Arranged Marriage Culture: You Know Even Less Than You Think

Someone posted something on that endless source of schadenfreude, r/AITA (Am I the Asshole?), that made the rounds yesterday. Most of the responses I saw to the situation rubbed me entirely the wrong way. I immediately saw the situation as one arising from arranged marriage culture, likely Desi, and few to no responses seemed to take that into consideration.

I know, big surprise. Reddit, known for harboring mostly white people and coddling the worst of white men, doesn’t understand Desi arranged marriage culture. At the same time, the responses I saw on Twitter and Facebook were no better, even those from non-Desis who claimed to understand arranged marriages.

It turns out that I 100% called it. The AITA OP revealed herself to be Indian several updates in. If you’re not from an Indian or similar culture, you’re probably missing a great deal of context and understanding, and therefore misinterpreting a great deal about the post. I don’t care how many Desis you claim to know and love.

While this is just one post on the Internet, the way people interpreted it reveals a lot about the difference in mindset between typical Western dating/love marriage culture and Desi arranged marriage culture. While I wouldn’t say OP is some kind of angel, she’s not exactly the mustache-twirling villain Reddit and others decided she is.

Continue reading “Arranged Marriage Culture: You Know Even Less Than You Think”

Arranged Marriage Culture: You Know Even Less Than You Think
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When They All Look the Same to You

The first time a white person mistook someone else for me, I was a teenager being scolded for offending someone I’d never met. I’ve also offended white people by failing to notice a trait, or imprecisely labeling a trait, that they considered to be practically personality-defining. These two types of mistakes are more related than not and shed light onto how “they” truly can all look the same to you.

If you find yourself mistaking one member of a certain ethnic group for another, you can improve by rethinking how you tell people apart.
Continue reading “When They All Look the Same to You”

When They All Look the Same to You

On telling them what you want

Content Notice for detailed accounts of sexual unpleasantry and mentions of sexual assault. For the sake of this post, “men” are “people categorized as straight men by society” and “us” are “people not seen as men by society.”

An ex of mine, who is otherwise a decent person, didn’t believe me when I told him that I didn’t want flowers. How absurd! All women want flowers, even the ones who say they don’t. Here, have the flowers that you want. And I had to stop protesting and accept the flowers because who complains about getting flowers? When he asked, I told him I dried and kept them for posterity, because I figured out that he would only hear what he wanted to hear. Years later, a man told me he didn’t understand why Jessica Jones was “such a bitch” about Killgrave doing something nice for her, like acquiring her childhood home and refurbishing it for her.

The sexual context is no different when it comes to men demanding we not only not ask for what we want, but also gratefully accept what they want to give us.

When we talk about what happens when we get into bed with men, no matter how jokingly or seriously, we get told to “just tell them”. Orgasm gap? What orgasm gap? Just tell them! Put on your “big girl panties” and ask for what you want! Walk away with your middle fingers raised in the air if they don’t do what you want! Communicate!

Yet communicating my wants has never been my issue. I spoke, and spoke, and spoke, through my many pants-less encounters with men. How much I spoke didn’t matter when the only one listening was me.

Continue reading “On telling them what you want”

On telling them what you want

Is believing in an afterlife really so comforting?

It’s hard to not think about death right now.

One of the most commonly-cited criticisms of atheism is the lack of comfort it offers in the face of death and tragedy. Atheism doesn’t provide any kind of solace when loved ones and innocent people die, the reasoning goes, so why rob people of that happiness?

I can’t say that I relate to that line of thinking at all, personally.

The vice I felt tightening around my godless heart as I read through as much of the New York Times front page list as I could stand? The pain couldn’t compare in the slightest to the soul-crushing agony I used to go through upon the most minor news of tragedy when I was a Muslim. When I was a believer, that allegedly comforting belief in an afterlife was agonizing torture. Continue reading “Is believing in an afterlife really so comforting?”

Is believing in an afterlife really so comforting?

Please don’t punish your partners with public phone-reads of my posts

Today I learned that this blog has fomented marital strife in the lives of strangers.

From today’s Ask Amy column:

Dear Amy: I’m writing about a curious thing my husband does that tends to hurt my feelings. I’m not sure how inconsiderate he may be or how oversensitive I may be.

He tends to look for negative information about people and things I like. He also does this for things he likes.

For the most recent example, I regularly read the web comic xkcd. For no obvious reason, at dinner on Sunday, he handed me his phone with a lengthy blog post from a philosophy major about how dismissive the author of xkcd is toward people outside the STEM fields.

I’m not completely unsympathetic to philosophy majors, but I don’t really care. It’s just a funny comic.

That’s my work he printed out and pushed into his spouse’s face. My recent post.

Oops? Continue reading “Please don’t punish your partners with public phone-reads of my posts”

Please don’t punish your partners with public phone-reads of my posts

When penguins waddle onto thin ice

Content Notice: Discussions of cisheterosexual norms, sexual activity, and consent

There’s often a tension between reality and principles that is difficult to articulate except in context.

My ethical values include upholding consent in every way, shape, and form. That includes engaging in sexual activity without as few assumptions as possible regarding what the other person wants. And yet today, I found myself more concerned with the sexual imbalance and disparity targeted by a statement than that statement’s less-than-consensual implications.

Continue reading “When penguins waddle onto thin ice”

When penguins waddle onto thin ice

A Man Walks into the Cat Adoption Center

Content notice for mentions of childhood sexual abuse as well as abuser behavior, animal mistreatment, and possible animal abuse. Detailed discussion of it is further warned in the body of this piece.

I don’t really have a Big Political Point to make with this. This is not discourse. This is me writing about something bizarre that happened to me on Saturday.

I do have two minor points: What happens proves that jerks like this do exist outside of the internet and go off at people even when they don’t know whether the people they’re going off at are feminists or SJWs, and that it is very important to pay attention to red flags.

Continue reading “A Man Walks into the Cat Adoption Center”

A Man Walks into the Cat Adoption Center

Made, Not Born, This Way: Angsting My Way Through Everything But Gender

[ brief mention of intentional weight loss]

When other people tell me they’re trans and/or non-binary¹, it doesn’t occur to me to question them.

I am so honored you came out to me! Let me know what I can do to help you. Would you like moral support and/or bargain tips for your new aesthetic? Should I correct other people’s misgendering yet? I am so happy for you, friend!

My own path towards accepting that I am not cis has been far less…. accepting.

Continue reading “Made, Not Born, This Way: Angsting My Way Through Everything But Gender”

Made, Not Born, This Way: Angsting My Way Through Everything But Gender

Unpopular Opinion: I’m a Nerd and I Loathe xkcd

Linking to an xkcd that’s maybe somewhat related to a topic is certain nerdy millennials’ version of “Simpsons did it!” Not this particular millennial nerd, though. I am a philosophy major cursed with a long, detailed memory.

For a decade, emblazoned below every single one of the comics that made deconstructed art with stick figures who discussed philosophical concepts, was this warning message:

Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).

The first time I saw it, I absolutely loved it. Continue reading “Unpopular Opinion: I’m a Nerd and I Loathe xkcd”

Unpopular Opinion: I’m a Nerd and I Loathe xkcd