With all respect to The Thin White Duke, it is time for some drastic changes in this blog. Not that I have been unhappy with it. Overall I think I’ve done an OK job, especially for having half assed it for the last six months. It is just high time I treated this like the job I say I want it to be. Eventually this will mean a drastically different look when I figure out how best to change it visually. For the time being it means a nice schedule of guaranteed subject matter (don’t worry, I will still be posting random thoughts as they pop into my noggin.) With that in mind, here is what you will be able to expect every weekday from your favorite atheist, tranny-dyke, nerd blogger: Continue reading
Note: This is a re-post of something I wrote on Tumblr last summer. I share it here because some of you did not get to see it, and to test some new stuff I tried to add to my WordPress. I hope you enjoy it.
I often worry about what’s ahead of me, but the last few days I’ve found myself worrying about what’s not in front of me. To be more accurate I worry about what’s not in front of me between my waist and my chin: breasts.
Or whatever the hell you want to call them: boobs, ta-tas, tits, chi-chis, melons… whatever juvenile euphemism you care to use they’ve been on my mind. I know finally having the real deal (and not the sad foam-rubber substitutes I currently must be satisfied with) will not make me a “real” woman. At least, I know this in my head. My heart, however is convinced I cannot feel womanly without them. I’m to the point where, consequences be damned, I’m ready to order estrogen and testosterone-blockers on-line and self administer.
I’m not alone either, and I don’t just mean amongst the trans woman community. A dear friend of mine, this strong, intelligent, liberated cis woman confided that before she had children she had not been terribly well endowed. Pregnancy changed all that and she told me that afterwards she felt more feminine.
As a solid three on the Kinsey Scale I can admit to finding breasts pleasing, both aesthetically and (if memory serves) sexually. What I can’t understand is the absolute power they have over us, all of us. I’ve known gay men, men who found the mention of the word vagina abhorrent, that were fascinated by a woman’s ample chest.
I understand that we are bombarded by the disgusting degree to which woman are objectified in our culture. I know that this is at least partly to blame. We get saturated with other ideas as well however. None of these other ideas seem to take hold as universally. Maybe there is something primal about us that beckons to us from the time when a nice set meant life or death for your offspring. I just don’t know.
I… we… probably never will know. We’ll feel inadequate, aroused, ashamed and amused without ever really understanding why. All I know is I want mine. Failing that I wouldn’t mind those of another.
One thing you can count on certain elements of conservatism letting you know, is how much they love mothers. Motherhood is the highest calling a woman could aspire to. Indeed many on the Right in this country insist it is the only calling worth answering for a woman. If a woman wants a career she is refusing her place as a caretaker. If she wants to enjoy sex without risking getting pregnant, she is a selfish slut. Why then, do they make it so hard to be a mother?
Forgetting, for just a second, that a single payer health care system would allow for better neo-natal care (though I may want to get back to that) we live in a country that provides not a single day of paid maternity leave for women. In Canada, women get nearly a year. Wrap your head around that for a moment if you can. An entire year to get you through the most physically challenging period of parenthood. Only Norway comes close to that, but many countries provide at least 12 weeks paid leave. We provide 12 weeks unpaid. So yeah, you won’t lose your job so long as you get back in less than three months, and have fun buying all those diapers and paying your co pays when your baby has a bad cough.
I suppose it shouldn’t be all that surprising. As I mentioned above, there are some powerful elements in this country still that believe women should only be concerned with being wives and mommies. I have nothing against women for whom that is the emphasis for their lives. Being a mother is amazingly difficult and incredibly important work. It should not, however, be the only option for women, and those that want something else should not be punished for wanting a career and wanting to be a mother.
Besides, sometimes it’s not about “selfish” motives like wanting a career. Sometimes families need multiple sources of income because no one is making enough to put food on the table. Are we going to take away a job from say, a Wal-Mart cashier, and then put her on (horror of horrors) welfare because their new combined income allows for that?
No, I suspect those that make these decisions don’t care about that. Women must be kept in their place. Male privilege must be guarded at all costs and if one of those costs is financially devastating a family, then so be it. At least they will never have to call a woman boss.
Social conservatives are mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore. They get in a huff about swearing, abortions, homosexuality, transgender folk, premarital sex, the wrong kind of marital sex, and/or the idea that anyone, anywhere is engaging in any of those even though all they have to do is not interact with those that do. The world needs to fit their very narrow view of morality, a morality usually based on an often confused and confusing millenia old collection of stories that even experts on said collection cannot completely agree upon. Anyone that does not agree with them is a horrible sinner and an enemy to be destroyed, even if it means ignoring some of the clearer and more numerous rules in the Bible.
They attack works of fiction that display a morality different from their own, they lie and cheat to defame those who work to help others in a manner not to their liking. In some extreme cases they celebrate the deaths of soldiers to express their anger at society not conforming to the norms they insist it should. They verbally abuse women who advocate for women’s health issues. In short, they behave like rabid animals.
There is a simple reason they have been so vicious of late: they know history is not on their side. They are on their way to irrelevance and it scares them. Oh, they will still be around, and hopefully, so long as they don’t hurt others (though they don’t have the best track record on that front) they can live in peace with the rest of us. What changes is they no longer get to control the narrative. They are losing their special place as the arbiters of right and wrong, and though that is just, to them it just doesn’t seem fair.
All I have to say is, welcome to being like everyone else. You can no longer indulge in your moral and cognitive laziness and sit back comfortable, thanks to your once privileged place in society, comfortable that no one will question the rightness of your actions. Morality, real morality, is hard. It requires reflection on your own behavior and attitudes and how they affect others. You don’t have to do the work of it, but if you don’t, we no longer have to pretend you have the high ground. Them’s the breaks.
I have high hopes that most of those still holding out will learn. They will see their happy gay neighbors, the healthy, sexually active women around them, those living their lives different but not hurting anyone and realize “hey, this isn’t so bad. In fact, it’s kinda neat!” Those that don’t, well, again so long as they hurt no one, I hope they can find some kind of comfort in their bitter self-righteousness.
I want to celebrate. I want to shout from the rooftop “Hooray! Never again will a woman be treated as less than a man in the eyes of the law in America!” I want to do this, but I cannot. I should be able to. Forty years ago today the Senate passed the Equal Rights Amendment and from there it went to the states. It got 30 of the required 38 states needed to be ratified.
Apparently during the mid 70′s there was a backlash against the feminism. We’ve been feeling it ever since. I guess I can see how that would happen. After all, to those that enjoy power, sharing it means taking away from them. For a woman to gain status, men would have to give up status. In a way this is true, but not in any way that can be taken seriously. It means actually having to put up with being equal rather than superior, and for too many men that is just too much to bear.
I wish I could say it was just the knuckle dragging, Christian Right too, but that would be dishonest. You see, unlike some I am not happy with the tepid condemnations of misogyny by liberal pundits and comedians like Keith Olberman and Bill Maher. The little nudge-nudge, wink-wink “I don’t mean the rest of you girls when I call Sarah Palin a bimbo” track is patronizing and petty. To say you are using it to call her out on her stupidity (which is considerable) plays about as well as racist dirtbags saying “when I say the word nigger I mean lazy people.” When you do it you are being dishonest, at least with us and possibly yourself, and insulting everyone’s intelligence. You may honestly want women to have equal rights, but your hearts are just not in it and it shows.
I know there are thousands of years of conditioning to undo, but really being impatient about this is not irrational. We live in an age where too many people are literate and educated to not know that the idea of women as second class citizens needs to go away. We had our chance 40 years ago and we flubbed it. Who knows, maybe with these psychotic, over the edge chauvinists pushing the dialogue that they are in this years GOP primary we can get fired up again and maybe, just maybe that backlash will get us, and by us I mean the whole human race, what we need after all. Hey, a girl can dream, can’t she?
Alright, sorry folks, porn is on the table again for a second straight day. I would like to apologize to all my friends out there that are working to get me taken seriously, but really this is a serious subject, even if it is hard for us to view it as one. Really, I won’t be talking too much about porn itself so much as this country’s, and possibly the world’s, two most famous purveyors of such: Hugh Hefner and Larry Flynt.
I want to revisit, for the first time in the blogosphere, something that has bothered me in the past. I have never quite understood how people with moderate attitudes about pornography, those that see it has problems but don’t think it should be banned and/or those that are not regular viewers but also do not pretend to have no interest, have held Hefner up to be the more pro-women of the two. Leaving aside the fact that both men are involved with an industry that has had a leading role, though as I mentioned yesterday it doesn’t have to, in the objectification of women, what could lead anyone to make a judgment on that regard comparing the two?
Neither man is without taint but neither are they vehemently anti women. They have both come out in support of reproductive rights. They have both come out, though not strong, on the issue of discrimination in the work place. Yes, they both sell porn. Yes they contribute to some of the unhealthy attitudes about women and sexuality that I pointed out pornography continues to have a problem with. Why then is Hef safer?
A very smart friend of mine brought to my attention that Hefner has better PR, and I am sure that has a lot to do with it. I do not, however, think that is all. I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that Hustler is “hardcore”, showing actual sex acts and <gasp> fluids! It is silly but I really think that has a great deal to do with it, which seems funny to me. Might it make it more vulgar or less artistic? Sure, but that does not mean it is any more misogynist.
Really, not comparing the men but the pornographic content of their publications, Hustler seems less misogynist to me. The women in Hustler have a variety of attitudes about their own sexuality, crossing orientation (which really isn’t that big a deal considering the straight males fascination with lesbianism) activity. Some are submissive while some are aggressive. Some are conventional while some are kinky. Some have no real ambition while some are artists or thinkers in their own right. In Playboy you get a vacuous list of likes and dislikes and a woman served up as a trophy to be had, not a partner to have fun with.
Which is not to put Larry up on some pedestal as the ideal male feminist. His personal attitudes about the feminist movement, his overly dismissive treatment of those that call out the objectification of women in porn and his allowing some seriously misogynist pieces of garbage contribute to his magazine (especially in regards to the always equally annoying and amusing Men’s Rights Movement) cast a not too flattering light him. The same can be said of Hefner’s patronizing attitude toward women though.
I know this is ultimately not that big a deal, but I think it is something worth reflecting on, if only briefly (actually briefly would probably be best) to ask ourselves why we have the attitudes we have. We have a strange love-hate relationship with sexuality and our own bodies, especially women’s bodies, in our culture and I think we need to work on that, to make our selves safer, healthier and happier.