Blogging’s been slow lately because I’m back at school, taking five classes, and consistently failing to get enough alone quiet introvert time. So here’s some stuff to read that’s not me.
1. Mia McKenzie responds to “Accidental Racist”:
There is nothing “accidental” about making a bee-line for a Black boy because he looks suspicious to you. That is some George Zimmerman shit. That is some very usual, very run-of-the-mill, is-happening-all the-time somewhere, straight-up racist shit. And you know what else it is? It is a CHOICE. While you may not have complete control over what you feel when you are confronted by something that makes you uncomfortable (for whatever ingrained racist reason it does), you certainly have a choice about what actions you take. And harassing a kid because he’s Black and his pants are sagged is a bad choice. A racist choice. Just like wearing a confederate flag on your t-shirt is a choice, Brad Paisley. If you know what the flag is and what it represents and you still put it on your body and walk around in it and get in front of a camera wearing it, that’s not an accident. You didn’t trip over the corner of the rug and fall into the shirt. You made a choice. A really, really racist one.
The problem with rejecting all arguments from authority is that we run the risk of falling into anti-intellectualism or becoming self-important know-it-alls. The fact is, there are people who know shit that you don’t know. I can read about medicine all damn day, but if an M.D. tells me I got it wrong, it may be reasonable to ask for a second opinion, but it is not reasonable to utterly reject their opinion as an mere argument from authority.
3. Ozy is absolutely brilliant on the subject of medicalizing neurodiversity:
I personally know one person who was on meds to the point that he didn’t have feelings for a decade, and another person who says if she hadn’t started meds when she did she’d be dead, so I’m pretty aware that this is a complicated situation. Psychiatric medications can have nasty side effects; some of them are addictive; some of them may or may not just be placebos; they’re often very expensive.
But you know what? If an adult who is not hurting anyone has decided, in consultation with their psychiatrist, that their life is better with meds than without them– it is not your job to police them. Other people’s emotional health? None of your business! If your life is more fulfilling with occasional periods of depression, that’s your business, but you do not get to subject other people to depression because you like it, any more than I get to subject people to pineapple-and-olives pizza because I like it.
4. Mandolin discusses the idea of referring to criticism as a “witch hunt,” “lynch mob,” or “crucifixion”:
Criticism (especially in a social justice context) is often described as assault, a witch hunt, a lynch mob, or a crucifixion….they are all attempts to silence criticism by comparing it to a violent, unacceptable act….The use of the terms witch hunts and lynch mobs (or mobs in general) also implies that the criticism is not being offered in good faith, and certainly not with thoughtfulness, deliberation or sincerity. Instead, it implies that the criticism is the result of a mass delusion. It implies that there is nothing to criticize at all–that the very nature of what is being criticized is superstition–since witches don’t exist and lynched victims are innocent. It implies that the only goal of criticism is bloodletting, that it will only be satisfied by burning stakes, pressing stones, or hung corpses.
12) Any “friend” who resolutely believes that your depression is because you’re lazy, because you’re not trying hard enough, who blames you for not bootstrapping out of it- that friend needs to be cut off. Polite (#2) is one thing, but there is a limit. You don’t have to explain, you can just not respond. You feel badly enough, you don’t need their “assistance”.
6. Thomas explains why consent education (or the oft-maligned “teaching rapists not to rape”) is important, even if many rapists cannot, in fact, be taught not to rape:
Even if you believe, as I do, that the predators are not confused and can’t be educated, there are two good reasons to believe that consent education can make the climate better. First, because there are rapists who are not that small percentage of predators. Second, the predators absolutely depend on what I call the Social License to Operate, the climate that explains away or excuses what they do in certain circumstances, calls it not rape, calls it the survivor’s fault, minimizes it and lets him get away with it. Without that, the rapists can’t do it over and over because they’d get caught, excluded from their social circles, disciplined by commanding officers or expelled from campus, and they’d either have to stop or end up in prison.
7. Over on Thought Catalog, a fantastic piece of satire about Jon Hamm and his infamous penis:
As a famous person/role model, Jon Hamm needs to be conscious of how he presents himself in the public eye. There are thousands of young men across the country who look up to him. Maybe this kind of salacious pants-wearing fashion is fine for an adult, but what about the children? Do we really want America’s boys parading their dongs around like some kind of back-alley Chinatown meat market? I for one do not.
8. Foz has some great advice on writing characters with marginalized identities that you do not share:
As important as it is to acknowledge the oppression experienced by non-privileged groups in the real world and to incorporate that into your writing, it’s also important to write POC/QUILTBAG characters whose narrative arcs aren’t defined by the obstacles they face because of who they are. This doesn’t mean writing such characters to be interchangeable with privileged characters, as that’s just another form of erasure; rather, it means letting them have the same kind of adventures and primary focus as privileged characters, but without compromising or eliding their identities.
9. Probably PZ’s best post yet. You’ll just have to see it for yourself.
We’ve gotten the idea from movies and magazines that silence is sexy. Ultimate romance means fireworks and fairy dust sprinkling down from the heavens and instilling in us some magical intuition where both people suddenly just know what the other wants. Speaking out loud in full sentences would break the rhythm, ruining the mystical thrill of the spontaneous moment. And GOD FORBID you ask permission to do anything. I mean, come on, major boner killer.
11. Think Les Mis makes a good case for criminalizing sex work? You might be wrong:
It is nonsensical to call Fantine a sex trafficking victim, as sex trafficking requires a sex trafficker. Fantine does not have a pimp of any sort; third-party coercion is not a part of this story. Even if Fantine had a coercive pimp, it would still be glossing over important issues to attribute all of Fantine’s suffering to him. This is a story about the criminalization of poverty, as well as poverty itself. Fantine most definitely does not want to enter the sex trade and does not enjoy her experiences there. But this is actually not synonymous with sex trafficking. But exploitative work conditions are not synonymous with trafficking. Her unhappiness does not justify arresting her, or driving her business further underground by arresting her clients, and making her already dire situation worse.
12. Scott on getting into polyamory:
I can’t even get angry with people who say polyamory is incompatible with true love. They’re just empirically wrong, like someone who remarks confidently that hippos have six legs. They’re not evil or even deluded. They just obviously haven’t seen any hippos. You don’t really want to argue with them so much as take them to a zoo, after which you are confident they will realize their mistake.
13. Cliff answers that age-old question, “How can you be a feminist and do BDSM?”
For one thing, a whole lot of those arguments could apply to plain ol’ sex. It can be used as a weapon of, and an excuse for, horrific abuse? People are sometimes unintentionally harmed doing it? It’s horrible when done nonconsensually? There are some really awful people who are into it? A lot of the narratives around it are sexist, hetero/cisnormative, body-policing, and glamorize unsafe and questionably consensual activities? The industries that sell media and services related to it are often nightmarishly exploitative? I don’t want to deny or minimize the fact that all these things happen in BDSM. I just don’t think it’s any worse in kink than in sex.
14. Autumn writes about fashion “rules” and how women use them to manage the stigma associated with their bodies:
If your body type is coded in a particular way, you’ve got a whole other set of stigma to deal with*. As Phoebe Maltz Bovy pointed out during her guest stint here, “[S]tyle and build have a way of getting mixed up, as though a woman chooses to have ‘curves’ on account of preferring to look sexy, or somehow magically scraps them if her preferred look is understated chic.” A woman with small breasts and narrow hips has more freedom to wear low-cut tops in professional situations without raising eyebrows, because there’s less stigma to manage. A woman in an F-cup bra with hourglass curves? Not so much. Witness the case of Debralee Lorenzana, the Citibank employee who was fired for distracting the male employees with her wardrobe—which, on a woman without Lorenzana’s figure, would be utterly unremarkable, and, more to the point, unquestionably work-appropriate. Her failure, as it were, lay not in her clothes but in not “properly” managing the stigma that her figure brought.
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