eumelia: (wave dropping)
So this is turning into a once weekly report of my life.

I need to get back to reading more (fiction) books and reading long form in general, I think that's part of my problem with not writing here much - as well as the time I am lacking by not having all the leisure time I want.

Yes, that is now a regular complaint. I work 40 hours a week (sometimes more) and whoever thought this was a fair amount of time for a "decent" wage should have their sensitive areas pinched to the point of necrosis.

But let's put that morbidity aside.

This Friday morning I'm exhausted for a really good reason! I went to Roller Derby last night! I fell three times, but I fell forward, so I'm in a lot less pain than I was the last time. But I'm definitely feeling everything and just, wow, I am out of shape.

I talked about this briefly with other peeps, but I'm thinking maybe I should look into jogging because I'm a blob.

My life is ridiculously sedentary, I sit on the bus on my commute to work, I sit at my desk and my computer for 9-10 hours, I sit on the bus on my commute home, and then I sit at home with Elphaba for my fun times.

My life is mainly sitting. Blob. I think if my work was more physical I wouldn't feel like my body isn't representative of my lifestyle. Body image issues? Pfft.

Regardless, if I can go to Derby twice a week for a month, I'll invest in my own pair of skates. The skates the team lend me for practice are purple. I'd like mine to be fuchsia.

We shall see.
eumelia: (mystique)
I figured you'd all be interested to know that I grew up.

I went up a cup size and went down in band size. This because I've been wearing the wrong size bra for who knows how long. I went up from a C to a D and down from an (European sizing) 85 to a 75. For the first time in years my bras feel snug and aren't poking into me.

Who knew!?

Well, apparently lots of people, because more than once when my girl friends and I discussed the topic of bras, which was kind of often, seeing as many of us are busty and bras over a certain size are fucking expensive and can only be found in "speciality size underwear shops" which another post for a different day.

*deep breath*

In any event, I decided to use the holiday coupons I got from work to buy new bras. I also decided I'd ask what size I should wear. The staffer took one look at me and said sternly. "You're a 75D." And I was all, um, okay, let me try them on.

Which I did.

It was a hallelujah moment, let me tell you.

I bought four new, beautiful bras last week and I've had the chance to wear two of them so far.

One of them creaks.

Like an old floorboard. No really, when I move my shoulders, it sounds like I need oiling. Which is what my boss said to me when she asked me, "Are you creaking?" I mean, she called me the Tin-Man!

It was a source of great amusement at work, where we are very casual, and people found my bewilderment rather funny.

But what's really extraordinary is that other people have mentioned this happening to them too! That this is apparently something that happens when you have a bigger bust.

Cut for body image issues and internalised fatphobia )

Also, regardless of what size you are, you can enjoy Busty Girl Comics!
eumelia: (mystique)
I showered twice within three hours.

That's what I get for actually leaving the house in July between the hours on noon and two pm.

There is a long summer ahead, as ever. I wonder if the mind forgets these things in order to protect us from the trauma that is June to October in this stinking country.

Regardless, I went out to keep my mother company at the mall, an open mall, so there was no air conditioning except inside the shops, which were pleasant respites.

I am, as ever, always a bit aware of what it means to be hairy in public.

I've been wearing tank tops almost exclusively for the past month, it's either that or expiring, but I have hairy underarms, so the first time I went to work in a tank top (we're very casual in our dress at the office, people come in flip flops, I draw the line at that, also they hurt my toes. Sandals though, haven't worn shoes in a while as well) I was a little apprehensive.

I mean, it's not like I thought someone would say anything, that's a very big faux pas no matter how you look at it, but you start wondering what other people are thinking.

Until you don't.

It becomes easy to just head out in a loose tank top and just feel the breeze under your arms.

My mother though, well, I love her little suggestions.

"Don't you think you'd be cooler if you shaved your armpits and legs."

"I'll consider it, if you suggest the same to dad and my brother."

"They're not girls!"

*sigh*

The whole trying to "shame" me into shaving again is a really odd tactic. I've done my unpacking, at first it was an experiment to see if I had the nerve now it's just the way I am. Wearing shorts that show my hairy shins, so what?! No one is actually going to say anything and even if they did, it's their problem.

My bff bought me a dress a few months ago, but it was still too chilly to wear casually. Tomorrow we're going to the pool and I'll wear it over my bikini and it'll be so much fun to frolic in the water.

The decision to be hairy is not one I took lightly.

The fact that it was a decision at all kind of gives the game away.
eumelia: (mystique)
I had one of the best days I've had in a very long time.

I spent the morning and afternoon with my BFF and a close mate (ACM). Ostensibly the morning was to run errands with out close mate, but really, it was just so much fun for me to spend time with my friends, who know what is going on in my life and with whom I don't have to censor myself.

All three of us went to the mall in order to shop for shoes and pants for ACM. Both BFF and ACM are fat and ACM always has problems finding pants that she really likes.

I think BFF and I were good luck charms because she found a pair of shoes that fit her and two pairs of pants that looked amazing and were comfortable for her.

I was the yak of this expedition, seeing as this shopping mission wasn't a gathering, but a hunt - we had an objective and we zero'd in on it - I schlepped the bags belonging to the fat lady and when I started complaining about being hungry, I was dubbed an honourary fatty just as went for lunch.

Which, you know, yay!

I love spending time with BFF and ACM. Well, BFF is who she is and she's one of those people who is just there for me, no matter what and I'm there for her - it's a mutual thing. And ACM is one of those freakishly clever and insightful people and I kind of melt when she's witty and commits word play - so carrying her bags was fun.

There's also a kind of "screw you" to the world when a thin girl carries the shopping bags of fat girls, you know? And I enjoy that feeling, so I was totally selfish.

I actually worried my BFF yesterday by not recognising the fact that I was hungry by my hunger pangs, but thinking they were an ache relating to some kind of stomach bug. Yes, I assume any and all stomach aches are actually not benign.

ACM said, "You think like a thin person, but we forgive you," when I related to above to her today.

Yes, well, nobody's perfect.
eumelia: (mystique)
My whole life it's been thrown in my face.

As an accusation, more than anything. As a way to deflate my arguments, my words and my own feelings.

I'm over sensitive, so I'm looking to be offended.

I'm over sensitive, so I imagined the teasing, it was meant as a compliment.

I'm over sensitive, so the disparaging looks and gazes hurled at me were imagined, in my head, actually want it to happen just so I have something to complain about.

What does it actually mean, to be called out as "over sensitive"?

It has always, always been used as a way to silence me. It has always been a weapon to cut me at the knees and make sure I know my place - silent and weeping in the corner.

And it's not even being aware that the world is shit and that bad things happen due to disparity in power dynamics and gross social injustices.

This has been my life since I was a child.

And now, as an adult, and I swallow the lump in my throat because everything I say is coloured by this prism of sensitivity.

It is flung in my face too often and getting tips by those who silence me how to deal with the silencing is a small comfort - especially when I'm told they feel sorry that I take things so personally.

My over "sensitivity" fuelled rage wants to take a chair and throw it over someone's head, but social programming prevents me from going feral in a house of residence, or, you know at all.

It's just, you know, this week has had a few wins against the patriarchy, what with Israel's rapist (ex-)president going away for seven years and participating in an event protesting the marginalisation of women in Israel due to growing religious extremism, but reading about the news about Penn State in the United States and that getting into an argument about the position of women in public and the symptom of street harassment and how people do not get that this is all connected, it makes me bury my face in my hands and wail inside my head.

Yeah, if I'm sensitive, I fear how numb so many other people in my life are.

Being called over sensitive is equivalent to being called irrelevant. I am too sensitive to judge anything fairly or have an informed opinion about anything because it the speech of an hysterical woman.

I regret to say I left the conversation. I often do. It is difficult for me to handle the assault over my emotions and my perceptions, because when I fight back I will raise my voice and my abrasiveness will overtake and being of small statue and round face, I do not look like an informed and factual feminist woman, but more like an angry teenage girl with a grudge against the world.

My body dictates the perception.

This is how it has always been.

I'll just sit here and swallow the tears that make my eyes shine and my voice catch, because obviously, it is useless to speak for too long about that which has forced me to grow a skin that feels foreign to me.
eumelia: (queer rage)
It being the holiday season in my locale, it is a time of family and obligation.

Yesterday I was helping my mother arrange the place names for the seats, the name cards were a mess, so I quickly put all the couples and their children into smaller piles.

I was the only solo card.

Now, after an entire semester of studying the sociological aspect of singlehood and writing a 6000 word essay about the position of the single aunt in the extended-nuclear family for said course, you probably don't understand the feeling of sheer poignancy that came from seeing my name, alone, among the clumps of little families that make up my huge tribe.

I have no doubt that I'm not the only single person who has a family made up of couples and families and has felt this way. But I have been theorising about it, this position of mine in my family, the role I play of Dutiful Daughter, Doting Aunt (despite raising my voice a few times and having my cousin, a mother, come to make sure I haven't murdered her children) and Single Gay Relative.

I may be the only one who perceives myself this way. Who knows, maybe others do see me this way. Glass closet and all.

What has come to mind in my navel gazing about this, because I have been thinking about it the whole week, were the issues of "passing" and "flaunting" my sexuality in the context of my family.

My nuclear family are a paragon of harmony, support and TLC. Really, I couldn't have asked for a better family, really. My bitterness considering my coming out process and the crappy way I and [Southern!Girl] were treated when were together notwithstanding.

Being single and queer is easier than being queer in a relationship - man or woman. The invisibility I experience when I'm with a guy is painful because of the erasure of my identity and the culture I identify with. The all out double standard of being with a girl requires constant negotiation of what is appropriate or inappropriate behaviour in so many contexts.

It is sheer kismet that Spark In Darkness wrote about this very issue on his blog, where he writes about living your life through a filter:
Every question has to be passed through it, evasions and lies considered, examined and discarded or adapted. And damn if that isn't tiring, even now when I largely shut the filter down and try to answer without it – it still fires up and activates the closet instincts. Before when I nearly always used the filter it was even more draining – because everything someone said to me or I said back had to be run through the filter to ensure that the BIG DARK SECRET was hidden.

[...]that's before we get to simple things like the awful crime of kissing/touching and the dreadful decisions of whether it's ok to sit next to him or not – can we go out to dinner together or do we need to bring more people so it's not a date? Am I stood too close? Whose watching, who can see is anyone upset/angry/sitting on a cactus expression?

So, yeah, here's little ol' me “flaunting” my sexuality because not “flaunting” is a lot of work. I just don't have the energy not to flaunt.

I emphasised the last bit, because that pretty much hits the nail of the head. Sometimes, most of the time, we're asked to "tone it down", or stop making everything "about being QuILTBAG".

There are worse things that happen to gay people than being told by heteronormative society that we're disruptive and should shut up and suck it up, because you know, being beat up and murdered because you weren't quiet enough is worse than being escorted off a plane for kissing your partner.

But the incident with Leisha Hailey and the Southwest flight, brings to a head how careful we have to be in order to walk around unscathed.

I mean, if you read the statement from Southwest Airline following the incident, you can't help but cringe:
Initial reports indicate that we received several passenger complaints characterizing the behavior as excessive. Our crew, responsible for the comfort of all Customers on board, approached the passengers based solely on behavior and not gender. The conversation escalated to a level that was better resolved on the ground, as opposed to in flight. We regret any circumstance where a passenger does not have a positive experience on Southwest and we are ready to work directly with the passengers involved to offer our heartfelt apologies for falling short of their expectations.

All emphasis is mine. It would be mind boggling if it wasn't such a typical framing of "gay behaviour" in public.

First of all, the passenger complaints? Really? You know how many times I've complained about a child running up and down the isles of a plane? Are you going to remove that child and its parents?! Boy that would be grand!
Never happen of course, after all, a child running up and down the isles is "natural". As is, you know, kissing and holding hands between a man and woman.

Two women, well, that's "excessive". Because it disrupts the "family oriented" flight, of heterosexual and nuclear clumps of couples and their children.

And of course one must not make the customers uncomfortable, I mean, it's not like gay people pay for services, or use the same methods of transport as straight people. *snort* of course not, we have our own airlines, our own cities, our own laws and regulations, you know... in those "clubs". We'd never imagine doing that in public.

Existing, that is.

Of course, despite Southwest's hypocrisy, they are a well known airline that discriminates against its customers.

Dorothy Snarker who wrote about this earlier this week mentioned that Southwest is the airline that kicked Kevin Smith (Director of "Dogma" and "Chasing Amy") off a flight for being fat and Billy Joe Armstrong (Green Day front man) for dressing in baggy pants.

Obviously, Southwest feels very strongly about its well dressed, straight and thin customers. Everyone else just isn't up to par for this airline.

These are incidents that have happened to celebrities. Just ponder that one for a moment.

Reading about the above and planning out this post, well, it makes my own single status a thing of visibility and invisibility. I break the pattern of pairings in my family, but I am rendered silent because talking about wanting to date or going on dates is "flaunting" and "disruptive" and sometimes I just don't have the energy to deal with that.

It's giving into homophobia.

And the homophobia exhibited by Southwest, by accepting the underlying assumption that a kiss between two women is disturbing to customers, but being called disgusting by other people is just something we should suck up, is so entrenched in the culture, practically every culture on earth, that I sometimes despair at thinking I'll get to see or feel, fundamental change in my lifetime.
eumelia: (mystique)
Over the past half year or so that I've conscientiously stopped waxing my legs and shaving my underarms, I've struck several conversations regarding why I've stopped removing my body hair.

Some are baffled, some are downright angry, some are admiring (one classmate of mine decided to join the ranks of hairy women, after I told about my experience) and some are simply curious. But the consistent remark, no matter the underlying thought regarding my body - my body and my looks are fair game for criticism and observation.

My decision to grow my body hair is my own. Why? Because it's my body and the way I present it is my own business, and wanting it to look a certain way is also my own business.

The notion that I'm required to present a certain way due to aesthetic convention explicitly suggests that my body is for the consumption of my surrounding, as opposed to me being being a person existing on my own terms in relation to my surroundings.

My self esteem regarding my body has definitely improved since I've stopped thinking about whether I'm presentable in a certain way - wearing shorts with my hair showing, wearing a bathing suit (a bikini no less!) to the pool or the beach with my hairy underarms has been extremely beneficial to upping my self worth.

All the above is to put on the table that while I work hard to be unpack the conditioning I've underwent regarding what is feminine and acceptable on my body, I am still sensitive to direct assault on my body image.

When I was a teenager, my skin was so bad and the acne so deep that they became lesions of my akin and have left scars on my shoulders - being prone to keloids will do that - so at the time my skin was a health hazard so I would go to a cosmetician on a regular basis. This, in addition to drug therapy under medical supervision, that went about to change my body chemistry.

I'm now in my mid-twenties and I hadn't been to a cosmetician in a good number of years, I decided to splurge on a facial in order to celebrate the completion of my degree (I got a haircut as well, pics will be posted asap!).

The litany of strikes the cosmetician assaulted me with when she was committing her sadism over my face was, as follows:
#1 You haven't been to a cosmetician in a long time, haven't you?
#2 You don't take very good care of your skin do you?
#3 You should have those moles removed, it's very dangerous.
#4 You should consider going on drug therapy again. Maybe the Pill?
#5 You should get a hormone check, you have an awful lot of secretions.
#6 You do your eyebrows and moustache yourself don't you? They're awfully long, you should get them waxed and cut.

As someone I ranted to about this said, the beauty industry is built on making us feel ugly, but the workers within the industry don't have to buy into it.

Were it not for the fact that I was doing this for myself and the fact that my own feminism has a broad academic backing with which I can reduce the encounter to a full frontal assault with the Beauty Myth and the judgemental mind set that only other women can have on women, I would have probably gone home and cried.

Cried for the fact that my skin is a health hazard, cried for the fact that I was ugly and that some stranger thought I was hopeless, and, actually disgusting - because the disgust dripped off her.

Once we started talking about her kids did I feel I could I actually lie back and take the pain of having my pores de-clogged without actually wanting to grab the scissors that were lying around the room and stab myself in the eye.

Or stab the cosmetician, it depends.

So here I am, a day later, still obsessing about what a stranger said to me. A stranger, I will most likely, never see again. I can only hope.

My point being, no one has the right to be so invasive about what we do with our bodies and how we present them. Not even so-called "beauty experts". Perhaps, especially not them.

That kind of invasiveness and "up-sale" mentality is part of what makes femininity debased and despised. I like being hairy and femmy. It shouldn't be mutually exclusive and it shouldn't have to make us question our decisions or second guess our self worth.
eumelia: (brilliant)
Apologies for the vague post yesterday, I had many thoughts running around my brain and I really needed to jot down a reminder that they should exorcised at some point.

I have a terrible poker face, or maybe I'm just surrounded by people who know me well enough to read my facial expressions and body language.

On Monday I had a full on neurotic crisis, of such that I called a friend to talk to her about it for 15 minutes, basically repeating myself ad nauseam regarding how terrible I felt when in fact it was my own internalised views of society that made me feel terrible.

For you see, I was once again hairy in public )

On top of all that, and this actually puts thing into perspective, kind of; I am finishing my BA in Literary Theory and Women & Gender Studies, and my Future is Now! I am in a very unstable place regarding how I feel about where I think I should go and I (don't know what) want to do, which is no doubt, affecting my emotional reactions to things that really, are on no consequence.

Also, my LJ and DW accounts are expiring in the next week or so! Which makes me sad-ish.

But hey, yesterday a lecturer of mine asked my opinion regarding a course she's making up for the New Students who will have the privilege of studying Women & Gender Studies and that made me feel awesome. Especially because I told her to check out Henry Jenkins and The Society of Friends of the Text, because fan interpretations deserve to be taught in Academia.
eumelia: (bamf)
As some of you know, I've been going through a phase of girlish femininity, what with wearing a dress every so often.
This phase has been juxtaposed by deciding to actively not removing any body hair.

So the hair on legs is at a considerable length and my underarm hair is also at maximum - I never knew the hair there was fluffy and soft! Though, anyone who has dated a guy or a girl who didn't shave/wax the hair there knwos this, it's a very different sensation when you're touching your own hair.

So, I look awesome in dresses, but I don't sculpt my body to suit the dresses, which can be construed as a contradiction when it comes to doing a feminine thing.

I went to a birthday party last night and wore a dress (the only dress I currently own, though going by the reactions last night I need to be wearing more dresses and more often) and wore footless stockings (which are basically tights the same material as stockings, but more comfy) with sandals - it is getting very hot indeed. By the time we got to my friends' house I was sweltering and I was the only girl wearing stockings - all the other girls who were wearing a dress or a skirt were going without.

My anxiety levels were beginning to rise. It's one thing to step outside in shorts and walk around the neighbourhood with your hairy legs showing, it's quite another to walk around in a highly socialised and gendered environment with hairy legs while wearing a pretty dress - especially when I'm not used to sitting in a dress (which involved a lot of crossing and uncrossing!).

So, here I am, temperature rising, my choice was keep in line with what is appropriate while wearing a dress or go "fuck it" and actually enjoy my time at this party.

I took off the stockings.

The sense of freedom was out of this world. This is the first time people outside my little social circle were witnesses to my hair. I knew that most of my friends wouldn't and couldn't care less about the fact that I'm hairy and even if they did, they had enough tact not to comment (in more one-on-one conversations and friends seeing the hair have commented and said maybe it's time to shave/wax, but the subject was dropped when I simply said no I didn't need to shave). This being a birthday party of geeks, nerds and our affiliates, social convention is not a strong suit when we bunch together - so I did obsess a tad, in my mind, being all "Oh, god, my hair is there! And curling! Every other girl here is smooth! OMG, I'm a freak among freaks!".
But my friends continued to flirt with me as I did with them, sexual innuendo was had without pause and compliments were made on how amazing the dress looked and how amazing I looked in it - as well, as good ole' bodily objectification from close friends from whom I appreciate it and they know it makes me feel pretty when it comes from them.

So, yeah, I was dress-ing while hairy and I felt good! Really good! I felt fucking hawt. Mainly, because I was. Alas, no pictures were taken last night.

Later on the drive home, I was talking to one of my closest friends in my little bunch and asked her about showing the hair. She said she had wondered about where my stockings went and confided that my legs drew her attention, but couldn't say anything about anyone else. She also mentioned that my legs kept catching her eyes and she felt uncomfortable for noticing.
We discussed that for a bit, the whole comfort/discomfort thing, because fuck did I feel exposed during the evening, but that feeling wore off as time went by and it isn't my intention to make others feel uncomfortable.
She said the discomfort was all her own, but she was really surprised by how much of a noticeable thing it is, being hairy in a dress, in public.

Yes, it very much is.
eumelia: (bamf)
When I went to the hair dresses today, she looked at the pictures and said that my hair was so much thicker than all the models' put together, that none of the styles would look like that on my head.

Like I assured a few of you, I told her that I was looking for inspiration, not copy-cat.

I've been going to this hair dresses for almost a decade, I don't think I've ever left dissatisfied and this is probably the best hair cut I've had in a while.

I'm sorry you have to see me in crappy web-cam quality, but I couldn't wait for my brother with his fancy camera or wait for the weekend when I would meet up with my photographer friend.

And so, here I am!

Is that you Bob? )
eumelia: (not in rome)
I'm getting a haircut!

So you've all seen what my hair looks like recently: Big Hair )

And of all the various hair cuts I've looked over today I've decided one of these four (or variation) will be my Summer 'do.

So take a look and fill the poll please!

Much thanks in advance.

Four 'Dos Under The Cut )

Poll #6855 The Hair Style Poll
This poll is closed.
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 18


Which haircut do I get?

View Answers

Hairdo 1
5 (27.8%)

Hairdo 2
5 (27.8%)

Hairdo 3
7 (38.9%)

Hairdo 4
1 (5.6%)

eumelia: (bamf)
Passover/Pesach is, as most "holy"days are to me, a time of reflection. Being as this "holy"day is about liberty and freedom from bondage and remembering those who came before us to tell the tale of that exodus from slavery to freedom, I thought it would be an opportune time to write about the oppression I place on myself, how conscientious I am regarding this oppression and how more often than not, trying to break free of it, makes it that much more visible and stark.

However, that which you can see, you can fight against.

As regular readers know, I have been growing out my body hair.

For the first time ever, I have hair under my arms, even before I had proper growth at around 13 or so, I was taught to shave it off. I have trouble recalling whether I asked my mother to teach me or if she told me it was time, but I remember standing naked in the shower really freaking out at the notion of putting a blade to my skin.

(I have never shaved any other body part, the razors really scare me and I scar easily, so I avoided it when it came to body hair removal)

The other day I wore a tank top for the first time this year (it is freakishly hot!) and I did my best not to raise my arms past a certain level so as not to attract attention. When I was with a bunch of friends I did my best to not think about the fact that I have OMG!hair under my arms and what would you know, not a one said anything.

Whew.

Today, I'm wearing shorts for the first time this year (did I mention it's hot! It's no wonder we're all mad here) and my mother exclaimed:
"Oh my god, your legs!"
I tried to be as nonchalant as possible and said "What about them?"
"Have you seen what they look like?"
No Mum, I hadn't noticed I hadn't been removing the hair from there on a regular basis. *eye roll*, sheesh, no credit what-so-ever.
She asked me if I'm planning on going "that way" all the time now. I said it was an experiment, which it is, when I have to make a concious decision about doing something my body does when one doesn't interfere with it, then yeah, I'm experimenting with the way I am presenting my body to the world.

I would not be lying when I said my heart hammered in my chest. More than anyone my mother, she who taught me all the rules of hair maintenance, removal and societal approval, is the one I can rely on trying to explicitly shame me into getting "back in line", out of love.

Because it is out of love, I forgive her for it and feel I can try and have a rational discussion about the issue.

So I mentioned the fact that one of my classes is about the politics of the Beauty Myth and I want to be able have the "choice" (whatever that means) of removing the hair from my body.
She said it was part of basic hygiene.
"Nonsense," I said, "if it were part of basic hygiene, men would have been shaving their hair along with us for years".
Then we had a short discussion regarding hairlessness in women and art in history.

So that was all right, and she said she known she's criticising and I said "thanks, I appreciate it, but now you've said it, so move on".

All this is to say that I have issues with hair. The hair on my head, the hair on my body and even with all this conscientious growing of hair, I still shaped my eye brows and plucked the barely there moustache.

I think I'm taking steps in the right direction. But summer here is brutal and taking advantage of the privilege of being able to remove hair and wear short dresses may be something I'll take advantage of.

Having a choice is part of being free. And this may be small potatoes compared to being under siege and curfew, being forced to stay in the closet and being treated as a lesser person due to the colour of your skin or the ideas in your head.
But it's something.

And I'm happy to be hairy around the Seder table.

Dress!

Mar. 19th, 2011 10:37 pm
eumelia: (Default)
I bought a dress.

A sun-dress.

A blue and yellow polka dot dress.

And it was bought at an extremely reasonable price. Very funny considering I had been trying on button-down shirts and ties in the men's sections of different shops before hand.

Shopping with men in extremely liberating in that regard. They don't care from which section of the shop you buy from and once you have the shirt on the shop-clerks will not say anything, especially when they are aware that you deliberately went to the men's section.

I always feel a bit inadequate when I go shopping, even if no one is looking at me, the full weight of the gaze of Fashion is upon me. I'm no fashionista, but I have particular taste, I do not like bulging in any direction and I do not like anything that is too out there, I'm pretty conservative when it comes to my clothes - seriously, my most daring article of clothing is a pair of tweed trousers that only look good if the shirts are tucked in and I loathe tucking in my shirts - but for these pants, I'll do it.

It was also liberating because for the past month or so I've been forgoing shaving. And this dress is sleeveless, so shopping with men who not playing the gaze game with me was pretty good - though I don't know if they were surprised to see all the hair or if I'm just projecting my own issues. It's still cool enough to wear long sleeved shirts, but soon it'll be shorts and tanks and I'm a bit anxious. I'm anxious because I've never been hairy under my arms, really, once I started sprouting on my legs and under-arms I was regimented into hair removal.

There's something about being hairy while wearing a sun-dress. It's a bit like saying: "All this flesh you're seeing is for me and not for you to look at", it's fucked-up that that's my thought process, but clothes and the way your body is disciplined into beauty and gender norms are not actually for yourself, but for others who look at you.

So, I'm looking forward to wearing it this summer (or, you know, in a few weeks once the weather evens out into hot. Summer is going to be so hot hell is freezing), I'm not looking forward to the looks I'll be getting and there's just no way about it... people look and they judge.

The dress though, it's gorgeous and I look fucking awesome in it.
eumelia: (sad soldier)
I got a job!

I'm employed!

I will be getting a salary!

My life as a leisurely student has been dented!

I'm so very pleased, as some of you may know, I've had a hard time keeping jobs, some of it my own fault, some of it utterly crazy employers.

I still recall the secretarial job I had nearly four years ago. I lasted a month and would have probably been able to continue on had it not been for the fact that I basically skipped out every day for nearly week in order to spend time with Neil Gaiman.

I was fired after that week. I have no regrets. My priorities may be skewed, but I was so much happier not to be there. It was also just before my break down following the war, so who knows what would have happened. Well, I broke down in the office really and cried in front of my boss.
Mortifying. Not to mention that much as I enjoy observing the aesthetic of an office space (I'm currently mainlining Mad Men) I think an office job is pretty anathema to me.
I sit at a desk for fun, more than anything. I think sitting at a desk and being at the beck and call of people would drive me insane.

But who knows there's time.

The job I got is a physical one at one of the libraries on campus.

Here's to seeing the end of next month with a job *holds thumbs*.

I also celebrated by getting a hair cut. Wow, so much hair came off, so much weight has been taken off. I don't know why I bother growing it when I love the longest sections (yeah it's layered now) just touching my nape and/or the underside of my chin. I should have got it whacked months ago.

There is political News I'm reading, but choosing to actively ignore. Not particularly good public service, but there you have it.
I've also currently started writing a fic that may be offensive, but I'll have to find a suitable beta that can smack me over the head, at the very least.

Now, back to my cup of coffee before it's too cold.
eumelia: (Default)
Fucking Hell:
Only about 60 percent of elementary and junior high schools offer a "life skills" course that includes sex education, and the subject is not taught at all in high schools, according to a Knesset Research Center report. Schools are not required to teach the course.
[...]
Along with sex education, the "life skills" program also includes issues like violence, alcohol, drugs and peer pressure. The elementary schools that teach the program devote one hour weekly to it, while in junior high schools, the subject is taught during homeroom.

But the research center's report noted that sex education is not always part of the "life skills" program, as parents or others sometimes "exert pressure not to deal with certain issues, like sexual identity."

As for high schools, the report states that when sex education is broached, it is often "in response a specific event."

The ministry's sex education unit, according to the report, does not monitor "the extent to which the subject is taught or the type or content of lessons."


I had no idea things were so bad.
I had no idea I was that privileged in my national, public and secular education.

During my twelve years of formal education I had a sex education class twice as a separate class outside the regular curriculum and once as a "special class" when I was doing more advanced biology.
This doesn't include the "special assemblies" we had about AIDS in which we had PWA come and tell us about their lives - one was seriously ill, I remember. Also, the woman was infected by an immigrant from Cameroon with whom she'd had a serious relationship beforehand, the man was infected by a one-night stand in Independence Park (the gay cruising spot), iirc.

You just can't escape it.

I had a sex-ed lesson in 6th grade, in which we were told our bodies were going to change, menstruation, all that blah blah blah, which was given to us in a heterogeneous class (boys and girls) by the school nurse.
In 11th grade by an actual sex-educator who came and explained how sex worked, what a condom is, how a condom works, the Pill, that girls are "allowed to say no", that AIDS can kill you and if you're gay or have anal sex it's more risky.
I basically took what she had to say condoms to heart.
The biology class was a fiasco from start to finish as we went over the biological reproductive system and me, in me being a Rocky Horror going, a virgin where it "counts" - 'cause I hadn't been with a man yet (that only happened after high school), and doing my best not to Out myself to my teacher, was shot down and that harpy asked me "Didn't I think having casual sex was dangerous?"

Yeah.

Memories of sex-ed are a tad shudder inducing, but at least I have them. I learned something - ignored a lot, but if the years of being sexually active, I've managed to avoid STI and pregnancy and I do owe a bunch of that to sex-ed (and my dad, who is a pharmacist and provided me with a lot of information from just being in his store).

Now, I'm discovering that formal sex-ed is taught in only 60% of schools in Israel!

The article also ties the lack of sex-education with the rise in gang-rapes the media has been reporting on. I doubt that, btw. I think the consequences of rape may be a bit more fuzzy - and when I say consequences I mean the fact that STI's are spread and pregnancy can occur - but, the notion that women and girls are there to available for the proclivities of horny boys isn't something that can be countered by two-to-five hours of formal school education that most teens don't give a shit about, anyway.

After all, when I was a teenager, consent was taught as "the right to say No", as though that's the be all and end all of consent. As though other form of coercion weren't just as violent and violating.

I think I need to get into the education system just for that.
I'm just...
This is very scary.
eumelia: (Default)
I feel like I've read this somewhere before...

Dubai court annuls marriage to 'bearded lady'

[...]The [groom], who has not been identified, told a Sharia court [the bride's] mother had tricked him by showing him pictures of the bride's sister, Gulf News reported.

He only discovered the deception when he lifted the woman's veil to kiss her.


Oh yes, Genesis, chapter 29. For those not in the know, G:29 is the story of Jacob, Leah and Rachel - Jacob had been promised Rachel after seven years of servitude, on the wedding night, he finds his bride is Leah - she of "tender eyes" (which no one really knows what it means, but it's widely accepted that she was the "ugly" sister.

Some things never change...
eumelia: (Default)
Within three months of being enlisted into the IDF I put on something like 5 kg.
I had cried, tears rolled down my face, as I told my mother I had jock itch because my thighs were rubbing together, along with the very ill-fitting uniform.
I didn't wear clothes in my proper size for the two years that I served.

Food in the IDF is disgusting.

I was not vegetarian at the time, but I pretended to be, because the processed tofu schnitzels looked more appetizing and less likely to give me salmonella than the "regular" food.

Having done kitchen duty like a champ, I can tell you, the cooks are over worked, it's an yucky job, you have to deal with teenaged girls being grossed out by things (being a young aunt cured me of viewing leftover food as gross) that they've seen people eat and, well, dealing with the fact that despite having the most "practical" power (they're the wheelers and dealers of the army) they're in fact the lowest echelon of military jobs.

Yeah, the food was gross. We comforted ourselves by going to buy chocolate, biscuits, chocolate-chip cookies, crackers and cheese...

Yeah, it was good times in the barracks.

Is it any surprise girls (who do not do combat, which most of us do not) put on, on average, 10 kg of weight throughout our two year run.

I got thinking about because I saw this News article.
It made me guffaw. That's another way of saying LOL.

The IDF is going to cut out of its menu in the canteens (i.e. the cafeteria where you get your food for free) the fattening pastry foods - mainly Bourekas and rogalach - which have been traditional foods found in meetings, unit gatherings and, as mentioned, the canteens.

Nothing like promoting more resentment in the ranks!

I mean, I understand the need and want to promote "good health" which is a real oxymoron in the military - I cannot tell you how many yeast infections I had during my service because the trousers I wore five days a week was basically spun plastic.

Also, Doctors generally do not believe soldiers who come to the infirmary, their initial thought is that you are there to get sick-leave, which are days off not docked from your regular holidays.

You basically have to be dying in order to get treatment - or be at the emergency room with an actual bodily trauma.

Yeah, "good health".

Food is a big deal in the army.
It's something we arrange our time around - two hour lunch breaks are not unheard of, hell, unless I had something extremely pressing to do I could spend more time faffing around looking for chocolate and drinking seven cups of coffee a day (which was my average, I was up to ten cups a day at some point... withdrawal was a bitch after I was discharged).

Food was my comfort. Mainly because the food presented to us in the canteens was just so bad. Any other food was great and much of it was eaten.

I've spoken about the uniform before, so I don't need to tell you about the gendered aspect of it, but I remember how one day, I felt cramps, it wasn't that time of the month, so I went to the bathroom, opened my belt and instant relief.
Yeah, my belt had been pressing into me.
You can imagine what I did next.
I cried like the big baby I am/was.

Looking back, I can't say I felt bad about putting on the weight. It was something I didn't consciously think about - I mean, I hated myself for being "fat", but I was never ever willing to give up food that made me feel good.

That period of my life was full of half-assed attempts at weight loss.
"Weight Watchers" is a nightmare, as though we don't get judged enough in our lives.
Eating smaller portions got me eating more instead of less.
I got into shouting matches with my mother over my weight and what I was willing to do, or not do, in order to "control myself".

Yeah, food was a battle ground.

I don't know how much I eat today. I know that over the past few months I've lost weight, which worried me for a while, because weight loss has become something I associate with trauma and I still don't know what has caused me to become even smaller than I was.

Food in the IDF was part of what got me through it. Take outs, cakes, biscuits, the gatherings... *sigh* good times.
But they made my plastic pants split at the seam.

I'm glad it's over, never to return.

At times, it seemed to never end. I was even about to sign up for more - I was insane and full of fear of the outside world at the time - so when that fell through I suddenly had two weeks left of service.
The relief (and the weight loss that commenced simply because I was happy to be outside that framework) was unbelievable.

Related but off tangent; I don't know if Kung Fu is for me. I was in the best shape of my life while I was in those classes, but I didn't know how to protect myself, which pretty much negates the purpose...

As mentioned, I'm now thin, but very out of shape. I'm a slob, I don't exercise, I should, but I don't - I need to maלe the decision to go back to martial arts, but I need to want it and at the moment... I don't.
eumelia: (Default)
I had to get up obscenely early this morning, because I had a class at 8:30 (yay! no more waking up at 6 am in order to catch the train!).

Opposite me in the booth, a really pretty girl (as in young woman, my age-ish, probably a little younger) began to put on her face.
When I say "face", I mean it.

The art of putting on make up is one I'd never really mastered, I'm lucky if I remember to pluck and tidy up my curly eye brows. But watching her, I was so impressed by the whole process of it.

She started with blush. Compared to me, she had a dark completion, and from a pretty cocoa it suddenly became bronze. I had my sunglasses on, so she couldn't see me watch her, but I couldn't stop looking.

It was simply a gorgeous process to behold.

After she finished with the blush, she took out silvery-white eye-shadow, her big brown eyes suddenly looked huge and watery. As though they were shining from the inside. She took out her mascara and her lashes framed her eye, her eye lids looked like a flower petals.

She finished off by adding just a touch of red, cherry chap-stick, to her lips, creating a dark contra to the sparkle of her eyes.

She fluffed her hair and was about to pick up the news paper when I removed my glasses and looked straight at her;
"Before you start reading, I just wanted to say that you're really beautiful and the whole process you did was gorgeous as well. I know this sounds weird, but I just had to tell you" I said.

She looked shocked for a moment (well, strangers on a train aren't supposed to talk about your make-up!), but then she grinned at me, her mouth stretching, her eyes crinkled and she said though her huge smile: "Thank you so much".

Two people had a good start to the day.

I just thought I'd share and tell this, because it's so rare that we acknowledge all the hard work we put into being in public, showing a face to the world. Make-up or not, it's worth noting and talking about.
eumelia: (Default)
Okay.
You all know what I think about the whole Caster Semenya debacle, because that is exactly what it is.

It being the day after Transgender Day of Rememberence and the News about her so-called innocence coming out the day before, is all a convergence of an issue of which there is little to no awareness in the mainstream media.

Gender variance.
Beyond that, treating gender, sexuality, physical and mental abilities as though they are some kind of moral compasses for people.

The fact that the Guardian article linked above states:
South Africa's government, Semenya's lawyers and the IAAF had reached total agreement that she will retain her gold medal, title and prize money because she has been found "innocent of any wrong", the ministry said in a statement.
Emphasis mine.

What, exactly, was her crime? Surely, she was publicly tried and put through hell... but there was no criminal trial in which she had to stand on a podium and claim her innocence of anything.
I'll tell you what her "crime" was.
She won the race. Her opponents ate her dust. Her body is strong, big and built to run as Dave Zirin wrote in the article Standing with Caster.
That - Those - were her crimes.
Her public offences.

Because she doesn't look as feminine as women are "supposed to", her entire life, and career, was ruined for running too fast for a woman.
It really should go without saying that African women and women of African descent have always been under the suspicion of not being feminine enough - or on the flip-side, being overtly sexual.
So, not only was Semenya too good as a woman athlete, she was not good enough as an African woman who is supposed to be all curves and pliant flesh on which to be colonised.

There is a reason the first "foul play" cries came from her White European opponents*.
They could not believe that a woman beat them with such a huge margin.
Obviously, she had to be a man.

The fact that her family feels the need to attest and confirm her sex ("female") is just too terrible for words. Her very identity was put into question, her body was presented as a freak show for having a advantage which makes her the supreme athlete that she is.

She gets to keep her medal, I wonder how much of a consolation that is for the loss of dignity she has had to put up with for the four months.

The findings of her gender sex tests will remain confidential, as the whole speculation whether or not she is Intersex was a leak to the press.
We will never know and you know what... it's none of our business!
Really.
Let's get over this, because when you begin to question another person's gender you are basically saying: "You are a liar", "You are a freak", "Your identity is a failure".
How do I know this? Seeing as I'm cisgender and gender-conforming in my appearance.
#1 There was a time I wasn't gender-conforming in my looks.
#2 I do my best to listen to people.

Friends, #2 isn't that hard.

I know that as I've gotten more politically vocal I've been told (by various people) that I'm intolerant of other people's opinions, that I'm rigid in my views, that I'm un-accepting.
I wonder if the various people who tell me these things realise that huge swaths of the population whose voice is routinely silenced.

People who have a greater chance of being raped and murdered simply by walking out the door.

Because Caster Semenya supposedly didn't look like a woman "should", the mainstream media had no qualms about turning into Yellow Journalism over her bits and instead of reporting about this great breach of privacy, and colossal mistreatment and humiliation of a champion athlete, they went along with the sensationalism of what a person may or may not have between their legs.
Because there are men and women and people who are neither who chose the live their lives with integrity, how they see fit and not through the "M" or "F" that was issued to them at birth... they are silenced, brutalised and killed.

Silence is violence.

Speak Up!

Footnotes:
* Even though the Silver went to Kenyan Janeth Jepkosgei Busienei - but she only had 0.3 seconds over Bronze medallist Jenny Meadows of the UK, that's a "normal" margin... not a whole 2.45 seconds! That's crazy... Info from wiki.
Back to text.
eumelia: (Default)
Yesterday there was a march in honour of the victims of hate.

It was a pretty standard turn out for the March we were a little less than 100 people, made up of Trans folk and their Cissy Allies (hello there).
The march was set to start on the street of the shooting in August, which made the whole situation a whole lot more loaded emotionally of course.

The way to the march was a bloody disaster, you see, there was a different demonstration happening along the same main streets and we had to wait for it to pass.
The police was all set for that demonstration and basically decided that they would use the same personnel and the same garrisons for both marches.

One march was for Trans awareness, basically.
The other was for protesting the cut of the Disability Pension for IDF Veterans.

Yeah.
Talk about a "clash of civilisations" - one portion of the population that isn't drafted and another that pays the price for it.
*sigh*

As I said, getting to our march was a bloody disaster because the police garrisoned a bunch of main streets which we had to drive through, we also had to drive through the stragglers of the disabled vets march.

We drove through the entirety of central Tel Aviv on the busiest evening of the week, on the evening of a demo that nobody gave a shit about.
Two demos that nobody gave a shit about.

I didn't see anything other than Updates (as in not actual reporting) on the online mainstream news websites.

Of course, once we got to the Gay Community centre the police told us to go through the back so that we don't disturb the other demo.
Even when they're being fucked over by because they're disabled, there's still a hierarchy.

Both population are silenced and made invisible.
Both population intersect - I wouldn't be surprised if there were vets there who were Trans and there was certainly more than one marcher with us who had mechanic (crutches, wheelchair) aid.

Both populations are fucked over.

Still, it was obvious who were more respected by the police - the Disabled Vets didn't "chose" to be freaks and they're "genuinely" screwed over by the government.
Of course.

Sometimes I really feel the people in power just look down on us, eat and throw the crumbs down to see the fights brew.
It's depressing.

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Eumelia

June 2015

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V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

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