Wednesday, October 31, 2012

I'm back!

Hey y'all! It's been a while hasn't it? Between getting some seriously awful comments on that last friendzoning post I did and moving to a new city (what up Brooklyn!) and starting grad classes (hooray British and American Literature Studies! You're not useless at all! I promise!) I've been letting my blogging go a little. But I'm baaaaaaaaaack!

[TW: Rape, rape apologia, abortion, incest]

Now ladies and gentledudes and everyone else on the spectrum it has been a wacky time in politics land hasn't it? Have you heard the one about 'legitimate rape'? Or how about that God intends pregnancy from rape? Even our vice presidential nominee (well, not my Veep but he's probably the nominee for someone out there reading this. Hello! You're not going to like the rest of this post so maybe you should stop right here) is getting in on the action and declaring that rape is just another 'method of conception'! It would be fucking hilarious if it wasn't obvious that these aren't just outliers. If they were there wouldn't be so damn many of them (I've named three. There have definitely been way more than that this election season) and these men (and some women but at this point it's mostly old white dudes) would be struggling to remain on the ticket because their party would have abandoned them as soon as they realized they'd accidentally let someone in who goes against their beliefs and is making them all look bad. Instead they are still running campaigns, still getting endorsed, in essence still being approved of by their party. Which leads me, and a whole lot of other people, to believe that these guys are representing the real platform of their party.
What scares me the most about this kind of discussion is the fact that for most of the people doing the talking (in fact almost all of the people doing the talking) it's simply a theoretical talking point. There is no actual physical way for these cismen to be raped and then forced to carry their rapist's child to term. But for me, it isn't even really about that. Yes, it fucking terrifies me that these men can be so self-serving and so idiotic that they think it's their place to talk about what happens to the bodies of other people. But what gets me angry is that it's our fucking lives we're talking about here. It's not just about abortion. It's about my right to my own goddamn body. I only ever get the one and I'm fucking sick of having to defend my right to what I want with it without having someone else constantly patting me on the head and telling me they know better. You know what? I'm fucking sick of it. My whole purpose in life is not to incubate babies. Yes, some day I would really like to have a baby. But I want to choose when I start trying to do that. I don't want someone to tell me and all my friends out there in possession of uteri that if something terrible (or even if something less terrible like a broken condom or a birth control failure) happens to us that we're not forced to bear the consequences of someone else's actions (or our own). Babies should never be consequences. Babies should be something you want because once you have one you're in charge of it for the rest of forever (yes yes yes babies grow up and move away from home and get jobs and live lives away from their parents but I'm 23, living 6000 miles away from my mother, and I still need to call her every week to ask her how to do things). I'm done with the narrative that says babies should be punishments. I'm done with the narrative that says women are always to blame for the bad things that happen to them. I'm done with the narrative that women are in charge of keeping grown ass men's sexual desires in check. I'm just done. So fuck off with your 'legitimate rape' and 'no such exception as life of the mother' and all of that noise. I'm done hearing it. I'm a living breathing human person with rights and one of those rights is the control of my own body. Sorry I'm not using it the way you want to. You'll get over it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Twin Cities Pride

Last month I went to the Twin Cities Pride Parade and Festival in Minneapolis (the Twin Cities being Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota) and it once again made me realize what a cool place this is. Pride is a BIG DEAL in the Twin Cities - all the major politicians are involved in the parade and both the festival and the parade have sponsors and participants from people you might not normally think of: Target, Walmart, Macy's, Delta, Mini dealerships, local churches, local unions, a children's orchestra, an inner city step-dance team, a martial arts studio, and our very own cupcake-wars-winning Cupcake. It's nice to be in a city where the LGBT community is pretty well accepted, and very much celebrated during the weekend of the festival.

Also Pride itself is just... fun. And for the whole family, any kind of family. From a kiddie play area to a beer garden, there was seriously something for everyone, even if you don't identify as anything besides heterosexual (me, I don't identify as anything much at all. Women are more beautiful. I mostly date men. *shrug*). I spent most of my time there shopping (window-shopping that is, I'm broke) and talking to people in booths. Met a lovely trans woman at a booth for a Gender Education Center and we chatted about a lot of things, intersexuality being not the least of which. I also perused stationery (which should be no surprise to anyone that knows me - I send a lot of letters and cards. Yes, old-fashioned handwritten ones. In the mail. With stamps.) and didn't buy anything but came away with a card and a website: Too Plus Too Studio. WONDERFUL collection of cards for non-heterosexual couples and families, and well, everyone. I had to share. I also spoke with a bunch of volunteers with petitions and I took a survey aimed at understanding and reducing domestic violence in the LGBT community. It actually made me take a hard look at a (heterosexual) relationship I'd just gotten out of, and the conclusion I came to was this: if it doesn't seem quite severe enough to be abuse, it probably still is. But I won't speak on that further... suffice to say, Pride in the Twin Cities is AMAZING and I'll be back next year if possible. Once again wearing a slightly outrageous outfit and rainbow painted nails and a dozen stickers. Maybe you'll even join me.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Breaking News

This just in: Rape isn't funny.
That is literally all I have to say for this post and I'm turning comments off because I don't feel I should have to debate with people who think rape might be funny. It's not. You're wrong. Deal with it.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Why Can't We Be Friends?

Source: I waste so much time


I have a problem with this. I'm sick of hearing about the "friend zone." Let me lay this shit out for you. There is no such thing as the "friend zone." The "friend zone" is a myth created by douchenozzles the world over who are upset that simply being nice to a lady does not entitle them to free snatch whenever they like. If we as a society continue to operate under the delusion that "friend zoning" is a thing then what are we really saying? First and foremost we're saying that there's something wrong with simply being someone's friend. That being my friend somehow isn't enough for you. You sir, you my hypothetical Nice Guy, by saying that I have put you in the "friend zone" are attempting to state that the only reason you became my friend was because you assumed it was going to lead to my vag. And when my friendship with you did not, in fact, lead to sleeping with me you freaked the fuck out and decided I was a bitch. But let me ask you this Mr. Nice Guy, is this the way you conduct all of your friendships? Both male and female? Do you only ever treat other people nicely because you assume they will sleep with you? Because that's kind of a fucked up way to go about things. Do you find you have a reoccurring problem with maintaining friendships with people who won't sleep with you? Have you considered that that could be because you continuously expect people to sleep with you in exchange for you behaving like a decent human being?

But let me get back to the specific graphic I stuck up at the top of this blog post. I led into it like I was going to discuss it in depth and then I faked you out by going off on a tangent, didn't I? Well, now we're going to talk about the graphic. First of all I would like to address the assumption that all of my close male friends want to sleep with me. I would venture that most of the men I spend a great deal of time with don't want to sleep with me as none of them have voiced this desire. And since I'm not a fucking psychic I am forced to assume that the ones who have never asked me to sleep with them (and whom I have never asked to sleep with) do not, in fact, wish to have sexual relations with me. And the ones who have asked me to sleep with them (and whom I have asked to sleep with) but were rejected have somehow managed to continue being my friend without it being much of an issue. I'd like to think I'm a nice enough and interesting enough human person and that this alone is reason enough to want to be my friend and a guy doesn't just want to be my friend because "he is probably interested in [me]." I like to think my dude friends "[hang] around so much" because they genuinely enjoy my company thank you very much.

Now let's unpack the fucking stupid job resume metaphor shall we? If you are my male friend and you happen to ask me out on a date and I happen to say no because I happen not to be interested in you but we decide it's okay to still be friends then I'm going to assume everything is totally fine and continue to go about our friendship in the normal manner. But being my friend is absolutely nothing like going to interview for a job. Being my friend isn't step one in the seeing-me-naked process. Being my friend when what you really want to do is sleep with me is kind of like walking past a "Help Wanted" sign but instead of applying for a job you just think really hard about getting hired and then whine to anyone who will listen about how you got fucking passed over for a job because they wanted someone with lesser qualifications even though you NEVER FUCKING APPLIED. See, that's what really gets me. I didn't know when you said, "Hey, you're pretty cool. I think we should be friends," what you really meant was, "I don't really give a fuck what you're like as a person but I sure as fuck will pretend to like you if you'll only sleep with me." I didn't know that you thought you might have a shot at getting with me if only you behaved like my friend and not like someone who was potentially interested in dating me. Since your clever ruse was to act like my friend whom I could turn to in times of need I assumed it was perfectly fucking fine to turn to you when other guys who actually asked me out turn out to be not the guys I thought they were going to be.

But what's more important is this: Dating me (or just sleeping with me) is not, I repeat NOT, really anything like applying for a job. I don't have a list of qualifications required to be met. I don't really interview applicants for the position of dude who gets to fuck me and take care of me when I'm sick and go see movies with me and do all that other couple-y shit I like to do with romantic partners. It's not like you can sue me if I decide that yes, I was looking for tall, dark, and handsome and you fit the bill but your obsessive cataloging of knowledge about Pokemon was kind of a turn off for me so I picked another guy who was also tall, dark, and handsome but didn't spend a great portion of our first date going on and on about which episode was the first appearance of Pikachu or some other shit I don't care about. (As I write this I realize my current tall, dark, and handsome who might possibly be reading this has an obsessive knowledge about Pokemon and actually I like that very much about him. So...sorry for saying it was stupid when in fact it's a thing I like! I was just making a point!) Every guy is not equally qualified to be with me is what I'm saying. There are no dating resumes. Just dates and conversations and getting to know one another. So no, not getting with you is nothing like keeping your resume around but never hiring you. What it is like is being friends with someone and dating other people. I mean are you really saying you'd prefer I be with you even if I'm not particularly interested in you? Do you really think that would be fun for either of us?

And you know what? Sometimes I do sleep with my friends. I'm sleeping with one of my friends right now in fact. And you know how that happened? Instead of behaving as though he was interested in only being my friend he managed to express interest in being something more. See, that's how it works. You like someone, you tell them, and you go from there. Don't just sit around hoping and wishing and praying and doing nothing about it and expect to get results.

[Disclaimer: I realized I've framed this problem as being male and heterosexual. I would like to acknowledge that yes, ladies are guilty of this too and yes, I do realize this can be a problem in the queer community as well. However, I'm writing largely from my own experience and my experience consists primarily of men being jerks.]

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I'm Sexy and I Know It (At Least Until Society Reminds Me Otherwise)

[TW: Slut-shaming, internalized misogyny, fat hatred, disordered eating]

Remember a few months ago? When I wrote about the young man I took to my bed? And the internalized fat girl hate? Well, it turns out I'm not done yet! We have a new man and the same old story. Only now we've got some really great internalized slut shaming making everything worse. Without having to go into all the messy details I can tell you I'm with an amazing guy who is fighting an uphill battle against my social conditioning and my internalized self-hatred. But here's the thing, he shouldn't have to. He shouldn't have to watch me cry while he holds me and tells me I'm beautiful. He shouldn't have to remind me every single day how lovely he thinks I am (Which is not, of course, to say that I don't appreciate it. It's nice to be told you're great. It's just that he shouldn't feel like he needs to because I can't stop verbally abusing myself). Nor should he have to remind me every day that eating is not a failure but is in fact a necessary part of human survival. Because I shouldn't have to feel that simply taking up more space in this world is some sort of horrible transgression against nature. I shouldn't have been made to feel after gaining weight post-rehab that I was a poor excuse for a human being; that if perhaps I had had a little bit more self-control I would've been able to be skinny and clean and perfect (because if it's something recovering addicts lack it's definitely self-control, right?). I shouldn't have to wake up every day and put on my fat girl armor, that hard shell of humor I wear to brush off the awful comments and dirty looks I get when I dare to leave the house.
So here's what I want to know: Why is it okay to hate on fat people? Why do you get a pass for making someone feel horrible about herself (or himself) simply because she (or he) falls into a group of people it is socially acceptable to ridicule? I can guarantee there is someone out there right now reading this and yelling at the screen, "WELL FATASS! MAYBE IF YOU SPENT LESS TIME BLOGGING ON THE INTERNET AND WENT OUTSIDE YOU WOULDN'T BE SO FUCKING UGLY AND SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO FUCK YOU!" To that person (because even with my tiny readership I know that person is out there) I would like first to say, "Get better at reading comprehension. Then try rereading the first five or six sentences of this blog post." After that a thing I could do would be defend myself and list off all the things I do every single day in an attempt to be thinner. But I won't. I won't because that defeats the purpose of this entire discussion. I shouldn't have to defend my right to occupy my own body. I shouldn't have to justify or promise that I'm going to change my body to appease a bunch of strangers who do not know nor respect me. It's my body. There is no wrong way to live inside of your own skin. By virtue of it being my body I can live in it in any way I so choose. And the truth is, it isn't really anyone's business if I want to fill it with food and sit it on my couch all day, nor is it anyone's concern if I choose to take it out to the gym, take it running around the track at the local high school, or take it up a hill to the path that leads down to the beach so it can go swimming. However I decide to live inside my own skin is my choice and I don't need anyone concern trolling me until I want to starve myself. What gives anyone the right to make me feel less than for living in my body in whatever way I like? And also, what gives anyone the right to look down on the men and women who decide they love my body? I've seen the snap judgements in peoples' eyes on the subway. They look at my lover and me and it shows on their face that they're thinking, "What is he doing with her?" Unspeakably good things! That's what he's doing with me. And we're both pretty happy with the arrangement. So fuck off.
And while we're on the subject of making our own choices: why am I being made to feel ashamed for not being a virgin? As a 22 (nearly 23) year old woman who engages in entirely consensual sex with individuals who are well over the age of consent I think I'm more than allowed to go out and sleep with whomever I choose to. That's another thing that really bums me out. I'm pretty damn close to being a fucking grown up but people still think it's okay to treat me like a child. To tell me I don't know what I'm doing, I don't realize what I'm doing with my body, I don't realize the ways these things are going to hurt me. Look, I've been having sex for a while. I've slept with people I loved and people I liked and people I didn't much know. I've had good sex and bad sex and average sex and boring sex and exciting sex and lots of other kinds of sex. What I'm getting at is I know enough about myself to know what I'm doing with my body, I know enough to know that I could get hurt, or I could regret it, or I could have no particular feelings about it in the morning. And it's really no one's business how slutty or not slutty I decide I want to be. And I shouldn't have to keep writing about this on the internet. I shouldn't have to keep questioning myself and letting the self-hatred in to ruin the party.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Dudes Holding Stuff (On the Internet)

Ladies and gentledudes (and everyone in between) I bring to you a new installment of Dudes Holding Stuff (On the Internet)!

My good friend Dustin holding a flask from the BEST BAND EVER. Fuck yes Mouse Rat. I'm so jelly.
Here we have my good friend Dustin (Who, incidentally, runs C'mon and Cheer Me Up! a pretty bombass music blog with killer album and show reviews and cool lists. You should probably go check him out) holding a Mouse Rat flask. Double extra bonus points for referencing our favorite feminist TV show Parks and Recreation and having the coolest flask ever. I'm so jelly of his style. So thanks Dustin for doing your part to subvert the dominant paradigm.

As per usual, if you know a dude (or are a dude) who would like to help smash the patriarchy and get a little internet famous whilst holding stuff on the internet send me a picture! We finally have an e-mail address you can send things to! So, if you want to submit a photo for Dudes Holding Stuff (On the Internet) please send it, as well as your name and the name of the dude holding the stuff (unless you are the dude holding the stuff, then one name will suffice) to: becausevagina@gmail.com (And please, no nudity. This site would like to remain relatively safe for work). You know you love this and the only way to keep it going is to keep sending in photos.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Transvaginal Probes and Not-Funny Jokes [new contributor]

[TW: Rape, rape jokes, abortion, domestic abuse]

A bill that would have required abortion-seekers to get a transvaginal ultrasound with or without their consent was revised about two weeks ago. No longer will women be raped with probes (yes, rape, that’s what you call it when someone sticks something inside a woman’s vagina without her consent, no matter if it’s penis or broom handle or medical probe). Which is a start. But the bill still requires abdominal ultrasounds (the regular kind), and a lot of other things that basically amount to harassment of anyone wishing to get an abortion.

Now, I live in Virginia, currently. And let me tell you, this bill was scary. I work in DC and most of my coworkers are women and you can bet it was a frequent topic of conversation. We all hoped it wouldn’t pass, assured each other it wouldn’t, secretly feared it would, and fantasized about someone SUING THE HELL OUT OF THE GOVERNMENT FOR RAPE.

On an even more personal level, this bill had impeccable timing. My boyfriend had recently come to visit, and we’d been… less than careful. I’m on the pill (and have been for ages), but that was our only form of birth control. I have no idea what I would have done if I’d ended up pregnant (but my period came a few days ago, so I am once again in the clear). And even so, I would have been far away from Virginia by the time I was due. But still. These things make you pause.

They also make you count blessings where they really don’t exist. How is being forced to have a (regular) ultrasound a moment for thanks? Only because there’s no transvaginal probe? Which sort of segues into the second part of my little post, the part about not-funny jokes.

So I was on the metro. Not an uncommon thing, in DC. And I’d been out on the town, doing a little shopping, had a drink or two. Also not uncommon. Was riding home alone, but it wasn’t late – maybe 8pm. Me and group of guys got on at same stop. To clarify, I got on first, sat down, and they all sort of sat around me. Not on the seat beside me, but on the one across, the one in front, the one behind, you get the picture. We’re all sort of at one end of the train, where there apparently was more room. There were about ten of them, probably in their mid thirties, told me they were from Baltimore, and other than that I’m not sure. Friends, maybe teammates of some sort, and drunk. They’d probably hit happy hour. They weren’t wasted, but they were in that stage where they were all talking more than they should have been and were all sitting down because they weren’t exactly capable of doing the standing balance required by a metro train.

Amidst this talking they were also joking with each other, making fun, talking about where they were off to next. Bar hopping, it sounded like, but headed back towards where two of them parked. I'm thinking, maybe don't drive, but I say nothing. I’m tispy and have decided just to concentrate on staying awake and getting home and not forgetting my shopping bags.

As I sit there quietly, they start to joke a little about me – mostly because of my unexpected presence and my almost total silence. Mostly harmless things, like “Poor girl had no idea what she was getting into, sitting in the middle of us.” (Only I sat down first. Remember that part?) I… say nothing. I might’ve smiled vaguely in acknowledgement that it was directed at me, and hey – the tone was half apologetic. They knew they were drunk and sort of a mess.

One of their little jokes is almost complimentary, and so I smile. They were all at least a decade older than me and I was six kinds of not interested, but we were stuck on a train together and I was in a good mood. Don’t remember what the guy said, but the gist of it was, “You’re pretty but we’re trying not to be creepy, sorry about the mess-that-is-us.” So I chuckle, and I smile, and I decide to text my boyfriend back from his earlier message.

And then one of the guys says, “That’s right, smile.” I thought of the post by our own dear blog mistress, and I nearly cringed, but he wasn’t done. “Keep smiling, and it’ll soon be over.” he continued. True enough, I’d be getting off soon. “Just smile and bite the pillow, baby.” he finished, and laughed. Then I did cringe. It went downhill from there. Joking references to domestic abuse, to coerced and rough sex, to things that sounded, to my ear, like rape.

Had I not been tipsy, I might’ve said something. Instead, I just stayed silent, and got off at my stop. Now I feel like I really should have said something. Because: rape. It’s not a joke. Wife beating. Also not a joke. Ever.

But despite the cringe-level of the jokes, I counted myself lucky. Why? Because I in no way felt actually, physically threatened by these men. Yes, I was happy that they were just joking. Even though the jokes fell clear on the not-funny side of the fence.

Which brings us back to the point of the segue. We live in a world that can use a lot of work, if those two are on my list of things for which I am thankful.