, I could be loathsome, guess I'm a little bit shy. Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me without making me try?
I try to be like Grace Kelly. But all her looks were too sad. So I try a little Freddie, mmm. I've gone identity mad!
I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky. I could be hurtful, I could be purple, I could be anything you like. Gotta be green, gotta be mean, gotta be everything more. Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me? Why don't you walk out the door!

[Little Girl Voice Over]: Getting angry doesn't solve anything

[Singing]: How can I help it? How can I help it? How can I help what you think? Hello my baby. Hello my baby. Putting my life on the brink. Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me? Why don't you like yourself? Should I bend over? Should I look older just to be put on your shelf?
I try to be like Grace Kelly. But all her looks were too sad. So I try a little Freddie. I've gone identity mad!
I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky. I could be hurtful, I could be purple, I could be anything you like. Gotta be green,gotta be mean, gotta be everything more. Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me? Walk out the door!
Say what you want to satisfy yourself. But you only want what everybody else says you should want, you want!
I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky. I could be hurtful, I could be purple, I could be anything you like. Gotta be green, gotta be mean, gotta be everything more. Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me? Walk out the door!
I could be brown, I could be blue, I could be violet sky. I could be hurtful, I could be purple, I could be anything you like! Gotta be green, gotta be mean, gotta be everything more. Why don't you like me? Why don't you like me? walk out the door!

[Little Girl Voice Over]: Humphry were leaving

[Mika Speaking]: KaCHING!

So yeah. This song is the cheerfullest, sunniest, "Fuck You" the world has ever seen. He wrote it because he was denied an opera role. Now it's his number 1 hit.

Angie Zapata was "deceptive", in other news, her killer's defense team can kiss my ass

Please Please Please. [Bit of a trigger warning] This is both one of the most upsetting and most important things you could do today. Go to the link here:


If you need me to repeat the link, I will. The defense is (of course) using the tired ol' "gay panic" routine, but now it's "trans panic" and the murderer was "duped". They have been refusing to use the correct name and pronouns when talking about her. Her family, being questioned on the stand, had to correct the lawyer every. single. time. That they should stand up to such bullying shouldn't be considered amazing and brave, but I nonetheless feel it is.

Because I spent part of the weekend with my relatives. Every single one of whom knows my gender identity. Not once could they manage to get my pronouns right (nor did they try, or correct themselves). The best they seemed to manage was to not use pronouns at all (when actively called on it). Today I told someone I that I didn't care anymore. But it was a lie. I care every fucking time, but since my entire life is one giant fuck-you to my identity, I feel defeated and beat down and unable to do anything.

But help is on the way. Because every time I read posts like this, every time I hear and read people say something, I get that much better at being able to stand up for myself and everyone else. Every time I read a hilarious troll stomping post (I swear this time it's not the same link), I'm that much more able to tell off creepy sexist patrons at my work.

Oh, so story from work: I'm sitting at my computer, as I do, when a patron/resident tells me the printer is out of paper. Which is frustrating 'cause we're damn near out. So I saunter on over to replace the paper. As I pass his chair he tells me "good girl," as though I'm a fucking puppy doing a trick or something. I tell him "I don't appreciate that and that's inappropriate. I'm changing this paper because it's my job, I get PAID to do it, I don't need you to tell me that I'm a 'good' anything." As he leaves he apologizes and tells me that he didn't mean to be rude. I tell him thanks, but it was rather patronizing.

As I was saying: every time I read feminists standing up for themselves, every time I read trans people standing up for themselves, I am that much more able to stand up for myself as well. Because telling someone off is a practiced skill, and the -isms of this world thrive on the fact that no one bothers to tell them off, so we never get practice, and by the time it's a Big. Fucking. Deal. we just don't know what to do.

So, stand up for yourself (and others, damnit!) today. It does the body good.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

An Ally Analogy

So. (This is all true)

Bluejay plays rugby. I have lots of rugby playing friends. I love all my rugby playing friends and Bluejay very much. But, I've never gone to a game, I don't actually know the rules, I've heard of a couple of the terms (apparently there are hookers and props involved, oh and scrums) but generally I just sort of don't really involve myself all that much with it. I don't have anything against rugby players, (geez folks, I'm dating one!), and I certainly think they're all great people (or at least, if they aren't, it has nothing to do with their rugby playing ways). I don't try to stop people from playing rugby, but I am aware that twisted ankles, and concussions can happen, so I'm sometimes nervous for Bluejay's health and safety on the field (oh, it's called a "pitch"? cool, I'm down with that), and when she comes home injured I try to help her out.

As a person who never goes to games, and doesn't actually know anything about the sport, am I a fan? Am I supporter of rugby?


Do I nevertheless treat rugby players with respect, and would be shocked if other people thought they were less than human? Do I support my partner's decision to be a rugby player?

You Betcha!

Now, imagine that rugby players were a highly stigmatized group. That lots of people actively thought they were less than human.

I (in this imaginary world) still support their right to play rugby (and consider my lover and friends real people). Does this continued belief in their humanity and their rights magically turn me into a fan or a supporter? (I'm confident in "No")

Now, let's replace "fan" and "supporter" with "ally".

How does this change anything?

If I don't go to the games, if I don't know the rules, I'm not a fan of rugby! Pretty dern simple. I'm still a good person, a nice person, a good friend, but I'm simply not a rugby supporter.

If I say you aren't an "ally" that doesn't mean I think you're evil. Just like I'm not evil for not being an active supporter/fan of Bluejay's rugby.

The difference is though, that rugby isn't hugely stigmatized, that coming home from games my friends don't get beat up or called names. If they did, I'd like to think that I'd go to games and walk back with them, to help protect them from a world and society that did this to them. And I'd like to think that by being at the games, by putting myself as a presence there, I'd learn the rules, and the terms. I would, in fact, become a supporter and a fan.

So. You aren't evil if you aren't an ally. But, with a little work, why not become one?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Losing Rights

Via Slap Upside the Head I found out today that in Alberta, Canada, trans people are losing rights that I can barely dream of. Apparently, not only do they have public health care, but they in fact (until recently) had sex reassignment surgery as public health care.

That's right. The surgeries/hormones that U.S. (trans) citizens can only get after jumping through hoops to "prove" to medical gatekeepers that our identities are really truly real, and which are then explicitly NOT covered by various insurance (with the excuses that it's "experimental" or "cosmetic") are not only provided there, but seemingly free of cost.

Or were.

It's hard to be appropriately angry because this is clearly a blow to trans people in Alberta, but at the same time I'm exceedingly jealous. The fact is, the surgeries and hormones used by trans people to have our bodies match what we think of as appropriate are a medical necessity. Don't believe me?

Ask me (or probably just about any other trans person you know) about the crippling depression that can come with not being able to have one's body look appropriate to yourself.

Should I tell you about a friend of mine who basically lived entirely in a binder, and because of it developed sores? Should I tell you about the days I could barely leave my room to go make myself breakfast (among other things), because I was too exhausted to try and pass while in my own house walking around in front of roommates? Or how about the time that I read an account of a breast cancer survivor (who got a double mastectomy because of it) and had a more-than-fleeting thought of "if I could just manage to get cancer!" Maybe I'll tell you about the number of times I've looked down and just wondered if it'd be possible to knock myself out and use a kitchen knife, and then had to remind myself that it wouldn't work and I'd quite possibly bleed to death.

Oh. I guess I just did.

So, those and many others are the reasons that we need our surgeries, our hormones, etc. And that's why knowing that I won't be able to afford mine anytime soon (the cost is in the thousands, of course, and as mentioned, not covered by health insurance) makes me even more depressed than I would be normally. And that's why it matters that Alberta, Canada is going to take this away from its trans citizens.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Anti-Atheist Bigotry and Being an "Ally"

You are not an ally of trans people if you tell us that we need to be careful, be more aware of anti-trans bigotry, that we need to be less out, but have no idea who Angie Zapata is.

You are not an ally of queer people if you tell us that we need to be careful, be more aware of anti-queer bigotry, that we need to be less out, but haven't heard of the 11 year old Massachusetts boy who committed suicide less than a week ago, after months of homophobic bullying.

You are not an ally of atheists if you tell us that we need to be careful, be more aware of anti-atheist bigotry, that we need to be less out, but don't know about the various laws that say we can't even give testimony in court (in some U.S. states), don't know about what happens to out atheists in the military, and haven't even heard of the recent (2007) Gallup Poll which says that of all of these groups: Catholics, African-Americans, Jews, women, Latinos, Mormons, people married more than twice, people over the age of 72, homosexuals, and Atheists, that Atheists alone are the group that a majority of people in the U.S. would refuse to vote for, regardless of our qualifications (by the way, that list, it's in order of decreasing "electability").

You just aren't. Even if you're a family member of us. Even if you think of yourself as an "ally." Until you not only know about the various prejudices and dangers out there, but are plugged into our communities, until you can literally run circles around the knowledge that I have just bouncing around in my head (because yes, I DO pay attention to the way that my communities are stigmatized, and victimized, and implying otherwise if fucking patronizing as hell), then you can tell me fuck-all about how dangerous it can be out there.

Because this is the shortest fucking post I could write about the hatred out there for queers and trans people and atheists. That's right. At this moment, I could call up 10s, maybe hundreds more stories and factoids and statistics about MY communities. So don't tell me that I don't understand. Because I do.

This next bit is a nice little display of more anti-atheist bigotry put out by our friends the AiG.

Trigger Warning

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rape Culture and the Misogyny Olympics

The definition of rape culture: One in which someone can actually type this* on the internet:

You posit that the fact that she is very drunk signals that the guy should not make a sexual advance. this is contrary to the prevailing social norm, however.

"Now folks at home should know this is a very advanced form of victim blaming, not everyone can accomplish it. Mitch has been in training for weeks, and while we saw him pull it off at the qualifying event in Salt Lake, we don't know how it'll go here in Atlanta. Here it comes, there's the set up, and..... ..... AND HE STICKS IT!!! Mitch for the gold medal in misogyny!!!!!! For the thousandth year running the men's team will take home all three medals! The crowd is wild with excitement, back to you Bob."

*[Edit] "this" is meant to refer to the various victim blaming rape apologists on the thread, not the actual body of the review, which is in general quite interesting

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Catchy Songs, Misogyny and Racism, Oh MY!

It's almost as offensive with the sound off, so feel free to watch it that way!

[White girl]: Sometimes a girl can’t help feeling a little blue. [Petting a fluffy cat] When everything’s a mess, my favorite thing to do: is mow the lawn, mow the lawn.
[Chorus]: Mow it! Do it! Cut it! trim it!
[Black girl]: Some bushes are really big,
[Asian girl]: some gardens are mighty small,
[White girl] whatever shape your topiary, it’s easy to trim them all. Whenever I see a weed, I mow that rascal down [cut to footage of black woman] so all that’s left for me to see are [two lips] on the mound [two tulips]
[Asian girl]: So mow the lawn,
[White girl]: mow the lawn! Toolshed’s equipped, my flora’s clipped. Never feel untidy, just spruce your Aphrodite,
[Chorus]: and mow the lawn!
[White girl]: Feeling rough around the edges?
[Chorus]: And mow the lawn!
[White girl]: It feels great to trim the hedges! [Hairless cat being pet]
[Chorus]: and mow the lawn!

I just want you to know that watching that long enough to transcribe the whole thing was... a zen challenge, too bad I don't get any useful karma from it.
So let's examine this one, shall we?

First off let's start with a partial list of the creepy sexism?
  • There's a fluffy cat, oh haha, I get it. It's a "pussy"!!! Just like women! Good one advertiser Dave! Hey Dave, after they've all "mowed the lawn" perhaps we could have a hairless cat. Oh we can?! Saawweeettt. (Doesn't anyone think this is a bad analogy? When I pet a cat, I like it to have fur, am I the only one?)
  • Anyone else find it creepy that they are singing into the clipping shears as though they are mics, but it just looks like they are about to cut their own heads off?
  • I'm not sure when heart-shaped pubic hair became a standard. Anyone want to clue me in?
  • Tulips! haHA. Two Lips. Two Tulips. The Wit, it burns.
Ok next for the creepy racism?
  • I don't think I need to mention that the "gardens are mighty small" oh so conveniently references the fact that asians are considered "petite" and that includes assumptions about their cunts*, or that the comment about "really big bushes" could be seen to be referencing the fact that black people are assumed to be bigger, also including their cunts, do I?
  • Similarly, does anyone need a primer course in why having the sole black woman in the video using a POWER TOOL to cut her "bush" perhaps push buttons surrounding how white people have "nice, easy" hair and black people don't? Even though, come to think of it, I don't know many people whose pubic hair is long and flowing and straight... just sayin'
  • Perhaps an astute watcher might also notice that the black woman is the only woman in the video who shows anything but unabashed cheerfulness. This surely has nothing to do with the fact that black people are portrayed as "angry" Surely not!
  • And DEFINITELY they forgot to put the asian girl in with any power tools, not because of weird assumptions about the "daintiness" of asians and assumed ideas about power tools, but because, maybe she just didn't want to stick around for the whole day of shooting! *shrug* who knows???
Just a reminder, that's Schick with an S-C-H-I-C-K for all your gardening needs.

*I use the word cunt because of the book: Cunt by the talented Inga Muscio

The Magic Penis

This alternately should be titled: If You Don't Want to Hear About My Sex Life in College, You May Want to Stop Reading (But Don't Really Stop Reading, Because There is an Important Philosophical Point to be Made).... oh fine, do whatever you want

I don't want to step on anyone's precious, precious toes but.....
Newsflash: Penises are not magic.

As some of you who are familiar with this blog may indeed know, I briefly sort of dated a bioboy while in college (and identifying as not-het). I had with him, probably what I'd consider my first positive sexual experience(s) with a guy. I can't remember ever feeling unduly pressured, and while thinking of our relationship as straight totally fucked with my head, it had nothing to do with the fooling around, which was on the whole very enjoyable (as sex/relationships should be). Which is why it was so damn ironic he told me in all honestness that Penises Are Magic.

Ok. Those weren't his exact words. It was something a lot closer to: "see, I don't want to have [penetrative penile/vaginal]* sex with you because I've heard that the first time a girl has [penile/vaginal] sex, she becomes really attached to the guy. It's a chemical thing."

Uh. Yeah. So orgasms, shared affection, respect, intelligence, whether or not you are cute.... None of that is as important to whether a "girl" (nevermind that not everyone with a vagina is a girl and that not everyone who is a girl has a vagina) becomes irrationally "attached". "Attached" for those keeping score at home, is code word for Clingy, (when reading this aloud, please be sure to say this in a sing-song voice).

What does it say when an all-around cool (I'd say feminist, but I don't know if he identifies as such), somewhat gender non-conforming, politically engaged guy, honest-to-Loki believed that his Magic Penis would turn me "clingy"?

To me it says that something is wrong with society. Whoever originally told him this (he passed it on not as opinion, but as semi-scientific fact imparted by others) believed that lesbians, gay men, and apparently straight men, all can't become attached to their partners. Because they don't have the magic formula of 1 penis + 1 receiving vagina.

To me, it says that we as a culture view Penises as the be-all and end-all, so much so, that any sexual pleasure one derives from non-penile pursuits (including of course, orgasms derived from oral sex, manual sex, anal sex, self-love, or just thinking really hard) couldn't begin to emotionally affect an individual the way that sticking a penis in a vagina can.

Which brings me to another point. This idea is inherently anti-women's pleasure. While there are definitely women who orgasm through solely penetrative vaginal/penile sex, many if not most (I'll have to look it up in I <3 Female Orgasm when I get home) women CANNOT orgasm without clitoral stimulation. Some can't even orgasm while being penetrated (or do so much less easily). So in effect, this idea implies that the act of penetration is more central to sex than the actual orgasm of the woman engaging in the damn relationship. Does this mean that women who are raped are then going to go through this "chemical process"????? I mean, if it's the first time a penis is inside of them!!!! Who knows?

Plus, it seems the height of disrespect to men, implying that they are so callous, that they won't get overly attached to the first partner they have sex with. Especially since boys are taught that they should shuck their virginity at the first possible moment. You'd think then that it'd be some amazing gift someone else could give them: helping them lose their virginity. Instead, someone is out there floating the idea that chemical reactions take place only in female bodies only in the context of having a penis attached to a male bodied person stuck into only the vagina for only the first time, and that these chemical processes will override just about all rationality.

Let's hear it for thinking women are irrational!

For real.

*As an attempt to make the world safer for queer and trans folk, I am constantly using "penetrative penile/vaginal sex" as the way that I refer to what everyone else thinks of as "real" sex/"sex". You'd be fucking surprised at how many MEDICAL DOCTORS have been like "oh, that's a handy way to describe it!/I've never thought of it that way" when I try to answer their questions about whether or not I have "sex". And yes, I DO believe it is a safety thing, because for every doctor/person who believes that only some types of sex are "sex" that's one less person who acknowledges the presence of us queerbos, and who thinks to include our experiences as a normal medical issue.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Craptastic Past 3 Days

So, this post has nothing to do with anything other than how absolutely crappy my weekend/Monday turned out to be.

Saturday was without note (other than I had a B-day party I wanted to go to, but couldn't get it together enough to leave the house).
Sunday was the day I was going to do my taxes, so I spent close to 30 minutes looking for my W-2 only to finally call my father who apparently got it sent to him instead..... (frustrating).
Then, Bluejay and I were going to go grocery shopping. I've been perilously close to overdrawing my bank account so I checked before leaving.
What greeted my eyes when I checked was somehow simultaneously having -300 dollars as a "balance" but in my transaction area having a surplus of enough to cover rent and bills.
So, I called up my bank thinking that it was some minor website glitch. Only when I had to enter my card number, I couldn't find the card.
Now this is suspect, since I am fanatical about putting my cards in the same place every time in my wallet, and then putting my wallet in the same place every time in my pants, and then always putting my pants on before leaving the house (what can I say, I'm a creature of habit), and immediately upon exiting any building, I check all pockets for their respective contents (wallet in back right, keys in front left, cell phone in front right, handkerchief in back left).
I frantically figured out my number and got to talk to a living person at my bank, who calmly explained to me how it's totally possible for me to have both a negative and positive account balance. He starts saying: "yeah, see when you went to [insert crappy department store here] and spent 100+ dollars, and then [insert 15 more stores here] and spent multiple hundreds more, you had a deficit of 300 dollars".

Around about when he started listing all the stores I've never even heard of, I started panicking. Suddenly I had to wonder if I was having breaks from reality and was going on a spending spree. They asked me when I might have "lost" my card, and my first thought was when I was in the bank (where I live), but then Bluejay (genius, intelligent, lovely Bluejay) thought to have me ask them where all these purchases were being made.

Turns out, one of the patrons/residents at my job swiped my debit cards from my wallet from my backpack, from behind my desk,..... while I was briefly out of the room. I know this, because almost all of the purchases were made in the town where my job is.

I immediately went into damage control: I asked them to cancel my card, asked whether I'd be charged for the overdraft fees (of which there will be many) found out that I WILL be charged, but, oh hey, if they investigate and decide that I DIDN'T spend the money, then I'll get it all back, additionally found out that they won't start any damn investigation for at least a couple days because "the amount has been deducted from your account but it hasn't yet been POSTED", realized that since whoever did this also saw my credit card (even though it wasn't taken) that I needed to call my CREDIT people, had to stop my old card, realized that my bill was due in literally days and there was no way I was going to be able to pay it, had to call my landlord (since they hadn't deposited my rent yet) and hope that someone heard my message on monday before they cashed my check, called the police (in the town where I work), got told that they'd take my statement monday, finally went to my parents house, called the police again (mistakenly thinking that maybe since they'd interupted me last time, they hadn't heard enough) got interupted again and told that "if it really mattered to you, you'd have come in the second it happened" told off the police (I know, stupid) saying: "EXCUSE ME, I found out 20 minutes ago" followed by some inarticulate griping about how a thousand dollars is important and does matter to me, and how could you think that it doesn't matter to me, and that is my RENT, and argh (and hung up).
Today I: got a new bank account, called my landlord again, deposited a loaner check from my parents (into said new account), found out that the person who used my card used it less than an hour after I got in to work, went to one of the stores and asked them to save the video from that day, called the police, called them BACK when they didn't actually send an officer, realized that it had to have been only one of the patrons, went to the store (with the police officer) and found out that the tape doesn't have anyone I recognize at all!!!!


Now I'm just about certain that I know who stole my cards, but I can't do ANYTHING to them, since we don't have them on tape making any purchases. I'm sure I could go to multiple other stores they shopped in to get a picture with better quality (and hope somehow I do recognize the person), other than those stores won't show me the footage probably unless the police are accompanying me, and they aren't going to want to do that.

Half the time I wish I could have caught them and they could go to jail and I could feel safe again, half the time I realize that it's a fucked up world and that I'm never safe and so it's silly to think that would help, and the third half of the time I think about how screwed up the legal system is, and how I generally view it as racist and classist, and wish that I didn't want it to protect me, why didn't it protect me, fucking hell, just protect me! Since I'm of the opinion that it directly hurts those most oppressed in our society anyway, and most protects those who already have privilege.

I'm tired and scared, I feel violated and confused (how could they do this to me? I didn't realize that someone here could hate me that much) and I'm at work for another hour.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

"A Boy's Life" or "My Seething Hatred of Bigots"

So I was reading my mission statement post. Apparently I'm happy on this here blog a lot less than I previously indicated I would be.

I was gonna try to change that too, you know? I thought I'd post some awesome recipe or something that made me gleeful and happy.

And then I had the misfortune of hearing about this odious little piece of shit "news" article.

It's called "A Boy's Life" and is (surprise) about a young trans girl. She had apparently told people that she was a girl SINCE BEING ABLE TO TALK. Yet the author of this horror uses the wrong pronouns and names for the entire story. That is, up until the young girl's mother decides that she's going to quit fighting the inevitable. So, just more proof that children aren't actual people, but tiny mobile extensions of their parents.

Here's a gem from the end:

It’s not impossible to imagine Brandon’s
Her name is Bridget, which we find out in the last damn page, and which the author obviously knew well before printing the damn article

life going in another direction. His
"Her" you fucking idiot

early life fits neatly into a Zucker[rhymes with Fucker] case study about family noise. Tina describes [Bridget] as “never leaving my side” during [her] early years. The diagnosis writes itself: father, distant and threatening; mother, protector; child overidentifies with strong maternal figure.
Oh yeah,that's totally what happened, since the kid was identifying as a girl since age TWO. I personally base all of my gender identity on my memories of being two, don't you? Hello, paging Dr. Fucker, Freud's a crackpot, and you are too.

If Tina had lived in Toronto, if she’d had the patience for six years of Dr. [F]ucker’s therapy, if the therapy had been free, then who knows?
"Who knows" indeed!, perhaps 'poor' Bridget could be 'cured'. Especially if her mom had just had the patience. What a tragic fate to be subjected to, just because her mother didn't live in range of a psychopath with a degree. Come to think of it, how did you Ms. Hanna Rosin, manage to get a journalism degree? Did you??????

Yet [F]ucker’s approach has its own disturbing elements.
Other than refusing to acknowledge a child's gender identity? Do tell!

It’s easy to imagine that his methods—steering parents toward removing pink crayons from the box, extolling a patriarchy no one believes in
tell that to the hundreds of survivors of sexual violence that posted in the past 49 hours on Shakesville's survivor thread, or how about the women of fucking Afghanistan, who currently have legislation making it possible for their husbands to refuse to them medical treatment, oh and gives them no legal recourse against rape. Yeah NO ONE believes in the patriarchy.

—could instill in some children a sense of shame and a double life. A 2008 study of 25 girls [trans boys] who had been seen in [F]ucker’s clinic showed positive results;
What do you think of as "positive"?

22 were no longer gender-dysphoric, meaning they were comfortable living as girls. But that doesn’t mean they were happy
oh, silly, I thought that "positive" and "happy" were related!

I spoke to the mother of one [F]ucker patient in her late 20s, who said her [son] was repulsed by the thought of a sex change but was still suffering—[he’d] become an alcoholic, and was cutting [him]self. “I’d be surprised if she outlived me,” [his] mother said.
You heard it folks, apparently none of these young transmen are trans anymore! They just want to/are trying to kill themselves. Sounds like a peachy fucking cure.

I literally couldn't read through this entire article. Maybe one day I'll have the stomach to give it the editing (for intelligence) it so clearly deserves.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Devaluing of Women

The Male Privilege Checklist: 31. I can ask for legal protection from violence that happens mostly to men without being seen as a selfish special interest, since that kind of violence is called “crime” and is a general social concern. (Violence that happens mostly to women is usually called “domestic violence” or “acquaintance rape,” and is seen as a special interest issue.)

"Sir, do you see in the courtroom, the man who mugged you?"
"Yes. Over there, the defendant."
"And tell us in your own words what happened"
"Yeah um, I was at Mulligan's at Fifth and 24th and he, I mean the defendant, came over to me and asked about the game. Um, the Peacocks were winning. Since I'm a Penguins fan, I was sort of bummed. And he and I talked for maybe 10 minutes about the lousy season they've been having. Maybe an hour later, after the game was over, I started walking home, I had work in the morning, you know? Anyway, maybe 10 blocks from home is where he mugged me"
"He mugged you? can you be specific?"
"Yeah, his hand was in his pocket and it looked like he had a gun and he told me to give him all my money. I sort of froze, so I just got out my wallet and gave it all to him."
"And how much did he take?"
"Objection your Honor, relevance?"
"What happened next?"
"I ran to my apartment and when I got there I called the police, told them I'd been mugged. They, they, didn't believe me. I still had my wallet and my watch. They told me to call back the next morning if I still wanted to make a formal complaint, but told me that since it was a 'he said, he said' situation, it'd be hard to pin it on him."
"Thank you. That'll be all. Defense, your witness."
"So, you were at the BAR Mulligan's when you met the man you accuse of mugging you?"
"Uh, Yes."
"But you DID know him right? You know that he works at the same company you do, right?"
"Yeah, but it's a big company..."
"Your Honor, I have evidence showing that the witness and the defendant had a prior relationship. Exhibit G is videotape footage of them both at the company picnic. See right there? During the Frisbee game they were on the same team, and again here: you see they are shown chatting at the buffet. Mr. Smith, did you, or did you not say after the game: 'Good job Steve, nice catch'?"
"Objection! Whether or not the victim had a prior relationship with the the defendant doesn't have any relevance to whether or not Mr. Kibner stole money from Mr. Smith"
"Your Honor, the witness tried to hide their prior relationship, it goes towards credibility."
"Overruled. Answer the question Mr. Smith."
"Yes. But...."
"In fact, isn't it true that on June 24th, 2009 you in fact lent Mr. Smith some money?"
"It was a dollar for the snack mach..."
"Please answer yes or no."
"Objection! Relevance?"
"Your Honor! Mr. Smith and the defendant had a prior monetary relationship!"
"Fine. It seems Mr. Smith that you in fact have a HISTORY of monetary relationships. Isn't that right? In fact, did you, or did you not, in the last year give several donations to Bluepeace, Planned Childhood, Habitat for Ocelots, Heifer Intranational, The Red Crucifix, Psychologists without Borders, and Okaywill? And that's just what we found talking to your family. According to your neighbors and friends, it seems you gave to MANY people, isn't that right?"
"Withdrawn. Mr. Kibner claimes that you told him you wanted to give him some money."
"I didn't!!! I never told him I wanted to give him any of my money!"
"So you just HAPPENED to meet Mr. Kibner in the bar. Mr. Kibner who you had a PRIOR monetary relationship with. And when walking home late at night, you just HAPPENED to run into Mr. Kibner. Mr. Smith, where was your wallet that night?"
"I'll repeat it, Mr. Smith: where do you keep your wallet?"
"In my front pants' pocket, why?"
"Mr. Smith, did you, or did you not, take OUT your wallet, MULTIPLE times during the night and flash your money in Mr. Kibner's face?"
"I was paying for my drinks!"
"You were drinking? Mr. Smith, did you get drunk that night?"
"I don't understand..."
"So you admit that you were drunk, and had given Mr. Kibner money in the past. Tell me, If Mr. Kibner was mugging you, why didn't you fight back?"
"I thought he had a gun, his hands were in his pockets and he told me to give him money."
"But he didn't have a gun. And you never said 'No', you never yelled or did anything to indicate that you didn't WANT to give him that money."
"I didn't!!!"
"For all WE know, you really DID want to give Mr. Kibner your money, and only after you got home, you realized that it'd been a mistake. And that's when you called the police. AFTER you realized you wanted your money back. Your Honor. I'd like to suggest that Mr. Smith had an 'unfulfilling giving experience' and is using this farce to cover up his shame."

Does this make sense to anyone? I didn't think so. Yet everyday people suggest these exact same things to rape survivors. On a recent blog post/comment thread at Shakesville one commenter actually described having a a therapist call her rape an "Unfulfilling sexual experience."