Okay, my fellow fat acceptance folks and allies.
Here’s the thing, when you post pictures of larger or curvier people and make comments like, “see, someone who’s beautiful and doesn’t starve themselves”, you’re actually adding to the problem of body policing, not helping anything.
Because when you put up a picture of a larger person and assume that they must eat well, or make comments about a thin person and how they must obviously be anorexic/bulimic, you’re just reinforcing that fat = eats a lot and thin = doesn’t each much. This is wrong. There are plenty of fat people who do regularly starve themselves and plenty of thin people who eat quite a lot. That, however, is not the point.
The point is that in making these remarks, you’re reinforcing that you can know a damn thing about someone’s diet, exercise, and health just by their size and looking at them.
THE ONLY THING YOU CAN TELL ABOUT A PERSON BY THEIR SIZE IS THEIR SIZE.
Part of the problem that fat acceptance has struggled with is to cast off these assumptions made about fat people based solely on their weight and size. Society makes the assumption that if one is fat, one must be eating a lot and this is, of course, a sign of moral failing, gluttony, greed, overindulgence, neglect of health, poor self-care, ignorance. Moral characteristics are assigned to fat bodies absent any actual information about whether that human being actually is a decent person or not, and this is body policing.
The underlying idea is that bodies, and the things that involve bodies (food, clothes, health care, sexuality, reproduction) must be policed. That resources and pleasure and respect must be parceled out careful, lest fat people eat too much or sluts have too much sex or the “wrong” people have too many children or someone wears inappropriate clothing for their body. The fear seems to be that without this policing and these easy labels, we might have to deal with people on their own terms and reserve judgment until we have hard facts. Thus, society would topple into an orgy of sex and overeating and indiscriminate procreation and we’d drown in a sea of unregulated fat, slutty, queer, non-white people swallowing the world whole by creating hordes of fat, slutty, queer, non-white babies who would grow up to oppress and enslave the hardworking, straight, thin white people who are the pillars of reason and civilization.
This is body policing’s modus operandi, and when we shame bodies and make assumptions and act on those assumptions, whether in word or deed, we become co-conspirators.
When you say “see, this person doesn’t starve themselves”, you’re basically giving the green light to yourself and others to make the assumption that their size can ever be an indication of their habits or that whether they do or don’t eat certain amounts of food is any of your business or has any bearing on how they deserve to be viewed and treated.
What and how much and when and why someone eats something is not your motherfucking business unless that individual choses to make it your business. Whether they eat one carrot a day and spend five hours exercising or eat chocolate cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner and then another cake for dessert - it’s not your concern. You don’t need to police that, you don’t need to make comments.
Eating is disordered and wrong only in relation to that individual person’s health and happiness. If someone is eating too little or too much is about what their body needs, not about what pre-measured portions you approve of for them. Everyone has different needs, nutritionally speaking. What is good for one body is often poison for another. Just ask anyone with food allergies, for instance. Your “healthy” whole grain habit would be dangerous and agonizing for someone with gluten intolerance or Celiac’s. Likewise, you might disdain meat, but for those who’s bodies lack for iron and amino acids, red meat is an essential.
Whether eating habits and amounts and varieties need to be changed is for that individual to decide based on the information they have at hand, not for you to make comments about because you think the answer to having your body shamed is to shame other bodies.
And even if that person is currently making choices that aren’t the healthiest, those are still their choices and body policing? Doesn’t help a goddamn thing and never will. You can’t shame someone into good health and happiness. If you could, we’d be immortal and in perfect health because that’s how much shame is piled on top of people.
So don’t make a hypocrite out of yourself by promoting one body at the expense of others under the guise of fat acceptance.
You want to promote how beautiful a bigger body is? That’s great. I’m right there with you, but there’s no need for the snide remark. Just say it. Say, “See this fat, fabulous body? IT’S FUCKING AWESOME”. That’s all you have to say. Because one type of body is being beautiful does not exclude other types of bodies from also being beautiful. Multiple sizes and shapes and colors and genders and sexualities and modes and types can all claim beauty for themselves. There’s more than enough to go around.
That’s what fat acceptance is all about. Beauty is big enough for us all.
- Interviewer: You had a bit of a bromance going on there.
- Jude Law: What is this new term everyone's using? It's a horrible term. What about just a romance?
- Interviewer: No, it's not the same. Because then you'd have to star in a romantic comedy together or something.
- Jude Law: We just have. Have you not seen it?
I need gifs. I need them to be awesome and funny and I NEED THEM RIGHT NOW.
Reblog me for sweet justice, yeah?
Oh, and if someone had gifs of Zoe from Firefly I would love you forever.
If “obesity” kills 26,000 people per year in America, remembering that even this statistic uses data related to diabetes, heart disease and other medical problems ASSOCIATED WITH but never CAUSALLY RELATED to obesity - that’s approximately 71 deaths a day. In 2007, suicide claimed 34598 lives in the US - which is approximately 95 deaths a day. Do you see anyone writing about the suicide epidemic? Do you see anyone taking their “concern” and placing it somewhere where it actually might do good? By trying to stop bullying, discrimination and physical abuse against people of all body types, for example? I don’t think so.
Like how some trans people can look cis. Or some poc can look white.
It’s a privilege that can be stripped away in seconds and has massive disadvantages of erasure, inadvertent shaming and being exposed to hidden liberal bigotry (cuz they think no one who would be offended is around so they say all the awful shit they want)
Yes, this. I’m a pansexual woman who is cis and I am married to a cis man and fuck yes, THIS RIGHT HERE.
I get that the privilege of being able to legally marry the partner of my choice in a state-recognized ceremony is huge, and that “passing” for straight does come with some inadvertent privileges that I don’t want but that are real and that do make a difference. Nor do I begrudge other GLBT+ folks who don’t have these privileges or abilities for making note of that or for discussing how that makes them feel.
But I am tired of the “bisexuals just want attention/aren’t real/are in denial about their real sexuality” meme that seems to push back against heterosexism but directed at the wrong source.
I get it, I do. It’s kind of a wince inducing moment when someone who dips their toes into the queer pool then decides “nope, not queer!”, because it gives people who want to talk about your sexuality as being a “phase” and not real more ammo. It gives them yet another example of how you’re not really GLBT, because that person over there tried it and they’re all nice and het-cis now, so obviously, you’ll get over it. And should get over it. As if you can ever get over your own identity.
I still can’t get my mother to acknowledge that I’m not straight. If you asked her, she’d say, “My daughter married a man, she’s obviously straight”. She’ll say to my face, “You’re not bi, you’re straight, you’re just trying to be different!”.
I came out to her and my sister when I was a junior in college. She denied it. My sister denied it. They spent a long ride in the car with me one day explaining away my sexuality to me, explaining it was just a college thing, a phase, I didn’t really like girls. My sister even brought out that she’d kissed other girls at parties in front of people before just for shits and giggles and she’s straight, so that meant I was straight because obviously that’s all I was doing.
I felt ashamed and completely stupid and wanted to crawl under a rock, and it hurt. It hurt a lot for my family basically to sit there and make it clear that they thought I was a liar or delusional for something that I’d known for so long all my life, something that meant a lot to me. Something that I would’ve really wanted their support on.
It hurt even more when I got brave enough to wear my rainbow PRIDE wrist band and my mom grabbed my arm in the middle of a dinner we were having with a bunch of friends and family, laughing, held my hand up so everyone could see it and said, “And here’s Ms. I-Wear-My-Gay-Pride-Bracelet-But-I’m-Straight” and everyone else at the table laughed with her. After I’d come out to her as being bisexual (what I identified as at the time, I now ID pansexual because it fits better).
I felt like I couldn’t scream loud enough to be heard over that laughter, and worse, I couldn’t make a sound for a few moments. It literally felt like I’d been knocked back to the wall and punched and I hadn’t moved an inch. I tried to keep composed, I tried to stay cool. I tried not to let it show that I wanted to throw up, that I felt like sort of face-burning you feel when you’re so humiliated you can’t think because you’re just trying to not turn into a crying, wheezing mess that makes a scene at the table.
I left that night feeling like some really important bone in my body had been broken, even though I was physically fine. There was just this hollow, non-functioning place in my heart and it’s been that way ever since.
Part of me still hurts from that, knowing there’s a part of me that my mother just ignores and denies and refuses to acknowledge. An important part. I think we’re okay, but I do know that there are pieces of my life and my experiences and my opinions and views and self that have to be kept walled off from her, for my own mental health.
I keep thinking that it was basically just random luck and chance that I ended up with a cisgendered male partner rather than a woman or a transman or a transwoman or someone who is genderqueer or otherwise not cis-het. Because I am attracted to people in all those modes and identities. If I’d met a charming, funny woman or transwoman who liked all my geekiness and fancied fat girls in glasses, hells yes, I might be with her and not my husband. Or if I’d met a genderqueer person with a devastating smile and a brainy chic about them who loves animals and digs history books and studies as much as I do? It would have been on like popcorn. It’s just that my husband got there first. That was luck. Not proof that my orientation doesn’t exist.
I hate that straight people don’t have to go through this. If they’re with one person seriously, it isn’t proof that they were never attracted to and never really liked any of the partners they had before, or that they’ll never be attracted another person again. It’s not proof that all prior and future relationships and attractions are false or just attention seeking. Nobody says to a straight woman, if she brings up her past relationship with, say, Bob, “Oh, but you’re with John now. How can you say you loved Bob if you’re with John. I think you’re just talking about your experiences with Bob to get attention. You’re really just Johnsexual and Bob was some phase.”
Because that really is as absurd and pointless as it sounds. And when people spout biphobic bullshit, that’s precisely how absurd and pointless THEY sound.
I want to ask, “So what if someone was just experimenting or getting attention? Why is that bad or wrong? Why is that to be viewed derisively? Why do people’s sexual experiences and desires and expressions have to be tested for authenticity?”
I hope this doesn’t come across as me act like my struggles and issues are bigger, worse, more important than other people who fall under the umbrella of “queer” in someway or another. Or that being able to “pass” isn’t a big deal, especially for those who have no cover whatsoever and find their safety and lives at risk.
It’s just that I do see some biphobia from some non-straight/cis sources and it bothers me sometimes.
One of the worst thing I think we can do as human beings is deny each other’s situations and identities, downplay them and claim that we know more about them than they do themselves, even when we think we’re helping. Because it’s not helpful, it’s actually the polar opposite. It’s actively hurtful.
Okay, TL;DR. I just got carried away with this because it made me think of that.
Thinphobia? I don’t think so.
Please do not use that term as though you expect me to believe it or buy it or set it equal to the shit that fat people go through, especially in very fatphobic countries, on a daily basis.
Please do not come to me with your story about your very skinny friend who gets comments once and a while with people telling them to “eat a cheeseburger, you’re so thin!” or rumors that they might have an eating disorder as though that is equal to my experiences of being denied health care and basic respect and enduring abusive behavior at the hands of teachers, friends, and even my own family on a regular basis for most of my life.
Need something more concrete?
Ask yourself these following questions about you or your thin friend:
How many ads for weight gaining products did you see advertised? How many came with pictures showing a sad, pathetic thin person who has now been replaced by a happier, healthier, fatter person?
How many news reports did you see today reporting on the growing cost of taking care of those who are underweight? How many statistics did you see showing just how many U.S.ians are underweight? How many came with the words “skinniness epidemic” or “underweightness epidemic”?
How many of those reports on thin people came with shots of very, very thin people walking around in public, filmed and photographed in a stalker-like manner, without their knowledge or consent, their heads not show in the frame so that they become just large, blobulous bodies for the pity, disgust, and “oh thank god, I’m not that fat!” of the audience?
How many people have said that there should be a weight minimum on health care, that people who are too underweight should be denied health care benefits until they gain weight, because underweight people are a terrible burden to the system?
How many “humorous” internet macros or memes have you seen showing a thin person in a wheelchair with the implication or outright statement that they would not be in that wheelchair if they’d just gain some weight already. This excludes “you don’t look disabled” situations that are based more on other factors than weight - which are heinous and wrong in and of themselves.
How many TV shows have you watched where ALL of the cast and guest stars, exclusively, are fat people and no one is thin and the show is not focused on a fat camp or weight loss situation? How many shows have you seen where there’s a very special episode focused on one of the fat members of an all-fat cast daring to date a thin person who’s stereotypical and meant for laughs? How many times have you ever been watching a TV show and thought, “I could never be part of that group or imagine myself in that position, because they don’t let fat people there.”
How many reality programs have you seen where trainers and other so called “experts” scream in the faces of thin people to encourage them to compete to gain weight and continue to urge and pressure and cajole them to do these weight-gaining activities until they vomit or feel intense pain and discomfort?
How many times have you seen advertisements for weight GAIN surgeries advertised on TV, showing the sad faces of thin people telling about all the things they can’t do because they’re thin? Or talking about how much better their life would be, how much easier they’d attract a partner or get a job or enjoy an activity or resolve another health issue if they’d just get the surgery and gain that weight?
How many times has any source told you to cover up your legs or arms or stomach or any other part of your body because they were thin and therefore automatically hideous for no other reason (not spider veins, not skin conditions, not wrinkles - JUST FAT).
How many times have you seen or heard of a person being kicked off an airplane just before take off because they were too thin?
How many times do cooks and talk show hosts and others give you tips on food recipes that can help you gain weight? How many shows or books or other materials are dedicated to teaching a person a healthy way of gaining the weight and keeping it on for life!
How many statistics are out there telling you that thin people are less likely to get a job than someone who’s obese?
How many products sold in stores are meant to make you look 5-15lbs HEAVIER. This excludes products meant to make a single body part (buttocks, breasts, etc) larger, but rather the overall body?
How many times do you come across sites that fetishize thin/average bodies? How many times do you see “skinny chasers” displayed as freaks in and of themselves for liking thin bodies?
How many magazines advertise a way to “gain that last 10 lbs” or how to “get into a larger jeans size by summer!”?
How many times has a thin person gone to the doctor for an unrelated problem (like, say, very bad seasonal allergies) and gotten an hour long lecture about gaining weight and how vital is and how they will die before age fifty if they don’t gain weight? How many times has a doctor told you about his own weight gain experiences and if he can pull himself up by the bootstraps and put on that fifty pounds, so can you?
I’m sorry if you or your thin friend may have experienced uncomfortable, unwanted attention to your body and comments that made you feel bad, were annoying, or otherwise just not welcome. I really am sorry. That’s intrusive, it’s body policing, and it’s wrong. Nobody has the right to shame or guilt you about your body. But have you stopped to consider that there’s a reason people feel free and entitled to pass on their opinions of other people’s bodies?
Maybe these people feel free telling you/your friend these things because for years and years, it’s been completely acceptable to pull the shame shit on fat people? Have you ever thought that the “I’m entitled to judge your body and say it to your face!” attitude comes because we’ve invited, encouraged, and instructed people on how to engage in these very behaviors with fat people.
Because those people who tell your friend to eat a cheeseburger are the ones who tell me “stop eating cheeseburgers and get off the couch and exercise and you won’t be fat!”. The people who assume you/your friend is anorexic or bulimic based solely on their weight are the same people who assume that I must be diabetic with bad cholesterol, heart disease, and other ailments just because I’m obese.
So maybe the answer isn’t to plead and cry about how you/your thin friend get occasional unwanted comments and start talking shit about thinphobia. Maybe the answer is to push back against body policing, to let people know that it’s not acceptable to judge and discriminate.
Look, I am truly sorry if you’ve experienced body policing and body shaming and exclusion. It sucks, it really does. But there’s a reason it’s such a powerful force in our society, and there are some people who suffer more than others.
Your hue and cry about “thinphobia” helps nothing. It just reinforces that some bodies must be viewed sympathetically and that fat acceptance is this horrible, evil force that’s encouraging gluttonous obesity and hurting so many other people.
Your time would be better spent protesting and pushing back against a society that is obsessed with inspecting and regulating the bodies of every single human being on a moral scale and determining their worth based on that.
I apologize for not finding every single person in the world attractive.
I LOL’ed hard because your passive-aggressive fauxpology bullshit is like you hanging out a sign on your forehead saying, “A defensive, small-minded ableist asshole lives here”.
There’s a difference between not finding someone attractive in the sense of “I’d have sex with them” and calling someone creepy and gross in a very public way when they proudly show their body. There’s a difference between not being aroused and seeking to shame someone. What were the words “creepy and gross” supposed to do? Show your support? Show your broad-minded, open-hearted approach to other people?
No, they were intended to show your disdain for a person who showed the body that is theirs and did not hide it for YOUR COMFORT and did not stop to think of YOUR AROUSAL AND PLEASURE before doing something empowering for themselves and others like them who have been dismissed and discarded because their bodies don’t measure up.
As a fat woman, I’ve seen the creepy/gross/disgusting remarks when my fellow fat folks dare to say “this is my body, it is not a disease or a problem or a shameful thing. It is mine, I own it, and I will not modify or cover it when I don’t want to just for YOUR comfort. Get over yourself.”
I see a lot of people on the daily that I probably wouldn’t have sex with, who don’t turn me on sexually or romantically because it’s not my thing. But that isn’t the only way to appreciate that they are beautiful and worthy of my respect and compassion and recognition. Because my level of sexual/romantic attractedness to them isn’t the only measure of their beauty. Because I can appreciate human beings that don’t play to my personal tastes or the approved models that society has given me so that I can measure attractiveness.
This is the last time I’m engaging with you in particular because, well, it’s clear you’ve got no interest in learning from this and maybe growing a bit and seeing where you went wrong and how you can do better. Better is harder and staying the same requires no effort. You go ahead and join the millions of others who do that.
The reason I’m even responding now is because I want to address the “but I just don’t find [insert thing] attractive…” meme that goes around as though dismissing any attempts by an oppressed group to stake their claim to beauty and worth and dignity because it doesn’t personally push your happy buttons.
I’m talking about the bullshit where people say, “I just don’t find fat girls attractive” or white people say, “I just don’t find Black/Latino/Asian/etc… people attractive” or “I just don’t find transmen attractive”.
This is not just about who you personally consider worthy of your sexual and aesthetic interest. Fine, you don’t want to fuck a fat girl or an Asian man or a transman. I’m sure the fat, Asian, transman communities will collectively get over the loss of you as a potential romantic and sexual partner. This is not about getting you to drool with lust, because honestly, I don’t fucking care about these things getting privileged assholes drooling and become so much serviceable material and socially masturbatory privilege porn for them. This is about people saying that society does not get to dictate attractiveness based on its relative position to whiteness, ableness, thinness, cisgender/cissexualness.
This is about showing a picture of something radically different from the bodies that are fodder and instructive materials on oppression and saying, “Look harder, see the beauty that’s been there all along, challenge yourself, take off the privilege lens, see the human being, see the TRUTH.”
Obviously, you fail at this. As do so many others. Congrats, you’re in bad company. The worst company.
But like the sign says: a defensive, small-minded ableist lives here.
Barring any likely and probable communications issues and assuming these are extraterrestrials that can perceive and processes the same spectrum of light and range of sound we can in a way that would make a movie intelligible to them at all? (Sorry, the SF/F writer and geek in me loves to be nitpicky)
Shortbus. Hands down. No question.
No question. First off, most of the sex in this movie is not simulated, it’s the real deal, which I found incredible and it’s proof to me that if this filmmaker can have actual sex acts on screen and pair it with a fascinating plot, wonderful characters, and a rather striking NYC setting? There’s no reason that ordinary porn should be so terrible except for laziness and the ways in which our culture really gets it wrong.
There’s something quintessentially human about Shortbus, and the way it deals with a lot of different modes of sexuality and gender expression. First, I think it would make it obvious to any outside observer that human sexuality is deeply complex on a personal, political, social, and biological level. Even the most reasoned, learned person who knows so much about sex as a subject and gives advice to others can still have problems and wrestle with sexuality and pleasure and relationships, as the main character does.
Plus, Sook Yin Lee in this so much, she did such a spectacular job that I’d want to show her acting ability to any extraterrestrials before they saw some of our not-so-shining examples of cinematic shame.
The movie has a sense of humor and tragedy and hope all at once, and that’s basically humanity simmered down and summed up. Sometimes we’re quite awesome and colorful and brilliant and sometimes we’re absolutely our own worst enemies, we tear each other and ourselves down and apart and to pieces. There’s this wonderful, blaring sense of “we know we’re going to die, so we’re going to live it up” in the musical scene when the madame of the brothel leads them around singing that wonderful song. I think it expresses a very human reality, and that is that we never live perfect lives, we’re never perfect people. Pain and shame and confusion and troubles are always with us, but we have a capacity to thrive there, to find joy and community with each other not just because of our pain, but in the ways that we work with and around it.
Plus, I think it would help any visitors to our world understand as Bjork (yeah, I know, don’t look at me like that) once said, “If you ever get close to a human and human behavior/ you better be ready to get confused.” I think it would show extraterrestrials that if they’re confused about us - we’re confused about us, too, but we’re working it out and we can live with our confusion, we can even paw some measure of sense out of it.
Plus, there’s a few moments of rather amusing and amazing gay male sexual athletics in this film. When the actor who plays James actually gets into a yoga pose and masturbates so that he ejaculates on his own face, I was sort of in amazement. I don’t even know if I could get myself into that position, much less diddle myself to orgasm. The scene where he, his partner, and another man are having group sex and one of them begins singing The Star Spangled Banner into the other man’s asshole as he’s rimming him? That was so fucking beautiful and I laughed so hard and it made me realize that part of the issue with sex is that we make it such horrible serious business, like it always has to be this perfect, serious, hardcore thing where we’re either balls to the walls fucking our brains out in utter lust or there are candles and Kenny G playing in the background and silk sheets and other things. Because sometimes it can just be fun and simple and you can laugh during it and it can take five minutes or five hours. So many people tell you how to have sex, how to have good sex, how to have orgasm, how it’s supposed to go. Nobody tells you that sex isn’t supposed to go any way except the way you want it. You don’t always have to have some big sensual encounter. You can just touch body parts and laugh and sing the national anthem into some guy’s ass you just picked up and that sex is fine, it’s valid, it fun.
My final reason (wow, this went to a TL;DR kinda place)? The ending scene when Sofia finally finds the things that click for her and they have that gorgeous sequence when all the lights come on and it’s like suddenly power and heat and life have been breathed into the world? I think that, more than anything, would help explain to extraterrestrials why we do this to ourselves, why we keep trying when fail so much.
Because when you find that thing - that identity, that partner, that orientation, that kink, that special spot on your body, that philosophy, that place - that works for you, defines you, turns you on, it’s really an incredible moment that makes life worth living, that makes humanity worth keeping around.
And after Shortbus, I might show them Independence Day and Men in Black just so they’ll know where all the Will Smith references are coming from and understand what completely absurd ideas people are carrying around with them re: extraterrestrials. Just for, you know, fair warning and all.
I’m glad you liked the post, and thank you for taking the time to tell me that.
No, I had never heard of Filament, but thanks for telling me about it. I looked over the website. Seems pretty interesting. I’m definitely going to have to give it a closer gander when I have the time and attention span to do so. Thanks for the recommendation. My filthy, filthy imagination can always use more shiny things to fuel it. :)
I’m a married woman, and I’m here to say to all those out there who think my relationship with my husband needs “defending” or “protecting” that you’re wrong. It doesn’t. It doesn’t even really need to be called marriage. If you took that word away right now - if you took the concept and all the pretty sayings and all the social implications and just stripped them bare and threw them in the garbage?
I’d be cheering. I’d love it. I hope that day comes when “marriage” is no more important or real a word than “hookup” or “one night stand”.
Thing is? I wouldn’t mind if right here, right now, we completely tore down the institution and privileges of marriage. It would neither hurt me nor take anything away from what I personally share with my husband. It wouldn’t take away the things that actually mean a damn thing, because those things? Those things actually really aren’t even covered by what “marriage” is supposed to mean anyway.
The only things I need is the right to reserve privacy between my “husband” and myself, and the right to tell doctors, legal entities, and the government that when they deal with me, they’re dealing with him and vice versa. All I really want is the ability to share parts of my life (money, special life events, property) with him. And if people decided that me calling him “husband” is no more real or normal or valid than if I called him “partner” or “boyfriend” or “lover” or “one of many”, that would be just fucking fine by me.
If I had to invent new words and phrases to name what he is to me? Cooker of dinners and comforter after I have a nightmare and person who does the driving because I hate driving cars and gentle mocker of my quirks and foibles and comedian who brings a smile to my face when no one can and hand that holds mine and stitcher of subversive cross-stitches and caretaker when I get sick and tired and prodder to new experiences I might be afraid to try otherwise.
If I had to say this and not “husband”, I wouldn’t care. It’d be longer, but it’d be a thousand times more accurate.
We had a domestic partnership before our marriage to share insurance benefits, and I have to tell you, the difference in the way people treated us when we said “we’re domestic partners” rather than “we’re husband and wife” - even though he’s a cisgendered male and I’m a cisgendered female - was the difference between night and day. I could see it in people’s eyes when they judged us, when they saw the way we acted with each other, when they decided whether to think of us as “really” together and “really” a couple or just two young people playing pretend at something until they grew up and had a “real” marriage.
It bugs me that even same-gender couples are being told that they should want marriage as the ultimate goal, that replicating the cis-het model (even when so many are trying so hard to keep it from them) is what they should be doing. Because if they define their relationships based on the lived reality and not the societal expectation, they’re traitors to their cause. Because if you can’t beat the cis-het model, you’re supposed to want to join it rather than tearing it down.
I’m tired of marriage being defended, because it’s not defending me at all. It’s actually a pain in my ass. I’m tired of being told that this is the only way he and I are real to each other and worthy of recognition. I’m tired of being told I should’ve changed my name or that I’m Mrs. now and not a Ms. I’m tired of being told that this is it. If we wanted to bring another human being into the situation, we couldn’t. If we both fell in deep, passionate love and found another who made us happy, who we wanted to share our money and important decisions and health care with, we couldn’t.
As a married woman, I have to say if it were up to me right now? We’d just completely gave up the idea that outsiders have the right or the place to judge the validity of any relationship - sexual, romantic, domestic, or otherwise - between consenting human beings, that would be even better. We’d take people at their word. If someone said “this person or persons have this relationship to me and it means this and this is how we want to be treated” - that’s what people would go by, not a pre-approved list of models.
The thing is, I call my “husband” my “husband” because that’s the word society assigned to our relationship, but honestly, sometimes it just doesn’t fit at all sometimes when I hear about how husbands and wives should be, when I hear about the “work” you’re supposed to put into marriage, when I hear that our marriage has to have a purpose, a sanctity, a goal in mind. That we are the only unit in which a child can thrive (even though my husband and I are childfree and do not want kids ever and this is a slap in the face to single parents and non-parental guardians and caretakers EVERYWHERE, including my own single mother and single grandmother). That to be together, happily, sharing our lives and existing side by side isn’t enough. Oh no, we must have a sacred mission in our relationship, because the thing is?
In the society in which I live (I cannot, will not speak to the reality of others), there are always three people in a marriage anyway, it seems. Two spouses and the society that orchestrates their roles, assigning the wife this and the husband that so that they’ll fit neatly into some long row of similar couples that will form some neat little unit that’s easily discerned and dealt with and used to keep things in order, in line, in place.
Because the worst sin seems to be not staying in your place. Not obeying the rules of the gender you’re assigned at birth, not obeying the rules of who you should and shouldn’t be attracted to by virtue of that assignment, not obeying the rules of what forms that attraction can and can’t take, and not viewing those assignments and rules as a means to some glorious goal rather than the restraints they are.
But that line we’re supposed to tow? It doesn’t fit into the roles my husband and I have with each other, the ones we eked out by living together, by merging our lives, by deciding that life would be better if we didn’t have to ever go away from each other again.
My relationship to the man I love is not society’s pawn. And whenever someone tries to defend my relationship because it follows their pre-set notions, they’re really turning it into so much political capital for the betterment of the few and oppression of the many. The defense of marriage is really just the defense of an old, old power base.
Simon Moya-Smith, “Monuments & Mosques: The Debate Over What’s Sacred (an American Indian’s perspective)” (via tart-tart)
Christians obviously feel they have the constitutional right to build what they want, where they want, when they want. I find it most hypocritical that the same Christians who are for building edifices on sacred Indian sites are the very same voices of opposition regarding the erection of a Muslim mosque near Ground Zero.
Didn’t Paul Mooney recently comment on the (more than 2 blocks away, so near) Ground Zero “Mosque” (but really a community center) that “You mean kind of like carving big white mens heads into the mountains of native burial grounds?”
Sidenote, I like Paul Mooney.
Thank you so, so much for this. I’ve never been described as having a “badass” anything before. It’s kind of awesome
I’m glad that the things I say are helpful and good rather than being more of the very hurtful blather that just adds to all the things that are so wrong with the world.
I wish I knew how to respond to compliments besides just going “buh, uh, I did good? Huh? What should I say? Should I deny it? If I accept it, will I look like a pompous, self-congratulatory bitch? Eeee!”
So I guess I’ll just say thank you. Because that’s true and that’s what I feel, and I’m always grateful when people reach out to me.
This essay is focused on race in the gay porn industry and is well worth the read. Yes sometimes I read blogs chronicling the gay porn industry. Stop looking at me like that.
Nothing in particular. I was born on a Thursday. So, I decided “Madame Thursday” because I wasn’t sure what else to use. Plus, I like the whole rhyme about “Thursday’s child has far to go”, but I’m sort of not a child and I think that was taken anyway. So, Madame Thursday.
You know how I know Facebook was invented and run by white, Ivy League-educated white men?
Because of things like the “Places” feature that just came out yesterday. You can read about it (and how to disable it), on this page at Lifehacker. I recommend that if you have a Facebook page, even if it’s long neglected, that you check your privacy settings for this. This is a feature that could ostensibly allow someone to find out where you live and the places you frequent. You can disable it, thankfully, but whether you wanted it or not, Facebook opted you into that feature.
Features like this keep rolling out and Facebook keeps their privacy settings confusing to access. Instead of a large, obvious button that says “privacy settings” and takes you straight to that page, one has to hunt for “customize” and “change settings” links at the bottom of the page.
Of course, Facebook makes the link telling you to invite other people to their system unmissable, as well as their “targeted” ads. This tells me precisely where the company’s priorities are and who’s setting them and who they have in mind when they set them.
If Facebook had been run by someone of color, or a queer person, or a disabled person, or even just a woman who’s been terrorized by an ex who calls her fifty times a day and makes her afraid to leave her house, we wouldn’t see things like this.
Yes, the answer is to change the way society operates so that a topless picture isn’t damaging to a woman, or that men don’t feel entitled to stalk women, or that other don’t feel entitled to discriminate against someone for their identity. But until that day comes, asking the marginalized and at-risk to sacrifice safety while waiting for privileged people and society in general to get it’s act together is just so much dismissal and disregard.
People who live outside the aegis of privilege’s comfortable shield don’t need to be told how essential privacy and security and the careful controlling of information is. For those who may face beatings or getting fired or being kicked out of their houses if the wrong information reaches the wrong people, being able to control who knows what isn’t just a need, it’s basic survival.
Social networking should not mean a bumper crop for stalkers and those who discriminate. It shouldn’t be a boon to those who may use a person’s religion, race, sexuality, size, politics, gender, or personal activities to deny them a job or an education or an internship or an opportunity that they’re otherwise deserving of. It shouldn’t be a veritable library of potential victims for predators and hatemongers.
But Facebook seems bound and determined to make it one.
Social networking can be a really good tool for activism and for those who live on the margins to find connections and support and community. Information, stories, pictures can circulate easily, quickly. I know as a fat woman, online fat acceptance and HAES resources have literally rescued my mental health in so many ways. As a pansexual person, being able to hear and speak about my sexuality is a very important way that I keep myself from spiraling into a self-hate cycle.
But to do so, we have to feel safe to reach out, knowing that some spaces - our meatspace surroundings, our homes, our workplaces, our schools, the - will not become invaded by people who want to take a fight or an obsession into another venue. These are the spaces in which marginalized people are most vulnerable. Our jobs can be so easily taken, our schools can turn into pits of misery and bullying, our homes can become targets.
We have to have the ability to close the doors that need closing, to cut off contact from abusers and bigots who would do us harm, to disengage from interactions that hurt. If we don’t have this ability, we’re stuck choosing between safety and mental health and community and activism and growth and progress. We’re stuck asking if we can afford to identify and speak out, or if if the potential cost to ourselves and perhaps our friends, family, coworkers, and partners is too much.
Social networking does not have to mean sacrificing privacy. Plenty of other sites do this. Tumblr and Twitter, for instance, haven’t required me to reveal anything at all. When I signed up, I gave a name and address, but so far I haven’t seen anywhere that anyone can access that information unless I openly post it.
And guess what, even without my personal details being offered up and without me having to adjust privacy settings every time a new feature is added, I’ve networked and connected to people just fine.
What scares the shit out of me is that Facebook’s privacy settings are going to get someone killed. Because it could happen so easily. If someone forgets a privacy setting on some new feature, or can’t figure them out, or has left an account sitting with still relevant information, that person could be tracked down, harassed until they’re murdered or end up committing suicide. I’m just bracing for the day when I see the news story that a woman was murdered by an ex-boyfriend/husband/partner who tracked her down with Facebook, who got her entire daily schedule because Facebook “checked her in” to work, or her school, or the places she shops and watches movies and goes to eat. I’m just wincing, knowing that I may well see a report on a queer person who was singled out and tracked via Facebook, or a person of color speaking against racism who became the targets of radical, extremist, supremacist killers or someone who’s government found them via Facebook and imprisoned/executed them for speaking out against human rights violations.
And all because Facebook is more concerned with sucking people in and getting ad space sold than protecting the very users who are generating their profits.
Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think people should have to risk death and bodily harm and economic loss and being outed just for someone else to up their ad revenues.